Working the floor at the Sussex Uni Grad Fair

I attended Sussex Uni Grad Fair last week. The majority of attendees were first and second year students keen to know how to develop their career prospects.

Sussex Uni graduate fairI attended my first Grad Fair in 3 years last week at Sussex University and you need to know that things have changed.

At Grovelands we have hired 8 graduates in the last few months and my experience compared to my last intake in 2007 is quite marked; the Graduate Fair at Sussex University backed this up.

In 2007 students knew their worth, were very demanding on salary and rigid on the location, type of work and stature of company. In addition they were open about doing a job for a year or so and quite open about stating they would then go off travelling.

The class of 2010 is a very different breed: the number of 1st and 2nd year students easily accounted for 50% of the attendees and all of them were very keen to understand (even at this very early stage) from a ‘Recruiter’ what the market is doing, how they should be shaping their course, which extra-curricular activities they should be doing and what type of part-time work would help their career prospects.

The final year graduates wanted to offer their services FOC for internships or work experience or… anything!

I took one of our new graduates, Sam, who is an alumni of Sussex from this summer: all of the students made a B-line for him and wanted to know how he got a job and what he had done differently. Sam stated afterwards that he felt the students thought he had “the secret” and wanted to know what this is. Sam thinks the secret is being outgoing, being a good communicator and having a great attitude and work ethic. I couldn’t agree more: I would hire 100 more Sams; he’s a great asset.

Of the 250 students we saw I reckon 10% had thought hard about their ‘pitch’, had a good CV and asked a good set of questions – I think this is a great result compared to 2007 when I left Brighton University without a single follow-on call to make.

The other thing that has changed in the last 3 years apart from the economy is that the food at the Sussex Uni Grad Fair is much better than in 2007!!

– David Leen

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