The London Graduate Career Fair June 18, 2013Posted by Kirsti Burton in : The Careers Group Blogs, networking , add a comment
Originally posted at QM Jobs Blog
The London Graduate Fair from The Careers Group and Targetjobs.co.uk takes place on Wednesday 19 & Thursday 20 June 2013 from 12pm – 5pm, Business Design Centre Islington.
There will be 65 exhibitors confirmed so far promoting their opportunities, with presentations and workshops taking place throughout the day. It is a fantastic chance to speak to recruiters informally and get ideas about job options and industry areas. Keep an open mind when deciding which companies to approach – you might be looking for a job in marketing, but find your perfect role in an engineering firm or travel company.
To make the most of the fair, check the list of exhibitors in advance and plan who you would like to talk to. Research the organisations you are interested in, so you are familiar with what they do and which roles they recruit in to. Fairs are a great opportunity to network and practice interacting with employers, as well as get ‘inside information’ about the organisation and how their recruitment process works. So having researched the firm, plan some intelligent questions about industry trends / what skills they look for in applications / work experience etc.
Possible questions you could ask include:
Could you describe a day in the life of someone working in this role?
What sort of work experience would make me a good candidate for this role?
Which skills are you looking for in a candidate?
What makes an application stand out?
What is particularly distinctive about your organisation?
(You can use their answer in your application to show you’ve made the effort to research them properly.)
To avoid having to queue on the day register in advance.
Advice from the experts – make yourself more employable June 10, 2013Posted by Kirsti Burton in : The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at QM Jobs Blog
What can I do to make myself more employable?
As a Careers Consultant this is one of the questions I am asked the most at the moment (both from recent graduates and current students).
This is my advice…
1. Get some experience – this could be internships, work shadowing, summer jobs, part time work, volunteering, a year in industry, work placements – anything and everything! These experiences demonstrate your skills such as teamwork, organisation and communication skills. It will also give you commercial awareness (business understanding), which is what most recruiters really want from you and will help you stand out from the crowd. Often the more you have, the better your chances of getting a job.
2. Start job hunting early – Don’t leave it to the last minute to start looking. Many vacancies open early in the autumn term. So look now for jobs and internships starting in July.
3. PROPERLY tailor your application – Don’t just copy and paste answers into application forms and don’t send the same CV to all companies – making an effort with your applications really pays off. It’s better to make a few good applications than knock out loads of almost identical ones which aren’t really targeted to the job.
4. Research the Company – When writing a cover letter or answering the question “Why do you want to work for this company?” never just look at their website for two minutes. Make sure you do lots of research into the company – what they do, who their clients and competitors are etc. It will really show how motivated you are to work there.
5. Talk to people – Ask lots of questions and don’t be afraid of speaking to people in the real world. Ask questions about them, their job,and what they do day to day. You can also ask for advice about what you can do to get an advantage when applying for jobs, where to look for vacancies and who else you can speak to for information and advice.
Insider Tips for a Career in Fashion June 7, 2013Posted by TCG Info in : Creative Industries, The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
The fashion industry is glamorous, exciting and fiercely competitive.
Here are some tips from Sophie Gorton, a fashion designer who has her own label and has sold through stores such as Liberty’s, Selfridges and Harrods.
She also teaches on the Central St Martins Foundation where she specialises in fashion and is an Associate Lecturer in Textiles on the MA at Chelsea college of Art.
1. Apply for internships
Some fashion degrees include placements as part of the course. But either way apply for internships while you’re doing your course and afterwards.
Look for an internship by contacting the different companies you’re interested in.
Target anyone you see yourself working with, remember the worst thing they can say is “no”.
Call the company and make sure you find out the name, email, phone number and address of the person you need to send your CV to.
Email your CV making sure you place your latest work at the front. Always send photos of your work when you send your CV.
Top Tip: Send a follow-up hard copy of your CV to help you stand out. Phone up and check they have received it. Fashion companies get hundreds of CVs by email and they may miss yours.
2. Finesse your skills
Whether you set up your own label or work for another label you will need to have a range of skills including business and PR.
- Understanding fabrics and their properties
- Understanding shape, detail and structure
- Colour relationships
- Surface pattern
- Image-making and drawing
- Styling and PR
- Attention to detail
3. Read below if you are considering running your own fashion business
Be prepared for very hard work it’s not going to be glamorous most of the time. You will be producing this season’s collection and at the same time designing the next collection. At the same time you will be collecting money from last season’s collection which will be being delivered.
You will need to have excellent attention to detail – getting something wrong could make the difference between making a profit, breaking even or going bankrupt.
But there are rewards – the best feedback will be orders coming in, people buying your designs. You usually don’t meet your customers but you will get feedback from buyers. Also seeing your work in magazines is great.
4. Don’t forget
This is a very competitive industry. It’s not for the faint-hearted. If you have the right attitude you’ll do well but enter with your eyes open!
Don’t be discouraged by not getting a job straight away. You will probably need to do lots of internships before you get anything and when you do land your first job be prepared to do a bit of everything.
The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at QM Jobs Blog
Figuring out funding for postgraduate study can be a confusing and lengthy task. You will often have to look in an endless amount of places to find information on what funding is available, and sometimes search tools are limited in their ability to return accurate results. With such a wide range of funding sources from charities to educational trusts, a comprehensive search tool is a useful way to more efficiently discover what funding is out there.
Finding out where students who have previously studied the same course received funding from can be a great place to start (you can usually find this out by asking the department). But, online search tools are also useful too.
TARGETcourses have recently launched a new comprehensive postgraduate funding database. The new funding database lets you narrow down your results based on your preferred subject area, institutions and region.
The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding is another useful resource for those seeking funding. As well as highlighting the top 300 charities and trusts which offer funding, it features advice on how to write your application.
TARGETcourses also have their own bursary competition where you can win £2,000 towards the course fees for a taught or research postgraduate course in 2013/14. The deadline for applications is the 30 June 2013. Find out more about the competition here.
Remember you can find postgraduate funding in the most unlikely places.
The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at QM Jobs Blog
References. Who? When? Where? How many? Why do I need them?
These are questions that we are often asked, and I would suggest it is important to think about how you will approach the issue of references BEFORE you need them.
Why is this? Because you may find that your tutor or former employer is at a conference / on holiday / busy marking exams etc so could take time providing your reference and you do not want any additional delays when it comes to potential employers asking to see them.
This morning I read a great blog post from the Careers Service at Coventry University titled Getting Ready to Graduate: A Quick Guide to References which answers these questions. Read it here.
Ever asked a recruiter about their…. ‘package’? May 7, 2013Posted by UCL Careers Service in : The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at UCL Careers Service Blog
Our careers consultant, Trevor Bibic, has found 10 employee perks that standout from the norm.
The list of benefits is an important part of attracting the best candidates for recruiters, small and large alike. There are the obvious ones such as pay, prestige, private health care and career progression but there are some innovative and unusual perks to consider too!
So, whether you are looking for a job or starting your own business, here’s 8 of the more unusual perks. Would they be enough to win you over? Let us know in the comments or share one that you know of.
Management Consultancy Chemistry Group will teach you how to cook and have fully stocked kitchen for staff to make their own healthy lunches. They suggest a strong connection between a doubling in profits and the quality of their staff’s nutrition.http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2013/02/work-smarter/revitalise-through-nutrition
This is an interesting company if you care to dig around – they found that mostly the same amount of work gets done in 4 days as 5, so they made it a 4 day working week!
I think that their most interesting perk, if you can call it that, is remote working is considered normal and effective. What would that mean for your work/life balance?
Take as much holiday as you want at Hubspot. The only condition is that you make sure you get your work done! Seems like a pretty good trade off!http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2010/04/features/work-smarter-hubspot
Located 2 mins from a surf hotspot, the founder lives up to his business manifesto “Let My People Go Surfing”. Flexible working means that taking a surf when the swell is good is perfectly normal.http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/20110831/perks-surf-s-up-at-patagonia
Another advocate for the take as much holiday as you want (I hope this catches on), but you also have unlimited access to their movie rental service!http://mashable.com/2012/04/13/netflix-unlimited-vacation/
What If supports staff social initiatives. You create the benefits here, such as the Seriously Exciting Club! With innovation a key attribute here, I suspect that the perks will continue to be very interesting!http://careers.guardian.co.uk/employers-wages-employee-packages-secondary-benefits
Not the most high profile of Google’s perks (which are numerous) but they do like a slide in the office – here are 2 examples from San Francisco and Zurich.
The Zappos.com co-worker bonus scheme allows you to give $50 (every month) to another employee who you think has done a great job. You can only give one award a month but there is no limit to the amount you can receive! An example of cash rewards that have a very positive impact and isn’t just for the sales people!http://www.zapposinsights.com/cool-ideas/item/four-peertopeer-ways-zappos-employees-reward-each-other
Career Spotlight: Life Science Consulting April 29, 2013Posted by Kate Murray in : Science & Engineering, The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at King's College London Graduate School (Careers)
Recently ex-KCL post-doc Muneer Ahmad, now a senior strategist at Lifescience Dynamics gave a very detailed insight into his work and that of life science consultancies generally.
How did he get into consulting?
Whilst doing his PhD (at Imperial), Muneer ‘bumped into’ someone who was VP of a consulting company, at a conference. This led to him doing some work editing business intelligence reports about drugs and possible markets. He examined questions such as how did patients with cardio-vascular disease get diagnosed, how did they get treate, how patients complied or not with their medicine; all information that would help figure out how a market would develop.
He then worked for Oliver Wyman as a risk consultant, and then, on redundancy, took a role looking at prescription data with another firm. All this experience served to make him an attractive candidate at Lifescience Dynamics.
What are the similarities and differences between business and science?
Both are about solving problems. Both want to know a ‘truth’. But business does not have the luxury of time; so you are looking to get the best answer within a given time, efficiently and effectively. In both, you have to be a team-worker. In business you are having to use your judgement more often, given that often you are not working with complete data.
What does Lifescience Dynamics do?
Active in over 80 countries, they have worked with the top 20 pharma companies on over 400 projects. There are three main themes to their work:
1) Competitor Intelligence. Looking at pricing, understanding the pipeline, conducting interviews with contacts, finding out what stage clinical trials are at. You might conduct ‘war games’ for a client, where you simulate what would happen if a competitor released a drug on the market and you would ‘develop a playbook’ of possible outcomes.
2) Market Research. You are now not just ‘dumping data’ on the clients but also having to provide interpretation: answering ‘so what?’ for the clients.
3) Market Access: covering pricing and reimbursement. It used to be that decisions about what drug to prescribe were made by GPs; now more often these decisions are made at PCT/SHA level to give a formulary to their GPs. You can say the market has gone from being prescriber-led to payer-led.
What is an analyst’s typical day like?
One project might need two or three analysts, one senior consultant and one project manager. Imagine you had been given the task of writing a two page document on rheumatoid arthritis. You would spend the day researching data, possibly creating a survey questionnaire, possibly talking to PIs working in the field. You might be taken to client meetings where you would have to be sensitive to cultural differences (you may have been asked to research across 5-8 countries). ‘Be brief. Be bright. Be gone.’ is the consultant’s mantra!
Many of his colleagues have scientific and PhD backgrounds. You are always likely to start at the bottom (think of working as a freelance in disease information). Your bosses may be younger than you. But ‘clients love PhDs’!
Handling those terrifying first day nerves April 24, 2013Posted by TCG Info in : The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Have you ever wondered why some people are capable of strolling into work on their first day and seem as though they just fit in? Well we walk you through on how best to approach your first day and how you can tackle those first day nerves. We can’t guarantee you will lose your nerves, but we can guarantee you will be armed with the right tools to handle them! The focus is preparation and confidence in yourself and your ability.
The week before
This is the real starting point where reality hits home. Whether the role is your first career job or your next step on the career ladder you will start to feel the nerves. Knowing that a change is coming can cause your nerves to stir. However, you will not have been given the job if the hiring manager and team manager did not believe you could do an exceptional job. Utilise this week to conduct extensive research on the organisation and your role. Read around your role and discover the recent developments and current trends. Arm yourself with the weapons you require to get off to a good start.
The night before
Remarkably, we recommend you relax and don’t do anything relating to your new job. Take part in activities you enjoy doing and help distract you from the next day. If you can, do plenty of exercise which will tire you out. The last thing you want to be doing the night before is staying awake worrying about your first day.
The Commute to work
The length of commute will vary depending on where your new role is located. However, we advise you to stop off for a coffee close to your new office. Take the time to relax and think over the day ahead. Remind yourself you are there for a reason and you have been given the role because they feel you can do the job. Utilising this time before you enter the office early can help you map out your day. The more prepared you arrive the easier your day will be. However don’t panic, you will not be expected to rip up trees on your first day.
The waiting room
So you made a good start to the day, you have arrived early and have some caffeine in your body. The waiting room is the last chance for you to ease those nerves. It is likely there will be some industry related magazines on the desk in front of you. Pick them up and have a quick read. Not only will this help pass the time and distract you but also start building your knowledge for your new role.
Alternatively, if there aren’t any magazines or you already know the industry inside out, then try and strike up a conversation with the secretary. Not only is the secretary a key part of the organisation but may also provide you with some insight on your upcoming day. The secretary will be able to shed some light on the general first day procedures. You have also handily created your first relationship within the organisation.
Handling your new desk
This is it, you have been preparing over the past week for this, your new desk (if you work at a desk that is). But how do you handle your new desk on your first day? Everything seems foreign, there is a weird mouse you haven’t seen before and the keyboard is significantly different. Do not panic, just like your previous computer, you will quickly become accustomed to the new devices. What to do now? You simply run through the procedures of the induction and use your knowledge and skills to be a success. Success will not be expected from day one. But finding your feet as early as possible will only help increase your chances of being successful.
If you simply can’t shake those nerves then keep reminding yourself one thing… they hired you for a reason! Because they feel you are the perfect fit for the job and will be a success.
This guest post has been supplied by Laurence Chandler on behalf of Gold Group. Gold Group are a recruitment consultancy providing you with specialist career advice. http://www.goldgroup.co.uk/career-advice/
Can Career Success be Measured in £££s? April 19, 2013Posted by pippamw in : Creative Industries, The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
The hike in tuition fees has brought about an increasing focus on the concept of getting a good ROI (return on investment) on the money you fork out for your undergraduate studies. In economic terms, it is one way of considering profits in relation to capital invested. One of the repercussions of this is that students can feel pressured into adopting a reductive way of evaluating one degree course compared to another in purely monetary terms – “Over the course of my working life will I earn more if I do a Biology rather than a Drama degree?”
This struck me particularly hard when, during an employability conference I attended this week, the sizeable audience of students, employers and careers advisors were shown a slide with a graph illustrating this point precisely. It showed Medical degrees at one end, Arts degrees at the other and everything else falling somewhere in between these two broad subject areas. As you can imagine, the arc dropped fairly dramatically from the heady heights of serious money at one end to a fairly paltry sum at the other.
I flinched at this slide. What message did it give to the several hundred students amongst the audience? What a very small part of the picture it showed. Did it factor in career fulfilment? Did it tell us anything about the repercussions on mental, physical and spiritual well-being that careers following on from these very different types of degree subjects resulted in? Did it reveal anything about any correlations that might exist between degree subject studied, career path followed and divorce rates? Were we in any way enlightened about the greater chances of achieving a better work-life balance depending on what degree subject we study and what sector of the job-market that might then lead us into? No, of course we weren’t.
If we had been, the graph may have looked very different indeed. I don’t want to scaremonger but if you google something like ‘depression rates by job’ it throws up all sorts of interesting (and sometimes not at all surprising) information. And it may cause any aspiring financial advisors to think again! But of course, if you spend enough time trying and you have a sufficient mastery of statistics, you can probably find information to support any number of theories about careers.
Do go for the highly paid career if that’s what you want – there are of course many wealthy, fulfilled people out there! But do so because of informed choices based on a whole range of issues rather than as a result of the graphs of heavy-handed marketeers with a story to sell!
Sweeping generalisations are almost always dangerous. And inaccurate. I know that amongst my friendship group it is impossible to draw any firm conclusions about the correlation between degree subject, career choice, income levels and contentment. I do know that out of my graduate peers, the one who seems most fired-up has just opened an artisan bakery which isn’t yet turning any profit at all – and the one who has at times expressed some wistfulness at the career path I have carved out for myself studied economics, works for a multinational investment company within which she is highly valued and earns more every 2 years than I can hope to bring home in a decade.
Don’t spend too much time fretting over simplistic, worrying graphs that may be foisted upon you. Instead, start from a position of considering where your passions and your abilities collide and you’ll be well on the way to making a good degree choice and mapping out the beginnings of a rewarding – including possibly financially – career for yourself!
Self-Employment and Five Ways to Build a Brand Profile April 16, 2013Posted by TCG Info in : The Careers Group Blogs, employability and skills, entrepreneurship , add a comment
In the current economic climate job hunting can be a demoralising exercise, particularly when you have the qualifications and, in some instances, work experience that should enable you to get into the working world but find that there are limited openings in your field.
It may seem that from whatever avenue you take you find dead ends but the trick is to never give up on your dreams or aspirations. Even if you have to resort to extreme measures – see Adam Pacitti and his plea for work – it is this passion that ultimately can provide the impetus and springboard to get you into that industry, even if you take the long route around.
For some people, though, they choose to go down the route of starting up their own online business and with the growing presence of the Internet in this digital age, momentum can be easily achieved providing you have a service or product that fills a gap in the market and a good tactical plan to build a brand profile, which can help to be achieved by implementing five areas into your strategy.
1) Utilise market research to shape your brand
Any person looking to set up a potential business needs to undertake a full and detailed evaluation into the industry, competitors and more importantly, whether there is a market for it. From an economics point of view, if there are high barriers to entry and significant risk – especially personally in terms of capital – then it may be worth re-thinking that idea. Utilise the market research gained to shape your website and tailor your brand towards what your target market wants. Many people fail to take into consideration this and continue to tailor their brand to what they believe the target market wants. If the product or service is created with customers’ involvement, it is likely to be more appealing to consumers to buy.
2) The Power of Social Media and utilising friends
Social Media is fundamental in any business nowadays and can be a major part of any marketing campaign. Facebook is changing from solely being a platform for friends to talk and share information to being an advertising tool as well. As a business, it is important to set up your own page so that you can interact with customers, as well as to let them interact with you. Facebook also allows businesses to target users with advertising depending on their interests and how much the advertiser wants to spend.
Another social media tool, which is different to Facebook but ultimately compliments it, is Twitter, a website that has seen its popularity soar in recent years. Essentially, Twitter is good for sharing content, interacting with fellow industry influencers and experts, as well as engaging with customers. It is a news aggregator, but also possesses the ability to make content go viral. Liaising with people relevant to your industry can often shape your content and keep you in touch with what is happening online so you can change your business quickly to avoid being left behind.
When starting out, it is important that you utilise your friends as it is ultimately they who will give your business that kick-start. Ask them to share the page with their friends and keep your page updated with unique and interesting content: don’t let it get stale.
3) Blogging and relevant content
Many businesses do not understand just how important blogging can be to their website and how the interaction can play a part in brand visibility. There is an extremely strong link between quality and unique content and how it helps your website rank on search engines, particularly Google. With blogging, the world is your oyster and it does not have to be necessarily the traditional press releases you would find on a website. It can be engaging content about experiences you have had with customers, reflecting on industry news and providing comments to relevant news items. Remember content has to be high quality and to have some sort of hook that makes it shareable. Content creation is an important factor with social media and will be used to help keep your page fresh with items that people can comment on, share, like and retweets on Facebook and Twitter.
Networking can be used as a way of interacting with anybody, whether that is potential customers, industry experts or rival companies. Either way, the most important factor of brand visibility is to get your name out there. A term that is used quite a lot – and any business should come across frequently – is influencers. In an online world, these are the people that have a high social authority: they have a large number of followers, tweet frequently and their posts and comments are liked, shared and retweeted significantly. If you can get an influencer to interact with you, share some of your content and like your product/services, then this will ultimately dovetail your campaign so that your website gets hits and subsequently new leads and sales.
5) Use your customers
In business, it is important to use customers and if you get compliments about your services and products then go back and ask them to share the message on social media, their own blogs or by word of mouth. Similarly, if you get some constructive criticism take that on board and engage with that customer more to shape your business further. An example of this is to create videos to answer questions, highlight what you intend to do and post it on your blog. If they feel like you care about them, your brand will ultimately get praise for its approach and this in turn will result in good PR, bringing more profile to your brand.
Self-employment can often be a good route to take if you have time and a willingness to make it succeed but online presence is a key cog in making that happen.
This post was written by Mark Fullilove on behalf of eSeller Media, a website providing information and resources about eCommerce and multi-channel retailing for businesses and individuals who own, or are looking to set-up, their own business.