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!
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.
If all products were the same, how would we choose between them?
A unique selling point – USP – is the attribute that makes a product different from and more attractive than its competitors.
Just as big brands need to hook buyers in with their USPs, job applicants need to find ways to catch the eye of recruiters. So, when applying for jobs, this means showing employers what makes you different, ensuring you stand out from the crowd.
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.
For some, the summer vacation is the opportunity to travel or volunteer in other parts of the world. Some will have been lucky enough to secure a summer internship in their chosen industry, and some will choose to earn money through a job seemingly unrelated to their career plan. If you fall into this last category, and think that your summer job is simply about saving up for the next academic year…think again.
Working in industries, such as retail, tourism and hospitality, offer you an excellent opportunity to develop, and provide evidence of, your employability skills. These skills, which are “the skills almost everyone needs to do almost any job”, were ranked by employers as the most important factor when recruiting graduates (CBI Education & Skills Survey, 2016).
Throughout your summer employment, take the opportunity to reflect on what you do, and look for ways to develop and demonstrate your skills. Doing this now will provide you with practical examples to provide to future potential employers when applying for graduate jobs.
Here are five skills you could develop while working this summer:
Customer service roles are an excellent way to demonstrate how you communicate. Think about all the people that you interact with (customers, colleagues, managers), how you communicate with them (face-to-face, telephone, email) and the purpose of your communication (greeting, explaining, persuading, listening).
Even if it is a temporary job, show your initiative by looking for opportunities to accept more responsibility or make a positive difference. Consider offering to train a new team member, or considerately suggest a new process that could improve sales or business performance.
Readiness to Improve
Request feedback and act on it to improve your performance. Not only does this show professionalism and a desire to be the best that you can, it will help you to identify any areas for improvement before applying for graduate jobs.
This doesn’t have to be something worthy of a global news report! Solving a problem could be implementing a new email filing system that improves the speed of responding to client enquiries, or appeasing an upset customer.
Whether you are working for a small business or a large organisation, it is likely that your summer job will enable you to demonstrate how you work with other people. Think about how you cooperate with others to complete a task and how working together can improve efficiency or business performance.
No matter what job you do, make sure that you get the most from your summer job by investing time in reflecting on your experience, and updating your CV to demonstrate the skills that you have.
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.
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.
A panel of four University of Bristol alumni offered a fascinating insight into their careers to Law School students earlier this year. The event titled ‘Alternatives with a Law Degree’ was jointly organised by the University’s Careers Service and the Law School in response to the increasing interest from law students in career options outside of the traditional legal sector.
The objective of the event was to introduce Law students to some of the many options available to those studying for a law degree, including those outside of the legal sector such as EY, one of the ‘big 4’ (professional services) firms, as well as utilising a law degree in a non-law firm environment like the Army Legal Service. Each alumni spoke about their career path and informal networking over drinks allowed the students to meet the panel members and continue their discussions about life after University.
A key message from the panel was to reassure students that there are many diverse career paths open to them and to encourage students not to feel pressured into making a rushed decision on graduation.
Explore your options
If you are keen to consider the options available with your degree there is a lot of support on the Careers Service website. A good starting point is the ‘Be Inspired’ section.
“The panel helped broaden my mind beyond the confines of commercial law and private practice, and also reassured me that it is ok to be slightly unsure of what I want to do after I graduate, because the transferable skills I will gain from a law degree from Bristol will set me up for a role in a variety of areas both inside and outside the legal sector.” Komal Patel, a 2nd year Law student commented about the event.
Esther Wride, Corporate Human Resources Business Partner at Avon and Somerset Constabulary, attended the event with Tom Tooth, a Police Officer, and current part-time PhD student at the Law School. She commented, “It was great to meet a variety of students who were interested in finding out about opportunities with the Police and we continue to encourage people from all backgrounds to consider a role in Policing.”
Be inspired by alumni
Attending an alumni event can be a great way to find out what Bristol graduates have done after they left University, but there are other ways to be inspired by our alumni. For advice and information about how you can connect with alumni, including the alumni mentoring scheme, careers network and not forgetting LinkedIn, have a look at theCareers Service Website.
Now that the end of term is approaching and the holiday season will soon be upon us, have you considered how you might spend the break from University? If you want to make the most of the time, this can be a good opportunity to continue your Careers and Employability journey.
Have a look at our top 10 tips to help you maximise the break from University….
Know yourself – choosing what to do after you leave University is a process that takes time and requires self-investigation, self-reflection and focus. If you’re really not sure where to start spend some time doing some homework on you! Ask yourself questions like: What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What motivates you and how does this fit with your beliefs and values? You may want to chat to friends and family about what they think your skills and strengths are, you may be surprised! There are lots of tools to help you start career planning including the Windmills Career and Life Management resource.
Do some research – investigate the career options that are open to graduates from your degree using the Prospects ‘options with your subject’ Also take a look at the Careers Network to see what Bristol graduates from a range of courses have gone on to do.
Volunteer and boost your transferable skills – December can be a busy time for the voluntary sector with lots of opportunities available, ranging from Charity shops to homeless shelters and residential homes for the elderly. Have a look at Do-It to see what opportunities exist.
Earn some money – part-time work at this time year can be a great way to help you spread some festive cheer and also help you to enhance the skills that all employers value; for example working in a team and communication skills. Lots of companies require an extra pair of hands at this time of year. The Careers Service has information on how you can find part-time work.
Keen to find out more about an area of work that interests you? Contact local employers to see if you would be able to do a day work-shadowing to gain an insight into their organisation and sector. There are employer databases on the Careers Service website to help your research into organisations.
Personal Skills audit – look at graduate job opportunities in a field that interests you and list the skills employers are looking for, then audit yourself against these skills. Once you have identified any gaps, start to plan how you can fill them.
Re-visit your CV – make sure your CV stands out. For more help on CVs look at the Careers Services resources on applications and Prospect’s resources. Maybe one of your parents or family friends would read through your CV for you!
Develop your Social Media presence – LinkedIn is becoming an increasingly popular tool used by recruiters, so it’s important to have an effective profile. LinkedIn publish lots of useful resources for students and some fun clips.
Apply for a summer internship – relevant work experience can be a great way to ‘test-drive’ if a career-path is right for you and help you explore your career options. The UoB Internship Scheme is aimed at Small and Medium size Enterprises in the UK, including charities, social enterprises and Non-Governmental Organisations. There are also opportunities available through the Careers Service website and sector-specific websites like Gradcracker for Science, Technology & Engineering students.
Relax – Don’t forget to enjoy your break from University!
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.