Graduate Fair: Tailor-made for Masters postgrads?

Your Masters degree ends in September/October, so the autumn recruitment fairs happen at just the right time to help you find a job, right?


If you’re going to find a job at a recruitment fair starting this year, the fairs you need are the summer Graduate Recruitment Fairs – next week.

gradfairThere is a big difference between the types of jobs advertised at these fairs.

  • The autumn fairs are primarily aimed at larger employers looking to fill their “graduate schemes”, normally a year in advance. Therefore, the majority of jobs on offer at the autumn fairs start in the autumn of the following year – October 2014 – which is a long way off if you graduate with a Masters at the end of 2013.
  • The summer fairs are mainly full of employers looking to fill posts immediately or in the next few months. Some are large employers, where they are looking for a few new recruits, sometimes because they haven’t filled all those vacancies first advertised last autumn. However, most of the recruiters at the summer fairs are medium-sized employers with immediate vacancies. For these employers, it’s very hard for them to predict whether they will have vacancies in 12 months time, but they do know they will have job vacancies over the next few months.

What if I don’t want a job until after I finish?
This can sometimes cause a problem, if the recruiter wants someone to start straight away. However, it’s worth discussing with them whether they are prepared to wait until you’ve completed your dissertation or project. They may be more interested in the right person than an immediate start date. Also, in some cases, they may be more than happy to look at a slightly later start date – the summer fairs might have come around a bit early for them too! This is the time to practise your negotiation skills.

Will there be the right jobs there for me?
For some of you, yes. For others, definitely no.

You really can’t generalise about Masters postgrads.

  • If you’ve come straight from an undergrad degree with little work experience, the fairs may be a very good starting point for you.
  • If you’re an experienced professional, you probably won’t find the perfect job at these fairs, though you may be able to get some good inside information on employers in which you’re interested.
  • If you are looking for a very specialist role, or one in a highly competitive sector like museums, the media or consultancy, the employers you’re looking for may not be at the fairs – though it’s worth checking beforehand … you never know.

Will it be worth my time coming to the fairs?
Try reading my advice on the main postgraduate careers website and make your own mind up.

If you decide to come to the fair, this will also give you some clues about the right questions to ask, to avoid that “well, that was a waste of time” feeling (something I often hear from postgrads who have taken the wrong approach at recruitment fairs).

How will I know if the right employers will be at the fairs?
By looking at who’s coming and what degree subjects they’re looking for (pdf). Make sure you come on the right day, as there are different employers on each day of the fair.

Details of the Graduate Recruitment Fairs in Manchester:

When: Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th June, 2013, 10.30am-4.00pm
Remember: Different employers each day

Where: Armitage Centre, Fallowfield, Manchester

Register in advance to avoid the queues on the door: Graduate Recruitment Fair – registration and further information

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