Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Tagged: time management

Being a Final Year Student –Managing your academic work and finding time to apply for jobs!!

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📥  Advice, Finding a Job, Tips & Hints

Being a Final Year –Managing your academic work and finding time to apply for jobs!!


“No one warned me that my final year would be like this!” said a student that I had seen earlier this week. It’s not easy to juggle academic work and job applications deadlines, as well as find time to attend interviews and assessment centres all in the autumn semester. So how can you survive and ensure that you achieve your desired goals without burnout? Here are some tips for getting through the next few weeks.


This blog entry was posted in a previous academic year by Melanie Wortham, Careers Adviser, but is still very relevant for students today.


Setting Goals - Set yourself specific and clearly defined goals, and make sure that these are realistic and achievable. To do this, you first need to examine your present situation and assess what goals are important to you and what action you need to take to achieve your target. You may decide that getting a 2:1 is your priority and therefore you may have to limit the number of jobs you apply for. Decide which are the most important companies for you to target based upon factors such as closing date, location, degree class required, and chances of getting in.  Have a contingency plan or alternative route to your goal in case you have to change your plans, for example, consider taking a relevant postgraduate course, or a temporary job where you might gain relevant experience which moves you closer to your goal.

Avoid Procrastination – It’s very easy just to do nothing or get distracted on lots of other more interesting activities or tasks and then not attempt the important tasks! Don’t put off starting something which will then lead to further action. Many applications to large employers need to be made in the first term of your final year and if you procrastinate you'll miss the deadlines.

Write a To Do List – Writing a list like this takes away a huge amount of stress as these tasks can then be slotted into your calendar at a time when you think you can get them done. However, do take a look at your list and prioritise those things which need to be done earlier. Keep reviewing your list and updating it.

Organising Your Time – If you are finding it difficult to fit everything in, then keep a time log and see where you might be wasting some time, or be able to make more use of time. When applying for jobs keep copies of all the applications you have made and keep a log of the date you applied, result, and a record of all your interviews, plus any questions you were asked, particularly those questions you found challenging. This will help you to keep track of your progress and spot areas where you could improve.

Break down Tasks into smaller tasks – Getting started on a job application is the hardest thing. So if you have a spare half hour, why not start an application or do a bit of a research on the company for that interview. For example, most applications now are online, information can be saved and returned to at a later date for editing. The first part is mainly your personal details which takes a while, but doesn’t require a huge amount of thought as you probably have all this on a CV. You will feel a sense of achievement that you have started. Then tackle those difficult questions one by one as you have time, but remember to keep an eye on deadlines.

Perseverance -  Learn how to take a positive attitude towards failure. Perhaps, you didn’t get shortlisted for interview or didn’t get through the assessment centre this time. Try to ask for feedback from the employer or come and see us here at Careers to discuss how you might improve next time. Talk things over with your friends who may have similar experiences to share and can offer advice to you. Don’t despair as mistakes are a crucial part of any learning process. It is said that the people who have achieved the most have made the most mistakes!

Be Kind to Yourself! Make sure during your final year you do find time to enjoy yourself and relax. Find time to do some sport or go shopping with friends or have a night out. Reward yourself if you get shortlisted for interview or make it to the final stages of an assessment centre.

Help is at Hand – The Careers Service offers support to all students and graduates. We are open from 9.30 – 5:00pm Monday to Friday in the Virgil Building, city centre. You can come in and have a CV or application checked, get support in finding a job or researching employer or discuss what to do next. You can find details about our services and appointment here.

And remember - The secret of getting ahead is getting started. ~Mark Twain

 

Time management tips around exams!

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📥  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 5 Time Management Tips!

  

📥  Advice, Tips & Hints

We understand this is a really busy time for Bath students, with project deadlines, exams and having to fit in job hunting. There are times it just feels too much; so we thought we would share our top time management tips to help you stay sane during this crazy busy period.

time-management
  1. Urgent vs important grid — 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. This will help you prioritise what is important.
  2. Batching — Group tasks by similarity, e.g. same location, involving same people, using same resources. Do similar tasks together as this will save you going up and down the campus!
  3.  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 later.
  4. One big thing — Each day decide on ‘one big thing’ that you are going to make a start on. Allocate time to spend on starting it.
  5. Energy scheduling — Try to schedule particularly demanding tasks for times in the day when you tend to have most energy.

Finally, ask for help! Pop into careers and talk to us about a realistic job hunting plan. You'll be amazed how much we can accomplish together in 15 minutes, so book a Quick Query today!

 

Time management tips for successful job hunting

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📥  Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Work Experience

timemanagments

Applying for a placement, internship or graduate role whilst juggling the demands of your course can be quite a challenge. That old adage "job hunting is a job in itself" really rings true! I stumbled across this really useful article from the Guardian on time management tips for successful job hunting. In particular, I thought the advice from Clare Evans was superb  "Work in short bursts so that you don't get mentally or physically distracted. Give yourself mini-targets for what you're going to achieve in the next hour and then take a break. When you have a lot to do or you're feeling overwhelmed, you need to prioritise. Do important tasks before they become urgent and avoid time-wasting tasks. Get support, if you don't have the skills to do a particular task, ask someone else or delegate to someone who does."

Websites such as Graddiary and Milkround highlight key graduate scheme application deadlines. You may want to have a quick look and prioritse your applications by  closing dates. It is also worth remembering that the quality of your application really matters! Spend time on a few but well written applications as opposed to a scatter gun approach. And always get a second opinion. Do book an appointment with the Careers Service, sometimes a fresh perspective is all you need to get your application mojo!