Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing case studies from Transform Society, featuring University of Bristol graduates in various careers in the public sector including Social Work, Health and Mental Health Care, and Teaching! (more…)
Congratulations to the 22 students who achieved an Outstanding Award this year, with a special shout out to the 7 who achieved with distinction!
Achieving the Outstanding Award is a great success. It requires students demonstrate they have made a significant contribution to an extracurricular activity though a rigorous application and interview process – no small feat.
The selection process technique and breadth of activities showcased from students this year was truly Outstanding! Here are just a few of the highlights:
Brandon Man, Economics and Accounting (BSc) Year 2
“I founded Aspiring Interns, a national student-led social initiative which aims to bridge the gap between incoming university students and first-year internship opportunities in the highly competitive mainstream city professions through student-to-student mentoring.”
Freya Mutimer, Anthropology (BA), Year 3
“I co-founded the Sanctuary Scholarship Legal Fund. This is a fund in the University of Bristol’s Student Union which provides financial aid to students from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds when they do not qualify for legal aid. These students are known as Sanctuary Scholars and are vulnerable to study bans, as well as other legal fees relating to their asylum claim. Due to their scholarship they are disqualified from legal aid, this puts them in a situation of immense financial and emotional turmoil. I supported the set-up of this fund to support them and raise awareness about the issue.”
Lucy Mcgowan, Dynamic Molecular Cell Biology (PhD), Year 4
“I was City Coordinator for Pint of Science (PoS) in Bristol, a global non-profit organisation which brings local scientists into pubs to deliver engaging talks on their research to the public. I lead the PoS Festival in May 2019, whereby multiple events were delivered simultaneously to increase local engagement with a broad variety of STEM topics. I also organised and hosted unique collaborative events between PoS and other charitable organisations, such as Bristol Pride, We The Curious and the International Space School Educational Trust, to widen participation and accessibility to our events.”
Obafemi Alabi, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (BEng), Year 3
“I co-founded and was the Chief Operating Officer for a football league company called MOB Football, for university societies and teams to tackle the problem of racism and representation within football. I organised events in collaboration with the Bristol SU and BME Network for black history month to create more awareness of the problem of racism in football and engaged over ten university societies within the last two years to participate in the league.”
Sadie Karia, Dental Surgery (BDS), Year 5
“As The Welfare Representative for University of Bristol Dental School Society (UBDSS), my main goal was to raise awareness about Mental Health & Wellbeing for both students and staff within Bristol Dental School.
My biggest success and Outstanding Award activity was pioneering the first “It’s Ok to Fail” Wellbeing Week, and in particular organising the first “Welfare Fair” within this. This week helped signpost people to available support, gave students and staff a chance to openly discuss Mental Health & Wellbeing and made students feel better understood and supported by the School.”
The beauty of the Graduate route is that you can live and work in the UK even if you are not offered a Skilled Worker visa. As you probably know, securing sponsorship can be quite competitive. The Graduate route opens the door for international students to also consider less competitive opportunities, such as jobs in smaller organisations (called SMEs – small and medium-sized enterprises), which in the UK account for over 99% of all businesses. Therefore, targeting SMEs to look for a job seems like a wise move. There are many benefits to working for smaller organisations – and you can find out more in our online guide “What is an SME? Why work for one?”
How do I find a job with an SME?
- Look for roles on mycareer vacancies
- Check the sector-specific job sites in our sector guides
- Research our employer database and go directly to company websites to see if there are any vacancies being advertised.
- Consider approaching employers speculatively – see our advice on accessing the hidden job market
Once you have narrowed down your search and feel you have some understanding of the market, focus on writing quality applications for a few of your preferred employers.
Stand in the hiring manager’s shoes and consider what will convince them to hire you.
Firstly, employers want someone that can DO THE JOB.
If you study a relevant degree, then you should be equipped with the right knowledge; you can include your relevant units and university projects in your CV to demonstrate this. If you have worked in a paid or unpaid role similar to the one you are applying for, detailing this experience is key so that the employer can benchmark your abilities in the workplace. While in some countries employers focus primarily on academic results, UK employers are often more practically-minded and tend to favour experience in the workplace. We cannot stress enough how important it is to try to get as much practical experience so you can to provide evidence that you are a trusted professional.
Read through the listed skill requirements (which are usually clearly stated in the job description’s “person specification” section) and make sure you can provide varied and relevant examples of these skills. Remember, when preparing these examples, follow the STAR structure.
You can prepare examples to demonstrate that you have commonly required skills in advance –use a spreadsheet to record your stories. Prospects’ job profile lists some of the typical skills asked for.
Compared with home students, you might have less UK experience and connections, so to counteract this consider your experience from your home country and do not forget your USPs (unique selling points) such as foreign language skills. If the organisation you are applying for runs projects in your home country or is preparing to expand to your home country, then you need to prepare yourself and confidently present your understanding of your home country market.
Secondly, employers want to know you will fit in
This is why most job listings include communication and team working skills as requirements. If English isn’t your first language, it’s likely that your written English skills for academic purposes have been sharpened during your study at the University of Bristol, but you also need to familiarise yourself with the language professionals use and how they present themselves:
- Attend our employer events and webinars
- Watch videos on social media about people working in the sector, for example, you can search on YouTube with “What’s it like to work at Google? ”
- Listen to the radio, read newspapers and browse sector news online – which will also expand your commercial awareness
- Future learn offers a free English for Workplace course.
Your personality and values also matter. Connect with employees on LinkedIn and ask them about the work culture to assess whether the employer will be a good fit for you.
Thirdly, employers need to understand that hiring you is easy
SMEs may not be familiar with the recent immigration changes, or may be concerned that the Graduate route only allows them to hire you for a limited period. However, there is no guarantee that any recent graduate would stay longer term. Confidently present the value you can bring during the Graduate route period and make sure you know how to explain longer-term options like the Skilled Worker route: Watch our Intro: Get a graduate job in the UK – your visa options.
For more on getting work in the UK, including sponsored jobs, read our other blogs:
Author: Stella Wang, Careers Support Officer (International) 2021
New for Summer 2021! The Foundership scheme is open to students and recent graduates who want to explore their start-up ideas. Formerly the Enternship scheme, the Basecamp Enterprise team have revamped the programme for this year, giving student entrepreneurs the opportunity to explore their options over Summer break.
The four-week scheme equips founders with £1,000 funding, ringfenced networking and workshop opportunities, and allows you to work from the comfort of your own home.
Sound like something you may be interested in? Here is what you can get out of the scheme this Summer:
On submitting an application, we will ask you to set out what you would like to achieve over the four weeks. This could vary between wanting to undertake some research on your target market to building a prototype. Setting out what you intend to do will mean you can hold yourself accountable, it will motivate you to strive to succeed and will help you break down your overarching goals into tangible, achievable chunks. Successful applicants will submit a weekly report to Basecamp outlining what they achieved each week. (more…)
We are excited to announce that this year, six University of Bristol students have been chosen as finalists for the TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards!
The TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards is an annual competition to celebrate the best undergraduates in the UK. Each award is partnered with a graduate recruiter who offers an amazing prize for the winner, including a paid internship, trips abroad, and other exclusive opportunities.
To become finalists, students first had to complete an application, including essay-style questions and online tests. Once passing that stage, students were either invited to a telephone interview or to take part in an assessment centre.
We caught up with our six nominees to hear more about their journeys to becoming finalists.
Catherine Davies for The Management Undergraduate of the Year Award 2021
Management (BSc) Year 2 – PLUS Award achiever and SME Internship Scheme intern
“My time in the University has aided my success in the award as throughout my degree I have been able to gain multiple skills and experiences. I have been able to develop my leadership and communication skills, through group work projects, wider learning through completing a sustainable future course as part of the Bristol PLUS Award, and also my employability skills by completing an internship last summer as part of the SME Internship Scheme.”
Jessica Slater for The Undergraduate of the Year Award for Sustainable Thinking 2021
Geography (BSc) Year 2 and Covid 19 Internship Scheme intern
“I’m currently working with Sustainabubbles CIC on a paid internship which I found through the Careers Service. I have some invaluable experience working here and learnt so much about sustainability and how a Community Interest Company operates, and this has definitely helped me receive this nomination.”
Jude D’Alesio for The First Generation Undergraduate of the Year 2021
Honours Law (LLB) Year 2 and PLUS Award achiever
“The PLUS Award, and the wider Careers Service, have been enormously helpful in allowing me to reach the finals of the award. It has never been in doubt that Bristol University breeds employable graduates, and with the myriad of opportunities on offer ranging from webinars to mock interviews, I now know why.”
Megan Jenkins for The First Generation Undergraduate of the Year 2021
Geography (BSc) Year 2 and PLUS Award achiever
“I applied to the First Generation Award as it is something myself and my family are very proud of and the application process seemed most interesting to me. The skills I’ve gained through partaking in the Careers Service talks and workshops helped me immensely throughout the application process. In particular, I did a workshop on online interview skills that was very useful.”
Simran Bassi, for The Management Undergraduate of the Year Award 2021
International Business Management and German (BA) Year 2
“As a management student, I felt that this award would help me take the first steps into my career, whilst also having the chance to network and meet other students. Overall, the whole experience has given me great insight into the management field and I can’t wait to use my new skills throughout my degree and further develop them in the industry after graduating.”
Zachary Levenson for The First Generation Undergraduate of the Year 2021
Aerospace Engineering (MEng) Year 3 and PLUS Award achiever
“I saw the award as a great opportunity to be able to share my experience as a first-generation university student. Coming from a family where my parents didn’t have the same opportunities as I did, I aim to encourage prospective students from a similar background to reap the benefits of higher education.”
The final is usually held in person in London, with only the student finalists and employer partners invited to attend. This year, the final will be held virtually with Rachel Riley as the host. So, if you want to watch our students in action, you can register here and join in the ceremony on Friday 30th April at 1 pm.
We want to congratulate these amazing students for their great achievement of becoming a finalist and wish them immense luck at the finals on Friday 30 April.
We have our fingers and toes crossed for you!
Hi! I’m Gelsica, a Psychology of Education MSc student at Bristol. It was an Erasmus year spent working with young offenders in France which really ignited my passion for Psychology, and my career goal is to work in cognitive behavioural therapy with young children and adolescents.
I recently went to an online Careers in Psychology Q&A event, organised by the School of Education and the Careers Service. We heard from professional speakers working in a range of roles within Psychology, including Educational, Clinical, Counselling, Academia and Research.
Here are the key things I learned from the event, as well as some top tips from the Careers Service on starting a career in Psychology:
Be open-minded to career options within Psychology
A key message was the wide and diverse range of roles in Psychology – so if you aren’t sure where to begin, there are many options to explore.
Careers Service tips: Start with the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) career paths and Prospects What can I do with a Psychology degree? Also explore these articles on finding your calling within Psychology and alternative psychology careers.
There isn’t only one route in
There are several routes into Psychology – including a career change. One speaker began her career in recruitment before moving into mental health care – and she is about to become a Clinical Associate in Psychology (CAP).
Get creative with work experience
There are many forms of work experience in Psychology. Although Psychology Assistant roles are a good starting point, they are highly competitive – so be proactive and open-minded about other ways to gain experience. The key is that you apply Psychology within the role – as one speaker advised, it is about “following your interests” and using “your passion”.
Careers Service tip: See Prospects information on work experience options within Psychology.
Think ‘on the ground’ for clinical opportunities
‘On the ground’ healthcare positions, whether bank employees or contract workers, are an excellent way to gain relevant knowledge and experience – and they are always in demand. For example, starting as a Healthcare Assistant is ideal for gaining experience in mental health.
Careers Service tips: See the Clearing House for Postgrad Clinical Psychology’s advice on work experience for clinical psychology.
Look broadly for educational experience
Any experience in an educational setting is valuable for educational Psychology – e.g. working as a teaching assistant, youth worker, or volunteering with an educational charity.
Recognise the value of volunteering
Volunteering in your field of interest is a great way to gain relevant experience and build your CV – e.g. one speaker recommended volunteering in research laboratories that work with babies.
Careers Service tips: Volunteer for the NHS (filter by ‘volunteering’ in advance search options), or search for voluntary opportunities on myopportunities and CharityJob. Prospects’ advice on finding volunteering experience is also helpful.
Give yourself a head start for academia
If you are considering a career in academia – why not speak to your supervisor about the possibility of your master’s or final year research project being published? There are also opportunities to publish your research through the Bristol Institute of Learning and Teaching (BILT).
Careers Service tip: Read the BPS academic, research and teaching career information. Also consider writing for the BPS student publication, Psych Talk.
Speak to people for advice
Seek out ways to interact with people working in your field of interest – several speakers mentioned opportunities gained through their network. Consider who you know – peers, lecturers, supervisors, friends, family – and seize opportunities to build on this.
Careers Service tip: Read our guide to LinkedIn for advice on online networking and use Bristol Connects to connect with Bristol alumni. The BPS student membership gives you access to BPS events and their professional network. Also use Eventbrite and Meetup to find events.
Last but not least – the Bristol PLUS Award
Attending this event counted towards my Bristol PLUS Award. If you haven’t considered the Award and will be studying next year, I highly recommend it – it’s helped me to meet new people, improve my leadership skills and increase my understanding of careers in Psychology. To maximise your time at university, join the amazing Bristol PLUS Award community!
You can view the recording of the panel question-and-answer session and also access the event slides (including resource links) to find out more about the speakers.
Ed, a 4th year Engineering student worked for Ecostyle last Summer, a design and manufacture company. Ecostyle create interactive educational models to promote renewable energy and water efficiency. Ed secured his role by sourcing his own internship after hearing about the COVID-19 Internship scheme. Here’s what he had to say about the experience.
What was the aim of your internship?
To develop resources and product development concepts which enable socially distanced hands-on learning of renewable technologies, in a classroom or at home. The resources should encourage sales of EcoStyle products whilst promoting an incredibly vital industry and renewable STEM career path. (more…)
Are you yearning to experience different cultures and meet new people?
Whilst worldwide travel might not be on the agenda right now, it’s still possible to make intercultural connections, through learning and engaging, right here.
Discovering what the world has to offer starts with tapping into local opportunities that could lead to big adventures in the future. (more…)
Hi, my name is Anouk. I had just handed in my PhD thesis when I applied for the COVID-19 SME Internship as an Event Manager at a digital platform; LikeToBe. LikeToBe is an online network which helps introduce students to professional online networking and creates regular employer engagements through online careers talks, which are available to watch here.