Get ahead of the game! Be prepared to meet employers!

This autumn, we’ll welcome hundreds of employers on to campus, for fairs, promotion events and presentations. Stand out from the crowd by following our top tips:

Wills Memorial Building.
Wills Memorial Building.
  1. Find what fairs and events are happening and when – check out our events listings on mycareer and use the ‘type of event’ drop down to filter results, including careers fairs and employer presentations.
  2. Come to one of our short talks about how to prepare to find out more about why you should go to fairs and for insider tips about how to make the most of talking to employers.
  3. Check out the list of employers attending each fair (on the event listing on mycareer) and find out who they are and what they do before going along – use our researching employers page to get started. Go beyond their website and look at news, social media (including LinkedIn) and job review and case study websites such as TARGETJobs Inside Buzz, Glassdoor, WikiJob and TheJobCrowd.
  4. Go that step further by using our gaining commercial awareness page and think about what the organisation is there to do, who are their customers and how the business is organised – this will also help with applications and at interview.
  5. Prepare an introduction about yourself and some questions to ask the employer. Do ask about changes in the sector, what sort of activities are involved in the graduate schemes on offer and the culture of the organisation. Don’t ask about salary or time off.

    Students and employers at a careers fair in the Great Hall of the Wills Building
    Students and employers at a careers fair in the Great Hall of the Wills Building

After a fair or an employer presentation, follow up with an employer to thank them if you had any longer discussions. You should also collate your notes and put them in to action by noting down deadlines and preparing your applications.

 

 

For more in-depth information, our previous blog post on careers fairs goes into detail about the fairs themselves and you should come along to one of our short talks on preparing for fairs and events.

Spring Recruitment Fair  

Spring Recruitment Fair. Info Web 1jpgThe fair in numbers

On the 27 to 28 April we held this year’s Spring Recruitment Fair, which was at the Careers Service (Tyndall Avenue) for the first time. Despite the cold, two marquees stood on the pavement outside, opening up the fair to passers-by.

40 different employers were present across the two days: Amazon, EY, Teach First, PWC, Aldi, Think Ahead, RBS and Severn Trent, to name just a few. They were offering various positions from graduate schemes, to internships and summer work.

Although it was revision season, over 400 students flocked in to
meet these recruiters, with many leaving positive comments, such as that they liked seeing a wide range of employers and that they felt the fair was helpful and informative with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.  

Not just a fair

Other events were held in association with the fair: leading employers gave a talk on how to prepare for
the fair. On day two you could spot the Careers Advisers (wrapped in scarves and gloves!), along with some of the attending employers, in the marquee for speed interviewing sessions. They offered students the chance to practise their answers to some common interview questions under time pressure, gave feedback and then recommended relevant resources to help them improve their skills.

It was also a good opportunity to pick up some of the free publications available at the Careers Service, browse resources, book appointments and get advice on what to do next to prepare for life after university.

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Employers love Bristol students

“Meeting prospective graduates face to face is the best way to get our company known.

(Local Employer)

“The calibre of students was very high and we met some great candidates.”

(Recruitment Agency Attendee)

Employers come to our fairs because they are interested in you! As one employer commented, recruitment fairs are a “good opportunity for students. Companies come to you and want to hire you. Make good use of that”.

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How to prepare for next time

Employer tips:

  • Remember to do some research beforehand; look up the companies attending and what kind of roles they offer.
  • Think about how to approach the employers you are interested in to make them interested in you! One employer found they had “lots of people saying ‘I don’t know you’ or ‘what is your company’, as opposed to ‘I’d love to learn more about your company’”.
  • Don’t ask about pay or visa sponsorship – if they like you then they may be open to negotiation. Find out the essentials beforehand and target the employers relevant to you.

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Dates for your diary!

We have more careers fairs in the Autumn Term, all taking place in the Wills Memorial Building:

  • Investment Banking and Management Consultancy Evening – 3 October
  • Autumn Fair – 11 and 12 October
  • Engineering and IT Fair – 18 and 19 October
  • Science Fair – 26 October
  • Law Fair – 1 and 2 November

Keep an eye on the events pages for these and other events all year round.

What are employer events?

Employers are descending to campus and they are looking to recruit you!

If you haven’t engaged with employer events before then there is no better time to start. The vast majority of employer events happen in the autumn term so you do not want to miss out! The recruitment cycle can often take almost one academic year for employers. It begins at the start of the academic year with employers coming to campus and scouting for talent. Many schemes at all levels have closing dates before Christmas. This is not just for graduate jobs, but placements, internships and even sometimes spring insight weeks and open days. You will make yourself stand out on your application by getting inside information directly from the employer. Plus, getting your foot in the door with a scheme in your first or second year can often lead to a graduate position if you perform well.

Because of the volume of employer activity on campus here are some handy definitions of the event types.

Careers Fairs

Recruitment trade show with multiple employers. You might discover companies you didn’t know existed. A good chance to explore different companies and career options and a mix of opportunities from insight days to graduate roles.

Employer Presentations

Offer detailed organisation and recruitment information. The format can range from formal presentations, interactive workshops and case studies. You will gain in depth company knowledge and a good idea if working for them is for you. There is usually a chance to network after the event with the employer and like-minded students.

Promotional Events

Casual events to raise company profile among students. These events are often the large structures placed in central indoor or outdoor locations. There is usually a fun, interactive element to them like a competition or game. Employers will be there to chat informally and promote their basic company values.

Employer-led skills sessions

Generic content workshops based around an employability skill useful to all types of professions. For example; networking, interview skills and commercial awareness. They are led by employers so students can gain a real world perspective from someone who works outside of the University context.

For some top tips for how to prepare for employer events, come to one of the ‘Making the most of Employer Events’ sessions in the Careers Service. Spaces are limited so book through our online events list.

By Maxine Robinson, Graduate Recruitment Officer.