Communication careers in the Charity sector May 29, 2013Posted by manpreetdhesi in : Industry Focus, Marketing, Marketing, Advertising & PR, Media, Media, Not for Profit, Third Sector, Voluntary work, advertising and PR , add a comment
You’ve finally settled on a career path of communications, but there is a nagging feeling in the back of your mind saying ‘you should be helping people’. Have you though about combining the two for a communications careers within the not-for-profit sector?
A few years ago, Facebook news feeds were filling up with statuses of “pink”, “black”, “white”, and “green”. People were updating their statuses with their bra colours to raise awareness for breast cancer. The communications department thought up this viral campaign and it wasn’t long before the media picked up on the story.
Creating awareness for their cause and getting people to engage is often the main aim for all communication departments within any organisation, but for a charity it’s the lifeblood to continue the amazing work they do. But how do you get your foot in the door?
You may need to build up your skills and experience in the sector before going through the application process of a job that’s of interest. With it currently being tougher than ever to find the right job for you and with increasing competition, it can seem like a hard prospect.
One of the best ways to get a feel for what working for a charity might be like is by reading about those who already work for a charity. There’s plenty of information out there.
A good place to start is the Careers in Charities Facebook page, where you will find a range of information of different issues affecting the Charity sector, jobs and internships. PR Week Volunteer & Charity News and ThirdSector have a range of good articles, case studies and interviews on issues currently affecting the sector which gives you a good grounding to think of ways to communicate these within job applications and interviews and more importantly, understand what they do. CharityComms is a professional membership body for charity communicators and has a wealth of information from re-branding through to best practice. To gain a wider view of the Charity sector as a whole Careers Tagged is an invaluable resource.
Volunteering is also a great way to pick up more skills and network with potential employers. Charities often advertise internships and volunteering opportunities with them on their websites. Companies such as vInspired, Do-It and even Job Online have opportunities for you to gain some extra skills and see if this sector is right for you.
Make sure you effectively market the skills you gain and have on your application. If you can’t communicate what you have done and why you want to work for them effectively, you have potentially fallen at the first hurdle.
Make yourself standout when applying; you can use all that Facebooking, Tweeting and blogging to your advantage. Create a portfolio of your work, engage with charities on social media, and follow thought leaders and companies. Learn how to sell yourself in 140 characters. Effective personal communications throughout different channels is incredibly important, especially as there has been a major shift towards more digital communications over traditional channels.
Subscribe to Job Alerts
When you’re looking for a job in Charity, you’re going to need to know when they come up and who they’re with. There’s lots of places to get job alert from, with the most popular ones being Guardian Jobs, PR Week Jobs, Third Sector Jobs, JobOnline and Charity Jobs.
Network with other Not-for-profit Professionals
Another good way of finding out about Charity communication jobs and roles is to network with those who work in the sector. With the proliferation of social networking, there are now lots of ways to connect with other Charity professionals.
LinkedIn is a great way to ‘meet’ people. Join groups such as Non-Profit & Charity Network and Charity Marketing & Fundraising Network. LinkedIn is also used by a variety of Charities when recruiting or advertising jobs.
One of the longest running communities is the Third Sector PR and Comms Network on Facebook. Setup and managed by Rob Dyson, PR Manager at Whizz-Kidz, the group contains all sorts of useful information related to Charity communications.
Join, get social and communicate your way to a winning role!
Top 5 networking tips to get you started May 28, 2013Posted by Helen Curry in : networking , 4comments
Networking is one of those things that some people do naturally, staying in touch with wide circles of contacts and friends, but others resist it, feeling they should have to use personal favours to get work. But networking isn’t the same as nepotism, it’s about relationships you generate, and it can be an essential way to discover if a career or a particular workplace is right for you before seeking that job. It is also particularly important in a recession jobs market, as you may hear about jobs before they are advertised, you have insiders to ask for interview tips, and you can convince recruiters that you understand and will fit in with that workplace culture.
Here are some top tips from a recent course run at The Careers Group.
- Building relationships This is definitely the key point to remember. Networking objectives don’t have to be big, you shouldn’t be looking to every person you meet to give you a job, or buy into your product. This is what intimidates a lot of people about networking. Instead you should be starting small, making friends, learning what to expect. Find out their objectives see if there is any way you can help them – chat about an innovative new website, introduce them to a useful contact of yours. Or you might ask them about their background, how they got to where they are now. Your initial objectives should be along the lines of gathering information, current awareness, feeling out opinions, finding people who share your outlook. You will find some of these relationships suit you better than others, and you can then build on these.
- Preparation This can really pay off. Before a networking opportunity, think about the people you might meet. Do a quick Google search for some background information on them, or likely buzz topics of conversation. What is your main objective? Think about some open questions you might ask. Is there anything you need to take with you?
- Remembering names The personal touch makes a difference, but when you are meeting a bunch of new people, how are you going to remember them all? Depends how your memory works. Some people like to repeat a name back to someone when they are introduced, personally I need to write the name down later with a quick note of something to remember them by. If you get a business card, write it on the back of that.
- Starting conversations Some people like to get straight to the point, but not everyone appreciates it, and if you start out by asking for a job and there isn’t one, that’s a conversation stopper. Finding some common ground is a great way to start – chat about the buffet, the biscuits, or a recent news story in that sector. Yes it might seem like boring small-talk at first, but it should feed casual and relaxed, and if you can find a common passion or point of view, you have instantly become memorable, even if there is nothing you can do for each other yet.
- Phone, email, Twitter, letter, fax…?! Everyone has a different preference, and it is important to consider that when making contact. Emails are easier to ignore, but may be a more polite and considered way of introducing yourself. Phone calls can be more effective at getting results, but can feel coercive. Letters are less common these days, so may make a special impact if you can give them a personal touch e.g. an unexpected thank you card. Try different methods and see what a person responds to best. How you say it is just as important as what you say.
For more websites and information resources on networking, see this page on Careers Tagged.
Get a Boost to Your City Career May 9, 2013Posted by UCL Careers Service in : Finance, Law, The Careers Group, city jobs, employability and skills , add a comment
Originally posted at UCL Careers Service Blog
Investment Banking. Management Consultancy. Commercial Law. Accountancy. Risk Management…….
What really goes on inside those towering, shining, slightly intimidating buildings at Canary Wharf and alike? As a student in London you no doubt know of at least one person who is adamant that a career in the city is for them. But what does that really mean to work in one of the roles listed above and how can you find out more?
For a unique, insider’s perspective on a career in the City, come on The Careers Group’s long-running and successful City Course. During the week you will visit prominent City employers and institutions. You will participate in employer-led business games and listen to presentations and graduate panels about the range of City careers.
At each employer visit you will get the opportunity to meet and network with recent graduates working within the firm, representatives from the graduate recruitment teams and sometimes more senior employees. You’ll start early, work hard, and come away with a detailed understanding of how the City works.
You do not have to be studying a particular degree route in order to attend this course but an interest in working in the City and an enthusiasm to find out more is a must!
The course is a long-running event and is extremely popular with all University of London students. You will need to apply with a CV and Covering letter – further details of the application process, including a few hints and tips can be found here. The deadline for completed applications is Friday 21 June 2013.
The cost of the course is £96, which is not payable until you have been accepted onto the course and bursaries are available for those in receipt of hardship funding.
Still not sure if this is for you? Take a look at the Facebook page and get involved in some of the discussions: www.facebook.com/CareersintheCity
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’!
Interview with a jeweller April 26, 2013Posted by TCG Info in : Creative Industries , add a comment
If you are considering a career as a jeweller have a read of this interview with Marian Watson, a successful jeweller for over 30 years.
What qualities do you need?
You need dogged determination and phenomenal patience. It’s a practical art so you need to be a doer as opposed to a thinker and have manual dexterity. You need cutting and soldering skills. You need to be very focussed and not mind being alone.
What made you want to be a jeweller?
It was when I realised that the jewellery I wanted to wear did not exist so I would need to make it.
I was doing my Fine Art degree and working in a local jewellery shop during the summer holidays. One summer vacation I went to Morocco where I discovered beautiful jewellery that appealed to me much more than anything I had seen in my work. It was then that I thought I could use my painting ideas to create work.
Qualification for jewellery making
You don’t need a specific degree, there were no jewellery degrees in the 70s. You became apprenticed. In my case after my Fine Art degree I did a one year part-time City and Guild course.
Whenever I wanted to learn new techniques I would goto the Royal College of Arts for information. The jeweller that has influenced me most is Gerda Flockinger
How did you start selling?
I made an appointment with a [craft] gallery. They liked the work and exhibited it. After that I got rejections but that just gave me the determination to keep on. Galleries are a good way to sell work. Make sure you have retail and wholesale prices for your work.
The other way I sell pieces is through word-of-mouth. Friends and acquaintances will recommend you and so you find you’re getting commissions from daughters and grand-daughters of your original customers.
What do you find rewarding about it?
I love playing with the metal and making marks and patterns on it until it develops. I particularly like rings as the story that I have in my head can be completed with a ring.
You can see Marian Watson’s work at www.marianwatson.co.uk/
See Careers Tagged for more graduate careers resources
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!
Getting into Exhibition Design April 5, 2013Posted by Amanda Taylor in : Creative Industries, career profiles, employability and skills , add a comment
Exhibition design may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking of a career in the creative sectors, but as this article shows it can be a hugely satisfying and exciting area to work in.
But what exactly is exhibition design?
Well according to this article exhibition design involves ‘creating experiences in real-time, utilising space, movement, and memory to facilitate a multilayered communication’. What this means is creating a creative space that reflects the needs and objectives of a client to help shape the experience of visitors to an exhibition.
To do this exhibition designers work with creative briefs to create physical exhibitions, using a range of different creative disciplines from, graphic design, architecture, interior design and audiovisual skills.
Interested? So what does exhibition design really involve and what skills will you need to develop to be successful in this area?
Firstly the bulk of your work will not be onsite at the exhibition venue. To create a successful exhibition months of planning and working with computer programmes such as CAD are involved; it’s not all about being there on the big day.
You’ll also need to have great problem solving skills and be able to think critically about whether you can deliver what the client wants to their budget, whilst also ensuring that what a client wants is physically possible.
Going hand in hand with this is the need for you to be a strong relationship builder, as stated in the first article, it’s not just your clients you have to work strongly with; you’ll also need to be great at dealing with a team of different staff from different backgrounds.
Finally when it comes to setting up for the exhibition you’ve been planning for months you will need to have a strong eye for detail to make sure everything looks just how your client wants.
You’ll also need to be aware that even the best laid plans can go wrong and anticipate possible problems. Forward planning, the ability to work under pressure and be confident in a crisis are vital traits that you will need to develop if you want to be successful in this industry.
So if you feel inspired to do something a little different in the creative industries, why not do a bit more research into what a job in exhibition design will actually involve.
Top 5 essential resources for Finance careers March 18, 2013Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Finance & IT, Industry Focus, diversity, employability and skills , add a comment
City, or Financial Services Sector, careers seem to attract a lot of graduates each year. Often it is the impression of the work-hard-play-hard culture, the excitement of taking risks and being responsible for large accounts. But behind that testosterone inspired perception, life in the sector is incredibly varied with opportunities within lots of different work cultures. Working out where you might fit and building sufficient knowledge about the industry takes a little bit of research….
Working out where you will fit in the sector is fundamental to your application success. From Investment Banks to Re-Insurance, Professional Services to Regulation and a myriad of different roles in-between, the sector covers it all. The Directions careers website gives a detailed insight into different careers, broken down by function and professional interest. This should help you think about what excites you and where your skills we be best utilised. Not in our Top 5 but the Bloomberg BAT test is often available through your university careers service and can be effective at helping you understanding your abilities.
2. Careers Tagged
The online careers resource from The Careers Group has harnessed the best of the web to help you develop your research. One you have identified roles from the Directions website, Careers Tagged will give you access to the associated Professional Bodies, employers, qualifications, live jobs, relevant blogs and countless other resources. Use it to develop your knowledge not just of the sector and employers but the professional roles involved.
3. E-financial Careers
A stunning site with global regional variations, e-Financial Careers is essential reading for any aspiring City worker. In addition to its jobs site, it has an extensive news and advice section which gives an overview of the financial services jobs market. The site also provides financial and business analysis to help you understand what is going on the the financial markets. Whilst not in our Top 5, JobOnline has many internship and graduate opportunities in finance.
4. Instructus Markets
The fortnightly email from Instructus Markets gives candidates detailed information about recent trends, asks and answers financial competency questions and gives suggestions of forthcoming hot-topics. The level of information is hard to collate from other sources – making an ideal digest. However it does cost £5/month but with no minimum subscription.
OK I am cheating here because there is no single resource but financial institutions are often aware that their staff are often from a narrow social background. There are several programmes, supported by the sector, that aim to create greater diversity in the City’s workforce. SEO London provides internship opportunities for ethnic minority students across a range of professions. Whilst not finance industry specific, the Diversity Careers Show includes City employers seeking more LGBT employees. Women in Business & Finance is a professional organisation that encourages the development of women’s careers in the sector.
And a special one exclusive to students in the University of London:
6. The City Course
Reading around the financial services sector is vital, but getting a chance to visit corporate offices, undertake case studies and network with employers can really set you apart. The City Course is a five day non-residential event exclusive to students attending colleges served by The Careers Group. There are limited places and applications must be received by Friday June 21 2013. You can also follow them on facebook.
Working for an ethical employer March 11, 2013Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Industry Focus , add a comment
Over 70% of students I asked recently rated ethics over salary as a reason to choose an employer. The ideas of “doing good” and “good ethics” come up a lot in conversations with students. But with so many potential employers out there, how do you decide which are more ethical than others?
Ethics, such as morality, are subjective and each individual has to draw their own conclusions. However there are also some more impartial aids that can help. The Business in the Community “Corporate Social Responsibility Index” benchmarks the extent to which corporate strategy is integrated into responsible business
practice in the management of the four areas of community, environment, marketplace, and workplace.
The CR Index follows a systematic approach to managing, measuring and reporting on business responsible business practices, companies are assessed using the framework below.
Corporate Strategy looks at the main corporate responsibility risks and opportunities to the business and how these are being identified and then addressed through strategy, policies and responsibilities held at a senior level in the company.
Integration is about how companies organise, manage and embed corporate responsibility into their operations through KPIs, performance management, effective stakeholder engagement and reporting.
Management builds on the Integration section looking at how companies are managing their risks and opportunities in the areas of Community, Environment, Marketplace and Workplace.
Performance and Impact asks companies to report performance in a range of social and environmental impacts areas. Participants complete three environmental and three social areas based on the relevance to their business.
An alternative to the CR Index is the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. According to their website, the Dow Jones system utilises a “best in class” approach.
Why best-in-class? Because sector-specific sustainability opportunities and risks can play a key role in companies’ long-term success. Aside from the selection of the sustainability leaders on the basis of clearly defined criteria, the best-in-class approach also provides RobecoSAM with the opportunity to conduct a dialogue with companies from all sectors and thereby influence incremental improvements in companies’ sustainability practices. Thanks to the best-in-class approach, a vibrant competition among companies for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes has ensued. To be included or remain in the index, companies have to continually intensify their sustainability initiatives. RobecoSAM believes this approach will benefit all stakeholders: investors, employees, customers and, ultimately, society and the environment.
There are many other resources that you can use. The Prospects website has a nice feature on ethical employers. In addition, The Guardian has a section about ethical businesses – a great starting point. There is also a quick guide to choosing an ethical career available, along with many other resources, on Careers Tagged
Love & Hate: Franchising February 14, 2013Posted by Andrew Falconer in : further study and training , add a comment
Like the idea of running your own business but don’t have the appetite to build your own from scratch? Over 600 businesses in the UK offer franchise licences with many costing less than the price of a Masters course. Franchises can provide the ideal mechanism to build business knowledge and build a business with an established brand.
A franchise is a licence to operate an existing business enterprise. Often a customer may not be aware they are buying from a franchise because the branding, premises design and product is identical to the brand’s own stores. From McDonalds and Starbucks to Neds Noodle Bars, CEX to Riverford Organic – all operate franchise systems.
And that is why franchising can be attractive. You don’t have to have your own business idea but rather tap into an existing brand and market. The Franchiser should offer ongoing support and exclusivity within your area. Many will provide market intelligence, training, marketing and bulk buying. This support can be vital to ensuring the success of the business.
But of course this support and the brand will cost money. Many franchises will cost more than £50,000 even before premises and may well be out of reach for recent graduates. However there are many that cost less that £10,000 and could be a great stepping stone to developing skills and trying your hand at business.
But this is not an advertorial for franchising. There are many negatives that have to be considered. One of the biggest complaints is that the level of support given is not as high as expected. Some owners complain that whilst they have to ensure their business complies strictly to the company guidelines, they don’t benefit as much from the marketing and brand development that they had hoped. Franchises can also restrict your business creativity. You may not have the power to source alternative suppliers, market yourself differently or diversify your product range. And if that wasn’t enough, there is no guarantee that your business will be a success (and failure will typically result in your license being revoked).
And yet despite these negatives, thousands of people build their careers through a franchise. Walk down your local high street and think about how many of the shop fronts are hiding a franchise behind. The British & International Franchise Exhibition takes place in March 2013 and offers visitors the chance to speak directly with Franchisors and attend seminars from industry professionals, financial backers and current franchisees. But remember, this is the franchise industry marketing themselves and their products to you – you need to be savvy and always consider professional and legal advice before committing to any business franchise.
Find out more information about Franchising.