Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Topic: Networking

Navigating the British work culture - how to be a chameleon

  

📥  Career Choice, Career Development, International Students, Networking

Flapneck_Chameleon_hide_22_08_2010

Whether you have worked before or not, starting a new work experience or internship or placement in the UK can be a bit of a challenge. What are the rules this company plays by? What are the rules that everyone follows but are never written down? What are the customs - and how is it different from where you have worked before?

This conundrum is even harder if your previous work experiences have been in a country where the culture is very different.

From talking with international students, one of the things that concerns them is that where they have worked, speaking up with ideas, or questioning the way something is currently done, is not acceptable - yet it seems to be expected by British employers. So how can you know when you are doing what is expected, and when you have crossed an invisible line into being disrespectful?

This is where getting advice from other international students that have made similar journeys can really help - try registering with the Bath Connection or using LinkedIn to contact Bath alumni who have worked there. Or, if you are about to embark on a placement, speak to your placement officer about which students have worked there before and ask them about the workplace culture and any conventions you should be aware of to help you fit in.

Similarly - social gatherings seem often to be centred around pubs/bars and the consumption of alcohol. If this does not sit well with you - try suggesting an alternative venue for a change, maybe going to a restaurant instead.

To help you navigate these issues, we've written a handy guide to help you. And remember, Careers Advisers are always happy to talk to you about your concerns and how you can ensure you get your experience off to the best start and give yourself the best springboard into your future career. Just book an appointment to speak to one of us.

 

Finding a Job other than a “Graduate Scheme”

  , , , , , , ,

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

Finding a Job other than a “Graduate Scheme”

graduates

 

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.

finding-grad-job-cover

 

 

 

 

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

  , ,

📥  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.

 

Sheep 1051_73_21_web

 

 

Get Connected in International Careers Week

  , , ,

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

worldcareers

We know that one of the best sources of career advice and inspiration is someone who is doing, or has done, the thing you are wanting to do. So we are delighted that Alumni Relations have organised another of their highly successful Get Connected events this week - and to make it even better, it is right here on campus and has an international theme to match the week!

Students will be offered short, informal appointments with alumni to ask any burning questions about their future career. There will also be opportunities for general networking and staff from our Career Service will offer advice on CVs and the evening will conclude with an informal networking opportunity.

Advice will be available from the alumni experts on how to start your working life around the world, including international students looking for tips on how to enter careers in the UK. The volunteers come from varied careers and can give advice on staying in the UK and working abroad in many different career areas.

Get Connected - International Careers will be this Thursday 3 March between 6pm and 8pm in the Plug Bar in the Students' Union. It's free to attend but you will need to register in advance to claim your free drink! A list of those who have already registered is available on our website - so if you're a little shy about going and want to know if any of your friends or classmates are going, you can have a look! (And if they're not - why not tell them about it?)

Opportunities to ask one-to-one career questions of alumni are very rare, and people before have found this a very valuable experience – not just for the advice but for getting some experience in the important skill of networking.

Find out more about the alumni volunteers - and make sure you book your place in order to meet the alumni experts and also a free drink!

 

 

 

Get ready for International Careers Week!

  , , , , , ,

📥  Career Development, Event, International Students, Networking, Uncategorized

worldpeople

Next week sees the return of our annual internationally-themed week of events. We have tried to have a little bit of something for everyone so do have a look at our events for that week to see what takes your fancy!

The week kicks off with Mars China coming in to talk about their management leadership opportunities for Chinese students wanting to return home after their studies.

We then focus on Japan, with DISCO International talking about opportunities for Japanese bilinguals - as well as PwC talking specifically about their opportunities for international students. With UK recruitment currently tightening up for international students, this is a great opportunity to meet a company who embraces internationalism. Also that day we host Withers & Rogers talking about the future of global organisations and how IP Offerings and protection are a key way to enhance that.

Thursday brings the Fulbright Commission here, offering their annual tips session on Postgraduate Study in the USA. We know that many of you are interested in this, so do come in and speak to the experts!

Added to all these external presentations, our Careers Service experts are offering a programme of workshops to help students both home and international prepare themselves for an international career. There are two assessment centre group exercise sessions - it's peak season for assessment days just now so book your slot soon. We also have repeat sessions of our popular workshops for international students looking at covering letters and also interview skills. If you are finding these hard to master then come along and learn how to demystify them and feel more in control of your approach.

You may have heard us talk about networking and advise you to develop and make best use of your LinkedIn profile. If you know you should but aren't sure how, book onto our workshop on Wednesday afternoon which will give you tips and strategies to boost your profile and show you how to extend your reach by leveraging the Bath Connection.

Finally, we are delighted to say that this year we are working with Alumni Relations who are offering one of their highly successful Get Connected sessions right here on campus on Thursday evening. It also has an international focus and the experts are all either international alumni or alumni who have worked overseas during their careers. Added to this they are launching a Get Connected webinar on Friday, for those of you who'd like the chance to ask your questions remotely.

Hopefully this will have whetted your appetite but do remember, if you'd rather just come in and ask one of our Advisers your questions, we are available every day for 1:1 appointments - we're looking forward to seeing you!

 

How to network with confidence!

  , , ,

📥  Advice, Diversity, Event, Networking

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

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

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

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

Image result for networking quotes

 

Demystifying the Careers Fair!

  , ,

📥  Careers Fairs, Event, Networking, Tips & Hints

This afternoon a number of students have been asking me questions about the Autumn Careers Fair taking place on Thursday and Friday this week. For some students this may well be your first ever careers fair that you are going to while for others this may be a very different experience to the job fairs in your home country. So, I thought a quick blog explaining how the fair works and what to expect, may help some of you.

  • Each exhibiting organisation has a stand with representatives from the business there to answer your questions. If you want ideas on what to ask, check out our blog post on good questions to ask at a careers fair.
  • Some employers will be available to talk to you on both days, where as some will only be there on one of the days. Do have a look at the fair guide and make a list of the employers you'd like to speak with.
  • If you are nervous about starting a conversation, try a bit of practice! Come to the Careers Service stand and talk to us first, this way when you approach employers you are interested in you'll feel confident in yourself.
  • In the UK employers will not offer jobs at a careers fair, this is your opportunity to network and learn about the organisation, the sector and available opportunities.
  • Try and arrive early, company representatives aren't robots - they will be knackered near the end of the day.

I also asked some of my colleagues for their top advice for making the most of the fair, here goes:

Tracey Wells, Head of Service "Wherever possible, try to talk to someone on the stand instead of just picking up a brochure or a free toy; you never know a 5-minute conversation could lead to your dream job"

Ghislaine Dell, Careers Adviser "Avoid walking round the fair with a group of friends. This is an opportunity for you to network and make an impression with a potential employer!"

Kate Maton, Information Assistant "Smile, be enthusiastic and enjoy the fair"

And finally, last bit of advice from me - even if you have a 'hit list' of employers you want to talk to - keep an open mind and talk to representatives from other organisations as well. An open mind can open up possibilities.

Ps. This image has no link whatsoever to the blog post. We adore the penguin and thought we would share it with you.

 

 

Questions to ask employers at a Careers Fair

  , ,

📥  Advice, Event, Networking, Tips & Hints

0013729e4abe0aafff730e

This image is from China Daily of a Job Fair in Beijing. Whilst we aren't expecting quite such a crowd at the Autumn Careers Fair this week;  you may want to spare a thought for the representatives from various companies who get asked the same questions, are giving out the same information and by the end of the day they may not even have had their lunch.

So, how can you make a positive impact and also come away with relevant information to help you progress your job hunt? (instead of being told to look at the website). Well, its all down to you! You set the agenda and by asking insightful questions that go beyond the superficial and obvious - you can easily gather helpful information whilst establishing a strong relationship with company representatives.

So what questions should you avoid:

  • What does your company do?
  • How much can I expect to earn?
  • Why should I apply?
  • What can you offer me?
  • Can I have the free toy / pen / teddy / chocolate bar (etc)? (and then walk away!)

Instead ask these questions:

  • Job Satisfaction and Motivation: What do you enjoy most / least about your job? How much of the subject knowledge you gained from your degree do you use on a daily basis at work? What is the most satisfying aspect of the job?
  • Details of the work: Can you describe some actual examples of the sort of activities that your job involves? If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be? What skills do you use most often?
  • Career progression & development: What is the typical career progression in this field? How has the job changed in the time you've been doing it? How do you see this job developing in the future?
  • Organisation culture & environment: How would you describe the organisation culture? How is the culture at x different from its competitors? In what way is performance measured at x?
  • The sector: How is the industry changing? What are likely to be growth areas over the next few years? What threats does your business face?

What else?

Well, consider asking similar questions to a number of organisations this way, you can compare and contrast the responses and make an informed decision about who to apply to. Take a notebook, jot down key points and the names of individuals you have spoken to. When it comes to applying you can name-drop the people you spoke to and draw on any insider information to help convey your motivation.

Finally, dress to impress and make sure you take copies of your CV just in-case!

Job-hunting in the UK? 9 things you need to know.

  , ,

📥  Advice, Applications, For Taught Postgraduates, Graduate Jobs, International Students, Networking, Tips & Hints

worldpeople

 

For many international students, starting their job search in the UK is one of their top priorities. But if you've just arrived here, how should you start? What are the key things to be aware of? And is there anything to avoid?

Especially if you have only just arrived and are still experiencing an element of culture shock, decoding the UK recruitment market might seem like a big ask. So have a look at our handy guide to job-hunting in the UK and start feeling more in control!

 

1. Recruitment starts early

The top firms, who recruit a lot of graduates, like to start early and give themselves plenty of time to select the graduates they are looking for to start in 2016. Even though start dates vary between July and September, some schemes are already open for applications. Many organisations recruit on a rolling basis, which means they continue until all positions are filled. So applying early to them works better; leaving it later means you may miss that opportunity. However, some companies do advertise much later so there will always be jobs to apply for.

 

2. 'Graduate' jobs are for postgraduates too

In the UK, Masters degrees are not as common as in many other countries and also not required by the majority of recruiters. So postgraduates will need to apply for the same positions as graduates from Bachelors degrees. From the company's point of view, the training they give you will still be the same. However, you may find as a postgraduate that you are able to progress through the company at a higher rate, as you will have additional experience.

 

3. Vacation time - when it is and when it isn't

Non-EU students are able to work for 20 hours during semester time and full-time in vacations. This means that internships in the summer vacation period are not available to postgraduate students, as their intensive Masters courses count that period as study time, allocated to the research and writing of the dissertation. Check with your Department, and also the International Student Advice Team, as to when you are able to start full-time work following the submission of your dissertation.

 

4. Don't be in a rush to write your CV

Many students come in and get CVs checked, only to start their graduate job hunt and realise that CVs are not always needed or asked for. Instead, focus on thinking about what jobs you would like to do. If you know, that will make your job search more strategic and targeted. If you don't - don't panic! Come and speak to us - we are experts at helping people work out what jobs interest them and what skills they enjoy using.

 

5. Do something non-academic!

Employability in the UK is about a whole range of skills, not just academic excellence. Organisations seek graduates who are great team players, have the emotional intelligence to work with a range of people and situations, and that can communicate well with others whatever their status. To develop these skills, join a club or society, take up a sport and/or get a part-time job.

 

6. Learn the language of employers

For organisations here it is really important to hire graduates who share their values and beliefs - such graduates are more likely to make decisions and choose actions in the 'company way'. So attend some employer presentations, talk to past students and visit the Careers Fair to get the inside track on what matters to each company. That way, you will find out which companies match your own beliefs and values - and you'll be a lot happier working for them.

 

7. Get connected

You may already be familiar with the saying 'It's not what you know, it's who you know'. It completely makes sense, then, to try and expand your network so that you know more people, and in more places. We encourage students to put together a LinkedIn profile and start building a network - initially within Bath, and with friends elsewhere, and then expanding to include organisations you would like to work with, Bath alumni and outwards. If all this sounds really hard - come to our LinkedIn Day in October or come and speak to one of our Advisers.

 

8. Read the news

Or watch it, or listen to it, or stream it on the phone when you are waiting for the bus. Companies prize business awareness very highly - if you know what is happening in the economy, or which company your target organisation has just merged with, or what effect the cold weather will have on biscuit consumption, you will come across as exactly the sort of well-informed graduate likely to be snapped up. And starting now means you can do little and often, rather than having to cram it all in in the two days before your interview.

 

9. Get some expert advice

Careers are complex. The pressure to make 'the right decision' or submit 'the perfect application' is hard to resist. If you would like just to talk it over with someone, or have a friendly pair of eyes look over the answers to your application questions to make sure you are doing yourself justice, then please book an appointment. We are very much looking forward to seeing you! And remember - coming early means you're more likely to make better applications - please don't wait until you have had 20 rejections to come and see us. We can still help you - but better to come in after 2 or 3 rejections to check you're making the most of your applications.

 

 

5 ways to an effective networking email...

  , ,

📥  Advice, Networking

"Email is where keystrokes go to die"
Scott Hanselman, a Microsoft employee has made a simple but important point. If you want to get in touch with busy people, you must know how not to waste their time. Far too many of us use email to communicate, it is easy, fast and offers a veil from the embarrassment of approaching someone face-to-face. Yet, a staggering number of emails get ignored... so what can you do to make an impact?


  1. Make your subject line specific: think of the subject as a headline of an article. If it is catchy it will prompt the reader to open the message and read it. If you met a graduate recruiter at a careers fair for example, you may want to consider the following subject line, "Hi Beth, we met at the Bath Careers Fair on Thursday". It is more catchy than, "Following-up," or "Hello...".

  2. Keep it short: a long rambly email isn't likely to get read - it will either get deleted or flagged for later, once this happens the chances of getting a reply get slim. Where possible include bullet points and get to the point of why you are contacting them. According to the Huffington Post, you might want to draft your email first, then see whether you can cut it by at least 25 percent.
  3. Consider when you hit send: According to Mailchimp, more people open emails during the day than at night and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays as opposed to the rest of the week.
  4. Don't send group emails: networking is about connecting with an individual, the last thing you want to do is send an impersonal email to a group. Try and tailor the message to the individual, a little praise helps, "... your advice to look at the psychometric test samples on your website was really helpful..."
  5. Read email out loud: before you hit send, read your email to yourself out loud. This will force you to proofread it slowly and make sure there aren't any typos.

Sometimes getting started can be a real challenge, I think the advice from Wetfeet is excellent. Finally, do follow up if you haven't heard back. However don't be annoying, follow some of these tips by Lifehacker.