Guest blogger Linda Forshaw encourages students to get involved in volunteering:
There is little doubt that competition for jobs is fierce in the current austerity-plagued economy. With (as yet unsubstantiated) rumours of a triple dip recession swirling round the city and reports of more than 50 applicants per graduate job, it’s natural that the graduating class of 2013 are feeling somewhat nervous about their career prospects in an increasingly competitive market. That’s not to say all is lost and you should quit studying for your finals just yet. Rather you should set about doing things that will set you apart from the inevitable crush of applicants in the hiring process.
Perhaps some of you have already made inroads into this by optimising your various social media profiles to show what a well-rounded individual (who never drinks) you are. Some of you might have started a college blog to help establish yourself an expert in your field. Still more of you might have gone as far as creating your own QR code in an effort to be wonderfully creative in your job search. You might have completed internships and summer programs related to your preferred career. The question that remains is how many of you have tried volunteering as a way to give yourself a headstart in the hunt for a graduate job?
In a world that is gathering speed at an ever-increasing pace, you might think it will be difficult to find sufficient time to volunteer. Scratch that thought. There’s always time to do good in the world and, unless you’re at your retirement party right now, there’s always time to improve your career prospects. Volunteering is time well spent.
Volunteering offers so many benefits and in no way are these benefits solely directed toward the receiving organisation. In addition to granting you that warm fuzzy feeling that you can only get from helping others out (or perhaps looking at pictures of cute puppies), volunteering can add invaluable experience to your CV, help you to develop those all important soft skills, and start you on the path to building a network of useful career contacts that will not only help you now, but also stand you in good stead as you advance throughout your career. It also offers you the opportunity to earn an employment reference, which if you haven’t previously carried out any paid work or completed an internship, is undoubtedly a bonus in itself.
Although there are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of community ventures and nonprofit organisations that would likely welcome any help you can offer them, the best course of action, particularly if you due to graduate soon, is to seek out volunteering opportunities that relate to your career goal. There are several resources that you can use to find the perfect volunteering role for you. Try Team London, Do-It, Guardian Volunteering, and Greater London Volunteering for starters. You might also try your university careers office and perhaps the local Chamber of Commerce.
Don’t forget to update your CV and social media profiles with the details of your volunteering endeavours and how the experience has broadened your skillset and made you an altogether more desirable candidate to potential employers.
Linda Forshaw writer for Degree Jungle
To write for Develop your Career email us.
Recruitment agencies: top tips & insights on how to get noticed January 7, 2013Posted by UCL Careers Service in : The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at UCL Careers Service Blog
A recent session with a panel of recruitment agencies gave some UCL graduates good tips and insights
- Contact the agencies by phone if possible. Several panellists stressed that speaking to individuals raised your profile considerably.
- Find out how the agency works. Agencies deal with different sectors but also operate in different ways. For example FreshMinds will read covering letters whereas Reed Graduates focus only on the CV.
- The graduate labour market is quite buoyant. Firms may still be cutting back on costs but this means that relatively cheaper staff with talent are sought after.
- Prepare for your approach to agencies like you approach other employers. Remember as far as they are concerned you are a product that they need to be able to sell on to their clients. Research who their clients are. Do they have a specialist dealing with the area you want work in? Have clarity about what you are looking for.
- Be clear about whether the sector you are looking for uses agencies. One student said she was wondering about whether architects would ever use agencies. There wasn’t a consensus on this because Jacob Perkins from Reed Graduates, who had worked in an architect’s practice recommended networking as a way to get your CV into the hands of recruiters – even if that meant finding out where they went to lunch and catching them there! On the other hand another panellist who had worked in other agencies said that she was aware that agencies like Hays who had closed their architecture section had recently opened them up again and agencies may well be a useful source of help.
Incidentally, a colleague from the Step London Internships talked about their relatively new scheme that provides paid work experience in a range of sectors in graduate roles. They have already placed around 150 students who have left college with firms. Lots of these are subsequently converting into permanent jobs.
Fewer jobs in the charity sector October 8, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Industry Focus, Third Sector, Voluntary work , add a comment
The charity (or “Third”) sector is an attractive career option for many students. It doesn’t have the same profile as financial services or FMCG and students can be naïf about the opportunities within it. According to the Third Sector Skills Council, over the last twelve months, there has been a decrease in recruitment in the sector by just under 10%. This is a reduction of 70,000 vacancies. It compares with a decline in the public sector of 4.3% over the same period, and an increase of 1.5% in the private sector.
But of course this is a mixed picture. Charities that were significantly reliant on local authority funding, e.g education, have suffered as a result of local budgets being cut. The Charity Market Monitor noted that donations have declined over the last few years, restricting their ability to recruit permanent staff. However the industry body Charity Retail recognise the increasing growth of the charity shop sector.
The growth of charity shops is probably not sustainable and there could potentially be a significant decline if local authorities and businesses equate charity shops with deprivation. Indeed there is already a backlash against them. However, with tax advantages, retail units will continue to be strong income generators for charities for the foreseeable future.
So what is the future like for the charity sector? According to Charityjob, there are currently over 170,000 voluntary organisations in the UK, generating an income of £35.5b. The sector employs over 650,000 staff – 63% full time and with a predominantly (68%) female gender balance.
They suggest this relates to to number of redundancies, pay cuts and freezes. The data correlates with the national picture of those organisations with more restrictive funding models. The report also suggests that workers in organisations that appear to value and develop their staff have higher staff morale than those elsewhere.
These periods of economic uncertainty are temporary and you can see a cycle over the last thirty years where the third sector, as with others, have expanded or contracted.
What we have seen over the last few years has been the growth of collaboration and sharing of resources amongst charities. For example, the Charity Works Graduate Scheme is a collaboration between a diverse range of charities – from RNIB to Cambridge House.
We have lots of resources to help you navigate your way into a Third Sector career. Charities usually have two types of volunteer or employee: those motivated by the cause and those developing a profession. For example, Government Liaison / Public Affairs staff will move from charity to charity and can command large (ish) salaries. Their motivation will often be their professional expertise rather than the cause of the organisation – although sympathy with that would be a requirement.
Getting an internship after you graduate May 15, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Marketing, Publishing, career profiles, employability and skills , add a comment
Internships have traditionally been targetted at penultimate year students but increasingly graduates are seeing them as a useful means of gaining professional experience. Indeed The Careers Group has a specific internship programme open only to graduates.
At a recent conference for employers, the benefit of having a graduate internship was stressed by Middlesex University alumnus Abdul Ahad who undertook an opportunity with Dennis Publishing. Abdul had already undertaken paid positions in other organisations but decided that he needed a career, not just a job.
In this video Abdul explains to an audience of employers and professionals why he found his graduate internship so valuable.
A love affair with medicine January 29, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Medicine and Healthcare, The Careers Group, graduate entry medicine , add a comment
Medical careers are now open to a wider range of people than ever before. Accelerated medical courses are designed specifically to train graduates with a non-medical degree as doctors.
Use Valentine’s Day to your career advantage by taking part in the one-day coursedf exploring graduate entry into medicine.
This course will help you to find out about:
- Specific degrees, by talking to admissions staff, course organisers and medical students
- The major differences between the courses offered
- How to fund your medical degree
- Writing a successful application form and support statement
- The various entrance exams schools use.
The day will consist of:
- Presentations – from representatives of key medical schools
- Networking Session – with admission tutors and staff
Join the course on Facebook, where you’ll receive updates, can take part in discussions, ask them your questions and share the event with your friends and anyone who you think will be interested in applying to the course.
Assessment Centres – Group exercises January 26, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : employability and skills , add a comment
Continuing our blog posts on assessment centres, group exercises are commonly used by recruiters. They are used to determine how candidates behave in team or group situations.
Typically they will consider:
- How effective are you at communicating with people you do not know.
- How you present your own views or argument
- Do you assume a natural leadership role?
- Are you competitive?
- How persistent are you in convincing people?
- Can you negotiate?
- Do you encourage others?
Not all of these are positive qualities. Companies are looking for team-players as well as leaders; being competitive is good only if it is productive; do you know when you are wrong or when somebody else has a valuable contribution to make?, do you listen? Listening is as much a part of communicating and speaking. Employers look for a range of different qualities in their staff.
This is usually an assessed discussion with a small number of candidates – usually about 8. Candidates will receive a short briefing paper and will be asked to come up with a team response to the question posed.
This can also take the form of a case-study where the group is presented with a dossier of information about a client and the group needs to make recommendations about how the company can help the client.
Role play is used to place a candidate in a hypothetical situation and see how they respond. Of course the situation is contrived but the closer you get to thinking as a real employee should, the better.
Assessment Centres are a key part of the recruitment and selection process. You may not feel confident about them but you can prepare in advance and build your confidence up. The careers centre can help through one-to-one coaching, DVDs and printed materials, skills development workshops and practical advice. We have even been known to help students understand etiquette and prepare for formal dinners and functions which formed part of their selection process (some Investment Banks and armed services invite candidates to formal dinners). If you feel you are a bit stuck, drop by and see us!
Assessment Centres – E-tray January 16, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Psychometric and Personality testing, employability and skills , 1 comment so far
We recently posted about assessment centre. There are several exercises that candidates undertake.
E-tray exercises are timed and they are designed to test your ability for rational thinking under pressure. The usually consist of you receiving information about an issue and you having to determine an outcome. However you may not get all the information at once and, as the test progresses, information comes through faster and more urgently, making the decision making process harder.
You will usually be required to make some basic calculations, extract relevant data and make a judgement. However they often provide you with too much data and try to mislead you with irrelevant information. Some tests require you to formulate a response to a customer or managerial enquiry based only on the relevant information provided.
So what are they looking for? They will be wanting somebody who keeps to the brief and does what is required of them. You should be able to identify the key issues and then justify the decision you make using them. Employers want to see good quality structured writing with appropriate style, spelling and grammar.
E-tray exercises are changing. SHL, one of the leading providers of testing resources for recruiters, have devloped the Fast Track test which is currently being introduced by some employers. For example, Royal Bank of Scotland has adopted a new SHL test called Fast Track. This is a new type of e-tray exercise and a post about this will be published on this blog on Thursday.
Assessment centres are changing. Some of the exercises that have been used for years are being replaced with newer versions. Companies like SHL and Morrisby have been developing new products to meet the changing needs of their clients, graduate recruiters.
One such product is the Fast Track Exercise currently being used by RBS. There isn’t much information available about these exercises so I thought it would be useful to blog about them. There is limited information available on these test yet but you may want to book-mark the tag on Wikijobs and keep up to date. Have a look at these candidate reviews of Fast Track tests.
Do you live in West Sussex, East Sussex, Hampshire or Surrey and want a paid internship? December 21, 2011Posted by Kirsti Burton in : Uncategorized , add a comment
Originally posted at QM Jobs Blog
GraduteOn is an internship programme that is run through the University of Chichester. The programme provides graduates with opportunities for paid internships across West Sussex and neighbouring areas. These opportunities may range from short-term, expenses only internships within the charity sector to fully-paid internships, in the private and public sector, lasting several months.
GraduateOn offers the opportunity to people from any university who have graduated within the last 3 years to gain graduate-level work experience. Applicants must be eligible to work in the UK.
For further information see www.graduateon.net
Roles in publishing – video profiles March 14, 2011Posted by TCG Info in : Media , add a comment
****Be aware this content is over two years old****
You know how it is, you click on one link on Youtube and before you know it you’ve lost an hour watching the related videos… Well from looking at one video on publishing careers, I found a whole array of job profile videos, many for early career roles, that give a nice introduction to what the roles involve.
- Editorial Assistant
- Publicity Assistant
- Managing Editor
- Paperbacks Editor
- Rights and Contracts Executive
- Online Marketing Manager
- Operations Manager, Information Systems Department
- Getting into Publishing presentation
Random House (International)
Videos in English
- Manager Business Cooperations
- Group Advertisement Director
- Business Manager New Media
- Corporate Audit
Show me the money! October 20, 2010Posted by Helen Curry in : Uncategorized , 4comments
****Be aware that this content is over two years old****
Money isn’t everything, right? But when you have student debts and big plans for your future life, you need to know how that graduate job is likely to pan out. So how do you find the figures?
The most useful, quickly accessed source is Prospects. You can look up the jobs you are considering and see the Salary and Conditions link for details of average starting salaries, alongside an idea of what you can earn in the longer-term with experience. Mm £35,000 – £50,000 starting salary for a financial trader? No surprises there then…
If you haven’t yet settled on a career choice and are curious about what people from your particular course went on to do, you can request that information from your university – try your course administrator or careers service. UK universities all must gather Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) data on the employment of their graduates 6 months after graduation, so they should be able to provide you with some anonymised figures (graduates’ identities are carefully protected).
If you have chosen a career or two to research, for more specific details of salaries look to the relevant professional bodies as they often gather information on the salaries of their members. For example CILIP, the organisation for librarians, gives salary guidelines for information professionals by a range of sectors as well as years of experience. Not all organisations will put this information on their website, but they may still have a report they can send you if you drop them an email. See this listing to identify relevant professional associations.
And if you are up for a bit of research, a great way to get a more accurate impression of what you will earn is by looking at job ads in the sector, location and roles that appeal. Even if you are not there yet, you can estimate how long it might take you to get the requisite experience and qualifications. Find sector-specific and professional online jobs boards here.
Finally, for very general figures you might try the Office for National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). They can give you an overview of average salaries in different sectors and different regions, broken down by full-time and part-time workers, male and female. The main disadvantage however, apart from the basic presentation, is the lack of distinction between graduates and non-graduates, and a lack of breakdown by age for sector-specific information. Still you might be interested to find that:
The average UK salary for 22-29 year-olds is £20,962.
For men aged 22-29: £23,460
For women aged 22-29: £18,508
And then there are a host of other more specialised sources – got any useful tips to share?