As my internship draws to a close, I’m writing this blog as a recollection of the experiences and insights I’ve had over the past four weeks. I’m a recent graduate from the University of Bristol, having studied a Master’s of Engineering with a year abroad spent in Australia and reached out to Briony to gain further work experience. Based at Engine Shed, my time spent in the scale-up sector has provided invaluable networking opportunities and a greater understanding of post-university career options. Under the direction of Briony, I have been able to work closely with some of the scale-ups at Engine Shed and the wider community.
The first three days of the Faculty of Arts Careers Week took place from 26th-28th February. Students heard from over 27 alumni and professionals on their respective careers, as speakers shared their experiences of how they have progressed through their career from graduation, and how to forge a successful career. Tips and advice were given, and students were able to hear about the positives and negatives of a variety of roles and sectors.
As you probably know, LinkedIn is a social media site for professionals on which you can host a kind of online CV.
However, to really benefit from the site as a student it’s highly likely that you’ll need to actively use it to seek out opportunities, rather than hoping that the opportunities will come to you.
So, whilst it’s worth developing an “all-star profile” so the people you contact (or whose profiles you visit!) will quickly be able to get a sense of who you are and what you have to offer, LinkedIn will only really become useful to you if you actively use it to find potential employers.
Here are three tips on how to use LinkedIn to find relevant people and employers.
Earlier this month over two-dozen alumni from the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences came back to Bristol for the annual Biomedical Sciences Alumni Careers Evening, an event designed to help current students find out more about the wide range of careers open to them.
The event has grown continually, with this year’s being the largest ever. Over 180 students came along to meet management consultants, university professors, company directors, medical students, wildlife film makers and science communication professionals, among many others.
The evening gave students the opportunity to hear a number of short talks from the alumni to find out about their career paths since leaving Bristol. Students then had the opportunity to ask their own questions about topics such as how their degree has helped them in the workplace, what different careers are really like and what type of work experience is required for certain careers.
Our final employer event on campus this term was last week’s Spring Careers Fair.
New for 2017: careers fair app
This year we trialled a careers fair app which allowed students to research and prepare for the fair using our top tips section, filter and search to find the most relevant employers by the types of roles they were advertising and the academic departments employers were targeting, and then highlight these employers on an interactive floorplan.
We had over 500 downloads and positive feedback from students who downloaded the app. One student commented, “very helpful to plan who I’d like to speak to. Made my day more efficient. The map was a great feature.” Other comments included, “very useful resource”, “App very useful for prep”.
After the success of the Spring Careers Fair, we will be using the app for all of the careers fairs this autumn, if you want to get a sneak preview of the main features and benefits as well as check out the employers that are still recruiting and attended the event, the Spring Careers Fair app is still available to download – search for Bristol Uni Careers Fair Plus on the App Store and Google Play Store.
Bristol PLUS celebration
Exclusive to those who completed the employability award, the fair opened early with a welcome and the chance to speak to employers more directly over coffee and pastries.
The Bristol PLUS Award provides a framework to help you enhance your CV, develop a variety of employability skills and be more prepared for the interview process. A degree is no longer enough to make you competitive in the recruitment process. The Bristol PLUS Award rewards University of Bristol students who have gained significant skills and experience through activities outside of their studies.
Careers Service pop-up event & Bristol Opportunities area
One of the marquees outside the event held a Careers Service pop-up event with lots of taster talks open to all students as well as offering specific advice for postgraduate students. For those students still confused about their career options staff were on hand to offer one to one advice. The other marquee was the Bristol Opportunities tent, offering a list of immediate vacancies in the city, the chance to meet some local employers and advice on applying to the UoB Internship Scheme.
Employers love Bristol students
With a leading global reputation, and one of the highest rates of employability in the UK, your degree from the University of Bristol will help you get wherever you want to be. The quality of today’s students attracts many recruiters.
Employers from a diverse range of business areas attended this event including media, charities, consulting, finance, teaching, hospitality and IT, to meet with students and promote their organisation as well as upcoming and available opportunities. Around 2 thirds of these were SMEs with the rest being larger organisations. Many commented on the calibre of students and the conversations they had.
“Very inquisitive students.”
“It was a pleasure to meet the high quality students at Bristol.”
“It’s always great to visit Bristol Uni – lots of interested students with lots to bring to the charity sector.”
“A fantastic event for students to drink with cups from the fountain of business knowledge from fossils like ourselves.”
Missed out? You can still catch up
We are here to help you get to where you want to be when you graduate, offering you careers support in person, online and over the phone. The Careers Service opening hours are Monday to Friday 9:30 pm to 4:45 pm and in vacation 1:30 am to 4:45 pm. You can download the app to research employers and get ahead for next year. Our employer events programme will resume in the autumn term so check mycareer for updates.
Explore tomorrow at the Spring Careers Fair.
Whether you have a clear idea of what career you’d like to have, or no idea at all, careers fairs are great for picking up a lot of information in one place. Come to the Spring Fair at the Careers Service on the 3 and 4 of May from 12 til 3!
You can discover less well-known employers and understand more about what popular organisations do. You’ll get to speak to the experts, get a feel for the work culture and ask questions that might not be on their FAQs list.
Download the ‘Bristol Uni Careers Fair Plus’ app from the App Store or Google Play to start your planning and research for the fair. If you wander around aimlessly with no sense of purpose you’re unlikely to get much from attending. Use the app to help you set the scene and prioritise which organisations you would like to visit.
We’ve done the hard work for you
On the app you will find the list of employers who are attending the fair, who are different on each day. The app provides an overview as well as a link to company websites and social media for you to research further those you are most interested in. Employers come to careers fairs because they are looking to hire Bristol students, but they also have work experience and internships on offer as well as graduate jobs. The app allows you to filter this quickly and easily, so you can see which companies are offering what types of roles, and what subjects they are looking to attract students from.
Take the fear out of networking and find a selection of starter questions to ask employers, as well as top tips on the app. Meeting employers face-to-face is the best way of making a good impression. If successful, these first encounters can help with making a really great impression with your application. Remember, it isn’t about getting a job today it’s about doing research & making contacts to help you make informed choices and plan ahead.
We’re here to help.
If you have any general queries or want some advice, ask at the Careers Service marquee. We will be outside the Careers Service for the duration of the fair and are always happy to help. If you are unsure how to prepare for events, or have any other careers related questions, please ask us.
Search for ‘Bristol Uni Careers Fair Plus’ on the App Store or Google Play store.
‘Networking’ is something you’ll hear about constantly when you looking for internships, work experience and graduate jobs. For some, talking to strangers about their job comes naturally. Many others see the word ‘networking’ and instantly switch off and go back to their job search. If you’ve made it to here in the blog post, well done!
The thing is, networking doesn’t have to be a scary switch off word. It is a useful tool to help you understand the roles you are applying for, get some insider knowledge for an application or even as a way to find experience.
The Careers Network is our tool for helping you get over the biggest hurdle: where to begin. The Network contains hundreds of case studies and contactable Bristol alumni from a wide range of backgrounds. This is a great place to start as the alumni on there are ready and willing to answer any questions you may have.
So you’ve found somebody doing a job you want to find out more about. What next? Send them a message!
The message doesn’t need to be long or complex. The most important thing is you ask meaningful questions that will help you understand their career path, role or employer better. Start with a short introduction explaining who you are, ask your questions and finish off by thanking them for their time. If you are a bit stuck on the questions, use these examples to get thinking:
- I have an interview with X, do you have any pointers that would help me stand out?
- I am looking to work in X when I graduate. Do you have any suggestions about how to approach companies for work experience?
- Could you tell me a little bit more about how you found your current job?
- I’m due to graduate with the same degree as you but am a bit uncertain what to do when I graduate. Was there anything in particular from your course that inspired you to pursue a career in X?
Remember: our alumni are working people. If they do not get back to you immediately, don’t panic! If you have not received a reply after a week consider sending another message, or let us know so we can contact them on your behalf.
If you would like further tips on networking, have a look at our talk to alumni page. If you’re still feeling stuck but want to be proactive, come in and speak to one of our advisers about networking techniques and other ways of searching for alumni.
We’ve got eight days of fairs coming up this term but what’s all the fuss about? Here’s why attending a careers fair is an invaluable use of time.
Whether you have a clear idea of what career you’d like to have, or have no idea at all, careers fairs are great for picking up a lot of information in one place. You can discover less well-known employers and understand more about what popular companies do. You get to speak to the experts, get a feel for the work culture and ask questions that might not be on their FAQs list.
Aside from the useful material you can gain from one-to-one conversations, there are also a number of free publications given out at our fairs which you can use to make informed decisions about which companies to pursue and how to approach them, and to check statistics and facts.
Meeting employers face-to-face is the best way of making an impression. With around 300 companies on campus this term, there are plenty to choose from. You can pick up industry contacts and get to know the decision-makers. Who you know is often just as important as what you know in the world of work, so it’s best to make the most of every opportunity to meet employers.
Companies come to the careers fairs because they are looking to hire Bristol students. They often have work experience and internships on offer, as well as graduate jobs. Although you won’t get a job directly from attending a fair, the conversations you make and the impression you leave may very well be the starting point for your future career.
Click here for the fair dates and to register your interest on mycareer.
This autumn, we’ll welcome hundreds of employers on to campus, for fairs, promotion events and presentations. Stand out from the crowd by following our top tips:
- Find what fairs and events are happening and when – check out our events listings on mycareer and use the ‘type of event’ drop down to filter results, including careers fairs and employer presentations.
- Come to one of our short talks about how to prepare to find out more about why you should go to fairs and for insider tips about how to make the most of talking to employers.
- Check out the list of employers attending each fair (on the event listing on mycareer) and find out who they are and what they do before going along – use our researching employers page to get started. Go beyond their website and look at news, social media (including LinkedIn) and job review and case study websites such as TARGETJobs Inside Buzz, Glassdoor, WikiJob and TheJobCrowd.
- Go that step further by using our gaining commercial awareness page and think about what the organisation is there to do, who are their customers and how the business is organised – this will also help with applications and at interview.
- Prepare an introduction about yourself and some questions to ask the employer. Do ask about changes in the sector, what sort of activities are involved in the graduate schemes on offer and the culture of the organisation. Don’t ask about salary or time off.
After a fair or an employer presentation, follow up with an employer to thank them if you had any longer discussions. You should also collate your notes and put them in to action by noting down deadlines and preparing your applications.
For more in-depth information, our previous blog post on careers fairs goes into detail about the fairs themselves and you should come along to one of our short talks on preparing for fairs and events.
Last week, more than 15 industry experts – most of whom are Bristol alumni – came in to give talks, workshops and present case studies about all things media and creative. Film, TV, radio, publishing, the art world and the importance of having great ideas were all covered – for a list of speakers and their organisations, see our in-depth summary on mycareer.
Aside from things you’d expect to hear from creative professionals (expect a varied workload, the importance of getting your foot in the door, be innovative, don’t forget ab
out small to medium enterprises and how there’s no one definitive career path), there were a number of themes which youmight not have expected. This blog post will explore those and hopefully give you the opportunity to stand out in these competitive industries.
Watch, listen, read
Not just the people, shows or books you’re interested in or would like to work for – go bigger, immerse yourself! Watch TED talks (recommended by Laura from Speed Communications, highlighting the one on Airbnb), watch shorts and first feature films (tip from Kate O’Hara, Creative England), go to art fairs (Adriana, IESA) and think carefully about audiences (Rob from BBC History magazine had students in his workshop working out who their perfect reader was).
There are no excuses!
Many of our speakers said this exact phrase, multiple times and they’re right. With the amount of free technology, apps and programmes available, there’s no reason not to make your own content, building a portfolio of your work to take to interview or when shadowing somebody. Make your
own demo (that was a top tip from Paris Troy, Heart radio), get some videos online (Will Wilkin, Lead Creative and producer for BBC radio) and practise responding to briefs (Gavin from Perfect Storm).
The funniest comedians and presenters have actually spent a very long time preparing their content. So, not only should you be preparing for applications, interviews and meeting industry experts, you should be developing it as a skill. Paris Troy was the guest speaker who spoke most about this and to do so, said you should make sure your organisation, time management and planning s kills are
up to scratch. Finally, a number of speakers including Will Wilkin, BBC Talent Managers Gaynor, Sas and Helen, and Julian Burrett also said be prepared to keep trying, be prepared to develop resilience and be prepared to do anything!
Tell a story
It’s not just about creating ideas – although the ability to do so helps – it’s about standing out and standing up for who you are (Paris Troy and Laura from Speed Communications). When Will Wilkin was talking about the need to tell a story, especially in applications, he said that you should literally tell a story (see his LinkedIn profile for a
n example) and that everyday life is suitable content. Other tips included create an emotional connection (Gavin from Perfect Storm, Laura from Speed Communications) and don’t be generic (Paris). Alongside this, Julian Burrett said it’s good to be open to creativity from others too.
On one hand, you should be an expert in what you do (Julian Burrett) but on the other hand, you need to be versatile (Will Wilkin). You might be generating ideas for multiple platforms (a magazine with an accompanying app, writing cricket news but cutting film about a match too) but you might also be working in a specialist area within the sector. For example, Laura talked about how Speed cover three main divisions: business and corporate, sports and wellbeing, consumer and lifestyle. Similarly, Adriana from the IESA described how the art world, sitting within the creative industries, has sub-sectors which include the dealers, contemporary art, art fairs, insurance and law, investment and client services.
This is just an overview of the key themes but if you want more, check out our in-depth summary on mycareer. There’s a list of speakers on there too, as well as lots of information about the different areas of the media industry and creative sector.