Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Beyond the Lab: Developing your Industrial Biotechnology Career

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📥  Academic Career, Career Choice, Finding a Job, For PhDs, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints




An interesting blog worth reading from the University of Bath's Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies:

Beyond the Lab: Developing your Industrial Biotechnology Career



The DFID Graduate Development Scheme closes 22nd June

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📥  Graduate Jobs, Sector Insight, Subject Related Careers

This has come to our notice rather late:

The DFID Graduate Development Scheme was launched in January 2012 to provide graduates with work experience to assist them in obtaining future employment. DFID is also keen to bring fresh thinking into the organisation. The scheme offers challenging and rewarding opportunities and a step into the international development sector and working in the Civil Service. We have 16 placements from across all areas of DFID.

Applicants should only choose one placement to apply for. We will not accept duplicate applications.

how to apply This link we tell you which opportunities are available
promotional leaflet (PDF, 6.4MB, 2 pages)
Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 346KB, 9 pages)

Applications close on 22 June 2016 at 1pm.

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PhD Career Stories

📥  For PhDs, inspire, Sector Insight

The third of our career stories from researchers now working in non-research roles in Higher Education.

Dr Julian Rose - communication and collaboration

What do I do now?

In May 2015 I began a new role as the Network Manager for the EPSRC-funded Directed Assembly Network. In 2010, the Network was tasked with building an inter-disciplinary academic community and set about developing a strategic roadmap, looking towards tackling the grand challenges facing science over the next 50 years: depleting natural resources, antibiotic & drug resistance and an ageing population to name a few.

My role is to bring people together, to inspire and provoke new ideas, fostering new collaborations. I have designed and delivered strategies to both evolve and broaden the Network and overseen growth to nearly 1,000 members. At the heart of the Network lies regular community-engagement and as a major part of my role, I structure, facilitate and deliver meetings nationally to multi-disciplinary audiences. Day-to-day I manage and develop the communication strategy through events and digital & social media.

I promote the brand, vision and aims through regular engagement with industry, government and world-leading academics. I manage the quarterly Network funding awards, which are designed to support early career researchers towards developing their portfolio’s by providing funding for collaborative proof of concept projects. Many of these projects have led on to major Research Council UK (RCUK) grants and since the Network’s inception, £50 Million grants are linked to and/or supported by the Network.

What about right after my PhD?

I continued working in research as a Knowledge Transfer Fellow and postdoctoral research officer for almost 3 years. During this period, I particularly enjoyed public engagement, working with leading-edge businesses and expanding the reach of my work.

Bath Science Cafe 2012

What led me to my current role?

Following my passions led me on to a role within the University of Bath’s School of Management’s Marketing and External Relations team. Here I worked closely with corporate contacts & senior alumni and developed a wealth of knowledge in digital communications and marketing. I also designed and delivered lectures for MSc students titled ‘LinkedIn, Your Career and Networking’.

After almost 2 years I came across the opportunity to blend my engineering and science background, with my innate passion for communication and bringing people together, as the Network Manager for the Directed Assembly Network.

Are the skills I learnt during my PhD still useful…?

…Yes! My PhD transformed my life and I use the skills that I honed and developed every day. One of the most important areas of my development throughout my PhD was my communication skills and with it, the ability to get across ‘my message’ to any audience: from speaking at world-leading conferences and business meetings, to engaging with school children at the London Science Museum and presenting at the Bath Science Café ‘GPS, the Sun and the Human Race’.

Set for Britain Don Foster

Learning how to communicate the work that you pursue during your PhD is vital and my advice would be to say ‘yes’, say yes to opportunities: collaborate with someone new, work with people that are different to you and accept the invitations to present and promote your work. This will help you to build connections, develop relationships and hone your skills.

London Science Museum

Despite not choosing to pursue a research career, the skills that I learnt analysing data, programming and scrutinising results are invaluable and have given me excellent problem solving techniques which continue to be applicable today. My first-hand knowledge and understanding of being ‘an academic’ has been really helpful in both of my roles that have followed my research career.

I work closely with academics on a daily basis and understanding the nature of the role, the workload and indeed the pressures that they face, really helps me to develop strong relationships with Network members (in my current role) and of course colleagues. This comes in handy towards nurturing strong two-way relationships between myself and others; always ready to help each-other when needed.

What about you and your next step?

Do you have a talent for working with people and bringing people together? Are you passionate about a variety of research and about working in an innovative environment? And, is the freedom to pursue creativity and manage your own time something that you have relished during your PhD?

If so, it may be worth considering the multitude of non-academic roles within universities, which may also afford some freedom. In any case, transitioning on from your PhD will require some thought.

You may not realise it yet, but your PhD will have equipped you with a host of skills that may fast track you through industry, or place you in good stead to work in Higher Education.

My advice to you is to take some time out and reflect on your feelings and experiences of the past few years. Write down what you are good at, highlight the items you really like doing and after some Googling, try to match these to potential job titles & descriptions. Most of all, remember the wealth of information at your fingertips – seek out and speak to your colleagues (even the ones you don’t know yet), and, good luck!


Career essentials for research postgraduates

📥  For PhDs, Uncategorized

A few weeks ago we had our first informal 'coffee and careers' session for research postgraduates. This was a great opportunity to meet research postgrads informally and hear some of their careers questions and concerns. In particular we talked about moving from academia into industry and when is a good time to start thinking about your career.

Here are some particular questions our guests had, and ideas for finding the answers:

How do I know what jobs and employers are available in the South West?

Our Finding a Graduate Job Guide has a section on the labour market in the South West. Also check out our web resources, which include an A-Z list of local employers, Target Jobs city profiles and my colleague's previous post on the local labour market. The Local Employer Partnership has detailed information on the main sectors and industries in the region. The company search function on LinkedIn can also be useful for identifying employers in specific regions and sectors.

How do I locate employers I might want to work for?

If you want to stay close to your research field, your supervisor and others in your network may be able to suggest relevant employers. Our Find out about employers web page has some great advice on how to generate your own lists of employers; in particular the Library Management databases which link to company reports and histories and sector research reports. Again, LinkedIn can be useful for identifying organisations in particular sectors and industries. Professional Bodies and Learned Societies (e.g. the Institute of Physics , the Social Research Association and the Association for the British Pharmaceutical Industry; see the HMRC website for a full list) sometimes have lists of member organisations and recruiters, and offer access to employer networks, mentors and careers events which can help you to identify and connect with potential employers. Business directories such as Kompass are worth checking out. To identify lists of scientific recruiters, try labhoo, the UK Science Park Association and Airto. Look at specialist publications/websites related to your area of interest, and at our subject-specific web pages for researchers.

How do I find out what previous PhD researchers have gone on to do?

We collect this information on our PhD graduates six months after they've graduated as part of the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey; summary sheets from each Department are available on our website. Also have a look at the national picture through the labour market information and 'What do researchers do?' publications on the Vitae website. Career stories of other researchers  can be useful sources of information; and don't forget to use Bath Connection, our database of Bath alumni contacts, to get some insights from people already working in sectors and organisations that might interest you.

When is a good time to start thinking about my career?

I'm honestly not sure there's a right answer to this one. Obviously thinking about it sooner rather than later will give you time and space to research and make yourself marketable for roles and sectors that might appeal to you. My advice? Get involved where you can, find some way of organising and recording what you do in and outside of research, and pay attention to the things that motivate and matter to you. Our career planning timeline has suggestions of career and development opportunities you can get involved with at each stage of your PhD.

How can I market my doctoral skills to employers?

We run a workshop which answers this very question and it's coming up soon on 1st June.

Can I still use the Careers Service after I've finished my PhD?

Yes. We offer on-going access to our graduates, and if you can't easily make it to campus you can speak to an adviser over the phone or on Skype.

Full details of how we support research postgraduates are available on our website.



Interview practice - any time, anywhere!


📥  Interviews

Ah, interviews. Sooner or later, we all have to have them - whether it's for a placement, a summer internship, postgraduate study or the graduate job of your dreams. But they are not the most looked-forward-to of events. Or the most thoughtfully timed.

Does this sound like you?

"Yay! I have an interview! Oh no, it's the day after tomorrow and I really need some practice!"


"Oh no, it says that the interview is a video one and I have no idea how that will work let alone how I am going to come over on camera...."

As you know, in the Careers Service we are always very happy to help with interview preparation and do offer practice interviews, but there are times when we don't have the slots free, or you don't have gaps in your timetables, or actually you really really want to practice using the video interview format.

So, we are delighted to announce that we can now help you with that!

InterviewStream is a video interview platform which offers you the opportunity to build your own video interview from a bank of thousands of questions, take the interview, and review your performance and comment on it at a later date. We have also built you a portfolio of ready-made interviews that you can choose from.

Thanks to the generosity of the Alumni Fund, and supported by the MBA Careers Office, all registered Bath students can access this package on an unlimited basis. Simply register using your Computing Services email and take it from there. You'll find fuller details and login instructions on this page.

There is even a handy 'um, like' counter to use when you watch back your interview so you can see how many of those dreaded filler words you are using!

So, have a go! And do tell us if there are targeted interview sets that you would like us to build. Your feedback will be very gratefully received and it will help us build a more useful service.


Time management tips around exams!


📥  Advice, Tips & Hints

I was in the library a few days back, it was heaving! You lot, hunched over your textbooks, sunlight deprived and looking visibly stressed. I have been there, albeit a long time ago and know the feeling of living off cups of coffee and pot noodles. It really does take its toll on your mind and body, fueling anxiety and stress. I really mean it when I say, it doesn't need to be this way. Much comes down to that old chestnut "time management" and here are some tips to help you make the most of the limited revision time you have left:

  1. Make a list: sounds obvious but much comes down to how you use the list! First, list absolutely everything you have to do (coursework, revision, sports commitment, work, calling your mum etc). Make a 2x2 grid with ‘Important’ and ‘Not important’ across the top and ‘Urgent’ and ‘Not urgent’ down the side. Allocate your tasks to the four squares in the grid. Bam! you have prioritised whats important and along the way gained a bit of perspective.
  2. Must-should-want-will: alternatively, organise your master to do list under the following headings: ‘Must do’, ‘Should do’, ‘Want to do’. Now make a ‘Will do’ list for today taking items from each list. Only add things you know you will do. Reward yourself for the ‘must do’ and ‘should do’ items by allowing yourself a ‘want to do’ item.
  3. Smarter revision using a timer: Buy a kitchen timer or use a timer app on your phone. Set the timer for a period of 40 minutes. Work on one task without stopping until the timer goes off. Set the timer for 10 minutes and have a break. Set another 40 minutes and repeat. This technique will not only help you focus but will also ensure you are keeping the old enemy 'procrastination' at bay.
  4. Visual nagging: Put up a sign by your desk with the question ‘What is the best thing you could be working on now?’ Alternatively, put something that will remind you about a task in a place where you have to notice it like your mirror or on top of your phone...
  5. Batching: Group tasks by similarity, e.g. same location, involving same people, using same resources. Do similar tasks together and maximise your time.
  6. Energy scheduling: Try to schedule particularly demanding tasks or revision for times in the day when you tend to have most energy. Take advantage of times when you are feeling productive to tackle stuff that is most challenging.
  7. Motivation by action: Don’t wait for motivation to strike. Whatever you are putting off, just start it and allow yourself to stop after a fixed time period (it can be as little as 5 minutes). It doesn’t matter if you haven’t made much progress. See if starting it has made you more motivated to engage with it.
  8. Change your location: If you’re having trouble starting a task, go somewhere else to do it. The change of location could produce a change in thinking or attitude which makes it easier to do the thing you have been putting off.
  9. Eliminate time wasters: be honest, what do you waste time on? Facebook? Twitter? Emails? Stop checking them so often. One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links, switch off notifications and your phone. Schedule set times to browse and perhaps reward yourself with social media time when you tick an action off your to-do-list.
  10. Realistic last minute: When you are given coursework or a project with a deadline, work out when is the last point at which you could start the task and have a realistic hope of getting it done. Add a bit of extra time for bad luck.

Finally, make sure you eat (not just pot noodle but something wholesome), get fresh air, sleep and support. Contact Counselling & Wellbeing for the support bit, especially if you find your levels of anxiety are rocketing leading up to exams. If the job hunting side of things is weighing on your mind, then please be assured we are here all year round and you can use our service even after you graduate.


Top tips to get the most out of the careers fair tomorrow!

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📥  Advice, Careers Fairs, Careers Resources, Tips & Hints

The Graduate Recruitment Fair takes place tomorrow in Founders Hall from 10:00am to 3:00pm. We know this is a busy week for a lot of you with dissertation deadlines and exams looming - however investing half an hour to attend the fair tomorrow could open doors, enhance your future applications and help you feel more in control of your future career post-graduation.


So, here are our top tips to get the most out of the fair:

  • Do your research: have a look at the fair programme and explore company websites. This way you won't waste time asking basic questions.
  • Ask the right questions: make a list of the key questions you want to ask. Think about asking questions that will help you glean useful insights about the company such as: What is the culture like?, What are the key challenges / trends facing the industry? or What are the key skills you look for in applicants?
  • Take your CV: the fair is an opportunity for you to market yourself, therefore take a recent copy of your CV and if the opportunity arises do hand it to potential employers.
  • Dress appropriately: whilst there is no need to be suited and booted, do dress professionally! After all first impressions really matter.
  • Follow up: where possible ask for the recruiters business card and follow up! Thank them for the advice they offered or email them your CV. It may also be useful to connect with them on LinkedIn.

Finally and most importantly, avoid going around the fair in a pack! This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate to potential employers you are a capable and independent individual.

For more tips, check out our handy help-sheet on how to prepare for the careers fair. Good luck and hope to see you in Founders Hall tomorrow.


5 career management lessons from Her Majesty...

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📥  Advice, Career Development, Graduate Jobs

Her majesty the queen celebrated her 90th birthday yesterday and shows no sign of slowing down. Whatever your view about the royal family, the UK's longest reigning monarch has experienced and adapted to much change and there are many lessons that can be learnt from her that are relevant to leadership and career management.

Queen Elizabeth II
  1. You might end up doing the top job: When her majesty was born, she was third in line for the throne. But less than a year after her uncle Edward VIII succeeded King George, he unexpectedly abdicated the throne in pursuit of love. So when her father succeeded his brother as king in 1936, she was next in line and the rest is history. In the workplace, you may find yourself unexpectedly in a position of leadership or in the midst of a major change. How you deal with the unexpected is key - staying positive, maintaining communication and not losing sight of the bigger picture are essential skills.
  2. Embrace change: 91% of HR directors think that by 2018, people will be recruited on their ability to deal with change and uncertainty says The Flux Report by Right Management. The labour market is constantly changing and technology is having a huge impact on the world of work, Mind Tools have some great resources to help you develop your flexibility and cope with change positively.
  3. Harness technology: The Queen sent her first ever tweet from @BritishMonarchy  in front of 600 guests in 2014... social media tools are now a daily part of our lives and can be harnessed to not only look for graduate employment but also build your personal brand. Check out out blogs on managing your career using social media.
  4. Commitment: Her majesty has reigned for 64 years and in that time has undertaken thousands of public duties. Whilst there is no such things as a job for life, commitment still matters. Employers want to see you can stick to a particular project or role, develop and grow. If you find a particular role isn't challenging you, then talk to your manager and explore additional responsibilities or projects before jumping ship.
  5. Keep calm and carry on: there will be times when the pressures of work / life will get on top of you. The key is to keep a check on your emotional well-being and if you find the pressure is affecting your health then seek out appropriate support. Sometimes, it is just good to step away from it all and have a cuppa tea - a bit of distance can give tons of perspective!
How to solve a brand's crisis PR and a media crisis

Have a great weekend everyone!


Procrastination is the perfect ingredient for anxiety...

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, inspire

Is this you:

  • You have an essay deadline looming
  • A mountain of exam revision to do
  • Deadlines to apply for placements / graduate job / PG course (delete as appropriate)

Yet you find yourself making endless cups of tea, which leads to a quick visit to the shop to get more milk followed by a 5 minute nosey on Facebook where you start looking at cute cat videos your mate shared and next thing you know you've nodded off and the list above is untouched.

Hello Procrastination, my friend.

pro-cras-ti-na-tion |prəˌkrastəˈnāSHən, prō-|
the action of delaying or postponing something: your first tip is to avoid procrastination.

Who would have thought the dictionary held the solution all along. Avoid procrastination. So elegant in its simplicity.

This piece from the Huffington Post provides a beautiful explanation about why procrastinators procrastinate. Really worth a read. At the very least, do get acquainted with the gratification monkey.

But why is this relevant I hear you ask? Well, we have seen so many of you lately -  stressed and telling us it is just easy to bury your heads in the sand. Whether it is mounting course work, revision or deadlines for job applications - procrastination is the perfect ingredient to induce anxiety. And before you know it, you'll find yourself locked in the cycle of worrying and not doing.

So here are some tips to cut through procrastination:

  1. Control your web browsing - OK, this is going to be really hard but stay with me. Log out of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, YikYak etc. Reward yourself with social media time when you tick something off your to-do list.
  2. Ask someone to check up on you - dare I suggest your mum for this task? Joking aside, peer pressure works! This is the principle behind slimming and other self-help groups, and it is widely recognized as a highly effective approach.
  3. Worse case scenario - identify and write down on a post-it the unpleasant consequences of not doing what you need to do.
  4. You can't eat an elephant whole - that old saying... break down revision or course work into smaller chunks (and reward yourself with cake every time to accomplish one of those tasks).
  5. Change your environment - if there are lots of distractions at home then go to the library or vice versa.
  6. Hang out with do-ers - identify people/friends/colleagues who are are driven and doing stuff. Some of their energy is bound to rub off and inspire you.
  7. Prioritise - this time of the year there are going to be lots of competing demands on your time. Identify what is important and focus on these first.
  8. Accept imperfection - no one is perfect! You are only human and are bound to make mistakes now and again. Failure and being imperfect can be so intimidating it can cripple your capability to function properly. You must remember that perfection is neither possible nor necessary.

Finally and most importantly be patient! Habits are hard to change but little steps do make a difference. One of the ways we can support you in the careers service is by talking through actions that will help with your career planning. Feel free to book a 15-minute quick query sometime.

When's a good time to see a careers adviser?

📥  Advice, Career Choice, Uncategorized

If you're feeling bogged down by deadlines and revision, you're probably thinking you don't even have time to read this, but here's a very quick quiz to help you decide if/when it might help you to talk to a careers adviser.

You should come in to the Careers Service if:

A) You have a job sorted and need help negotiating the terms with an employer

B) You have an interview or assessment centre coming up and don't know what to expect

C) You'd like to know where to find jobs or more info on career options that interest you

D) You'd like someone to cast an expert eye over your CV

E) You have absolutely no idea what you want to do after graduating

F) You're in a quandary because it feels like all your friends have already got a placement or graduate job and you don't know where to start or who to turn to.

The answer, rather predictably, is 'all of the above'. We help students in all years work out where they want to be and how to get there. At this time of year we're particularly aware that there may be students who are feeling anxious because they haven't yet secured a placement or graduate job. Peer pressure, the stress of juggling job-hunting with other pressures and scare stories in the media can all contribute to making you feel more and more overwhelmed and paralyzed. If that's you, please do make an appointment to talk things through with a careers adviser. We will never judge you or tell you that 'you should have thought about this earlier'; we're experienced enough to know that students approach thinking about their career in different ways and in different timescales. We won't tell you what to do or 'fix' things for you but we can help you think through what matters to you in a career and work out useful strategies for helping you move forward - this post by my colleague Saiyada explains a little more about what careers advisers do. It's a common myth that you need to know what you want to do before you come to the Careers Service - in fact the opposite is true. We can help you think clarify your thinking whether you have 17 different ideas or none.

So what do you need to do next? Take a deep breath and come in to the Careers Service!* I can guarantee you'll be met by a friendly face from the moment you walk through the door. Finally in the words of a student I saw this morning: 'I didn't expect that you'd give me a job, but I feel a lot more confident about the next steps I need to take.'

There's also a wealth of advice and information on our website.


If you're feeling overwhelmed or anxious about any aspect of your course or life, our colleagues in Student Services offer a range of services to support you.

* Or phone or email us if that feels more comfortable. If you can't easily make it onto campus you can speak to a careers adviser via Skype.