Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Tagged: commercial awareness

Graduate Fair Blog Series: Looking for work locally?

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📥  Advice, Careers Fairs, Careers Resources, Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Labour Market Intelligence, Tips & Hints

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This blog entry is a part of the Graduate Fair Blog Series introducing sectors and industries which will be present at the University of Bath Graduate Fair, Tuesday 25th April. Please go here for more information about the fair and the employers present.


So you are graduating soon and you want to stay in the local area, great! There may be many reasons for this, perhaps you are from here or have established family here? Perhaps you love the area so much you would like to stay (like I did 10 years ago)?  Whatever reason, Bath, Bristol and the rest of the South West are lovely places to live and work.

The disadvantages by looking in one region only

Be aware that looking in one region only may limit your job opportunities. In some towns and cities certain industries dominate, while others are under-represented. Limiting yourself geographically may not match with your particular career choices so you need to do your research. Ask yourself how long you are willing to commute? Bath and Bristol are commutable, but you may also want to consider towns like Cheltenham, Swindon and Reading or Newport in Wales. Work out how you will get to work, the costs and how far you are prepared to travel so you can look beyond the immediate locality.

Employers in the Bath area

Bath is not a big city so it is limited in terms of which sectors/industries are located here. The biggest employers in Bath are in the education and health sectors, i.e. the two Universities and the NHS. A wealth of software development firms base themselves in Bath and several internationally recognised architectural and engineering consultancies are found in Bath (source: Bath and North East Somerset Council). See our graduate jobs leaflet for more details on companies and organisations in Bath.

Major Industries in the South West

The major specialisms/growth areas in the SW:

  • Advanced Engineering which includes Aerospace (Bristol), Automotive (Swindon), measuring instruments and medical devices (Gloucestershire)
  • Biomedical and Healthcare (Bristol/Bath and Exeter/Plymouth)
  • Creative Industries (Bristol, Gloucestershire and Plymouth areas)
  • Environmental Technologies
  • Food and Drink (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset)
  • Information Communication Technology (Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bristol, Devon)
  • Leisure and Tourism
  • Marine (Devon, Cornwall and Dorset)

Source: www.gradsouthwest.com which includes more details about these sectors.


Gradsouthwest will be at the graduate fair, do go and ask them any question you may have about staying in the South West! In addition, CIMPA, Decision Analysis Services, Sword Apak and Rise Technical Recruitment have roles in Bristol and London and Country Mortgages has roles in Bath!  Research these employers and the roles they can offer in our Graduate Fair programme.


How to find local work as a graduate?

First, you should make a list of employers that you are interested in.

Find out what employers exist in the area that are in the sectors or industries you would like to work in. Our Find a Graduate job leaflet has some great tips for you:

  • Monitor local job adverts – senior posts will still alert you to potential employers
  • Ask local people which companies they know
  • Tap into local networks of relevant professional bodies or looking for local business groups
  • Look for news items, articles and annual reports in local newspapers and business magazines for potential job growth, e.g. new factories/offices, new product/service launches, organisations relocating, takeovers etc.
  • Keep your eyes open for businesses of interest
  • Building local contacts from your own recreational activities.

You can also find A-Z lists of employers that have been in contact with us on our website.

What are the typical job websites?

You are able to search for local jobs in MyFuture, but be aware that there will be many more jobs available that are not advertised on MyFuture. Bath Chronicle advertises jobs in the Bath area, Bristol Evening Post in the Bristol area. Duport business confidence reports details business performance trends in the city. There are many more local job sites for you to try, please go here for a comprehensive list.

Contacting employers speculatively

As you know, most jobs are not advertised! Therefore, you should be flexible and creative in your approach to employers. Can you apply speculatively? Use LinkedIn in your job search? Get ideas from friends and other contacts? Our Find a Graduate Job leaflet gives you an insight in to different strategies in job hunting.

What else is there to say but the best of luck in your search and maybe I will see you for lunch in Bath or Bristol soon!

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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

 

 

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.

 

MOOC your way to career success!

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📥  inspire

 

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For those who are unfamiliar, MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses)  are often offered free by a variety of sources (sometimes for-profit companies, sometimes universities, sometimes a collaboration between the two). Often serving as introductions to key concepts, I have seen students use MOOCs as a way to get a feel for various subjects before deciding on module choices whilst others use MOOCs to satisfy their hunger to learn a broad range of subjects in their own time.

In 2012, the Open University launched FutureLearn, partnering with more than 20 UK and international universities and other institutions such as the British Council, the British Library and the British Museum. Courses on FutureLearn cover a vast selection of subjects, from an Introduction to Ecosystems, Introduction to Journalism, and the Secret Power of Brands, to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Inside Cancer and Preparing for University. The University of Bath delivers MOOCs through  FutureLearn; for example The Make an Impact: Sustainability for Professionals  course is starting in January and will run for 6 weeks. In the USA,  MOOC provider, Coursera offers over 400 courses from top institutions world-wide. Generally MOOCs are  between 4 and 12 weeks in length and require around 2 hours of study time per week.

Other MOOC providers include:

So, should you as a busy student or graduate consider doing a MOOC?
We think so....

  1. Research a Career: A MOOC can help you to explore aspects of a career sector and develop further knowledge that could help you to stand out from a crowd. If you are thinking about Forensic Science for example, then you might consider the Introduction to Forensic Science course provided by University of Strathclyde.  A MOOC can not only help develop your commercial awareness but can also help you make decisions around what modules to study at University or help you decide on your Masters course.
  2. Boost your CV: Studying a MOOC  shows you're motivated, you have a variety of interests and you can manage a busy workload. Use MOOCs to demonstrate to an employer your commitment to pursue a career in a particular sector. You may be an Engineer looking to work in the Environmental Sector, so doing a MOOC in Understanding life cycles and environmental impact may be quite useful.
  3. Professional Development: there are a number of MOOCs out there to help you develop invaluable skills. The University of Washington deliver a MOOC on Introduction to Public Speaking, ideal if you want to improve your presentation skills. You can develop your project management skills, learn  the basics of financial management, develop your assertiveness skills and much more!
  4. Additional Preparation: MOOCs are extra tuition from a different perspective and can be used to compliment your existing study and to deepen your understanding of various topics and concepts.
  5. Network with global learners: by taking a MOOC you will be learning and interacting with like-minded people from across the globe. MOOCs allow discussion of the topic via a forum and most  also have their own hashtag on Twitter for further discussion. Potentially this is a way of finding useful contacts or networking with people already working in the field you are interested in.

You can’t go wrong with a MOOC as long as you view it as an additional tool to help you research potential careers or simply boost your knowledge in a topic that interests you.  Remember though that a MOOC only provides introductory knowledge and is not a substitute for real life experience!

How to be more commercially aware

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📥  Commercial Awareness

Many employers love Bath students. They are well-qualified, intelligent, active, have experience - but sometimes they don't do as well in employer selection processes as the employers (or the students) were expecting. When we dig a little deeper, this tends to be because they were lacking in what is termed 'commercial awareness'.

So, what is 'commercial awareness'?

When I try and define it, I find it really difficult to do, so no wonder it is a difficult thing to make sure you develop. It's even more difficult for those of you who aren't interested in 'big business' - maybe you think you don't need to bother with it at all? Or aren't sure how to translate it into your kind of organisation?

So, being as Bath is a fairly sporty kind of place, I'm going to try and explain how to develop commercial awareness with a sports analogy.

Imagine you are a fan of, say, Liverpool FC. (Absolutely no declaration of interest here - just one I picked out of  many).

You probably know, then, who plays for them. Who manages them. How long it has been since they last won a game, or played in Europe, or beat Man U. Who they are likely to beat hands down, and who might be a bit more challenging. You'll maybe know who owns them, and whether the fans like that. Who the shirt sponsor is. Where they are in the league - and, if you are a fairly obsessive sort of fan, how many matches there are left in this season and who has to win which ones for Liverpool to win the Premiership/get into the Champion's League. Not to mention why it is crucial that this or that player is picked for the next match.

So - that is commercial awreness, or business knowledge, whatever you want to call it. It's knowing the organisation you want to work for. But not just that. It's knowing their competitors, and where each stands in the marketplace. Who does what best. What the most recent innovations have been. How effective your organisation of choice has been lately.

You might be reading this and thinking 'Well, I don't know or care about football. What is she blethering on about? It would take ages to find that lot out'.

And that is exactly my point. If you are, genuinely, interested in Liverpool, you'll know this stuff and writing it down would be simple. If you have just decided to apply and you actually support another club, you'll still know some of it but the details might need a bit of work. But you'd know where to look. If you are a football novice but thought the job sounded interesting, you may need intensive help.

Commercial awareness is very difficult to develop overnight.

Start by identifying the general area in which you are interested. In this case - start reading the sports pages, focusing on football.

Identify the key players (maybe the top 6 clubs in the Premiership). Look on their websites. Look at match reports. Who is doing well? Why?

Before this football analogy is completely exhausted - remember, we are here to help you and if you would like a bit of help identifying a strategy to develop your commercial awareness, please come in and talk to us.

Remember -  to make commercial awarenss work for you, simply substitute your organisation and field of work of choice for the sports clubs named here. And start that reading up now - before you get left on the bench.