Chambers of Commerce: the successful job hunter’s best kept secret

What are Chambers of Commerce?

Chambers of Commerce are membership organisations which businesses can join to access services to help them grow and play a part in their local business community. They exist around the world at the local, regional and national level. Bristol Chamber of Commerce is run by Business West. You can easily find Chambers for your nearest home town or city, or home country, by searching online. For example, “[name of city] Chamber of Commerce.”

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6 tips for getting a job in an SME

An SME is a small or medium sized enterprise. Over 99% of businesses in the UK are SMEs employing between 0 and 249 people (House of Commons briefing paper, May 2019). 

There are many benefits to working for a small organisation, find out more in our online guide ‘What is an SME? Why work for one?’

Here are our tips for securing an opportunity with an SME. 

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Looking for a summer internship?

The University runs internship schemes that enable you to gain quality, paid work experience.

We work with SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) including charities, social enterprises, and start-ups, as well as larger organisations across the UK.

There are many reasons why you might want to do an internship: (more…)

My Assistant Editor Internship

Iona describes her experience of the SME Internship Schemes during her final year at the University of Bristol. If you’re inspired by her story, you can find out more about the schemes and how to get involved here

Hi, I’m Iona. I graduated with a degree in Cellular and Molecular Medicine in July, and from March to June interned as an Assistant Editor at the leading events website in the city – 365bristol.com – through the Santander scheme. (more…)

Bristol Mentors – Helping shape my future

We caught up with Lucy Downer, Final Year English BA Undergraduate, about her experiences of having a mentor with the Bristol Mentors programme.

Starting out as a third-year student I felt incredibly daunted by the prospect of life post-graduation. Being part of the Bristol Mentors programme this year has given me invaluable experience within an industry I am considering entering after graduation. (more…)

The Graduate Internship…

Is this you? You graduated from the University of Bristol in 2018, but you feel that something is missing. Lots of people you know might be in graduate careers now, moving and shaking to shape their world, but you’re still wondering what you should do? What would make the difference?  

(Photo from Pixabay) 

Employers tell us consistently that work experience is the answer. Not that week you had to do back at school, where you sat and watched people doing something vaguely more interesting than your lessons.

We’re talking about getting stuck in and really experiencing what a graduate role is like and making a difference, showing what impact you can bring to an organisation. In fact, this year over a third of the Times Top 100 employers repeated their warnings from previous years – that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are less to be successful during the selection process for their graduate programmes. (The Graduate Market in 2019 – High Fliers Research.) 

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My Internship Experience at HSBC

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…)

An Overview of Interning at Engine Shed: Joe Walder

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.

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Find an internship for the summer with the UoB Internship Scheme

Are you looking for a summer internship? The UoB Internship Scheme may be just what you are looking for!

For those who haven’t heard of the scheme before, it supports students wanting to gain quality, paid work experience with Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. An SME is an organisation that employs up to 250 people and has a turnover of less than £40 million. This includes start-ups, charities and social enterprises, so there is a real variety of opportunities available.

Pay will be at least the National Living Wage. Our internships are 4 weeks full-time, or the equivalent 140 hours can be worked on a part-time basis. This is typically flexible and internships can be undertaken during term time or vacations.

Further benefits can include:

  • Providing a competitive edge to your CV; standing out in the job market is increasingly crucial.
  • Gaining transferable and desirable skills.
  • Networking opportunities.
  • Potential for extended employment.
  • Providing work experience hours for the Bristol PLUS Award.

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4 Top Tips for Landing Your Dream Job (and why I should know…)

Landing your dream job can feel like the stuff of fantasy, but it doesn’t have to if you take the right approach.

As an ex-lawyer turned career coach with experience in property, PR, teaching and copywriting, I know all too well how important finding the right job is and the frustrations of being in a role which doesn’t quite fit.

I also know how much you’ve invested in your studies, the time you spend thinking about your career and that fulfilment can hinge on more than a pay cheque.

So here are my top tips for securing a job which ticks all the boxes:

  1. Know Your Values

Knowing who you are and what you want is essential to positive change. Before considering what kind of company or organization you’d like to work for, ask yourself what gives your life purpose and meaning, in and outside work. Your values might range from money, work-life balance and family to meeting new people, travel or having fun.

If you’re unsure what drives you, ask yourself what you couldn’t do without in a dream day, what you’re doing when you’re happiest or what you’d love to be paid for. If you’re still struggling, ask yourself what you really dislike and turn this on its head. For example, if it’s working long hours with little time to socialize, it may be that work-life balance is top of your list.

Once you know what drives you, focus on organizations which meet these needs and maximize your chances of fulfilment.

  1. Harness Your Strengths In Your Search

If you’ve got into the University of Bristol, chances are you’ve got strong analytical and critical thinking skills – the perfect combination for identifying your dream job! The most fulfilled people are resourceful in harnessing their strengths, helping them narrow down their ideal workplace, prepare for interview and seal the deal.

If you’re struggling to find the time or perspective to research what kind of organization appeals, reach out to one of our career advisors. They’ll help you move from where you are now to where you want to be. Our applications advisor will also have top tips for how to craft a winning CV, covering letter or application form.

  1. Prepare For Interview

Whether you’re a rising star or a Mensa child, intellectual skill and charm are no substitute for interview preparation. The most common pitfalls are being unable to communicate what an organization does, why this appeals and how your experience and skillset set you apart.

Avoid this by thoroughly reading the organization’s website, articles published by key stakeholders and talking to any contacts you may have. Then identify questions you could be asked and practise your answers with a trusted friend or one of our careers advisors. Ensure you tailor your answers to the skills and experience required in the job and person specification. And if you’re asked a competency based question (tell me a time when…), structure your answer around the STAR acronym – check out this handy video for tips.

Finally, be sure to show-off commercial awareness by reading up on market and organizational developments.

  1. Trust Your Instincts

You can read all you want around the firm but there’s no substitute for face to face gut feeling. If you have a good gut feeling, trust it. If not, ask yourself which of your core values aren’t being met and if this is a deal-breaker. Good luck!