Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

My story: working internationally - broadening your horizons

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Uncategorized

Broadening your horizons – working internationally

international horizons

Working abroad can be an incredible experience. I have worked in three different countries; USA, UK and Norway (I am Norwegian) and I have volunteered teaching English in China and Argentina. I have had some amazing experiences which I don’t want to change for the world, but at the same time it is important to be prepared and realise that applying for jobs and working abroad may bring its own issues as well. This is my personal story on how working internationally has changed me, broadened my horizons and made me who I am today, but I will also share some important lessons as well.

 

Thinking about working internationally?

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You want to work overseas and have a real wish to explore the world? Then go for it! However, do consider any language, visa or work permit requirements of the country you are going to. Finding a job in Argentina without speaking Spanish will limit the job opportunities straight away. In addition, if you would like to work in Norway you are pretty much limited to bar and café work if you do not speak Norwegian. You may also have visa limitations. After going to University in the US, I had a year’s work permit, which I was sure I could extend. I was six months in to a job I loved, with colleagues I loved in a city I loved (Seattle), when I found out that the work permit could not be extended. I did not have a job that fit the visa requirements and had to leave the country within the next 4 weeks, saying goodbye to everyone in the process. My lesson to you is therefore to research as much as possible before you go!

 

Applying for jobs internationally?

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Be aware that applying for jobs and selection processes may be slightly different depending on which country you are looking to work in. After 15 years in the UK I moved back to Norway in 2014. Networking and who you know is very important with regards to applying for jobs in Norway and as I had not kept many social networks, I discovered that in the interview process many of the interview attendees already worked for the company or knew someone in the company. In addition, the interview questions were personality-based (similar to strength-based), as they did not care too much about your skills or experience but instead they wanted to figure out whether you, as a person, would fit in the company. The whole interview normally just turned into an informal chat. Being used to competency-based questions from the UK I must say it took a couple of interviews to adapt! Researching how different countries have different selection processes and also what websites to look at to find work, is therefore important.

We have some excellent links and resources on our website, also Prospects and TargetJobs have wonderful resources and country guides for you to look through,

 

Working internationally

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So you have researched where you want to go and have successfully applied for a job overseas. Well done, your year(s) ahead may be full of new adventures, new friendships, perhaps learning a new language and, of course, a new job. In my last job in the US I worked at a US-Asian NGO and I learnt so much in few months I was there (before my visa expired) and met some amazing people from the US as well as many Asian countries. In some ways it laid the basis for the person I am today, I learnt to work with people from different cultures and with different ways of communicating and working. For example, any decision whether small or large always had to be made together, so I attended lots and lots of meetings in this job with people from all levels of seniority. In addition, I learnt the importance of company health insurance in the US and the very limited number of holiday days you get! In Norway, on the other hand, I learnt that in addition to your normal sick days, as a mother (or father) you get additional sick days for your child. You learn quickly that there are different ways of working, of communicating or solving issues. These are just some of the charms of working abroad and will really benefit you in any jobs and teams in the future.

Apart from the job, you now have the opportunity to explore the city and the country you are in. Be a tourist, be a local, try new food, connect with people, learn new customs, find new activities, explore your new life! I still think that some of the best seafood I have ever had is from Seattle harbourside, the best food overall is from China, I have visited old castles and palaces, volcanoes and mountain ranges, learnt that I actually do like walking in nature and have met some wonderful people along the way.

 

After working internationally

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So, you have decided to come home again from working overseas.  I have learnt a lot from working abroad, but it is my ability to adapt to different circumstances and different people which I value the most. You learn different ways of working, different ways of applying for jobs and you get to know a different country, often getting to know the country “the local way” if you stay long enough. In addition, I have learnt a lot about myself in the process, increasing my self-confidence and awareness of myself and other people, whatever area of the world they are from.

Employers in the UK really look positively on people with international experience, as they bring back valuable skills, a creative outlook, different experiences, networks and the ability to adapt to any situation and communicate to people from a variety of backgrounds.  Maybe you can find a job in an international company that can take advantage of your expertise in a specific country? I have found that my international experience has interested employers, it is usually a topic of conversation in interviews and I have gained employment at least in some part owing to my experience overseas. Therefore, if you feel up to the challenge and think you will truly enjoy and thrive living in a different country, then go for it! It will be an adventure of a lifetime and you will change as a person.

Want to get to know other people who have worked abroad? Have a look at our international case studies.

So what happened to me?

I still work “overseas” as I have found my second home here in the UK, learning to live life “the local way”.  Now I can’t imagine to be anywhere else. I have lived here for nearly 16 years in total. So be aware that “a few years working abroad” may turn into a lifetime........

 

 

 

Considering further study? Why not consider studying internationally?

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📥  Advice, Career Development, Postgraduate Study, Tips & Hints

international flags

This tine of year is a prime time for students to think about embarking on a course of further study, most often at masters level but also at PhD level.
So with many courses internationally being taught in English - and not just in English-speaking countries - you might want to consider spreading your wings and going elsewhere for your higher degree.

As well as considering the normal things when thinking about further study - what subject, what course, what institution - there are some other things that are particularly important when thinking about studying abroad.

Firstly, the timescales for applying may be different from here and are almost certainly longer - the Fulbright Commission who advise on studying in the US have a lot of information about timelines and recommend you start in your penultimate year ideally.

You may need to sit a test - have a look at our web pages on studying abroad to get more information about the sorts of tests and how to prepare for them.

Funding may also be an issue and is one of the reasons that you may need to start early. But of course, one of the attractions of studying especially in Europe is that education fees are substantially less than here. Do check though, the duration of the course - a UK masters course will be normally 1 year but the standard in mainland Europe is 2 years.

Do also pay attention to any information you get about study styles and cohort sizes - lower fees sometimes mean larger classes and more lectures, rather than the small group seminars which are a common feature of masters courses in the UK.

For more detailed information about studying internationally, specific to individual countries, have a look at the AGCAS country profiles for studying abroad. Considerations here include how much of the host nation's language you speak, what the city you'd be based in is like, and what the common customs are that you should be aware of. You could always take advantage of our Foreign Languages Centre to brush up your languages before you start!

Applications may vary considerably - some institutions require only a CV and transcript, others want a personal statement which can be very detailed. So if you would like advice on how to put one together, or some feedback on the application you are preparing, please do come in and see us.

 

Navigating the British work culture - how to be a chameleon

  

📥  Career Choice, Career Development, International Students, Networking

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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.

 

European Civil Service - Graduate Entry

📥  Uncategorized

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In keeping with our International Careers Week co-incidentally EPSO (on behalf of the EU Institutions) has announced it is launching a new competition for graduates (grade AD5) this spring!

What does a graduate administrator do?

Graduate administrators typically work in one of the EU Institutions, within a team, and focus on policy formulation, operational delivery and resource management. The field in which such graduates carry out these tasks is dependent on which institution or service recruits them. An administrator post is open to graduates in any discipline. Further information about this role https://epso.europa.eu/job-opportunities/students-and-graduates_en#tab-0-2.

Do you meet the basics for our graduate selection procedures?

  • You are an EU citizen
  • You are fluent in one of the official EU languages and proficient in a second – (for linguist profiles you need 3 EU languages)
  • You have or will receive a diploma (at least bachelor degree level) by 31 July

Interested?  More information coming soon on http://eu-careers.eu/!

 

 

Update on Careers Provision for Students with Disabilities

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📥  Advice, Diversity, Uncategorized

As many of you are probably aware the Careers Service has now moved down to the Virgil Building in Manvers Street and we are now open!   So, I thought now would be a very good time to talk about the provision that we offer to all of our disabled students – so this would cover anyone with physical, mental health and learning needs such as dyslexia and dyspraxia. To make sense of our provision I have split this into General Careers Provision and Additional Careers Provision for Disabled Students.

Careers photo

 

General Careers Service Provision

You may have already seen your Faculty or Department Careers Adviser who will deliver some Department-specific activities on campus. Some of our employer talks and promotional activities will also still take place on campus.

However, most of our Careers Service activities have now moved down to the Virgil Building in Manvers Street where you can book Quick Queries and can also book longer appointments through our reception down there as well as attend skills workshops. In VB we also have a number of resources and free leaflets and information booklets which you might find useful. So when you are down in Manvers St do pop in to see the facilities! We are located on the 2nd level near the main reception so a lift will shortly be installed at the main entrance.

To book an appointment in VB just go to https://myfuture.bath.ac.uk

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Additional Careers Service Provision for Disabled Students

The University recognises that some students would benefit from having careers support still on campus. So in addition to all of the above, my new role as a Careers Adviser is to provide exactly this on campus and I am here to support you during your time with us and in the year after you graduate to ensure that you reach the career goals that you are looking for. So what exactly does that mean?

Appointments on campus

I am based on campus for three days a week and therefore I am able to offer you appointments here. You can either phone our reception to book one of the slots on a Tuesday or Wednesday by ringing 01225 386009 (just let our enquiry team know that you are a disabled student), or you can email me (Melanie Wortham) and I can book these for you. If you are unable to make those times, then I have some flexibility on Mondays to offer you alternative appointments. So basically, we are offering you additional careers provision which will hopefully be useful in busy semesters. In vacations you will also have the support of a careers adviser, and can access appointments remotely by Skype or telephone if you prefer.

 

So why would you come and see me?!

If you just have a short query such as how to explain something on your CV, or wanted to know something about a particular occupation, then book a 15 minute appointment – that is perfectly fine. Or it may be that you are not sure of what you want to do and a 45 minute appointment may be more appropriate.

Here are 10 reasons students’ book to see a Careers Adviser:-

Get advice on their CV and applications
No idea or little idea on what you might like to do in the future
Get some ideas on work experience, and where to look
Discuss placements, internships, voluntary work
Need some help with interviews – we offer practice interviews
Job search
Looking to go into something completely out of the degree area and need advice
Being a mature student and looking for a career change
Considering Further Study
Advice on psychometric tests and assessment centres

I hope the above has given you some idea on the sorts of help and advice that we offer. However, if there are any other careers related issues you would like to discuss, then please just email me and come and chat about it! I very much look forward to meeting some of you over the coming months and years.

 

Developing a global outlook

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📥  Advice, International Students, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Compass pointing the way to success

In today's increasingly international world, it is becoming quite common to hear organisations talking about wanting individuals with an international outlook. But what is this?

At its simplest, it is an awareness of difference and a willingness to accept and work with that difference. So when you are on holiday in Spain, you find yourself slipping into the way of eating later in the evening because that is the accepted way of doing things there. And you don't complain loudly abut it - at least not if you want to have a meal that tastes good and is served with a smile. You may even try to use a few words of Spanish while you are asking directions or shopping for souvenirs.

So it is with the world of work. Global outlook is a willingness to look outwards. To work with those who are from different cultures, understanding that there may be differences in the way you speak, or the jokes you tell, or other cultural norms - and taking account of that when you do business with those people.

If you want to build a career that spans countries, either by working in a British organisation that operates internationally, or an international company that has a base here, then it pays to develop this cultural sensitivity and also an interest in what is happening in other parts of the world.

And if you are really serious about it, why not think about developing a second language (for the Brits among us who only speak one!)? There are plenty of resources here at the University to help with that, including the Foreign Languages Centre, Self-Access Language Centre, Students' Union Cultural Societies and the simplest of all, talking to the many international students that have chosen to study here.

To deepen your understanding of other cultures and make it easier to work internationally, read news stories about world events and also try reading them on non-British producers - the English version of Al-Jazeera is very good for giving a non-British perspective on events both home and away.

Embracing the global nature of university and work life will develop skills such as tolerance, sensitivity (think emotional intelligence!), flexibility,m adaptability, and inquisitiveness and open-mindedness. Many employers value these particular characteristics, so what have you got to lose?

 

An international student's guide to succeeding in the UK job market

  

📥  Advice, Applications, Career Development, Commercial Awareness, For Taught Postgraduates, International Students, Interviews

worldpeople

Welcome to the first of our international -themed blog posts to mark International Careers Week.

This post is aimed at any international students looking to build their career right here in the UK. We know that many of you are very career-minded so here are a few tips to make sure you are making the most of your time here and giving yourselves the best chance of success.

  1. Get informed
    Make sure you are aware of your rights as regards work permissions. The Student Immigration Service are putting on a talk to refresh your memories on working in the UK after your studies and I really do recommend you go. The rules are complex and ever-changing so find out what the law actually says, and pick up a copy of our advice for employers too.
  2. Get ready
    We have laid on the complete series of our popular workshops for international students this week, as well as an assessment centre workshop, so you can perfect your skills and stand out for all the right reasons to employers.
  3. Get involved
    It's never too late to join a society, start volunteering, maybe even take the opportunity to build up some part-time work experience. All these things will be useful boosts to your CV as well as helping you pick up that sought-after commercial awareness and improve your English language skills.
  4. Get feedback
    Our expert team of Careers Advisers are very happy to give you feedback on your CVs, applications, cover letters and also help you prepare for interviews. It might seem a little scary to come and ask us to give you feedback - but that 15 minutes can make the difference between being on the 'no' pile and being invited to the next stage of the process.
  5. Get Connected
    They say 'It's not about what you know, it's about who you know'. Now this is not the whole truth, but having access to a large network of connections and being ale to ask them for help is surely a good thing, right? So, we have worked together with the Students Union and Alumni to offer you a skills session on networking and getting ahead in business, followed by Get Connected, a chance to ask alumni how they got to where they are now, and get a free drink along the way.
  6. Get ahead
    You'll see we have many jobs being advertised on MyFuture at the moment. But before you excitedly apply to all the ones that look interesting, do make sure you check on the employer website whether they are accepting applications from international students. Not all of them do, and checking will ensure you don't waste a lot of time preparing an application only to have it rejected.

 

Finding a Job other than a “Graduate Scheme”

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

Finding a Job other than a “Graduate Scheme”

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


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


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

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

Here are a few ideas for you to consider:

  • Research and find out about potential employers

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

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

 

Search for job adverts online / hard media

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

Social networking / applying speculatively

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

Use recruitment agencies

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

Further information

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

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Cracking Careers Wisdom...

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📥  Advice, Applications, Career Development

Christmas crackers are a traditional Christmas favourite,  did you know they were first made in about 1845-1850 by a London sweet maker called Tom Smith? He had seen the French 'bon bon' sweets (almonds wrapped in pretty paper). He came back to London and tried selling sweets like that in England and also included a small motto or riddle in with the sweet.

Image result for victorian christmas cracker

Fast forward to 2016 and the Careers Service Christmas lunch. We not only pulled crackers but also attempted to indulge in that old 'lets share our cracker joke'  tradition. Alas we couldn't, as our crackers contained words of wisdom and conversation starters and we missed out on gems like:

What does Santa suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney?
Claustrophobia!

Or

What's the most popular Christmas wine?

'I don't like Brussels sprouts!'

Never one to dampen the festive spirit, we shared our words of wisdom with one another and thats when inspiration for our last blog post of the year came to me. So here goes, some cracking words of wisdom that will really make a difference to your job hunting in the New Year.

Cracker wisdom # 1: Learn from everyone, but never imitate anyone.
The goal of your CV is to stand out from all the other job seekers and be picked for an interview; if you are using the same template as all the other hopefuls you will achieve neither objective. Whilst it is OK to look at example CV's, pick and choose the bits you like and ensure your individual strengths, personality and motivation for a particular opportunity is shining through. Likewise, don't let your inner monologue (also known as Imposter Syndrome) hold you back and crucially don't compare yourself to everyone else.

Cracker wisdom # 2: The harder you fall, the higher you bounce
You applied for your dream job or placement and despite your best efforts your application got turned down. The truth is rejection comes hand in hand with the job hunting process, the important thing is to learn from the process and not make the same mistake. For example, where in the recruitment stage do you stumble? Last year, I wrote a post about Coping with Rejection where I shared strategies on reinventing yourself at ever stage of the selection process. However, it is also important to step back and consider whether there is a message in the rejection itself. Is it that a particular company isn't the right fit for you? Or that you are applying for a role that isn't harnessing your strengths fully?

Cracker wisdom # 3: A goal without a plan is just a wish
For many of you the Christmas holidays are clouded with worries about exams in January. It doesnt have to be this way. You can enjoy the festive season and still stay on top of revision and coursework. Check out our top time management tips around exams to help you feel more in control.

Finally, whilst the end of term is approaching, a little reminder that we are open till Tuesday 20th December and will reopen on the morning of 3rd January 2017. For more information, please keep an eye on our website.

Merry Christmas and the very best wishes for the New Year from everyone in the careers team.

Ps. If you are looking for a conversation starter during your Christmas dinner, this  one got us talking, "would you rather have a nose like Rudolf's that glows or have pointy elf ears?"

 

How to sell yourself and feel ok about it

📥  Advice, Applications, Interviews

I've talked to quite a few people recently who've said they find it really hard to 'sell themselves' in applications and interviews. Rightly or wrongly this phrase can sometimes conjure up images of aggressive Apprentice-style pitches about how great you are. But is this really what employers expect? In a nutshell they expect you to understand their needs and the needs of the role you are applying for, and to articulate confidently how you and your knowledge, skills and experience meet those needs. Doesn't sound quite so scary or aggressive, does it? So how do you present yourself positively and confidently (which employers will expect you to do) without slipping into arrogance?

A few quick thoughts:

  • avoid phrases which weaken or undercut the impact of what you say, 'I only', 'it was nothing', 'I did a bit of'. Don't underestimate the value of a project or piece of work experience to a prospective employer just because it was quite short; highlight what you gained from the experience and the impact you made.
  • use active phrases rather than passive constructions, i.e. 'I organised a conference' rather than 'a conference was organised'; this sounds much more proactive and positive and puts the emphasis on what YOU did and made happen which is the whole purpose of job application processes. If you're a scientist or engineer, and particularly if you're a doctoral and postdoctoral researcher and thoroughly grounded in scientific report writing, it will take a bit of a practice to train yourself out of the passive voice you're used to using for scientific report writing. Think 'analysed data', not 'the data was analysed'.
  • Quantify your experience so the employer gets a sense of the scope of what you've done. How many people were in the team you led? How many years of experience have you had with a particular technique?
  • Employers are looking for people who can make an impact, so emphasise your achievements within a particular role, and quantify those as well. Did you increase sales figures by 10% in that sales assistant role over the summer? Improve efficiency of a process by 20% in your engineering project? You're not 'bigging things up' when you do this, you're simply stating facts.
  • Put more emphasis on yourself and the actions you took within a role than on the organisation you worked for. It's fine to give a little information about companies you've worked for, but don't let this take over or get repetitive.
  • In cover letters and interviews, emphasise your enthusiasm for the job and company you're applying for. Phrase like 'this role really appeals to me because' and 'what particularly fascinates me is' will help convince the employer than you really want to work for them.
  • You don't need to say you're the best thing since sliced bread, but try to find things that may be unique about your experience or skills, and talk about how these will be useful for the organisation.
  • Book a Quick Query and one of our advisers will give you some feedback on how your application is coming across.