Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Topic: inspire

Finding a Job other than a “Graduate Scheme”

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📥  Advice, Applications, Careers Resources, Graduate Jobs, inspire, Networking, Tips & Hints

Finding a Job other than a “Graduate Scheme”

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So, you have applied to several graduate schemes but have not been successful or perhaps you have not had the time to apply, or maybe you are not interested in applying to a graduate scheme at all? Well, there are plenty more opportunities for you.


Laura from Careers Services is delivering an excellent talk on “Finding a Job other than a “Graduate Scheme” on Wednesday 15th February 17:15 – 18:05, make sure to book your place through MyFuture!


It is the bigger employers in certain sectors that offer graduate training schemes. Smaller to medium enterprises (SMEs) generally don’t have the time or the money to develop and plan big schemes. In many SMEs you may find that you can develop your skills more broadly and informally than in a big company. Generally, you may be able to gain experience in different roles with different responsibilities in a smaller company.

So what do you do next? Well, one point you have to consider is that smaller companies tend to only recruit when there is actually a role available, they do not think too much of the timings of an academic year! Some smaller companies may not even advertise at all, and just pick from their earlier trainees or perhaps from speculative applications or from networking. What I want to convey is that you may not find the job you want just by perusing job search sites online!

Here are a few ideas for you to consider:

  • Research and find out about potential employers

Find out about companies and organisations out there, think about where you want to work and in what type or organisation you would like to work in. Would you like to work in a small organisation or perhaps would you prefer to work close to home?

  1. Check our Occupational Research section on our website.  This has links to professional bodies, job vacancy sites and other relevant information organised by job sector
  2. Check our Job Hunting by Region section on our website for company directories in all UK regions.
  3. Research job roles on prospects.ac.uk which has over 400 job profiles which include important information about the role, skills needed and also links to job vacancy and professional bodies.
  4. You can also research companies through library databases, see my earlier blog post on how to do this.
  5. Use LinkedIn to identify employers, see earlier blog post on how to do this.
  6. Check MyFuture and look through the Organisations link from the menu bar. This is a list of organisations that University of Bath have been in contact with at some point.
  7. We may have some relevant help sheets for you, specific to your degree. Check our Help Sheet section on our website.

 

Search for job adverts online / hard media

  1. Some of the above links have direct links to job sites online, but there are also other job websites which are normally used, my personal favourite is Indeed, however it can be confusing at first to find what you are looking for. Make sure to search relevant key words.  The University of St Andrews has an excellent list on their website: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/careers/jobs-and-work-experience/graduate-jobs/vacancy-sites/uk/jobhuntingontheinternet/
  2. Check newspapers; local, regional and national websites can have job adverts listed, both in hard copy and online.
  3. Some companies and organisations do not use job websites to recruit new staff and only advertise their new roles on their own website, so always good to check!

Social networking / applying speculatively

  1. Use your contacts: friends, family, co-workers, academics, coaches and ask them to ask around too, you never know what may come out of it. Make sure people around you know that you are looking for a job. A few years ago I was searching for a job and as all my friends knew, I received interesting opportunities in my email inbox every week, especially from friends who were already searching for a job and kept me in mind when trawling through websites online or networking.
  2. Go to networking events, career fairs, sector-specific events, specific employer events, both on or off campus. You can find our events on MyFuture. You never know who you may meet.
  3. Use social media to connect, follow and interact with potential employers. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can all be used, but make sure to stay professional!
  4. If you find a company or organisation you really like the look at, but you can’t find a vacancy, apply speculatively with an email and your CV, but make sure to try and find a contact name  to send it to and write a professional targeted cover letter in the email.

Use recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies may be a good option, check our link on our website  for more information.

Further information

I wish you all the best in your job hunting, if you want more information about this topic, please go to the talk (as mentioned above) or you can find lots of great information in our Finding a graduate job – guide, which can also be picked up in our office in the Virgil Building, Manvers Street, Bath city centre.

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Should you leave your career planning to chance?

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Career Development, Graduate Jobs, inspire, Tips & Hints

I have been seeing a lot of finalists lately and broadly two 'types' of students  emerge: those of you with a clear plan for what you’re going to do after graduation and those of you trying to plan life after university. Traditional career planning techniques focus on matching interests, skills and abilities to a particular job or laying out a career plan for the next 10, 20 or 70 years. Unfortunately, there are times we become so wrapped up in making the one right decision about our careers, that we forget the importance of chance.

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This is why I am a huge fan of John Krumboltz; a leading career theorist who suggests that chance or unplanned events have a place in the career-planning process and has put forward the theory of Planned Happenstance. In a nutshell, Krumboltz suggests that a career is something that will gradually unfold and encourages you to make the most of opportunities as they arise. Therefore, if you are experiencing difficulty clarifying what you want to do, it could be you are trying too hard to rationalise your thinking. Instead, actively seek out and explore new career ideas and pursue interesting things as they arise. For example the more people you speak to, the more likely you are to find out about jobs you might enjoy and opportunities which may not be advertised.

According to Krumboltz, you can engage in five behaviours that can enable you to turn chance events into productive opportunities and these are:

  • Curiosity: Explore new opportunities – Get on Twitter, talk to people, go to events, say “yes” to new experiences, research, explore the “unknown”
  • Persistence: Exert effort despite setbacks
  • Flexibility: Be ready to change your attitude/mindset when new information/opportunity arises
  • Optimism: View new opportunities as possible and attainable
  • Risk-taking: Take action in the face of uncertain outcomes.

Here are some practical actions you could take starting today:

  • Meet new people and do new things. Join clubs, volunteer, play sports, go to careers events, talk to your peers, lecturers and alumni.
  • Take an interest in the new (or investigate the very old!). Keep an open mind.
  • Understand yourself and consider learning skills which might lead to new opportunities.
  • Learn about the world: What’s happening in technology? Industry? Society? What opportunities do these present?
  • Expose yourself to different viewpoints: Study abroad, read papers you think you’ll disagree with and engage in debates.

 

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

 

 

 

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.

Do I need to use the Careers Service in my First Year?

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📥  Career Development, inspire, Tips & Hints

Firstly, welcome to all First Years! We hope that you have now settled in and are enjoying university life and your chosen degree programme.
Right from the start of this academic year, you will have opportunities to develop your employability skills and build on those skills you already acquired before arriving here. So it’s a good idea to start to think about how you might do this. Getting some work experience or getting involved in student activities – from societies to taking part in many of the volunteering activities that take place in the local community is a great way to do this. These activities can help to develop your team and leadership skills, organisational skills, and communication skills which employers will want to see evidence of. So my advice is get involved as much as you are able to and challenge yourself.8618916280_d68b2c46ac_z-2


At the Fresher’s Fair the other week, a common question from students to the Careers Service team was – “Should I be worried about my career path now?” Or “Do I need to use you already?”
The answer to the first concern is, “no”! There is absolutely no need to be concerned, but it is useful to know the sorts of things we do in the Careers Service and how we can support you and help you to develop your employability whilst you are with us. So in answer to “Do you need to use us this year?” is "maybe"!
Many of you will already have attended or will be attending an induction day on what we offer. However, for those of you that missed these, I thought it would be a good idea to list some of the areas we are here for particularly in your first year.

  • Resources
    Firstly, on our Careers Web pages at www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers we have an extensive range of resources to help you develop your employability. Have a look through our listings and you will find information on
    Choose a Career? – Lots of guidance and tools on helping you to make a career decision over the next few years
    Get Work experience? – How to find guide, information on Gap years and websites to search for opportunities
    Succeed in Selection – Covers anything to do with getting a job or placement - from our interview guide, psychometric tests to practice, to our video interview programme which allows you to practice your interviews.
  • Events and Workshops
    Throughout your time with us, we offer many careers events, including careers fairs, workshops and employer talks. Take a look to see what might interest you or help you in your career journey by going to https://myfuture.bath.ac.uk/
    An event of particular interest - Summer Internships Fair – 25th November – Founders’ Sports Hall
  • Career Appointments – you can talk to a Careers Adviser for one-to-one help either in a quick query appointment or longer guidance appointment. We suggest booking a quick query appointment initially and can help you with the following:
    - Advice on options and modules
    - Advice on changing or leaving your course
    Our Careers Advisers are impartial and can help you understand the pros and cons of changing course. Check out other sources of help .
    - Finding work experience
    - What career to aim for:-
    You don’t need to have decided what you want to do before you speak to a Careers Adviser but you could read our Careers Guide to get you started .
    You can also check out the Choose A Career pages to find out more.
    - CV advice: – useful if you are considering an Insight Week or work experience in the summer
    To book just go to- https://myfuture.bath.ac.uk/
  • Career Drop –Ins For First Years
    Finally, in addition to our bookable appointments, from the 15th November we will be offering Career Drop-in sessions every Tuesday 5-7 pm aimed particularly for First Years. These will be in the Student Services area – just go to 4W.

I hope this has given you a taster of the support that we can offer you on your career journey and ideas for developing your employability skills. You will find a useful guide to employability in your library card wallet.
We look forward to welcoming you soon!

 

Life as a European Fast Streamer in the UK Civil Service

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📥  Alumni Case Study, inspire, Sector Insight, Subject Related Careers

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The third of our postings this week on Civil Service opportunities. This time we interview a Bath Graduate working for the Civil Service Fast Stream.

Name: Eve

Degree: French, Italian and European Studies

Graduation Year: 2015

Job title: European Fast Streamer in the Civil Service

Employer: UK Civil Service

Can you briefly describe your job and how you got it?

I’m currently in my second year on the European Fast Stream in the UK Civil Service. I’ll be doing 6 different postings in 4 different departments over 4 years, one of which is with the European Institutions in Brussels.

I began in the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) working in the International Biodiversity team, negotiating with the EU and the United Nations on behalf of the UK on environmental issues. I then moved to the EU and International division at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), leading UK policy on a couple of EU initiatives and exploring domestic implementation of EU regulations. I'm currently on secondment, working on the Arctic Policy at the European External Action Service (EEAS) in Brussels.

The application process for the Fast Stream was very intense. After the initial numerical* and verbal reasoning* and situational judgement tests, I made it to the e-tray stage. This was a two hour online exercise that combined reading and processing information at pace with a situational judgement test, followed by a timed essay. Finally, I attended an assessment centre, a full-on day of interviews, group exercises, timed essays and presentations. As I applied to the European Fast Stream, my application was reviewed after the assessment centre in a final sift, during which they made sure that my previous responses showed that I was suited to the role, and to ensure that I met the language requirements.

*Careers Service note: in 2016 the tests will be situational judgement and behavioural: https://faststream.blog.gov.uk/2016/10/04/fast-stream-2017-the-online-tests/.

Did you have any work or other experience that helped you work out what you wanted to do?

Through my year abroad, I realised the important work that is done through the EU, both for me on a personal level, but also for some of the poorer regions in Europe including places that I had lived. A career in the Civil Service gives me the chance to give something back to society. The European Fast Stream enables me to look specifically at European projects being implemented in the UK, and I also get the opportunity to be involved in the creation and implementation of these projects at the heart of the EU.

It is currently a really interesting time to be working as an 'EU expert' in any area of the UK Civil Service, and the skills that I am developing on the European Fast Stream will be extremely useful in any core work being done by the Civil Service over the next few years.

Did you come to the Careers Service for help?  What stage where you at in thinking about your future?

I made use of the Careers Service a lot during my final year. Initially, I was unsure of what I'd like to do and a little daunted about having to map out a career for the rest of my life. The Careers Service were very reassuring, encouraging me to think about what I would benefit from more immediately, which led me to the Fast Stream. This is an ideal scheme for me because of the wide variety of skills, competencies, and experiences that I will gain by doing 6 different jobs in the first 4 years of my career.

How did the Careers Service (staff and resources) help you?

Once I'd made my choice, the Careers Service were able to help me by providing information about how the application process worked, interview techniques, and reports from previous Bath students who had successfully applied. Representatives of the Bath Careers Service had also been invited to watch an assessment centre, and were able to give me advice based on what they had seen.

What was the outcome?

Having a good overview of the application process and hearing about first-hand experiences made me more confident on the day of the assessment centre, which I am sure is one of the factors that secured my role on the Fast Stream.

What activities outside of your degree have you been involved in that you think will or have made you more employable?  Did the Careers Service help you to understand how you explain them to employers?

Working and living abroad definitely made me more employable. As well as my language skills, I was able to demonstrate my understanding of different cultures which is something that employers are increasingly looking for. The Careers Service at Bath were able to advise me on how to frame these experiences during applications and interviews to ensure that I made this clear.

Soft skills that I developed on my year abroad, such as adaptability and resilience, were also attractive to employers. More importantly, these skills have been vital in my current role, as I change role, Department, and (potentially) location every 6 months.

Do you have any tips or advice for Bath students in general and/or from your subject which you would like to pass on? This could be tips on applications and interviews or broader advice about career choice.

I struggled to find work abroad for a month at a time, but actually it is easier than you might think! For anyone interested in working in Europe, EURES is a pan-European jobs portal where you can find vacancies in the EU and EEA. Although these jobs are not usually graduate-level, working abroad as a receptionist, English teacher, and au pair gave me a great advantage during applications and really set me apart from others.

Civil Service Fast Stream applications close on November 30th 2016 for Autumn 2017 start date. Visit their website for more information.

 

 

Procrastinating on your graduate job search?

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📥  Advice, Graduate Jobs, inspire, Tips & Hints

OK, I must confess. I have been meaning to write this blog post for the last three days, but each time I have found something else to do. One of my many useless strengths, is my ability to engage in 'task displacement' -  also commonly known as procrastination.

This morning whilst eating my breakfast, I found myself thinking - why do I avoid doing certain things? In my case it is often the fear of getting it wrong, thinking I am not good enough or simply getting distracted by other, more fun things (for example, lately I seem to playing this game called Crush and popping balloons easily ends up in an hour or two wasted).

I think this TED video by Tim Urban provides a very insightful look into the mind of a procrastinator.

The truth is, some of us hide under the umbrella of procrastination when in reality we are struggling with genuine anxiety with regards to the task at hand. I often observe this with the students I work with. A common confession I hear from students is; "I find the whole job hunting thing really overwhelming" or "I cant seem to find anything I can do". Occasionally students also tell me how they worry about getting things wrong when job hunting (this could be getting the application, interview or even choice of career wrong). Therefore, it is all to easy to find distractions and to not confront the real issue.

If this sounds like you, below are some tips to help you take that first step:

  • Overwhelmed: my granny always said to me, "you can't eat an elephant whole". Putting aside the fact that this is a rather gruesome analogy, there is something in it and applies to job hunting. It might be helpful to break the whole job hunting thing into smaller manageable actions such as: book a quick query with an adviser, attend one event on campus or spend an hour exploring what Bath graduates have done. Small action can lead to big clarity.
  • Perfectionism: If I had a pound for every student I have seen who was waiting until they were sure that they were applying for the right opportunity, I’d be a a very, very rich woman. John Lees (who is a superb writer on all things careers) suggests the 70/30 rule. If you feel engaged with 70% of the role you are considering (and meet 70% of the skills required), then it is worth applying. The other way to view this is to approach job hunting as a series of small controlled experiments. Give yourself permission to give things a go and along the way you'll not only gain clarity about your future direction, you will also pick up useful skills. Do remember, the job you do now, isn't something you'll do for the rest of your life.
  • Fear of failure: have you ever stopped yourself from applying for a particular placement or job because you think 'you are not good enough'? Self-sabotage is one of the ways we try and protect ourselves from failure. More often than not your perception of your self is far more critical than the reality. Therefore one approach is to challenge your self-perception by actively seeking feedback.  Instead of thinking you aren't good enough,  pop in and see a careers adviser who can help you identify your strengths. Hit the send button and get a few applications out, it is the surest way to test the market.  After all, you really don't know your limits until you try.
  • Easily distracted: the best way to tackle this is by eliminating time wasters. Be honest, what do you waste time on?  Yik Yak? Facebook? Twitter? Stop checking them so often. One thing you can do is make it hard to check your social media – remove them from your browser quick links, switch off notifications and your phone. Schedule set times to browse and perhaps reward yourself with social media time when you tick an action off your to-do-list. The same approach applies to Netflix, you tube etc.
  • Fear of change: it is easy to put off the fact that your university life will come to an end. Some students apply for a Masters course to procrastinate and to put off career decision making for a further year. At some point, before you know it, you will have to confront career decision making. However you don't have to work through this on your own. The careers team are here to guide you, inspire you and help you feel more confident about your future. Do consider booking a guidance appointment - it is only 45 minutes of your time, so what have you got to lose?

 

PhD Career Stories

📥  For PhDs, inspire, Sector Insight

The third of our career stories from researchers now working in non-research roles in Higher Education.

Dr Julian Rose - communication and collaboration

What do I do now?

In May 2015 I began a new role as the Network Manager for the EPSRC-funded Directed Assembly Network. In 2010, the Network was tasked with building an inter-disciplinary academic community and set about developing a strategic roadmap, looking towards tackling the grand challenges facing science over the next 50 years: depleting natural resources, antibiotic & drug resistance and an ageing population to name a few.

My role is to bring people together, to inspire and provoke new ideas, fostering new collaborations. I have designed and delivered strategies to both evolve and broaden the Network and overseen growth to nearly 1,000 members. At the heart of the Network lies regular community-engagement and as a major part of my role, I structure, facilitate and deliver meetings nationally to multi-disciplinary audiences. Day-to-day I manage and develop the communication strategy through events and digital & social media.

I promote the brand, vision and aims through regular engagement with industry, government and world-leading academics. I manage the quarterly Network funding awards, which are designed to support early career researchers towards developing their portfolio’s by providing funding for collaborative proof of concept projects. Many of these projects have led on to major Research Council UK (RCUK) grants and since the Network’s inception, £50 Million grants are linked to and/or supported by the Network.

What about right after my PhD?

I continued working in research as a Knowledge Transfer Fellow and postdoctoral research officer for almost 3 years. During this period, I particularly enjoyed public engagement, working with leading-edge businesses and expanding the reach of my work.

Bath Science Cafe 2012

What led me to my current role?

Following my passions led me on to a role within the University of Bath’s School of Management’s Marketing and External Relations team. Here I worked closely with corporate contacts & senior alumni and developed a wealth of knowledge in digital communications and marketing. I also designed and delivered lectures for MSc students titled ‘LinkedIn, Your Career and Networking’.

After almost 2 years I came across the opportunity to blend my engineering and science background, with my innate passion for communication and bringing people together, as the Network Manager for the Directed Assembly Network.

Are the skills I learnt during my PhD still useful…?

…Yes! My PhD transformed my life and I use the skills that I honed and developed every day. One of the most important areas of my development throughout my PhD was my communication skills and with it, the ability to get across ‘my message’ to any audience: from speaking at world-leading conferences and business meetings, to engaging with school children at the London Science Museum and presenting at the Bath Science Café ‘GPS, the Sun and the Human Race’.

Set for Britain Don Foster

Learning how to communicate the work that you pursue during your PhD is vital and my advice would be to say ‘yes’, say yes to opportunities: collaborate with someone new, work with people that are different to you and accept the invitations to present and promote your work. This will help you to build connections, develop relationships and hone your skills.

London Science Museum

Despite not choosing to pursue a research career, the skills that I learnt analysing data, programming and scrutinising results are invaluable and have given me excellent problem solving techniques which continue to be applicable today. My first-hand knowledge and understanding of being ‘an academic’ has been really helpful in both of my roles that have followed my research career.

I work closely with academics on a daily basis and understanding the nature of the role, the workload and indeed the pressures that they face, really helps me to develop strong relationships with Network members (in my current role) and of course colleagues. This comes in handy towards nurturing strong two-way relationships between myself and others; always ready to help each-other when needed.

What about you and your next step?

Do you have a talent for working with people and bringing people together? Are you passionate about a variety of research and about working in an innovative environment? And, is the freedom to pursue creativity and manage your own time something that you have relished during your PhD?

If so, it may be worth considering the multitude of non-academic roles within universities, which may also afford some freedom. In any case, transitioning on from your PhD will require some thought.

You may not realise it yet, but your PhD will have equipped you with a host of skills that may fast track you through industry, or place you in good stead to work in Higher Education.

My advice to you is to take some time out and reflect on your feelings and experiences of the past few years. Write down what you are good at, highlight the items you really like doing and after some Googling, try to match these to potential job titles & descriptions. Most of all, remember the wealth of information at your fingertips – seek out and speak to your colleagues (even the ones you don’t know yet), and, good luck!

 

Procrastination is the perfect ingredient for anxiety...

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, inspire

Is this you:

  • You have an essay deadline looming
  • A mountain of exam revision to do
  • Deadlines to apply for placements / graduate job / PG course (delete as appropriate)

Yet you find yourself making endless cups of tea, which leads to a quick visit to the shop to get more milk followed by a 5 minute nosey on Facebook where you start looking at cute cat videos your mate shared and next thing you know you've nodded off and the list above is untouched.

Hello Procrastination, my friend.

pro-cras-ti-na-tion |prəˌkrastəˈnāSHən, prō-|
noun
the action of delaying or postponing something: your first tip is to avoid procrastination.

Who would have thought the dictionary held the solution all along. Avoid procrastination. So elegant in its simplicity.


This piece from the Huffington Post provides a beautiful explanation about why procrastinators procrastinate. Really worth a read. At the very least, do get acquainted with the gratification monkey.

But why is this relevant I hear you ask? Well, we have seen so many of you lately -  stressed and telling us it is just easy to bury your heads in the sand. Whether it is mounting course work, revision or deadlines for job applications - procrastination is the perfect ingredient to induce anxiety. And before you know it, you'll find yourself locked in the cycle of worrying and not doing.

So here are some tips to cut through procrastination:

  1. Control your web browsing - OK, this is going to be really hard but stay with me. Log out of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, YikYak etc. Reward yourself with social media time when you tick something off your to-do list.
  2. Ask someone to check up on you - dare I suggest your mum for this task? Joking aside, peer pressure works! This is the principle behind slimming and other self-help groups, and it is widely recognized as a highly effective approach.
  3. Worse case scenario - identify and write down on a post-it the unpleasant consequences of not doing what you need to do.
  4. You can't eat an elephant whole - that old saying... break down revision or course work into smaller chunks (and reward yourself with cake every time to accomplish one of those tasks).
  5. Change your environment - if there are lots of distractions at home then go to the library or vice versa.
  6. Hang out with do-ers - identify people/friends/colleagues who are are driven and doing stuff. Some of their energy is bound to rub off and inspire you.
  7. Prioritise - this time of the year there are going to be lots of competing demands on your time. Identify what is important and focus on these first.
  8. Accept imperfection - no one is perfect! You are only human and are bound to make mistakes now and again. Failure and being imperfect can be so intimidating it can cripple your capability to function properly. You must remember that perfection is neither possible nor necessary.

Finally and most importantly be patient! Habits are hard to change but little steps do make a difference. One of the ways we can support you in the careers service is by talking through actions that will help with your career planning. Feel free to book a 15-minute quick query sometime.

Apply for a scholarship to attend the European Forum in Alpbach, Austria

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📥  Commercial Awareness, Event, inspire

Are you under 32 years of age and want to immerse yourself in an environment with new ideas, ways of thinking and opportunities for making new contacts? Then apply for a scholarship to attend the European Forum 2016 in Alpbach in Austria, a conference that brings together students and professionals from across Europe.

What is the European Forum Alpbach?
Often called the European version of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the European Forum Alpbach has been attracting leading thinkers and practitioners since 1945: economist Friedrich Hayek, physicist Erwin Schrödinger and philosopher Theodor Adorno attended regularly, as have more recently UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and economist Jeffrey Sachs. Every year, about 5,000 participants from over 60 countries meet to discuss emerging trends in eight broad fields: technology; law; European and international affairs; financial markets; the economy; public health; higher education; and architecture and urban planning. Each of these fields has a dedicated “symposium” in the conference schedule. All of the events, however, are united by a loose, overarching theme: in 2016, the European Forum Alpbach takes on the question of “New Enlightenment”.

What distinguishes the European Forum Alpbach from other international conferences is the involvement of hundreds of young people from across Europe through the clubs of the Forum Alpbach Network and their scholarships. The first week of the conference – the “Seminar Week” – is dedicated entirely to the scholars: senior experts, government officials and academics “pitch” their week-long seminars to you, and you pick and mix the ones you want to attend. Moreover, throughout the Forum, the clubs invite senior conference participants to informal, small-scale discussions with scholars, so-called “fireside talks”. These can be very short-notice, so it’s essential to keep an ear to the ground, and an eye on Twitter and Facebook. And, of course, there’s a lively social scene, a football tournament (which has been known to field government ministers), beach volleyball and tennis courts, a pristine Alpine lake, and the Tyrolean mountains all around you for an afternoon’s escape. The Club Alpbach London awards scholarships to cover the conference fees. They will also reserve a place for you in the shared club accommodation in the center of Alpbach. The costs for accommodation (roughly £400) and travel are usually not included. However, support with additional costs is available.

Eligibility
Students and recent graduates up to the age of 32 who study or work in the UK are eligible to apply.
Individuals who represent a wide spectrum of opinions, and academic and professional backgrounds.
Ideally you plan to be in London from September 2016, as Alpbach hope you will continue to play an active role in the Club. However, this is no mandatory requirement to apply.
Almost all of the Forum’s events are conducted in English so there’s no requirement to speak German. Please note that they require scholars to attend the European Forum Alpbach 2016 in its entirety, so please only apply if you are available for the whole period.

How to apply
Please send an email to scholarships@clubalpbachlondon.eu with a single PDF file attached, containing a motivation letter, your CV and, a confirmation of your studies (eg. scanned degree, transcript or confirmation of study). In your motivation letter, in no more than 200 words each (so no more than 800 in total):

  • your reasons for applying
  • which aspects of this year’s conference programme you find particularly interesting
  • why we should pick you
  • what you plan to do after graduating (if applicable), and whether you plan to be in London from September 201

The deadline for applications is Thursday 31 March 2016 at 5pm.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email contact@clubalpbachlondon.eu. You can also find out more about the Club Alpbach London, on their website.