2017 graduates: what advice would you give 2018 graduates?

We asked University of Bristol graduates from the class of 2017 how their first year of graduate life has been, what’s been the best thing about University, what they’ve learned, what they wish they’d known, and what advice they would give to the class of 2018?

Here’s what recent grads Hugh, James, Jenny, and Alex had to say:

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So you got a 2:2 – what happens next?

It’s the time of year when degree results are announced and, amid all the celebrations, there are some of you for whom things may not have gone according to plan. It’s understandable to be disappointed if you did not get the classification you hoped for, but if you are worried about what this means for your job prospects, take heart, there are still plenty of options open to you.

1. Look for graduate schemes which accept 2:2s – and beyond!

Increasing numbers of graduate schemes do not require a 2:1 for you to be able to apply. This is a trend which extends across many sectors, so it is worth searching the opportunities out. See this article by Target Jobs for useful links to sector specific recommendations: Also bear in mind that only a minority of graduates end up on these large graduate schemes each year; the vacancies on MyCareer are one good starting point for a wider range of graduate opportunities.

2. Be positive about your achievements

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Now is the time! Hassan Nasir talks about the advantages of achieving the Bristol PLUS Award

There is just so much to gain”

Hassan secured a role with Dyson as an Electrical Engineer after graduating in 2016 with first class honours in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and, of course, achieving the Bristol PLUS Award.

Read on to find out how Hassan benefited from completing the Award, and how he feels it helped him secure a job after graduation.

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Just graduated? Come and say hello!

Did you know that almost 20% of recent University of Bristol graduates who are working in the UK are based in Bristol 6 months after graduation?

As Bristol was named the best place to live in Britain in 2017, it’s not hard to understand why so many graduates are keen to start their career here. The variety of recent graduate profiles on our Careers Network give a flavour of the diverse range of careers that are available in Bristol. Opportunities flourish in the legal sector, engineering and teaching, and somewhat unsurprisingly, at the University!

Among the largest recruiters of Bristol graduates each year are PwC (recruiting 21 people in 2015/16), Deloitte (20), KPMG (15) and EY (9). These companies all have Bristol-based regional headquarters, and could be a great place to launch your career.

The competition for places on their graduate recruitment schemes is fierce, but we understand from these employers that your chance of success is improved by applying to a region rather than to London. 

If you graduate without securing the right role for you, then the Careers Service is here to help! You can access our services for three years after graduation, and many graduates continue to join us at our careers fairs (53 graduates in 2016/17), events (82), and for advice appointments (121).

Even if you are not able to come to see us in Bristol, we can help. You can ask us a question online, have a telephone advice appointment, or search and apply for a huge number and variety of vacancies – in 2016/17, 983 graduates viewed 4,640 different opportunities! You may be doing OK by yourself… but we’ve still got your back.

Calling all finalists – it’s time to put your future first!

I have some simple questions for you.

Are you ready for life after university?   

Do you know what work you want to do?

Are you ready to compete for those jobs?         

Did you answer “no” to one or more of these

questions?

If so, it’s your last chance to prepare for the workplace over the coming months with help and support from the Careers Service.

We are open throughout the summer months, so you can speak with our experts and get information and advice on what might be the right path for you.

Plus we are running an exclusive finalist workshop in June to help you understand what might be the right career for you, and the steps you need to take to get to it! Spaces are limited for these, so reserve a spot today through mycareer.

If you already have a good idea about what you want to do, then we are currently advertising hundreds of immediate start vacancies on our website, posted by organisations hoping to recruit a Bristol graduate.

If you think you need a bit of extra help competing for the jobs you are going to be applying for, you can come and get feedback on your job applications and ask us about how to answer those tricky interview questions.

The Careers Service is your vital link to life after university, so don’t put it off any longer – come and see us to find out how we can help you today!

What are Bristol Graduates up to now?

What are Bristol Graduates up to now?

Every year, we get in touch with recent graduates to find out what they’re up to now that they’ve left the University of Bristol. Each year the results reveal some interesting and surprising facts – the most recent survey for 2015/16 graduates was no exception.

In this survey, we heard from 62% of all graduates either online or through our telephone campaign. This included 78% of all full-time, UK undergraduates and 60% of those from the EU.

Here is a snapshot of what we discovered:

 

This includes full and part time work and study. Other activities include travelling,  due to start a job, looking for work or doing something else.

 

Bristol Graduates love Bristol!

17% of graduates are still living and working in the Bristol area and 34% of graduates who have pursued further study, such as a Masters or PhD, have chosen to do so at the University of Bristol. 

 

What jobs are they doing now?

 

University of Bristol Graduates go into all sorts of careers, some of which you may expect while others are a little more unusual.

 

 

Here are some job title highlights from the 15/16 survey:

  • Associate Catastrophe Analyst for Liberty Specialist Markets (Geography graduate)
  • Fraud Investigator for Amazon (French and Italian graduate)
  • Talent Specialist for Vodafone (Geography graduate)
  • Recruitment Strategy Analyst (Biology graduate)
  • Drug Policy Researcher for the Transform Drugs Policy Foundation (Philosophy and Spanish graduate)
  • Agile Mobile and Web Developer for Theodo UK (Mathematics and Computer Science graduate)
  • Specialist Environmental Instructor at a Residential Centre (Zoology graduate)

If you’re graduating in Summer 2017, you will be contacted between November 2017 and March 2018 about completing the survey. Completing it helps us to improve our careers support for current students and recent graduates.

Be inspired by our Award alumni – complete the PLUS Award by June 9!

The Bristol PLUS Award deadline for all undergraduates and postgraduate research students is rapidly approaching! We know this is a stressful time for students with final deadlines and exams, but if you are registered on the Award, do not let your progress go to waste! Find that last bit of energy and complete the Award by June 9! 

Achieving the Award will help you when applying for jobs or internships, and if you are not a finalist, it sets you up to aim for the Outstanding Award next year! As a bit of inspiration, you can read about one of our PLUS and Outstanding Award alumni here, who is now enjoying working life being employed by Microsoft. More student case studies can be found on our website.

Name: Derek Bekoe
Age: 23
Current Job title: Software Engineer (Microsoft)
Graduation year from Bristol: 2015
Subject studied: Computer Science

How did the PLUS Award help prepare you for your career after University? Are you glad you took part?
During my time at university, I completed both the PLUS Award and the Outstanding Award. I’m glad I took the steps to complete the Awards because it taught me the importance of what it means to be employable and how to gain employability-related skills.

How useful was the PLUS award in preparing you for the recruitment and selection process with your employer?
The PLUS Award got me more involved with the Careers Service. It really helped me prepare for the behavioural questions in interviews. I learned the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Response) through my mock interviews and it proved invaluable in my real interviews.

Is there anything in particular you gained from the PLUS Award that you feel you would not have gained if you had not taken part?
Completing the PLUS Award pushed me to complete more hours of work experience and volunteer work outside of my studies. During interviews, I would end up having conversations about the projects and volunteering I had done outside of my studies and that helps when you want to stand out!

Any words of advice or encouragement to current students thinking of taking the Bristol PLUS award?
I’d highly recommend signing up for the PLUS award and putting your all into each part of the award. After the PLUS award, also consider the Outstanding award as both awards really help prepare you for interviews and landing that dream graduate role.

Making the most of your first week at work

Whether it is work experience, an internship, part-time job, or your first graduate role, the first few days are crucial in any new job. You will make that all important first impression, and set the foundations for what you will achieve and get out of the experience.

Here are a few tips to help you find your feet and make the most of those early days:

It might seem obvious but…

Plan for your arrival on day one. Make sure you know who you are meeting, where you are going, and plan your journey. Arriving relaxed and on time will reduce some of those first day nerves, and ensure you make a positive first impression on your colleagues.

Do your research

Finding out what you can about your role and the organisation will make the first few days feel less overwhelming, and enable you to get going more quickly. Revisit your application, remind yourself of the expectations and why you were hired, and read up on anything that will help you build knowledge more quickly (e.g. the company website and social media channels).

Get to know your colleagues

Being friendly and engaging in conversation with your new colleagues will help you feel more at ease, and build the foundations for good working relationships. Find out who they are (though don’t expect to remember everyone’s name the first time round!) and what they do. Remember that as well as knowing who to ask now for help, it’s important to start building a professional network to help you get to where you want to in your career.

Learn and adapt to the new culture

Bringing fresh ideas and new ways of working is highly valued, but balance this with taking time to understand how and why things are done. Fit in with your new workplace by observing and mirroring the behaviours and interaction within the team. Is email or in-person communication preferred? Do people make small talk in the morning? Do people take it in turns to do a coffee run? While these might seem insignificant, they are valuable ways to quickly become part of the team.

Be open-minded and flexible

Take all opportunities to learn, gain experience and challenge yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be an active team member, find ways to contribute, and offer help – even if it goes beyond your job description. An open mind will only enrich your experience and set you up for long term success.

The first week in any new job will be exciting, challenging, and at times exhausting. Be patient with yourself, don’t expect to know everything on day one, and treat every experience as an opportunity to learn and develop. Whether temporary or permanent, this new job could be a stepping stone to achieve your career goals. Make it count!

Taking a gap year – a student’s perspective

Being typically millennial, I opted for the cliché and took a Gap year before commencing with my studies at University. I worked in a local pub for most of it and finally got round to passing my driving test. But most importantly of all, that summer I decided to do Camp America.

      steph-student

 

(Me kayaking with my best friend at camp from Ireland, and my campers)

 

 

This experience has made me. It has immensely enhanced my communication and leadership skills as well as my use of initiative. It has helped me to think independently and open my eyes to another culture. It’s difficult to fit such a life-changing experience into so few words, but here is a brief outline…

What was it like?

So I was placed to work at the Girl Guide Camp Birch Trails, in Wisconsin, situated in the beautiful North East of America for three months.

At 19, I was about to find out through working with such a diverse group of people I was actually quite young for my age. Having never really worked with kids before and, having never been away from my family for more than a week, I was completely daunted. The first two weeks were tough. I felt severely homesick and, whilst camp training was fun, I struggled to fight it.

But once the kids came, everything changed! You’re thrown in at the deep end, suddenly you’re alone with 10 little girls, aged 6-9, who rely on you for everything. Quickly you learn techniques on how to keep them engaged. You sing songs with them, master the art of them having sun cream on, bug spray and towels ready for the afternoon swim, and you even know how to stop their homesickness. (You secretly write them letters from the ‘camp chipmunk’ and soon they forget the whole thing).

At camp I was trained to teach canoeing and kayaking, horse riding and archery. I learned the girl-guide ethos and made life-long friends from around the globe.

What did you learn?

From working abroad I had to draw on a range of skills I didn’t even know I had! I learned how to cope with the culture change (you’d think America would not be that different-wrong; sarcasm doesn’t always go down well!). I know the value of teamwork and how to work effectively with others. With such a different mix of people, I had to be tolerant even when exhausted, which has helped me greatly in other work experiences, such as last year when I volunteered in the Czech Republic for three months. I knew exactly what I was in for! I now know how to communicate effectively, to be compassionate and lead!

I could not recommend enough work experience in another culture. It it’s challenging, rewarding and a little scary at first, but it will develop you as an individual so much so that you’ll look back one day like I do now, and be proud that you did it!

Alumni guest blog: Euan Mann (2003, Economics BSc)

Learn about Bristol graduate, Euan Mann; a soft commodities expert and business owner:

CCS Logo - Black

So you graduated from Bristol; what happened next?

In my final year I went through the selection process for a few graduate schemes and I realised that they didn’t feel quite right. I decided to apply for a Tropical Commodities Analyst role at a commodities trading house and was successful. The pay was lower than a typical grad scheme but the role sounded a lot more interesting. I was drawn to the prospect of regular travel and working in a smaller team with good one-to-one mentoring.

After a couple of years, I underwent intensive management training which involved working in New York, Brazil, Liverpool, London and Zurich for a year. I then relocated to work for a new trading division of the company based in New York before eventually moving back to London to head up a London office for the division.

What advice would you give your younger self at graduation?

Don’t worry too much and just give things a try. Nobody knows the perfect career path and any experience is beneficial. Don’t follow the money at graduation, developing yourself over the first two to three years is more important. Also, stay in touch with people from university; they will go on to succeed in amazing ways and can be an important network.

What advice can you give to newcomers to your industry?

Just try it. There are so many different roles within the commodities industry. There’s no formal course for soft commodities so you only learn by doing.

What does your current role involve?

In 2010 I set up my own business providing independent analysis in the cocoa and coffee markets. We supply major chocolate manufacturers and coffee roasters, as well as trading houses and commodity hedge funds.

At the moment we are a team of three – myself and two junior analysts. Around 60% of my time is spent on analysis of export figures, rainfall, temperature, exchange rates, corporate forecasts and trends, and communicating our analysis to our clients. Roughly 20% is managing my two colleagues, whilst 20% is managing our clients, marketing our services, as well as running the admin and accounts. I continue to travel regularly to West Africa, South America and SE Asia.
What do you most enjoy about your work?

I find soft commodities fascinating and I enjoy dealing with tangible products – everyone eats chocolate and drinks coffee. I also enjoy gathering and analysing information; it’s like a jigsaw puzzle and there are always surprises.

How did you make the decision to start your own business?

As a student I always wanted to be my own boss. I was drawn to the challenge of building something of my own and I enjoy being responsible for my own results. I work as a means to enjoy life and I appreciate the flexibility of being self-employed. I work hard but efficiently; focussed work rather than long hours – which is great as I now have a young baby and have been able to spend a lot of time with her and my partner over the last nine months.

What would you like to be doing in five years from now?

The same thing I’m doing now. I’m very happy.

We are currently looking to expand the team in order to provide an even better service to our clients. If you are interested in an opportunity as a Junior Soft Commodity Analyst, please apply either through CAS or at http://www.commodity-solutions.com/contact-us.html

Get more advice from Bristol alumni! Visit the Careers Network.