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From in front of the desk to behind it: Leeds Grad Fair

Posted by
25 Jun 2015
An afternoon walking around a busy sports hall, surrounded by an endless amount of freebies, iPads and brightly coloured marketing stands, is quite exciting (yet nerve-wracking) as a student looking to progress themselves to the next step in life.

It has been almost exactly a year since I left the University of Bristol and last week Sellick Partnership gave me the opportunity to be a part of the group of employees manning our stand at the Leeds Careers Fair representing our company and its strong ethics, values and standards, as well promoting our own graduate scheme to the students.

As a student, before you enter any graduate careers fair, take some time to think about what is important to you in terms of a job. Do you have a "dream job” already in mind? What is important to you in terms of salary, location, type of company and the work? Are you willing to compromise on these? Are you willing to gain 6-12 months of experience as a stepping-stone before going for that once in a lifetime role? How has your degree and experience prepared you for the type of role you want? Do you know what you want to do? (It is okay if you don't).  

I can completely understand and remember the feeling all too well, thinking university life is never going to end and thinking the fact you have to get a "proper job” was a scary and daunting prospect! With this in mind here are some do's and don'ts to keep in mind:

  • Do go to the stalls that you are genuinely interested in- have an open mind when you enter the hall, a career path that you never considered before might turn out to be a fantastic opportunity
  • Don't get overwhelmed by the amount of people and stalls, this might seem silly but it can get very chaotic
  • Don't only go to the stalls that offer alcohol as a free prize! If you are serious about the fair you will want to remember the companies that you were interested in, and review any information you picked up
  • Do go around the whole fair and collect lots of information including: flyers, marketing info and brochures about the companies that interested you the most- you can do the research on them later
  • Don't think that a job will magically appear because you have signed up to every single stall you can find (but always take the pens/sweets/post-its). You have to follow it all up afterwards
  • Do sell yourself- you will surprise yourself with the amount of transferrable skills your degree and your experiences over the past three years have given you
  • Don't be sucked in by big slogans like "make money fast” and "great career progression”…how genuine is it? What is the chance of being kept on once the graduate scheme has finished?
  • Do have fun! This is an exciting time, enjoy it!
This is a pivotal moment for you as a graduate, all these opportunities opening up in front of you. However, please bear in mind that even though you have envisaged a glittering career at the end of your studies, nowadays its hard graft to open up those opportunities. For myself and my university friends who decided against further study, sparkly dream jobs did not exist. For example, out of my 45 course mates, only one landed her dream role and out of the people I knew that went to different universities, including those who went to Cambridge and Oxford, only two walked out of university and into a "dream job”.

You will be glad to hear, however, that there is happy ending for some of us at least. After six months of full time employment my university friends and I found that doors were wide open to opportunities that were not there beforehand. This proved a major sticking point in the current graduate life span, it is now not just the degree from the big university that is important, its the experience that you can combine with it that gives you the magic combination.

Personally, 12 months on and my role at Sellick Partnership suits me down to the ground. My role is varied and fast paced meaning that two days are never the same, and I am constantly challenged. I feel that I make a positive contribution to the team as well as having a choice of career path, in an incredibly supportive environment. Training is provided whenever I need it and importantly the ethics and morals of Sellick Partnership match my own. I

In my opinion we truly deserve our position in the Top 50 companies to work for… why don't you have a look at our 'Work For Us' site and see if we have any roles available for you? 

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