Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Monthly Archives: December 2014

Job Scams and paying for careers related experience or advice

📥  Advice, Tips & Hints

Two topics for the price of one today!

Job Scams

Every day we receive emails from organisations wanting us to advertise their wonderful opportunties to you. It is pretty straightforward if it is a paid work opportunity. We have checks that we run so that we can be confident in passing it on to you through MyFuture. In most cases it is fairly clear to us that they are legitimate because of the detailed information we ask employers to provide. Obviously you should exercise your own judgement as well, especially when checking out other websites or emails you receive. There are all sorts of job scams going on so be alert before you respond.

A scam may not be easy to spot. There are scams which use addresses and even phone numbers in the advert of the real company. The only giveaways and common themes are a combination of:

  • Use of non-professional email address, and
  • A high rate of pay (£15/hr), and
  • They are all admin assistant jobs (exact titles may vary)

An example is the scammer tells the successful applicants they have got the job but they are currently out of town and need the student to run some errands. They send a cheque for over £1000 then pressure the student to make payments from their personal bank account account via Moneygram, after which the cheque would be cancelled leaving the student out of pocket.

Another example of a scam is a job advert with an email address that is slightly different from the real email address of a well known organisation.

Manchester Universty Careers Service has written the following advice for students:

The Get Safe Online website also provides useful advice on spotting and dealing with this type of scam:

Just remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Paying for work experience or advice


There are plenty of organisations around who have set themselves up to offer you the promise of an edge in job applications and networking opportunities but make a substantial charge for this service. This might be via a seminar that purports to tell you everything you need to know to get into a particular field. Getting jobs in finance or in the media are common topics for these kind of events.

Some students may find these type of services helpful, and they are happy with the training they provide. But before splashing out a significant sum of money on such an event or opportunity make sure that you have exhausted what help the Careers Service can offer. As well as a rich range of information resources online, our staff are well-trained and experienced in a wide range of employment areas. Just as the academics who teach are experts in their field so our Careers Advisers are experts in the graduate job market. Students are often surprised by the depth and the breadth of our knowledge. The added bonus is that there is no charge to use us. It is easy, when you are worried about the future, to think the quick fix offer of an "expert" seminar is the answer. But don't forget that a Careers Adviser is an expert listener and they can help you get things in perspective so you can work out a personal plan of action.

We believe that there are plenty of work experience opportunities around to apply for provided you start in good time and learn how to make good applications. Our resources can help you find the best place to look and deliver expert advice on how to apply.

No matter how trusted the source is always think about whether this is the best or only way to get what is on offer.

Don't miss our festive newsletter!

📥  Advice, Applications, Tips & Hints

I imagine you're all really looking forward to the Christmas break! A few days ago we circulated our last Student Newsletter for 2014, if you missed it in the mountain of emails you have to work through before the holidays,  you can download it here. There's some great advice on Developing your Commercial Awareness and invaluable tips on making the most of the 12 days of Christmas to get ahead of the job hunting game.



Have you thought of a career in Human Rights?

  , , ,

📥  Advice, Labour Market Intelligence, Networking, Sector Insight

The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. To honour this, we wanted to inspire Bath students to consider and explore the wide range of opportunities within this challenging but rewarding field.

When you think of Human Rights, the first organisations that probably pop into your head are Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, who produce research into human rights abuses and lead high profile campaigns which are often reported in the popular press. In reality a diverse range of organisations are involved in human rights and offer a variety of career opportunities  - you could be working for an NGO, relevant pressure groups, in publishing/ journalism, the legal sector, for research organisations, charities,  specialist consultancies, in central/local government, for social enterprises and in CSR departments of large corporations. This very helpful resource produced by SOAS Careers Service lists organisations and bodies whose work is specifically related to human rights.


It is worth bearing in mind that Human Rights is a broad employment area, not a specific job. Therefore, it  is important to step back and reflect on your own values and the motivation driving your interest in this field. You could work as a fundraiser, logistics manager, policy and advocacy coordinator, human rights, education manager, audio visual archivist,  administrative assistant, women’s rights researcher, website developer, accountant, youth worker, nurse, public relations officer, lobbyist, solicitor, barrister or a campaigner. This list is by no means exhaustive so think about the kind of day-to-day work you are interested in!

Unlike some other sectors, often there are no clearly defined career entry points and progression paths; therefore a common challenge for many graduates is to find a 'way in'. One of the ways to get your foot through the door is through volunteering. This is not only a useful way to confirm whether a career in human rights is for you it will also help you in building your network and your CV. Check out the volunteering opportunities via the Bath Student Union or  explore opportunities on the Do It website. I think the advice on the Idealist website is excellent and offers food for thought if you are considering working in Human Rights.

Lastly, do consider other sectors such as International Development as there is a significant overlap with human rights.



Are you graduating this week?

  , ,

📥  Advice, Tips & Hints



Congratulations from everyone in the Careers Team! 

Did you know you can continue to access the support from the Careers Service event after you have graduated? Whether you see your future in work, study, self- employment; or even if you’re still looking for the right path for you, we are here to help! You can book a face-to-face appointment or we can support you over the phone or via skype. You can also continue to access MyFuture for the latest vacancies and careers resources. For more information visit the Careers Service webpages.

Don't forget to join Bath Connection and become an alumni mentor! You can also network with fellow graduates and keep in touch with class mates. For more information visit the Bath Connection website.


Why is civil society important to human rights?


📥  Advice, Labour Market Intelligence, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints



To celebrate Human Rights Day on Wednesday 10 December, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is running a photography competition for people aged 15-30. To enter, all you need to do is post a picture on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #ProtectCivilSociety and #Rights365.

Your picture must answer the question ‘why is civil society is important to human rights?’. Here are some suggestions for themes you could focus on:

  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of religion or belief
  • Women’s rights
  • Abolition of the death penalty
  • Democratic processes
  • Global torture prevention
  • Business and human rights
  • Preventing sexual violence in conflict

Selected images will be displayed on 10 December to many influential people, from heads of NGOs to FCO ministers. The winner will be offered the chance to tour the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and to meet a minister.

Good luck!


Disabled Graduates - Life After University


📥  Advice, Diversity



Yesterday afternoon I stumbled across BBC's Ouch, who followed several disabled students as they started university. Now over a decade later the BBC has revisited them to ask “With almost 50% of disabled people unemployed, how have they fared in the job market?” It’s a really interesting and inspiring selection of case studies which looks at finding jobs that can accommodate their conditions, career decision making, and the frustrations of unemployment. There is also a great series of  advice - Disabled students: ‘I wish I’d known that’ covering issues like choosing your personal assistant, the DSA, accessibility and course choice.


The good and the bad of networking

  , ,

📥  Advice, Networking, Tips & Hints

Recently I have seen  quite a few students on quick query who are struggling with demonstrating their motivation in cover letters or application form questions. It is quite tricky to get right. I am very much a believer that you need to try and talk with someone from the organisation you are applying to and then hopefully you will have learnt a little bit extra about the company beyond the website. This will help you connect with the company and explain your interest in them a bit more personally. I’m surprised that students applying for summer internships and placements don’t make more effort to find out if anyone from their course is currently on placement at the company or in a similar role. Also you shouldn’t forget those who have returned to Bath having worked there. I have been able to point out to some students that I know there is someone who has returned from placement because I’ve met them. However it’s not just a case of getting in touch it is also about thinking carefully what you will ask.

I was talking to one of my regular final year students and he was telling me he had been approached by second years for advice as a result of his placement last year. He said to me he’s very busy at the moment with his own applications and course work so he is more inclined to respond positively to the student who shows they have done their research and asks a specific question rather than the person who is very vague about what they want or appears to expect him to do all the work. It’s a good point to remember in networking that no-one owes you any help. You can win someone over to giving you some advice if  you show you are properly engaged with your research on the organisation and job role. This is really about respecting your contact's time. Think about what you need to know before you contact them and then be specific. There are some useful questions you can ask a network contact in our Finding a Graduate Job Guide on page 7. I hope I don't need to tell you to say thank you and let them know if you were successful. Careers Advisers also like hearing from students they have helped so if you spoken to us do let us know how you've got on.

MOOC your way to career success!

  , ,

📥  inspire




For those who are unfamiliar, MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses)  are often offered free by a variety of sources (sometimes for-profit companies, sometimes universities, sometimes a collaboration between the two). Often serving as introductions to key concepts, I have seen students use MOOCs as a way to get a feel for various subjects before deciding on module choices whilst others use MOOCs to satisfy their hunger to learn a broad range of subjects in their own time.

In 2012, the Open University launched FutureLearn, partnering with more than 20 UK and international universities and other institutions such as the British Council, the British Library and the British Museum. Courses on FutureLearn cover a vast selection of subjects, from an Introduction to Ecosystems, Introduction to Journalism, and the Secret Power of Brands, to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Inside Cancer and Preparing for University. The University of Bath delivers MOOCs through  FutureLearn; for example The Make an Impact: Sustainability for Professionals  course is starting in January and will run for 6 weeks. In the USA,  MOOC provider, Coursera offers over 400 courses from top institutions world-wide. Generally MOOCs are  between 4 and 12 weeks in length and require around 2 hours of study time per week.

Other MOOC providers include:

So, should you as a busy student or graduate consider doing a MOOC?
We think so....

  1. Research a Career: A MOOC can help you to explore aspects of a career sector and develop further knowledge that could help you to stand out from a crowd. If you are thinking about Forensic Science for example, then you might consider the Introduction to Forensic Science course provided by University of Strathclyde.  A MOOC can not only help develop your commercial awareness but can also help you make decisions around what modules to study at University or help you decide on your Masters course.
  2. Boost your CV: Studying a MOOC  shows you're motivated, you have a variety of interests and you can manage a busy workload. Use MOOCs to demonstrate to an employer your commitment to pursue a career in a particular sector. You may be an Engineer looking to work in the Environmental Sector, so doing a MOOC in Understanding life cycles and environmental impact may be quite useful.
  3. Professional Development: there are a number of MOOCs out there to help you develop invaluable skills. The University of Washington deliver a MOOC on Introduction to Public Speaking, ideal if you want to improve your presentation skills. You can develop your project management skills, learn  the basics of financial management, develop your assertiveness skills and much more!
  4. Additional Preparation: MOOCs are extra tuition from a different perspective and can be used to compliment your existing study and to deepen your understanding of various topics and concepts.
  5. Network with global learners: by taking a MOOC you will be learning and interacting with like-minded people from across the globe. MOOCs allow discussion of the topic via a forum and most  also have their own hashtag on Twitter for further discussion. Potentially this is a way of finding useful contacts or networking with people already working in the field you are interested in.

You can’t go wrong with a MOOC as long as you view it as an additional tool to help you research potential careers or simply boost your knowledge in a topic that interests you.  Remember though that a MOOC only provides introductory knowledge and is not a substitute for real life experience!

Managing the stress of applications

  , ,

📥  Applications

We’ve just put up the Christmas decorations in the Careers Service and whilst it is nice for our team to be thinking about fun things like our Christmas meal together and a break from work, we realise that this time of year is a very stressful time for students. With course work deadlines and applications or interviews to juggle, things can feel very overwhelming. You are also tired and that can make problems seem a whole lot worse than they are. You are not alone and we are happy to discuss your concerns. You should also remember that the University has excellent counselling support for students if you are in need of support because your mental wellbeing is affected.

A few students I have seen previously have booked a quick query this last week or so to have  a bit of a catch up. They haven’t really had a question as such but have found it helpful to talk out loud about where they have got to with their applications and any interviews they are facing. My message is to share your worrying thoughts with us, with trusted friends or family members or the counselling service. A good listener can really help you put things in perspective.

Some of the students we talk to are worried about the impact their job applications are having on their academic work. We would never advocate that you put job applications before your study so if that is a choice you face there is a simple answer. You have one chance at your degree but plenty of time in the future to apply for jobs. We are happy to discuss this with you.

Some of you may have made applications and been unsuccessful. This might be the point at which you seek some help from us to make sure your application is the best it can be and it is also a chance to review whether what you are chasing is really the right thing for you. This is a tough situation to be in but you will find that we are ready to support you and help you consider your options.

We are also seeing students come in who are concerned that they are only starting job hunting now and think it is too late. So much of the timing of your job hunting depends on when the jobs or courses relevant to your chosen career are advertised. Make sure you are clear about the recruitment timetable for your preferred job. After all there is no point in be anxious about something that is not actually a worry. Even if you have left it a bit late to start we are continuing to receive job information from many employers and will continue to do so throughout the year. To get a better idea of job hunting please read our guide “Finding a Graduate Job” and talk to us.

These are just a few of the examples of concerns students have about their careers at this time of year. Please be assured that you will find a confidential, impartial listening ear and helpful support here at the Careers Service regardless of how big or small your worries are about job hunting. Who knows a short chat with us might help you get things in perspective so you can enjoy a short break over Christmas without feeling guilty.


Science careers: options, job hunting and how to succeed!

  , ,

📥  Sector Insight

From audiologists to astrophysicists, there are a variety of fascinating careers in science which combine analytical thinking with creativity. Whether you wish to help patients learn to hear or solve the mysteries of the universe, there is something to suit all interests. There are also plenty of vacancies. The number of jobs for audiologists, for example, is expected to jump by 34% between 2012-22. And the current science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) skills shortage means 39% of UK companies are still struggling to fill these roles. Similarly, there is a shortfall of women in science, with 87% of Stem jobs in the UK currently occupied by men. So, if it is your dream to work in science and technology, what are your options? And what will you need to succeed?

Guardian Careers are hosting a live chat with the experts on Thursday 4 December from 1-3pm and will be discussing:

  • How to break into a career in science
  • The best ways to find and secure science jobs
  • How to encourage more women into science careers
  • How to build up your CV for a scientific career

For more information and to participate in the live chat visit the Guardian Careers website.