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What I wish I knew before: Life as a graduate

06/01/2016 1 comment

Does the white noise during university mean you miss out on the important stuff and only notice it when it feels too late? UH graduate Maria Currant, who now works for the university’s graduate employment scheme in the Careers, Employment and Enterprise Service talks about this, how she felt at graduation and how she found her graduate job.

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3 months ago I had just graduated from the University of Hertfordshire and been handed my degree whilst wearing the black gown and the funny hat and I said to my friend, “Now what?”  Seriously, I had just been dropped into the big wide world of work and it was like “Hey you graduated, you’re meant to have your life sorted by now!”

 

After studying a degree in education studies I had decided within second year that being a teacher just wasn’t for me. I searched online numerous times wondering what else can I do with this degree of mine.  I was lucky enough to have a programme tutor who regularly updated us with vacancies that relate to my degree and that is where my journey began.

I was scrolling through Facebook when an email from said tutor popped up in my inbox titled GRADUATE EMPLOYMENT! – Graduate scheme specifically for University of Hertfordshire Graduates within the Careers, Employment and Enterprise team. I didn’t even know the university offered a graduate employment scheme just for UH graduates. In fact they run this scheme throughout the University not just this department. Something tugged at me to click the link even though after numerous times of seeing a job I liked, clicking the link and deciding that I wasn’t qualified for the job, I took a leap of faith and clicked.  I read the job spec and was so excited but dreaded scrolling down to the person specification, I scrolled down and was surprised when I felt as though I met the criteria.

Without anyone knowing I secretly applied for the position and was called for an interview! I was so happy and scared at the same time. I had never even stepped foot into a formal interview apart from the casual interviews I had for previous cleaning jobs whilst studying. I started to freak out wishing that I knew then where I could go to for some advice. The day of the interview I was met with friendly faces and very happy people. After the interview I went off on my holiday that day and by 7pm that night I had a phone call offering me the job.  What a way to make the start of the holiday even more special. My first day was so nerve wracking but I was so excited. Everyone was so friendly and made me feel right at home from the off.

The main reason I am writing this blog is because I now am 3 months in to my job and absolutely love it but I have learnt that the Careers, Employment and Enterprise team do so much more for students then students know about (although it’s always advertised, which points to student blindness/I’ll put it off until next week syndrome).

Did you know that they do mock interviews? Daily CV reviews? Help with finding a placement? Workshops? Employer events?  Fairs? Advice on what your degree can offer you, and so very much more, the best part is it’s all free, including the workshops. As well as that, being able to access the service two years after you graduate means they can help you even after you leave. I never thought I would be sat here on the other side of the screen screaming at it to tell you all to just make use of these services. Even if it is just for a CV check before you apply for that job, because right now I can see the hard work and dedication the team put in to helping you guys and honestly it really can make the difference between you getting the job to you not getting the job.

I wish as a student I had made better use of the services whilst I was at university and that I hadn’t had the student blindness syndrome, as I wouldn’t have had that feeling when I was wearing the funny hat and holding my degree that I didn’t know what I was going to do next.

 

 

Are the best jobs only available in London?

London is so close to University of Hertfordshire that you can practically see the glimmer of opportunities.  But should you be starting to think beyond London for your first job?

Is the sector you’re planning to go into doing very well in another city like Manchester, Cambridge or Edinburgh?

Perhaps you’re curious about the concept of a northern powerhouse and have been thinking about opportunities that might open up in the north?

Do you struggle with the idea, that even with a good entry level job, most of your salary will go on rent, never mind saving to buy a house or flat?

Different professions follow different recruitment and progression patterns.  For example, aspiring lawyers and teachers will often relocate anywhere in the country for their first teaching job or training contract.  It’s not surprising if you are starting to think along the same lines.

Key to your next steps is doing your research and bringing your analytical skills into play:

  • Have you looked at the relative percentages of jobs in your industry (e.g. IT) advertised in different cities?
  • Do you know whether large firms are opening up new offices in a new location?
  • Is there large scale investment in a city or are the links to it likely to improve dramatically, potentially bringing bright prospects to businesses in the area?
  • Perhaps it’s not the location but the project – for example, is there an infrastructure project planned, like Crossrail or HS2 that you could see yourself being part of?

There are some excellent Labour Market Information (LMI) resources out there.  Here’s one to get you started: Prospects – Job Sectors.  You could come into Careers, Employment and Enterprise to have a chat with a Careers Adviser about utilising LMI. You never know, start using them now and you could get ahead of the game!

Emma Janes

Careers and Placements Officer

Careers, Employment and Enterprise

Where and when to find your first graduate job

iooWhether you’ve just started your final year or have recently finished your degree it’s likely that finding a graduate job will be on your mind.  To help you work out when and where to start your job search Suzanne Ball, one of our Careers Advisers, gives some tips on how to find the right graduate job for you.

Know what you’re looking for. It sounds obvious but your job hunt will be more effective if you know what type of job you’re looking for. Just browsing through graduate job sites without a clear idea of which sector or what type of work interests you is unlikely to be helpful. If you are unsure about what you want to do then tools such as Prospects Career Planner and TargetJobs Careers Report can be useful in generating job ideas and you can also book a one-to-one consultation with a Careers Adviser to discuss your options in depth. Once you are more focused it will then be much easier to identify when and where the job you want is likely to be advertised.

Know when to look for jobs. Timing is critical – graduate training schemes with major employers will usually open for applications in September or October and may close as early as November. However don’t assume that all graduate employers recruit in this way. Some large employers will recruit throughout the year and, occasionally, some will reopen their recruitment later in the year if they haven’t filled all their places. Be aware that graduate training schemes are not the only option open to you and smaller companies will usually recruit new graduates later in the year. The other thing to remember is that formal graduate training schemes aren’t available in every sector.  In many cases students will still be actively job-hunting a few months before they’re due to graduate.

Know where to look for jobs. A Google search will usually identify national sites such as Indeed and Monster. While there’s nothing wrong with these websites (and people do find graduate jobs using them) you’ll need to widen the scope of your search if you don’t want to miss out on some opportunities.  Knowing what you’re looking for will help you to work out the best places to find advertised vacancies for jobs in the sector that interests you.  Options might include:

  • General graduate job sites.  Sites such as Prospects, Milkround and TargetJobs carry listings of jobs for new graduates/graduate training schemes (check out Careerhub for a comprehensive list).  These sites tend only to advertise vacancies with larger employers and won’t carry opportunities for every job sector.
  • Specialist job sites. There are many websites that carry vacancies in specific job sectors. Some are aimed at new graduates while others will post jobs for new graduates as well as for more experienced hires. To work out which specialist job sites to use log onto Careerhub for sector-specific lists and check out the occupational profiles on Prospects for helpful links. You can also search for specialist recruitment agencies via the Agency Central and REC
  • Company websites. Most companies will have a careers or jobs area on their website which will list current vacancies. To find relevant employers you can search company directories (some are available in the LRCs) and relevant professional bodies will sometimes publish membership lists. The occupational profiles on Prospects will give details of professional bodies.
  • Social Media. Follow companies and recruitment sites on social media such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to get news and job updates (but first make sure your own online presence is professional!).

Finally, don’t forget that some jobs aren’t advertised so you will need to develop good networking skills (both online and face-to-face) and be prepared to make speculative applications. Internships are becoming common ways for graduates to find their first job and, as well as looking for advertised internships, you should be prepared to contact employers directly to see if they’re offering work experience opportunities.

Suzanne Ball is the Careers Adviser for the Schools of Creative Arts and Health & Social Work. She regularly tweets on all thing creative via @CareerView.

Paid Internships Exclusively for UH Grads!

The word ‘paid’ is one not often associated with the term ‘internship’ these days. However, knowing that our graduates deserve to be paid, the University has made a partnership with 30 SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises) to offer three-month paid internships in a variety of roles, ranging from IT to Finance, Law, Sport and so on. That’s right, paid. Not only will you be gaining work experience but also earning £1k a month!

That’s the good news. Now here’s the great news… These positions are just for University of Hertfordshire graduates. So you’ll only be up against those graduates from your university, not from all over the country and beyond, increasing your chances. That’s not to say applications will be easy; you will still need to tailor your applications as you normally would and information can be found here.

You may have heard the term SME before but do you know what it means? A small to medium-sized enterprise is a company that typically has a turnover of less than £50million and employs less than 250 employees. SMEs employ 15.2 million people in the UK, account for 99.3% of all private sector businesses in the UK and have a combined turnover of £1.6 trillion (Federation of Small Businesses) – I’ll give you a moment for these figures to sink in…

Where do I find these vacancies? All of the internships will be advertised on CareerHub (www.careerhub.herts.ac.uk). You can do a search for them by typing ‘grad intern’ into the search box under the vacancies section. We also have a list of them available in the consultation rooms in both of our offices. You can also register your interest by emailing Gill McKenzie (g.a.mckenzie@herts.ac.uk) who will notify you by email as and when new internships are added with links of where you can find them. We currently have 30 being advertised, so don’t miss out! Oh and did we mention it was paid?

And the last point? You need to apply NOW. These positions will start from October onwards. Take a look at the positions on offer and start your research on the companies as soon as possible. Book an appointment to go through your applications with us and we’ll help make sure you are making the best of your skills.

Pre-season: Getting prepped for the job hunt!

We’re well into summer now and with that comes the pre-season preparation for football teams up and down the country. So with your academic term over, what are you going to be doing with your summer? Whether you’re heading into your final year and feeling daunted by what is to come, or your placement search is about to begin, here are some tips for getting you in shape for the season ahead.

Get ahead of the game

Pre-season for most clubs starts earlier and earlier; the top talent are already looking ahead to next season and what they need to do to prepare, so you should do the same. Looking at potential placements for the following year is a great way to get a lot of good applications done. You will find some major blue chip organisations have their placement and graduate scheme’s open for applications in the summertime, so get yours in then. That way you’re not worrying about it when the deadline day comes round.

Travel far and network

A lot of clubs take pre-season in numerous locations, meeting new people and gaining great exposure too. So taking the opportunity to network with as many people as possible can be invaluable for your job search. Sign up to LinkedIn to get your personal brand out there, connecting with people and following groups; it’s also a great way of getting scouted by a top employer. Check out the range of careers events that take place over the summer and get involved. It could be the start of a relationship that gets you that transfer into a dream job.

Compete in tournaments

There are a vast range of diverse and exciting student competitions for you to get involved in and summer is the perfect time. Check out Student Competitions for updates on the upcoming competitions and you could be showcasing your skills, knowledge and experience to the world.

Learn from the best

The best players get support from as many different people and services as possible, from the physios to the coaches, from nutritionists to equipment managers all these people support the player in getting them ready for the new season. Therefore, getting advice and guidance from the people who understand job hunting and what options are available to you is key when job hunting. It is absolutely crucial that you take full advantage of what is on offer. The Careers, Employment and Enterprise service are on hand to offer a wide range of support and resources for job hunters, whether you are looking for a summer job, placement or graduate scheme. Come in and see us for anything you want to know and we can support you every step of the way.

Why applying early pays off

Did you know that applications for some placement opportunities that start in the summer of 2016 are open now?

One example of this is Deloitte’s Technology Consulting Industrial Placement which is now open. If you’re into technology and business, then this placement is brilliant opportunity for you. This placement will give you an insight into major sectors and experience of technology at one of the world’s largest professional services firms.

Doing a placement can give you invaluable work experience which will massively benefit you when it comes to applying for graduate roles in your final year. Some organisations such as Deloitte allow their placement students to apply for the graduate role at the end of the placement, which would mean that you start your final year knowing that you have a graduate job already secured. To find out what working for Deloitte is like, read this blog from University of Hertfordshire graduate Hammad Riaz who currently works there: http://bit.ly/1Js52sM

Doing a placement during your time at university can help you stand out of the crowd when it comes to applying for graduate jobs.

To find out more information and to apply online, go to www.deloitte.co.uk/graduates/ip. For a placement opportunity like Deloitte’s, that is open now but starts in the summer of 2016, it usually means that places are limited and that they operate on a first come, first served basis. So even though the start date for 2016/17 placements may seem a thousand miles away, apply sooner rather than later.

Searching for Graduate Schemes

01/07/2015 2 comments

It’s summer! Which for many of you means the end of exams and the end of your time here with us at UoH. So what next? Whether you have not yet secured employment or have been unsure what you would like to do next, it is not too late to apply to some amazing opportunities.

TARGETjobs are currently promoting a number of graduate schemes from different sectors with deadlines spanning over the summer months, up until the end of August. I have included a variety of examples below:

Public service, charity and social work graduate schemes and programmes

  • MI5 – The Security Service intelligence officer development programme 15 July

Engineering graduate training schemes and programmes

  • Babcock International Group mechanical engineering programme 31 July

Accountancy and financial management and financial services and insurance graduate schemes and programmes

  • Hargreaves Services plc graduate roles in finance and treasury 10 July

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These are by no means the only opportunities out there – this is just a small selection. If you continue to use the relevant job search websites, such as Prospects, Graduate-Jobs and of course our very own CareerHub, you will find employment!

As always, the Careers, Employment and Enterprise team are on hand for bookable appointments – whether it’s to sit a mock interview for that all important job, or simply to gain general advice about the next steps in your professional or academic journey.

Keep searching! There could be an amazing graduate opportunity waiting for you at the next turn!

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