Category Archives: Employers

The Spring Careers Fair 2017

Our final employer event on campus this term was last week’s Spring Careers Fair.

New for 2017: careers fair app

This year we trialled a careers fair app which allowed students to research and prepare for the fair using our top tips section, filter and search to find the most relevant employers by the types of roles they were advertising and the academic departments employers were targeting, and then highlight these employers on an interactive floorplan.

We had over 500 downloads and positive feedback from students who downloaded the app. One student commented, “very helpful to plan who I’d like to speak to. Made my day more efficient. The map was a great feature.” Other comments included, “very useful resource”, “App very useful for prep”.

After the success of the Spring Careers Fair, we will be using the app for all of the careers fairs this autumn, if you want to get a sneak preview of the main features and benefits as well as check out the employers that are still recruiting and attended the event, the Spring Careers Fair app is still available to download – search for Bristol Uni Careers Fair Plus on the App Store and Google Play Store.

Bristol PLUS celebration

Exclusive to those who completed the employability award, the fair opened early with a welcome and the chance to speak to employers more directly over coffee and pastries.

The Bristol PLUS Award provides a framework to help you enhance your CV, develop a variety of employability skills and be more prepared for the interview process. A degree is no longer enough to make you competitive in the recruitment process. The Bristol PLUS Award rewards University of Bristol students who have gained significant skills and experience through activities outside of their studies.

Careers Service pop-up event & Bristol Opportunities area

One of the marquees outside the event held a Careers Service pop-up event with lots of taster talks open to all students as well as offering specific advice for postgraduate students. For those students still confused about their career options staff were on hand to offer one to one advice. The other marquee was the Bristol Opportunities tent, offering a list of immediate vacancies in the city, the chance to meet some local employers and advice on applying to the UoB Internship Scheme.

Employers love Bristol students

With a leading global reputation, and one of the highest rates of employability in the UK, your degree from the University of Bristol will help you get wherever you want to be. The quality of today’s students attracts many recruiters.

Employers from a diverse range of business areas attended this event including media, charities, consulting, finance, teaching, hospitality and IT, to meet with students and promote their organisation as well as upcoming and available opportunities. Around 2 thirds of these were SMEs with the rest being larger organisations. Many commented on the calibre of students and the conversations they had.

“Very inquisitive students.”

“It was a pleasure to meet the high quality students at Bristol.”

“It’s always great to visit Bristol Uni – lots of interested students with lots to bring to the charity sector.”

“A fantastic event for students to drink with cups from the fountain of business knowledge from fossils like ourselves.”

Missed out? You can still catch up

We are here to help you get to where you want to be when you graduate, offering you careers support in person, online and over the phone. The Careers Service opening hours are Monday to Friday 9:30 pm to 4:45 pm and in vacation 1:30 am to 4:45 pm. You can download the app to research employers and get ahead for next year. Our employer events programme will resume in the autumn term so check mycareer for updates.

Download our NEW Careers Fair app and maximise your time at the Spring Careers Fair – 3 & 4 May

Explore tomorrow at the Spring Careers Fair

Whether you have a clear idea of what career you’d like to have, or no idea at all, careers fairs are great for picking up a lot of information in one place. Come to the Spring Fair at the Careers Service on the 3 and 4 of May from 12 til 3!

You can discover less well-known employers and understand more about what popular organisations do. You’ll get to speak to the experts, get a feel for the work culture and ask questions that might not be on their FAQs list.

Download the ‘Bristol Uni Careers Fair Plus’ app from the App Store or Google Play to start your planning and research for the fair. If you wander around aimlessly with no sense of purpose you’re unlikely to get much from attending. Use the app to help you set the scene and prioritise which organisations you would like to visit.

We’ve done the hard work for you

On the app you will find the list of employers who are attending the fair, who are different on each day. The app provides an overview as well as a link to company websites and social media for you to research further those you are most interested in. Employers come to careers fairs because they are looking to hire Bristol students, but they also have work experience and internships on offer as well as graduate jobs. The app allows you to filter this quickly and easily, so you can see which companies are offering what types of roles, and what subjects they are looking to attract students from.

Take the fear out of networking and find a selection of starter questions to ask employers, as well as top tips on the app. Meeting employers face-to-face is the best way of making a good impression. If successful, these first encounters can help with making a really great impression with your application. Remember, it isn’t about getting a job today it’s about doing research & making contacts to help you make informed choices and plan ahead.

We’re here to help.

If you have any general queries or want some advice, ask at the Careers Service marquee. We will be outside the Careers Service for the duration of the fair and are always happy to help. If you are unsure how to prepare for events, or have any other careers related questions, please ask us.

Search for ‘Bristol Uni Careers Fair Plus’ on the App Store or Google Play store.  

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.

Alumni guest blog: Euan Mann (2003, Economics BSc)

Learn about Bristol graduate, Euan Mann; a soft commodities expert and business owner:

CCS Logo - Black

So you graduated from Bristol; what happened next?

In my final year I went through the selection process for a few graduate schemes and I realised that they didn’t feel quite right. I decided to apply for a Tropical Commodities Analyst role at a commodities trading house and was successful. The pay was lower than a typical grad scheme but the role sounded a lot more interesting. I was drawn to the prospect of regular travel and working in a smaller team with good one-to-one mentoring.

After a couple of years, I underwent intensive management training which involved working in New York, Brazil, Liverpool, London and Zurich for a year. I then relocated to work for a new trading division of the company based in New York before eventually moving back to London to head up a London office for the division.

What advice would you give your younger self at graduation?

Don’t worry too much and just give things a try. Nobody knows the perfect career path and any experience is beneficial. Don’t follow the money at graduation, developing yourself over the first two to three years is more important. Also, stay in touch with people from university; they will go on to succeed in amazing ways and can be an important network.

What advice can you give to newcomers to your industry?

Just try it. There are so many different roles within the commodities industry. There’s no formal course for soft commodities so you only learn by doing.

What does your current role involve?

In 2010 I set up my own business providing independent analysis in the cocoa and coffee markets. We supply major chocolate manufacturers and coffee roasters, as well as trading houses and commodity hedge funds.

At the moment we are a team of three – myself and two junior analysts. Around 60% of my time is spent on analysis of export figures, rainfall, temperature, exchange rates, corporate forecasts and trends, and communicating our analysis to our clients. Roughly 20% is managing my two colleagues, whilst 20% is managing our clients, marketing our services, as well as running the admin and accounts. I continue to travel regularly to West Africa, South America and SE Asia.
What do you most enjoy about your work?

I find soft commodities fascinating and I enjoy dealing with tangible products – everyone eats chocolate and drinks coffee. I also enjoy gathering and analysing information; it’s like a jigsaw puzzle and there are always surprises.

How did you make the decision to start your own business?

As a student I always wanted to be my own boss. I was drawn to the challenge of building something of my own and I enjoy being responsible for my own results. I work as a means to enjoy life and I appreciate the flexibility of being self-employed. I work hard but efficiently; focussed work rather than long hours – which is great as I now have a young baby and have been able to spend a lot of time with her and my partner over the last nine months.

What would you like to be doing in five years from now?

The same thing I’m doing now. I’m very happy.

We are currently looking to expand the team in order to provide an even better service to our clients. If you are interested in an opportunity as a Junior Soft Commodity Analyst, please apply either through CAS or at

Get more advice from Bristol alumni! Visit the Careers Network.

Preparing for Careers Fairs



B.Uni Undergrad Prospectus Day 3

Autumn term is upon us, which means it’s the season for careers fairs! We receive a large number of queries from students every year about how to best prepare for the fairs and what to expect from them, so I’ve taken the Careers Service Ten Commandments and expanded on them so that you can approach these events with more confidence.

Careers fairs offer an invaluable opportunity to meet employers face to face and find out more about their culture and potential opportunities. They are also not just for finalists! As a first or penultimate year student, visiting a fair can help you to find out about potential internship or work experience opportunities as well as help you plan ahead for your final year, when you will have to balance your studies alongside your job hunting.

1.    Read the Fair Guide, plan who you want to see and know what their business does.

Don’t take an aimless approach by just wandering around the stands. Look at who is coming to each fair (it will be different each day for the longer fairs), check out their websites to find out more about them and their recruitment strategies, and then target the companies you want to speak to. Apart from not wasting time, this also means that you will avoid asking obvious and unhelpful questions, such as ‘what does your company do’ or, even worse, ‘why should I be interested in you?’ – this will not go down well!

2.    Work out your first few questions – what is it you want to know?  Type of work areas? Skills needed? Travel? Training & development opportunities?

Questions that show your knowledge of the company and its training schemes always make a good impression and demonstrate genuine interest. See some tips from our Information Specialists to help you quickly research companies and stand out from the crowd. You can find out if your preferred companies have won awards or contracts that can be the basis for more informed questions.

3.    Don’t ask about salary – be interested in the work, the company, and how you can use your skills in their employment.

Asking about salary is never a good idea, not even when you are at interview stage – wait until they have offered you the job! Fairs are a good opportunity to identify the specific skills and attributes that companies look for, so that you can work on developing any potential weak spots in time for the selection process. You might even want to prepare a very brief ‘pitch’ so that you are confident in what you want to say about yourself.

4.    Be enthusiastic, friendly and polite: they might be your interviewer at a later date!

The people on the stand could be a mixture of people from the recruitment team, recent graduates and potentially your future line manager or interviewer.  Employers use fairs to spot new talent, so don’t spoil your chances by speaking to representatives with less than perfect professionalism and politeness, or by going straight for the free gifts.  Try also to target the right question to the appropriate person: queries about what it’s like to be on the training scheme should go to the recent graduate, while questions about progressing in the industry go to the senior person.  If the recruiters take your name, then this is a very good sign that you have made the right impression and that they will be keeping an eye out for your application!

5.   It isn’t about getting a job today; it’s about doing research and making contacts to help you make informed choices and plan ahead.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Think of the fair as an opportunity to find out more about the companies and their working cultures. If a recruiter is unpleasant or dismissive in their interaction with you, are they someone you would really like to work with or for? If you like them, then mention the fact that you met them and what impressed you about them in your applications – this is always a positive opener. Get names and contact information from people that you have productive conversations with. If a recruiter gives you their card, make sure you send a courtesy email with 48 hours thanking them for their help; you need to cultivate and look after your contacts in a professional way if you want to be able to make use of them later on.

6.    The stallholders are ‘shopping’ just like you, so be aware that you need to impress.

It’s not good form to shove copies of your CV at recruiters; keep some with you in a neat folder if you like, just in case you are asked, but large companies usually design their application processes to be exactly how they want them and won’t appreciate personal documents they then have to dispose of confidentially. If you have personal cards, then by all means keep them with you so that you have something in exchange for one of their business cards, if offered. Your appearance is also important. You don’t have to wear a suit, but make sure that you look smart and professional – remember that this could be the first impression a potential employer has of you, so make it a good one. Old jeans and a hoodie are not the way to go! Make sure you also have pen and paper handy for writing things down – look organised.

7.    Be prepared to wait for or come back to popular employers.

Don’t be pushy – everyone is entitled to their fair share of time with a company. Go and visit another stand if the queue is a long one. If you decide to wait, be patient and wait your turn. Use the time to think about what you want to ask or to read the company literature.

8.    Talk to a couple of employers first as ‘practice’ for your first-choice employer.

Networking events, which is what a careers fair really is, can make the best of us feel a bit tongue-tied. Warm up by visiting a couple of employers who genuinely interest you, but with whom you feel comfortable enough to get started.

9.    Keep notes and don’t be afraid to ask an employer for their contact details if you have a good conversation with them.

As soon as you can after the event, write down what you learned, what you need to follow up and any contact details you were given.  If an employer has spent time with you and you developed a good rapport with them, it’s fine to ask for their contact details.  As per point 5 above, make sure you send a thank you email very soon.

10.  If you have any general queries or want some advice ask at the Careers Information Desk.

Careers staff are always happy to help if you unsure of how to prepare for events, so please ask at the Information Desk on the day, or pop in to see us in the Careers Service before the event. We hold lots of information about sectors and employers that you may find useful in your preparation.

Good luck with your preparations and enjoy all the fun of the fairs!

Dr Tracy Johnson, Careers Adviser


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.