Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Topic: Diversity

Update on Careers Provision for Students with Disabilities

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📥  Advice, Diversity, Uncategorized

As many of you are probably aware the Careers Service has now moved down to the Virgil Building in Manvers Street and we are now open!   So, I thought now would be a very good time to talk about the provision that we offer to all of our disabled students – so this would cover anyone with physical, mental health and learning needs such as dyslexia and dyspraxia. To make sense of our provision I have split this into General Careers Provision and Additional Careers Provision for Disabled Students.

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General Careers Service Provision

You may have already seen your Faculty or Department Careers Adviser who will deliver some Department-specific activities on campus. Some of our employer talks and promotional activities will also still take place on campus.

However, most of our Careers Service activities have now moved down to the Virgil Building in Manvers Street where you can book Quick Queries and can also book longer appointments through our reception down there as well as attend skills workshops. In VB we also have a number of resources and free leaflets and information booklets which you might find useful. So when you are down in Manvers St do pop in to see the facilities! We are located on the 2nd level near the main reception so a lift will shortly be installed at the main entrance.

To book an appointment in VB just go to https://myfuture.bath.ac.uk

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Additional Careers Service Provision for Disabled Students

The University recognises that some students would benefit from having careers support still on campus. So in addition to all of the above, my new role as a Careers Adviser is to provide exactly this on campus and I am here to support you during your time with us and in the year after you graduate to ensure that you reach the career goals that you are looking for. So what exactly does that mean?

Appointments on campus

I am based on campus for three days a week and therefore I am able to offer you appointments here. You can either phone our reception to book one of the slots on a Tuesday or Wednesday by ringing 01225 386009 (just let our enquiry team know that you are a disabled student), or you can email me (Melanie Wortham) and I can book these for you. If you are unable to make those times, then I have some flexibility on Mondays to offer you alternative appointments. So basically, we are offering you additional careers provision which will hopefully be useful in busy semesters. In vacations you will also have the support of a careers adviser, and can access appointments remotely by Skype or telephone if you prefer.

 

So why would you come and see me?!

If you just have a short query such as how to explain something on your CV, or wanted to know something about a particular occupation, then book a 15 minute appointment – that is perfectly fine. Or it may be that you are not sure of what you want to do and a 45 minute appointment may be more appropriate.

Here are 10 reasons students’ book to see a Careers Adviser:-

Get advice on their CV and applications
No idea or little idea on what you might like to do in the future
Get some ideas on work experience, and where to look
Discuss placements, internships, voluntary work
Need some help with interviews – we offer practice interviews
Job search
Looking to go into something completely out of the degree area and need advice
Being a mature student and looking for a career change
Considering Further Study
Advice on psychometric tests and assessment centres

I hope the above has given you some idea on the sorts of help and advice that we offer. However, if there are any other careers related issues you would like to discuss, then please just email me and come and chat about it! I very much look forward to meeting some of you over the coming months and years.

 

Being Transgender and Applying For Jobs and Placements

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📥  Advice, Applications, Diversity, Uncategorized

The other week I attended an excellent Equality and Diversity Forum that included a workshop delivered by a final year student on issues that can arise for transgender* students during their time at University. This student’s experience highlighted the stress of telling not only family and friends but also university staff, being concerned how she would be viewed, the difficulties of expressing how she was feeling and the support she would have liked. When asked about applying for jobs, this was seen as yet another hurdle to be taken at a later date. So I thought it might be useful to look at what help is out there, and what are the key issues for transgender students when applying for jobs, the protections you have legally and the choices you have. I have only touched on some issues but there are signposts to further reading and support available. (more…)

 

Do you really deserve that job or PhD?

  

📥  Advice, Career Development, Diversity, inspire, Tips & Hints

This week I saw quite a few students who have been wrestling with:

"..... I am not good enough - to apply for a PhD, my dream placement or propose an idea to my group"

This made me reflect on the concept of Inposter Syndrome where an individual struggles to credit their success to their ability. Rather they see their success as being lucky or working harder than others. This is further compounded by the person assuming that at any moment others will see through the facade and know they are not as talented. Reading Jo Haigh's post brought home to me that no one is safe from feeling like a fraud - regardless of achievement or fame.

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Half of the female managers surveyed by the Institute of Leadership Management reported self-doubt in their ability compared to men. In my mind this is in part down to the fact that there are fewer female role models and the ones that have made it there have, in the past, often had to take on masculine characteristics. This is one of the reasons why the Careers Service is hosting the Sprint Development programme aimed at female undergraduates, bringing together successful women from industry to talk about their careers.

In addition to participating in personal development training, what else can you do to manage imposter syndrome? The first step is to understand a rather obvious truth: nobody can see inside anyone else’s head. So your inner monologue – the voice that keeps on telling you 'you’re not good enough' – is the only one you ever hear which means your reasoning is a tad skewed.

Have a look at the traits below, do they apply to you?

  • Ignoring compliments
  • Assuming everything in your life will self-destruct for no reason
  • You feel a compulsion to be the best
  • Letting self doubt become a constant fixture
  • Fear of failure can paralyse you
  • You focus on what you haven't done
  • You don't think you're good enough

It may also be comforting to know you aren't alone in your thinking. These tweets compiled by the Huffington Post really do capture  the fact that imposter syndrome does not discriminate and when it rears its ugly head, we can be pretty irrational in our thinking. If left untamed, imposter syndrome can negatively affect your academic studies and professional career.

So how do we keep a lid on imposter syndrome?

  1. Recognise it: If you hear yourself say, “I don’t deserve this,” or “It was just luck,” pause and note that you are having impostor syndrome thoughts. Self awareness is the first step to tackling imposter syndrome.
  2. You are not alone: Imposter syndrome’s so common that, if you tell a friend or colleague about your self-doubt, they’ll almost certainly reply by telling you they feel the same.
  3. Get objective: keep reminders of success to hand! Be it your CV or that 'well done' email from your manager when you were on placement. All these will hopefully remind you of your self-worth.
  4. Accept and give compliments: for one day, give meaningful compliments to your friends or colleagues and see how they respond. If they deflect, call them out. Likewise, accept every compliment you receive, simply say 'Thank you'.

Finally, accept that everyone everywhere—no matter how successful—experiences the self-doubt that underlies impostor syndrome. It is part and parcel of becoming accomplished and successful. There is nothing unusual or wrong about feeling these things. Leave no cognitive space for them to grow, and you will regain control of your life and your future.

Rebecca Stephens (MBE) joins the Sprint professional development programme

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📥  Diversity, Event

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Applications are now open for Sprint; a fantastic professional development programme for undergraduate women. Sprint enables female undergraduates to reach their fullest potential, focusing on key topics such as how to use your personal power, identify individual values, recognise personal strengths and learn how to use assertiveness positively.

This year we are delighted to welcome Rebecca Stephens (MBE), the first British woman to climb Mount Everest, to the Sprint programme. Alongside inspiring female role models from organisations such as AXA, Microsoft and Arup, Rebecca will talk about how women can embrace fear of failure to achieve their professional and personal goals.

The first three days of the programme will run during the inter-semester break as follows:

  • 30 January 2017 - FULL DAY
  • 31 January 2017 - FULL DAY
  • 1 February 2017 - FULL DAY

A final 1/2 day of training will take place on the afternoon of 22 February 2017.

Further information, including how to apply can be found here. We welcome applications from all undergraduate women and those students who identify as female.

Industry partners:

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Returning to academia after a career break

📥  Academic Career, Diversity, For PhDs

I've been reading this research report by jobs.ac.uk on views around returning to academia after a career break. A welcome and fascinating report on a much-discussed but under-researched topic.

Key findings of the report include:

-89% of respondents who had taken a career break returned to an academic role
- 34% of respondents had taken more than one career break
- the main reasons for taking a career break are maternity leave and redundancy/reaching the end of a contract.
- People's perceptions of career breaks are much more negative prior to taking it.
- a long career break is more likely to result in someone returning to work part-time
- the majority of academics stayed in contact with people in their field during their career break.
- 39% returned to their former role
- 45% returned to work with a different employer

If you are currently taking a break from an academic or research career or are considering doing so, there are lots of schemes and organisations offering advice and support:

The University of Manchester have a list of fellowships and bursaries for people who have had career breaks, as well as a list of case studies. The Daphne Jackson Trust and the Dorothy Hodgkins Fellowship Scheme in particular offer opportunities for scientists to return from a career break and to work flexibly.

The Wellcome Trust have produced a guide to getting back into research after a career break.

The Royal Society have produced some excellent case studies of researchers who successfully combine academic careers with family life as part of their parent-carer-scientist campaign.

WISE have role models and career stories of women who have returned to science after a break.

 

China Disability Scholarship!

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📥  Diversity, Internships, Work Experience

Applications for the 2016 CRCC Asia and the British Council China Disability Scholarship are now open.


Now running for a fourth year, the scholarship was established in January 2013 to offer students with a disability the opportunity to participate in CRCC Asia’s award-winning China Internship Program. With the support of the British Council in China, CRCC Asia is able to offer two fully-funded places on the 2016 China Disability Scholarship, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai.
The Disability Scholarship Program is run in conjunction with the British Council in China and is specifically designed for academically excellent students with a disability. The successful candidates will undertake a two month internship working with the British Council in Beijing or Shanghai in summer 2016. The interns will live in the centre of each city, gaining transferable business skills and hands-on experience whilst working in an international setting. They will also benefit from CRCC Asia’s full social program with cultural activities, Chinese language classes, and professional networking events. Upon completion of the program, the students will be able to boost their CVs with their international internship experience, stand out from the crowd and prepare for their career ahead.

The recipients of the 2015 Disability Scholarship were Laura Gillhespy (Beijing) and Jasmine Rahman (Shanghai), graduates of the University of York and Durham University respectively. Both Laura and Jasmine recorded their time in China through weekly blogs. Since completing their internships, both Laura and Jasmine have returned to China to pursue their careers. To find out how they got on, you can read Laura’s blog here and Jasmine’s blog here.

Application deadline is 1st April 2016. 

 

Our #pledgeforparity is to achieve equal confidence

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📥  Advice, Diversity, inspire

All around the world, International Women’s Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. Pledge for Parity is the theme for the 2016 International Women's Day, encouraging everyone (men and women) to take concrete steps to help achieve gender parity more quickly. Within the careers service we are making a pledge to achieve equality in self-confidence as we believe lack of self-belief is holding women back from achieving their full potential.

The Institution of Leadership & Management's research 'Ambition & Gender at Work' suggests that over 50% of women report feelings of self-doubt about their performance and careers. Time and time again research shows that  women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence.  According to the Huffington Post, confidence is what allows you to start acting and risking and failing, to stop mumbling and apologising and hesitating. With it you can take on the world; without it you remain stuck on the starting block of your own potential.

So how can women develop confidence?

  • Use empowering language: Aston Universities Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Julia King  says  women tend to use more cautious, less aggressive/assertive language, and often apologise for what they are about to say  - ‘This isn't quite my subject area, but perhaps you might consider…’ ‘I am not sure this is exactly relevant, but…’ This can be interpreted as weakness and makes what women say easier to dismiss or ignore.
  • Banish Negative Self-Talk: It is amazing how self-talk can lead us in to or out of a situation. If you can, take time to visualise the discussion or event going well rather than thinking of the things that may go wrong.  Ask yourself, 'whats the worst that could happen?' - when you do this,  you get a clarity and a bit of fear vanishes.
  • Take a risk: Become comfortable with things that you don’t know, and turn your fear into an eagerness to learn new skills.
  • Celebrate your successes: The best confidence boost is to celebrate your successes and keep reminding yourself of it by writing them on post-it notes. Then have them displayed in an area that you can view each day e.g. kitchen, wardrobe, medicine cabinet etc.
  • Invest in your development: This afternoon we are supporting the Bath Students Union by delivering a workshop designed to enable women to identify their strengths and values and to harness these to pursue positions of leadership. There are plenty of such training opportunities that women can harness on campus from attending skills development events to participating in the Sprint personal development programme.

 

How to network with confidence!

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📥  Advice, Diversity, Event, Networking

We are absolutely thrilled to be delivering two workshops during the Women in Leadership Conference which is being organised by the University of Bath Students Union tomorrow. My colleague Ghislaine Dell will be exploring the concept of personal branding and I will be talking to the participants about the importance of networking.

Reflecting on when I started working, I really lacked confidence; especially when it came to networking and striking conversations with people I didn't know. I think lack of confidence is something that plagues many women. And there’s nowhere less comforting than a networking event – those crucial get-togethers in any sector that can to an extent determine the success of our careers. So, I wanted to share some personal tips that have over time helped me feel more comfortable in networking situations:

  1. Arrive early: Often, the most important people will arrive early to make sure the event is set up. If you arrive before the main crowd, you may get chance to speak to the main organiser, who will often then facilitate introductions to guest speakers, the event sponsors, or other attendees. It also means you don't have to break into existing and established conversations.
  2. F.O.R.M small talk: If you haven't seen it, you must watch the origins of small talk! Small talk needn't be awkward and can often lead to deeper and meaningful conversations. F.O.R.M. it is a memory tool for when you are in social situations and you want to get to know the person you are talking with. F.O.R.M stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Message -four areas you can use as conversation helpers in just about any social situation.
    1. Family: ask where they live, how they traveled...this gets the person talking about themselves and gives you a chance to learn about them.
    2. Occupation: what do you do for a living? When they tell you what they do, you have a great opportunity to ask them about their job-if it's in an industry you are familiar with you can comment about how competitive it is, or how challenging. If you are unfamiliar with their industry, here's your chance to learn about it.
    3. Recreation: this one's easy! What do you do for fun? If they participate in a sport or interest that you enjoy as well, you can swap stories and really build a memorable relationship with the person.
    4. Message: when you feel the conversation winding down, or you want to move on to meet other people in the group, have your "message" that you want this person to remember about you ready to go. It's something like your elevator speech, but much more personal to the individual you are talking to. For me, my message is simple. "It was great to meet you, Steven. If you ever need help with any professional development training or you run into someone who needs careers related help –then let me know, I would be delighted to help”.
  3. Watch your body language: Your body is giving constant signals the entire time, so make sure these, too, are geared towards projecting confidence and are open and welcoming. Little tricks like, shoulders back, head up, hands unclenched, arms unfolded can make a huge difference. Switch off your mobile phone and put it away so you are not tempted to hide behind it. Do watch this TED X talk to find out more about this interesting piece of research on body language.
  4. Know when to leave: I always set myself a target: have five good conversations and meet the key people I set out to meet. This means I know I have an end in sight and don't out stay my welcome or linger!  If asked, I say I have somewhere else to be and exit graciously.
  5. Follow up: As soon as you leave the networking event, spend a few minutes jotting down key points from the individual conversations you had. Within 24-hours, send a short email and simply say that you enjoyed meeting them and try to reflect back on a point from the conversation. The tips from Forbes on how to master the art of networking follow-up are excellent!

I hope these tips help and if you are attending the Women in Leadership Conference tomorrow, do put them to practice!

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Should you disclose your sexuality?

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📥  Advice, Diversity, Tips & Hints

Within the careers service we understand just how difficult it can be to embark on your first internship, placement or graduate job. This anxiety can be amplified even further, if you're also worried about having to hide your sexual orientation or gender identity. I often find myself talking to students who aren't sure whether to disclose their sexuality or not. First and foremost, only you can decide whether or not to reveal your sexuality; it’s your personal life, and you have every right to keep it that way if you wish.

The main law relating to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is the Equality Act 2010. It provides the right not to be disadvantaged nor treated badly at work nor in education because of your sexual orientation. Therefore it is worth bearing in mind that you don't have to disclose your sexual orientation at any point during the recruitment process so don't feel like you need to include it in your CV, covering letter or application form. Much the same applies with interviews as with the application process.

You may also want to take your time and research the right employer, an excellent source of information and help when looking for positive employers is Stonewall. You may want to look at the 'Starting Out: Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Careers Guide' and 'The Workplace Equality Index' which Stonewall publishes annually.

You may decide once you're settled in your new place of work that you'd like to be open and share your sexual orientation with your colleagues. Please do take a moment to read this excellent article by the Huffington Post on Coming out of the Closet. If you do decide to share your sexuality, these tips may help:

  • Make sure you’re emotionally ready to be known as your genuine self.
  • If there are other people “out” in your workplace already, maybe seek their confidential guidance in how they approached their own announcement.
  • Know your employer’s diversity policies. Do they have an LGBT group for example? May be worth contacting your HR department.
  • Do think about how others at work may react and your emotional response to their reaction.

 

Inspiration from two Sprint speakers

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📥  Diversity, inspire

 

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We are delighted to share inspirational advice from two of our speakers who will be presenting to our Sprint participants next week.

Catherine Wenger
Associate Director, West Water Group Leader - Arup

Catherine read Civil Engineering at Bristol University and joined Arup upon graduation. Her first project was the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden working on designing bouncy ballet rehearsal room floors and a studio theatre that wouldn’t vibrate from passing underground trains. Over the next 4 years Catherine worked on a wonderful range of buildings and did a year’s site experience with O’Rourkes and focused on securing her Civil Chartership. Catherine moved to San Francisco with the company a month after taking her civils interview to work on seismic buildings. With her knowledge of American Codes, Catherine was well placed to deliver a large-scale project in Panama.   Catherine led a multi-disciplinary team working across 11 countries.  Catherine's advice to women embarking on their careers:

  • Say yes to opportunities – I didn’t know anything about Water but found the challenge really rewarding.
  • Discuss promotions with your support network – knowing that my husband, parents and friends would step in and help whilst I took on more responsibility was vital to agreeing to the leadership role I now hold.
  • Be realistic about part time working – I have done 3, 4 and 5 day weeks, shuffled my days around and tried all sorts of combinations to suit what I was doing at any particular time.

Collette Rogers
Principal Program Manager - Microsoft

Colette applied for a place on a degree course in business computing as an adult returner (after her children started school). While she was  apprehensive about studying again she found the course really stimulating and achieved a 1st class degree. Since then, Collete has worked in the IT industry for 17 years and has experienced  much change and innovation in that time.  Colette's advice to women embarking on their careers:

  • Always stretch for goals you don’t think you can reach, you will surprise yourself about what you can achieve
  • Leading people is about setting direction and removing obstacles it isn’t about dominating others
  • Difficult things will happen but you can always choose how you deal with them so choose to be positive and optimistic
  • Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching