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What to Expect at a Finance Careers Fair

The finance careers fair is likely to be your first real opportunity to come face to face with your prospective employers. There will be a delightful field of representatives from various different areas for you to chat to and find out more about what they offer. 

Your university will run more general careers fairs and fairs for specific courses and sectors. An obviously you’ll be heading there for more than just the best freebies!

Who will be there?

There will be a feast of all sorts of different employers with well-established undergraduate programmes and graduate schemes who are looking to snap up the outstanding students. Expect to see representatives of banks, postgraduate and professional course providers, actuarial firms, insurance firms and consultancies, the Big Four firms, regulating bodies such as the FCA, accountancy – even some big names from other sectors like engineering, energy and consumer goods who are looking to find some rising stars for their business and finance departments.

There may also be a separate careers fair event for those interested in the investments and investment banking industry. If you one of a bulge bracket bank’s target universities then it’s likely they will be exhibiting at your university’s investment banking and finance fair.

The rest of the finance careers fair line-up…

And what about the other non-recruiter bodies filling up that room? Expect there to be hundreds of other students attending the same finance careers event as you; each with their own questions to ask and a few puzzled thoughts and ideas to clear up careers wise. Basically, a heck of a lot of people just like you!  There will be a mixture of age groups, so if you are a first year don’t feel intimidated about going along and getting your foot in the door early.

Plenty of other students at an event like this will only go towards showing you one thing: there’ll be competition from the off! Now there won’t be any nasty scenes (there is honour in this battle!) but this is an extremely competitive industry and if you don’t do at least some preparation before you toddle off to the fair you may end up kicking yourself that you didn’t make more of the opportunity. So…

What will the finance recruiters expect from you?

Finance recruiters are hot on bringing students through right from the fledgling stages of their recruitment processes of Insight Days and open evenings, work experience and internships to their graduate positions. You’ll find that many of them will even state that some experience with the bank or firm is a prerequisite to a graduate scheme position with them.

With this in mind, they are looking for bright young things with excellent academics who show an eagerness for their particular industry and firm from the first contact they have with you. At a finance careers fair, they won’t expect you to be an expert (they are also there to impress you!), but it’s a good idea to do some research beforehand and have some questions and key things you’d like to find out.

Smooth, smart and employable…

And how should you look? Well, dressing the part to match up with the fabulous questions you’ll be asking certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea! Don’t feel have to done the Armani suit number just yet (!), but certainly smart and presentable is the way forward. It’s a corporate environment, so aim to look like you’ll fit the bill!  

By Jos Weale, Editor, All About Finance Careers