Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Tagged: Volunteering

Career Planning Checklist for First Years

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📥  Advice, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized, Work Experience

Career Planning Checklist for First Years


I hope you have enjoyed the first few weeks on campus!  In the next few years you may make friends for life and acquire knowledge that will inspire you in many different directions, I know it did for me! You might already wonder about what you would like to do with your degree and what you will learn here at Bath. Your first year is all about finding out who you are, what you like to do, what you are good at, what you are not so good at and creating friendships and networks. Your career journey actually starts here, today, and I have several ideas about how you can start exploring.

Get involved!

This is the time to join student societies and clubs. Do you like to juggle or debate politics? It is for you to find out. Would you like to have an active voice on campus?  Join societies, student committees or join roles in the Students’ Union.

Get work or volunteer experience!

I had no idea what I wanted to do after my degree when I started, so I explored many different roles and acquired many different skills which became useful later. Working in catering taught me I don’t like working with food but I love talking to customers! Working as a market researcher taught me I don’t like speaking on the phone, but I enjoy writing up company marketing reports. I volunteered in translation, which confirmed my interest in languages. Being a student advisor in the Study Abroad Office my last year at University taught me that I enjoy supporting students decide about their future, and became the reason why I started working in student support and ending up as a Careers Adviser. So my advice to you is to get experience, try different jobs and volunteering roles. Explore who you are!

Start writing your CV!

To apply for work experience and volunteering roles, you may need to have an updated CV. So why not start that now? It will also be so much easier to add to the CV later on if you start early, believe me! There are several CV writing workshops and talks you can join through MyFuture – our careers portal to events, talks, workshops and for booking appointments. We also have a great CV writing resource to get your started.

Does all this peak your interest? Come and visit us!

We are open everyday and we always have time to speak to you. We are now based in city centre, near the station in the Virgil Building. We have lots of resources, both online and in the centre, for you to look through. We have Careers Advisers for you to book appointments with, to share your ideas and thoughts.  We offer a range of appointments and support, please see our website for more details. We even have a page dedicated to you, first year students.

Here are further links for you to explore:

-          MyFuture – your links to careers appointments, skills development training, employer events, jobs and internships.

-          Bath Careers website – A great resource for all things careers, from writing a CV and succeeding in an assessment centre to exploring employers and taking a gap year.

-          Joblink – The Students' Union's part-time job portal, if you would like a part-time job alongside your studies.

-          Students’ Union – great resource for all things SU.

But most of all, ENJOY your first year at Bath.

 

Make volunteering count on your CV

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📥  Advice, Applications, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Volunteering work can be equally as useful as paid work experience when it comes to applying for jobs and many students forget to emphasize their volunteering experience on their CV or don’t include it at all. Here are some tips on how you can make your volunteering count on your CV.


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·         Some organisations value voluntary experience more than others

If you hope to make a career in the third sector or within international development, you may not be selected for an interview unless you have some volunteering experience! If you have relevant volunteering experience this needs to be emphasized in your CV and show up on the first page, under “Relevant Experience” or “Work Experience”. Too many times I have seen relevant volunteering experience hidden in the achievements or interests section, where employers may not see it. Remember, an employer usually only skims through a CV during the first selection process for a job!

·         Volunteering gives you transferable skills

You may not have any volunteering experience that is relevant for the actual job you are applying to, but that does not mean that your experience wasn’t useful. If you worked successfully in a team, mention it on a CV. If you worked in budgeting, this can emphasize your numerical skills or if you worked in fundraising, this may have increased your skills in persuasion. Look into more details about what skills the job is asking for and have a think about how your volunteering experiences can give you examples of those skills, and remember to include any specific achievements.

·         Tailor your volunteering experiences to company values

Have a read through the values of the company and tailor your volunteering experiences accordingly. Perhaps the company you are interested in have sustainability high on their agenda? Then your volunteering experience in environmental conservation may be relevant. Or maybe the company likes to be engaged in the local community? What then about your volunteering experience in a local charity? Make sure to highlight the most relevant volunteering experiences.

·         Make international volunteering count

Apart from following the tips above, if you have volunteered in certain countries or areas of the world, this may be beneficial for an international company to know about. Your increased interpersonal skills and increased international awareness may be extra worth for companies that have projects or networks in those particular regions.

To summarize, my final piece of advice is to tailor, tailor, tailor your volunteering experiences to the job you are applying for. What would be important for the employer to know about you? How can your volunteering experience benefit the company / organisation? How can your volunteering experience show who you are?

Book a quick query with a careers adviser if you need any support in writing your CV, or attend one of our workshops or talks. Book an appointment or a place on a talk through MyFuture.

Additional resources:

https://www.bathstudent.com/volunteer/

https://targetjobs.co.uk/career-sectors/public-service-charity-and-social-work/advice/288223-volunteer-your-way-to-a-graduate-job

https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network

 

Making full use of your gap year!

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📥  Finding a Job, inspire, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Making full use of your gap year!

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Before I took a year off to go travelling, I was worried that I would return to unemployment and worst of all, having to go back to living with my parents!! However, returning to the job market after a year away, I found myself with a whole new skillset, with new ideas and experiences and last but definitely not least, I returned with a sense of direction and passion which re-affirmed my career path in guidance and advice. So what did this year away teach me? How can what I learnt help you take full advantage of your gap year?

I learnt a new language - After a year in South America I was near fluent in conversational Spanish. I did a beginner’s course while in Buenos Aires, and this course taught me all the basics needed and gave me the opportunity to connect with the locals. In addition I practised my language skills as much as possible, whether that meant on the bus, in the hostel or on a night out.

Learning a new language can open up doors with regards to employment opportunities, not only in other countries but also in international jobs in the UK.

I volunteered teaching English - I had already taken a CELTA  course before I went travelling. With a CELTA I could have easily found a paid teaching job in Argentina but I decided to volunteer, teaching in disadvantaged communities.

Because of my teaching experiences abroad, I had a range of options teaching English when I returned to the UK, although most were low paid. With a CELTA qualification and teaching experience abroad, you will easier be able to teach English in the UK. Although I did not pursue a career in teaching, I continued volunteering teaching English when I returned to the UK.

I learnt that I had no problems travelling alone - I travelled alone almost the entire time and loved it. I found that I never ever got bored, was able to be social whenever I wanted to and had 100% trust in myself to find my way around.

Travelling alone was one of the skills that was highly valued by employers after my travels, and was one of the reasons I gained employment as an international student recruiter, working and travelling in the US for three months.

I learnt that I love people and their stories - What I loved most about travelling was meeting people of all different cultures. I made some intense friendships along the way. I also met random people on busses or ferries who would tell me their life stories. I cherished almost every human encounter and enjoyed listening to what they had to say, whether that was an American woman travelling the world to deal with the grief of losing her mum or listening to Inca women in Bolivia talking about the historical impact of Spanish imperialism.

Increasing my people skills and interpersonal skills re-affirmed my desire to work in guidance and advice. My travelling experience and my increased cultural awareness were also some of the reasons why I gained employment in international student support.

Travelling gave me new energy and direction - One of the reasons why I took a year out was to “find myself”, and I somewhat did! I came back full of ideas about what I wanted to do in both my life and my career, I came back with tons of self-confidence and with a belief that I could do whatever I wanted, as long as I put my mind to it.


So how can my learning experiences from my gap year help you take advantage of yours? Well, here are some pointers:

  •      Think about doing something else than just backpacking, such as learning a new language or volunteer, doing something you are interested in. Employers will look positively on using the year productively
  •      Really think about the different types of skills you acquire, such as people skills, organisational skills or increase in confidence. Show examples of them in an interview, employers will take them seriously!
  •      Think about what you learnt about yourself during your year away. How can this benefit the role or the company/organisation you are applying to?
  •      If you are applying to international jobs, show evidence to employers about your ability to travel, alone if you did that, make decisions, solve problems, communicate in a different language or manage different cultural encounters. These skills are highly valued. Perhaps some of the people you met along the way could help you gain employment abroad? Networking is key.

But most of all, fully immerse yourself in the travelling experience, meet people of all different cultures and enjoy the freedom and confidence that travelling gives you.

Bath Careers have more information about how to take advantage of your gap year: http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/get-work-experience/gap-year/index.html

 

 

 

How to sell Your Volunteering to Employers

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📥  Applications, Interviews

Spend any amount of time looking at CVs and you discover how amazingly generous university students are with their time. I'm constantly surprised by the  volunteering our students manage to be involved in which is often over and above their academic work, activities or paid jobs. I remember talking to a graduate recently who said his volunteering was his equivalent of watching East Enders! He saw it as a much better way to spend his time. As a Careers Adviser I am often out and about in the summer visiting graduate employers and it is common to come across noticeboards or staff newsletters championing their employees volunteering and community activities. Employers think volunteering is important so you should think carefully about promoting your volunteering to employers when you apply for a job.

A simple thing to consider is how you include it on your CV. Is it out there and proud or languishing somewhere on page two? Is it in a separate section or is it part of your work experience section? I see many CVs where volunteering has given someone much more significant skills than their work experience yet the placing of it on their CV is done without thought. The same is true in interviews. You don't want to use your placement, for example, in every answer you give. Add a bit of variety by using your volunteering experience too. The fact that you didn't have to volunteer may impress an employer more than a compulsary or paid activity. Or you may be able to show leadership in a voluntary activity while a paid job may not afford you that opportunity.

If you want to find out more we are running a session on the Students' Union Skills Programme on March 11th called "Selling your Volunteering to Employers" where I will be sharing my thoughts on the best way to do this. You'll need to sign up on the SU website.

SVW 2015

If you haven't done any volunteering yet then you should think about it. It's Student Volunteering Week now so keep an eye out for events on campus or go to The Volunteering Office as they can support you with finding a volunteer placement or with putting your own unique ideas into practice.

If you fancy working in the Charity Sector as a career then check out our Charity Careers Networking Event on Thursday March 12th from 16:00 to 18:00 at the Careers Service. You can sign up and find out who is coming by checking the Events listing in MyFuture. Meanwhile check out our information sheet "Working in the Charity Sector". Come in and talk to a Careers Adviser if you want to discuss this careers option. We don't just know about business, science and engineering jobs.