The Big Annual Summer Recruitment Fair

I’m thinking of renaming all our events in this WYSIWYG style – because it will be BIG.

Our summer Graduate Recruitment Fair runs for two days, with different employers on each day:

It’s in the Armitage Centre in Fallowfield, in the big sports hall, and if you thought 400+ PhDs milling around University Place for our Pathways event (on June 8th) was big, try getting 3,000 students and graduates through our fair – that’s each day.

Who can attend?
Anyone! It’s targeted at those graduating in the next few weeks or months, or who have recently graduated (postgraduates or undergraduates). Although it’s run by the University of Manchester Careers Service, it’s also open to graduates of any university. In particular, we have staff from most of our local universities on hand to give advice.

It’s free, and if you register beforehand online, you’ll save yourself some time when you get there (no filling in bits of paper to get entry).

What kind of jobs will be on offer?
This fair has a different flavour to the autumn fairs. In the autumn, it tends to be the very large employers who are recruiting on to special “graduate programmes”, a year in advance. In the summer, there’s more of a mixture.

Some of the biggest names are still there recruiting (eg. Deloitte, Google, Aldi, IBM, Schlumberger, Civil Service, Dyson, HSBC, Qinetiq) but they’re more likely to be looking for people to start in the next few months (ideal for Masters finishing in early autumn) – or immediately (for anyone already looking for jobs).

There are also lots of other large to medium sized organisations who need graduate level employees in the immediate to short term. You may not have heard of some of them. They’re more likely to be specialists, working with other businesses rather than selling to consumers, or be fast-growing industries (future Googles?) who need keen, smart graduates to help build their future.

Most importantly, do check who’s going to be there before you go. If you’re dead set on one type of employer who isn’t going to be there, don’t waste your time. For example, don’t expect to see any investment banks at this time of year. On the other hand, if you’re more open minded, especially in a tight employment market, go and see what some of the people you’ve never heard of have to offer – you may be pleasantly surprised (or even get a job).

Is there any point in postgraduates going to a graduate fair?
I’m asked this question repeatedly, so last autumn, I recorded my views in this short video. As usual, the answer is “it all depends” – but if you are going, do listen to how you can get the most out of meeting employers at the fair. Too many postgrads wander aimlessly around a fair and leave, having lost a great opportunity to get the information they need to make themselves stand out.

Right, I’ve got my fingers in my ears and closed my eyes so I don’t have to watch:



What’s this PhD Zone?
As part of our Pathways programme, on Wednesday only, we have a special room set aside just for doctoral researchers. It’s a bit different to the main fair, as the recruiters aren’t all actively recruiting at the moment. It’s meant for PhDs at any stage in their degree to be able to talk to real employers (and postgraduate careers and training staff) about:

  • how their PhD might be seen by employers
  • what employers value in PhDs
  • what PhDs might do outside academia
  • how best to promote their PhD to employers

You’re also welcome (or rather encouraged) to talk to the employers in the main fair – who knows, you might find the ideal job as well as getting PhD career advice?

Around 700 researchers came along last year, so you’ll be in good company (even if you just want to share experience with other PhDs). Have a look at our PhD Zone information on our Graduate Recruitment Fair website for our official info.
Update: The PhD and Researcher Career Zone catalogue (pdf) is now available online. You can also pick up a hard copy on the day.

One important caveat though – most of the PhD Zone employers are targeting science and engineering PhDs. There are very few large employers who recruit multiple humanities PhDs each year and are prepared to staff a stand at a fair. Humanities PhDs are more likely to work for niche / specialist employers or a university. However, if you want some on the spot advice, come and talk to our careers advisers and exhibitors like jobs.ac.uk … oops, strike them off – they’ve just cancelled, the day before the event (sorry)!

Who’s coming to the PhD Zone?
Currently signed up are – AMEC, Chemtura, GVI, IBM, Instrument Design Technology, Jaguar Landrover, National Nuclear Laboratory, Pentest, Rolls Royce, Romax Technology, Schlumberger, SRG and Tessella.
Just added: Unilever and Adelphi Communicatons (local medical communications company)

Just cancelled: Paterson Institute Christie Hospital (oops, turns out they wanted to publicise their PhD studentships & didn’t realise the PhD Zone was aimed at people already completing a PhD!)

Just cancelled (2): Jobs.ac.uk (the third year running they’ve pulled out just before the event – pity, I was hoping to find out about their CV database …)

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