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.
It is that time of the year when I start talking to 2nd years accross the Faculty of Science about how to make the most of their placement year. Looking for a placement or internship is like looking for a graduate job. The whole process is so involved and we know how hard you have worked job hunting alongside the pressures of your academic studies. Walking into the office on your first day, you will more than likely feel nervous and excited all at the same time. With this in mind, here are some tips to help you get the best out of your internship and we hope a ticket to a great job in the future.
- Set yourself objectives before you start: It’s good to have a think about what you would also like to get out of your time there (beyond being paid!). What are the skills and competency gaps in your CV? What 2 things do you want to leave the internship or placement having achieved?
- Be enthusiastic: When you’re on your placement, it is really important to be enthusiastic. Don’t be the intern who sits quietly in the corner waiting to be given something to do. Get involved and learn as much as you can about the company and industry. Get to know your fellow colleagues, ask questions and generally be ‘keen as mustard’
- Take on responsibility: Once you have built those all-important relationships and you have gained the managers’ trust, make it known that you would be happy to take on any responsibility they can offer you. Show that you are up for the challenge and want to prove yourself. Do be careful though, you don’t want to come across as cocky or pushy. Earn your stripes by excelling in the mundane, and hopefully more exciting things will be put your way.
- Manage your workload: Your work may come from multiple people so it’s important to remember to manage your time well, prioritise the most urgent work and manage their expectations. If you’re struggling to meet a deadline, you should be transparent about this and tell people in good time – 5pm on a Friday will not leave a good impression.
- Build your network: One of the best things about being in an organisation is absorbing its culture and getting to know its people. After all, these might be your future colleagues! While you are there, take the opportunity to get to know your department and pretty much anyone you can. Remember to stay in touch, which you can do through email, Linkedin or by phone.
A few days back, I did a practice interview via Skype with a client, all was going well except I was rather distracted by a less than professional poster on the clients wall and that the candidate was wearing what looked like a dressing gown and PJ's! Truth is that a significant number of recruiters are harnessing technology such as Skype, bringing the job interview into your personal space. So it is important to treat a Skype interview just like a REAL interview (minus the firm handshake).
The reason why employers are using technology: well, it speeds up the application process and is also cost effective. While technology has many advantages, it also being many perils especially if you are the job applicant. So, below are my top tips to ace a Skype interview:
- If you haven't used Skype before, do a test run! Make sure you are all set up and that your Skype name is professional. Consider a practice interview with one of our Careers Advisers.
- Make sure you have a suitable background behind you. Something plain normally works best as it’s less distracting for your interviewer. Please make sure there are no dodgy posters behind you...!
- Make sure there is good lighting and that your microphone and webcam is working! You also want a decent internet connection too!
- Make eye contact, smile and pace your speech - don't talk over the interviewer and do check that they can hear you.
- Let your personality shine through - sit up straight and demonstrate enthusiasm for the role, consider changing the pace and pitch of your speech.
For more tips check out this excellent article from the Guardian and Bloomberg.
Your phone rings, it is a unknown number - you answer with much trepidation. It is someone from the graduate recruitment team following an assessment center you went to. Hurrah they have offered you the job.
This should be one of those amazing moments; however, how do you deal with accepting or worse still declining an offer, and what do you do if you have received more than one offer?
Accepting an offer
Firstly, it is important to check whether your offer is conditional or unconditional (the former tends to be the more likely scenario). Your references must be satisfactory, some roles may require a disclosure and barring (DRB) check and the offer may be subject to you completing your degree or achieving a minimum degree classification. If you aren't eligible to work in the UK you may need to work with your prospective employer to obtain the relevant permit and the offer may be withdrawn if permission to work isn't granted by the Home Office. Before you start celebrating in earnest, make sure:
- You receive a formal contract: this should contain details of your job, salary, benefits such as annual leave, hours of work and start date.
- Consider the start date and go back and negotiate this or other benefits with the employer if you need to.
- Discuss any adjustments if you are disabled, ill or suffer with mental health issues. You may also want to consider the pros and cons of disclosure.
- You are aware of any 'golden cuffs' - also known as golden hellos! This is where an employer offers a substantial one off payment to a keenly sought recruit. However these one off payments come with ties - some companies expect you to commit to a certain length of service where as others require you to pay back the golden hello if you leave within a certain time.
Once you are happy that everything is in place then accept the job in writing (email is fine!). However, be aware that your acceptance of a job is binding. It is important to remember, you don't need to rush into accepting a job offer if you have reservations of any kind. It is far better to have a think and talk through options with a Careers Adviser.
Declining an offer
If, after serious thought, you decide that the job is definitely not for you, write back thanking the organisation for the offer and politely decline it. The world of work is a small place and you might find you are applying to that organisation again at a later date, so it is worth remaining on good terms. You can decline the offer either by calling the organisation, by emailing or writing. It is important not to waste their time and respond quickly!
When things are complicated....
- You want to hold out for a better offer: a common problem for finalists especially as some employers start the recruitment process much earlier and as a result make offers much earlier. It could be you are still waiting for a decision from your dream employer, so what should you do? Firstly, contact your dream employer and ask how far your application has progressed and secondly contact the employer who has made you the offer and ask if they can give you more time to consider the opportunity.
- You can't decide between multiple offers: really worth talking to a careers adviser and weighing the pros and cons of the different jobs you are considering (although remember we are not able to offer legal advice). In addition, the advice from the University of Oxford careers service is really worth considering.
- You want more money: The advice on The Nest is spot on! It is important to research the market before entering any negotiations. You may want to look at starting salaries of Bath Graduates in a similar field. Don't make your decision purely on money, consider the whole package: training, annual leave, fit with your values and the scope for development.
- You want to reject an offer after accepting it: If you do find yourself in a position where you feel you would like to reject an offer that you have already accepted; step back and think through your reasoning! It may help to talk to a careers adviser for an objective chat (although we cant give you legal advice / discuss your contract).
For more information you may want to look at these resources:
How to Handle Job Offers by TARGETjobs
You have one offer but you want another by Virginia Tech University
How to deal with job and placement offers
Best Practice in Graduate Recruitment Guidance (Agreed by AGCAS / AGR /NUS May 2007)
Change 100 is a paid placement programme to match talented and ambitious students and recent graduates with disabilities or long-term health conditions with top UK companies. Disabilities or long-term health conditions could include physical, visual or hearing impairments, mental health conditions and learning disabilities like dyslexia and dyspraxia.
Successful applicants get mentoring and guidance throughout a paid three-month work placement.
Apply now - deadline is 30 January!