The Fairs – from the inside, out…

Written by Georgia Widdowson, Psychology placement student.

“Don’t miss the Part- time jobs fair tomorrow…”,
“Do you want to find a job whilst studying?”,
“Georgia, you don’t want to miss out…”

After receiving what feels like a life time of emails – similar to the above – promoting Job fairs, volunteering opportunities and undergraduate roles which will make us ‘more employable’ I thought, “Do you know what, I think I’ll take a rain check this year.”

Well, now I am kicking myself for closing a door to opportunities I had never opened my eyes to in the first place. I would always think “How is this actually going to help me? Companies won’t choose me. Employers won’t want to work around my busy University schedule.” But, I was wrong. Being on placement in the Careers Team has enabled me to experience University job fairs from the ‘inside’, where I have got my hands dirty with tasks. I now see why fairs are so important to get stand out work experience as a student. Attending a careers fair isn’t scary, its set up for us, SHU students.

Taking an undercover role as a staff member at SHU has forced me to take my fingers out my ears and listen to what employers can offer us. They DO want to help us. If I’d have never taken up a work placement role at the University careers and employability team, then the skills which I have learnt would still be buried under a towering pile of ‘denial’. I have uncovered abilities I’d never have the self-confidence to develop.

When I first arrived at my work placement, I was gobsmacked by how much work goes into the creation of job fairs for us students. The team do everything possible to help us and all the work that goes into fairs is solely with the benefit of students in mind. Without sounding biased the fairs amazing! Some quotes below from students at the recent Work While You Study Fairs can give you a bit of insight into exactly why job fairs are a must to attend…

            “Great variety and there a few companies here which I am definitely going to sign up to! There are opportunities here I didn’t think we could get involved with and get paid for.”

“Really good to be able to talk to employers in person as it’s easier to ‘sell’ yourself face to face rather than over your CV.”

            “It has been excellent! It made finding a job so easy! Everyone was really helpful.”

            “It was good because there are companies here that I wouldn’t think of applying for, so it was great to have some variety!”

These are just handful of student quotes which undoubtedly highlight how valuable, helpful, fun and eye-opening the careers fairs are!

However, I had to save the best until last…

            “We LOVE it! Loads of fun jobs and opportunities- I have signed up everywhere!”

This student was beaming like a Cheshire cat and was so enthusiastic and excited it was as if someone had told her she had landed a dream date. This really made me giggle and reminded me what exciting and interesting opportunities are handed to us at this University – we shouldn’t take them for granted!

So, when the next fairs come around,  don’t be a hermit and exchange Netflix for job finding. Find and drag yourself and your mates on campus and get involved! Whether this is talking to employers, taking leaflets or better yet, signing up to a job or volunteering opportunity! It doesn’t matter if you don’t find an opportunity; at least you got yourself out there! There’s no harm in trying and excelling yourself.

All I can think now is “I am so glad I decided to do a work placement! I’m a new ‘strong, independent woman’ who can achieve anything thrown her way!