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.
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.
As you probably know, LinkedIn is a social media site for professionals on which you can host a kind of online CV.
However, to really benefit from the site as a student it’s highly likely that you’ll need to actively use it to seek out opportunities, rather than hoping that the opportunities will come to you.
So, whilst it’s worth developing an “all-star profile” so the people you contact (or whose profiles you visit!) will quickly be able to get a sense of who you are and what you have to offer, LinkedIn will only really become useful to you if you actively use it to find potential employers.
Here are three tips on how to use LinkedIn to find relevant people and employers.
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.
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.
Whether you have a clear idea of what career you’d like to have, or no idea at all, careers fairs are great way to find out about different options, meet employers, and get the information you need to apply. We’ve got several fairs lined up for the Autumn Term. Read on to find out what to look for in this busy programme.
Careers Fair App
Download the ‘Bristol Uni Careers Fair Plus’ app from the App Store or Google Play to start planning and researching before the fair. Our top tips section is a good place to start. You can also filter and search the attendee list to find the most relevant employers by the types of roles they are advertising and the subjects they target. Highlight these employers on an interactive floorplan and use the links to company websites and social media to find out more about the employers who most interest you.
Confused About Your Career
If you have any general queries or want some advice, ask at the Careers Service ‘Confused About Your Career’ stand. We will be on the landing at the Science, Autumn and Engineering fairs and would love to help you get the most out of the events.
Opposite ‘Confused About Your Career’ will be the Bristol Opportunities stand. Come and talk to us about city opportunities, graduate vacancies, internships and business start ups. We’ll also be able to offer information and advice on the University of Bristol Internship Scheme.
Grads Love Bristol
Love Bristol and want to stay? Come to our new event in Bristol Museum on Monday 30 October to meet a variety of employers, large and small, with opportunities in the city.
The fair in numbers
On the 27 to 28 April we held this year’s Spring Recruitment Fair, which was at the Careers Service (Tyndall Avenue) for the first time. Despite the cold, two marquees stood on the pavement outside, opening up the fair to passers-by.
40 different employers were present across the two days: Amazon, EY, Teach First, PWC, Aldi, Think Ahead, RBS and Severn Trent, to name just a few. They were offering various positions from graduate schemes, to internships and summer work.
Although it was revision season, over 400 students flocked in to
meet these recruiters, with many leaving positive comments, such as that they liked seeing a wide range of employers and that they felt the fair was helpful and informative with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
Not just a fair
Other events were held in association with the fair: leading employers gave a talk on how to prepare for
the fair. On day two you could spot the Careers Advisers (wrapped in scarves and gloves!), along with some of the attending employers, in the marquee for speed interviewing sessions. They offered students the chance to practise their answers to some common interview questions under time pressure, gave feedback and then recommended relevant resources to help them improve their skills.
It was also a good opportunity to pick up some of the free publications available at the Careers Service, browse resources, book appointments and get advice on what to do next to prepare for life after university.
Employers love Bristol students
“Meeting prospective graduates face to face is the best way to get our company known.”
“The calibre of students was very high and we met some great candidates.”
(Recruitment Agency Attendee)
Employers come to our fairs because they are interested in you! As one employer commented, recruitment fairs are a “good opportunity for students. Companies come to you and want to hire you. Make good use of that”.
How to prepare for next time
- Remember to do some research beforehand; look up the companies attending and what kind of roles they offer.
- Think about how to approach the employers you are interested in to make them interested in you! One employer found they had “lots of people saying ‘I don’t know you’ or ‘what is your company’, as opposed to ‘I’d love to learn more about your company’”.
- Don’t ask about pay or visa sponsorship – if they like you then they may be open to negotiation. Find out the essentials beforehand and target the employers relevant to you.
Dates for your diary!
We have more careers fairs in the Autumn Term, all taking place in the Wills Memorial Building:
- Investment Banking and Management Consultancy Evening – 3 October
- Autumn Fair – 11 and 12 October
- Engineering and IT Fair – 18 and 19 October
- Science Fair – 26 October
- Law Fair – 1 and 2 November
Keep an eye on the events pages for these and other events all year round.
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 the Careers Service Website.
What do you think people from your degree course are doing 10, 20 even 30 years after they graduated? What questions would you ask former students that graduated from the same course as you? This is an opportunity that students from the Biomedical Sciences Faculty got when they helped set-up the first Biomedical Sciences Alumni Evening.
Last November, alumni from the 1980s to the present day came back to the University to talk to current Biomedical students. They came from a huge range of specialisms: including, postdoctoral researchers, medical consultants, clinical scientists, laboratory managers, accountants, medical demonstrators, academics, medics, and strategy consultants.
Students across the year groups found that talking to alumni was a very useful exercise. As well as being inspired to think about careers they hadn’t yet considered and encouraged to explore a range of opportunities, students also had the chance to pose questions to alumni who have gone on to pursue a range of influential careers. For example, they could ask them about what employers valued most from their degree course; what different industries were like; or what advice they would give their former selves when they were back studying at Bristol. Some of the feedback from students included:
‘[The evening] allowed me to discuss the pros and cons of different job opportunities, mainly academia vs industry. It really helped give me a realistic picture of each. I also learnt a lot about pursuing a PhD, travel and MRes courses, which I hadn’t previously heard about’
‘Very good! Helpful advice for PhD applications and opened my mind to other career options too’
‘I was able to ask questions about careers I was interested in and get answers from someone who knows the job well’
Speaking to Alumni is an excellent way to explore career ideas, to get the inside information on different sectors and to ask advice from people who have actually been there!
The alumni who attended the event were
equally enthusiastic. Bronwen Burton (BSc 2007), Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Immunology, said: ‘The event was a great success. The students seemed enthusiastic and engaged, asking lots of questions during the discussion sessions. Several also approached me during the networking session with further questions. The array of different careers which we, as alumni, represented provided an inspiring illustration of what can be achieved after completing a degree in Biomedical Sciences.’
The evening was requested by students and came from feedback during the Faculty Student Staff Liaison Committee that students wanted more contact with alumni. If this sounds like something you could benefit from it’s worth finding out if you have any alumni events that take place in your school or that are run by your course society.
How can you get in touch with Alumni?
You don’t need large events like this to be able to speak to Bristol Alumni. The Careers Service host the Careers Network – an inspirational community of Alumni who are happy to answer questions over email from current students about their careers, professions or entrepreneurial activities. Search the Careers Network to look for Alumni in specific sectors or from the same course as you!
You can also use LinkedIn to connect with Bristol Alumni. Simply create a strong LinkedIn Profile and ‘Find Alumni’ under the ‘My Network’ tab.
Be sure to read the advice and further suggestions about how to connect with Alumni on the Bristol Careers Service Website.