Tag Archives: careers fairs

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.

How to use the Law Fair to get work experience

Original URL: http://nickbaines.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/

I am a postgraduate researcher in an arts subject (not Law!) but last October, at the Careers Service Law Fair, I managed to get a week’s work experience in a mid-sized City firm – the Holy Grail of the would-be lawyer. I got this purely through chatting to the people I met on each stand. As networking and meeting people is a great way to get a foot in the door, especially for law, I thought I’d share a bit on the blog about how I went about it.

Just ask!

I chatted to a few employers at the firm, and got (alongside a lot of free stuff) 2 business cards, and 1 offer of work experience. At the stand of the firm in question, there were a partner, a trainee and an HR person, and I tailored my questions to each of them. After talking to all three for some time, I asked the lady from HR if there was any possibility of a week, or even a day, of shadowing. She’d already offered to take my email address, and suggested I drop her an email with my CV and the practice areas I’d be interested in. She actually emailed me with a reminder before I’d had a chance to get in touch with her, and once I’d sent my CV, she arranged for me to sit in my preferred department for a week in January.

The lesson here is an old one, but it’s true: if you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you feel a conversation is going well, then why not ask? Some firms, of course, will say no, but you’ve lost nothing, and it’s worth it to get even one yes.

Research, research, research

You’ll probably have heard this already, but research is key to securing legal work experience – even informally. And preparation is vital for law fair success:

  • Before the fair, I made a list of firms I was interested in, why I was interested in them, and what questions I wanted to ask in order to find out more.
  • I also had a think about more general questions I could ask. For example, it’s always good to ask about the structure of a firm’s training contract, as this differs from firm to firm.
  • As I mentioned, I tailored my questions to each person – when talking to a partner, I wouldn’t ask about the structure of the training contract (put that to trainees or HR), but I would ask about practice areas or the firm’s structure.

I met this firm for about 15 minutes and impressed them enough to get a place, and I can only assume this was because of my research. I was enthusiastic and interested, and it showed that I had prepared beforehand.

For more on researching employers, see the Careers Service pages about how we can help with your research. You can come into the Careers Service in person and talk to Information Specialists at our Resources Help Desk, who can help with this.

The Careers Service also runs talks on how to prepare for the Law Careers Fair. You can read our blog post about preparing for Careers Fairs and our blog post with tips for becoming a solicitor or barrister.

Don’t forget to come along to the Law Fair this year: 5 and 6 November at the Wills Memorial Building. See a list of the different firms attending each day on our website.

Lucinda, a previous Careers Service Information Assistant Intern

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

 

The beauty of your CV is in the eye of the beholder

Curriculum Vitae

We see a lot of students at the Careers Service asking how to produce the ‘perfect’ CV, but the truth is that there is no such thing! How you should present your CV and the information you choose to include will be determined by the industry to which you are applying, the specific role you have chosen, and by how you want to present yourself on the page. A colourful and ‘creative’ CV will not be welcomed in investment banking, whereas you could well be expected to produce something unusual and eye-catching if you want to work in advertising.

We have run many exercises where we ask students to play the part of a recruiter and assess a range of CVs for a particular role, and these tasks always highlight how CVs are subject to our personal preferences; the opinions on what makes a great CV differ wildly between individuals as much as between employment sectors. It is possible for a particular CV to attract one recruiter and completely repel another.

A good example of this variation came up earlier this week when a group of second-year Computer Science students taking our Career Management Skills Unit presented their own research in how CV layouts are perceived. After sending six sample CVs to various engineering and IT employers, it was clear that the recruiters in the personnel division of the companies favoured a more traditional CV, whereas the engineers with whom the applicants would actually be working preferred a much more personalised CV, so that they could get a sense of how that individual might fit into their team.

So, how can you produce a CV that is the best possible match for the organisation to which you are applying?

Do your research! It’s crucial to talk to people in the industry that interests you to find out what they expect to see in applicants’ CVs. Don’t just assume that you know what they want. Use Careers Fairs to meet recruiters as well as our Careers Network to get you started with contacts. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter are also great places to ask industry experts for advice.

Target your CV. Make sure that the skills you are showcasing match those that your intended employer is looking for.

Get some feedback. Don’t just send in your CV and keep your fingers crossed! Come into the Careers Service and ask if an adviser can look over your efforts. We can help you to target your CV appropriately as well as highlight what you have to offer.

Have a look at our CV examples to get you started. We have a CV booklet that you can download from our web site containing different styles of CVs to give you some inspiration. It’s also worth getting onto Google and seeing what’s out there; sites such as Slideshare can offer examples using tools such as Powerpoint to create more colourful and interactive CVs, if that’s what you need.

Finally, remember that your CV should be your best representation of what you have to offer, so the person who needs to be the most satisfied with your CV is you!

Dr Tracy Johnson, Careers Adviser

(Image from www.writersandartists.co.uk)

Preparing for Careers Fairs

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, check out their web sites 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.  A useful tip is to search for information about companies in trade publications; these can be found by clicking on the News tab when you go to Google and gets you beyond the obvious web sites.  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 & 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.  We hold lots of information about sectors and employers that you may find useful in your preparation.  Keep an eye out for our new talk coming up on preparing for employer presentations, too.

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

Dr Tracy Johnson, Careers Adviser