Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Topic: Graduate Jobs

The Employers Are Coming – Get Prepared for The Careers Fair!

  , , , ,

📥  Advice, Career Choice, Careers Fairs, Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Tips & Hints

The Employers Are Coming – Get Prepared for The Careers Fair!


On Thursday and Friday 19th and 20th October the employers are coming to campus! We will have around 200 employers over the two days from a range of different sectors. This is a unique opportunity for Bath graduates, undergraduates and postgraduates of any year to meet a range of employers in one venue, and will give you the chance to ask questions and assess the types of jobs on offer in an informal setting. Remember this is not just for graduate roles, there are also employers offering summer internships and placements.

The 2017 fair will be held from 11am to 4pm both days, and will be at the Sports Training Village (Netball Courts).

So how do you prepare for the careers fair? Well here are few tips for you:

 

  • Research the employers coming to the fair. The leaflet is out and you can download it from our website.  There are employers from a range of sectors within business and engineering, but we also have charities and public sector represented by organisations such as Cancer Research UK, Department of Education, Welsh Government, Frontline and Teach First. A lot of commercial companies also recruit students from all disciplines so there is something here for anyone, whatever your degree.
  • Plan your visit! Which employers do you want to see and where are they? Make sure to target the employers and find out where they are by checking the Careers Fair map.
  • Prepare questions for the employers you are interested in. The answers may make you decide on what career pathways are best for you or may inspire you to apply for a summer internship or a graduate role. Questions may cover a range of subjects. Maybe you are curious about the day to day work activities, the culture of the workplace? Or maybe you would like to know what type of skills or experiences they are looking for so that you can tailor your job application or prepare for a future interview? Maybe you want to learn more about the industry or the sector, the current issues or developments?  Have a think about what you would like to know and prepare your questions beforehand. Avoid asking the companies what they do, researching the companies or organisations beforehand should help you with that! More ideas for questions to ask can be found here.
  • Wear something nice. No need to wear a suit or business attire, but avoid looking scruffy or avoid looking like you have just just come from the gym. First impressions counts, even at a careers fair.
  • Prepare your CV. You never know when an opportunity arises to give an employer your CV. If you would like some feedback on your CV, have a look at our excellent CV guide and come to one of our quick query appointments to have it looked over. You can book these appointments through MyFuture.

Finally, just be yourself and enjoy the day. We hope that you will come out of the fair with ideas, inspiration and knowledge that you can use further in  your career.

For more information, see our website for more details or on how to prepare for the Careers Fair, have a look at our Careers Fair Guide.

 

 

 

 

Careers in the Civil Service

  , , , , ,

📥  Advice, Career Choice, Careers Resources, Commercial Awareness, Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Internships, Sector Insight

Careers in the Civil Service


This blog post was originally posted by Sue Briault, but has been updated to include current information and links. For up to date news and information about Civil Service Fast Stream and for the chance of interacting with current fast streamers, make sure to like Civil Service Fast Stream Careers on Facebook


About the Civil Service

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. 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 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.

When applying to jobs in the civil service it is important to research the Civil Service competencies, which sets out how the Civil Service want people to work. Research the competencies and write down examples from your academic background, work experiences and/or extra-curricular activities to see how they compare and fit with each competency.

Civil Service Fast Stream

This is the accelerated development programme for graduates. Applications opened in September and will close in October 2017, so if you are interested, apply now! 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.  There are several different Fast Streams and you can find more information about the schemes on the Fast Stream website.

  • Analytical Options (AFS):

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

  • Other Options:

Generalist
Human Resources
Diplomatic Service
Diplomatic Economic Scheme
Houses of Parliament
Science and Engineering (only open to postgraduates)
Commercial
Finance
Government Communication Service
Project Delivery
Digital, Data and Technology
Other Civil Service Graduate Schemes

Other 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, MI6 and GCHQ.

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:

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.

Nationality Requirements

There is strict criteria regarding nationality for entry to the Civil Service and comprehensive guidelines are available here. 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 sponsor.

 

Every company needs a Data Scientist...

  , ,

📥  Career Choice, Careers Fairs, Graduate Jobs, inspire, Labour Market Intelligence

What if there was one skill you could acquire that would help you secure a job in any industry?
That skill set is: Data Science.

 

In a report published by IBM this year, demand for Data Scientists will soar by 28% in 2020. Key take aways from the report were:

  • 59% of all Data Science and Analytics (DSA) job demand is in Finance and Insurance, Professional Services, and IT.
  • By 2020 the number of Data Science and Analytics job vacancies are projected to grow to approximately 2,720,000.
  • Machine learning, big data, and data science skills are the most challenging to recruit for.

Think of the sheer amount of data available to organisations and individuals today. As a result, we are no longer able to rely on humans to derive any meaningful insights. Instead we are relying on algorithms which has given birth to the term machine learning. The field of Data Science is bit of a moving target, with new jobs emerging daily - however below are the key roles you may wish to consider:

  • Data Scientist / Engineer: I think this is one of those all encompassing titles. Every organisation can potentially benefit from someone who can analyse past performance of their business to predict future opportunities. The 'Data Scientist' role is more generalist and could be the first step into this field of work. You will need to be confident with stats and have the ability to communicate complex information in an accessible way.
  • Business Intelligence (BI) Analyst: According to Microsoft, BI is all about simplifying data so that it can easily be used by  decision makers within a business. This is a technology driven position, with few entry level roles.
  • Machine Learning Specialist: Machine Learning is a method of teaching computers to make and improve behaviours and predictions based on use of data. As an individual you'll need excellent attention to detail and the ability to think creatively.
  • Data Visualisation Specialist: this is an industry neutral role enabling you to work in any sector or business. The primary job is to creatively and appropriately visualise and present complex data. You'll need strong programming skills and knowledge of databases. This is a highly creative role.
  • Business Analytics Specialist: a role requiring you to be business and tech savvy! This is more of a project management role where you work with technical teams to implement projects internally or for your clients.

So, inspired to find out more? Why not come along to our Careers Fair on 19-20 October, over 200 employers will be on campus. You can use this opportunity to learn about how they are approaching the big data conundrum and the opportunities available to you once you graduate.

 

 

Graduate Fair Blog Series: Looking for work locally?

  , , , ,

📥  Advice, Careers Fairs, Careers Resources, Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Labour Market Intelligence, Tips & Hints

Bath3

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.


So you are graduating soon and you want to stay in the local area, great! There may be many reasons for this, perhaps you are from here or have established family here? Perhaps you love the area so much you would like to stay (like I did 10 years ago)?  Whatever reason, Bath, Bristol and the rest of the South West are lovely places to live and work.

The disadvantages by looking in one region only

Be aware that looking in one region only may limit your job opportunities. In some towns and cities certain industries dominate, while others are under-represented. Limiting yourself geographically may not match with your particular career choices so you need to do your research. Ask yourself how long you are willing to commute? Bath and Bristol are commutable, but you may also want to consider towns like Cheltenham, Swindon and Reading or Newport in Wales. Work out how you will get to work, the costs and how far you are prepared to travel so you can look beyond the immediate locality.

Employers in the Bath area

Bath is not a big city so it is limited in terms of which sectors/industries are located here. The biggest employers in Bath are in the education and health sectors, i.e. the two Universities and the NHS. A wealth of software development firms base themselves in Bath and several internationally recognised architectural and engineering consultancies are found in Bath (source: Bath and North East Somerset Council). See our graduate jobs leaflet for more details on companies and organisations in Bath.

Major Industries in the South West

The major specialisms/growth areas in the SW:

  • Advanced Engineering which includes Aerospace (Bristol), Automotive (Swindon), measuring instruments and medical devices (Gloucestershire)
  • Biomedical and Healthcare (Bristol/Bath and Exeter/Plymouth)
  • Creative Industries (Bristol, Gloucestershire and Plymouth areas)
  • Environmental Technologies
  • Food and Drink (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset)
  • Information Communication Technology (Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bristol, Devon)
  • Leisure and Tourism
  • Marine (Devon, Cornwall and Dorset)

Source: www.gradsouthwest.com which includes more details about these sectors.


Gradsouthwest will be at the graduate fair, do go and ask them any question you may have about staying in the South West! In addition, CIMPA, Decision Analysis Services, Sword Apak and Rise Technical Recruitment have roles in Bristol and London and Country Mortgages has roles in Bath!  Research these employers and the roles they can offer in our Graduate Fair programme.


How to find local work as a graduate?

First, you should make a list of employers that you are interested in.

Find out what employers exist in the area that are in the sectors or industries you would like to work in. Our Find a Graduate job leaflet has some great tips for you:

  • Monitor local job adverts – senior posts will still alert you to potential employers
  • Ask local people which companies they know
  • Tap into local networks of relevant professional bodies or looking for local business groups
  • Look for news items, articles and annual reports in local newspapers and business magazines for potential job growth, e.g. new factories/offices, new product/service launches, organisations relocating, takeovers etc.
  • Keep your eyes open for businesses of interest
  • Building local contacts from your own recreational activities.

You can also find A-Z lists of employers that have been in contact with us on our website.

What are the typical job websites?

You are able to search for local jobs in MyFuture, but be aware that there will be many more jobs available that are not advertised on MyFuture. Bath Chronicle advertises jobs in the Bath area, Bristol Evening Post in the Bristol area. Duport business confidence reports details business performance trends in the city. There are many more local job sites for you to try, please go here for a comprehensive list.

Contacting employers speculatively

As you know, most jobs are not advertised! Therefore, you should be flexible and creative in your approach to employers. Can you apply speculatively? Use LinkedIn in your job search? Get ideas from friends and other contacts? Our Find a Graduate Job leaflet gives you an insight in to different strategies in job hunting.

What else is there to say but the best of luck in your search and maybe I will see you for lunch in Bath or Bristol soon!

good-luck-1200588_960_720

 

Graduate Fair Blog Series: The many ways of getting into teaching!

  , , , ,

📥  Advice, Careers Fairs, Graduate Jobs, inspire, Sector Insight, Subject Related Careers, Tips & Hints

 

Teacher Facing Pupils In High School Science Class Infront Of A Whiteboard

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.


I wanted to become a teacher once. I am from a family of teachers so that may have influenced me, but I also like to teach, to relay ideas, inspiration and motivation to an audience or work together with students to find solutions. Do you feel the same?

In the UK there are several ways to become a primary or a secondary teacher, and this blog entry will summarize the different ways and give you additional resources to research whether any one of these pathways is the right one for you. You can also get free help and support from Department for Education, such as one-to-one tailored support in the application process and getting you help with regards to finding work experience in schools. Take advantage of their expertise.


Department for Education will be present at the Graduate Fair. This is a great chance for you to talk to someone about all the different routes available and the differences in applications. Do not miss this opportunity!


teaching3

Training options

You can choose whether your training option is school-led, meaning that your training will be based in a school, or you can choose your training to be at a University. There are also several specialist training options.

  • School – led training

This option is for students who wants to get hands-on training and are not afraid to try out their skills from day one. You’ll get the chance to work in at least two different schools and learn from experienced colleagues. These courses generally lasts for a year and most places do also offer a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education). School-led courses are referred to as SCITT (School-Centred Initial Teaching Training) or Schools Direct.

Find more information about this option, go here.

  • University-led postgraduate training

This postgraduate training option is based at a University. University training lasts normally one year full-time or two years’ part-time. Your training will be taught by your University colleagues. You will also spend time in schools, a minimum of 24 weeks which will improve your practical teaching skills. Your training will lead to a PGCE.

For more information about this option, go here.

Other specialists training options:

With the support of partner schools, businesses and universities, Teach First trains its participants to be effective teachers and leaders in schools in low-income areas. Their leadership programme (LDP) combines teacher training and a fully funded postgraduate diploma in Education (PGDE), which is twice the credits of a PGCE. You need a 2:1 to apply.

If you want to learn more about Teach First – go to their website.


Teach First will be at our Graduate Fair. Take this chance to ask any questions you may have about this graduate programme!


There are also other great specialist training options, such as Researchers in School (for PhD researchers that have submitted their doctorate before the beginning of the programme).

Read more about other specialist training programmes here.

 

funding


Funding

There is a lot of excellent funding opportunities for you out there and you can get a bursary of up to £25.000! This depends on your degree background, subjects you will be teaching and your degree marks. Department for Education has an excellent webpage covering the different funding opportunities.

Additional Resources:

Read about different job roles in education on Prospects and read about the teaching sector.

TargetJobs - Would a career in teaching and education suit me?

 

 

 

Graduate Fair Blog Series: Careers in the IT and Technology Sector

  , , ,

📥  Advice, Career Choice, Careers Fairs, Careers Resources, Graduate Jobs, Subject Related Careers, Tips & Hints

 

Pictures circling around Pacific Islander woman's head

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.


The Sector

The IT & technology sector is thriving as never before. Employers are desperate for high-skilled graduates, often from any discipline, as the demand for skilled workers do not match the amount of work available. Meanwhile, the Experis Tech Cities Job Watch report for the second quarter of 2016 notes that the skills shortage covers five main disciplines: IT security, cloud computing, mobile, big data and web development. Even though a degree in Computer Science will be an advantage and some jobs do require a degree, some organisations will have a preference for those who studied a STEM subject (that is, science, maths, technology or engineering). Other jobs require only an interest and understanding of IT and technology and you will learn the necessary skills on the job. Problem-solving, being good at collaboration with colleagues and communication are key skills needed.

The Careers

With an interest in IT and technology or a computer science degree you have a wealth of different careers on your fingertips. With an additional interest in business and technology, you may thrive as a consultant or work as an analyst in the financial industry. On the other hand, maybe you will thrive more as a games developer or a web developer? There are also many jobs where a computer science degree or an understanding of IT and technology is useful, such as becoming a teacher or a social media manager.

Look at Prospects for a closer look on different job roles within IT & Technology.

The Employers

Common employers are IT consultancies or IT providers but you can get jobs in pretty much all sectors including healthcare, defence, agriculture, public sector and more, as everywhere needs an IT and technology specialist. There are many opportunities in major companies and SMEs (smaller to medium enterprises), however be aware that there are also many start up tech companies which may require your skills.


There are  several employers at out Graduate Fair with roles within IT and technology, some require a computer science or STEM degree, others are looking for students from any degree disciplines, please check the programme which will be available from early April. Employers include: Sword Apak, Data Interconnect, Bath Spa University, Office for National Statistics, Global Kubrick Group, Rise Technical Recruitment, Global, Thought Provoking Consulting, The Phoenix Partnership and more. Check here for further information about these employers.


Getting work experience and qualifications in these areas - whether it be learning specific programming languages or doing a summer internship or placement - will put you in prime position to start you career in the sector.

Interested to read more?

If you are still interested here are some good articles for you to learn more:

The benefits of working in information technology

Getting a graduate job in IT and technology - the basics

Overview of the IT sector in the UK

 

 

Virtual Reality – coming to your assessment centre soon?

  , , , , ,

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

virtual

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).

virtual reality

 

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

 

 

Research roles in think tanks and social research organisations

📥  Advice, Careers Resources, Employer Visit Report, For PhDs, For Taught Postgraduates, Graduate Jobs, Sector Insight, Subject Related Careers

The second of our posts summarising a panel event on research careers in the Humanities and Social Sciences. This post will focus on working for think tanks and social research organisations - this panel included three speakers.
The first speaker had had a varied career before working for think tanks. He did a Classics degree followed by a graduate scheme and then a post graduate diploma in journalism. He got some work experience at a national newspaper then worked on health magazines and journals before working for a health-related think tank. Health-related think tanks include The Health Foundation, Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund.  The speaker's current role involves meeting with funders as well as conducting research and managing a research team of six.  Think Tanks can be funded in different ways, and they need to demonstrate to their funders how they are making a difference.  His role involves writing press briefings and reports, and it's important to be able to communicate non-academically. Networking and communication skills are vital. In the speaker's view a PhD wasn't necessary. Work experience  is important– do approach think tanks directly for work experience. It can be helpful to have an interest in the policy focus area of the think tank, and think tanks usually have political leanings. The speaker noted that people often do something else before working in thank tanks.
The second speaker, a lecturer, had previously been a researcher at the National Centre for Social Research. During his time there he worked on designing surveys for the government and went on secondment in the Cabinet Office. He still does research for external clients as well as his academic commitments which include teaching research methods. He noted that for research outside of academia it's important to be able to communicate with clients and manage projects. When recruiting The National Centre for Social Research look for hard research skills – SPSS and Excel, and also for a masters degree with a strong research component. It's important to do your dissertation well and to get a good mark. The panellist emphasised the importance of being specific in your CV about which research skills and software packages you have used. Work experience with social research organisations will also be highly valued.

The third speaker worked as a labour market researcher for a social research organisation. He had also had a varied career; after his masters in Economics he did the graduate scheme at IPSOS Mori. His role there involved research design, literature reviews, analysing qualitative and quantitative data and lots of report writing. He noted that IPSOS Mori do both qualitative and quantitative research; there are plenty of opportunities for people who only want to do one or the other.He noted that degrees in history and politics can be very useful for building analytical skills. Projects can last anywhere between two weeks and two years. Amongst the skills needed in his current role, he mentioned skills in persuasion and validating arguments with evidence; he particularly emphasised the importance of being able to communicate the vision and impact of your research – this is essential for think tanks. It's also important to be curious and inquisitive. In his current role he uses some of the same statistical packages he used at university. In his view it’s possible to teach yourself statistics through online courses, and he mentioned a book call ‘Statistics Without Tears’. In the speaker's opinion a Masters wouldn’t be essential but could be useful for building confidence. He suggested that a Masters in research methods  could be more useful for think tanks and a Masters in Public Policy may be more useful for charities.People who work for think tanks often have an interest in the policy area of the think tank they work for.
The speaker said there are about 50 social research organisations in London, and also clusters of social research organisations in Leicester, Manchester, Edinburgh and Northern Ireland. Lots of social research organisations offer internships which are usually paid. Think tanks tend to do new/primary research whereas charities tend to use others’ research.
The third speaker was a PhD student and researcher at a Brussels-based think tank. Think Tanks can be small so multi-tasking and networking skills are important. He commented on the close relationship between lobbying and research; it's important to be able to communicate to lobbyists and explain the value of your research and how/where it would be used in a short space of time. Hard research skills such as stats and SPSS also important.

Useful links

Careers Service guide to social policy and social research careers

Guide to working in think tanks by the University of Oxford Careers Service

Social Research Association - has a jobs board and a list of social research organisations

 

Research roles in parliament and government

📥  Advice, Careers Resources, Employer Visit Report, For PhDs, For Taught Postgraduates, Graduate Jobs, Sector Insight, Subject Related Careers

I recently attended a panel event on research roles outside of academia in Humanities and Social Sciences. There was a fascinating array of speakers from central and local government, think tanks, charities and social research organisations. I'm going to write up the information gleaned from the speakers in a series of blog posts - starting today with research in government and parliament.*

Research roles in parliament

The first speaker we heard from was A, a Senior Research Analyst in parliament. A spends most of his time reading and writing, taking questions on aspects of policy from MPs,  and preparing briefings.  He emphasised that his current role uses research skills rather than research methodologies – reading and synthesising information very quickly and working out what is most important. A sometimes needs to challenge or clarify the requests he receives for research – sometimes what people think they need to know isn’t what they actually need to know. He also emphasised the importance of understanding customers’ needs and producing a brief with a coherent narrative that can be understood by non-specialists, and clearly explaining any complex terms and jargon. The role involves gathering together others’ research rather than conducting primary research, and A felt that research skills were more important than specific knowledge, which can be learned on the job.

Before his current role A did a PhD and then a series of short term research contracts. In A's current team of 8,  4 people have PhDs, of which two currently work on topics related to their PhD. A didn’t feel a PhD was necessary to do the job. His advice on getting in to research roles in parliament included showing genuine interest in the job, and highlighting your ability to judge between different information sources and communicate to range of audiences.  He mentioned the good conditions of work, standard working hours and opportunities to work with interesting people. Research jobs in parliament come up rarely, and are advertised on www.parliament.co.uk.

We also heard from B, a parliamentary researcher and PhD student. Before his current role B had had a range of experience and voluntary roles - immediately after his first degree he worked as a campaign intern and then for an NGO. His current role involves  reading local newspapers and reporting back on issues to the MP he works for, doing casework (for which he makes use of the parliamentary research unit) and looking after the MP’s website. In B's view the role is a good way to gain insight into how parliament works. He took initiative to contact the MP and ask for work, and emphasised the importance of internships and work experience; volunteering on local election campaigns could be useful. When working for an MP it is important to have the right political sympathies. B noted that lots of the people he works with have higher degrees; he considered this useful for honing skills in writing and condensing information. Roles are advertised on the w4mp website.

Research roles in government

We heard from three speakers working in research positions in central and local government

C, a researcher in the Department for Communities and Local Government, works on research projects relating to local public services - current projects include analysing the impact of Brexit on local public services. C did a PhD and then short term research contracts for universitiesand economic consultancies. She said she prefers research in government to research in academia because of the greater sense of impact and audience; she also values the team research environment of  the Civil Service. C entered the Civil Service through direct entry – there are quite a few direct entry analytical roles advertised on the Civil Service jobs website. Her role involves gathering evidence to ensure better decision making, using both qualitative and quantitative research skills. She felt she is valued for her analytical and communication skills rather than specific knowledge. She works at pace and has to get to grips with a wide range of policy areas.  She commented on the good work/life balance within Civil Service but also on pressure due to reduced budgets and staffing. She works closely with policy colleagues, and noted that some policy roles are also heavily analytical.

D works for a County Council in the Insight team of 10 people. The Insight team is part of the wider Performance team of 40, which includes analysts, researchers and technical staff. Before his current role D worked in finance and performance management. D’s core business is storytelling with data; he mentioned the importance of  communicating an impactful story in a short space of time. Skills in stakeholder engagement are as crucial to his role as analytical skills. IT and technical skills are also important.

The final speaker in this first panel, E, had worked in the private sector before setting up her own public sector consultancy. E observed that there are lots of ways to do freelance work with organisations like Capita and Manpower. E volunteered for Citizens Advice which was useful for developing the interviewing and active listening skills she uses as part of research. E uses high level qualitative and quantitative research skills to conduct situational analysis of organisations; she analyses what’s working and what isn’t, looks at work culture and aspirations of staff. E noted that there is a move towards action-led research, with a focus on continuous sharing and learning throughout research projects - the nature of her research work is therefore highly collaborative. Like A, E noted that it’s sometimes necessary to challenge the premise of clients’ requests and research questions – sometimes there are other issues than the ones the client presents with or requests research on. It's important to be curious and to be able to challenge views and say no.

See also my colleague Sue's post on working in the Civil Service, and our guide to careers in Politics.

*Names and full details of organisations have been taken out

 

My story: working internationally - broadening your horizons

  , , , , , , ,

📥  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?

Thinking_(2808468566)

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?

5

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

1422252629_how-to-find-a-job-abroad

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

ADAPT2

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........