The Extinction of Privacy? August 6, 2012Posted by Amanda Taylor in : The Careers Group Blogs , 1 comment so far
Originally posted at C2 - Releasing Potential
We all know when applying for a job that prospective employers will not just be reading our carefully crafted cover letters or the CVs we spend hours slaving over.
In today’s world of instant messaging and online social networking, it appears that more and more of our lives are exposed to prospective employers before they even meet us.
Think to yourself how often you’ve looked on LinkedIn to find your interviewer’s profile, or how much of your research into a recruiting organisation you’ve done through the company blog, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest page.
As things stand it’s pretty much the norm to expect prospective employers to do the same to their job candidates, and most of us have come to accept this as a fact of modern life.
It’s safe to assume that our online output will be perused before we are invited to an interview, and the need to keep your social networking output ‘clean’ is one that’s inspired many articles and the odd story like this one of people being ‘let go’ because of ill-judged comments they share online.
But adding a new dimension to the online research companies do is the increasing popularity of employers requesting a candidate’s Facebook username and password so they can even access a candidate’s personal conversations on the site.
This article from The Telegraph discusses how the practice has become increasingly common in the USA and is creeping over to the UK.
According to the article the issue has become so widespread in the USA that it has begun to spark political debate in the senate, with ‘two senators (who) specifically want to discover if this practice violates the Stored Communications Act or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act’
It’s nearly impossible to deny that requesting this sort of information from a job candidate is going too far, particularly as what we write in a private Facebook message is not related to how well we will perform at work. However as our lives become increasingly documented on the internet and savvy job hunters ensure their output is guarded by secure privacy settings, it looks as though employers are using every possible avenue to find more information about us.
Although this shows a worrying tendency for some organisations to go past the line of acceptable recruitment practices the temptation to ask a job candidate for this sort of disclosure is becoming something more organisations are willing to do.
What are your thoughts on giving your Facebook login to a prospective employer?
We would love to hear from you.
The deadliest CV mistake and three steps to solve it June 21, 2012Posted by Kirsti Burton in : CVs, Selection Process, The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at QM Jobs Blog
I went to visit a small business about a month ago. It’s a small engineering firm but it has a fair few students apply speculatively to ask for internships and work. The person who looks at these CVs had some strong opinions. His biggest criticism was for one of the most common mistakes – which is also unfortunately quite a major error that will almost certainly stop you getting through to interview.
The mistake is this: The person writing the CV hasn’t stopped to think about the person reading it and hasn’t done enough to try and understand what the recruiter is looking for.
So what is his advice?
When a recruiter looks at a CV, they do so fairly systematically. They have a list of things they are looking for. The process of shortlisting candidates is not rocket science. If the recruiter can see evidence of these criteria on the CV, then they go through to the next round, if not, they go in the bin.
Three step solution:
1. Find out what the criteria are:
For most jobs this is fairly easy, the criteria will be shown on either the job advert, the job description, the person specification or the company website. If not, then you could either just think about what the job involves and try to predict the types of skills they will look for, or alternatively you could look at similar jobs elsewhere to see what skills they ask for.
2. Make sure that throughout your CV you include evidence for ALL of the skills they have asked for:
Saying “I am great at customer service” is not good evidence. You need to write something that will persuade them that you are good at it, such as “I have over three years experience in customer facing roles and have received excellent feedback from my manager for my positive attitude and friendly manner.”
3. Make your skills OBVIOUS:
A recruiter won’t spend hours reading and analysing your CV. They simply don’t have time. If they can’t see evidence for the skills they are looking for on the page, then they won’t put you through. So never assume that they will read between the lines. I often hear students say things like “It’s obvious I have analytical skills, I do an Engineering degree.” But a recruiter who is quickly scanning through looking this skill won’t necessarily spot this, so for every skill, give a concrete specific example as evidence.
Jobs: Top 5 web platforms to get noticed on March 27, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Selection Process, employability and skills , add a comment
Do you know your plaxo from your digg? Is Facebook still “where it’s at”? Non-plussed about Google +? These questions are hard enough when keeping track of your social life, but need a lot of thought before being used as a job-hunting tool.
With so many different web platforms to choose from, which are more effective for raising your profile and getting noticed by a prospective employer? The difficulty is that these platforms change, develop, grow or collapse. Putting all your eggs in one basket is probably not the best solution, but focusing your efforts on one or two and having a stand-by is more realistic.
First of all, why bother? Well I have already posted on why it’s worth bothering about LinkedIn but it’s worth looking at the issue more generally. According to Jobvite, in the USA nearly 90% of companies are planning to use social networks to find job candidates, up from 83% a year ago. This trend, I suspect, would also been seen in the UK. Social media tends to be cheap, very easy to target and fast.
When you’re thinking of social media you need to think about your target market. What do they use? Not every industry will use the same sites, and different sites are more popular in different countries. Do your research.
So our Top 5…. (more…)
Where are the jobs? The latest facts and figures… January 13, 2012Posted by Kirsti Burton in : Industry Focus, employability and skills , add a comment
Originally posted at QM Jobs Blog
We’ve looked into some of the facts behind the headlines about job market prospects for 2012. Here are a few points you may like to keep in mind as you seek employment or work experience.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) published a UK employment outlook in November 2011. You might be surprised to know that despite the current economic situation, at least 60% of organisations represented definitely do intend to recruit over the coming months.
Take a look at the full report here.
So where are the jobs?
Graduate schemes continue to exist and are mainly (though not solely) run by large organisations, making up around 20% of graduate recruitment annually. Competition for places can be fierce. Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) will get around 30,000 applications from graduates this year for a few hundred places.
Don’t let this put you off applying. Do let it motivate you to put in an outstanding application and have other options in your search strategy. Come and have a Quick Query session with Careers to discuss how. There is a trend for large companies to recruit from the pool of graduates they already know from internships and placements, so think about building your work experience and getting an internship too.
Graduate jobs are not just found in large companies offering graduate schemes. Over 20 million people are employed in the UK* in SMEs (Small to Medium sized Enterprises**). These organisations make up 99% of all UK businesses, yet these vacancies are often overlooked by graduates. Often this is because these companies are not as visible on campus and can be harder to find.
How to include SMEs in your job and work experience search
SME opportunities are not advertised as widely as those with major corporations. They certainly exist, so your curiosity and research skills will help you find them. A great first step is to get to know who’s doing what in your sector. Trade and industry publications (like The Economist, Marketing Week and The New Scientist etc) are really useful for undcovering companies, alongside talking to anyone you know in the industry.
To find out how to identify useful resources for finding unadvertised jobs including trade associations, directories and more, book a Quick Query session take a look at the Resources section of the Queen Mary Careers website.
Take a look too at the STEP programme at www.step.org.uk which links ‘talented and ambitious graduates with project focussed placements’ in the SME sector. Current roles advertised include Deputy Venue Logistics Managers for the 2012 Olympics.
*Source: HECSU report 2010
** SMEs are defined by the European Commission as having less than 250 employees and annual turnover under Euro 50 million.
Your results – what next? July 4, 2011Posted by TCG Info in : employability and skills , 2comments
So the results are in. How did you do? Did you get that 1st class degree everyone hopes for? Or do you feel there are no options now you failed to grasp that 2:1? You are not alone. Around 30% of graduates leave with a 2:2 degree and the good news is that there are still lots of options open to you.
As careers advisers we often see graduates with a 2:2 suddenly start to talk about doing a masters course. Typically there are three reasons for doing a masters: a) desire to specialise and increase employability; b) passion to learn more about the subject and c) compensate for poorer grades achieved to date. Unfortunately the third reason doesn’t usually work. Many graduate recruiters don’t differentiate between a masters and an undergraduate degree – although some (e.g. ExonMobil) will take a 2:2 plus a relevant postgraduate qualification. If you want to do a masters then make sure your motivation is right.
So how can you progress in life with a 2:2?
OK so many of the Graduate Schemes are closed to you because they require a 2:1 or above. But there are some schemes out there that are open to 2:2: degrees. Some examples that might help you get started:
- PWC Inspired Talent
- Civil Service Fast Stream
- Network Rail
- London Treasurer’s Graduate Scheme
- NHS Management
- Scottish Power
- Jaguar Landrover
So from that (non-exhaustive) list you can see the diversity of schemes available – from Government to manufacturing, professional services to retail. Trawling through the internet should help find many others.
It’s easy to get distracted by graduate schemes. These corporations often have large budgets to market their career opportunities to students. But typically only about 10% of graduates go into a graduate scheme. That’s all, just 10%. Maybe about 35% will do further study, leaving 55% of graduates doing something else.
It’s tough out there. There aren’t any jobs. The media keeps broadcasting a message of doom and gloom about the job market which isn’t very helpful. The graduate job market is generally always challenging and competition is usually strong. When thinking about your next steps there are several factors to consider.
- If you wanted a specific graduate scheme, why was that? Was it because of the company (if so, search entry level positions in same firm), the role (find alternative employers with similar roles) or location (refine your job search geographically but broaden criteria).
- What can you do in the short term to position yourself better in the future? For example, aspiring accountant and Royal Holloway graduate is building on his 2:2 by putting himself through the ICAEW Certificate because it shares the same modules as the ACA.
- Can I do it myself? Many current entrepreneurs have started their businesses with very little money, just a positive attitude and some basic business skills.
A 2:2 is not the end of the world. Alumni from across the University of London have done very well in life despite their 2:2 degrees. It may seem like it’s a barrier but, by thinking differently, it shouldn’t be a major disadvantage.
Graduates can continue to get careers support from their colleges in the University of London Careers Group by joining Gradclub.
We’re back with news on Internships June 24, 2011Posted by TCG Info in : The Careers Group, employability and skills , add a comment
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to do an internship? We’ve recently launched a paid internship programme, working in partnership with Step Enterprise. Yes, we believe everyone who works should be paid at least the minimum wage. And you’ll gain experience in the workplace, develop your technical skills as well as enhancing your employment prospects.
You might be interested in reading some case studies.
All the background on the programme is on our News blog.
Follow Friday: Graduate Recruitment on Twitter December 3, 2010Posted by Helen Curry in : networking , add a comment
****Be aware this content is over two years old****
Active UK graduate recruitment accounts on Twitter
- Mercer – consulting, outsourcing, investments – @mercergradrecuk
- Teach First – @TeachFirst
- Centrica Grads – energy – @centricagrads
- Jaguar Landrover – @jaguarlandrover
- Unilever – @unilevergradsuk
- Addleshaw Goddard LLP – law – @AGgrads
- Linklaters LLP – law – @linklatersgrads
- Mishcon de Reya LLP – law – @mishcongrads
- Vodafone – @graduaterecruit
- Xerox Europe - @xeroxstudents
How to stand out – alternative thinking July 30, 2010Posted by TCG Info in : Uncategorized , add a comment
**** Be aware this content is over two years old ****
I recently went to an employer presentation where once again the same ‘top tips’ for standing out were given – good spelling on forms, no textspeak in emails, research about the job and company, punctuality, professional attitude, work experience, networking… No doubt there must still be plenty of people making the same mistakes year-in, year-out, but let’s assume you know all that. So what else might you try? Here are some more novel approaches:
A job with a view
Keep an eye out for jobs at the university careers service next year – some of our student helpers have found working at the careers service desk to be the perfect way to meet a range of employers, network and absorb careers advice while getting paid for it!
Alternatively, if you are a member of a society with a career-related interest, consider arranging your own careers talk. If you can set-up an effective event for an organisation, you will impress your contact and get your name known (you can always ask at your careers service for tips and help).
Like dating, you might find people become more interested when you are taken…
While studying German at Edinburgh University, Helen Pidd worked for her student newspaper, ran a festival freesheet called Fest, and pitched “absurd and brazen ideas” to The Guardian’s pull-out features section, G2. She wanted to be a journalist because she “could not think of anything that could be more interesting”, but, when The Guardian eventually offered her a job, she did not accept immediately.“I told the editor I wanted to start my own magazine empire,” she remembers. “I didn’t know at the time that I was playing hard to get, but apparently that made him want to hire me even more.
Commercially aware, communicator, driven, self-starter – how better to show this than by starting your own business? You don’t have to turn a profit in year 1 to succeed. You might simply produce a well put-together product, or a marketing campaign with impact – prove what you can do and make them want you.
Target your marketing
This copywriter proved his understanding of both digital marketing and audience pscyhology by setting up a Google ad that only came up for top creative directors… when they googled their own names. Four out of the five got in touch requesting an interview. The cost? $6.
In this podcast, Howard Roberts, a globe-trotting Saatchi & Saatchi director describes how one enthusiastic networker got his attention. She proposed a coffee at Terminal 5 – a novel suggestion that won her a meeting. She got extra points when she dmet him with his favourite coffee in hand – she had checked this in advance with his PA. It was the personal touches that made her approach such a success.
Similarly, one student found out his target’s favourite pizza toppings, and sent him a takeaway… with his CV taped to the lid! He earned an interview and a job offer. (Cole & Whistance 2003 Creative CV Guide, p.9)
What do these stories have in common? I can see energy, creativity, business insight, and above all personal connections. More fun than sitting at home sending out hundreds of emails too.
Heard of any more alternative approaches to the job-hunt?
How do I network effectively? October 15, 2009Posted by Helen Curry in : networking , add a comment
**** Be aware this content is over two years old ****
One of the questions that came up when we asked students for input to the marketing, advertising and PR podcasts, was how to make networking effective? The student remarked that it was always recommended, but he rarely got responses to his emails.
One of the key points to remember is that networking isn’t about finding people to ask favours from, a prime reason to network is just to find out information. Getting a job offer from it should be a secondary concern. This article discusses the “informational interview” approach to networking in more detail, and gives this great example which demonstrates how it works and how to make connections, as well as being an admirable example of a motivated, focussed strategy to job-hunting through setting personal goals.
Ben Samples of Portland, OR provides a terrific networking interview success story. “ When I graduated I found it very hard to break into the PR agency world. I set a goal to arrange one informational interview per week with an established PR professional. Using social media tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter I was able to connect with directors and managers who were willing to meet with me. One informational interview turned into a job interview, which turned into an offer. Two months ago I began working my dream job and I owe it all to informational interviewing.”
Networking is a bit of an art, but it is worth sticking at it as it is a beneficial skill to have throughout your career. Keep practising, trying various approaches (email, face-to-face, phone, social networking) to see what works best for you and your contacts.
For more advice on networking and recommended books and resources, download our free careers information sheet Networking.