I am Sammi and I am the Student Marketing and Comms Assistant at the Careers Service alongside doing my master’s in International Security. Working at Careers has opened my eyes to the amazing support on offer to students, so I thought I would share with you the five Careers resources, that I wish I had known about sooner, to help you get ahead of the game.
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!
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…)
OK, most people don’t like interviews. It’s normal. But there are ways to overcome your fears with practical steps and positive thinking. (more…)
Joe Baldwin, a Chemistry student at Bristol, shares his experience as a Commercial Banking Summer Intern at HSBC.
My time as an HSBC Intern started as I expect it does for many, concerned about possibility of not having a job to go to after graduation. My search for an internship wasn’t about finding the perfect internship, as I didn’t know what this would be. I wanted to get a flavour of the jobs available to chemists – one that doesn’t involve lab coats and safety goggles. (more…)
The videos provided by the Careers Service are not a resource to be ignored – hearing from graduate recruiters themselves about what they are looking for in graduates is valuable information. The videos are split into several easy to understand sections; CVs & Cover Letters, Interview Techniques, Assessment Centre Advice, Job Hunting, Self-Employment, & more! Each video focuses on a specific aspect of employment, like ‘How to write Work Experience on a CV’, and features testimonials from the people who see hundreds of CVs and Cover Letters everyday – this is the information YOU need to know to land that dream graduate job!
In currently trying to land my dream graduate job and facing the prospect of scary assessment centres, I found the videos explaining what tasks and activities I should expect to happen at an assessment centre particularly useful. Assessment centres can vary widely in terms of what tasks they ask you to complete, from presentations and straightforward group tasks, to trying to convince others what celebrities to put in a hot air balloon! When tasks can be as strange as this it is important to understand what key skills employers are looking for: prioritisation, confidence, communication skills, listening skills, persuasion etc. Assessment centres aren’t just about how you compare against others, succeeding in the task is not always about being correct, it is about demonstrating your skills.
Another important tip I learnt from the videos is that you are being assessed outside of the assessment tasks too – from the moment you enter the centre to the moment you step out of the door to go home, your behaviour and how you communicate with others is being carefully analysed, even during coffee breaks! Make sure you have an in depth knowledge of the organisation, as well as their partners and competitors – having commercial awareness will help you stand out over other candidates.
I definitely feel more confident and prepared for my upcoming assessment centre now that I’ve received this advice from employers themselves. Whatever aspect of employment you’re struggling with, I recommend using the greatly informative videos provided by University of Bristol Careers Services.
Madeleine Dwyer, 3rd year Psychology student
It’s that time of year when many of you will be invited to assessment centres, following all your hard work in the autumn spent completing those labour-intensive application forms. This post focuses just on the interview component, with more on other forms of selection to follow in later posts. If you need more help with assessment centres now, then look at the information on the Careers Service website: where you will find guidance on group exercises, written tests and presentations.
This type of interview is by far the most common and is all about your skills. The key to success here is being confident about three key areas: you, the company to which you are applying and the wider sector in which you want to work.
• You must provide as much specific evidence as possible in your answers, relevant to that company’s needs, if you want to stand out.
• Use the STAR framework to structure your answers. Offer the Situation and Task concisely, then spend most of your time on the Action you took and why you took it (decisions, judgements, justifications) and the Result: what was the outcome and, very importantly, what did you learn from the experience?
• Typical competency questions would be: ‘Tell us about a time you worked in a team. What was your specific contribution?, or, ‘Describe a time when you solved a problem by thinking creatively.’ Get as much practice as you can in answering questions out loud, so that you can learn to think quickly and speak fluently. You can find lots of example questions in our interview skills booklet on the Careers web site.
Knowing the company and the sector
• This is your chance to show off your commercial awareness or knowledge of the company and sector in which you want to work. Make sure your research goes beyond the organisation’s web site! Google is the obvious place to start, and clicking on the ‘News’ tab will help you to find industry-specific information and relevant trade publications.
• Don’t forget to stay up to date with quality national newspapers and industry publications, many of which you can access online. Check the news on the morning of your interview, so you don’t get caught out by any important developments.
This is a less common style but one that is gaining in popularity. These interviews are aimed at identifying what you naturally enjoy doing and what motivates you, rather than competency interviews where they want to find out what you are capable of doing. The idea is to match candidates to work that most suits them, so they work more productively and in an engaged way.
Typical strengths-based interview questions include:
• What energises you and why?
• What did you enjoy most about your university course?
• What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?
• What tells you that you’ve had a good day?
• What challenges do you take on to stretch yourself?
For this kind of interview, knowing yourself and being able to reflect on your motivations is crucial; it will be a much more personal experience than competency interview, so don’t be thrown! If you need help with some self-analysis, try the University’s Personal Development Planning tool on MyBristol, or have a look at Stella Cottrell’s book Skills for Success, available at the Careers Service.
Do come in and ask us about interview preparation if you’re not sure what to do.
Dr Tracy Johnson, Careers Adviser