Why attend a University Careers Fair – by someone who didn’t.

You may or may not have already seen adverts for, or been told about various Careers Fairs that are taking place over the next two months at the University. For many people the fairs seem to come along quite early in the semester when you aren’t really in the head space to be thinking about jobs and Careers yet. You want to focus on you studies, or other areas of University life. Why go to a Careers fairs when they are advertising graduate jobs and summer internships that won’t start for another 7 or 8 months’ time?

Well firstly one of main practical reasons for Careers Fairs being so early in the semester is that a lot of graduate schemes and summer internship applications open in October/November and will close by Christmas. So if you are looking to apply for one of these roles it’s pretty much a no brainer to attend the fairs to speak to the recruiters to find out more about the role and what they look for in applicants.

But what if you’re not looking for a graduate scheme? Why should you attend the fair?

It’s been 10 years since I started as a History undergraduate here at Manchester. Like many of my friends on my course I had no plans past my three years at University. I come from a family of teachers, but had no interest in teaching, but also had no idea what I wanted to do or what other options were out there. This is where going to careers fair would have benefited me immensely.

They say hindsight is a wonderful thing, and there’s a reason for the saying. Since working at the Careers Service I’ve found out about the many different types of jobs that are available to graduates that I never would have imagined. Especially jobs that are open to graduates from any degree subject, that I assumed wouldn’t be. Although I’ve been fortunate enough to do various different roles in the 5 years since I graduated which has helped me narrow down different types of jobs I would like to do, I definitely think attending a Careers Fair or two whilst at University would have helped me figure out things earlier (and potentially given me more relevant work experience).

I thought attending a Careers Fair wasn’t for me as I didn’t know or recognise the names of employers who were attending or didn’t think any of the sectors that they covered – HR, management, consulting, law or further study would be of interest to me. I was very wrong, the majority of the recruiters attending the fairs are interested in you and not the subject you study. Also the best way to find out about various opportunities after you graduate is going to speak to the people who are currently doing the role. This is so much more informative than googling it! You can get much more detailed information by speaking to people face to face.

When you think about how you chose which University you wanted to go to, you will have probably gone to an Open Day or visited some of the Universities you were thinking about applying to. Try and think of attending a Careers Fair like that. You want to find out what that employer does or what they would be like to work for. There’s no pressure to decide what you are going to do for the rest of your life after attending the fair, – it’s just information gathering to see what your options are after you graduate (and a bit of what you might have to do in order to get there).

A reminder of our Careers Fairs this semester;

The Big Careers Fair Day 1 – Tuesday 10 October, 10:30 – 16:00, Manchester Central

The Big Careers Fair Day 2 – Wednesday 11 October, 10:30 – 16:00, Manchester Central

The Little Careers Fair – Wednesday 18 October, 10:00 – 16:00, Manchester Academy 2, Students Union

The Law Fair – Tuesday 14 November, 12:00 – 16:00, Manchester Central

The Postgraduate Study Fair – Wednesday 15 November, 11:00 – 15:30, Manchester Central

All Events and fairs I don't know what to do Undergraduate

Sophie W View All →

Student Engagement Consultant at The University of Manchester. Manage marketing and communications for The Careers Service.

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