Postgraduate Jobs Fair

Well, sort of. The truth is that all our jobs fairs are aimed at both postgraduates and undergraduates, but many postgrads think that they’re just for undergrads – not so.

However, the Graduate Fair (I can see now how misleading that is…) at the Armitage Centre next week (16th & 17th June) does also have a section just for PhDs and research staff on Wednesday 16th June, and both sections of the fair are open to people from any university. Read on for more detail.

What’s the point of going to one of these fairs?

If employers who you might want to work for are going to be there, definitely go. They may have someone who can tell you more about the specific jobs you want, but even if that’s not the case (some of them are more geared towards talking about entry level jobs) you can still get a feel for whether you would want to work for that employer.

Even if the stand is staffed by a recently recruited graduate who barely knows where the coffee machine is, they could tell you about their interview, their boss, the way the employer treats new staff or training opportunities. This is all good stuff for adding to your application or raising at interview to make you stand out above those who have only read the employer’s website – and this year you’ll need all you can get to make yourself heard above all the others looking for jobs.

How do you know who’s going to be there?

Easy, we have an up-to-date list of who’s there on which day – the Graduate Fair runs on both Wednesday 16th June, and on Thursday 17th June and there are different employers there each day. This year it ranges from the largest organisations (IBM, Civil Service, Deloitte, Rolls Royce, Accenture, Teach First, Santander etc) to smaller niche companies and agencies who deal with all sorts of recruiting organisations. Add in a few training providers (like the University of Manchester …) and we have 160 exhibitors in the main fair over two days.

What’s this “PhD Zone” all about?

After the success of last year, this year we’ve organised another separate section of the fair upstairs, aimed just at those people who already have or are currently doing a PhD. This is the third day of our Pathways careers events for PhDs and researchers. This one though, you don’t have to register for (but I’m afraid there’s no free lunch today).

(Note: If you want to talk to someone about starting to do a PhD, this isn’t the section you want – there will be several universities downstairs in the main fair who will be keen to talk to you.)

This year, our exhibitors are:

  • AMEC Power & Process (Nuclear Business)
  • AREVA T&D UK Ltd
  • The Civil Service Fast Stream
  • Doosan Babcock
  • Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) Ltd
  • Complete Medical Group
  • Instrument Design Technology Ltd
  • National Grid
  • National Nuclear Laboratory
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  • Schlumberger
  • SELEX Galileo
  • SRG
  • Tessella plc
  • UBS

Yes, there are a lot of science and engineering employers there, but the brutal truth is that these are the employers who are likely to need several PhDs a year, rather than the one’s or two’s which other, more humanities-focused, employers look for – and you don’t tend to go to a recruitment fair when you need only one person a year.

However, the Civil Service, PricewaterhouseCoopers and are interested in any discipline, and this year, life scientists are also sought by Tessella, SRG and Complete Medical Group.

You can now download our PhD & Researcher Career Zone catalogue (pdf) before the fair to see what’s on offer (we’ll also have lots at the fair to pick up).

Not all the employers in the PhD Zone have current vacancies (and anyway, not all of you need a job immediately) but all are interested in talking to PhDs. This is a great chance to find out directly from employers how your PhD is perceived, what they look for with PhDs and the types of jobs PhDs end up in.

You can test out your recruitment “pitch” on these “PhD-friendly employers” first and get some feedback. Then you can also go downstairs and test out your marketing prowess with all the other recruiters, many of which are also keen to recruit postgrads – or at least, are happy for you to apply for their “graduate” positions, which is how postgrads with limited work experience often start out.

Getting there

We’ve got our fingers crossed for the weather this year, but it did pour down last year.

One sodden PhD collared me and started haranguing me about how we should have laid on transport for those not on the Oxford Road campus. He looked even more downhearted when I asked why he hadn’t taken the free bus we’d organised (as usual) from Piccadilly Station – full details of how to get to the Fair are here.