Career advice

Time to kickstart your career

Looking for a new job can be a daunting and time-consuming prospect. But one way to consider a wide range of new career opportunities is to visit a jobs fair.

Hundreds of nurses and nursing students will be taking this approach next month at the RCN Bulletin jobs fairs being held in Manchester and Belfast. Visitors to the Manchester event, on November 5/6, will be able to meet 60 employers and agencies face to face who represent a wide range of clinical settings, including NHS hospitals, community services, hospices, private providers, mental health, nursing homes and agencies.

Picture credit: John Houlihan

The career opportunities on offer at Manchester United’s stadium, Old Trafford, will not be restricted to the local region; employers from around the UK and from as far afield as Australia will be there recruiting.

Nurses and students can also attend free seminars on subjects such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s system of revalidation, writing a perfect CV and how to shine in interviews.

Staff from Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital will be recruiting band 5 nurses to fill a range of positions including those based in theatres, critical care units, cath labs and wards.

Head of nursing for surgery at the hospital, Lisa Salter, says that employees can benefit from excellent preceptorships to support newly qualified staff, a discounted nursery and staff wellbeing programme. She says nurses attending should use the opportunity to consider the culture of the organisation he or she may work for.

‘Be clear about what you want and where you want to work,’ Ms Salter says. ‘Understand what support is available to you in working at different places – what are their outcomes, what standards do they have? Ask yourself, would I be proud to work for that organisation and do they uphold the behaviours and values you would expect if you or your family were to be cared for there?’

At Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust there are vacancies in adult and children’s nursing in bands 5, 6 and 7. Head of professional development Andrea Boland says that she will be looking for nurses who will bring the right attitude and skills to their position.

Check in advance which employers are attending and research thoroughly those you are interested in.

Dress smartly.

Update your CV, get it checked and take along several copies.

Introduce yourself to employers and be ready to shake hands.

Tell them why you approached them, what role you are interested in and why they should consider you.

Show enthusiasm, ask questions and note down key contact details.

(Manchester Metropolitan University)

‘They should be highly motivated, enthusiastic, compassionate nurses with an aspiration to develop and who are proud to care,’ she says. ‘Nurses should attend the seminars because they will get top tips from the speakers about preparing themselves for new opportunities and positions.’

Getting the most from the day is important for those attending. Manchester Metropolitan University careers and employability service manager Julian White says that students are advised to attend jobs fairs from the beginning of their courses so that they can find out more about potential careers. The university now runs workshops to prepare students for job fairs.

‘We tell students to plan for a careers fair,’ Mr White says. ‘We encourage them to dress smartly and use networking skills. For example, we tell them to listen for someone’s name and use that name in conversation.

‘Ask whether it may be useful to have a conversation with that person after the event and follow up on that.

‘The feedback from employers has been incredibly positive,’ he says. ‘It’s good for the student and it impresses the employer if the student is prepared so they don’t just get a free plastic bag and put some freebies in and walk out’.

Find out more about the RCN Bulletin jobs fairs in Manchester on November 5/6 and Belfast on November 26/27, and register your free place at

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