5 Reasons to work in the FMCG industry November 1, 2012Posted by UCL Careers Service in : Industry Focus, The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at UCL Careers Service Blog
The FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) industry is one of the most exciting industries to work in! Here are 5 reasons why you should consider this industry:
1. The Consumer is King
From the breakfast bar you buy in the morning, the toiletries you stock up on during the day, through to picking up a chocolate bar on the way home, we are all consumers. The FMCG industry creates consumer products that are generally low cost and easily available i.e. the products that surround us every day.
2. Brands, brands, brands
FMCG companies are behind some of the world’s biggest brand names. FMCG organisations include Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft and Nestle. If you haven’t heard of the organisations themselves, you will definitely have heard of their major brands – Ariel, Gillette, Persil, Dove, Neutrogena, Milka, Kit-Kat and many more.
3. Innovation is key
In order to compete, FMCG companies need to continually come up with new ideas for packaging, marketing, advertising and communicating their brands. Equally, FMCG companies are continually creating new brands – 40% of brands on the top 100 list twenty years ago have already been replaced by new names today. If you are someone looking for a fast paced, innovative work environment, then FMCG is for you.
4. Good employment prospects
As people will also need to buy FMCG products, this industry has weathered recessions well. Retail is the largest private sector employer in the UK and the number of graduate retail jobs increased by 11.5% in 2012.
5. It is who you are, not what you studied that counts
The FMCG sector is dynamic, diverse and welcomes graduates from many different degree subjects. Whether you are studying Engineering, Maths, Arts & Humanities subjects or Social Sciences, there are opportunities for you in the FMCG sector.
The London Graduate Fair is here! October 13, 2011Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Uncategorized , add a comment
Once again the wonderful Business Design Centre in Islington is host to the London Graduate Fair which takes place next Tuesday. Over 80 employers and training providers will be available to talk you through opportunities with them. You can pre-register to attend.
Careers Fairs have changed over the years. The days of spot-offers for jobs, if they ever really existed, have gone. That can be a bit of a culture shock to international students but also UK students often have different perceptions about what a fair is and how to use it.
Meeting the right people
The majority of job-seeking is now done online, but the advantage of coming to the fair is that you get to meet the recruitment teams from the companies you are interested in applying to.
This is a unique opportunity to get the information you want to know, not what their website tells you. You can make a lasting impression, putting yourself ahead of other candidates. In the current climate that could make all the difference.
If you’re a bit shy about approaching exhibitors, don’t worry – they are there to help you.
Here are some tips:
- As you approach, make eye contact so they are ready to talk to you
- If they are busy, don’t be afraid to stay a close distance so they know you are waiting.
- If you know what sort of job you are looking for, tell them and ask if they have anything similar
- If you don’t, tell them your academic (and professional) background and ask them what they have to offer
- Don’t forget to exchange contact details should you wish to ask some more questions or submit an application
Dress to Impress
Remember how important it is to create a good first impression. Some careers advisers may advise you to wear a suit as if you were attending a formal interview, some say smart casual is enough. Whatever you wear, make sure your clothes are clean and presentable and you feel comfortable – pulling or tugging at your suit after a few hours walking around the fair is not going to present you in a very positive, confident light. Wear what you think will make you look professional and smart. Why are we so sure? We’ve heard it straight from the horse’s mouth, as Vince Curran, graduate programme manager at CPA Global explains:
“We will be looking out for how graduates dress for the fair. Even though we will be business casual it is still important that they remember they are trying to impress an employer, and the way they present themselves is a shop window to their future career.”
Don’t forget to bring plenty of CVs to the fair to hand out to the companies you are interested in. They may no
t accept them as job applications but they will at least have your contact details should they want to speak to you further. If you have access to a careers service you should get your CV checked before the event. For those without access to such advice, free CV checking is also available on the day.
Graduate Fair season begins! September 22, 2011Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Uncategorized , add a comment
The Graduate Recruitment Fair season is about to commence with lots of employers trying to encourage you to apply for their positions. The term “Recruitment Fair” suggests potential job offers on the spot. Some international students, particularly from India, are used to spot-recruitment so are often disappointed at the different style. The UK hasn’t seen spot-recruitment for decades. instead the Recruitment Fairs tend to be show-cases for employers where students can find out about potential vacancies that may be of interest. There is also a danger that such fairs become a “battle of the stands” where the employer with the most amazing glossy stands with flashing screens and lights, steal the show.
Which is why it’s important to look beyond the glitz and the freebies. Second year undergraduates should use the time to consider the range of opportunities availble – the more open you are to new ideas, the easier it will be to decide later on which career paths interest you. Finalists should likewise be talking to employers and finding out, where possible, the range of roles available. At Graduate Recruitment Fairs employers are usually there to promote one or two specific career paths – e.g. graduate schemes. You may not be interested in those particular career routes but may like the organisation and that should give you scope to research other career options within the organisation. For example, you may not want to work as an analyst for Bloomberg but there may be alternative career options in marketing or HR. (more…)
Freebies – the only reason to attend a careers fair? December 1, 2009Posted by Helen Curry in : Uncategorized , 1 comment so far
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I spotted this diary article by student Duncan Robinson in the Independent, and I wanted to respond from a careers service perspective, as I think quite a lot of students have similar experiences. In fact, when I was a student my friends and I went just to compete to collect the most freebies. We were wasting our time. I now know how to get much more than chocolate at a careers fair!
Freebies are the only reason to attend a careers fair… There is very little in the way of actual information to be gained.
First of all, there is a lot of information to be had, it just depends what kind of information you are looking for! To get the most out of a careers fair, I would recommend you already have a good idea of what career path you want to pursue and what roles you want to consider.
Drifting into a crowded bustling environment and having random two-minute chats complete strangers is not the best way to make a career choice! If you visit your careers service in advance you can discover the details about what the job titles mean.
A careers fair is best used to find information like:
- which company is best for you
- tips for applications and interviews at that company – what makes a candidate stand out?
- what sort of work experience is needed?
- an insider view to help you choose between a couple of roles you find interesting
- which areas of the business are on the rise and which areas are suffering
Work out what information you need before you go to the fair and perhaps think of a few approaches you might try – what questions will you ask, what further contacts you might like to seek out e.g. a name and email in HR. It is all about preparation!
The brochures you receive rarely answer questions about what working for a particular company entails. There probably isn’t enough space between the pictures of the good-looking staff and inspirational headlines.
Company brochures will have a promotional slant. They are not aiming to produce a general guide to the profession, they are looking to inspire and to attract the best graduates to apply to them.
To them, the best candidates will probably have already done research into the details of the role, or will be self-motivated enough to research the role after learning about it at the fair.
When it comes to details like what working for that company is really like – you are really better off just asking the staff on the stand as you are more likely to get an honest and grounded perspective. With a few well-judged questions you can find out what the working hours are really like, how much time-off you get to study for qualifications, and build up the bigger picture from there. These aren’t always the kind of details that can go into the management-approved, nationally-distributed brochure.
Those running the stands were often just as unhelpful. I went in the afternoon and five hours of slack-jawed undergraduates asking the same questions had obviously worn them down. Most queries were answered with a resigned “take this brochure and look on the website”.
From personal experience I can say it is exhausting to man a stand at a fair all day. Employers often mention to us whether the students seem well-informed or not as it really affects their experience of the fair. If students are prepared, they ask the employers intelligent and varied questions; the students benefit by receiving unique information, and the employers enjoy reflecting on their work and feel valued. If students come with a blank canvas, employers are faced with the daunting task of summarising in a minutes their role, the graduate scheme, the training, the application process, repeatedly… all day… Of course they will be worn down and frustrated if students can get that information anyway from the website. It is a waste of their time.
How can you overcome careers fair fatigue? It is always a good strategy to get there early on if you can, when people are still fresh. If that is not possible, then think about how you can mark yourself out as different to the rest. It is always encouraging to see a student get out of jeans and into office wear, as it is immediately clear they have given the fair some thought. When you begin to ask questions, you could start by stating – ‘I read your brochure and I wanted to know more about…’ and ask specific questions rather than the dreaded ‘so what do you do then?’. If you haven’t read the brochure before, then go to a quiet corner, read it, and come back to the stand later!
In some ways, the fair seemed quite surreal. “What recession?” I thought. “There are thousands of jobs here”. Then I realised that this was the same fair that was going to every other university in the country. My university alone will be spewing out more than 6,000 graduates this year…
It is not the same fair at every university! It is not a travelling circus! Each university careers service will be seeking out employer contacts and trying to persuade them to come to their fair. Some employers will only go to the top-ten universities in the league table, some will aim to target specific regions where they have offices. Some recruiters will be at lots of events because they like to have a high profile and they are ready for hundreds of applications to sift through to find the best – yes these will be competitive. Yet others are there because graduates don’t tend to think of them or they offer unconventional roles, and they want to attract more applicants. If you are feeling more open-minded about your career, these can offer you better odds on a job.
When it comes to the recession – so what if that is increasing competition for jobs? There are still thousands of jobs out there, and the best graduates will get them. Make yourself competitive! And as my Dad likes to say – ‘if you don’t enter, you can’t win‘.
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Example questions to ask at employer networking events.
- What do you enjoy most and least about your job?
- How did you get your job?
- Did the job differ from what you expected?
- What degree did you do? Was it useful? Which aspects?
About the job
- Can you tell me about your typical day at work?
- Are there any many training opportunities?
- Do you get a lot of feedback on how you are doing?
- What sort of person fits in well at this company?
About job hunting in that sector
- Do people tend to change jobs and companies for career progression (how often?), or do they pursue promotions internally?
- Where are vacancies advertised? / Where does your company advertise?
- What sort of things make candidates stand out?
- Can you think of any courses or projects I could work on that would help me?
Asking for a favour
(After the above, if the conversation went well)
- Are there any opportunities for work shadowing/temporary work?
- Are there any projects I could help on to get a flavour of the job?
- Who else do you think it would be useful for me to talk to?
You might want to make some notes after a conversation to refer to later – names, tips, whether you got a good feeling that you would fit there?