Automate your opportunity search May 13, 2013Posted by Jeff Riley in : Careers Advice, Careers Resources, vacancies , 6comments
This blog post is about a great way to automate your opportunity search. It explains how you can use a great free web service called If This Then That (IFTTT.Com) to ensure that any relevant opportunities in areas such as charities or NGOs or in government and politics (or, indeed, any sector you might be interested in) are sent to your email account.
Hang on a moment, you might say – “What’s so new about that? Haven’t we been able to do that since about 1997!” And it’s true job sites such as Prospects, Target Jobs and Milkround have been cluttering up my inbox for ages with vacancies.
What’s good about IFTTT is that it allows you to get email notifications even from job sites such as GumTree that, unlike Prospects and Target Jobs, don’t have this kind of email notification option built in. Crucially IFTTT can be used to keep you updated from one of the best graduate vacancy sites, our very own JobOnline.
I have created an IFTTT instruction or ‘recipe’ as they call them to send me an email every time an opportunity appears on JobOnline in either international development or politics. And the good thing is that, if you register on IFTTT, you can simply use my recipe rather than creating your own. Just register and search for my recipe using my username Jefffromclapham as your search term, click to use it and the notifications will be sent to your nominated email account as well as mine. Of course you are also welcome to set up and share your own ‘recipes’. My recipe triggers an email when something happens in a specific ‘channel’ in this case the RSS feed from a JobOnline search but you can use other ‘triggers’ and other ‘channels’
You can use IFTTT to generate lots of different types of actions – emails, text messages, downloading for example – from a wide range of different ‘channels’ such as RSS feeds, Facebook, Vimeo, Flickr and many more. Not just job searches either some people use IFTTT to be notified by email every time a free book download appears on Amazon, save Facebook status updates to Evernote or copy Facebook photos they are tagged in to their G drive.
Like the British Cycling Team you are using technology to create a marginal difference that cumulatively can help deliver success
Getting International Experience February 21, 2013Posted by Jeff Riley in : Careers Resources, Uncategorized, international development, internships, politics, work abroad, working abroad , add a comment
I did a talk recently for MA Politics and International Relations students at Queen Mary College, University of London about the value of international experience. I thought it would be helpful to summarise some of the issues I flagged up.
For many careers in the sector having international experience is incredibly valuable. You will learn things about a country or region by being there for a period that will provide a crucial supplement to your academic experience and that you wouldn’t necessarily get from reading academic texts. It will help you build networks, improve your language skills and provide some great evidence of transferable skills such as resourcefulness, independence and initiative.
• STUDYING. Lots of colleges can arrange for students to spend time abroad through the European Union’s ‘Erasmus Programme.’ These are exchange programmes organised with partner institutions abroad. At Queen Mary, for example, students from the School of Politics and International Relations can take a semester in France – though you will need reasonable French to take part. Other colleges and departments will have other placements available. As well as Erasmus there may be other ad hoc arrangements in place to facilitate international experience during an academic course. History students at Queen Mary, for example, have in the past spent time in colleges in the USA. There are also some courses that have international experience built-in. Some of these fall within an extension of the Erasmus model called ‘Erasmus Mundus’ programme. As with many EU funded programmes it could take a lifetime tracking them down and hurdling the various application processes. Here is one interesting example from the UK – a human rights Masters at Roehampton Another bold option is take the entire course overseas. I wrote a while ago about how one student had used an overseas Masters as a way of combining getting an academic qualification with country experience and field experience. While this example is from Uganda the increase in fees in the UK many students are now considering taking their masters elsewhere in Europe. In countries such as the Netherlands as well as other places courses may well be taught in English. Finally, for the past few years countries who have traditionally sent a lot of students to study in the UK are now encouraging traffic in the other direction. The Study India and Study China programmes run every year and provide a great chance to have short study visits to these countries to find out more about higher education there as part of a cultural programme.
• VOLUNTEERING. There are lots of organisations who will, for a fee, arrange some international work experience. Most typically this would be in developing countries with NGOs but there are also organisations who will facilitate commercial experience. Proceed with caution as some of the arrangement fees can be expensive. Also make sure the experience is going to provide the right level of challenge for you. If you already have some experience, for example with the programme offered by International Citizen Service (a consortium comprising six organisations providing volunteering experience for 18-25 year olds. The consortium includes VSO, Tear Fund, Progression, Restless Development, International Service and Raleigh International) you might be ready for a more customised placement which can be arranged with organisations like 2Way Development or Links For Change. Again proceed with caution because, while all the organisations I mention have a good track record, the sector as a whole can give rise to debate about the ethics of sending relatively inexperienced northern hemisphere volunteers to intervene in developing countries. Read more about the issues through a recent film called Mind The Gap
• EDUCATION – The demand for teachers of English remains high and an investment in a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language can easily repay itself. Working as a TEFL teacher can help you get some practical experience of living and working internationally. The TEFL certificates offered by Cambridge or Trinity House through a wide network of schools in the UK and overseas are, however, only one way of gaining TEFL experience. Many organisations offer opportunities to get involved in classrooms without formal teaching qualifications. AIESEC, for example include education as one of its options
An organisation like VESL or Tenteleni
sees its volunteers contributing to education in ways that support local, qualified teachers. A recent interview with VESL summed up how students fit in to the education picture – “The schools we work with really appreciate having volunteers from the UK to increase students confidence, help with pronunciation and give the students an opportunity to learn about UK culture. Our volunteers also help in other ways by running extracurricular classes such as sports events or helping out at local NGOs running additional English classes.” . A very prestigious programme for teaching English is offered through the JET Programme which funds thousands of young people to work as Assistant Language Teachers in Japanese schools. The British Council also work in 14 countries and provide excellent opportunities to work as language assistants.
• INTERNSHIPS – These can’t really be distinguished from volunteering. However, for our purposes in this blog we are defining internships as opportunities that provide a more individual experience with a more defined job description. Unlike volunteering opportunities there is rarely any funding available or even a support programme to help you fundraise. In this group we would place organisations such as think tanks, multilateral organisations such as the EU and the UN but also some commercial organisations. Good examples of international think tank internships include the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies and the International Crisis Group. United Nations internships happen all over the world but popular locations are Geneva, New York. Other branches of the UN such as UNICEF and UNHCR and the World Bank also offer internships. UNICEF India have an excellent internship every year http://www.unicef.org/india/media_8064.htm The European Union offer good quality (and paid!) internships, sometimes known as a stagiare. Some useful resources in previous articles in this blog here –
If you are looking for European opportunities – especially in Brussels then you must sign up for the Junior newsletter produced by Euro-Brussels.com There are also commercial organisations such as CRCC Asia which provide good quality business internships but they are very expensive (over £2.5k for a month internship and a month of intensive Mandarin). It is also possible to organise an international placement with businesses such as Proctor and Gamble who offer summer internships for UK students all over Western Europe. Of course you will have to be interested in a business career. Read about one student’s experience here
• Further Resources – If you have been clicking on the links you will have started using these but to summarise
* Careers Tagged – Use search terms such as ‘volunteering abroad’; ‘working abroad’ and ‘international development’
* Careers Blogs – This blog, of course. Also the one written by Gemma Ludgate at King’s College London has good stuff in general and some posts specifically covering international careers. Such as this recent one. Finally do take a look at The Year Abroad blog written by colleagues at UCL. Well worth scrolling through for useful links
* Facebook – Getting into International Development. Sign up for regular news about the sector
* International Futures – This site provides resources for students looking for international experience as well as for international students studying in the UK
We beat Google: No, really March 18, 2011Posted by Jeff Riley in : Careers Advice, Careers Resources, careers, careers help , add a comment
It’s not often anyone can say ‘Google’s great but we return better results’ but I’ve been looking at our careers search engine ‘Careers Tagged’ and I think you should too. Say, for example, on ‘conflict’. Google will throw up 152 million results starting with the usual Wikipedia definition of conflict and news about a rock band called conflict and a pot pourri of other stuff. Interesting but not especially a direct line to organisations that have something to offer those seeking a career in conflict.
Try the same search term at careerstagged.co.uk and you’ll get far fewer (or, depending on your perspective, more manageable) results (about 60) . They do, though, include really useful links. For example to organisations such as Peace Brigades International who offer monitor roles in conflict zones and the Quaker Peaceworker internships (one year paid roles in peacebuilding organisations). Think tanks and research institutes feature as does the less well-known ( to most students anyway) defence industry section of Ernst & Young . There’s a great link to The European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) – the platform of European NGOs, networks of NGOs and think tanks active in the field of peacebuilding. It includes a list of their member organisations and publications. You also get a chance to get a handy print out of all the results and links to further resources. Most of the links have been reviewed by careers staff and selected to be of relevance to our students. They will flag up the reason why they have been selected. For example, because they offer entry level roles, internships or lead to further information. So c’mon Google make us an offer!