Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Topic: Internships

Where are the jobs for me? 5 tips for looking in the right place

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📥  Advice, Careers Resources, Graduate Jobs, Internships, Networking, Placements, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints

I'm starting to notice a theme with a number of students I have been talking to. They feel like there are plenty of jobs being advertised as well as employer events going on but there is nothing for them. There is no single reason for this but hear are some tips if you recognise this feeling:

1. If you know the kind of job you are looking for then make sure you understand how the jobs for your particular interests are advertised. Some areas of work have obvious graduate entry points like Graduate Training Schemes or the need to get a postgraduate qualification. Other areas of work may need a more creative approach. The timing of all these will be different. Read our Finding a Graduate Job Guide which will help you get started with your job-search, from graduate training schemes to the jobs which are never advertised (campus only). Download it or pick up a copy from our office. For resources for specific job areas see our webpage on Finding out about Occupations.

2. If you are looking for something related to your subject or in a particular field then check some of our specialist resources we have produced aimed at some of the subjects studied at Bath and their related areas of work:

Alternative careers in science

Careers for modern linguists

Careers for those studying economics

Careers in biosciences & pharmaceuticals

Careers in medicine, dentistry & allied health

Careers in scientific analysis and R&D

Careers in sport

International development, international organisations and international relations careers

Politics careers, including working in Westminster and Europe

Social policy, social sciences and sociology careers

Working in the charity sector

3. If you have a dream job in mind then you will need to start tracking back so you can find the starting point or points for you as a new graduate/placement/work experience student. Think about who would employ you in your dream job. Check out their website. Use networking techniques to see if you can speak to someone from the relevant organisations to get an expert view on what experience you will need. The Finding A Graduate Job guide contains advice on how to do this.

4. If you feel that the job you are looking for is difficult to research then talk to us. Our Careers Adviser know about a broad range of occupations and even if they don't know they can help you get started.

5. Don't be a sheep. If you want something different from your friends and course mates don't worry about it. Work out what your job hunting plan is and get on with it. It may mean that your friends are frantically applying while you are still researching but no matter as long as you know your timetable is fine for what you are trying to get into.


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Are you getting paid the new living wage?


📥  Advice, Finding a Job, Internships, Work Experience

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

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



Project positive body language at interviews!

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📥  Advice, Careers Resources, Internships

You followed all the interview preparation rules and have researched your target employer in depth, both from its website and wider media. You've re-read your application, practiced psychometric tests and your academic grades are great. You have relevant experience, have a fab placement that you can talk about and a ton of extra curricular activities to wow your future employer with. Surely there can't be anything else to worry about?

Oh yes. Body language! Fear not, the do's and don'ts from Career Bliss provide really helpful tips.


China Disability Scholarship!

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📥  Diversity, Internships, Work Experience

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

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

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

Application deadline is 1st April 2016. 


New Semester - New Careers Events - New Jobs

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📥  Careers Resources, Event, Graduate Jobs, Internships, Tips & Hints, Work Experience

The staff in the Careers Service are delighted to see campus back in to full swing, especially now students are booking appointments and once more engaging with their careers research and investigation. We do like to be busy!

Here are three things you could be doing to make sure you stay ahead of the game at this time of year.

Check out our Programme of Events

Our new programme is now live and booking in MyFuture.  We have a range of employers coming on campus you can meet up with them to find out more about their opportunities. Some of them will be running skills events too. Our Careers Adviser will also be busy delivering a range of employability skills sessions on campus and virtually. We also have International Careers Week commencing February 29th. Some examples from our programme:

  • Finding Summer Work Experience
  • Interview Success
  • Writing UK Style Covering letters (for International students)
  • Finding a job other than a "graduate scheme"
  • Turning your placement into Graduate job
  • Careers Prep in a Day for Final year undergraduates  (Saturday)
  • Careers Prep in a Day for Master students
  • Webinar: Decisions, Decisions…How to begin your grad job search
  • Webinar: Considering a PhD or a Masters?
  • Assessment Centre Workshops including the chance to practise
  • Using LinkedIn and the Bath Connection to expand your network and build your career

Start Looking or Keep Looking for jobs (summer and graduate)

MyFuture has opportunities being added all the time, be they summer or placement work experience or graduate jobs. Make time to check in regularly and use the Advanced Opportunity Search  to create and save searches. Note that in the date option you can select for the search to show what has been added since you last logged in.

Be aware of how some types of jobs will not be advertised in MyFuture and so find out how you can search for jobs speculatively. Read our two guides Finding a Graduate Job and Finding Work Experience for advice on more comprehensive approaches to job hunting.

Keep your CV and covering letters fresh

I am not talking about keeping them in the fridge but keeping them alive. There is a tendency to fall into complacency once you feel you have nailed your CV and covering letter. Make sure you keep it up to date with new activities and always review your CV in the light of what the employer is looking for. If you have not had success yet then do take the chance to review them with an Adviser and seek help from alumni and employer contacts in your chosen field.

Have a great semester and keep in touch with the Careers Service.




How to handle tricky interview questions!

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📥  Advice, Internships, Tips & Hints

OK, confession time! A long time ago, when I went for my first interview for a graduate scheme at a leading advertising agency - right at the end the interviewer asked me, "so, if you could be a vegetable; what sort of vegetable would you be?". I was totally thrown by this curve ball of a questions and mumbled, "a cabbage". Truth is, I don't like cabbages... (no offence to all you cabbage lovers!)

'You will find that my greatest strength is that I have no weaknesses...'

'You will find that my greatest strength is that I have no weaknesses...'

Then there is the inevitable "what are your strengths and weaknesses?" question or the "where do you see yourself in 5 years time". With the best preparation in the world, it'll happen. The employer will ask you a question that you just hadn't planned for or expected. TargetJobs have put together an excellent list of the common tricky questions and have shared strategies on how to answer them. Really worth a read!

In my mind, the employer isn't always interested in 'what' you say but rather 'how' you handle the situation.  How you cope with curve balls they throw your way is a strong indicator of your ability to work under pressure, remain calm and problem solve. So next time you are caught off guard in an interview, take a deep breath - smile and ask the employer to give you a few minutes to think. This approach conveys bags and bags of self-confidence.

That said, when it comes to interviews, there are certain questions that crop up time and time again. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail and all that. Yes, it’s a well-trodden adage and it might even sound worn, but if you want to wing it at a job interview then, well, you’re on your own. Below are the five most common interview questions and ones that we have found students and graduates find most challenging.

  1. Tell me about yourself: this is a tricky one, so much so that we have written a dedicated blog post about this.
  2. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Structure-wise, this is easy. Use your common sense and focus on sharing more strengths than weaknesses. Make sure the strengths you choose are a match to those required by the employer / role. When it comes to weaknesses avoid 'perfectionism' - we've all heard it before and points to lack of authenticity. Instead, check out the excellent advice from Warwick Careers on how to answer this most common question.
  3. Where do you see yourself in five years time? another infamous interview question, yet it's difficult to answer without resorting to dreaded cliches like "I just want to be doing something I enjoy", or "I want to be at the top of my game". The advice from the Guardian totally nails how to answer this question and is very much worth a read.
  4. If you were a vegetable, what sort of vegetable would you be? these sorts of questions are testing to see how well you react. Some great advice by  Darren Kaltved; if only I had read this piece years ago.
  5. Do you have any questions for us? just as you think, the end is near the interviewer now puts the ball in your court and expects you to ask questions. In my mind, this is an opportunity for you to shine even brighter. Ask questions that convey motivation and help you build a rapport with the interviewer. Check in tomorrow for our final blog post in the interviews series, where we will share with you do's and dont's and crucially provide examples of good questions to ask.

Don't forget: practice makes perfect, so do book an interview with one of our careers advisers!


Make the most of your Summer!

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📥  Advice, Internships, Tips & Hints, Work Experience

Yesterday, my colleague Ghislaine Dell and I contributed to a session on 'Make the Most of Your Summer'. We loved it and are really looking forward to the participants letting us know what they're getting up to over the summer holidays. If you'd like to join in, just use the hashtag - #MakingtheMost.



We thought we would blog some of the advice we shared:

  1. Come and talk to us: The Careers Service is open throughout the summer and you can pop in to see a Careers Adviser. No experience, career plan or CV required! If you're not on campus we can still help, we offer appointments over the phone, email and skype!
  2. Give your CV an update: This is a great time to reflect on the skills you have developed from your course, extra-curricular activities and your work. Look at the resources on our website and give your CV a face-lift. You may also want to think about creating a LinkedIn profile. Getting your application package ready will get you ahead of the game!
  3. Get on the right websites: use the summer break to get your profile and vacancy alerts set up! This way as soon as employers start advertising you will receive vacancy alerts directly in your inbox.
  4. Develop your commercial awareness: use the freedom from exams to explore different sectors and  industry developments. Read newspapers, follow individuals on social media and reach out to Bath alumni.
  5. Finally, do something! You'll build your confidence, surprise yourself by discovering something new and most importantly show employers you are proactive and not afraid to step out of your comfort zone.


Careers Advice from the Game of Thrones....

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📥  Advice, Graduate Jobs, Internships, Interviews

Hope you all had a lovely Easter break! We know there are a number of you out there who are fans of George R . R Martins Game of Thrones books and the ever popular HBO series which kicks off again tonight. That's why we were very excited to read the Guardian's job tips from Westeros. Our take is as follows:

  • It is important to know your strengths and weaknesses and Tyrion Lannister has demonstrated superb self-awareness. Being self aware is the first step to identifying the types of roles you might be suited to. To help you get started, why not try one of our Team Focus personality tests?
  • Daenerys Targarye demonstrates the importance of listening and learning from others experience. It is important to read case studies, talk to everyone in your network and reach out to careers advisers. You will not only build a picture of what skills particular employers are looking for but will also understand what opportunities and challenges lie within a particular sector.
  • Whilst it is dangerous to boast about family connections especially if you are a Lannister, we do think it is useful to harness connections... in particular Bath Connection. It is a great way to find out what Bath alumni are doing and contact them for friendly and informal careers advice.
  • Finally Arya Stark teaches us the importance of determination! Looking for an internship, job or applying for a PhD has its up's and down's and often rejection is part of the mix. The important thing is to learn and adapt, seek feedback and change your application strategy.

Good Luck!


Whats in a handshake?


📥  Graduate Jobs, Internships, Interviews

You might think a handshake is straightforward – you clasp, shake, release – what could possibly go wrong? Well, here are five types of common handshakes you might want to avoid in an interview:

  • The floppy fish: nerves can play havoc with the best of us and sadly for some this can result in sweaty and clammy palms. The best thing to do is to use the washroom before hand and to wash your hands using cold water. The other alternative is to subtly wipe your palm on your clothes to dry them a bit. A clammy palm says you are nervous which isn't the message you want to be giving.
  • The bone crushing grip: don't take the idea of a 'firm' handshake into palm crushing vice like grip! Research by found that an overly firm grip could indicate a bullying nature. The best thing to do is to practice with friends, if they wince when you shake their hand then tone it down.
  • The water pump: top marks for enthusiasm but you don't want to give your interviewer whiplash or dislocate their arm. Interviews are all about first impressions and over shaking someone’s hand isn't the most positive of starts.
  • The lingerer: handshakes aren't just about pressure – duration is important too. A handshake that goes on for too long can become uncomfortable and make the other person feel awkward.
  • The finger tickler: Just pinching the interviewers fingers or touching their palm with yours is an inadequate handshake and could make you seem rude. If your reluctance to shake hands is as a result of religious or cultural reasons, then be upfront and explain your reasons from the start. This way you'll manage any awkwardness on both sides.

I think this video by Snagajob is really useful!

How can you be happy in your placement or graduate job?


📥  Advice, Graduate Jobs, Internships

Today is the UN's International Day of Happiness – a day set aside to raise global awareness that happiness is a fundamental human goal.  Now, the average Brit spends 100,000 hours at work during their lifetime – that's more than 11 and a half years. Work is part of our life and if we were happier at work we would be happier in our whole lives. We'd be better partners, better parents, better people. So happiness at work is good for us, as individuals.


According to the Guardian, the costs of ignoring happiness at work are substantial. An average UK company will employ about 250 people. If it is average in all aspects, then about 40 of them will leave each year and over 1,000 days will be lost due to absenteeism. If the company had a really happy, engaged workforce, then staff turnover would typically halve, absenteeism would be cut by 25%, and productivity would increase by about 20%. Happiness in the workplace is high on the governments agenda too, the cabinet office looked at the relationship between different jobs and levels of life satisfaction and found the happiest workers are vicars and priests.

So, what can you do to make sure you are happy in your chosen career?

The first step is to understand your personality and work environments that you are best suited to. You may want to try the Team Focus Personal and Career Development Reports or Windmills Interactive; which help you clarify the kind of life you want and how you can start working towards it. The next step is to think about the skills you enjoy using. Reflect on your placement or internship - what bits did you enjoy the most? John Lees, author of How to Get a Job you Love recommends sitting down with a friend and discussing your work history. Afterwards, ask them for the times when you seemed most excited and engaged. This will help reveal the type of work you like best.

But what if you are already on placement or in employment? How can you ensure happiness at work?

  1. Challenge yourself: One of the reasons we can get restless in our job is, quite simply, boredom. Think about ways in which you could make your role more interesting. Perhaps you could volunteer to mentor new staff, or spend some time every week shadowing people in other departments to get a broader perspective on the business? Be proactive and discuss your ideas with your line manager, they will welcome your enthusiasm.
  2. Reflect on your successes: it is really easy to fall into the day-to-day routine of  work and loose track of your successes! Keep a wee folder in your email where you store any thank you or well-done messages. Remember to read through these periodically.
  3. Ask for feedback: so much has been written about how to give feedback but not enough on how to ask for feedback. I thought this this article by Harvard Business Review is really well written with some excellent advice.
  4. Manage your workload: one of the biggest causes of stress at work is failing to keep commitments. Learn to say no constructively and be proactive in discussing your workload with your manager.
  5. Have a bit of fun: inject a bit of fun at work - this could be as simple as bringing some treats in for your colleagues (cake is always well received in the careers service) or join in the next team lunch. It is also important to recognise the little things that make you happy - smiling co-workers, good training, a supportive manager...

And don't forget, its Friday and this is definitely a good reason to be happy!