Careers Fair 2017 logo

The day started off with a briefing by our Careers Advisor, Jayson Short, who gave an informative overview of what the fair would be like and what to expect. He also gave very sound advice on how to approach employers and gave examples of questions that you could ask them.

We were greeted at the entrance of the AMEX stadium by Student Ambassadors who proceeded to hand us a bag filled with information about the Fair and were then ushered through another set of doors to the many floors that hosted a variety of employers.

Going to the Careers Fair is an experience that I recommend to any student of any degree, as people at each stall tell you face-to-face what they are looking for in a candidate and talk about application processes in much detail – information that you will never find on a website or leaflet. These are people who were graduates themselves, that went through the whole process and many human resource managers were present too – giving advice and views on what makes them pick a candidate out of the thousands that apply.

As a Retail Marketing student, the only obvious employers that screamed Retail at the Fair were Marks and Spencer and Uniqlo, but as I went through the various stalls that hosted other employers, I found out that companies that were not necessarily classified directly into the Retail Industry, do have, and offer jobs that Retail Marketing students can do. Here are a few companies that I conversed with that offer jobs in Sales, Marketing, Public Relations and Advertising (which are all departments that I could potentially head into): American Express, Virgin Atlantic, Samsung and BMW.

To me, these weren’t companies that I would have thought to apply to off the top of my head. One is in the banking industry, two are in the transportation industry and the other one in the electronics industry. Surprisingly, they all have graduate programmes, placements and work experience that are extremely relevant to a Retail student. Virgin Atlantic even have a specific Retail Graduate Scheme that they introduced into their programmes this year. Something that I probably wouldn’t have considered had I not been to the Careers Fair to take a look around at employers.

At the end of it, I was carrying around many goody bags from different employers, filled with information and sweets and other knick-knacks (especially pens – lots of them!).

The Careers Fair opened my eyes to other doors that were hiding in plain sight, and improved my knowledge on ways to develop my career, employability skills and future career.