Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Monthly Archives: March 2015

Crack on with planning your job hunt!

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Work Experience

This is our last blog post till the 13th April, whilst your thoughts may have turned to a well earned break we wanted to share with you some tips on how you can make the most of the Easter Vacation to start planning your future. As you know we are open over the holidays, so pop in for a chat with one of our expert and friendly careers advisers.

Depending on where you are with your career thinking, you may want to consider the ideas below:

No idea what you want to do in the future

  1. Check out our great resources on Choosing a Career. You can explore what other Bath grads have done, take tests to help you understand the sorts of work environments are right for you and explore information on further study.
  2. Check out Prospects 'Options with your Degree' section and explore the wide range of opportunities open to you. In particular read the case studies which bring different jobs to life.
  3. You may have decided you don't want to use your degree subject in the future. If this is you, then you must read this helpful information.

How do I find an internship or summer work?

  1. We recently wrote a blog post on finding internships and shared useful websites.
  2. Explore your network on LinkedIn or reach out and contact Bath Alumni for advice.
  3. Register to attend our Graduate Recruitment Fair, in addition to offering graduate roles many participating employers offer summer internships.

I need to sort out my CV!

  1. Download our Application, CV and Cover Letter Guide, there are some excellent example CV's in the guide which will inspire you in creating yours.
  2. Read 6 ways to refresh your CV blog post from the guardian.
  3. Book a quick query with one of our careers advisers and get some objective feedback.

I need to find a job

  1. Check out the wide range of job  opportunities on MyFuture.
  2. Just because many grad scheme deadlines have passed doesn't mean there are no jobs out there! Check out Graduate Talent Pool, Job Online and explore opportunities with SME's.
  3. Read this excellent blog post on the hidden job market by Warwick Careers.

Enjoy your Easter vacation!



Use the Easter vacation to get your job hunting on track!


📥  Careers Service Update, Graduate Jobs

We know you're snowed under with deadlines leading up to Easter vacation, however did you know the Careers Service is open over the holidays?


Easter Vacation 2015 Opening Hours
Mon 30 Mar - Thu 2 Apr:

Open 09:15-13:00
Closed 13:00-14:00
Open 14:00-16:30

Fri 3 Apr, Mon 6 and Tue 7 Apr:  Closed 

Wed 8 - Fri 10 Apr:

Open 09:15-13:00
Closed 13:00-14:00
Open 14:00-16:30

For more information and to book an appointment with a Careers Adviser, simply log in to MyFuture.

What to wear at an Interview

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📥  Advice, Interviews

The email inviting you to interview has landed in your inbox, hurrah! You call your mum and tell her the good news and book a practice interview with the Careers team at Bath. Then it hits you... OMG! WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?

Fear not, here are some top tips to make you look slick on the big day!

  1.  Over dressed is better than under-dressed: First impressions count. So if you wear a jacket and if one isn't needed it won’t be a disaster;  you’ll just look keen to impress and can always take it off! However nothing worse than you rocking up in your shorts and t-shirt while the other candidates are dressed smart.
  2. Do a bit of research: look for clues from the employer as to what to wear. Sometimes they’ll be very obvious and tell you but other times you'll have to make an educated guess. Think of the type of organisation you've applied to: are they formal or casual? Have a look at their website - what sorts of clues are there about the company culture? Check out Bath Connection, see if there is a Bath alumnus working at that particular company, get in touch with them for a bit of friendly advice.
  3. Remember the basics: All interview outfits should be clean, free of cat hairs, deodorant marks, fraying hems or straining zips and buttons. The interviewer is going to be sitting staring at you for an hour and they will notice every sartorial flaw.
  4. Don't do anything drastic: it is tempting splash out on a new outfit, however remember to stick to what you are comfortable in. For example, if you've never worn heels don't invest in 6-inch stilettos for the big day. You'll be far more concerned with not falling over then impressing your interviewer. Same goes for new hairstyles, make-up and accessories.
  5. Good grooming is important: Men need to be clean-shaven or have their beards closely trimmed rather than straggly. Clean fingernails, fresh breath, shiny shoes, deodorant are all essential rather than afterthoughts. Use aftershave or perfume sparingly as it can be quite intense in a small interview room.

You may want to check out this video by Monster.

Style Ideas for Fellas

Everyone assumes that it’s easy for men to dress for an interview; a shirt, suit and tie and then you’re ready to go. If only it were that simple... Firstly,  do invest in a suit, shirt and tie – just be aware of the different ways you can wear them in order to suit different situations. They don’t have to be particularly expensive – supermarkets and budget clothing stores now have office wear, it just might take a bit more searching to find the right outfit for you. Making sure your suits fits well is an absolute must, so definitely try before you buy. One way you can be versatile is to wear your suit and shirt, without a tie. This  nods to the smart casual look.



Style Ideas for Ladies

The staggering amount of choice makes it really hard for women to work out what to wear. As a starting point, invest in a good blouse and smart trousers / pencil skirt.  Neutral colors such as beiges, nudes and pale greys are  a great option and not drab and boring as black.  Show your personality with a nice scarf or broach - but don't go mad on jewelry as it can be quite distracting. Be careful with the choice of footwear. If you are comfortable with heels that's great, aim for mid length heel. Flat shoes are definitely a great option, especially if the thought of wearing heels fills you with dread. Finally, keep makeup simple and natural.


Good luck and remember you can pop in and see us for helpful and objective advice on what to wear at interview. Simply book a quick query with one of our careers advisers.

Whats in a handshake?


📥  Graduate Jobs, Internships, Interviews

You might think a handshake is straightforward – you clasp, shake, release – what could possibly go wrong? Well, here are five types of common handshakes you might want to avoid in an interview:

  • The floppy fish: nerves can play havoc with the best of us and sadly for some this can result in sweaty and clammy palms. The best thing to do is to use the washroom before hand and to wash your hands using cold water. The other alternative is to subtly wipe your palm on your clothes to dry them a bit. A clammy palm says you are nervous which isn't the message you want to be giving.
  • The bone crushing grip: don't take the idea of a 'firm' handshake into palm crushing vice like grip! Research by found that an overly firm grip could indicate a bullying nature. The best thing to do is to practice with friends, if they wince when you shake their hand then tone it down.
  • The water pump: top marks for enthusiasm but you don't want to give your interviewer whiplash or dislocate their arm. Interviews are all about first impressions and over shaking someone’s hand isn't the most positive of starts.
  • The lingerer: handshakes aren't just about pressure – duration is important too. A handshake that goes on for too long can become uncomfortable and make the other person feel awkward.
  • The finger tickler: Just pinching the interviewers fingers or touching their palm with yours is an inadequate handshake and could make you seem rude. If your reluctance to shake hands is as a result of religious or cultural reasons, then be upfront and explain your reasons from the start. This way you'll manage any awkwardness on both sides.

I think this video by Snagajob is really useful!

How can you be happy in your placement or graduate job?


📥  Advice, Graduate Jobs, Internships

Today is the UN's International Day of Happiness – a day set aside to raise global awareness that happiness is a fundamental human goal.  Now, the average Brit spends 100,000 hours at work during their lifetime – that's more than 11 and a half years. Work is part of our life and if we were happier at work we would be happier in our whole lives. We'd be better partners, better parents, better people. So happiness at work is good for us, as individuals.


According to the Guardian, the costs of ignoring happiness at work are substantial. An average UK company will employ about 250 people. If it is average in all aspects, then about 40 of them will leave each year and over 1,000 days will be lost due to absenteeism. If the company had a really happy, engaged workforce, then staff turnover would typically halve, absenteeism would be cut by 25%, and productivity would increase by about 20%. Happiness in the workplace is high on the governments agenda too, the cabinet office looked at the relationship between different jobs and levels of life satisfaction and found the happiest workers are vicars and priests.

So, what can you do to make sure you are happy in your chosen career?

The first step is to understand your personality and work environments that you are best suited to. You may want to try the Team Focus Personal and Career Development Reports or Windmills Interactive; which help you clarify the kind of life you want and how you can start working towards it. The next step is to think about the skills you enjoy using. Reflect on your placement or internship - what bits did you enjoy the most? John Lees, author of How to Get a Job you Love recommends sitting down with a friend and discussing your work history. Afterwards, ask them for the times when you seemed most excited and engaged. This will help reveal the type of work you like best.

But what if you are already on placement or in employment? How can you ensure happiness at work?

  1. Challenge yourself: One of the reasons we can get restless in our job is, quite simply, boredom. Think about ways in which you could make your role more interesting. Perhaps you could volunteer to mentor new staff, or spend some time every week shadowing people in other departments to get a broader perspective on the business? Be proactive and discuss your ideas with your line manager, they will welcome your enthusiasm.
  2. Reflect on your successes: it is really easy to fall into the day-to-day routine of  work and loose track of your successes! Keep a wee folder in your email where you store any thank you or well-done messages. Remember to read through these periodically.
  3. Ask for feedback: so much has been written about how to give feedback but not enough on how to ask for feedback. I thought this this article by Harvard Business Review is really well written with some excellent advice.
  4. Manage your workload: one of the biggest causes of stress at work is failing to keep commitments. Learn to say no constructively and be proactive in discussing your workload with your manager.
  5. Have a bit of fun: inject a bit of fun at work - this could be as simple as bringing some treats in for your colleagues (cake is always well received in the careers service) or join in the next team lunch. It is also important to recognise the little things that make you happy - smiling co-workers, good training, a supportive manager...

And don't forget, its Friday and this is definitely a good reason to be happy!


What can you do with a Science Degree?

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📥  Careers Resources, Sector Insight

This week the campus will be a hive of activity as the Bath Taps into Science events kick off.  The University is hosting a Family Talk and a Schools Fair on Campus. The week ends with a Family Science Day which will take place in the center of town in Bath.

The Careers team wanted to shine a spotlight on the wide range of opportunities that are open to Science grads both in and out of the lab. There are a variety of fascinating careers in science which combine analytical thinking with creativity. Whether you wish to solve the mysteries of the universe or want to work as a skeleton hunter; there is something to suit all interests.  There are also plenty of vacancies. 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.

A useful starting point is to explore the wide range of  careers pursued by University of Bath graduates. You may also want to explore career options with your degree subject on the TargetJobs and Prospects website. A science based degree will help you develop invaluable transferable skills making a wide range of alternative sectors a viable option. Finally the careers team here at Bath have put together a helpful careers guide for scientists. 


Looking for an internship this summer? Here are 6 great sites to help you find one


📥  Advice, Internships

A few weeks ago we published our most comprehensive resource to help you find an internship! I was intrigued to see the Independent's post on 6 great sites to help you find an internship and in particular wanted to see if there was a website that we might have missed. e4s and Ratemyplacement stood out.

For summer internships specifically, e4s is the place to go. It has opportunities for part time and holiday, gap year, entry level and graduate schemes. Ratemyplacement has over 25,000 reviews to help you decide if a particular opportunity is right for you. The reviews are written by previous interns and placement students.

So, it's over to you, is there a website or resource that you've come across that is particularly useful for anyone looking for an internship? Let us know by posting in the comments box.


Coping with rejection!

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📥  Advice, Interviews, Tips & Hints

Argh! Job hunting (be in for a graduate role, placement or internship) is tough! Let alone getting rejected having put hours of work into writing the application and preparing for the interview. The truth is rejection comes hand in hand with the job hunting process, the important thing is to learn from the process. The first thing to consider is at what stage are you being rejected?


Are you being rejected at the start of the process?
If you got rejected after submitting your application the chances of getting feedback from the employer are slim! This is because employers receive a high volume of applications and it just isn't feasible to feedback at this stage. The key here is to stop ploughing on and sending the same application to the next employer. Instead, book a Quick Query with a Careers Adviser and get some objective feedback against the application you submitted. Your careers advisers have a pretty good idea of what employers in your chosen occupation look for and will be able to tell you how your application can be strengthened.

You made it to the first interview but no further.
If you got rejected after a telephone, Skype, video interview, or even after a first face to face interview, it is often difficult to get any meaningful feedback. I know this is frustrating as you probably invested a lot of time preparing for the interview. The first thing to do is to step back and reflect on your own performance, consider these questions:

  • What preparation did you do ahead of the interview?
  • Were there any gaps in your preparation?
  • Were there any questions you couldn't answer?
  • How were your nerves on the day?

You may also want to consider booking a practice interview with a Careers Adviser before you interview again. We can offer practice for telephone, Skype and face-to-face interviews. You can even practice your presentations with us. A practice interview is a really helpful way to identify any weakness in your interview technique.

You made it to the end stage and got rejected.
By this time most employers will give you honest and full feedback. Be prepared to ask for it and listen to it! You might be feeling heartbroken that your dream hasn't worked out, but you will probably have other interviews ahead of you and you need to take every step to maximise your chances of succeeding next time. So what questions could you ask to prompt effective feedback? Here are some thoughts:

  • Could you tell me how I could have improved my performance?
  • Were there any aspects of the interview where I performed particularly well or badly?
  • Could you be more precise about exactly what you were looking for?
  • What more could I have done to demonstrate my suitability for the role?

Asking for feedback is one thing; it is really important to learn from the feedback and avoid the same mistakes. Good luck and stay positive!

How to handle job offers


📥  Advice, Graduate Jobs, Internships, Placements, Tips & Hints

Picture this:

Your phone rings, it is a unknown number - you answer with much trepidation. It is someone from the graduate recruitment team following an assessment center you went to. Hurrah they have offered you the job.

This should be one of those amazing moments; however, how do you deal with accepting or worse still declining an offer, and what do you do if you have received more than one offer?

Accepting an offer

Firstly, it is important to check whether your offer is conditional or unconditional (the former tends to be the more likely scenario). Your references must be satisfactory, some roles may require a disclosure and barring (DRB) check and the offer may be subject to you completing your degree or achieving a minimum degree classification.  If you aren't eligible to work in the UK you may need to work with your prospective employer to obtain the relevant permit and the offer may be withdrawn if permission to work isn't granted by the Home Office. Before you start celebrating in earnest, make sure:

  • You receive a formal contract: this should contain details of your job, salary, benefits such as annual leave, hours of work and start date.
  • Consider the start date and go back and negotiate this or other benefits with the employer if you need to.
  • Discuss any adjustments if you are disabled, ill or suffer with mental health issues. You may also want to consider the pros and cons of disclosure.
  • You are aware of any 'golden cuffs' - also known as golden hellos! This is where an employer offers a substantial one off payment to a keenly sought recruit. However these one off payments come with ties - some companies expect you to commit to a certain length of service where as others require you to pay back the golden hello if you leave within a certain time.

Once you are happy that everything is in place then accept the job in writing (email is fine!). However, be aware that your acceptance of a job is binding. It is important to remember, you don't need to rush into accepting a job offer if you have reservations of any kind. It is far better to have a think and talk through options with a Careers Adviser.

Declining an offer 

If, after serious thought, you decide that the job is definitely not for you, write back thanking the organisation for the offer and politely decline it. The world of work is a small place and  you might find you are applying to that organisation again at a later date, so it is worth remaining on good terms. You can decline the offer either by calling the organisation, by emailing or writing.  It is important not to waste their time and respond quickly!

When things are complicated....

  • You want to hold out for a better offer: a common problem for finalists especially as some employers start the recruitment process much earlier and as a result make offers much earlier. It could be you are still waiting for a decision from your dream employer, so what should you do? Firstly, contact your dream employer and ask how far your application has progressed and secondly  contact the employer who has made you the offer and ask if they can give you more time to consider the opportunity.
  • You can't decide between multiple offers: really worth talking to a careers adviser and weighing the pros and cons of the different jobs you are considering (although remember we are not able to offer legal advice). In addition, the advice from the University of Oxford careers service is really worth considering.
  • You want more money: The advice on The Nest is spot on! It is important to research the market before entering any negotiations. You may want to look at starting salaries of Bath Graduates in a similar field. Don't make your decision purely on money, consider the whole package: training, annual leave, fit with your values and the scope for development.
  • You want to reject an offer after accepting it: If you do find yourself in a position where you feel you would like to reject an offer that you have already accepted; step back and think through your reasoning! It may help to talk to a careers adviser for an objective chat (although we cant give you legal advice / discuss your contract).

For more information you may want to look at these resources:

How to Handle Job Offers by TARGETjobs
You have one offer but you want another by Virginia Tech University
How to deal with job and placement offers
Best Practice in Graduate Recruitment Guidance (Agreed by AGCAS / AGR /NUS May 2007)