Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Monthly Archives: December 2015

Job Hunting Inspiration from Star Wars!

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📥  Advice, inspire, Tips & Hints

It is the end of semester (HURRAY!) and I imagine you are looking forward to time at home, quality food, Netflix binge and of course the latest Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. There is so much to learn from the Star Wars saga, the films are packed with nuggets of wisdom, many of which can be applied to your quest to find an internship, industrial placement or graduate job.

  1. Do or do not...there is no try: Some sectors are more visible than others, with employers running high profile recruiting campaigns to fill hundreds of vacancies. This only represents a snapshot of the (graduate) labour market: other sectors and organisations tend to fill their positions through internal recruitment or speculative applications. Therefore, don't limit your job search to 'advertised' opportunities, instead connect with Alumni working within the sectors or organisations that interest you, harness social media, talk to family contacts over Christmas and consider speculative approaches. Don't leave any stones unturned.
  2. Great things can be found on small planets: in the Star Wars franchise, the hero destined to save the universe comes from a small planet. Likewise, SME's can offer excellent career prospects with early responsibility and a potentially faster pace of progression. Check out this excellent blog from the careers team at Warwick about starting your career in an SME.
  3. The Stormtrooper approach is doomed to fail: if you think the more jobs you apply for, the more likely at least one of these efforts will result in a job interview - you are wrong! The scatter gun approach is doomed to fail;  truth is employers can pick out 'generic' applications that are lacking in focus resulting in an endless stream of rejections. Tell-tale signs include:
    • Bland, generic statements proclaiming a desire to work for company x ‘because you are a global player, with a strong vision offering a fantastic opportunity for me to learn and develop’. Not only is this pretty tedious to read, but it provides no evidence of motivation, research or originality. And it breaks application rule no 1: don’t tell an employer what they can do for you, only what you can do for them.
    • Liberal use of Ctrl+v! Graduate recruiters spend a lot of time sifting through application forms – you can’t fool them. It may appear that application forms ask the same questions, but there’s often a subtle nuance, or change in emphasis. Copy/paste will not save you time but it may cost you the shortlist.
  4. Find yourself an Obi-Wan Kenobi: sometimes with job hunting, the going can get tough... when this happens, talk to your tutors, placement officers or us in Careers. We don't profess to Jedi job hunting powers, but we can certainly help you stay motivated and focused! Why not book an appointment with one of our careers advisers and let us look at your CV, applications or help you plan/ rethink job hunting strategy. We are open over the holidays and information on how to book a careers appointment is available on our website.
  5. Feel The Force flowing through you: looking for a placement or graduate job is a full time job! Along with the pressure of your academic work; it can all get on top of you and you may start loosing confidence. Read over your CV and remind yourself of your skills and achievements. Focus on positive thinking - imagine where you want to be, rather than where you feel you will end up. Imagining a positive future for yourself is hugely empowering.

Finally, take time out to enjoy the Christmas vacation, we will be back blogging on the 5th January 2016. (We had to say this) May the job hunting force be with you! Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year from the Careers team!


#Inspireme: Finance & Management Grad Scheme in Higher Education

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📥  Graduate Jobs, inspire

GUEST BLOG: Ellie Smith, Finance Trainee at Imperial College London.
Finance is a popular field for many Bath students and graduates, there are opportunities in a wide range of sectors including Higher Education. We are thrilled to share Ellie's journey with you and hope you are inspired to apply!


I managed to get a graduate job at Imperial College London straight after completing my degree in Economics and International Development in 2013. My degree included an industrial placement year, in which I worked for 14 months at UBS Global Asset Management, in the Global Real Estate Multi-Managers and Securities team. While I enjoyed my time at UBS, I decided a career in asset management wasn’t for me, and focussed on pursuing my interests in accounting and finance. The Higher Education sector was particularly appealing to me, offering a unique and stimulating work setting.

I decided to apply for Imperial’s Graduate Finance Training Scheme as Imperial has a strong culture of personal and professional development, and offers a support package to complete the Chartered Institute of Management Accounts (CIMA) qualification. Further to this, the university has a wonderful working culture and there are plenty of opportunities for support services staff to get involved with sports, music, take short courses (like learning a foreign language).

I was also keen to experience first-hand how the college responds to the changing political environment whilst maintaining its position as a top international education and research institution. Completing a variety of placements across the entire Finance division seemed an excellent way to link my interest in the sector with my goal of becoming a qualified accountant.

In one of my placements within the Management Accounting team, I acted as central finance support to over 20 different Support and Academic Services departments at College, including the Library, Careers Service, Research Strategy and Safety Department. As a result, I had the opportunity to work with a variety of senior personnel across College and gained considerable insight into how each department contributes to Imperial’s academic mission.

Having had very little accounting experience prior to joining Imperial, I had to learn basic accounting principles in a very short space of time, whilst also getting to grips with Imperial’s finance systems and adjusting to my new responsibilities. While it was a steep learning curve, the practical experience at Imperial has allowed me to build up a strong knowledge and skill base and progress quickly through my accountancy exams. I am now in my third and final year, and am looking forwards to whatever comes next!

Imperial runs both a Finance Graduate Training Scheme and Graduate Management Training Scheme for recent graduates, offering a very competitive starting salary and excellent non-financial benefits. So if, like me, you are keen to start work at a Higher Education Institution, whether in a finance or non-finance related career, please check out our website.

Good luck with the rest of your studies and hope to see you at Imperial!

How to ace Situation Judgement Tests

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📥  Advice, Applications, Careers Resources

Situation Judgement Tests (SJTs) are multiple choice tests that consist of short descriptions of job-related scenarios. For each situation, several actions are listed that could be taken in response to it. Respondents are required to make judgements about the effectiveness of the actions provided. SJTs have become increasingly popular as tools for recruitment because they can assess skills not assessed by other measures, such as problem-solving and decision-making.

You will usually be asked to take an SJT as part of the application process or in some cases during an assessment centre. Although there is no time 'limit' as such, test creators will have guidelines for the typical length of time people take to complete their test; however if you take longer than that it doesn't matter. A growing number of SJTs are now bespoke to the recruiting organisation, or to a specific role. Therefore it is important that you have a good understanding of the organisation you are applying to, their values and the skills they are looking for.

Our tips to ace SJT's are:

  • Practice, practice and even more practice! Assessment Day offer a free practice test which may help you feel more confident.
  • Answer honestly and don't try and second guess what the employer is looking for.
  • Base your choices / answers on the information provided; do not make assumptions about the situation or scenario, even if it is similar to one that you have come across yourself in the past.
  • Do bear in mind the skills and qualities required to undertake the role you have applied for; this will allow you to enter the correct ‘mindset’ to judge the options effectively.


The futures bright, the futures green!

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📥  Advice, inspire, Labour Market Intelligence

This week representatives from 195 countries are attending the Paris Climate Summit along with 138 leaders including US president Barack Obama, China’s Xi Jinping, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi and the UK’s David Cameron. The objective of the summit is for all nations to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020 (when current commitments on greenhouse gas emissions run out). World leaders will also agree on financing to help poorer countries cope with climate change. Scientists have warned that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, we will pass the threshold beyond which global warming becomes catastrophic and irreversible.  Whatever the outcome, the long-term decisions that governments and business take because of the deal in Paris will have a far reaching impact from which power plants provide our energy, to what food we eat.


1_Paris 2015


Whatever your view about Climate Change, there's no denying, the Green Economy is growing and potentially presents some of the most dynamic career opportunities. Yet my gut feeling is that many students are simply not aware of the wide range of roles available. Another important factor to consider is the evolving and rapidly changing nature of the sector which means; new jobs are being created daily with new skills sought by employers that you may not have considered.

Where do you start? According to the UK governments 'Skills for a Green Economy' report, growth can be expected in the following areas:

  1. Low carbon and renewable energy: There are significant employment opportunities. For example, the offshore wind supply chain will
    need up to 70,000 more workers by 2020, from planning and development professionals through engineers and technicians to legal and financial specialists and admin and IT staff.
  2. Low carbon vehicles: the recent Volkswagen car emission scandal brought home the need for innovation in the automotive industry. Specialist skills are needed to develop and design advanced new materials and components and to maintain new vehicles. Management skills will be needed to oversee and embed these developments and to improve overall efficiency and sustainability. There is also a need for specialist skill sets in, for example, alternative fuels distribution; and hybrid/electric vehicles.
  3. Sustainable and secure food: last night I was watching Country File where a European trial to feed pigs and chicken maggots instead of soya was featured. The programme emphasized the need to find additional sources of protein for animal feed, which  is driven by the increasing global population and the rising demand for meat.
  4. Sustainable building & construction: new government regulations expected to come into effect in 2016 will require all new homes built in the country to be zero carbon. The same regulation is due to apply to all new non-domestic buildings – including offices – by 2019. New skills are needed for: environmental legislation targets; ecosystem services design and management; designing and managing multifunctional spaces; land use planning and
    development planning; carbon and water footprinting etc.

That's not all, we can expect to see a increase opportunities for staff with 'light green' skills such as HR and recruitment specialists, lecturers, finance and marketing professionals. To get you started, explore the careers resources on the University of Oxford's website which covers Energy and Environment. You can also access the Environment 2012 directory, which you can use to research organisations in the UK and globally. For inspiration, do consider reading National Geographic's 11 of the fastest growing green jobs.