Before you graduate, Cardiff Award, Careers Advice, Enterprise, GO Wales, More, Placements, Preparing for your future, Recruiters, What's On, Work Experience

Reasons why all year groups won’t want to miss #BigGradFair

Laura from Employer Engagement explains how all students, from all year groups, can benefit from attending the #BigGradFair…

The #BigGradFair is coming! On Friday 27 April, Careers and Employability will play host to over 50 top UK employers with loads of amazing opportunities for students. You can visit the Big Grad Fair from 11:00 – 15:00 in the Great Hall, Students’ Union.

Whether you want to stay in the capital and work locally or you’ve got your eyes on the big brand names, or even if you don’t know what you want to do at all at all – the Big Grad Fair is here to tick those boxes.

Regardless of whether you have two years, two months or two weeks left of your studies, there are so many ways in which attending the Big Grad Fair can help you in your career journey.


Help me! I’m in FINAL YEAR!

The #BigGradFair is your LAST OPPORTUNITY to meet employers on campus before you graduate!

Yep! Pretty scary right? The Big Grad Fair is the last careers event taking place in 2017/18 and the last time you can meet employers face-to-face on campus before donning your gown and cap.

However, there are lots of keen employers with ready-to-fill vacancies, who are keen to speak with you. MotoNovo Finance are ‘excited to be here and introduce students to the unique opportunities and culture we have’ and local employer Circle IT are ‘looking forward to offering more graduate roles’ to Cardiff University students!

Chat to employers in person and increase your prospects of getting a graduate role

Across the UK, there are lots of students exactly like you who are approaching graduation and are thinking about their next move. High Fliers Research have confirmed that the UK’s top employers have received 10% more applications from students this year compared to last year.

If you want to make sure your application is as strong as it can be, coming along to the Big Grad Fair can give you that extra help you need. Certain employers, like Teach First and Admiral, will be on hand to provide advice and top tips on how to ace their application process!

According to Staffroom Education, approaching an employer in person ‘gives them a full impression of you as a candidate from the outset, and enhances your prospects immeasurably.’ Up to 60% of vacancies aren’t traditionally advertised, so doing things like chatting with companies can put you in good stead for future roles that may not be available yet.

It’s not too late to get careers advice!

Even if you haven’t set foot in the Student Support Centre since the start of your degree, the Careers and Employability service is available to use up to TWO YEARS after you graduate. Careers Advisers will be on hand at the CV Drop-In to give you one-to-one advice at the Big Grad Fair from 11:00 – 15:00. Make sure you also register for the job vacancies board on Careers Account.

I’m not sure if I’m ready to enter the workplace yet?

Whilst some students are buzzing to leave the lecture theatre and enter the workplace, you might want to take a different approach. Not everyone follows the same path after university, but there are plenty of opportunities at the fair to see what else could suit you.

You might also be interested in further study but aren’t sure what to look into. You can chat with the Postgraduate OfficeOpen University, University of LawCardiff Metropolitan University and University of South Wales (and others) to find out more about what courses may be right for you.

There’s also opportunities to travel abroad and volunteer with BUNAC and Frontier if you want to take some time out before entering employment.


So I’m in SECOND/PENULTIMATE year? What do I need to be doing?

Get in there early! Find out about graduate schemes before applications open

According to Prospects, about 1/4 of Times Top 100 Employers will open in the summer and be closed for application by November. The Big Grad Fair is the perfect opportunity to chat with a selection of the highest ranking employers from the Times Top 100, such as EY and Aldi, who will be talent-spotting and advising students interested in applying to schemes starting in 2019.

Tim from Capgemini also recommends adding people you’ve met on LinkedIn, especially if you’re genuinely interested in certain companies and roles on offer! When these employers are on campus again in October, there may not be time or opportunity to speak to them properly due to the sheer amount of students looking for opportunities at the fairs.

Work Experience! Work Experience! Work Experience!

Over a third of recruiters have warned that in today’s competitive job market, it was either ‘not very likely’ or ‘not at all likely’ that a graduate who’d had no previous work experience at all with any employers would be successful during their selection process and be made a job offer, regardless of their academic achievements.

Luckily, the Big Grad Fair is a fantastic way to line up some work experience. Over 80% of the UK’s top graduate employers are offering paid work experience programmes for students and recent graduates. A successful work experience placement can even result in a graduate job offer!

I’m not sure what I want to do?

That’s absolutely fine! Explore your options! As Sara from Teach First mentions ‘Career fairs are the perfect way of seeing what jobs are out there, and perhaps even being introduced to organisations and sectors you’ve never heard of or ever considered.’ From retail, to the public sector, to technology, healthcare IT and research to professional services, a whole host of different sectors and industries will be represented on the day for you to explore.


But I’m a FIRST YEAR? Surely this doesn’t apply to me?

There are more career opportunities available for first years now than ever before

There’s no such thing as TOO EARLY. According to High Fliers Research, many employers now also have work experience places for first year undergraduates. Furthermore, a 1/4 of organisations offer paid internships and over 1/3 of employers run introductory courses, open days and other taster experiences for first year students. Some organisations such as EY, will be there on the day to provide more information on what they can offer to first years.

Explore your options whilst at University

Make sure you visit the Careers and Employability stand to find opportunities on campus to develop your employability skills: such as employability masterclasses, undertaking the Cardiff Award or bringing your ideas to life with Enterprise & Start-Up.


Find out more…

Make sure you click *Going* on the Facebook event to receive all the latest updates about the Big Graduate Fair and to book your places for any talks taking place on the day. More information about the employers attending can be found on the intranet also.

The Big Graduate Fair will take place on Friday 27 April, 11:00 – 15:00 in the Great Hall, 1st Floor Students’ Union. See you there!



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Best Wishes,

Laura, Employer Engagement OfficerCareers & Employability Team.

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