Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Topic: Work Experience

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.



How to make the most of your placement or internship!

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📥  Placements, Tips & Hints, Work Experience

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.



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.




Selling your part-time work experience to employers

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📥  Applications, Work Experience

I've seen a few students recently who have asked 'but are employers really interested in my job in a bar/shop/restaurant?' While some sectors will require relevant work experience, UK graduate employers value any experience that gives you insight into the world of work and helps you to develop the skills and competencies they are looking for in a context outside of your degree. Whilst it is important not to lie or exaggerate what you have done and achieved, it's also important not to undersell your part-time work experience. Part-time and vacation work can help you to develop a wide range of skills including:

Team-working. Did you work as part of a team in that bar or restaurant? What specific roles did you have within the team? How did you support and encourage team members? How did you build effective relationships with colleagues and clients?

Leadership. Did you come up with ideas for doing things more efficiently and get others on board with your ideas? Did you train/supervise/manage/inspire other staff members?

Attention to detail

Time management. Did you have to prioritise activities within the role, or balance your part-time job with your studies and other commitments?

Communication. Did you talk that angry customer down? Resolve a conflict between two colleagues? Persuade a customer of the value of a product? Explain a tricky Maths concept to a child on a summer camp? Present your ideas in a meeting or group setting? Field enquiries confidently and calmly over the phone?

To make examples work for you, make sure you include enough information and context about what you did and what you achieved:

- With whom did you work?
- What were your main duties/activities?
- How did your job fit into the organisation?
- What goals were you trying to accomplish?

Wherever you can, talk about the impact and result of your efforts. Did you complete tasks to deadline and budget? Increase sales or attendance figures? Get good feedback from a colleague or customer?

Try and keep away from phrases such as 'I was responsible for', or 'the job required me to', which tend to sound passive and weaken the impact of your skills and achievements. Instead, use as many verbs as possible to talk about your experience; for example, 'I interacted with team-members', 'liaised with suppliers', 're-organised the stock control system'. Kent University Careers Service have a lovely list of action words to include in your CV.

Finally, compare the effectiveness of these two ways to talk about work experience a café; which student would you employ?:

Duties included serving customers, clearing tables, handling cash at the till.

I have developed my ability to work under pressure in my role at a busy city centre café. With around 70 orders per hour at peak time I have to work quickly and accurately so I have enough time to also tidy the dining area and make coffee. I have developed my communication skills through dealing tactfully with customer complaints.

Remember you can book a Quick Query appointment to get some feedback from a careers adviser.


Is it time to talk about my future?

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📥  Advice, Applications, Career Development, Tips & Hints, Work Experience

Today, I had a 1:1 meeting with a Bath graduate, towards the end of our appointment she said "I wish I would have thought about my future much earlier"
Many of you will be excited about coming to Bath, frantically packing and looking ahead to the array of freshers activities. For our returning students, you may well be looking forward to catching up with friends... Now, I know I sound like a party pooper, but you may want to consider giving your future a little thought.

As a first year:

  • If you don’t join a club or society now there is a good chance you won’t have the time or motivation later. You will make new friends and gain the skills that employers want by getting involved and helping out.  By starting in your first year there is a good chance you will be on the committee by your final year and have great experience on your CV.
  • Get a part time job. Earn money, gain skills, learn what it is like to have to manage your time effectively and understand the work place. Many employers complain students are not work ready so prove them wrong.
  • Take notice of the jobs people do, consider if you might like to do that and use the careers support available to help you.

As a 2nd year:

  • Catch up on first year if you missed out!
  • Work towards getting a summer internship – you need to be fast if you are interested in some of the larger companies as they tend to open applications in September.  Smaller organisations tend to recruit a bit later in the year.
  • You could volunteer – more flexibility than a job, but great experience. It can be the ONLY way to get experience in certain sectors.
  • Get a part time job. Earn money, gain skills, learn what it is like to have to manage your time effectively and understand the work place. Many employers complain students are not work ready so prove them wrong.
  • Start planning what you want to do when you leave. Explore and experience as much as you can by attending events and talking to each other, and us if you like 🙂


  • Time to start making applications now for jobs or further study after you graduate.  If that fills you with horror then it’s time to ask for help.
  • It’s not geeky or stupid to use the support and advice around you at the University. Most students won’t own up to being a bit lost, those that do, get help and find their way forward.
 First posted on the University of Manchester Careers Blog.


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.


Crack on with planning your job hunt!

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Work Experience

This is our last blog post till the 13th April, whilst your thoughts may have turned to a well earned break we wanted to share with you some tips on how you can make the most of the Easter Vacation to start planning your future. As you know we are open over the holidays, so pop in for a chat with one of our expert and friendly careers advisers.

Depending on where you are with your career thinking, you may want to consider the ideas below:

No idea what you want to do in the future

  1. Check out our great resources on Choosing a Career. You can explore what other Bath grads have done, take tests to help you understand the sorts of work environments are right for you and explore information on further study.
  2. Check out Prospects 'Options with your Degree' section and explore the wide range of opportunities open to you. In particular read the case studies which bring different jobs to life.
  3. You may have decided you don't want to use your degree subject in the future. If this is you, then you must read this helpful information.

How do I find an internship or summer work?

  1. We recently wrote a blog post on finding internships and shared useful websites.
  2. Explore your network on LinkedIn or reach out and contact Bath Alumni for advice.
  3. Register to attend our Graduate Recruitment Fair, in addition to offering graduate roles many participating employers offer summer internships.

I need to sort out my CV!

  1. Download our Application, CV and Cover Letter Guide, there are some excellent example CV's in the guide which will inspire you in creating yours.
  2. Read 6 ways to refresh your CV blog post from the guardian.
  3. Book a quick query with one of our careers advisers and get some objective feedback.

I need to find a job

  1. Check out the wide range of job  opportunities on MyFuture.
  2. Just because many grad scheme deadlines have passed doesn't mean there are no jobs out there! Check out Graduate Talent Pool, Job Online and explore opportunities with SME's.
  3. Read this excellent blog post on the hidden job market by Warwick Careers.

Enjoy your Easter vacation!



Our most comprehensive resource to help you find an internship!

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📥  Advice, Careers Resources, Internships, Work Experience

For a number of our students thoughts have turned to finding a summer internship and we thought we would pull together helpful websites to kick start your internship applications.


General sites

CareerPlayer - Search graduate internships by industry and location. Most of the opportunities listed on the website are in banking, finance, management, and consultancy. CareerPlayer also claims to have the largest independent career video library, and the most comprehensive career event listings to help graduates explore their career options.

Employ Ability  - Employ Ability are a dedicated service assisting students and graduates with disabilities, including dyslexia or long term health conditions, into employment. They have worked with many leading blue-chip as well as public sector organisations and there are a wide variety of internships with large multinationals and SME's.

Enternships - lists internships and opportunities for graduates with ambitious start-ups and small businesses in over 20 countries. You can refine your search by start date, industry, location or compensation.  Companies such as Groupon, PayPal and celebrities like James Caan and Peter Jones of Dragons Den have used Enternships to find graduate talent in the past.

Give A Grad A Go - Search for paid work placements in Design, IT, Media & Arts, Sales, Banking & Finance. According to the website most work placements last between 1-3 months, with many paid internships.

Graduate talent pool - Graduate Talent Pool is a partnership between government and employers, designed to help UK graduates looking for work placements. The internships are based primarily in England, and you can search for opportunities by career sector and region.

Inspiring Interns - Inspiring Interns aims to match graduates with businesses, and recruits interns all year round. Most opportunities are in London and the UK, and you can search by industry sector. You can upload your existing CV, or make a video CV for employers to browse on the website.

STEP - Step Graduate offers paid work placements in the UK, and the programme is supported by the government through the Department for Business and Skills. Typically placements last between 2-3 months, and the website boasts lots of success stories of candidates being offered permanent positions at the end of their placements.

Student Ladder - fantastic website where you can search for opportunities by year of study and industry sector.

Wexo - Wexo lists internships and job opportunities for students and graduates with companies in the UK. You can create a profile and browse job listings for free, however to access all other content such as CV guidance, and to apply for roles there is a one off membership fee of £10.

 Sector Specific Opportunities


Charityworks - is a unique partnership initiative between 20 charitable organisations. The graduate development programme offers graduates the opportunity to work in charities for one year, and to develop the skills they need to work in the sector.


Gradcracker -  Gradcracker only lists paid work placements for Engineering and Technology students. Browse hundreds of placements with over 48 companies, and refine your search by discipline or work sector.

Finance & Banking

 eFinancial Careers - Worldwide opportunities for graduates interested in Investment Banking and Financial Services. Search internships and graduate trainee roles, and filter results by location, sector or keywords.

 Media and Broadcasting

Broadcast Graduate - The website is aimed at recent graduates and students to help them discover internships, job opportunities and graduate schemes in the broadcast and media industries. Employers on the site include BBC, 4 Talent, Bloomberg etc.


New Scientist -  Quite a comprehensive list of internship opportunities in science, charities, and abroad. The deadlines for many of the internships will have passed already but the list gives you an idea of the kinds of places that take on interns in science-related posts, and when they tend to advertise for them.


TDA School Experience Programme – You can apply for the SEP if you are considering teaching maths, physics, chemistry or a modern foreign language at secondary level and hold a 1st, 2:1 or 2:2 degree. The placements can last up to 10 days, but are flexible. You will observe lessons, talk to teachers about day-to-day school life and you might have the opportunity to plan and deliver part of a lesson.


Target Jobs -  section lists work experience and vacation schemes in the field of law. Filter results by upcoming deadlines, employer name or region.

Enjoy and have a fun weekend browsing internship opportunities! If you need help with any aspect of the application process please book a quick query with a careers adviser.

Democracy Day - Have you thought of a career in Politics?

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📥  Advice, Careers Resources, Labour Market Intelligence, Sector Insight, Work Experience

Today across the BBC, Democracy Day is marked with special programmes looking at democracy in the UK and across the globe. The 20th January 1265 is widely recognised as the day England's first parliament was held.  This year also sees the General Election in the UK in May and therefore we are shining a light on the wide range of career opportunities in politics. One thing's for sure, a career in politics is unlikely to be dull. There are opportunities to be on the front line, working as a politician in Westminster or in local government; or you can work behind the scenes as an activist, administrator or adviser. A career in politics also offers scope to work overseas.

So how do you get started?
If  you are at University, consider getting involved with the Student Union. There are opportunities to get involved with existing campaigns or run your own. Campaigns can range from supporting organ donation awareness on campus to pushing for a better transport system for students. You can also get involved with the many Clubs & Societies which provide opportunities to discuss all manner of topics and engage with other students who care about the same issues as you.

The range of roles within politics are varied, ranging from administration, research, campaigning to specialist roles such linguists working for the intelligence service. The best way to clarify the sorts of roles that might suit you is by gaining experience. With the general election round the corner, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer and get involved with local government in your area. Work for an MP has a wealth of information on getting experience in parliament. Internships  in Brussels are advertised on EuroBrussels which also has a useful "Find a Job Guide".

Working in UK Government
There aren't as many opportunities for work experience / internships directly in Government departments and agencies; however a wide range of graduate careers do exist. The following are useful starting points:

Civil Service Careers: information on all opportunities in the Civil Service
Civil Service Fast Stream: for information on graduate entry for progress to senior positions
UK Parliament Jobs: listings of all parliamentary opportunities
National Graduate Development Programme: graduate opportunities in local government
Local Government Careers: the most comprehensive listing of local government jobs

Working in EU
Careers at the EU Institutions: a comprehensive guide to EU institutions and the wide range of opportunities.
Jobs in Brussels: a one stop-shop listing all EU affairs jobs on one portal
European Personnel Selection: for all jobs in the EU agencies.

There are also a number of graduate traineeships which include: The European Commission Traineeship and The European Economic & Social Committee Traineeship.

International Politics
Various UK (and other national) government departments work in very internationally focused ways, most obviously the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development for example.

UN: a comprehensive website with employee profiles and job listings.
NATO: a number of opportunities aimed at postgraduate students working for NATO in Brussels.

This blog post only scratches the surface of the breadth of opportunities available in the sector. For more information please download this very helpful guide produced by one of the careers team.  You may also want to re-visit our blog post on Careers in  International Development.