Finding a Job other than a “Graduate Scheme”
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?
- 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
- Check our Job Hunting by Region section on our website for company directories in all UK regions.
- 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.
- You can also research companies through library databases, see my earlier blog post on how to do this.
- Use LinkedIn to identify employers, see earlier blog post on how to do this.
- 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.
- 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
- 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/
- Check newspapers; local, regional and national websites can have job adverts listed, both in hard copy and online.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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.
We know that one of the best sources of career advice and inspiration is someone who is doing, or has done, the thing you are wanting to do. So we are delighted that Alumni Relations have organised another of their highly successful Get Connected events this week - and to make it even better, it is right here on campus and has an international theme to match the week!
Students will be offered short, informal appointments with alumni to ask any burning questions about their future career. There will also be opportunities for general networking and staff from our Career Service will offer advice on CVs and the evening will conclude with an informal networking opportunity.
Advice will be available from the alumni experts on how to start your working life around the world, including international students looking for tips on how to enter careers in the UK. The volunteers come from varied careers and can give advice on staying in the UK and working abroad in many different career areas.
Get Connected - International Careers will be this Thursday 3 March between 6pm and 8pm in the Plug Bar in the Students' Union. It's free to attend but you will need to register in advance to claim your free drink! A list of those who have already registered is available on our website - so if you're a little shy about going and want to know if any of your friends or classmates are going, you can have a look! (And if they're not - why not tell them about it?)
Opportunities to ask one-to-one career questions of alumni are very rare, and people before have found this a very valuable experience – not just for the advice but for getting some experience in the important skill of networking.
Find out more about the alumni volunteers - and make sure you book your place in order to meet the alumni experts and also a free drink!
Next week sees the return of our annual internationally-themed week of events. We have tried to have a little bit of something for everyone so do have a look at our events for that week to see what takes your fancy!
The week kicks off with Mars China coming in to talk about their management leadership opportunities for Chinese students wanting to return home after their studies.
We then focus on Japan, with DISCO International talking about opportunities for Japanese bilinguals - as well as PwC talking specifically about their opportunities for international students. With UK recruitment currently tightening up for international students, this is a great opportunity to meet a company who embraces internationalism. Also that day we host Withers & Rogers talking about the future of global organisations and how IP Offerings and protection are a key way to enhance that.
Thursday brings the Fulbright Commission here, offering their annual tips session on Postgraduate Study in the USA. We know that many of you are interested in this, so do come in and speak to the experts!
Added to all these external presentations, our Careers Service experts are offering a programme of workshops to help students both home and international prepare themselves for an international career. There are two assessment centre group exercise sessions - it's peak season for assessment days just now so book your slot soon. We also have repeat sessions of our popular workshops for international students looking at covering letters and also interview skills. If you are finding these hard to master then come along and learn how to demystify them and feel more in control of your approach.
You may have heard us talk about networking and advise you to develop and make best use of your LinkedIn profile. If you know you should but aren't sure how, book onto our workshop on Wednesday afternoon which will give you tips and strategies to boost your profile and show you how to extend your reach by leveraging the Bath Connection.
Finally, we are delighted to say that this year we are working with Alumni Relations who are offering one of their highly successful Get Connected sessions right here on campus on Thursday evening. It also has an international focus and the experts are all either international alumni or alumni who have worked overseas during their careers. Added to this they are launching a Get Connected webinar on Friday, for those of you who'd like the chance to ask your questions remotely.
Hopefully this will have whetted your appetite but do remember, if you'd rather just come in and ask one of our Advisers your questions, we are available every day for 1:1 appointments - we're looking forward to seeing you!
We are absolutely thrilled to be delivering two workshops during the Women in Leadership Conference which is being organised by the University of Bath Students Union tomorrow. My colleague Ghislaine Dell will be exploring the concept of personal branding and I will be talking to the participants about the importance of networking.
Reflecting on when I started working, I really lacked confidence; especially when it came to networking and striking conversations with people I didn't know. I think lack of confidence is something that plagues many women. And there’s nowhere less comforting than a networking event – those crucial get-togethers in any sector that can to an extent determine the success of our careers. So, I wanted to share some personal tips that have over time helped me feel more comfortable in networking situations:
- Arrive early: Often, the most important people will arrive early to make sure the event is set up. If you arrive before the main crowd, you may get chance to speak to the main organiser, who will often then facilitate introductions to guest speakers, the event sponsors, or other attendees. It also means you don't have to break into existing and established conversations.
- F.O.R.M small talk: If you haven't seen it, you must watch the origins of small talk! Small talk needn't be awkward and can often lead to deeper and meaningful conversations. F.O.R.M. it is a memory tool for when you are in social situations and you want to get to know the person you are talking with. F.O.R.M stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Message -four areas you can use as conversation helpers in just about any social situation.
- Family: ask where they live, how they traveled...this gets the person talking about themselves and gives you a chance to learn about them.
- Occupation: what do you do for a living? When they tell you what they do, you have a great opportunity to ask them about their job-if it's in an industry you are familiar with you can comment about how competitive it is, or how challenging. If you are unfamiliar with their industry, here's your chance to learn about it.
- Recreation: this one's easy! What do you do for fun? If they participate in a sport or interest that you enjoy as well, you can swap stories and really build a memorable relationship with the person.
- Message: when you feel the conversation winding down, or you want to move on to meet other people in the group, have your "message" that you want this person to remember about you ready to go. It's something like your elevator speech, but much more personal to the individual you are talking to. For me, my message is simple. "It was great to meet you, Steven. If you ever need help with any professional development training or you run into someone who needs careers related help –then let me know, I would be delighted to help”.
- Watch your body language: Your body is giving constant signals the entire time, so make sure these, too, are geared towards projecting confidence and are open and welcoming. Little tricks like, shoulders back, head up, hands unclenched, arms unfolded can make a huge difference. Switch off your mobile phone and put it away so you are not tempted to hide behind it. Do watch this TED X talk to find out more about this interesting piece of research on body language.
- Know when to leave: I always set myself a target: have five good conversations and meet the key people I set out to meet. This means I know I have an end in sight and don't out stay my welcome or linger! If asked, I say I have somewhere else to be and exit graciously.
- Follow up: As soon as you leave the networking event, spend a few minutes jotting down key points from the individual conversations you had. Within 24-hours, send a short email and simply say that you enjoyed meeting them and try to reflect back on a point from the conversation. The tips from Forbes on how to master the art of networking follow-up are excellent!
I hope these tips help and if you are attending the Women in Leadership Conference tomorrow, do put them to practice!
This afternoon a number of students have been asking me questions about the Autumn Careers Fair taking place on Thursday and Friday this week. For some students this may well be your first ever careers fair that you are going to while for others this may be a very different experience to the job fairs in your home country. So, I thought a quick blog explaining how the fair works and what to expect, may help some of you.
- Each exhibiting organisation has a stand with representatives from the business there to answer your questions. If you want ideas on what to ask, check out our blog post on good questions to ask at a careers fair.
- Some employers will be available to talk to you on both days, where as some will only be there on one of the days. Do have a look at the fair guide and make a list of the employers you'd like to speak with.
- If you are nervous about starting a conversation, try a bit of practice! Come to the Careers Service stand and talk to us first, this way when you approach employers you are interested in you'll feel confident in yourself.
- In the UK employers will not offer jobs at a careers fair, this is your opportunity to network and learn about the organisation, the sector and available opportunities.
- Try and arrive early, company representatives aren't robots - they will be knackered near the end of the day.
I also asked some of my colleagues for their top advice for making the most of the fair, here goes:
Tracey Wells, Head of Service "Wherever possible, try to talk to someone on the stand instead of just picking up a brochure or a free toy; you never know a 5-minute conversation could lead to your dream job"
Ghislaine Dell, Careers Adviser "Avoid walking round the fair with a group of friends. This is an opportunity for you to network and make an impression with a potential employer!"
Kate Maton, Information Assistant "Smile, be enthusiastic and enjoy the fair"
And finally, last bit of advice from me - even if you have a 'hit list' of employers you want to talk to - keep an open mind and talk to representatives from other organisations as well. An open mind can open up possibilities.
Ps. This image has no link whatsoever to the blog post. We adore the penguin and thought we would share it with you.
Lately we are seeing quite a few students trying to weigh up whether to look for a job in an area they don't quite meet the requirements for, or to spend a year studying for a masters degree to bolster their qualifications and fill a perceived skills gap. So they come to us saying 'which one should I do?'
Now, we can do many things as Careers Advisers. We can (help) turn the shyest of students into a more confident person, ready to face an interviewer. We can (help you) refine your job seeking strategy. We can even (help you) write the perfect cover letter to the organisation you really want to work for.
But what we cannot do is make decisions for you. Of course we *could*, but we don't. Because then it becomes our career plan, not *your* career plan. And that one-letter-difference is the most important difference there is.
What we can do is help you run through pros and cons of various options: does the job you want to do really require a masters? what 'other experience' will help you get the job even if you don't have an exactly matching degree? which would companies prefer?
You will hear a lot of the Careers Adviser's favourite answer. A prize for anyone who can comment on this article and tell me what that answer is.
Now don't get me wrong. We actually love speaking to students about their career paths and helping them work out which way is the best way for them. The skill of career path navigation is a tricky one to learn, and we love to teach it. It is so satisfying seeing students joining the dots.
If you'd like to learn how to navigate your way through your own careers landscape, then there are a couple of ways you could start.
Have a look at our pages on Choosing a career - full of information and suggested techniques. Read these, and use whichever one makes sense to you.
If you already know the career you want but are not sure of the way to get there, have a look at some job adverts, or register for the Bath Connection and talk to a couple of alumni experts. The 'what is the best way to get in?' question is a perfect starter-for-ten.
Or book one of our Quick Query appointments - sometimes just speaking your thoughts out loud will be enough to make one path stand out.
I was reading an article today on the BBC News website where people are griping about how their job is portrayed on TV. With the number of TV dramas that involve police, legal professionals, scientists, doctors, teachers and their like, you could expect to get a very clear idea about what it is to work in those professions. Indeed the CSI series is said to be single handedly responsible for the rise in Forensic Science degrees. I recognise how these professionals may feel frustrated by other people's lack of understanding of what their jobs involve; I know I've been there myself. Correct fictional interpretation of a job should mean the writer does their research. Indeed some TV dramas may have a consultant who advises them on medical, legal or science matters and a quick look through the credits usually reveals if someone is in that role. However even where there is a relevant consultant the likelihood is that any advice will be overridden if a more dramatic effect can be achieved by a deviation from the facts.
If you have felt inspired to do a job because of fictional account you have read then make sure you look in more reliable places for information. Professional association websites are a good place to start. We have chosen a number of websites for various occupational areas that we think are most helpful to you and placed them in the catalogue on our website. We would also recommend looking at the job profiles you can find on the websites Prospects and TargetJobs. Once you have read what you can then the next step is to talk to people who are doing the job. Read the relevant pages about networking in our Finding a Graduate Job guide. Make sure you check out the Bath Connection to see if there are any Bath alumni who can help you. Remember you can talk to an Adviser at anytime, whether you have a clear idea or not about your future career plans.
Congratulations from everyone in the Careers Team!
Did you know you can continue to access the support from the Careers Service event after you have graduated? Whether you see your future in work, study, self- employment; or even if you’re still looking for the right path for you, we are here to help! You can book a face-to-face appointment or we can support you over the phone or via skype. You can also continue to access MyFuture for the latest vacancies and careers resources. For more information visit the Careers Service webpages.
Don't forget to join Bath Connection and become an alumni mentor! You can also network with fellow graduates and keep in touch with class mates. For more information visit the Bath Connection website.
Recently I have seen quite a few students on quick query who are struggling with demonstrating their motivation in cover letters or application form questions. It is quite tricky to get right. I am very much a believer that you need to try and talk with someone from the organisation you are applying to and then hopefully you will have learnt a little bit extra about the company beyond the website. This will help you connect with the company and explain your interest in them a bit more personally. I’m surprised that students applying for summer internships and placements don’t make more effort to find out if anyone from their course is currently on placement at the company or in a similar role. Also you shouldn’t forget those who have returned to Bath having worked there. I have been able to point out to some students that I know there is someone who has returned from placement because I’ve met them. However it’s not just a case of getting in touch it is also about thinking carefully what you will ask.
I was talking to one of my regular final year students and he was telling me he had been approached by second years for advice as a result of his placement last year. He said to me he’s very busy at the moment with his own applications and course work so he is more inclined to respond positively to the student who shows they have done their research and asks a specific question rather than the person who is very vague about what they want or appears to expect him to do all the work. It’s a good point to remember in networking that no-one owes you any help. You can win someone over to giving you some advice if you show you are properly engaged with your research on the organisation and job role. This is really about respecting your contact's time. Think about what you need to know before you contact them and then be specific. There are some useful questions you can ask a network contact in our Finding a Graduate Job Guide on page 7. I hope I don't need to tell you to say thank you and let them know if you were successful. Careers Advisers also like hearing from students they have helped so if you spoken to us do let us know how you've got on.
This week we have focused on how you can harness social media to build and manage your personal brand. Today we wanted to change focus from job hunting to showcasing your expertise by blogging. With around 42.6 million new posts each month on WordPress alone, blogging has become a serious social media tool. But why should you, as a researcher, spend time creating and writing a blog?
Dr. Sarah Louise Quinnell, social scientist and managing editor of the site PhD2Published, says “Publishing traditionally takes a very long time, in some cases up to two years, so blogs allow for immediate engagement and debate of current issues” That’s not all, blogging is a great way to refine your writing skills and will enable you to engage in conversation with peers. Blogging is also a good way to meet and address your institution’s emphasis on community outreach.
Setting up a blog is incredibly easy with services such as WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr. All you need to do is choose your domain name and a theme and you are pretty much ready to start posting. The Guardian posted great tips on blogging which are worth a read.
We wanted to add a few more tips to get you going with your blogging journey:
- Read other blogs: one of the best ways to find your niche and tone of voice is to see what other peers are posting. Remember your blog and your writing style will evolve over time, so keep experimenting. Check out these blogs by colleagues at Bath.
- Accept negativity: Occasionally you may get the odd negative comment on your blog, don’t let it put you off. Any comments you’re not happy with can be deleted or responded to positively.
- Give it time: the internet is a crowded place, so plan to invest in blogging. You may also want to consider guest blogging on your peer’s blogs to build a reputation and to contribute without the pressure of having to create content regularly.
- Inform your Institution: Have a chat with your line manager about your intention to start an academic blog. Your institutions marketing department may be able to help with promoting your blog by featuring it as a news item or linking it to their social media activity.
- Use downtime: you can use quieter times to create content and schedule it to be published at regular intervals. Tools such as Hootsuite enable you to schedule posts to multiple social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and more.