Career advice

‘I expected to come away with leaflets but ended up being offered a job’

When mental health nurse Kellyann Anderton-Kay visited the RCN Bulletin Jobs Fair in Manchester the last thing she expected was to be offered a job on the spot 

A visitor to the jobs fair got more than she expected. Picture: John Houlihan

Attending the RCN Bulletin jobs fair in Manchester in February, Kellyann Anderton-Kay got much more than she had anticipated. 

‘I’d expected to come away with a few leaflets, business cards and some pens, but I ended up being offered a job,’ says Ms Anderton-Kay, who qualified as a mental health nurse in April. 

‘I decided I wanted to be a nurse when I was eight,’ she says. ‘But I got married at 20 and had a family not long afterwards.’ After a spell working in retail, she became a cleaner at Royal Bolton Hospital in 2008, continuing to work while studying for her nursing degree, which she started in 2013 at Salford University. 

‘We’ve always had mental health issues in the family,’ says Ms Anderton-Kay. ‘But I saw people getting help and getting better. The professionals engaged with my family members, taking the time to get to know them and what made them tick.’


‘They built a rapport, and I thought I'd like to do that. I wanted to pay back to the services that have helped us.’

Looking for her first nursing post using all the usual routes, she first heard about the Manchester jobs fair on Twitter. ‘I went along with my husband,’ says Ms Anderton-Kay. ‘It was fabulous. Everyone was very helpful.’

As a nursing student she had enjoyed a placement with child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) best of all, so was ideally looking for a role in this specialty. ‘Although at just four weeks, it was one of the shorter placements, its impact lasted throughout my training,’ says Ms Anderton-Kay. 

Meant to be

At the jobs fair, her dyed blue hair helped to get her noticed by one of the companies recruiting that day. ‘Someone grabbed me and asked if I wanted to work in CAMHS, and I said that's exactly why I’m here. It was meant to be,’ she says. 

After filling in an application form she was interviewed on the spot before being offered her first nursing role, working as a Band 5 staff nurse on a secure CAMHS unit at Cygnet Hospital in Bury. ‘I didn't expect it at all. I only went for an application form and to get a feel for what was on offer, but I came home with a job.’

Now she can’t wait to start. ‘I’m so excited, and really looking forward to building my knowledge base. As a student, you’re protected, but now I need to learn to think on my feet and not fall back on a mentor. I’m a qualified professional now. I’ve been wanting this for so long, now it’s finally here.’ 

Find out more

For more information about the RCN Bulletin Jobs Fair, including the seminar programme and a full list of exhibitors at the event, visit the jobs fair website here.

  • 5 September – Liverpool
  • 3-4 October – London

Lynne Pearce is a freelance health writer