10 Things to look out for at the Spring Careers Fair

or those of you who haven’t decided on what you would like to do after you graduate – don’t worry, there’s still time!

Check out what we have on at the Spring Careers Fair 2 & 3 May from 12-3pm.

1. Careers Fair Plus App

Download the Careers Fair Plus App from the App Store or Google Play Store. Check out which employers are attending on each day and use the filters to narrow your search. Don’t forget to let us know your thoughts once you’ve visited via the feedback form.

2. Employers

This is your chance to meet a range of companies of different sizes, and sectors, and to find out about opportunities for future graduate jobs and internships. Also, employers are still hiring; use the filter on the Careers Fair app to find out who.

3. Global Opportunities

Are you an International Student looking to secure work in the UK or back home? We’re holding a short talk on how to secure a job or work experience in the UK. This will be followed up by employer films highlighting their recruitment across the globe. Click here to sign up.


What’s new? – Careers Fairs 2017

Whether you have a clear idea of what career you’d like to have, or no idea at all, careers fairs are great way to find out about different options, meet employers, and get the information you need to apply. We’ve got several fairs lined up for the Autumn Term. Read on to find out what to look for in this busy programme.

Careers Fair App

Download the ‘Bristol Uni Careers Fair Plus’ app from the App Store or Google Play to start planning and researching before the fair. Our top tips section is a good place to start. You can also filter and search the attendee list to find the most relevant employers by the types of roles they are advertising and the subjects they target. Highlight these employers on an interactive floorplan and use the links to company websites and social media to find out more about the employers who most interest you.

Confused About Your Career

If you have any general queries or want some advice, ask at the Careers Service ‘Confused About Your Career’ stand. We will be on the landing at the Science, Autumn and Engineering fairs and would love to help you get the most out of the events.

Bristol Opportunities

Opposite ‘Confused About Your Career’ will be the Bristol Opportunities stand. Come and talk to us about city opportunities, graduate vacancies, internships and business start ups. We’ll also be able to offer information and advice on the University of Bristol Internship Scheme.

Grads Love Bristol

Love Bristol and want to stay? Come to our new event in Bristol Museum on Monday 30 October to meet a variety of employers, large and small, with opportunities in the city.

Other Events

We have more new events this year including Employers Love Bristol, Public and Third Sector Q&A panels and events especially for International Students. Check the website and mycareer for updates.

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.







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”.







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.







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.

So you got a 2:2 – what happens next?



It’s the time of year when degree results are announced and, amid all the celebrations, there are some of you for whom things may not have gone according to plan.  There seems to be a lot of pressure on students to achieve a 2:1 these days, but this is really only significant if you are aiming to secure a position on a graduate scheme, as recruiters often use degree classifications to screen the vast numbers of applications they receive.

According to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the percentages for those in full-time employment six months after graduation are actually the same for those with Firsts, 2:1s and 2:2s, so things do have a tendency to equalise over time.  Please do bear in mind that only a minority of graduates end up on these large grad schemes each year, so it’s important to take a deep breath and consider your options – of which there are many.  We also recommend taking a look at our previous post What If I Don’t Want a Graduate Scheme? to help you work out what your next step might be.

Some graduate schemes do accept 2:2s

You may be surprised to know that not all graduate schemes require a 2:1 for you to be able to apply.  Some engineering and accounting firms (not the Big Four) will accept a 2:2, and some well-known schemes run by HMRC, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the NHS are all still open to you.  Many firms will also consider applicants with a 2:2 if you contact them to explain any genuinely mitigating circumstances in advance of submitting your application; this will also avoid your being screened out by computer before you have had a chance to explain your situation.

Work your way up & gain experience

You can also prove you have the skills to do the job by taking on a graduate internship or placement.  This offers hands-on experience which will look great on your CV, as well as offering an opportunity to impress while actually doing the work; many internships can work as extended interviews.  Search company websites to see what’s on offer (internships are advertised throughout the year) and try our UoB Internship Scheme, which is open to graduates.  You can find opportunities advertised on the Careers Service website or find your own and talk to us about funding.

Work for a small business

Working for a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) or a start-up could be the perfect way to get your career moving.  Small businesses place the emphasis on skills and work experience when recruiting as they need you to be able to make a contribution straight away and hit the ground running.  Some SMEs advertise with the Careers Service but you should also do your own research, make a shortlist and start calling them directly about what could be available.  These working environments may not offer structured training but you’ll have much earlier responsibility than in a grad scheme, if you can prove the quality of your work, and you will feel as if you are making a difference from the outset.

Think carefully about opting for a Masters

Many graduates immediately start applying for a Masters in the hope that attaining a higher degree will negate having a 2:2.  However, most recruiters will still use your undergraduate degree result for screening if you apply for a graduate scheme, even if you have bagged yourself a Masters.  If you’re thinking about taking the postgraduate study route, talk to the employers you’re interested in working for to find out which specific courses they might view as an enhancement to your profile.  A Masters degree does not necessarily make you more employable in the way that relevant work experience can, so do your homework before making an expensive mistake and taking another year out of the labour market.

What do you really want to do?

Sometimes, not getting what you want offers an important opportunity to take a step back and reflect on other possibilities.  There is a whole world of work out there that doesn’t require a 2:1 and a training scheme.  Come in and talk to a Careers Adviser about what you can do with your skills, what you enjoy and what your next steps could be; there are more job roles out there than you can possibly imagine.  You may decide to work for yourself, take a year out, travel or gain valuable experience before you throw yourself back into the graduate labour market and try again.  Just remember that there are many ways in which you can add value to your CV and impress a potential employer without the magic 2:1 on your transcript.

Dr Tracy Johnson, Careers Adviser

Image: http://www.gothinkbig.co.uk/features/

Career profile: NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme

A University of Bristol graduate talks about her experience of the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme:

ImageImage: Alex Proimos [flickr.com/photos/proimos/]

When I started as a Geography student at the University of Bristol in 2009 I had little idea of what career I wanted. I knew I wanted to be in a job where I really felt like I was making a difference to people’s  lives and I had always had an affinity for the NHS but not being a clinician,  I struggled to see where I might fit in.

After attending various careers events, courses and undertaking work experience, I learnt more about management in the NHS and was completely sold on this being the career I wanted. Somewhat putting all of my eggs in one basket,  the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme was the only job I applied for and, fortunately, I was accepted on to the General Management stream of the scheme,  which I started in September 2012. Eighteen months on, I can wholeheartedly say this was the best decision I could have made and I am enjoying a challenging but hugely rewarding start to my career.

The scheme is comprised of 3 placements over two years: one in a hospital (a more ‘operational’ role concerned with the running of services); a more strategic role involving project management; and a shorter two-month placement where there is more choice of where to go, inside or outside of the NHS, in order to develop knowledge or skills that will be useful to the NHS. At the start of the scheme there is also a month-long ‘orientation’, where I spent time in a variety of departments and organisations to get a better understanding of the different components that are part of the health and social care system: spending a day on an ambulance was definitely a personal highlight!

One of the elements of the scheme I have been most impressed with is the amount of responsibility I have been given from the very start. Despite having no previous experience in the NHS, I have now managed a department in a hospital, line-managed staff and led service-improvement projects, and worked collaboratively with patients and staff from a wide variety of disciplines. Being afforded this amount of responsibility, whilst at the same time being well supported, has allowed me to develop a huge amount of new skills and knowledge in a really short space of time and I have relished being able to make an impact from day one.

In addition to the work placements, I am currently studying for a Masters in Leadership and Service Improvement as part of the scheme. I have enjoyed being able to put some of the theory I have learnt from this, as well as skills learnt during leadership development courses provided by the scheme,  into practice during my placements.

The fast-track nature of the Scheme has given me a mass of opportunities I would never have otherwise had and I would highly recommend it to anyone passionate about improving patient care and ready to offer the commitment and dedication needed to become a leader in the NHS.

                                                                                                Siobhan Heeley, University of Bristol Graduate

The Careers Service says:

You can read more about what options there are with a Geography degree on the Careers Service website.  We also provide a helpful overview of careers in healthcare, which links to the really useful ‘What can I do with my degree’ website from NHS Careers.

Thinking Ahead

Job searching starts earlier these days…

I think it’s fitting that one of the first posts here is inspired by another Careers Service blog! The excellent Manchester Graduate Careers Blog gave me food for thought last week as I read Holly’s post on how employers are opening their applications for 2013 start already .

This reminded me how employers’ timetables are sometimes not in line with the university calendar, and whilst penultimate students are just breathing a sigh of relief that their exams are over, employers are gearing up to recruit them for their graduate schemes.

We know that some students are aware of this- a recent report stated that 42% of students last year had applied for a job before the end of October  and for students with an interest in banking early applications have always been essential.

However, for those who are still in the mindset “Hey, I’ll start in November”, it could mean that some of the opportunities have closed– this excellent timeline created last year demonstrates how a lot of the Times Top 100 employers such as the Civil Service Fast Stream, Teach First and McKinsey close their application process 4 weeks into the Autumn Term. That’s why our Careers Fairs are so early in the Autumn Term.

Scanning through the 450+ jobs posted on the UoB Careers Service website right now, you certainly see  this trend for early advertising with some of the employers that Holly mentions already posted for 2013, such as the Tesco Procurement Graduate Programme. What’s more, Unilever, who were delivering a case study session last week at our Science Faculty Careers Day, mentioned that they will open applications in August.

However, the vacancies advertised now also give the reassurance that employers are still recruiting now  for an immediate start. This of course reflects the huge diversity in the jobs market, with a lot of smaller employers recruiting much later, and also the fact that the larger employers recruit all year round, or are still recruiting because they haven’t found the right people to fill their roles.

So, when faced with the negativity media about how students graduating in 2012 or even 2013 are doomed, here are a few key things to remember:

1)      Research your employers– make sure that you know when they are opening their recruitment for internships or graduate places. Our ‘How to research employers’ pages are a good place to start.

2)      Don’t underestimate how long application forms can take to put together– make sure you give yourself time to get it checked and double checked.

3)      The Careers Service is  open all summer, and if you’re not in Bristol, contact us via e-mail and phone.

Sara Whittam, Careers Adviser