8 top tips to stand out from the crowd at a jobs fair

Last Saturday YUZA exhibited at Europe's largest tech jobs fair, Silicon Milkroundabout, for the first time. Here I share some advice on how to catch an employer's attention at such an event.

I spoke to hundreds of great candidates but I'm still going through all the paper CVs I was given. So I thought I'd write some thoughts as to what I look out for when recruiting new people to join the team.

1. Do Some Homework

Look up the company website before arriving at the event. The more you know about the company, the less that has to be explained on the day. This is not laziness on my part - I love explaining what we do - but it's best for everyone if we are able to focus our first conversation on values, experiences and simply getting to know each other.

Only a few candidates had researched the companies exhibiting at #SMR9 beforehand, but it meant that those who did stood out from the crowd straight away.

2. Bring Your Portfolio

The vast majority of candidates I saw this weekend were asking me for design or content-related positions. I saw lots of CVs but very few portfolios on the day itself.

Bring your designs with you.

Everyone has a smartphone these days and considering YUZA is a mobile-first company I'm looking for mobile-focussed experience which you can show off on the device itself.

3. Show Your Working

My number one piece of advice for design candidates is simply to show me examples of how you got to a finished piece. Sketches are a brilliant way of doing this and can often be more interesting than the finished visual design.

Leonardo da Vinci's sketches are more masterful than the Mona Lisa in my opinion. Or at least more insightful. So are architect Zaha Hadid's.

Scan them in or take a photo. Doesn't need to be neat - just needs to be interesting.

4. Share Your Typical Day

Candidates have skills to show off and companies have perks to persuade with, but what happens in reality tends to be much more mundane.

Both sides should describe a typical working day as it can be the most enlightening conversation you have.

5. Follow Up

Always follow up meeting a prospective employer with an email - or even a tweet!

For a start it helps set you apart from the others - most won't do any follow up and both sides could easily forget each other despite a keen interest on the day itself. Start up businesses are busy places and so are you if you're actively job seeking.

Your email doesn't have to be complex; in fact simple is better in this case. A quick reminder of the meeting and some key links to CVs, portfolio and social are all that is needed.

An important reason to do this is the fact that emails are searchable - your CV has become an easily accessible data-point rather than a floating piece of paper in large office.

6. Get A Website

If you want to work at a tech start up you need to have a website. Even if it's just a Tumblr blog - it's the effort that counts.

The vast majority of the jobs we advertise are based on skills that would be used to make a website or fill it with content so if you have one it tells me that you've got the basics sorted.

If you can, go one better; get your own domain. hello@johnsmith.com just gives a far better impression that john.smith.89@hotmail.co.uk

7. Promote Your Online Presence

Your CV shows your skill set but little of your personality. Your Twitter account is far more interesting.

Don't be too worried about the odd opinion that a potential employer might disagree with. Our office has a wide-range of political views, interests and hobbies - that's what makes it interesting.

The deep engagement with interesting subject areas is the most valuable bit, rather than the opinion itself. In my opinion, of course! ;-)

8. Attach a Photo

Finally, it might seem silly but actually attaching a photo of yourself to your email is really helpful. They say a picture paints a thousand words - well it's true - and in this case your selfie will trigger a memory of our conversation for me to consider alongside your formal CV.