Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Researching employers using library databases

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📥  Careers Resources, Commercial Awareness, Labour Market Intelligence, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Researching employers using library databases

I recently went along to a careers skills session delivered by Management Librarian Helen Rhodes. The aim of the session was to look at some useful tools to help students find business and industry information through several useful databases which are found through the library website. Even though I had some basic knowledge about the databases before, I was surprised about the extensive and detailed information you could find on employers, including developments and issues, competitors, tweet mentions and news, but also covering sector and industry information, country profiles and lifestyle analyses. At the end you can usually print out a detailed summary as a PDF report! The information you find can absolutely give you an advantage in that graduate interview and your commercial awareness will increase immensely, which is exactly the skill employers say graduates lack the most!

So here is a summary of some useful databases, what they can do and where you can find them. Be aware that there are many different usages of each database and I am just covering a few examples below.

All of these databases and more can be found on our library website.

hoover

Hoovers is a database of 84 million companies and industries. It offers financial and executive details plus a description of activities and competitors of public, private, and government-run enterprises.  By using the search engine on top of the page you search by companies, people and also industries. For example, a quick search for “wind power generation” under industries gave me detailed information about the top companies within the industry, the business challenges and key insights into industry facts and developments. You can also search industries by location. A great tool!

marketline

Marketline has 31000 detailed company profiles, SWOT analyses and industry reports with PESTLE analyses. This is another very useful database, which is useful for researching companies but also for researching a specific industry or sector. For example a search for chocolate confectionary under industry gave me detailed industry reports from all around the world regarding the chocolate confectionary industry!  A detailed pdf report including graphs and tables was available within seconds as well.

passport

Passport also has many company profiles and industry reports, however with passport you can get detailed reports across 80 countries including country reports, market share information and consumer trends and lifestyle analysis. If you are thinking of applying to work in another country, Passport is an invaluable tool for you.

nexis

Nexis provides access to the latest business news and data. It features profiles of 46 million global companies and 3 million UK companies. It includes UK national newspapers and trade press, plus hundreds of newspapers and magazines published worldwide.  A great resource before that very important interview!


Helen Rhodes offers regular workshops on how to use these databases effectively, both through Faculty and through Careers. Have a look at MyFuture in the new year for workshops and talks arranged in the Spring term.

The Careers Service has an excellent help guide on researching employers:

http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/docs/research.pdf

 

 

Your CV has 8.8 seconds to impress!

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📥  Advice, Careers Resources, Finding a Job, Tips & Hints

Research has shown that recruiters spend an average of just 9 seconds scanning your CV before deciding whether you are a potential fit for their vacancy. You might think this is unfair but as my grandmother always said, "if you want to catch a fish, think like a fish"

Image result for think like a fish

 

Look at it from the employers pespective: you have an afternoon set aside to sift over 100 CV's whilst juggling your day-today work and a bulging inbox full of urgent emails. You simply won't have the time or inclination to read through every CV in detail; infact according to the Independent the process of reviewing CVs has become  ‘Tinderised’ with each CV given just a few seconds to stand out against the competition before being kept or cast aside.”

My colleague Aste Dahl wrote a fantastic post on five CV mistakes to avoid, which is really worth a read. What else can you do to ensure your CV grabs an employers attention?

  • Get the look right: choose the right font and make sure it is the right size! Use 14 font for your name and 11 font for the rest of your CV. Use Ariel or another clear font style (Times New Roman works) – most importantly, remember your CV needs to be accessible to the reader.
  • Use visual aids: bullet points, line breaks, bold formatting and tabs. These are all simple tools you use to make an impact.
  • Avoid ready made templates: CV's are an opportunity for you to demonstrate your personality and individuality to an employer. Where possible add a personal touch to your CV so you stand out from the competition. Please note, some employers specify specific templates, if this is the case then do as the employer asks!
  • Length matters: an employer potentially has another 99 CV's to look through. If your CV is too long, you'll loose the employer - the general rule is no more than two pages. However in some sectors such as Banking and Management Consulting, recruiters expect a 1-page CV.  Remember, a CV that is too short immediately suggests that you don't have enough experience, which could potentially put you out of the race.
  • Its all about consistency: make sure you are consistent in the use of bullet points, the font size and spacing on your CV. This projects professionalism and conveys strong attention to detail skills.
  • Get feedback: book a quick query with one of our careers advisers for constructive feedback.

 

Being Transgender and Applying For Jobs and Placements

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📥  Advice, Applications, Diversity, Uncategorized

The other week I attended an excellent Equality and Diversity Forum that included a workshop delivered by a final year student on issues that can arise for transgender* students during their time at University. This student’s experience highlighted the stress of telling not only family and friends but also university staff, being concerned how she would be viewed, the difficulties of expressing how she was feeling and the support she would have liked. When asked about applying for jobs, this was seen as yet another hurdle to be taken at a later date. So I thought it might be useful to look at what help is out there, and what are the key issues for transgender students when applying for jobs, the protections you have legally and the choices you have. I have only touched on some issues but there are signposts to further reading and support available. (more…)

 

Exercise tips for your interview!

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📥  Interviews, Tips & Hints

Exercise tips for your interview!

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A few years ago I attended a staff development course on Presentation Skills and one of the important points my presenter made was how to warm up body and voice before using them. Most professional presenters warm up their body and voice before every presentation! The presenter mentioned the benefits of doing so also for interviews, and since then I have had a 3-5 minute warm up routine before every presentation and interview. It has worked wonders for the projection and resonance of my voice and preparing the body has increased my adrenalin on the day and physical movement. I feel much more alive and animated! But lastly, it has improved my confidence as I feel much more prepared both mentally and physically and as I always laugh at myself doing the different (and sometimes silly) exercises, I always come out of it with a smile.

I feel the best time to do these exercises are in the morning or, if necessary, I try and do them in the nearby Ladies before the start of presentation/interview. Do improvise!

So here are my exercise tips to fully prepare for an interview:

Body (in no particular order):

If you are suffering from any health issues, please consult your doctor before attempting these exercises.

Even if you do not have a presentation in your interview process, warming up your body still is beneficial for overall physical movement and feel.

  • The shoulder roll – roll your shoulders backwards slowly x 5
  • The body stretch – reach your arms above your head and really stretch your body, feel that tension and those knotted muscles loosening up.
  • The neck turn – turn your neck (very carefully) to the left and to the right x 5
  • The body shake – shake your body, jump up and down if you can, and look in the mirror and smile!
  • Pick your own stretch or dance exercise that you feel help loosening up your body

Voice (in no particular order):

If you are not in a private room, warming up your voice may be difficult. If I do not have a private room, I sometimes do these exercises whilst walking down a trafficked street (no one can hear you anyways!).

  • The tongue turn – stick out your tongue, move it left to right, up and down (this is also fun to do in front of the mirror)
  • Sing a song / do scales – sing a short song or chorus or just la la la, but go up one note every time you sing it. I usually do “row row row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream”
  • The choir voice roll – if you have ever sung in a choir, you will know this one. Start with the highest tone ("mmm" or "jaaa" are two good options) you can possibly do and move your voice gently downwards. Repeat this a few times.
  • Rolling your Rs – If you are able to, making a constant R sounds for a short period of time does wonders to your voice and resonance!

There are some good websites out there describing additional exercises, I have picked some I thought were good:

Warming up your voice:

http://www.wikihow.com/Warm-up-Your-Voice

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sing/learning/warmingup.shtml

Face stretches: http://actingforscientists.com/public-speaking-warm-up/

 

Now dance and sing your way to the interview. The best of luck!!

 

 

Should you leave your career planning to chance?

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Career Development, Graduate Jobs, inspire, Tips & Hints

I have been seeing a lot of finalists lately and broadly two 'types' of students  emerge: those of you with a clear plan for what you’re going to do after graduation and those of you trying to plan life after university. Traditional career planning techniques focus on matching interests, skills and abilities to a particular job or laying out a career plan for the next 10, 20 or 70 years. Unfortunately, there are times we become so wrapped up in making the one right decision about our careers, that we forget the importance of chance.

Image result for planned happenstance and your career

 

This is why I am a huge fan of John Krumboltz; a leading career theorist who suggests that chance or unplanned events have a place in the career-planning process and has put forward the theory of Planned Happenstance. In a nutshell, Krumboltz suggests that a career is something that will gradually unfold and encourages you to make the most of opportunities as they arise. Therefore, if you are experiencing difficulty clarifying what you want to do, it could be you are trying too hard to rationalise your thinking. Instead, actively seek out and explore new career ideas and pursue interesting things as they arise. For example the more people you speak to, the more likely you are to find out about jobs you might enjoy and opportunities which may not be advertised.

According to Krumboltz, you can engage in five behaviours that can enable you to turn chance events into productive opportunities and these are:

  • Curiosity: Explore new opportunities – Get on Twitter, talk to people, go to events, say “yes” to new experiences, research, explore the “unknown”
  • Persistence: Exert effort despite setbacks
  • Flexibility: Be ready to change your attitude/mindset when new information/opportunity arises
  • Optimism: View new opportunities as possible and attainable
  • Risk-taking: Take action in the face of uncertain outcomes.

Here are some practical actions you could take starting today:

  • Meet new people and do new things. Join clubs, volunteer, play sports, go to careers events, talk to your peers, lecturers and alumni.
  • Take an interest in the new (or investigate the very old!). Keep an open mind.
  • Understand yourself and consider learning skills which might lead to new opportunities.
  • Learn about the world: What’s happening in technology? Industry? Society? What opportunities do these present?
  • Expose yourself to different viewpoints: Study abroad, read papers you think you’ll disagree with and engage in debates.

 

Play games and score a graduate job!

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📥  Advice, Applications, Graduate Jobs, Labour Market Intelligence, Tips & Hints

I have a confession to make... I have got to level 409 on Candy Crush and have three stars in all the levels! Whilst this fact will never make it to the top of my CV, I have recently learnt that gamification psychometrics is coming and in a big way! I know what you're thinking (the thought crossed my mind too) - why won't employers leave us alone in our safe gaming heaven away from the realities of the world?

I guess one way of looking at this is that, the reliance on verbal and numerical reasoning can be a cause for anxiety for many candidates. Where as gaming can create a relaxed and informal approach to selection and employers have the opportunity to tease out those all important transferable skills such as resilience and creativity.

Gaming in the selection process isnt a 'thing'! A number of graduate recruiters are harnessing these tools. For example, KPMG in Australia started testing out their own game on applicants for internships and at PwC they’re using gamification in recruitment at their Hungary branch. This trend isn't limited to professional services firms, in the UK organisations such as Unilever are using gaming as part of their psychometric assessment and have partnered with Pymetrics.  I actually gave the pymetrics games a go and found it really interesting. Once I completed the games, I was sent a personal traits profile which I believe could be useful in helping you clarify your future direction. Companies such as Siemens use gaming to simulate and bring to life specific jobs; Plantville offers applicants the experience of working as a plant manager. Players are faced with the challenge of maintaining the operation of their plant while trying to improve the productivity, efficiency, sustainability and overall health of their facility. Google has been organising a Google Code Jam software-writing competition for 12 years as a way to find fresh, new talent to work for the company.

So does this mean that my level 409 in Candy Crush makes me some sort of exemplary and highly sought after candidate? Sadly not... Employers who use gaming are looking at uncovering specific behaviours and strengths. Arctic Shore, who are leading in this field have developed three games designed to uncover distinct strengths:

  • Firefly Freedom - assesses innovative behaviour
  • Cosmic Cadet – tests for intelligence and resilience
  • Yellow Hook Reef – Tests General Mental Ability

You can download these from the Apple Store and Google Play. Have a go and let us know what you think of this trend in graduate recruitment.

 

Five typical CV errors....

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📥  Advice, Applications, Careers Resources, Tips & Hints

Five Typical CV Errors

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I have completed quite a few quick queries with students these past six weeks and most of them are CV checks. I have read some amazing CVs and I am very impressed by the range of great experiences you have from previous work, volunteering, sport and/or society responsibilities! However, some CV errors do come up again and again.

  • Not listing most recent first

Some of the CVs I have seen do not have the most recent information about the student on top. All CVs should be in reverse chronological order, which means most recent first. Most employers only spend 8-15 seconds reading through your CV and reading your GCSE results first, on the top of the CV, may not give the best impression. If an employer have to search your CV for your degree information, you know that the CV is not in the correct order!

  • Spelling and grammar errors

Do you know that some employers throw away the CV if they find more than two spelling and grammar errors? It is important that you check your grammar and spelling before you send off your final draft. Can friends and family help? Writing Centre  at the University is also able to help and have drop-in sessions and writing tutorials.

  • Listing every achievement accomplished or activity completed in your whole life

The questions you should ask yourself is: What is relevant for the employer and the role you are applying for? Do you think an employer will be impressed by a Math Award from 2008 or that you won a pie-eating competition five years ago? What are your reasons for putting specific achievements down? My advice is to carefully look through the job description and person specification and make sure your achievements and activities are relevant and tailored to the job and company/organisation you are applying to.

  • Describing previous job role tasks and nothing else

Some of you have some excellent experiences, from work, volunteering, societies and more. However, when you just list your tasks or responsibilities, the employer won’t get the whole picture. What skills did you learn in the job? What did you achieve? What impact did you have in your role? Are you able to give more details about who, where, what, how to make it more interesting to the reader?

  • Not reading our leaflet
cv

 

If you are relatively new to writing CVs or have not updated your CV in a while, reading through our leaflet can be very useful. It will give you some good examples to use when it comes to writing well and also give you a variety of CV templates. In many quick queries I have noticed students coming in relatively insecure about writing CVs, but after showing them the leaflet, they walk away with more confidence and return with excellent CVs. If you haven’t already, I really advise you to pick up a leaflet in our Careers Services or you can find it online: http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/docs.bho/cvguide.pdf

The best of luck and I may see you in a Quick Query appointment soon.

How to book Quick Query appointments: http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/one-to-one/index.html

Making full use of your gap year!

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📥  Finding a Job, inspire, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Making full use of your gap year!

gapyear-samerica

Before I took a year off to go travelling, I was worried that I would return to unemployment and worst of all, having to go back to living with my parents!! However, returning to the job market after a year away, I found myself with a whole new skillset, with new ideas and experiences and last but definitely not least, I returned with a sense of direction and passion which re-affirmed my career path in guidance and advice. So what did this year away teach me? How can what I learnt help you take full advantage of your gap year?

I learnt a new language - After a year in South America I was near fluent in conversational Spanish. I did a beginner’s course while in Buenos Aires, and this course taught me all the basics needed and gave me the opportunity to connect with the locals. In addition I practised my language skills as much as possible, whether that meant on the bus, in the hostel or on a night out.

Learning a new language can open up doors with regards to employment opportunities, not only in other countries but also in international jobs in the UK.

I volunteered teaching English - I had already taken a CELTA  course before I went travelling. With a CELTA I could have easily found a paid teaching job in Argentina but I decided to volunteer, teaching in disadvantaged communities.

Because of my teaching experiences abroad, I had a range of options teaching English when I returned to the UK, although most were low paid. With a CELTA qualification and teaching experience abroad, you will easier be able to teach English in the UK. Although I did not pursue a career in teaching, I continued volunteering teaching English when I returned to the UK.

I learnt that I had no problems travelling alone - I travelled alone almost the entire time and loved it. I found that I never ever got bored, was able to be social whenever I wanted to and had 100% trust in myself to find my way around.

Travelling alone was one of the skills that was highly valued by employers after my travels, and was one of the reasons I gained employment as an international student recruiter, working and travelling in the US for three months.

I learnt that I love people and their stories - What I loved most about travelling was meeting people of all different cultures. I made some intense friendships along the way. I also met random people on busses or ferries who would tell me their life stories. I cherished almost every human encounter and enjoyed listening to what they had to say, whether that was an American woman travelling the world to deal with the grief of losing her mum or listening to Inca women in Bolivia talking about the historical impact of Spanish imperialism.

Increasing my people skills and interpersonal skills re-affirmed my desire to work in guidance and advice. My travelling experience and my increased cultural awareness were also some of the reasons why I gained employment in international student support.

Travelling gave me new energy and direction - One of the reasons why I took a year out was to “find myself”, and I somewhat did! I came back full of ideas about what I wanted to do in both my life and my career, I came back with tons of self-confidence and with a belief that I could do whatever I wanted, as long as I put my mind to it.


So how can my learning experiences from my gap year help you take advantage of yours? Well, here are some pointers:

  •      Think about doing something else than just backpacking, such as learning a new language or volunteer, doing something you are interested in. Employers will look positively on using the year productively
  •      Really think about the different types of skills you acquire, such as people skills, organisational skills or increase in confidence. Show examples of them in an interview, employers will take them seriously!
  •      Think about what you learnt about yourself during your year away. How can this benefit the role or the company/organisation you are applying to?
  •      If you are applying to international jobs, show evidence to employers about your ability to travel, alone if you did that, make decisions, solve problems, communicate in a different language or manage different cultural encounters. These skills are highly valued. Perhaps some of the people you met along the way could help you gain employment abroad? Networking is key.

But most of all, fully immerse yourself in the travelling experience, meet people of all different cultures and enjoy the freedom and confidence that travelling gives you.

Bath Careers have more information about how to take advantage of your gap year: http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/get-work-experience/gap-year/index.html

 

 

 

Do you really deserve that job or PhD?

  

📥  Advice, Career Development, Diversity, inspire, Tips & Hints

This week I saw quite a few students who have been wrestling with:

"..... I am not good enough - to apply for a PhD, my dream placement or propose an idea to my group"

This made me reflect on the concept of Inposter Syndrome where an individual struggles to credit their success to their ability. Rather they see their success as being lucky or working harder than others. This is further compounded by the person assuming that at any moment others will see through the facade and know they are not as talented. Reading Jo Haigh's post brought home to me that no one is safe from feeling like a fraud - regardless of achievement or fame.

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Half of the female managers surveyed by the Institute of Leadership Management reported self-doubt in their ability compared to men. In my mind this is in part down to the fact that there are fewer female role models and the ones that have made it there have, in the past, often had to take on masculine characteristics. This is one of the reasons why the Careers Service is hosting the Sprint Development programme aimed at female undergraduates, bringing together successful women from industry to talk about their careers.

In addition to participating in personal development training, what else can you do to manage imposter syndrome? The first step is to understand a rather obvious truth: nobody can see inside anyone else’s head. So your inner monologue – the voice that keeps on telling you 'you’re not good enough' – is the only one you ever hear which means your reasoning is a tad skewed.

Have a look at the traits below, do they apply to you?

  • Ignoring compliments
  • Assuming everything in your life will self-destruct for no reason
  • You feel a compulsion to be the best
  • Letting self doubt become a constant fixture
  • Fear of failure can paralyse you
  • You focus on what you haven't done
  • You don't think you're good enough

It may also be comforting to know you aren't alone in your thinking. These tweets compiled by the Huffington Post really do capture  the fact that imposter syndrome does not discriminate and when it rears its ugly head, we can be pretty irrational in our thinking. If left untamed, imposter syndrome can negatively affect your academic studies and professional career.

So how do we keep a lid on imposter syndrome?

  1. Recognise it: If you hear yourself say, “I don’t deserve this,” or “It was just luck,” pause and note that you are having impostor syndrome thoughts. Self awareness is the first step to tackling imposter syndrome.
  2. You are not alone: Imposter syndrome’s so common that, if you tell a friend or colleague about your self-doubt, they’ll almost certainly reply by telling you they feel the same.
  3. Get objective: keep reminders of success to hand! Be it your CV or that 'well done' email from your manager when you were on placement. All these will hopefully remind you of your self-worth.
  4. Accept and give compliments: for one day, give meaningful compliments to your friends or colleagues and see how they respond. If they deflect, call them out. Likewise, accept every compliment you receive, simply say 'Thank you'.

Finally, accept that everyone everywhere—no matter how successful—experiences the self-doubt that underlies impostor syndrome. It is part and parcel of becoming accomplished and successful. There is nothing unusual or wrong about feeling these things. Leave no cognitive space for them to grow, and you will regain control of your life and your future.

Do I need to use the Careers Service in my First Year?

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📥  Career Development, inspire, Tips & Hints

Firstly, welcome to all First Years! We hope that you have now settled in and are enjoying university life and your chosen degree programme.
Right from the start of this academic year, you will have opportunities to develop your employability skills and build on those skills you already acquired before arriving here. So it’s a good idea to start to think about how you might do this. Getting some work experience or getting involved in student activities – from societies to taking part in many of the volunteering activities that take place in the local community is a great way to do this. These activities can help to develop your team and leadership skills, organisational skills, and communication skills which employers will want to see evidence of. So my advice is get involved as much as you are able to and challenge yourself.8618916280_d68b2c46ac_z-2


At the Fresher’s Fair the other week, a common question from students to the Careers Service team was – “Should I be worried about my career path now?” Or “Do I need to use you already?”
The answer to the first concern is, “no”! There is absolutely no need to be concerned, but it is useful to know the sorts of things we do in the Careers Service and how we can support you and help you to develop your employability whilst you are with us. So in answer to “Do you need to use us this year?” is "maybe"!
Many of you will already have attended or will be attending an induction day on what we offer. However, for those of you that missed these, I thought it would be a good idea to list some of the areas we are here for particularly in your first year.

  • Resources
    Firstly, on our Careers Web pages at www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers we have an extensive range of resources to help you develop your employability. Have a look through our listings and you will find information on
    Choose a Career? – Lots of guidance and tools on helping you to make a career decision over the next few years
    Get Work experience? – How to find guide, information on Gap years and websites to search for opportunities
    Succeed in Selection – Covers anything to do with getting a job or placement - from our interview guide, psychometric tests to practice, to our video interview programme which allows you to practice your interviews.
  • Events and Workshops
    Throughout your time with us, we offer many careers events, including careers fairs, workshops and employer talks. Take a look to see what might interest you or help you in your career journey by going to https://myfuture.bath.ac.uk/
    An event of particular interest - Summer Internships Fair – 25th November – Founders’ Sports Hall
  • Career Appointments – you can talk to a Careers Adviser for one-to-one help either in a quick query appointment or longer guidance appointment. We suggest booking a quick query appointment initially and can help you with the following:
    - Advice on options and modules
    - Advice on changing or leaving your course
    Our Careers Advisers are impartial and can help you understand the pros and cons of changing course. Check out other sources of help .
    - Finding work experience
    - What career to aim for:-
    You don’t need to have decided what you want to do before you speak to a Careers Adviser but you could read our Careers Guide to get you started .
    You can also check out the Choose A Career pages to find out more.
    - CV advice: – useful if you are considering an Insight Week or work experience in the summer
    To book just go to- https://myfuture.bath.ac.uk/
  • Career Drop –Ins For First Years
    Finally, in addition to our bookable appointments, from the 15th November we will be offering Career Drop-in sessions every Tuesday 5-7 pm aimed particularly for First Years. These will be in the Student Services area – just go to 4W.

I hope this has given you a taster of the support that we can offer you on your career journey and ideas for developing your employability skills. You will find a useful guide to employability in your library card wallet.
We look forward to welcoming you soon!