If you are considering a career outside of academia, this event will provide you with the opportunity to inform your research into employers’ perceptions of applicants holding a Masters / PhD. The opportunity to gain ‘insider’ information, with an employee of an organisation you are interested in, will help you consider how best to target your application and promote your academic and transferable skills.
How many useful contacts could you come away with?
It is important that you are realistic about what can be achieved at the fair. There won’t be lots of jobs and promotional material aimed at postgraduates – you may find some mention of postgraduates but the bulk of the advertising will be aimed at a graduate (which, of course, includes you). However, if you ask, you may find that you are talking to a postgraduate or they can tell you about other postgrads / alumni working for that employer. You may also strike lucky and find yourself talking to someone who can tell you about ‘experienced hire’ roles, but again don’t expect that as the norm.
If you are looking for a niche job with a small employer or a job in the non-commercial sector (though some Government departments do sometimes attend), you too may be disappointed. Only large recruiters who want several graduates/postgraduates go to the expense of attending the fair, so check first who will be there. Either way, the opportunity to find out more about how employers view applications from postgraduates will be insightful to your career success.
To progress, impress. This means going prepared. Consider carefully what you want to know and the appropriate questions to ask. Look in advance at the employer’s website; follow this up with questions about possible career paths and progression opportunities including training & professional development.
Why not ask:
- What are the skills and attributes you value most in your employees?
- What type of educational background do you look for in your employees?
- How would someone like me contribute to the company?
- What are the biggest challenges for this position?
- What’s the company culture like?
- What do you enjoy most about working for the company?
- May I contact you with further questions?
Unable to make the event?….do you have questions you would like me to ask?
Alternatively, share your findings and comment in my next blog ‘Lessons from JobsFest’.