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…)
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…)
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!
or those of you who haven’t decided on what you would like to do after you graduate – don’t worry, there’s still time!
Check out what we have on at the Spring Careers Fair 2 & 3 May from 12-3pm.
1. Careers Fair Plus App
Download the Careers Fair Plus App from the App Store or Google Play Store. Check out which employers are attending on each day and use the filters to narrow your search. Don’t forget to let us know your thoughts once you’ve visited via the feedback form.
This is your chance to meet a range of companies of different sizes, and sectors, and to find out about opportunities for future graduate jobs and internships. Also, employers are still hiring; use the filter on the Careers Fair app to find out who.
3. Global Opportunities
Are you an International Student looking to secure work in the UK or back home? We’re holding a short talk on how to secure a job or work experience in the UK. This will be followed up by employer films highlighting their recruitment across the globe. Click here to sign up.
Did you know that almost 20% of recent University of Bristol graduates who are working in the UK are based in Bristol 6 months after graduation?
As Bristol was named the best place to live in Britain in 2017, it’s not hard to understand why so many graduates are keen to start their career here. The variety of recent graduate profiles on our Careers Network give a flavour of the diverse range of careers that are available in Bristol. Opportunities flourish in the legal sector, engineering and teaching, and somewhat unsurprisingly, at the University!
Among the largest recruiters of Bristol graduates each year are PwC (recruiting 21 people in 2015/16), Deloitte (20), KPMG (15) and EY (9). These companies all have Bristol-based regional headquarters, and could be a great place to launch your career.
The competition for places on their graduate recruitment schemes is fierce, but we understand from these employers that your chance of success is improved by applying to a region rather than to London.
If you graduate without securing the right role for you, then the Careers Service is here to help! You can access our services for three years after graduation, and many graduates continue to join us at our careers fairs (53 graduates in 2016/17), events (82), and for advice appointments (121).
Even if you are not able to come to see us in Bristol, we can help. You can ask us a question online, have a telephone advice appointment, or search and apply for a huge number and variety of vacancies – in 2016/17, 983 graduates viewed 4,640 different opportunities! You may be doing OK by yourself… but we’ve still got your back.
Our Careers Network is bursting with inspirational stories from our graduates about how they found their first jobs after university. It’s a great place to start researching your career options! In our online library, you will will find tales of adventure, wise words and even a love story…
Tales of the unexpected
Even if you think ahead, sometimes life doesn’t go to plan. This was the case for Raven Swaine, who had planned to go straight into work after graduating, but instead took a year out.
Having left university without securing a graduate position, Raven travelled and volunteered, building up evidence of skills that employers are looking for. She applied speculatively to companies, resulting in a paid placement with First Actuarial – and six weeks later, a permanent job! So when life doesn’t go according to plan, use it as an opportunity to make a new one.
Memoirs of a graduate
It’s never too early to start thinking about your career. Whilst at university, you are surrounded by experts who can help you get to where you want to be when you graduate.
Jennifer Hoare made the most of her time at university by engaging with the Careers Service early. After completing the Bristol PLUS Award, she applied to graduate schemes, using our interview skills workshops and CV writing resources to help her prepare. Her hard work paid off, and she received two job offers through this highly competitive process! If you want to stand out, start now.
Craig Simpson met his employer, Newton Europe, for the first time at a careers fair and knew they were right for him. He moved fast, and within a month had a role with them!
To find the right employer for you, Craig advises that you do your research. He started by following our top tips for researching employers. He also attended our careers fairs, using this fantastic face-to-face opportunity to ask company representatives more about what it’s like to work for their organisation. True love could be just a conversation away!
How we can help
Recent graduate Brooke Theis told us that she learned not be afraid to start talking to people about what she wanted, because people want to help. That’s us!
Sometimes it seems there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. With the competing demands of revising for exams, writing essays and applying for jobs, good management of your time is essential.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider if you are filling your time wisely. Are you putting off more challenging tasks by cleaning the house, doing the washing up, checking Facebook? My advice…..
Some people believe they need the chaos of leaving things to the last minute and the pressure of a tight deadline to motivate them: ask yourself whether this is really effective or whether it’s disguised procrastination.
If you just do it now, you can look forward to some real leisure time later without the pressure of future work hanging over you. Breaking tasks down and scheduling work ahead of time also means you won’t get overwhelmed later on. It’s all about delayed gratification and you might actually find you produce better work under less stress.
It’s the time of year when degree results are announced and, amid all the celebrations, there are some of you for whom things may not have gone according to plan. There seems to be a lot of pressure on students to achieve a 2:1 these days, but this is really only significant if you are aiming to secure a position on a graduate scheme, as recruiters often use degree classifications to screen the vast numbers of applications they receive.
According to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the percentages for those in full-time employment six months after graduation are actually the same for those with Firsts, 2:1s and 2:2s, so things do have a tendency to equalise over time. Please do bear in mind that only a minority of graduates end up on these large grad schemes each year, so it’s important to take a deep breath and consider your options – of which there are many. We also recommend taking a look at our previous post What If I Don’t Want a Graduate Scheme? to help you work out what your next step might be.
Some graduate schemes do accept 2:2s
You may be surprised to know that not all graduate schemes require a 2:1 for you to be able to apply. Some engineering and accounting firms (not the Big Four) will accept a 2:2, and some well-known schemes run by HMRC, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the NHS are all still open to you. Many firms will also consider applicants with a 2:2 if you contact them to explain any genuinely mitigating circumstances in advance of submitting your application; this will also avoid your being screened out by computer before you have had a chance to explain your situation.
Work your way up & gain experience
You can also prove you have the skills to do the job by taking on a graduate internship or placement. This offers hands-on experience which will look great on your CV, as well as offering an opportunity to impress while actually doing the work; many internships can work as extended interviews. Search company websites to see what’s on offer (internships are advertised throughout the year) and try our UoB Internship Scheme, which is open to graduates. You can find opportunities advertised on the Careers Service website or find your own and talk to us about funding.
Work for a small business
Working for a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) or a start-up could be the perfect way to get your career moving. Small businesses place the emphasis on skills and work experience when recruiting as they need you to be able to make a contribution straight away and hit the ground running. Some SMEs advertise with the Careers Service but you should also do your own research, make a shortlist and start calling them directly about what could be available. These working environments may not offer structured training but you’ll have much earlier responsibility than in a grad scheme, if you can prove the quality of your work, and you will feel as if you are making a difference from the outset.
Think carefully about opting for a Masters
Many graduates immediately start applying for a Masters in the hope that attaining a higher degree will negate having a 2:2. However, most recruiters will still use your undergraduate degree result for screening if you apply for a graduate scheme, even if you have bagged yourself a Masters. If you’re thinking about taking the postgraduate study route, talk to the employers you’re interested in working for to find out which specific courses they might view as an enhancement to your profile. A Masters degree does not necessarily make you more employable in the way that relevant work experience can, so do your homework before making an expensive mistake and taking another year out of the labour market.
What do you really want to do?
Sometimes, not getting what you want offers an important opportunity to take a step back and reflect on other possibilities. There is a whole world of work out there that doesn’t require a 2:1 and a training scheme. Come in and talk to a Careers Adviser about what you can do with your skills, what you enjoy and what your next steps could be; there are more job roles out there than you can possibly imagine. You may decide to work for yourself, take a year out, travel or gain valuable experience before you throw yourself back into the graduate labour market and try again. Just remember that there are many ways in which you can add value to your CV and impress a potential employer without the magic 2:1 on your transcript.
Dr Tracy Johnson, Careers Adviser
Recently, with other members of the AGCAS (Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services) postgraduate task group, I’ve been conducting research to explore some of the myths surrounding postgraduate study. With widespread media perception of a depressed graduate market and a devalued first degree it is understandable that many students embark on postgraduate study in the hope that it will offer them a competitive advantage when applying for jobs. I’ve interviewed some of our graduate recruiters to see if they agree.
Do employers have a separate entry point for postgraduates?
One of the first questions asked was about separate entry points for postgraduates. I know that this is of real significance to some postgraduates, after a Masters and a three or four year PhD you don’t necessarily want to apply for something that you feel you could have applied for four or five years before. The reality is that there are very few employers who offer specific entry points for those with postgraduate qualifications, unless you have significant work experience and can therefore be considered as ‘experienced hire’. I think it’s important to consider the additional skills that you have gained from postgraduate study and how you will sell these to an employer. You will no doubt find that your application is far more competitive than it would have been a few years ago. Although a postgraduate qualification may not be recognised in the application process, one graduate recruiter did tell us that, ‘being able to draw upon a wider range of experiences during the recruitment process can only strengthen a candidate’s application’, whilst another said that he, ‘would expect someone with a PhD to bring something additional to the table and expect to give them more responsibility more quickly given their additional experience’.
Do postgraduate students get paid more?
For many, postgraduate study is a significant financial investment, so it’s not surprising that you expect to be paid more. Salaries vary widely depending on the company, the role and the organisation. It is unlikely that your postgraduate qualification alone will command a higher salary, although there are exceptions. One recruiter told us that ‘salaries are determined by the particular role and location, not the candidate or their education’.
Are there any advantages to employing postgraduates?
We asked employers if they saw any advantages to employing postgraduates over those graduating with a first degree. Most employers do recognise that postgraduates, particularly those that have undertaken research, may offer a ‘broader toolkit’ of skills, but the qualification itself is not enough. Those with postgraduate qualifications are expected to be given responsibility faster and achieve promotion faster, but one employer stated that, ‘once you start a job the question is whether you can do that job well or not’. Another told us that, ‘other than a 2:1 degree classification, experience in related work fields to the area applied for is seen as more valuable than further education’.
Does a postgraduate qualification make up for not having a 2:1?
Finally, I see many examples where graduates have embarked on a Masters degree to compensate for a poor first degree. So, how did the employers respond to this? Unfortunately, most of the graduate recruiters that we spoke to do have a minimum entry requirement of a 2:1. There are some employers that will accept applications below this entry requirement, but only with evidence of extenuating or mitigating circumstances. One of our recruiters commented that, ‘we will accept applications from people who do not meet our academic requirements provided that there is a strong justification for why we should consider the application’. One example of this maybe significant and related professional work experience.
So, why do postgraduate study?
This small study has highlighted an ambiguous reaction to postgraduates in the job market. If you’re thinking about postgraduate study I think it’s important to be clear about your motivations. A passion for your subject and a desire to further your knowledge should be high on your list. It maybe that the qualification is essential for your future career, but if not, then there are no guarantees of improving your employability. Of equal importance is taking advantage of developing new skills and more importantly being able to articulate these skills to an employer. Your breadth of examples could offer you a real competitive edge in the application process, but don’t assume that the employer knows what you’ve been doing for the last four years – you need to tell them! Work experience is also key, with PhD internships becoming ever more popular. To be competitive think about the package that you’re offering: academic excellence, skills and experience.
The original article will appear in the next edition of Phoenix (AGCAS), October 2012.
Dr Samantha Cathro, Postgraduate Careers Adviser
I think it’s fitting that one of the first posts here is inspired by another Careers Service blog! The excellent Manchester Graduate Careers Blog gave me food for thought last week as I read Holly’s post on how employers are opening their applications for 2013 start already .
This reminded me how employers’ timetables are sometimes not in line with the university calendar, and whilst penultimate students are just breathing a sigh of relief that their exams are over, employers are gearing up to recruit them for their graduate schemes.
We know that some students are aware of this- a recent report stated that 42% of students last year had applied for a job before the end of October and for students with an interest in banking early applications have always been essential.
However, for those who are still in the mindset “Hey, I’ll start in November”, it could mean that some of the opportunities have closed– this excellent timeline created last year demonstrates how a lot of the Times Top 100 employers such as the Civil Service Fast Stream, Teach First and McKinsey close their application process 4 weeks into the Autumn Term. That’s why our Careers Fairs are so early in the Autumn Term.
Scanning through the 450+ jobs posted on the UoB Careers Service website right now, you certainly see this trend for early advertising with some of the employers that Holly mentions already posted for 2013, such as the Tesco Procurement Graduate Programme. What’s more, Unilever, who were delivering a case study session last week at our Science Faculty Careers Day, mentioned that they will open applications in August.
However, the vacancies advertised now also give the reassurance that employers are still recruiting now for an immediate start. This of course reflects the huge diversity in the jobs market, with a lot of smaller employers recruiting much later, and also the fact that the larger employers recruit all year round, or are still recruiting because they haven’t found the right people to fill their roles.
So, when faced with the negativity media about how students graduating in 2012 or even 2013 are doomed, here are a few key things to remember:
1) Research your employers– make sure that you know when they are opening their recruitment for internships or graduate places. Our ‘How to research employers’ pages are a good place to start.
2) Don’t underestimate how long application forms can take to put together– make sure you give yourself time to get it checked and double checked.
3) The Careers Service is open all summer, and if you’re not in Bristol, contact us via e-mail and phone.