How I got my dream internship

Fourth year Economics student Pratik Popat writes for the Careers Service blog on his experiences of interviewing for Investment Banking firms and how learning from each application and networking ultimately helped him get his dream internship.

Since the start of my second year studying Economics, I have been applying for summer internships in the financial industry, specifically Investment Banking.

When I applied the first time, I felt very much out of my depth. Everyone I spoke to seemed to have much more of an idea of how to do interviews, and how to get to the interview stage in the first place. (more…)

How to be resilient while job hunting

Being at university can be exciting, fun and life-expanding – however for most people there are also a lot of challenges to be overcome and demands to balance.

These are some frequently heard concerns from students when starting their job or work experience search:

  • How can I make sure that I do well in my studies but also get extra-curricular experiences like volunteering, and work experience?
  • How do I get the confidence to even apply for opportunities that are so competitive? I don’t want to fail.
  • How can I deal positively with rejections from applications and interviews – so I learn from them and move on?

To move forward with any of the above, and to cope with other challenges in life that might come your way – we must develop resilience.

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Are You Set For Summer? Take our Careers Quiz

June 4th sees the launch of Before You Go Week, an intensive week of events, talks and individual appointments to help you make the most of the summer months – whether you are graduating, or coming back to the University in September.

We’d love to support as many of you as possible. Take our quiz to find out if you could benefit from coming in to see us before you go!

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The PLUS showcases your efforts! Bristol Graduate Alex Yeates on how the award prepares you for interview

Alex secured a role with Selfridges as a Front End Developer after graduating in 2015 with a BSc Politics and the Bristol PLUS Award under his belt.

“The Bristol PLUS Award encouraged me to pursue hours of paid work which helped populate my CV and gave me experience of what to expect in an office. It also helped prepare me with examples that I could talk about in my interview, to help showcase various efforts I made in trying to gain employment.

 

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How social media can help or hurt you in your job search

LinkedIn is ideal for building a professional network and giving prospective employers a good view of who you are and is a popular medium for recruiting people. However, have you considered your other social media pages when it comes to job hunting?

Whether you’re looking for a part-time job, internship or a graduate role, social media can have a key part to play.

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Jargon Buster

The terms employers use to talk about their organisation and/or their recruitment process can be confusing. Get prepared for the autumn term employer events and your job applications with our jargon-buster.

Organisations

Magic circle – Nothing to do with Harry Potter. This is the term sometimes used to describe the top 5 law firms in the UK: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Slaughter & May.

Silver circle Similar to the above, a group of top law firms that do not quite rank alongside the magic circle: Herbert Smith Freehills, Ashurst, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Macfarlanes and Travers Smith.

The big 4 – These are the 4 largest professional services networks in the world: Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and KPMG. They offer audit, assurance, taxation, management consulting, advisory, actuarial, corporate finance and legal services.

SMEs – Small or medium-sized enterprises. In the European Union, these are defined as organisations that employ fewer than 250 employees and have an annual turnover of no more than 50 million euros.

Work Experience

Vacation scheme – This is not a holiday! A period of work experience with a law firm, usually running for 1 or 2 weeks.

Internship – These are often paid placements offered by firms who regularly recruit graduates. Most often in the summer, but there are also part-time, term-time and vacation opportunities.

Job Descriptions and Applications

Hidden jobs market – This is a term often used to describe jobs that aren’t advertised. You can tap into this by networking, making use of contacts and writing speculative applications.

Entry level job – A role that requires little prior experience in the field or profession.

Referees – These are the contacts (usually two) you put on CVs or application forms who can be contacted by an employer to verify the information you have provided or to give insight into your personality. The referee should know you well enough to be able to write positively about you.

Transferrable skills – Also known as ‘soft skills’ or ‘portable skills’, these are skills used in one job or career that can also be used in another, rather than relying on direct experience of the industry. For example, leadership, organisation and communication skills.

DOE – Think it’s a female deer? Think again! Abbreviation for ‘dependent on experience’. An employer will offer a salary within a given range but is willing to pay more for a candidate with more experience.

OTE – Abbreviation for on-target earnings. This is an estimate of actual earnings where pay is made up of both base salary and a variable bonus/commission. Particularly found in job descriptions for sales roles.

Graduate scheme – A structured programme for recent graduates that includes work and training. It can last up to 3 years, though some are much shorter. Completing the scheme successfully often secures a professional qualification as well as a permanent role in the organisation.

Selection Process

Psychometric test – Any activity and assessment that is conducted in order to evaluate candidate performance, including intelligence, skills and personality.

Assessment centre – Usually a day or half day at an employer’s office or training venue involving a combination of tasks and activities to find the right candidates. Involves working in groups and includes a variety of exercises such as role play, in-tray exercises and presentations.

Competency-based interview – This is an interview where situational or behavioural questions are asked. They aim to find out how you have used specific skills in your previous experience and how you approach problems, tasks and challenges.

Strengths-based interview – Type of interview style becoming increasingly popular amongst graduate recruiters. It aims to find out what you enjoy doing and hence what engages you the most.

If you would like more information about some of these terms or support with finding and applying for opportunities, visit the careers service website or contact us directly.

#GetCareerReady

The Careers Service’s new hashtag is #GetCareerReady. What does this mean? And how can we help you to Get Career Ready?

Explore – what’s right for you and what are the options?

What does a career mean to you? What job is right for you? Before you can answer these questions you need to know what will suit you. The Careers Service guide has some straightforward exercises to complete that will help you think about this. Look at this online or come in and pick up a copy at the Careers Service.

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Exploring is also about understanding what jobs exist out there. Trying to understand the job market can be incredibly hard, there are 1000s of opportunities and unless you have a very clear idea of what you want to do, searching for companies and graduate roles can be daunting. We run regular talks on how to research organisations and industries, plus we have a number of sector guides on our website to get you started.

Develop yourself

Alongside exploring your options you need to be developing your own set of skills, understanding what makes you unique and learning how to manage yourself. Not much then! So how do you do all that?

The main thing you need to do is get involved in activity as part of your degree, as well as away from your studies. It’s important to be active, not passive, do not expect opportunities to come to you. The more you get involved in societies, volunteering, part time work, sports, initiatives within your school, research lectures and work shadowing, the more you will be developing skills and becoming the “all-rounder” that employers look for.

 Jo Hutchings, the Information, Advice and Guidance Manager at the Careers Service says “in my experience the students who come into the Careers Service who have been proactive in getting involved whilst at university, generally have a more mature attitude, a confidence in the way they present themselves and the ability to take feedback and act on it. These are all qualities, that if I notice them in a short 15 minute appointment, an employer is certainly going to see at an interview or assessment centre stage!”

IMG_1837The Bristol PLUS Award is designed to help all students develop skills at university, with opportunities to reflect on your experiences, to gain a better understanding of who you are and your strengths. This enables you to become more self aware, a quality all employers look for.

 

Finally, competing for jobs/further study

So #GetCareerReady is about understanding what jobs are out there and what might suit you. Once you have started to establish this, you need to get applying to compete for opportunities.

And, it is a competition; you need to be prepared to work hard for the opportunities out there. Put time into your applications, research organisations, understand the roles you are applying for and get feedback before your final submission. The Careers Service is well equipped to give you this feedback and advice through our appointments. We also have a wide variety of taIMG_1801lks to help you prepare for the application process. These are complemented by online advice and practical help with our interview simulator on mycareer and practice selection tests.

So if you want to #GetCareerReady, come into the Careers Service to find out how we can help you, as one of our recent users said:

“The Careers Service is fantastic. Professional and comprehensive. I can’t flaw the incredible service”

What happens at a Careers Service Interview Skills event?

What happens at a Careers Service Interview Skills event?

As part of Selection Perfection fortnight we ran a variety of sessions covering the different stages of the selection process.  

One of the most popular sessions was an Interview Skills workshop run by Ed Bootle from True Clarity. This workshop covered the essential preparation for interviews that students should be doing (but are so often overlooked), and looked at how to answer the interview questions you are dreading!

What did the students think of the session?

“As a mature student at Bristol, I have already attended several daunting job and university interviews. However, I am always completely intimidated and overwhelmed at the prospect of another one! Ed Bootle’s interview skills workshop was one of the most practical and honest sessions I have attended at university. Coming directly from the interviewer’s mouth, Ed gave us a real insight into how interviews are designed to work, what the interviewer is expecting from you, and what you can do to make the best impression possible. Too often we take for granted the simple things, such as standing up when shaking hands or ensuring that you have robust questions to ask at the end of your interview. The workshop was candid and easy-going, and I feel as though everybody walked away from it feeling much more confident about themselves and their next big interview.”

Sarah Muston (2nd year BA Anthropology)

Lee gives us an insight into some of the topics that were covered in the session:

“The session was delivered by an experienced interviewer so it was great to get a feel for the interview process from an expert.  I found the section on which questions are good to ask and those that are not so good to ask in an interview interesting.  We did a group activity on how to approach awkward questions, the key thing that I took away from that activity was to be mindful of why certain questions are being asked. I didn’t quite appreciate the importance of a job specification, but as the speaker clearly pointed out – the job specification is a very useful tool to tailor your interview preparation around.  I would highly recommend this session to anyone who wants to learn how to deliver an effective interview.”

Lee Clay (2nd year BSc Childhood Studies with Quantitative Research Methods)

How to get help preparing for interview

Preparation and practice are key! If you would like help with preparing for interviews, please take a look at the interview section on our website, as well as our interview simulator on mycareer which is an online video interviewing module enabling you to practise answering questions and perfecting your technique.  We will be running more interview skills events throughout the rest of the academic year.  You can keep up to date with all our events through mycareer.

 

One final note from us:

“The key to a good interview is preparation and understanding what the interviewer is asking and why.”
Good luck!

Disclosing disability, the decision is yours!

Telling a future employer that you have a disability can be one of the hardest parts of applying for a job and preparing for an interview. In a recent study conducted by greatwithdisability.com, 76% of studentssaid they were concerned about informing a potential employer about their disability or health condition. You might be reluctant to disclose a disability or illness because you’re worried about being discriminated against or being seen as a hassle to employers. You’re under no legal obligation to disclose a disability.However, there can be benefits to being open about your situation, for example:

  • You can draw upon your disability to demonstrate certain competencies. Think about the positive qualities you have developed as a result of having a disability. Managing your disability could have given you strengths that are unique to you and may be the most effective way of demonstrating what is being assessed. Remember not to use your disability in every example, make sure you draw upon a wide variety of situations to show a range of experience.
  • Receiving reasonable adjustments in the recruitment process. One reason for telling an employer that you have a disability is to discuss any adjustments you might need to enable you to perform to your full potential during the interview. Do make sure you only share relevant information; you don’t need to go into all the details of your disability.
  • You can be yourself. Being open from the beginning will allow you to talk about who you really are and the strengths you’ve developed as a result of your disability. Trying to conceal it could take a lot of effort that would be better spent highlighting your talents and abilities.
  • You gain control. If you decide to be open about your disability when you are ready to do so, you will have more control over the way it is seen. This can increase your confidence to use it as an opportunity to describe your disability positively and show how it hasn’t held you back.

Finally, it might be reassuring to know that employers are required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ in the workplace, including adjusting working hours or providing equipment, to enable an employee with disabilities to do the job. See the disability rights section on the GOV.UK website for more information, including the access to work scheme. You may also want to look out for employers who indicate they have a positive attitude to disability. This may be evident from their recruitment information and their website. Employers may use the positive about disabled people ‘two ticks’ symbol, which guarantees an interview to all candidates with disabilities who fulfil the minimum requirements for the job.

Overall remember:

  1. Be positive: focus on your unique selling points and how you match what the employer is looking for.
  2. Address concerns: consider the employer’s point of view, and inform and reassure them.
  3. Keep it relevant: disclose what you need to and are comfortable with, but remember you don’t need to go into all the details.

For more information, there is a helpful section on disclosing your disability on the equality and diversity TARGETjobs website and greatwithdisability.com is a useful resource containing tips and case studies.

And don’t forget, if you need help or support with disclosure of any kind you can come and talk to us at the Careers Service as well, just drop in and see us.

Claire Wrixon
Career Adviser