Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Topic: Finding a Job

My story: working internationally - broadening your horizons

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Uncategorized

Broadening your horizons – working internationally

international horizons

Working abroad can be an incredible experience. I have worked in three different countries; USA, UK and Norway (I am Norwegian) and I have volunteered teaching English in China and Argentina. I have had some amazing experiences which I don’t want to change for the world, but at the same time it is important to be prepared and realise that applying for jobs and working abroad may bring its own issues as well. This is my personal story on how working internationally has changed me, broadened my horizons and made me who I am today, but I will also share some important lessons as well.

 

Thinking about working internationally?

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You want to work overseas and have a real wish to explore the world? Then go for it! However, do consider any language, visa or work permit requirements of the country you are going to. Finding a job in Argentina without speaking Spanish will limit the job opportunities straight away. In addition, if you would like to work in Norway you are pretty much limited to bar and café work if you do not speak Norwegian. You may also have visa limitations. After going to University in the US, I had a year’s work permit, which I was sure I could extend. I was six months in to a job I loved, with colleagues I loved in a city I loved (Seattle), when I found out that the work permit could not be extended. I did not have a job that fit the visa requirements and had to leave the country within the next 4 weeks, saying goodbye to everyone in the process. My lesson to you is therefore to research as much as possible before you go!

 

Applying for jobs internationally?

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Be aware that applying for jobs and selection processes may be slightly different depending on which country you are looking to work in. After 15 years in the UK I moved back to Norway in 2014. Networking and who you know is very important with regards to applying for jobs in Norway and as I had not kept many social networks, I discovered that in the interview process many of the interview attendees already worked for the company or knew someone in the company. In addition, the interview questions were personality-based (similar to strength-based), as they did not care too much about your skills or experience but instead they wanted to figure out whether you, as a person, would fit in the company. The whole interview normally just turned into an informal chat. Being used to competency-based questions from the UK I must say it took a couple of interviews to adapt! Researching how different countries have different selection processes and also what websites to look at to find work, is therefore important.

We have some excellent links and resources on our website, also Prospects and TargetJobs have wonderful resources and country guides for you to look through,

 

Working internationally

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So you have researched where you want to go and have successfully applied for a job overseas. Well done, your year(s) ahead may be full of new adventures, new friendships, perhaps learning a new language and, of course, a new job. In my last job in the US I worked at a US-Asian NGO and I learnt so much in few months I was there (before my visa expired) and met some amazing people from the US as well as many Asian countries. In some ways it laid the basis for the person I am today, I learnt to work with people from different cultures and with different ways of communicating and working. For example, any decision whether small or large always had to be made together, so I attended lots and lots of meetings in this job with people from all levels of seniority. In addition, I learnt the importance of company health insurance in the US and the very limited number of holiday days you get! In Norway, on the other hand, I learnt that in addition to your normal sick days, as a mother (or father) you get additional sick days for your child. You learn quickly that there are different ways of working, of communicating or solving issues. These are just some of the charms of working abroad and will really benefit you in any jobs and teams in the future.

Apart from the job, you now have the opportunity to explore the city and the country you are in. Be a tourist, be a local, try new food, connect with people, learn new customs, find new activities, explore your new life! I still think that some of the best seafood I have ever had is from Seattle harbourside, the best food overall is from China, I have visited old castles and palaces, volcanoes and mountain ranges, learnt that I actually do like walking in nature and have met some wonderful people along the way.

 

After working internationally

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So, you have decided to come home again from working overseas.  I have learnt a lot from working abroad, but it is my ability to adapt to different circumstances and different people which I value the most. You learn different ways of working, different ways of applying for jobs and you get to know a different country, often getting to know the country “the local way” if you stay long enough. In addition, I have learnt a lot about myself in the process, increasing my self-confidence and awareness of myself and other people, whatever area of the world they are from.

Employers in the UK really look positively on people with international experience, as they bring back valuable skills, a creative outlook, different experiences, networks and the ability to adapt to any situation and communicate to people from a variety of backgrounds.  Maybe you can find a job in an international company that can take advantage of your expertise in a specific country? I have found that my international experience has interested employers, it is usually a topic of conversation in interviews and I have gained employment at least in some part owing to my experience overseas. Therefore, if you feel up to the challenge and think you will truly enjoy and thrive living in a different country, then go for it! It will be an adventure of a lifetime and you will change as a person.

Want to get to know other people who have worked abroad? Have a look at our international case studies.

So what happened to me?

I still work “overseas” as I have found my second home here in the UK, learning to live life “the local way”.  Now I can’t imagine to be anywhere else. I have lived here for nearly 16 years in total. So be aware that “a few years working abroad” may turn into a lifetime........

 

 

 

Your CV has 8.8 seconds to impress!

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📥  Advice, Careers Resources, Finding a Job, Tips & Hints

Research has shown that recruiters spend an average of just 9 seconds scanning your CV before deciding whether you are a potential fit for their vacancy. You might think this is unfair but as my grandmother always said, "if you want to catch a fish, think like a fish"

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Look at it from the employers pespective: you have an afternoon set aside to sift over 100 CV's whilst juggling your day-today work and a bulging inbox full of urgent emails. You simply won't have the time or inclination to read through every CV in detail; infact according to the Independent the process of reviewing CVs has become  ‘Tinderised’ with each CV given just a few seconds to stand out against the competition before being kept or cast aside.”

My colleague Aste Dahl wrote a fantastic post on five CV mistakes to avoid, which is really worth a read. What else can you do to ensure your CV grabs an employers attention?

  • Get the look right: choose the right font and make sure it is the right size! Use 14 font for your name and 11 font for the rest of your CV. Use Ariel or another clear font style (Times New Roman works) – most importantly, remember your CV needs to be accessible to the reader.
  • Use visual aids: bullet points, line breaks, bold formatting and tabs. These are all simple tools you use to make an impact.
  • Avoid ready made templates: CV's are an opportunity for you to demonstrate your personality and individuality to an employer. Where possible add a personal touch to your CV so you stand out from the competition. Please note, some employers specify specific templates, if this is the case then do as the employer asks!
  • Length matters: an employer potentially has another 99 CV's to look through. If your CV is too long, you'll loose the employer - the general rule is no more than two pages. However in some sectors such as Banking and Management Consulting, recruiters expect a 1-page CV.  Remember, a CV that is too short immediately suggests that you don't have enough experience, which could potentially put you out of the race.
  • Its all about consistency: make sure you are consistent in the use of bullet points, the font size and spacing on your CV. This projects professionalism and conveys strong attention to detail skills.
  • Get feedback: book a quick query with one of our careers advisers for constructive feedback.

 

Making full use of your gap year!

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📥  Finding a Job, inspire, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Making full use of your gap year!

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Before I took a year off to go travelling, I was worried that I would return to unemployment and worst of all, having to go back to living with my parents!! However, returning to the job market after a year away, I found myself with a whole new skillset, with new ideas and experiences and last but definitely not least, I returned with a sense of direction and passion which re-affirmed my career path in guidance and advice. So what did this year away teach me? How can what I learnt help you take full advantage of your gap year?

I learnt a new language - After a year in South America I was near fluent in conversational Spanish. I did a beginner’s course while in Buenos Aires, and this course taught me all the basics needed and gave me the opportunity to connect with the locals. In addition I practised my language skills as much as possible, whether that meant on the bus, in the hostel or on a night out.

Learning a new language can open up doors with regards to employment opportunities, not only in other countries but also in international jobs in the UK.

I volunteered teaching English - I had already taken a CELTA  course before I went travelling. With a CELTA I could have easily found a paid teaching job in Argentina but I decided to volunteer, teaching in disadvantaged communities.

Because of my teaching experiences abroad, I had a range of options teaching English when I returned to the UK, although most were low paid. With a CELTA qualification and teaching experience abroad, you will easier be able to teach English in the UK. Although I did not pursue a career in teaching, I continued volunteering teaching English when I returned to the UK.

I learnt that I had no problems travelling alone - I travelled alone almost the entire time and loved it. I found that I never ever got bored, was able to be social whenever I wanted to and had 100% trust in myself to find my way around.

Travelling alone was one of the skills that was highly valued by employers after my travels, and was one of the reasons I gained employment as an international student recruiter, working and travelling in the US for three months.

I learnt that I love people and their stories - What I loved most about travelling was meeting people of all different cultures. I made some intense friendships along the way. I also met random people on busses or ferries who would tell me their life stories. I cherished almost every human encounter and enjoyed listening to what they had to say, whether that was an American woman travelling the world to deal with the grief of losing her mum or listening to Inca women in Bolivia talking about the historical impact of Spanish imperialism.

Increasing my people skills and interpersonal skills re-affirmed my desire to work in guidance and advice. My travelling experience and my increased cultural awareness were also some of the reasons why I gained employment in international student support.

Travelling gave me new energy and direction - One of the reasons why I took a year out was to “find myself”, and I somewhat did! I came back full of ideas about what I wanted to do in both my life and my career, I came back with tons of self-confidence and with a belief that I could do whatever I wanted, as long as I put my mind to it.


So how can my learning experiences from my gap year help you take advantage of yours? Well, here are some pointers:

  •      Think about doing something else than just backpacking, such as learning a new language or volunteer, doing something you are interested in. Employers will look positively on using the year productively
  •      Really think about the different types of skills you acquire, such as people skills, organisational skills or increase in confidence. Show examples of them in an interview, employers will take them seriously!
  •      Think about what you learnt about yourself during your year away. How can this benefit the role or the company/organisation you are applying to?
  •      If you are applying to international jobs, show evidence to employers about your ability to travel, alone if you did that, make decisions, solve problems, communicate in a different language or manage different cultural encounters. These skills are highly valued. Perhaps some of the people you met along the way could help you gain employment abroad? Networking is key.

But most of all, fully immerse yourself in the travelling experience, meet people of all different cultures and enjoy the freedom and confidence that travelling gives you.

Bath Careers have more information about how to take advantage of your gap year: http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/get-work-experience/gap-year/index.html

 

 

 

The Fast Stream and Beyond - some insights into Civil Service Recruitment

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📥  Careers Resources, Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Sector Insight, Subject Related Careers

Civil Service overview

The Civil Service does the practical and administrative work of government. More than half of all civil servants provide services direct to the public. If you want to know more about the Civil Service and it's purpose then go here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/civil-service/about. If you are interested in the work of the more than 60 government departments and over 100 agencies then these can easily be found on the https://www.gov.uk/ website where every department and agency has a space.

Jobs within the Civil Service can range from administrative positions within departments to embassy posts with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).  There are also a number of professions employed within the Civil Service including economists, statisticians and scientists . Staff may work anywhere in the United Kingdom and possibly overseas, although the majority involved in policy work are located in London. There are increasing numbers of opportunities within the devolved regions and some departments are based in locations such as Bristol, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

The ‘Professional Skills for Government’ framework ensures that all staff are able to operate effectively in operational, corporate services and policy roles. This is particularly true of the Fast Stream which can often be thought of as a purely policy role.  Increasingly special advisers and senior posts are filled from outside the ranks of existing civil servants.

The Civil Service is at its smallest size now the second world war and yet Brexit may mean more staff are required to carry out work previously done in Brussels. It is hard to know how this will play out. We know the 2016 Civil Service Fast Stream recruitment numbers were increased after the selection process had been completed.  After the selection process candidates hear whether they have got a job offer. They are given an overall score  out of 20 and then ranked with offers being made from the top down to the recruitment level for that year. We know of some good candidates who initially missed out but had an offer come through later as numbers were increased. We don't know if that can be attributed to Brexit or the change in government departments that Theresa May bought in when she became PM but this might bode well for the next round of recruitment.

Civil Service Fast Stream

This is the accelerated development programme for graduates which is open annually between end of September (29th in 2016) and end of  November (30th in 2016). This includes entry into the Diplomatic Service. It is also possible to apply to the Civil Service Fast Stream even though you are working within the Civil Service. See http://www.faststream.gov.uk/and follow their Facebook page. There are several different Fast Streams:

Analytical Options (AFS):

  • Government Economic Service (GES)
  • Government Operational Research Service (GORS)
  • Government Statistical Service (GSS)
  • Government Social Research Service (GSR)

Corporate Options:

  • Generalist (GFS)
    • Central Departments  (GD)
    • Diplomatic Service (DS)
    • Houses of Parliament (HoP)
    • Science and Engineering (SEFS) (only open to postgraduates)
  • European (EFS)
  • Northern Ireland (NIS)
  • Commercial (Commercial and Finance) (CFS)
  • Internal Audit (Commercial and Finance) (IAFS)
  • Finance (Commercial and Finance) (FIFS)
  • Human Resources (HRF)
  • Government Communication Service (GCFS)
  • Digital and Technology (DAT)

Other Civil Service Graduate Schemes

Graduate schemes run by individual departments can be hard to find out about so keeping an eye on the Civil Service Jobs website is important as not all have dedicated webpages available to see year round (see  section below).

It is also worth noting that many Civil Service graduate schemes make offers of jobs at the grade below to ‘near misses’. This happens in the Fast Stream too. Those that scored only a few points below the overall benchmark may be made an offer or an interview for a role at Executive Officer grade (the grade below the one Fast Streamers start on). This isn’t always well publicised because employers don’t want to raise candidate expectations but it is worth being aware that applications to the Fast Stream or other Graduate Scheme can be a good entry point into the Civil Service.

Other services who recruit graduates include MI5 https://www.mi5.gov.uk/careers/, MI6 https://www.sis.gov.uk/explore-careers.htmland GCHQ https://www.gchq-careers.co.uk/apply-now.html

Other Civil Service Jobs

The place to look for all Civil Service vacancies is https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk. Create an account and you can then set up some preferences and then receive regular job updates by email. You will need to click "Show more" to be able to select Job Grade as a preference. Why should you look here? Because there are many jobs that would be suitable for graduates within the Civil Service that are not part of the Fast Stream or other Graduate Schemes.

Frequently spotted on Civil Service Jobs :

  • HMRC Social Researchers
  • Temporary Statistical Officers
  • Temporary Assistant Economists
  • Various individual Scientist Posts suitable for both undergraduates and postgraduates
  • Graduate Internships at Executive Officer level

Work Experience

There are two schemes available:

  • Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP) is only available to those in their final year at University, with an ethnic minority background, those with a disability or those from under-represented socio-economic backgrounds.
  • Early Diversity Internship Programme (EDIP)

You will find that placements are available through your placement office in some government departments and others may be advertised through the Civil Service Jobs website mentioned previously. There is not a strong expectation that you will have gained experience within the Civil Service before applying for a graduate job there. Think about the competencies that they recruit against and develop your experience to demonstrate these.

Understanding Grades in the Civil Service

I cannot guarantee this is accurate but it gives an idea.

Grade descriptions are used as follows in descending order:

Grade 6/7 £40,000 - £60,000

Senior Executive Officer/Higher Executive Officer £28,00 - 38,000 (this is where you enter the Fast Stream). Fast Streamers are expected to accelerate from HEO to Grade 7 quickly (3/4 years), whereas the climb to Grade 7 outside the fast stream is much slower.

Executive Officer c £20,000 - 28,000 (this could be a good entry level job for a graduate)

Administrative Officer/Administrative Assistant £16,00 to 24,000 (this could also be an entry point into the Civil Service but I would tend towards Administrative Officer level therefore at the higher end of this salary range.)

Nationality Requirements

There is strict criteria regarding nationality for entry to the Civil Service and comprehensive guidelines are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nationality-rules. Any job in the Civil Service is open to applicants who are UK nationals or have dual nationality (with one being British). About 75% of Civil Service posts are also open to Commonwealth citizens and nationals of any of the member states of the European Economic Area (EEA), although at some point this latter group will have their status changed once the UK's exit from the EU is settled. I am advised that the Civil Service is not a Tier 2 sponser.

 

Alternatives to Grad Schemes and Public Sector Grad Schemes

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📥  Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Sector Insight, Subject Related Careers

Just a quick note today in response to some comments from students that all the jobs being advertised are for business roles. It is not strictly true as MyFuture carries many opportunities with a wide range of employers.  We strongly recommend that you look our two job hunting guides:

Public Sector Graduate Schemes

There are some great public sector schemes either open or about to open some of which are already in MyFuture:

Civil Service Fast Stream (various different streams) open now closing date 30th November
National Graduate Development Programme (local government) opens 24 October 2016 and close on 11 January 2017
Frontline (working with vulnerable children and families) closes 21st November
NHS Graduate Scheme (four different schemes) Opens in around 11th October closes early December
Think Ahead ( fast track scheme for mental health social work) closes 1st December
Teach First (Teach First Leadership Development Programme) closes 30th June 2017
Imperial College London's Graduate Management Training Scheme closing date 30th October 2016
Ofcom Graduate Scheme 2017 closing date Jan 3rd 2017
Health and Social Care Information Centre Graduate Scheme ran in 2016 and opened in February, no information yet if the scheme is running this year.
IntoUniversity Trainee Graduate Education Worker closes 7th January 2017

Charity Sector

Check out Careers in the Charity Sector on Moodle for resources.

Two Grad schemes open at the moment:

EVENT: Working in the Not for Profit/Charity Sector - 2 Bath Alumina stories
1-Dec-2016 at 1:15 - 2.05 pm We have invited two Bath alumni to come and talk to you. One has a senior role in a national charity and the other is part of the CharityWorks Graduate Scheme.

Graduate Jobs other than Grad Schemes

Whilst many employers come to Bath to recruit our students there are many other areas of work that graduates can work in which have alternative or less visible ways of recruiting. Our Careers Advisers have produced a series of information sheets to help students with some of these areas. They can all be downloaded from the information resources section of our website:

  • Alternative careers in science
  •  Careers for modern linguists
  •  Careers for those studying economics
  • Careers in biosciences & pharmaceuticals
  • Careers in medicine, dentistry & allied health
  • Careers in scientific analysis and R&D
  • Careers in sport
  • International development, international organisations and international relations careers
  • Politics careers, including working in Westminster and Europe
  • Social policy, social sciences and sociology careers
  • Working in the charity sector

 

The Early career bird lands a job!

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📥  Advice, Applications, Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs

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I can picture the scenario, you've had a super summer and it can be a bit of a drag getting back into academic studies. This is even harder if you're a finalist and returning from placement as adjusting from the freedom of work (and earning money) to being a student is tough. Fear not, you have 9 months after which the big wide world beckons. So, what can you do to harness the career early bird and bag yourself a job before you graduate? Some of the big graduate schemes are already open for business, so there’s no time to waste if you want to get ahead of the pack.

  1. Make a list: yep, that old chestnut! However, making a list of the key employers you are interested in by application deadline will help you plan and prioritise your applications. The Careers Service's MyFuture site along with GradDiary are really useful. You can search by company and sort by application deadline. Key is to make a start and actually apply, especially as many employers recruit on a rolling basis.
  2. Haste makes waste: before you rush off to start writing your applications, just pause for a moment and put yourself in the shoes of a graduate recruiter.  Many employers will sift through thousands of applications - its a pretty monotonous task. Therefore they'll be looking for reasons to reject, not select, applicants and nearly all will carry out a rapid “first cut” to remove the worst offenders. Spelling, grammar and general attention to detail are key when writing applications.
  3. Get it checked: the best thing you can do is get a second opinion against your applications. A fresh pair of eyes will spot little mistakes that you didn't event notice. Simply, book a quick query with one of our careers advisers.
  4. Go to stuff: our employer team have been busy bees over the summer putting together an excellent programme of employer events. This includes a two-day careers fair, skills sessions and information presentations. Really worth attending as you'll pick up little tips and insights that will not only make your application stand out but will also help you articulate your motivation to future employers.
  5. Believe in yourself: Many of us watched Andy Murray win Wimbledon this year. He plainly believed in himself and his ability and was able to put his past disappointments to one side. The same personal confidence is essential to successful job hunting. If you don’t believe that you can do a good job, then you stand no chance of being able to convince an interview panel that this is the case!

 

Beyond the Lab: Developing your Industrial Biotechnology Career

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📥  Academic Career, Career Choice, Finding a Job, For PhDs, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints

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An interesting blog worth reading from the University of Bath's Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies:

Beyond the Lab: Developing your Industrial Biotechnology Career

 

 

Are you getting paid the new living wage?

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📥  Advice, Finding a Job, Internships, Work Experience

The Government’s National Living Wage was introduced on 1st April. For students and graduates over the age of 25 this means by law you should be being paid at least £7.20 per hour. For more information about how this might affect you take a look online. If you are unsure about how this affects you, get in touch with the Students Union.

If you are looking for work experience especially over the summer then look at our guide online or grab a copy from the careers service.

 

 

Top tips to ace online tests!

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📥  Applications, Finding a Job, Tips & Hints

Aptitude tests can strike fear  into the most confident of students, however there is a strong possibility you'll encounter them if you are applying for an internship, placement or graduate job.


Commonly used tests include verbal reasoning (understanding logic or patterns with words), numerical reasoning (drawing data from graphs or solving maths problems), situational judgement (aiming to find out about the type of worker you are, and how you would respond in different workplace scenarios), and e-tray exercises (assessing your skills of organisation or prioritisation by using a simulated work email inbox). Whilst these tests will vary from one employer to another, I hope the tips below help you feel more confident:

  • Research: find out as much as you can about the type of test the employer uses. Sites such as ratemyplacement, studentroom forums and Glassdoor carry feedback from other job seekers about particular companies. It is also perfectly OK to contact the employer  by email or phone to see if you can find out more about the tests they use in the selection process.
  • Practice makes perfect: a little practice will help you get used to the type of questions that may come up and the best ways of approaching them. Swotting up on basic maths can be particularly useful if you are sitting numerical tests as this is an area we can all get a bit rusty on. Through the careers service you can access some excellent practice tests (more information below)
  • Use common sense:  in the overwhelming majority of cases these tests aren’t set up to trick you. With tests such as situational judgement and e-tray in particular they are merely trying to work out how you would react in corresponding real life work scenarios so think carefully about the best actions to take and how this may impact on others. It may be useful to read the job description which will have clues about the priorities of the role.
  • Take your time: this isnt about winning - the key to ace online tests is to give yourself plenty of time to read (and re-read) the questions and to work at a steady pace.

Practice makes perfect
We have lots of useful information  available on the Careers Service website including access to some great practice materials such as:

  • Graduates First: contains seven numerical, verbal and logical reasoning tests. You can also take a personality and situational judgement test. Simply sign-in using your Bath student log-in and access the tests, detailed reports and video tutorials.
  • Team Focus: practise reasoning tests and assessments designed to establish learning style, personality type and values determining motivation at work.

You may also want to explore the support available through MASH (at the University) who can help you brush up on basic maths and stats concepts.

 

Get Connected in International Careers Week

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Career Development, Event, Finding a Job, International Students, Networking, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints

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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!