After 3, 4 or even 5 years of hard work, study and more, it's not surprising that some students don't feel ready to plunge headlong into the long working life that lies ahead of them. It can seem awfully tempting to take a gap year. Is this a good idea?
Well, chances are that if you really don't feel ready to start work (as opposed to not knowing what you want to do - in which case come in and talk to us!) - that you may really not be ready to. And chances equally are that that will come through to an employer.
So the question is then, how long a gap would you like? Some of the jobs we advertise wouldn't start until September - and you might find that 3 months of downtime is actually quite enough, no matter how good home cooking is. But you may have a really bad case of itchy feet - the travel bug - call it what you will. A real yearning to see somewhere different. In which case, now is an excellent time to plan that, before you get into the world of booking your two weeks vacation in the summer and wishing it was longer......
To help you decide, and plan, we have a great guide to Taking a Gap Year. It talks about the practicalities - such as timing applying for jobs and availability for interviews - unsurprisingly, companies are not keen on flying you back from darkest Peru for an interview and may decline your application. But with the proper planning, you can get some meaningful short-term work experience to save up money, while applying for 2018 entry graduate jobs in the UK, and then explore the charms of your chosen corner of the planet in the knowledge you have a fantastic job to come back to.
If you want to 'do something' on your travels - rest assured that employers look very kindly on that kind of experience - a willingness to 'give back' is increasingly important. And we have a comprehensive Charity, Volunteering and Gap Year database with listings of organisations offering opportunities.
So - how to fund your travels? It's definitely best if you can get some experience that is going to be relevant to the career you want to go into. So if you get a short-term job in a cafe, that would be really good customer service experience, for example. And working in an office on a temporary contract could develop commercial awareness as well as administrative skills. So look in your local area - and also on sites like Graduate Talent Pool, full of short-term, paid internships for graduates. One of them might be perfect for you! But when all is said and done - an employer is going to see that you have decided to take a gap year, planned it, worked and organised your time to enable it to happen, and absorbed other cultures and broadened your horizons. Definitely that makes you the sort of well-rounded individual they say they are after - so what are you waiting for?
This tine of year is a prime time for students to think about embarking on a course of further study, most often at masters level but also at PhD level.
So with many courses internationally being taught in English - and not just in English-speaking countries - you might want to consider spreading your wings and going elsewhere for your higher degree.
As well as considering the normal things when thinking about further study - what subject, what course, what institution - there are some other things that are particularly important when thinking about studying abroad.
Firstly, the timescales for applying may be different from here and are almost certainly longer - the Fulbright Commission who advise on studying in the US have a lot of information about timelines and recommend you start in your penultimate year ideally.
You may need to sit a test - have a look at our web pages on studying abroad to get more information about the sorts of tests and how to prepare for them.
Funding may also be an issue and is one of the reasons that you may need to start early. But of course, one of the attractions of studying especially in Europe is that education fees are substantially less than here. Do check though, the duration of the course - a UK masters course will be normally 1 year but the standard in mainland Europe is 2 years.
Do also pay attention to any information you get about study styles and cohort sizes - lower fees sometimes mean larger classes and more lectures, rather than the small group seminars which are a common feature of masters courses in the UK.
For more detailed information about studying internationally, specific to individual countries, have a look at the AGCAS country profiles for studying abroad. Considerations here include how much of the host nation's language you speak, what the city you'd be based in is like, and what the common customs are that you should be aware of. You could always take advantage of our Foreign Languages Centre to brush up your languages before you start!
Applications may vary considerably - some institutions require only a CV and transcript, others want a personal statement which can be very detailed. So if you would like advice on how to put one together, or some feedback on the application you are preparing, please do come in and see us.
Whether you have worked before or not, starting a new work experience or internship or placement in the UK can be a bit of a challenge. What are the rules this company plays by? What are the rules that everyone follows but are never written down? What are the customs - and how is it different from where you have worked before?
This conundrum is even harder if your previous work experiences have been in a country where the culture is very different.
From talking with international students, one of the things that concerns them is that where they have worked, speaking up with ideas, or questioning the way something is currently done, is not acceptable - yet it seems to be expected by British employers. So how can you know when you are doing what is expected, and when you have crossed an invisible line into being disrespectful?
This is where getting advice from other international students that have made similar journeys can really help - try registering with the Bath Connection or using LinkedIn to contact Bath alumni who have worked there. Or, if you are about to embark on a placement, speak to your placement officer about which students have worked there before and ask them about the workplace culture and any conventions you should be aware of to help you fit in.
Similarly - social gatherings seem often to be centred around pubs/bars and the consumption of alcohol. If this does not sit well with you - try suggesting an alternative venue for a change, maybe going to a restaurant instead.
To help you navigate these issues, we've written a handy guide to help you. And remember, Careers Advisers are always happy to talk to you about your concerns and how you can ensure you get your experience off to the best start and give yourself the best springboard into your future career. Just book an appointment to speak to one of us.
In today's increasingly international world, it is becoming quite common to hear organisations talking about wanting individuals with an international outlook. But what is this?
At its simplest, it is an awareness of difference and a willingness to accept and work with that difference. So when you are on holiday in Spain, you find yourself slipping into the way of eating later in the evening because that is the accepted way of doing things there. And you don't complain loudly abut it - at least not if you want to have a meal that tastes good and is served with a smile. You may even try to use a few words of Spanish while you are asking directions or shopping for souvenirs.
So it is with the world of work. Global outlook is a willingness to look outwards. To work with those who are from different cultures, understanding that there may be differences in the way you speak, or the jokes you tell, or other cultural norms - and taking account of that when you do business with those people.
If you want to build a career that spans countries, either by working in a British organisation that operates internationally, or an international company that has a base here, then it pays to develop this cultural sensitivity and also an interest in what is happening in other parts of the world.
And if you are really serious about it, why not think about developing a second language (for the Brits among us who only speak one!)? There are plenty of resources here at the University to help with that, including the Foreign Languages Centre, Self-Access Language Centre, Students' Union Cultural Societies and the simplest of all, talking to the many international students that have chosen to study here.
To deepen your understanding of other cultures and make it easier to work internationally, read news stories about world events and also try reading them on non-British producers - the English version of Al-Jazeera is very good for giving a non-British perspective on events both home and away.
Embracing the global nature of university and work life will develop skills such as tolerance, sensitivity (think emotional intelligence!), flexibility,m adaptability, and inquisitiveness and open-mindedness. Many employers value these particular characteristics, so what have you got to lose?
Welcome to the first of our international -themed blog posts to mark International Careers Week.
This post is aimed at any international students looking to build their career right here in the UK. We know that many of you are very career-minded so here are a few tips to make sure you are making the most of your time here and giving yourselves the best chance of success.
- Get informed
Make sure you are aware of your rights as regards work permissions. The Student Immigration Service are putting on a talk to refresh your memories on working in the UK after your studies and I really do recommend you go. The rules are complex and ever-changing so find out what the law actually says, and pick up a copy of our advice for employers too.
- Get ready
We have laid on the complete series of our popular workshops for international students this week, as well as an assessment centre workshop, so you can perfect your skills and stand out for all the right reasons to employers.
- Get involved
It's never too late to join a society, start volunteering, maybe even take the opportunity to build up some part-time work experience. All these things will be useful boosts to your CV as well as helping you pick up that sought-after commercial awareness and improve your English language skills.
- Get feedback
Our expert team of Careers Advisers are very happy to give you feedback on your CVs, applications, cover letters and also help you prepare for interviews. It might seem a little scary to come and ask us to give you feedback - but that 15 minutes can make the difference between being on the 'no' pile and being invited to the next stage of the process.
- Get Connected
They say 'It's not about what you know, it's about who you know'. Now this is not the whole truth, but having access to a large network of connections and being ale to ask them for help is surely a good thing, right? So, we have worked together with the Students Union and Alumni to offer you a skills session on networking and getting ahead in business, followed by Get Connected, a chance to ask alumni how they got to where they are now, and get a free drink along the way.
- Get ahead
You'll see we have many jobs being advertised on MyFuture at the moment. But before you excitedly apply to all the ones that look interesting, do make sure you check on the employer website whether they are accepting applications from international students. Not all of them do, and checking will ensure you don't waste a lot of time preparing an application only to have it rejected.
Ah, interviews. Sooner or later, we all have to have them - whether it's for a placement, a summer internship, postgraduate study or the graduate job of your dreams. But they are not the most looked-forward-to of events. Or the most thoughtfully timed.
Does this sound like you?
"Yay! I have an interview! Oh no, it's the day after tomorrow and I really need some practice!"
"Oh no, it says that the interview is a video one and I have no idea how that will work let alone how I am going to come over on camera...."
As you know, in the Careers Service we are always very happy to help with interview preparation and do offer practice interviews, but there are times when we don't have the slots free, or you don't have gaps in your timetables, or actually you really really want to practice using the video interview format.
So, we are delighted to announce that we can now help you with that!
InterviewStream is a video interview platform which offers you the opportunity to build your own video interview from a bank of thousands of questions, take the interview, and review your performance and comment on it at a later date. We have also built you a portfolio of ready-made interviews that you can choose from.
Thanks to the generosity of the Alumni Fund, and supported by the MBA Careers Office, all registered Bath students can access this package on an unlimited basis. Simply register using your Computing Services email and take it from there. You'll find fuller details and login instructions on this page.
There is even a handy 'um, like' counter to use when you watch back your interview so you can see how many of those dreaded filler words you are using!
So, have a go! And do tell us if there are targeted interview sets that you would like us to build. Your feedback will be very gratefully received and it will help us build a more useful service.
To celebrate our International Careers Week, we thought you might like to step away from your search engine of choice, and take a look at these hand-picked (by Tracey Wells, Head of Careers) international-relevant resources.
Let’s start with the award-winning GradlinkUK from our friends down the road at UWE Bristol. It’s actually 6 different careers sites covering Africa, ASEAN, China, Canada, India and Bangladesh. Jobs, CV and careers advice. There are some nice case studies too.
Covering 40 different countries from Australia to the US, these handy quick overviews give an insight into the jobs market, applying for jobs and even some background on the countries themselves.
The European Job Mobility Portal. More than just a web site with 1 million+ jobs in Europe. You can also chat online to a EURES Adviser. That’s new.
Even without a subscription you can still access careers information on 35 countries. One day we’d love to subscribe to this site!
Not just for networking, there are thousands of jobs and internships around the world on LinkedIn. Use it for company research as well as networking. Don’t neglect your profile either – you never know who’s looking for a candidate like you.
Researchers in Motion…research and funding opportunities in Europe and further afield. There are nearly 9000 opportunities advertised at the moment.
Country profiles from Prospects cover 30 different countries including European countries, the USA, China and more. Sections on work experience and internships as well as general careers information. Beautiful photos on the homepage.
8. The University of Bath Careers Service
And finally, we’ve brought together loads more fantastic international careers resources in our online catalogue. Some of these are actual books that you can access here in the Careers Service. Yes, books. Other listings include some of the best web sites for both work and study internationally.
We have been finalising some last-minute details, but are now pleased to announce some extra events as part of International Careers Week.
On Wednesday afternoon, we will have the return of our popular One-stop CV clinic run jointly with the Academic Skills Centre. Just drop in between 3.15 and 4.15 and our team of experts will be able to give you feedback on your CVs according to your needs - either for English language or structure and content, or both.
And on Thursday lunchtime, Becky Gallagher from the Students' Union Joblink service is doing a presentation on internships and work experience with local companies, highlighting the Santander internship scheme they have been running for the last few years. This scheme is open to international students, several of whom have taken it up, hence its inclusion in this week's events.
To have a look at the full schedule, do visit our events listing, I'm sure there will be something there to interest you. And if not, please do get in touch with us using the Comments facility - we'd love to know what you'd like next year's International Careers Week to contain!
We know that one of the best sources of career advice and inspiration is someone who is doing, or has done, the thing you are wanting to do. So we are delighted that Alumni Relations have organised another of their highly successful Get Connected events this week - and to make it even better, it is right here on campus and has an international theme to match the week!
Students will be offered short, informal appointments with alumni to ask any burning questions about their future career. There will also be opportunities for general networking and staff from our Career Service will offer advice on CVs and the evening will conclude with an informal networking opportunity.
Advice will be available from the alumni experts on how to start your working life around the world, including international students looking for tips on how to enter careers in the UK. The volunteers come from varied careers and can give advice on staying in the UK and working abroad in many different career areas.
Get Connected - International Careers will be this Thursday 3 March between 6pm and 8pm in the Plug Bar in the Students' Union. It's free to attend but you will need to register in advance to claim your free drink! A list of those who have already registered is available on our website - so if you're a little shy about going and want to know if any of your friends or classmates are going, you can have a look! (And if they're not - why not tell them about it?)
Opportunities to ask one-to-one career questions of alumni are very rare, and people before have found this a very valuable experience – not just for the advice but for getting some experience in the important skill of networking.
Find out more about the alumni volunteers - and make sure you book your place in order to meet the alumni experts and also a free drink!
Next week sees the return of our annual internationally-themed week of events. We have tried to have a little bit of something for everyone so do have a look at our events for that week to see what takes your fancy!
The week kicks off with Mars China coming in to talk about their management leadership opportunities for Chinese students wanting to return home after their studies.
We then focus on Japan, with DISCO International talking about opportunities for Japanese bilinguals - as well as PwC talking specifically about their opportunities for international students. With UK recruitment currently tightening up for international students, this is a great opportunity to meet a company who embraces internationalism. Also that day we host Withers & Rogers talking about the future of global organisations and how IP Offerings and protection are a key way to enhance that.
Thursday brings the Fulbright Commission here, offering their annual tips session on Postgraduate Study in the USA. We know that many of you are interested in this, so do come in and speak to the experts!
Added to all these external presentations, our Careers Service experts are offering a programme of workshops to help students both home and international prepare themselves for an international career. There are two assessment centre group exercise sessions - it's peak season for assessment days just now so book your slot soon. We also have repeat sessions of our popular workshops for international students looking at covering letters and also interview skills. If you are finding these hard to master then come along and learn how to demystify them and feel more in control of your approach.
You may have heard us talk about networking and advise you to develop and make best use of your LinkedIn profile. If you know you should but aren't sure how, book onto our workshop on Wednesday afternoon which will give you tips and strategies to boost your profile and show you how to extend your reach by leveraging the Bath Connection.
Finally, we are delighted to say that this year we are working with Alumni Relations who are offering one of their highly successful Get Connected sessions right here on campus on Thursday evening. It also has an international focus and the experts are all either international alumni or alumni who have worked overseas during their careers. Added to this they are launching a Get Connected webinar on Friday, for those of you who'd like the chance to ask your questions remotely.
Hopefully this will have whetted your appetite but do remember, if you'd rather just come in and ask one of our Advisers your questions, we are available every day for 1:1 appointments - we're looking forward to seeing you!