Picture the scene – you’re helping an employer clear up at the end of a Careers Fair and there’s two piles of CVs on the table, one noticeably larger than the other. You offer to bag up the larger pile of CVs only to be told ‘that’s okay, they’re for the recycling’…

Now I’m not saying this actually happened*.

*it actually happened.

Emily - Rin Shibuya (iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls)

…so how did this happen, and how do you make sure your lovingly crafted CV isn’t on the pile earmarked as ‘Hamster Bedding’ or ‘Future Ikea Wardrobe’? Quite simple actually – preparation and networking.

Do your homework. Find out who’s attending, decide who you want to target and check out their website/LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter/any other social meeja. See what they’re saying about themselves and their graduate recruitment opportunities. You can even do this on the day if it comes to that; get some literature from their display, or the 99.999% of you with a smartphone in your pocket can visit their site right there and then.

Once you’ve done this, go up to their representatives and TALK TO THEM. Scary stuff, eh? Let them know that you know who they are and why they’re there. Let them know you’re interested in them and their specific opportunities. Then and only then do you offer to leave a CV (assuming they’re taking CVs of course).

These smart operators are the ones whose CVs are being taken away for future consideration. The people who shuffled up and said ‘I’m a (insert course here) finalist, can I leave a CV?’ then left are the ones in the recycling pile.

Worse yet, the people who walked up and said ‘so what do you do?’ don’t even make it that far – your CV’s most likely under a coffee cup. Imagine you’re on a date and it’s all going beautifully, then you lean across the table and say to your potential significant other, ‘I’m sorry, what’s your name again?’ Buzzkill – am I right? Well, that’s what you just did to KPMG, and you are not going to be taken home to meet their parents. Ever.

I don’t mean to make this sound scary. It isn’t. Employers are there to charm you as much as you want to charm them. You want a job and they want the next generation of graduate talent (of whom you are one). A little simple prep means you’ll stand out from the crowd and be waaay ahead of the competition who haven’t read this post.

You’re welcome…*mwah*

Image: Abraham Arthemius via Compfight