Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Monthly Archives: March 2017

Graduate Fair Blog Series: World Social Work Day 2017 - do you feel inspired?

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Careers Fairs, Careers Resources, Sector Insight, Subject Related Careers

world social work day

This blog entry is a part of the Graduate Fair Blog Series introducing sectors and industries which will be present at the University of Bath Graduate Fair, Tuesday 25th April. Please go here for more information about the fair and the employers present.


World Social Work Day was on Tuesday 21st March. Twitter was full of thanks for the hard work that social workers do and how much their work is valued.  Inspired by the quotes and the images from #WSWD17 I am writing a short blog entry giving you some information and links that will support you in deciding whether social work is the right career path for you.

What is social work?

The British Association of Social Workers describes it as:

Social work is a profession that is centred around people - from babies through to older people. The BASW Code of Ethics defines social work using the international definition of social work.

Social workers work with individuals and families to help improve outcomes in their lives. This may be helping to protect vulnerable people from harm or abuse or supporting people to live independently. Social workers support people, act as advocates and direct people to the services they may require. Social workers often work in multi-disciplinary teams alongside health and education professionals.

Where do you work?

You can work in a variety of organisations, from local authorities working with children or adults to NHS Trusts and other private or public sector organisations. You can work with a range of different people such as children, older people, refugees and asylum-seekers, the homeless, people with drug addiction and many more. Where people need support, a social worker is usually needed.

How do you become a social worker?

There are different routes to becoming a social worker. You can take a social work undergraduate degree or a postgraduate two year master’s degree. There may be bursaries but this changes year by year and you will need to research whether funding is available for you.  Two fast-track schemes also exist. Step-Up is an intensive full-time training programme that covers everything trainee social workers need to know in 14 months and is funded. Frontline is a two year funded full-time training programme, benefitting from intensive practical and academic training.


NB Frontline will be at our graduate fair in April! Take advantage of having social work experts at the fair and ask any questions you may have!


You can find more information on routes into social work here.

What you should think about before making a decision to become a social worker

  • The challenges of social work

Being a social worker is not an easy job, it is emotionally demanding and you often see a negative view of social workers in the media. Positive stories are rarely shared.  You need to be resilient and have a good support network around you to be able to successfully be a social worker. A good supporting network at work and at home is vital. Many students go into social work because they want to make a difference. Because you want to make a difference you are in a danger of putting all your time and energy into the work day and may quickly feel the effects of stress. A heavy workload is normal,  you need to be creative and adaptable to change and be prepared to have good time management skills. This is not a straight 9 to 5 job as you may have a lot of assessments to write up after your working day.

  • The rewards of social work

Social work is not known as a profession where you get a lot of rewards, however social workers value their position as someone who can support people in a crisis and help them back on track, help people achieve their goals and be able to see for themselves when progress is being made. This can be as little as support someone with severe anxiety go outside for a dog-walk to helping someone to turn their life around from a life of adolescent crime to be a valued member of his or her community. It is important for a social worker to remember the successes as a small change supported by a social worker can be a massive change for the client he or she helps.

You can read some examples of the rewards of social work here.

How to learn more about the world of social work

To be able to start your study you are expected to have an awareness of the challenges and rewards of the social work profession and for the postgraduate degree you will need to have some experience. You can get this by researching, volunteering or gaining paid work, and talking to people in the profession. Attend relevant employer events on campus, attend any events put on by professional bodies or Step-Up and Frontline, such as our graduate fair in April, see if there are any relevant volunteering opportunities by contacting Volunteering Centre, speak to your academics, and see if there are any social workers in your network of family and friends. You are also welcome to come and see a Careers Adviser with any questions you may have.

Asking, learning, volunteering and listening will help you decide whether this is the right career path for you. Read through additional information on University of Bath Bsc Social Work,  Prospects and The Association of British Social Workers

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Battling nerves before an interview

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📥  Advice, Careers Resources, Interviews, Tips & Hints

nervous

It is natural to feel nervous in front of an interview, but sometimes it can all feel a bit too much. Here are some tips that I follow and that I hope can help you battle those nerves.

Preparation

This is an obvious one but the more you prepare, the better you will feel on the day. Make sure you read the personal criteria or person specification for the job and practise answering questions about the competencies listed. Read through our leaflet for advice on different type of interviews and how to best answer questions.

Brainstorm examples to use, write them down and then practise answering them out loud. Practise with a friend, with your careers adviser or use our Interview Stream software.

In addition, research the company and employer and come up with good reasons why you want to work there.

Be healthy

Get a good night’s sleep! Stay in the night before, watching a feel good movie so you go to sleep with a smile on your face. Being up all night doing last minute cramming won’t look good on your skin and lack of sleep may make you forget all the important points you remembered during the night. Avoid too much caffeine and make sure you eat a good breakfast.

Arrive early

Don’t get extra stressed because a train gets cancelled or a bus does not turn up. Arrive early and instead go for a walk around the area or sit at a café. Getting unduly stressed because of circumstances outside your control won’t help your nerves!

Breathing exercises

If you are feeling your nerves and anxiety are going out of control, try breathing exercises. These can be done in the morning at home, on the train, in the bathroom before you head in for the interview. They work for me, I hope they can work for you. NHS tells you how. Getting into the practice of meditation may also help.

Warm up your voice and body

I feel doing some exercise of the voice and body prepares the whole you for the interview ahead, this has worked for me several times. I have even written another blog post about it. Try it out and see if it works for you!

Be yourself

Don’t try and be someone you are not. Acting or talking like another person won’t be good for your nerves or your confidence. The employer is interested in who you are, not just the skills or the degree you have, show your personal energy and enthusiasm.

If none of this works and you need extra support....

Go and see a Careers Adviser to talk about strategies in how to deal with confidence or nerves during an interview. Together we can look at your experiences and skills to date and support you in articulating them well, giving  you more confidence in your skills and abilities. We also have a lot additional resources for you to read through.

If there are other reasons for why you are feeling anxious or you are feeling low on self-esteem, please go and see the Well-being team. Talk through what is going on in your life that are making you anxious.

We are here to support you!

 

 

 

 

Virtual Reality – coming to your assessment centre soon?

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📥  Advice, Applications, Graduate Jobs, Interviews, Tips & Hints

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I remember when I first put on those Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, it blew me away! Just to clarify, I am not a gamer at all, the closest I have come to playing a game has been playing free games on my phone! I am, however, a massive sci-fi fan so the idea of being immersed into a virtual universe did appeal to me. Maybe it was this interest that made the journey into the VR universe so natural for me. Saying that, recent research states that 95% of people trying out VR say the same. It seems so real that you automatically act the way you would have done in the real world. Maybe this fact is why employers now are researching using VR in recruitment processes and at least one employer is already using it in some assessment centres. So what do you, as students, need to know?

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality typically refers to computer technologies that use software to generate the realistic images, sounds and other sensations that replicate a real environment (or create an imaginary setting), and simulate a user's physical presence in this environment (taken from wikipedia).

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For Virtual Reality to work you put on a headset which covers your eyes and ears completely, you are unable to see or hear the outside world. You only see the simulated environment in front of you. With the help of handsets you are able to move around the environment and complete tasks. You have a small space to move around in and the software prevents you from walking too far outside the zone (don’t worry, the likelihood of crashing into walls is low). It is currently mainly used for gaming as it gives the user the feeling of being fully immersed in the game.

Why are more and more employers researching the use of VR in recruitment processes?

Employers would like to be able assess a candidate’s authentic capabilities in doing the job. Compared to competency-based questions, where a candidate can prepare answers which not necessarily are all authentic, the VR environment is unexpected and can’t be prepared for. As research shows that the large majority of people trying out VR acts like they would do in real life, this means that employers can easier match the candidate skills and strengths with the job in question.

Employers are also researching using VR as a way for applicants to get a real feel for a company, how it is to work there, which goes beyond just looking at the website or the interview setting.  Companies would like to show their prospective employees how great it is to work there and VR may help with just that. VR can introduce you to the office, you may get a tour of the building,  meet your co-workers, be introduced to job tasks and real-life business scenarios. You may even be invited to an after work social event through VR! In an article Deutsche Bahn states they use VR to give potential employees the chance to “experience” different jobs on offer before they apply, for example looking over the shoulder of an electrician or a train driver.

It is already in use!

As stated above, several companies are using VR as a way of introducing their companies to potential applicants. In addition, VR in recruitment is already in use by at least one graduate recruiter, which started using VR in their assessment centre selection for their IT and digital graduate schemes in autumn 2017.

They says this on their website:

“By using Virtual Reality the assessor will be able to present situations to candidates that would otherwise be unfeasible in the conventional assessment process. The candidate will have complete freedom of movement within a 360 degree virtual world and will be able to move virtual objects using tracked motion controls. Although the Group cannot disclose what potential graduates can expect to do in the assessment centre, so as to not provide candidates with an advantage, the puzzles they will be tasked with will be designed to demonstrate the strengths and capabilities required of the Group’s future leaders.”

In addition, other companies are considering using VR in their recruitment to better assess candidates’ strengths and cognitive abilities. Although we do not know whether VR will be used by other companies, its popularity is increasing and therefore more may follow..

How can you prepare for VR?

I think it would be hard to prepare for a VR assessment. The employer won’t assume you have used it before, so you should get good instructions in how to use it before you start your tasks. As the employer would like to find a candidate that matches the skills and strengths they are looking for, I believe the best preparation is to be yourself and complete the tasks as you would do naturally. If you have a friend that has VR at home, then you can always ask them for a go, although be aware that the tasks set in the assessment centre probably will be different from VR gaming.

Be open and enthusiastic about it on the day, be yourself and enjoy the experience!

Additional articles for you to explore:

University of Warwick has written an excellent blog article about Virtual Reality.

Two other interesting articles:

https://www.cornerstoneondemand.com/rework/latest-recruiting-tool-virtual-reality

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/vr-interviews-lloyds-banking