Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Entrepreneurship – the alternative career path!

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📥  Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship

 

The Global Entrepreneurship Week starts from Monday 17th – 23rd November 2014, this week we wanted to focus on a career path less traveled – Entrepreneurship!  Whether you want to start your own business, work as a freelancer or on consultancy basis - having an entrepreneurial mind-set will allow you to work flexibly in a rapidly changing economy.  If you decide to pursue a career within an organisation, having a 'can-do' attitude, a creative and questioning mind, and a willingness to take risks will allow you to manage and progress your career.

So what are your options? If you want to get a job but are not excited by large corporates, you may want to consider Entrepreneurial Internships or working for a start-up. Sites such as Enternships  and WorkInStartUps advertise jobs in a wide range of industry sectors. This blog post from the guardian makes a pretty convincing case about why you should work for a start-up. If however you are set on becoming the next Richard Branson, then make the most of the opportunities available to you at University. Join relevant clubs and societies such as Enactus or Banter. You may also want to consider participating in business competitions, games and hackathons. Don’t limit yourself to just opportunities on campus, use social media sites such as Twitter to learn about opportunities nationally.

Entrepreneur First, is a government backed initiative which is the first of its kind offering a structured career path into entrepreneurship straight after graduation. You will benefit from training, mentoring and office space to get your start-up idea off the ground.

Entrepreneurship offers a wealth of opportunities but it is a tricky career path. Before you dive in, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have the discipline to be your own boss?
  • What is your tolerance for risk?
  • Are you comfortable working alone?
  • Can you test the waters without jumping straight in?
  • Is your business idea sound?
  • What are the gaps in your skills?

Below are some useful local organisations who may be able to offer further support:

  • Social Enterprise Works: expert guidance, support and training to help your social enterprise grow, develop and succeed.
  • Science City Bristol: aims to help make the Bristol and Bath region a great place to start and grow science and technology businesses.
  • Hubbub - A website to gain funding for your projects, ideas and events.
  • NESTA - National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts: Provides funding for early stage companies.

 

#FF (Follow Friday): Entrepreneurs!

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📥  Entrepreneurship

If you are a Twitter user, you will be familiar with Follow Friday (or #FF) – every Friday people tweet their recommendations about who to follow. I have been following Global Entrepreneurship Week which kicks off from 17-23 November 2014.  So in honour of that I have taken entrepreneurship as my first #FF theme.

If you are considering starting your own business or have a general interest in entrepreneurship then I recommend NACUE who support student led enterprise activities on campus. The Prospects website has a wealth of information including a handy start-up check-list. Of course the Global Entrepreneurship Week website is packed with information, links to events and some superb resources to get you started.

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You may also want to use LinkedIn to network with individuals you know, but I’d definitely recommend joining groups like On Startups, the British Library Entrepreneur Network and Real Business. These groups provide opportunities for you to ask questions, join topical discussions, and build your network.

Back to #FF, there is a wealth of information on Twitter, you may want to consider following these accounts if you are interested in entrepreneurship.

Celebrities
Duncan Bannatyne
Peter Jones
Richard Branson

Individuals
Jonathan Moules – Financial Times, enterprise correspondent
Bill Morrow – Founder of Angels Den
Dan Martin – BusinessZone editor

Organisations
Business Link 
Flying Start
School for Startups 
Global Entrepreneurship Week UK

Remember to check out our blog next week, we will be posting about starting your own business, whether entrepreneurship is a possible career path for you, sources of funding and much more!

 

 

Blogging as a Researcher...

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📥  For PhDs, Social Media

This week we have focused on how you can harness social media to build and manage your personal brand. Today we wanted to change focus from job hunting to showcasing your expertise by blogging. With around 42.6 million new posts each month on WordPress alone, blogging has become a serious social media tool. But why should you, as a researcher, spend time creating and writing a blog?

Dr. Sarah Louise Quinnell, social scientist and managing editor of the site PhD2Published, says “Publishing traditionally takes a very long time, in some cases up to two years, so blogs allow for immediate engagement and debate of current issues” That’s not all, blogging is a great way to refine your writing skills and will enable you to engage in conversation with peers. Blogging is also a good way to meet and address your institution’s emphasis on community outreach.

Setting up a blog is incredibly easy with services such as WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr. All you need to do is choose your domain name and a theme and you are pretty much ready to start posting. The Guardian posted great tips on blogging which are worth a read.

 

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We wanted to add a few more tips to get you going with your blogging journey:

  1. Read other blogs: one of the best ways to find your niche and tone of voice is to see what other peers are posting. Remember your blog and your writing style will evolve over time, so keep experimenting. Check out these blogs by colleagues at Bath.
  2. Accept negativity: Occasionally you may get the odd negative comment on your blog, don’t let it put you off. Any comments you’re not happy with can be deleted or responded to positively.
  3. Give it time: the internet is a crowded place, so plan to invest in blogging. You may also want to consider guest blogging on your peer’s blogs to build a reputation and to contribute without the pressure of having to create content regularly.
  4. Inform your Institution: Have a chat with your line manager about your intention to start an academic blog. Your institutions marketing department may be able to help with promoting your blog by featuring it as a news item or linking it to their social media activity.
  5. Use downtime: you can use quieter times to create content and schedule it to be published at regular intervals. Tools such as Hootsuite enable you to schedule posts to  multiple social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and more.

Good luck!

 

#Jobhunt using Twitter!

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📥  Finding a Job, Networking, Social Media

Social media sites are now becoming an increasingly important job hunting tool. Having an appropriate Facebook and a professional, well written LinkedIn profile will protect you by portraying you as someone a recruiter might want to employ. According to the Huffington Post, 80% of employers google candidates. That said, I think Twitter is massively under used by students and graduates. Check out these useful tips by Forbes on how you can harness Twitter to support your job hunting efforts. First and foremost, make sure you are following the Bath Careers Service @careersatbath; we tweet latest events, vacancies and useful labour market snippets.

I have also compiled a list of useful accounts to follow (not comprehensive list but a useful starting point).

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General vacancy accounts

  • @GJ_graduate: a useful feed of the latest graduate jobs posted on the guardian.
  • @Targetjobs_jobs: Highlights jobs and work experience opportunities on their site as well as giving useful deadline reminders.
  • @JobOnline: feeds graduate jobs in a wide range of different sectors.

There are also a number of useful industry specific accounts that not only list relevant vacancies but provide information and advice.

 Public Sector

  • @ukcsjobs: Listings of UK Civil Service vacancies.
  • @faststreamuk: Information on the Civil Service Fast stream. Including opportunities, key dates events and tips.
  • @jobsgopublic: Vacancy alerts from leading public sector recruitment agency.
  • @NHS_Jobs:  Not just a site for doctors and nurses! A range of administrative and  healthcare roles area advertised.

Law

  • @TjobsLaw: News on vacation schemers, training contracts and pupillage.
  • @LawCareersNetUK: Find a training contract or pupillage and access advice on entering the legal profession.

Finance & Management

  • @efc_global:  Latest graduate  jobs and careers advice for the finance, banking and investments sector.
  • @ftfinancenews: fastest ways to keep up to date with the financial sector and boost your commercial awareness.

Engineering

  • @gradcracker: Engineering related vacancies and advice.
  • @TjobsEng_Tech: Provides the latest graduate jobs, internships and careers advice for the engineering field.

Technology      

  • @gradcracker Technology related advice ad vacancies.
  • @InsideCareers: Graduate vacancies internships and careers advice for the IT industry.

Environmental

  • @EnvironmentJobs: Latest vacancies for environmental engineers, managers and environmental science professionals.
  • @GreenJobsGlobal: Vacancies in the conservation, environmental, sustainability and renewable energy sectors.

Science

  • @ChemWorldJobs: Official jobs board for the Royal Society of Chemistry.
  • @Stepplacements: Paid placement opportunities for students and graduates with a focus on science and technology opportunities.

As with all Social Media tools, it may be worth keeping your personal Twitter account separate from  your professional / job hunting account.  Think about how you will manage your online personal brand. For example, If you find an interesting article in the field or sector that interests you, tweet it to your followers. This small gesture will demonstrate you are immersed in your field.  Finally, if you are interested in working for a particular employer find them and follow them on Twitter as it is likely that they will give you advanced notice opening dates for opportunities.

Finally check out Follow Friday (or #FF) – every Friday people tweet their recommendations about who to follow. You'll be surprised by who you might end up following and crucially the useful labour market snippets you'll pick up!

How to use LinkedIn effectively...

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📥  Finding a Job, Networking, Social Media, Tips & Hints

LinkedIn-left-behind

 

LinkedIn can be described as “Facebook” for professionals. You can join groups, add contacts, view individual profiles (online CV’s) and follow specific companies. LinkedIn is one of the biggest professional networking platforms and is an invaluable tool.

LinkedIn is useful for:

  • Developing an online profile to compliment your CV.
  • If an employer googles you (80% of employers do!), a well-crafted LinkedIn profile will usually appear near the top of a google search under your name.
  • Making contact with people working in your sector, alumni, graduate recruiters, professors etc.
  • Looking at profiles of successful professionals in your field and learning from their career journey.

LinkedIn offers more than just an online CV! To utilise LinkedIn’s full potential you should join relevant groups! For example, the University of Bath alumni group, which has over 10,000 members! There are over a million sector specific groups which can be a powerful way to keep up to date with your field of interest and build your commercial awareness. Below are our 5 top tips to make the most of your LinkedIn account:

  1. Finish your Profile: Make sure you fill out your profile completely and also add a professional picture of yourself. Don’t forget to create a clear and concise headline in 120 characters or less describing what you do. According to LinkedIn, a completed profile increases your chance to be successful at networking by 40%. Here are some useful tips to help you craft a powerful headline.
  2. Be Active: once you've joined relevant groups on LinkedIn, make sure you fully engage with them by contributing to conversations and forums. By answering questions and giving your opinion, you’ll demonstrate your passion and that you know what you are talking about.
  3. Show off: Link to content you've produced, whether it is a YouTube video, PowerPoint presentation, your thesis or something else you are proud of; that would be relevant to the types of job you are interested in.
  4. Use keywords: The skills and expertise section of your profile is your opportunity to go keyword crazy. Think about every skill you have: drawing, Photoshop, writing, CAD, Matlab etc. Put it all in there and encourage others to endorse your skills – nothing says ‘I can do this’ quite like someone else saying it for you.
  5. Ask for Recommendations: LinkedIn recommendations are like public references and they give potential recruiters insights on what you are like as a person and your work ethic.

LinkedIn is a powerful way to create your online personal brand, you can control how you want to be portrayed professionally to the world. For more help and advice, book an appointment with a Careers Adviser, we can review your LinkedIn profile and give you invaluable tips on how you can strengthen it.

What is Personal Branding?

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📥  Networking, Social Media

Personal branding is a concept that has been around for a while now! What was once considered to be a person’s reputation is now, according to this article, your personal brand. According to Personalbrandinguk.com,  “Personal branding is a way of communicating what makes you different and special – and using those qualities to guide your career or business”.  Personal branding is all about proactive reputation management. It’s not about creating a new image for yourself, but more about making sure you get recognition for who you are and what you are good at.

With the ever-increasing prevalence of online social networking tools; information about you is only a click away.  It is now more important than ever to think about the image or brand that you would like to project, both online and in the real world. You probably already have an online presence, so your first step could be to tidy up your existing digital identity.  I think this infographic from marketing agency KBSD offers some great tips and techniques.

Before you start creating your personal brand, you have to think about who you really are and  what you really want. What have you accomplished so  far? What are you passionate about? What are your goals? Self-reflection is hard, so ask your friends or family to describe your best qualities. The best brands are truthful so be authentic about yourself. University of Warwick careers share 9 steps to build you personal brand.

 

personal-brand2

 

Finally just as a company needs marketing materials, you need to think of the tools you are going to use to build and promote your personal brand. These tools may include CV's, cover letters but  is also worth harnessing social media tools. Developing and managing an online presence should be an important part of your personal branding strategy. If you want to see what others will find out about you then you should Google your own name from time to time.

This week we are going to blog on how you can use social media tools to kick-start your job hunt and manage your career. Tomorrow we will write about whether you should get LinkedIn or not.

The job hunting apocalypse…

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📥  Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs

zombie-cartoon-will-work

I have just been outside the library talking to students about their job hunting nightmares! If you are passing by, say hello!  I got the sense a lot of students have turned into Zombies when it comes to job hunting – for a number of students, it’s an apocalypse out there and you have decided to give up on finding a job!

Here are some of the reasons why students have given up:

“I am down to get a 2:2; there is no way I will find a job”

“I don’t know if I am good enough”

“I want to be an x but there is nothing out there for me”

I am a huge fan on the TV series The Walking Dead and am going to utilise my love for Zombies to share some job hunting survival strategies.

  • Look beyond the doom and gloom: news that 83 graduates apply for every job is eye catching, but this is only true of the large graduate schemes which only make up 12-15% of the job market. Feedback from employers is there is a war for talent with start-ups and blue chip companies recruiting heavily.
  • You can survive a 2:2: while some graduate schemes use 2:1 classification as a way to sift applications this is not true of all employers! I just did a quick search on Milkround.com and counted at least 20 grad schemes which accept a 2:2. Not to mention SME’s and start-ups, who often don't have such stringent requirements. So it is worth exploring alternative routes into the sector of your choice. Check out this amazing list  produced by Warwick Careers of employers who consider a 2:2!
  • Easier to survive in groups: using your network can be a great way of finding out about opportunities that aren't advertised, inside scoop on what particular employers look for and what it’s like to work for a particular organisation. Talk to your professors, peers, employers on campus, Bath alumni and careers advisers. Use tools such as LinkedIn to make connections.
  • Take your time: avoid diving mindlessly into applying for jobs, just because everyone around you is! It can be invaluable to step back and reflect on what you really want to do. Sometimes taking a year out and focusing on learning about a sector through internships and work experience will not only build your CV but also allow you to make clearer and informed decisions.

Remember you don't have to loose your brains while looking for a job! Come and see us in Careers and we will support you all the way.

Happy Halloween!

 

 

Networking Nightmares

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📥  Networking

As tomorrow is Halloween, we wanted to write a post on an aspect of career planning that could be considered a nightmare. Do you come out in a cold sweat at the thought of talking to someone you don't know? Or worry about how to approach an employer at a careers fair, talk to someone at a conference, get in touch with that friend-of-a-friend who works in PR and who would be a useful contact?

Networking is a word that strikes fear into many of us, myself included. I wanted to share some strategies and resources I've found useful over the past couple of years. The first strategy is regarding LANGUAGE. Whether it should or not, the 'n' word can conjure up images of a super-confident person marching up to a group of six people, introducing themselves and engaging in sparkling and witty conversation. More helpful (and infinitely less scary) phrases might be learning, sharing, communiacting, exhanging ideas, listening and helping others. My guess is you do all of those things on a daily basis. If I come across an interesting article or news item I share it with colleagues who might find it interesting too. Nine times out of ten they respond gratefully, and more often than not they return the favour at some point. Reciprocity is a key principle in effective networking; it's fine to ask a question via a discussion group on LinkedIn, but make sure you have things to contribute too.

The second strategy I've found useful is to ask myself 'What's the worst that can happen?' Usually, the answer is, someone won't respond, and it's most likely to be because they don't have time. I once confidently introduced myself to someone on a stand at a public engagement event, only to reminded that I had had a half-hour long meeting with them the week before. The sky didn't fall down. Mistakes are allowed -  rudeness is not.

The third strategy, rather than beating myself for being reluctant to network, is to remind myself of all the potential benfits. Careers networking has lots of these: you can find out more about job roles/companies/sectors you're interested in, raise your profile, and find out about opportunities that may be coming up (though don't start off by asking for a job; ask someone for help and advice in the initial stages).  As you build relationships with people, you may find that career opportunities and ideas arise. You can engage in career networking even if you don't have a specific career plan in mind; find things that interest you, and get involved with people who share those interests. You never know where it might lead.

Here are some helpful resources on various aspects of career networking:

University of Warwick Blog post on networking for introverts - lovely advice on being prepared (always a good strategy for reducing fear) and on networking in a way that feels comfortable to you.

The shy connector - great advice from Sacha Chua on encouarging people to approach you rather than you approaching them.

The Careers Service Finding a Graduate Job Guide - contains lots of advice on online, written and face-toface career networking.

And specifically for academic networking: check out the Researcher Development Unit's Skills Guides

Finally, if you want to practice on some lovely, non-scary people, the Careers Service will have a 'Careers Nightmare'  stand outside the Library tomorrow between 12-3pm. Come and ask the careers questions you've always wanted to. I'm reliably informed there will be treats.

 

 

 

 

Have you thought of a career in International Development?

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📥  Sector Insight

I really enjoyed reading Nipuni Perera’s blog post on attending the One Young World Summit in Dublin which inspired me to shine a light on the breadth of job opportunities available to graduates within the International Development sector.

international development

 

International development is about engaging with economically disadvantaged regions in the world to empower people to improve their lives and address poverty. The sector is diverse and offers opportunities in governance, policy, healthcare, finance, campaigning, disaster preparedness, education and much more! Broadly speaking organisations involved in international development can be grouped into:

  1. Government Organisations such as The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
  2. Multilateral Organisations such as the United Nations
  3. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) such as BOND (British Overseas NGO’s for Development) or Oxfam.
  4. Academic Organisations & Research Institutes such as the Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
  5. Consultancies such as WYG.

You may want to consider reading this very helpful guide explaining the types of development employers published by Devex. Roles within the sector are diverse and constantly evolving. Broadly the roles fall into the following categories:

  • Support: HR, Finance, Logistics, IT, Administration etc
  • Advocacy / Outreach: campaigning, lobbying, PR and fundraising.
  • Practitioner: project management, field work, relief work etc

There are also a growing number of roles within Policy and Research offering opportunities to work at government and country specific level. There are lots of ways to get into the sector but it worth remembering it is a competitive field! Often the first step into most organisations is through volunteering! It will pay to clarify what your strengths are, what roles in the sector interest you and research ways in! These tips from the Guardian on getting into International Development are excellent! The Careers Advisers at Bath have put together an excellent resource which provides information on all aspects of getting into the sector and specific insights into working in Local Government, Charities and much more!

Good Luck! If you need any further help just pop in and talk to one of our Careers Advisers.

First Year PhD - too early to plan for your future?

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📥  Career Choice, Career Development, For PhDs

I was running the Careers Service stand at the University Induction sessions for new research postgraduates. While waiting eagerly for conversations with keen new researchers, my ear caught the following comment from someone walking by: 'Careers? It's a bit early, isn't it?' Ever since, the question 'Is the first year of a PhD too early to be thinking about your career?' has been buzzing round in my head. Typically for someone with an academic background in Arts and Humanities, the conclusion I've reached is yes...and no.

Realistically, PhD researchers come and see us in the Careers Service at all stages of their doctorate, and we will never turn you away or tell you off because 'you should have thought about this earlier'. It's a reasonable point in many ways to suggest that the first few months of a PhD need to be spent settling in to the research and getting to know supervisors and collaborators. However, here are a few reasons why it can be beneficial to engage with your own career development sooner rather than later:

1. Setting a clear line between the present and the future can be a false distinction. In workshops with researchers I've started doing a 'time line' activitiy which aims to help people see how past activities, events and achievements can impact on current behaviour and future descisions. Right from first year, you will be engaging in many activities - the research itself, skills training, outside interests - that will contribute to your career development. All you need to do is consciously articulate - to yourself, friends, supervisors, a careers adviser - what you have learned/developed/achieved and what this means to you. Our Career Planning Timeline suggests career development activities you can be doing right from first year. Many of them are very small steps.

2. For many people, thinking about their career is a process rather than a one-off descision. Starting to consider career options early gives you more space and freedom to have a think, do some research into opportunities, build your networks, and allow some doors to close and your feelings and life circumstances to change. Choosing not to think about 'what next' until the last few weeks of your PhD can lead to panic at a time when you're probably panicking anyway.

3. Thinking about career planning early gives you the opportunity to build experience. A circular argument in some ways - as noted above, you are engaging in career development as you participate in research and other activities. Do make the most of your doctoral experience (and I know the research itself is time-consuming) to engage in a range of activities, such as internships, work shadowing, volunteering, entrepreneurship competitions, consultancy and public engagement, which builds your skills and networks.

4. You're probably thinking about it anyway. Those thoughts of 'What am I going to do after the PhD?' can creep in at unexpected moments. Sometimes (particularly in the middle of an experiment) it's best to push them away, at other times it's best to roll with them and take action. Turn anxiety into proactivity.

5. You're not alone. The Careers Service provides tailored support for research postgraduates, including a wealth of web resources just for you, workshops and 1:1 support.

Next time you see me on a stand, come and have a chat!