Top tips from employers at today’s Careers Fair

Employers at today’s Business, Finance and Languages Fair took time out to pass on some top tips to any students thinking of applying to them. You will notice there are some common themes to what they said!



DO: Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job! Show that you have thought about and understand the role.

DON’T: Feel you have to be the loudest in the room on Assessment Centre day. It is as important to listen as it is to speak.

First Group

DO: Research and understand the company’s five key values. Understand the importance of the customer.

DO: Think about everything you have done, it is good to be able to give examples at interview from a number of different things you have done – volunteering, societies, part-time jobs, your degree…

DON’T: Be put off by thinking you don’t have the right degree. Apart from their engineering programme, First Group take applicants from all degree subjects – you are not limited by your degree subject.

DON’T: Limit yourself by being geographically inflexible – you must be prepared to move. Enjoy the opportunities and new experiences this provides.


Co-operative Bank

DO: Show you have thought about the company’s ethics and values at each stage of the recruitment process. Why are they important to you?


DO: Get your personality across. In particular, the phone interview is an early opportunity to do this.

DO: Think about what you have done that is different – what is going to make you stand out?

Boots UK

DO: Focus on the free text questions in the application – why do you want to work for them? This is your chance to show what you are like as an individual

DON’T: Copy and paste a generic application, these can be spotted easily

 National Grid

DO: Know about the company – do your research

DO: Be interested in them, and show it!

DO: Draw on all aspects of your life – including volunteering and hobbies.

DO: Apply early!


Network Rail

DO: Be open-minded about the companies you look at, don’t discount a company because of the sector they are in, they can still offer great opportunities.

Severn Trent Water

DO: Understand what they are looking for – commercial thinking, drive, innovation, new ideas

DO: Practice on-line tests first – you need to be able to work through them quickly and thoroughly (though you won’t necessarily have time to finish them all)

DO: Know about the company and the industry from an early stage in the process – research the industry, what are the main challenges the company faces?

DO: Research a company’s organisational culture – does it fit with your own values?


DO: Show commercial awareness – understand business decisions and how to make them

DO: Show your enthusiasm and interest – make sure this comes across in the phone interview (smile while you are talking – it helps!)

DO: Understand the job description – what skills do you have that match what they are looking for?

DO: Ask meaningful questions when you have the chance to meet employers at fairs – they are looking for people with curious minds who can ask probing questions


Thanks to all those who contributed their thoughts.