This week the university had a careers fair for students to work on what they’re doing after the graduate. This included information and support for those wanting to go into postgraduate study, internships and graduate schemes. For this there were representatives from universities across the country and firms such as Siemens, NEXT and Moy Park. In comparison to the last two years, this fair wasn’t as good. With a smaller selection of big firms and less opportunity to talk and network with new people, it felt underwhelming. On a positive note, some people who were on my course were in attendance as representatives of a few firms and it was good to see them again and find out how they’re doing. Generally, they were all really enjoying their time and found the transition from university fairly straightforward– though they all found it very strange being back at the university again.
A few days before the event, I managed to get the full list of firms in attendance where I was able to research and look into any that I had an interest in, I researched a couple but not a lot. Of those firms that I had been researching, only 2 of them had a representative who seemed enthusiastic about their role or wanted to talk about the firm that much and so I typically spent less time there asking questions. Unfortunately, these were some of the biggest firms at the fair and included one firm which I am quite interested in– both of them open their applications very soon and luckily there is still a lot of information online for me to read up on before I apply. Quite a few people I met were really enthusiastic about their role and what their firm can offer, which definitely encouraged me to apply but some have had the opposite effect. Despite this, a couple of the firms’ reputations are too big to hindered by the fair but the attitude of some of the people there has made me a little less enthusiastic about applying.
Some firms really stood out, two of them in particular, were NEXT and Anglia Water.
Firstly, NEXT. This was one of the firms I thought I would research before I went to the fair but found that the website didn’t explain their grad roles very well and left me with a couple of questions. When I went to the stand, they answered every question and I had a really great conversation with them about the role as a whole, why they applied, what they had been doing for the past couple years at the firm etc. and they also helped me with how I would fit into the organisation based on my own skills and what area I’d like to progress into. In the end, I was given a star card by one of the representatives which fast tracks me through their application process. Though I had read up on star cards on their website before the fair, I had forgotten that they award them when we were talking so it was a great surprise when I was given it. I’ve no idea how advantageous the card will be in the application process or how many steps I’ll skip now, but it will definitely be helpful.
Coincidentally, just as I was finishing writing this update, I got a call from NEXT about the star card and fair. I now have a phone interview with them in a couple of weeks and was given some pointers and a heads up of the sorts of questions that will be coming up.
The other good firm to talk to was Anglia Water, though I hadn’t really considered this company too much when I saw the list of all the firms in attendance, they were really helpful to talk to and made the firm sound quite appealing. In some of the areas I’ve considered working in after graduation, Anglia Water don’t have many systems in place but they were still able to answer my questions and paint a picture of what the role will be, despite it not being a major area in their business. Though the firm isn’t one I considered, those at the fair done a great job of advertising the firm and were more than happy to help with any question of queries while we were talking.
Of course the most important bit of a careers fair is the freebies, and some firms performed a lot better than others in this area. Across the fair, I have enough pens to last me until graduation and though pens are good, it’s the standard and isn’t enough to get best freebie. Anglia Water gave out rubber ducks and because a duck is an important logo across campus, Anglia get 1st place in freebies. 2nd place goes to Cranswick because they had the best pens and I also got a stressball-esque rubber chicken and 3rd goes to Moy Park for the donuts and phone accessories.
The featured image that went with this update is a picture of some of the reading materials I got from the fair. As you can see I have both material for postgraduate studying and also for graduate jobs. At this point, I’m not certain which I will be going for and will probably put in an application for both a masters and a postgrad job to delay making the decision. At this point, I leaning towards employment, I’m not certain right now though.