Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Top tips to ace online tests!

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📥  Applications, Finding a Job, Tips & Hints

Aptitude tests can strike fear  into the most confident of students, however there is a strong possibility you'll encounter them if you are applying for an internship, placement or graduate job.


Commonly used tests include verbal reasoning (understanding logic or patterns with words), numerical reasoning (drawing data from graphs or solving maths problems), situational judgement (aiming to find out about the type of worker you are, and how you would respond in different workplace scenarios), and e-tray exercises (assessing your skills of organisation or prioritisation by using a simulated work email inbox). Whilst these tests will vary from one employer to another, I hope the tips below help you feel more confident:

  • Research: find out as much as you can about the type of test the employer uses. Sites such as ratemyplacement, studentroom forums and Glassdoor carry feedback from other job seekers about particular companies. It is also perfectly OK to contact the employer  by email or phone to see if you can find out more about the tests they use in the selection process.
  • Practice makes perfect: a little practice will help you get used to the type of questions that may come up and the best ways of approaching them. Swotting up on basic maths can be particularly useful if you are sitting numerical tests as this is an area we can all get a bit rusty on. Through the careers service you can access some excellent practice tests (more information below)
  • Use common sense:  in the overwhelming majority of cases these tests aren’t set up to trick you. With tests such as situational judgement and e-tray in particular they are merely trying to work out how you would react in corresponding real life work scenarios so think carefully about the best actions to take and how this may impact on others. It may be useful to read the job description which will have clues about the priorities of the role.
  • Take your time: this isnt about winning - the key to ace online tests is to give yourself plenty of time to read (and re-read) the questions and to work at a steady pace.

Practice makes perfect
We have lots of useful information  available on the Careers Service website including access to some great practice materials such as:

  • Graduates First: contains seven numerical, verbal and logical reasoning tests. You can also take a personality and situational judgement test. Simply sign-in using your Bath student log-in and access the tests, detailed reports and video tutorials.
  • Team Focus: practise reasoning tests and assessments designed to establish learning style, personality type and values determining motivation at work.

You may also want to explore the support available through MASH (at the University) who can help you brush up on basic maths and stats concepts.

 

How to make the most of your placement or internship!

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📥  Placements, Tips & Hints, Work Experience

It is that time of the year when I start talking to 2nd years accross the Faculty of Science about how to make the most of their placement year. Looking for a placement or internship is like looking for a graduate job. The whole process is so involved and we know how hard you have worked job hunting alongside the pressures of your academic studies. Walking into the office on your first day, you will more than likely feel nervous and excited all at the same time.  With this in mind, here are some tips to help you get the best out of your internship and we hope a ticket to a great job in the future.


  • Set yourself objectives before you start: It’s good to have a think about what you would also like to get out of your time there (beyond being paid!). What are the skills and competency gaps in your CV? What 2 things do you want to leave the internship or placement having achieved?
  • Be enthusiastic: When you’re on your placement, it is really important to be enthusiastic. Don’t be the intern who sits quietly in the corner waiting to be given something to do. Get involved and learn as much as you can about the company and industry. Get to know your fellow colleagues, ask questions and generally be ‘keen as mustard’
  •  Take on responsibility: Once you have built those all-important relationships and you have gained the managers’ trust, make it known that you would be happy to take on any responsibility they can offer you. Show that you are up for the challenge and want to prove yourself. Do be careful though, you don’t want to come across as cocky or pushy. Earn your stripes by excelling in the mundane, and hopefully more exciting things will be put your way.
  • Manage your workload: Your work may come from multiple people so it’s important to remember to manage your time well, prioritise the most urgent work and manage their expectations. If you’re struggling to meet a deadline, you should be transparent about this and tell people in good time – 5pm on a Friday will not leave a good impression.
  • Build your network: One of the best things about being in an organisation is absorbing its culture and getting to know its people. After all, these might be your future colleagues! While you are there, take the opportunity to get to know your department and pretty much anyone you can. Remember to stay in touch, which you can do through email, Linkedin or by phone.

 

 

Project positive body language at interviews!

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📥  Advice, Careers Resources, Internships

You followed all the interview preparation rules and have researched your target employer in depth, both from its website and wider media. You've re-read your application, practiced psychometric tests and your academic grades are great. You have relevant experience, have a fab placement that you can talk about and a ton of extra curricular activities to wow your future employer with. Surely there can't be anything else to worry about?

Oh yes. Body language! Fear not, the do's and don'ts from Career Bliss provide really helpful tips.

 

Apply for a scholarship to attend the European Forum in Alpbach, Austria

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📥  Commercial Awareness, Event, inspire

Are you under 32 years of age and want to immerse yourself in an environment with new ideas, ways of thinking and opportunities for making new contacts? Then apply for a scholarship to attend the European Forum 2016 in Alpbach in Austria, a conference that brings together students and professionals from across Europe.

What is the European Forum Alpbach?
Often called the European version of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the European Forum Alpbach has been attracting leading thinkers and practitioners since 1945: economist Friedrich Hayek, physicist Erwin Schrödinger and philosopher Theodor Adorno attended regularly, as have more recently UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and economist Jeffrey Sachs. Every year, about 5,000 participants from over 60 countries meet to discuss emerging trends in eight broad fields: technology; law; European and international affairs; financial markets; the economy; public health; higher education; and architecture and urban planning. Each of these fields has a dedicated “symposium” in the conference schedule. All of the events, however, are united by a loose, overarching theme: in 2016, the European Forum Alpbach takes on the question of “New Enlightenment”.

What distinguishes the European Forum Alpbach from other international conferences is the involvement of hundreds of young people from across Europe through the clubs of the Forum Alpbach Network and their scholarships. The first week of the conference – the “Seminar Week” – is dedicated entirely to the scholars: senior experts, government officials and academics “pitch” their week-long seminars to you, and you pick and mix the ones you want to attend. Moreover, throughout the Forum, the clubs invite senior conference participants to informal, small-scale discussions with scholars, so-called “fireside talks”. These can be very short-notice, so it’s essential to keep an ear to the ground, and an eye on Twitter and Facebook. And, of course, there’s a lively social scene, a football tournament (which has been known to field government ministers), beach volleyball and tennis courts, a pristine Alpine lake, and the Tyrolean mountains all around you for an afternoon’s escape. The Club Alpbach London awards scholarships to cover the conference fees. They will also reserve a place for you in the shared club accommodation in the center of Alpbach. The costs for accommodation (roughly £400) and travel are usually not included. However, support with additional costs is available.

Eligibility
Students and recent graduates up to the age of 32 who study or work in the UK are eligible to apply.
Individuals who represent a wide spectrum of opinions, and academic and professional backgrounds.
Ideally you plan to be in London from September 2016, as Alpbach hope you will continue to play an active role in the Club. However, this is no mandatory requirement to apply.
Almost all of the Forum’s events are conducted in English so there’s no requirement to speak German. Please note that they require scholars to attend the European Forum Alpbach 2016 in its entirety, so please only apply if you are available for the whole period.

How to apply
Please send an email to scholarships@clubalpbachlondon.eu with a single PDF file attached, containing a motivation letter, your CV and, a confirmation of your studies (eg. scanned degree, transcript or confirmation of study). In your motivation letter, in no more than 200 words each (so no more than 800 in total):

  • your reasons for applying
  • which aspects of this year’s conference programme you find particularly interesting
  • why we should pick you
  • what you plan to do after graduating (if applicable), and whether you plan to be in London from September 201

The deadline for applications is Thursday 31 March 2016 at 5pm.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email contact@clubalpbachlondon.eu. You can also find out more about the Club Alpbach London, on their website.

 

China Disability Scholarship!

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📥  Diversity, Internships, Work Experience

Applications for the 2016 CRCC Asia and the British Council China Disability Scholarship are now open.


Now running for a fourth year, the scholarship was established in January 2013 to offer students with a disability the opportunity to participate in CRCC Asia’s award-winning China Internship Program. With the support of the British Council in China, CRCC Asia is able to offer two fully-funded places on the 2016 China Disability Scholarship, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai.
The Disability Scholarship Program is run in conjunction with the British Council in China and is specifically designed for academically excellent students with a disability. The successful candidates will undertake a two month internship working with the British Council in Beijing or Shanghai in summer 2016. The interns will live in the centre of each city, gaining transferable business skills and hands-on experience whilst working in an international setting. They will also benefit from CRCC Asia’s full social program with cultural activities, Chinese language classes, and professional networking events. Upon completion of the program, the students will be able to boost their CVs with their international internship experience, stand out from the crowd and prepare for their career ahead.

The recipients of the 2015 Disability Scholarship were Laura Gillhespy (Beijing) and Jasmine Rahman (Shanghai), graduates of the University of York and Durham University respectively. Both Laura and Jasmine recorded their time in China through weekly blogs. Since completing their internships, both Laura and Jasmine have returned to China to pursue their careers. To find out how they got on, you can read Laura’s blog here and Jasmine’s blog here.

Application deadline is 1st April 2016. 

 

Our #pledgeforparity is to achieve equal confidence

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📥  Advice, Diversity, inspire

All around the world, International Women’s Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. Pledge for Parity is the theme for the 2016 International Women's Day, encouraging everyone (men and women) to take concrete steps to help achieve gender parity more quickly. Within the careers service we are making a pledge to achieve equality in self-confidence as we believe lack of self-belief is holding women back from achieving their full potential.

The Institution of Leadership & Management's research 'Ambition & Gender at Work' suggests that over 50% of women report feelings of self-doubt about their performance and careers. Time and time again research shows that  women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence.  According to the Huffington Post, confidence is what allows you to start acting and risking and failing, to stop mumbling and apologising and hesitating. With it you can take on the world; without it you remain stuck on the starting block of your own potential.

So how can women develop confidence?

  • Use empowering language: Aston Universities Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Julia King  says  women tend to use more cautious, less aggressive/assertive language, and often apologise for what they are about to say  - ‘This isn't quite my subject area, but perhaps you might consider…’ ‘I am not sure this is exactly relevant, but…’ This can be interpreted as weakness and makes what women say easier to dismiss or ignore.
  • Banish Negative Self-Talk: It is amazing how self-talk can lead us in to or out of a situation. If you can, take time to visualise the discussion or event going well rather than thinking of the things that may go wrong.  Ask yourself, 'whats the worst that could happen?' - when you do this,  you get a clarity and a bit of fear vanishes.
  • Take a risk: Become comfortable with things that you don’t know, and turn your fear into an eagerness to learn new skills.
  • Celebrate your successes: The best confidence boost is to celebrate your successes and keep reminding yourself of it by writing them on post-it notes. Then have them displayed in an area that you can view each day e.g. kitchen, wardrobe, medicine cabinet etc.
  • Invest in your development: This afternoon we are supporting the Bath Students Union by delivering a workshop designed to enable women to identify their strengths and values and to harness these to pursue positions of leadership. There are plenty of such training opportunities that women can harness on campus from attending skills development events to participating in the Sprint personal development programme.

 

Phd Career Stories

📥  Careers Resources, For PhDs, Sector Insight, Subject Related Careers, Uncategorized

 The first of our career stories from researchers now working in roles outside of research in Higher Education.

Dr Helen Featherstone - from science communication to public engagement

 

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What is your current role?

I’m the joint Head of Public Engagement at the University of Bath. I job share with Dr Joanna Coleman. We head the Public Engagement Unit which supports Bath’s culture of public engagement with research.

 

Give a brief overview of your career history to date, and any steps you feel were important to you

I’ve gone from being a science communicator to working with others to develop their engagement skills and more recently developing strategic support for public engagement with research. During that time, I also did my PhD.

Helen 1

I work with researchers to help them make sense of public engagement

I got into this sector a couple of years after graduating from my BSc. I attended Edinburgh International Science Festival and realised that there was the possibility of getting paid to have fun with science. I did an MSc in Science Communication in Cardiff which opened up a whole new world to me. I stayed largely in the interactive/science centre field, but also have interests in creativity and collaboration in public engagement.

Roles that I’ve had over the years include: Project Manager, Education Manager (Public Programmes), and Content and Visitor Researcher alongside a really wide range of voluntary and freelance positions. Whilst working in science centres I’ve done so many different things: developing content for interactive exhibits, undertaking audience research to inform exhibit development, writing proposals, evaluating activities, running training courses, and delivering science demonstration and planetarium shows. All this involves working with researchers and a wide variety of creatives such as designers, theatre producers, illustrators, animators… It’s a fascinating sector to be in – no two days are the same.

Helen 3

I’ve spent many years making interactive exhibits

I’ve always had a strong interest in “the public” in public engagement: who are they, why do they get involved and what do they take from the experiences? The opportunity to do a PhD to explore this is in more detail was too good an opportunity to miss. It was also based with one of the key research groups in the country which helped in making the move from working full time (with the associated salary) to researching full time (with the associated bursary).

Throughout my career I’ve taken on relevant voluntary roles from being secretary of the local branch of the British Science Association to Chair of the Visitor Studies Group and more recently being a mentor on the Public Engagement Academy. These have provided me with opportunities to develop skills and experience beyond those of the day job which has been critical for me.

 How did you decide what you wanted to do after your PhD?

It was more circumstances and opportunity rather than a deliberate choice. I was working on both research and practice (in two different institutions) when I finished. I enjoyed both environments and also realised that I was spending more and more time working with others to develop their public engagement. When both contracts ended at a similar time it coincided with me applying for my role at University of Exeter where I led the RCUK Catalyst Project*. This meant I got to continue working with others, be in a university and also still be involved with the practical aspects of public Engagement.

*The Public Engagement Unit at Bath was formed because Bath also secured RCUK funding through the same scheme.

 

How do you use the skills from your PhD in your current role?

I use the concepts from my PhD on an almost daily basis – which is really satisfying. In reality though, it’s my combination of research and practice that is essential for my current role. Research experience means I have some understanding of the working life of the academics I work with whilst also being able to help them with really solid, practical advice on their public engagement activities.

 

Helen 4

I couldn't do my work without post-it notes!

 

What advice would you give to researchers interested in working in similar roles?

Understand the communities you work with both within the university and beyond – spend some serious time outside of the university. The ability to operate credibly with everyone you meet is essential to being in this role. Being something of an outsider helps too.

My MSc was a critical starting point for me and is something that is essential as part of a science communication / public engagement career. Entry level jobs may not specify having a post-graduate course, but many of the applicants will have an MSc. Getting into the field without a post-graduate certificate is possible, but practical experience alone may hinder career progression within the sector. It’s worth thinking about if / when to do a post-graduate course if you’re considering a career in science communication.

Drinking tea and eating cake are key skills for this role!

Resources

National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement

Careers Service Guide to Science Alternatives - information and advice on non lab-based roles for scientists

Getting into science communication - excellent blog post from the University of Leeds Careers Service

psci.com - jisc mail list for science communicators. Used for discussions, sharing ideas, promoting events and advertising work experience, competitions and vacancies.

 

Top tips for pre-reg pharmacy applications

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📥  Advice, Applications, Careers Resources

Its that time of the year when our Placements team at Bath are busy organising careers talks and events for our Pharmacy students as the deadlines for pre-reg applications start looming. So, I thought I would share some tips to make impactful applications.

pharmacy cross
  1. If you are applying for a particular sector, then we can assume that you are keen to work there. If this is the case, then enthusiasm counts for a lot. Try to get this across in your statement. What is it that attracts you to this sector? What experiences have you had in the past?
  2. Your CV should be a maximum of 2-pages, succinct and mistake-free. It is always good to have a few people review it before you start applying. After you’ve seen it time and again, the tendency is to gloss over typos or grammatical errors that a fresh pair of eyes might catch. So, run it past your tutors or book an appointment with one of our careers advisers.
  3. For set application forms, make sure that you read the question carefully. Think about what information is being asked for. Most application forms are electronic these days and in some cases, free text answers may have limited space, so try to be concise with your answer and make sure you are answering the question asked.
  4. Prioritise relevant experience and consider ways you can differentiate your experience from your peers. For example, you have all done some amount of clinical activity and gained pharmacy experience. The key to a unique application is to highlight activities that other candidates may not have experienced. For example, in a community setting did you experience working in a travel clinic, were you involved in the management of asthma or did blood pressure testing? Within a hospital, were you involved in drug manufacturing or any specialist work for example in mental health or pediatrics.
  5. Don't forget to highlight any research you were involved in or extra-curricular activities such as being a student rep for your year group.
  6.  Tailor your cover letter to the company or hospital trust you are applying to. You really want to convey your motivation for the role and demonstrate an understanding of what you'll be doing day-to-day. So, if you are applying to a particular NHS trust you may want to look at their annual report, have an understanding of their specialism and also the patient demographics. The 'about us' section on the Trust website is usually a good starting point.That said, do not just copy and paste information from the relevant websites. You need to try and interpret the information you have read and why this is important to you.

Check in next week when we will share our tips for pre-reg interviews!

 

 

Eight good international careers web sites for International Careers Week!

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📥  Advice, Careers Resources, International Students, Tips & Hints

organised files

To celebrate our International Careers Week, we thought you might like to step away from your search engine of choice, and take a look at these hand-picked (by Tracey Wells, Head of Careers) international-relevant resources.

1.      GradlinkUK

Let’s start with the award-winning GradlinkUK from our friends down the road at UWE Bristol. It’s actually 6 different careers sites covering Africa, ASEAN, China, Canada, India and Bangladesh. Jobs, CV and careers advice. There are some nice case studies too.

2.      Targetjobs

Covering 40 different countries from Australia to the US, these handy quick overviews give an insight into the jobs market, applying for jobs and even some background on the countries themselves.

3.      EURES

The European Job Mobility Portal. More than just a web site with 1 million+ jobs in Europe. You can also chat online to a EURES Adviser. That’s new.

4.      GoinGlobal

Even without a subscription you can still access careers information on 35 countries. One day we’d love to subscribe to this site!

5.      LinkedIn

Not just for networking, there are thousands of jobs and internships around the world on LinkedIn. Use it for company research as well as networking. Don’t neglect your profile either – you never know who’s looking for a candidate like you.

6.      EURAXESS

Researchers in Motion…research and funding opportunities in Europe and further afield. There are nearly 9000 opportunities advertised at the moment.

7.      Prospects

Country profiles from Prospects cover 30 different countries including European countries, the USA, China and more. Sections on work experience and internships as well as general careers information. Beautiful photos on the homepage.

8.      The University of Bath Careers Service 

And finally, we’ve brought together loads more fantastic international careers resources in our online catalogue. Some of these are actual books that you can access here in the Careers Service. Yes, books. Other listings include some of the best web sites for both work and study internationally.

 

Extra events for International Careers Week!

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📥  Careers Service Update, Event

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We have been finalising some last-minute details, but are now pleased to announce some extra events as part of International Careers Week.

On Wednesday afternoon, we will have the return of our popular One-stop CV clinic run jointly with the Academic Skills Centre. Just drop in between 3.15 and 4.15 and our team of experts will be able to give you feedback on your CVs according to your needs - either for English language or structure and content, or both.

And on Thursday lunchtime, Becky Gallagher from the Students' Union Joblink service is doing a presentation on internships and work experience with local companies, highlighting the Santander internship scheme they have been running for the last few years. This scheme is open to international students, several of whom have taken it up, hence its inclusion in this week's events.

To have a look at the full schedule, do visit our events listing, I'm sure there will be something there to interest you. And if not, please do get in touch with us using the Comments facility - we'd love to know what you'd like next year's International Careers Week to contain!