Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Finding a Job other than a “Graduate Scheme”

  , , , , , , ,

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

Finding a Job other than a “Graduate Scheme”

graduates

 

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.

finding-grad-job-cover

 

 

 

 

Cracking Careers Wisdom...

  , , ,

📥  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.

 

 

 

Researching employers using library databases

  , , , , ,

📥  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!

  , , ,

📥  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

  , ,

📥  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!

  , , ,

📥  Interviews, Tips & Hints

Exercise tips for your interview!

aid599670-728px-become-a-better-singer-step-5-version-2

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?

  ,

📥  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!

  ,

📥  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....

  , ,

📥  Advice, Applications, Careers Resources, Tips & Hints

Five Typical CV Errors

cv-sized-no-pic

 

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