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!
Get a unique insight into City Careers May 31, 2012Posted by Rosalind Kemp in : Finance, The Careers Group, city jobs, employability and skills, further study and training, networking , add a comment
The City Course takes place 17 to 20 September 2012 and offers a fantastic opportunity for students and graduates from The University of London to find out about careers in the city.
The week involves spending time in the offices of major city employers getting a sense and feel of the place and networking with employees. There’ll also be excellent practise at group exercises.
Employers taking part include:
- Standard Chartered
- Slaughter & May
- Bank of England
- Barclays Capital
This is a massive opportunity to develop your knowledge of what careers there are in the City and how City sectors work together.
Science jobs – think outside the laboratory box May 24, 2012Posted by Kirsti Burton in : Science & Engineering, The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at QM Jobs Blog
If you are a student studying a life science degree you are probably aspiring to work within a laboratory after your studies. Why wouldn’t you? That is what a life science degree trains you to do, right? Well that is one option, but, if you think more broadly there are many more alternatives. Just think beyond your laboratory skills and knowledge.
You will have developed your written and spoken communication skills during your degree, especially if you have been involved in some of the many societies in your university. As well as developing a scientific knowledge, you will also have developed the language and jargon that is used in a scientific environment. This language will prove very useful within a scientific organisation.
With this in mind, think about which organisations deal with science and/or life science. These organisations will employ many people, many of whom do not do laboratory research. Your science knowledge and vocabulary will be welcomed in these environments. Jo Brodie, who is a science communicator, has drawn up a comprehensive list of organisations that are associated with science, with links to their job sites.
This site is well worth a look to spark your imagination and encourage you to think beyond laboratory research. Look at the job options, see what skills they require, then think about how you can develop these during your degree!
Going digital – The future of working in marketing… March 22, 2012Posted by Kirsti Burton in : Marketing, The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at QM Jobs Blog
Are you interested in working in marketing? Marketing has moved far beyond billboards, magazine ads and radio and television commercials. Like everything else the marketing industry is getting increasingly digital and data-driven. Marketing is all about finding the target audience and increasingly, like you reading this now, marketing has moved online. Advertisements can be found cleverly woven into blogs, social media sites, emails and text messages.
What does this mean for your future jobs?
As marketing becomes more and more focused on digital content, the marketing industry is looking to recruit people who have experience and a clear understanding of the potential of digital marketing. Being able to understand and target your particular demographic via Facebook, blogs, and Google searches is now a crucial skill for many marketing roles. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a fancy name for where your website ranks in Google searches. Companies of all sizes are spending a lot of money to ensure their website ranks high and grabs visitors.
Digital marketing also gives marketers endless data to analyse and use in order to target their key audiences. Google Analytics for example, can tell a business who looks at their website, what they looked at, for how long and when (among many other details). Marketers use these details to target their campaigns like never before.
How do I get digital marketing experience?
The plus side of digital marketing is it’s not just for the big brand names. Companies of all sizes are using Google Adwords or Facebook ad campaigns to get their businesses recognised. Google Analytics is free for any website. Any organisation or person can create a Facebook, Twitter or blog. Employers will be impressed if you’ve done any online marketing for clubs, societies or events. If you are working part-time at a shop or restaurant you can always ask them if you can help with their social media or website.
Book review: Refuse to choose July 26, 2011Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Uncategorized , 2comments
I’m not one for self-help books and have tried to read several that aim to either streamline, focus, motivate or in some other way enhance my life. Barbara Sher has achieved something remarkable in her “Refuse to Choose” by writing a book that I feel I can relate to! The reason why the career choice and life development book market is so large is because of the diversity of its readers – many of the books that haven’t worked for me have been inspirational to others. Now it’s my turn.
I am a careers adviser. I haven’t always been one. Previous jobs have included civil servant, Funeral Director, factory administrator, campaigns co-ordinator, market researcher, political assistant and print room officer. My interests are even more extensive – writing, entrepreneurship, politics, marketing, international development.
So with only one life, how do you choose what to do? Barbara Sher says it’s ok to refuse to choose. Her book liberates the reader from what can become a panic about narrowing down career and life choices. She describes two different approaches to careers. The first, “deep divers” is those who delve into one particular career, potentially becoming experts in their field.
The other approach she describes as “scanners”. Scanners tend to have diverse careers because they do not focus on one specialism but constantly scan the horizon for other interests and opportunities. Sher suggests that there are different types of scanners resulting in different types of career choice. Deep divers can of course have diverse careers where they remain within a profession but focusing on different aspects throughout their lives. Both approaches are valid and I suspect we can all think of people who would fit one or the other.
I think I’ve often been put off books that are written in a “folksy / best mate” style. Refuse to choose is a bit folksy but perhaps not as much as others. I’ve found it approachable and some of the exercises have been useful to get me thinking about my own career to date and what the future could bring. But perhaps for me this book has been useful in recognising that a perceived lack of focus isn’t negative and that I don’t have to pour all my energies into one particular career path.
Barbara Sher blogs about scanners and refusing to choose. According to her publicity:
Barbara Sher is a business owner, career counselor and best-selling author of six books, each of which provides a unique step-by-step method to uncover talent, pinpoint goals and make dreams come true. She has been called the “godmother of life coaching”. Barbara has presented seminars and workshops around the world to universities, professional organizations, Fortune 100 corporations and federal and state government agencies. She also consults with clients in her New York office.
The book is available in some of our careers services but can be bought online at around £6.
What to read: career change September 15, 2010Posted by Helen Curry in : Uncategorized , add a comment
**** Be aware this content is over two years old****
The internet is increasingly a popular first stop for careers information - it is quick, has broad coverage and is freely available. However when it comes down to detailed preparation for your chosen career, you can’t beat a good book for depth of analysis and authority.
Of course how do you know which books are worth investing your time in? As this is a library blog, I thought I would start a new series of posts called ‘What to read’ to highlight recommendations for a range of career sectors and topics. In the spirit of new beginnings, here is the first, on changing career.
If you don’t know what to do
There are plenty of self-help style career change books, many interspersing words of wisdom with workbook-style exercises to help you identify your skills and career motivations. Sounds pretty patronising? Yes, some of them are, and I wouldn’t have much patience with them. However I would use this book.
What Color is Your Parachute provides more explanation than your average self-help guide, the exercises are clearly useful, and each section provides links for practical action. It helps.
From new recruit to high flyer by Hugh Karseras has an executive slant. For the business-focussed careerist, this gives higher-level tips on how to act, think, talk and demonstrate your fit for promotion.
What not to buy…
I hovered over the careers directories – those comprehensive books that give about a page each to hundreds of careers. They can be useful for ideas if you are really lost, but then I thought, why not just use Prospects job profiles or Prospects Planner? If there is one thing the internet is good for, it is browsing. Unless your career plan was to open a page at random and pursue that career. In which case you really need a lot more help than a book recommendation…
What do you think?
Do you have any recommendations or favourites you’d like to share?