Making the most of the Careers Fair as a doctoral student

Posted in: For PhDs, Networking

On Thursday 18th and Friday 19th of October, the Autumn Careers Fair will be held between 11am and 4pm in the Sports Training Village. On the Thursday, we have invited employers from a huge range of sectors, seeking students from a variety of degree backgrounds, and on Friday we have invited employers offering opportunities specifically in STEM. To research who is coming, what they are offering and the day they are attending the Fair, download the app from Google Play or the Apple Store (see below).
The Careers Fair offers the opportunity to meet a huge range of employers, largely in engineering, science, finance and commercial sectors, as well as some public sector, charitable and smaller organizations. Some of these organisations will be interested in recruiting people with a PhD, or at least a postgraduate degree/higher degree. Read up on organisations that interest you and have a look at job adverts to see whether they specifically ask for a PhD/postgraduate experience.

Even if the organisation doesn’t specifically recruit at PhD level, as a doctoral student you can still apply for graduate schemes (and in some, though by no means most cases), there may be a salary uplift for higher degree holders. Do your research into employers and think about how the skills, knowledge, or experience from your PhD and other experience may be useful to them. The fair is mainly an opportunity to network with employers and find out what they’re looking for, so ask questions that show your interest about the work, the employer and the sector rather than asking straight away whether they recruit PhD students. If their job descriptions or websites suggest they do, then try opening with ‘I was really interested to see x because I’m working on y'. Bear in mind that the person you’re talking to may not be an expert in your area, so make sure you explain your research in a way that’s accessible. Careers Fairs are often staffed by recent graduates, so check who you’re talking to and ask whether there’s anyone in the company you could speak to about what entry level would be right for you as a PhD student, and offer to send them your CV.* Our tips for the fair help sheet has more advice on researching and talking to employers at the fair.

If you’re interested in academic careers or working for smaller or niche research organisations the fair may not be best place to meet potential employers. Take a look at our Careers web pages for researchers, which have a wealth of information and advice relevant to your research area. You can also listen to our webinar on job-hunting and networking with a PhD, and book an appointment to chat about your options.

To download the Fair App to your device, search the Apple Store or Google Play for ‘CareerFairPlus’ (they have a green CF as their logo), then search the App for University of Bath and select the Autumn Careers and Placements Fair from the list of events. You can filter by day, opportunity, discipline…
If you would rather view it on a desktop, use this link:

*make sure your CV is in the right format for the sector/company you're interested in; academic CVs aren't appropriate for non-academic employers, Have a listen to our CVs webinar, and check out the CV samples on the Vitae website.

Posted in: For PhDs, Networking


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