Posts Tagged ‘Graduate’

Life as a placement student: December – Deadlines and Deliveries




A little late now but hope I you all had a fabulous Christmas and a happy New Year! I’m now well into the painful January detox after a month of eating and partying. I can safely say I’m not missing the January exams you’re currently going through (good luck!), but I especially miss having Reading Week aka ‘re-freshers’ to you lot. December at Sky was magical – we had our own Christmas market, petting zoo and even a visit from a life-size Hulkbuster! We were also taken out for a delicious Christmas lunch with the team at The White Hart, Barnes Bridge.



The last 2 months at Sky have been a complete whirlwind. Following the back end of the delivery of the Sky Movies Christmas brand campaign our own team delivered and launched The Sky Difference brand campaign, which went live on Boxing Day. In a nutshell this campaign showcases the amazing benefits Sky offers all of their customers at no extra cost! We wanted to push out 4 messages to customers reminding them they get Sky+ app, Smart Series Link, Catch Up channels and the Sky Atlantic channel. This was done across TV, digital, VOD, Out of Home and Radio.


Over the past few months we have had a few curve balls thrown at us, including battles over music usage costs, last minute changes to legal lines and getting approval on the TV ads from governing body, Clearcast. The biggest challenge I’ve faced is learning how to deliver pieces of creative within hours of the delivery deadline and the main learning from this campaign for me is that the devil is definitely in the detail, especially when doing the final checks!

Over the next few months I’ll be working on another brand campaign which I will update you on next time!

Thanks again for reading!!

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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.


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 you the next TARGETJobs Undergraduate of the Year? – hear from two former finalists on why you should apply



2015 Target Jobs  Undergraduate of the year finalists: Laura Muehlenkamp & Richard Devereux accompanied by Judith Baines (centre) Head of Careers, Employment & Enterprise

Two of our University of Hertfordshire students, Laura Muehlenkamp (LM) and Richard Devereux (RD), made it to the prestigious TARGETjobs 2015 Undergraduate of the Year Awards.

With applications for the 2016 Targetjobs Undergraduate of the year awards now open, we have asked former finalists Richard and Laura questions on why our University of Hertfordshire students should apply.

Why did you decide to apply to the Targetjobs Undergraduate Of The Year awards?

RD: The awards were advertised through Studynet and via email. At first I didn’t give it much attention as I thought there is no way I would have the slightest chance of winning. After a few days I kept returning to the awards website and saw the application process was very similar to graduate job applications. It would be perfect practice and if I got through some of the stages that would be a bonus


LM: I saw the Undergraduate of the Year Awards advertised on the newsfeed on StudyNet and thought it sounded quite interesting. I had a look on the link and read up on what it said on the website and I thought it would sound very good on my CV if I would get any further in the competition. I applied and I would have never thought that I would get as far as the final.


What made you choose the specific award you went for?

LM: I have always been really interested in languages and am able to speak a few which is why I chose this specific award. I had a look at all the other awards and could have applied for them as well especially as I am studying Law with Business but I felt that the languages award would be suited best for my own abilities.

RD: First I filtered through the awards, leaving the engineering relevant ones. I chose the ‘Low Carbon Energy’ award because had a keen interest in low carbon technologies. I had experience working on fuel saving systems on my industrial placement at Ford Motor Company. I also joined the Universities World Solar Challenge Team. This award was most relevant to my interests and experience, I thought that would give me the best chance in standing out in the application process.

What was the application process like?


LM: The first step was simply filling out personal details and experience as you would do for an online application form for a job. The second stage included 4 online tests which were logical and numerical reasoning tests as well as a situational judgement test. Stage 3 consisted of an online interview in your second language and then a half-day assessment centre including a group exercise and oral presentation. The final stage was the grand final in London where the winners were announced.


What do you think you have gained from becoming a finalist and would you encourage other students to take part?

RD: I gained a huge amount of confidence as I advanced through the process. It made job applications easier as I knew what to say and how to say it. Without a doubt every student should apply, there is nothing to lose! Also don’t think there no way you’ll win or get through the first sages. If your thinking that then the likelihood is everyone else is too, giving you a better chance!  The final was a really fun day in London meeting so many like minded people with plenty of free food and wine! Also its an amazing networking opportunity, I know several finalists who were offered jobs even without winning. After the ceremony most of finalists went into the city for a few drinks (paid by the sponsors) and I still keep in touch with several of them today.


LM: I was surprised that I was shortlisted for the award and that I was going to the final in Canary Wharf. I had never been to an award ceremony like that before and it was such a great experience. It was amazing to meet the other candidates competing for the award and talking about their backgrounds. It was a great opportunity to network as members of the companies sponsoring the award were at the event.


Click here for information on all the ten possible awards you can apply for. If you are interested in applying we can help you with your application, just book via CareerHub.






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 ( 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 ( 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.

Mind the GAP! Graduate Expectations vs Reality

“Once I graduate from university, I expect to be on a graduate scheme with one of the big blue chip companies earning at least the ‘average graduate annual salary’ of around £27,000.”

The above statement is what many current students and graduates expect and why shouldn’t they? One of the main reasons they have gone to university in the first place is to give them the best opportunity of securing a well-paid job at a large organisation. However, should these expectations be considered the norm, and what everyone should aim to achieve?

Watch the video below as graduate consultant, Rebecca Fielding, discusses the big differences between what graduates expect they will be doing after they graduate, and what they actually end up doing. Rebecca closes the gap on the reality and expectations of graduates, by sharing research, de-bunking myths and telling stories about all of the real and fabulous opportunities that are available out there.

There are lots of right paths for graduates after they finish university which don’t always follow the graduate scheme route – make sure you don’t miss out on your options by only considering this route. The Careers, Employment and Enterprise Service will support you for up to two years after you have graduated – you can book a one to one appointment with a Careers Adviser via

I didn’t get the degree result I wanted, what now?

Whether you just missed a first or scraped a third, getting your degree result might have left you feeling disappointed or worried. You may have a job offer or PhD place which required you to achieve a 2.1 or above or you might feel worried that no-one will consider employing you if you have a 2.2 or 3rd. But don’t despair, even if you didn’t get the result you’d hoped for there are many options open to you.

Suzanne Blog

  • I didn’t meet my offer for a job or postgraduate course

If you were holding a conditional job offer or course place and you haven’t met the terms of your offer, don’t panic.  Major graduate employers invest a lot of time, effort and money into their recruitment processes and they will already be very confident that you have the qualities and skills they are looking for. It’s not guaranteed but there is still a chance that the employer will take you – particularly if you have only dropped one classification and/or the university can verify that there were reasons for your underperformance. There may be less flexibility with funded PhD places but for self-funded PhDs or MSc/MA courses, again, it’s still possible that you will be able to start your course if you’ve just missed your offer.

  • I got a 2.2 does this mean I can’t do a graduate scheme?

It’s common to see ads for graduate training schemes where a 2.1 degree or above is an entry requirement.  However in 2014, 24% of graduates on full-time courses were awarded a 2.2 degree.  So, first of all, you’re not alone and secondly there are still plenty of options open to you.  Not every major employer requires a 2.1 or above – most public sector training schemes, such as the NHS or Civil Service Fast Stream, ask for a 2.2 or above and, if you do your research, you will find other graduate training schemes where employers are happy to consider candidates with a 2.2. Remember too that graduate training schemes are not the be-all-and-end-all. The majority of graduates will begin their careers working for small or medium-sized employers (SMEs), many of whom offer excellent training and experience without requiring candidates to have a specific degree result (which is also good news if you have a third!).

  • Will getting a third mean employers won’t even look at me?

First think about the reasons why you got a third. Employers and admissions tutors may be sympathetic if you have verifiable extenuating circumstances – particularly if your academic performance has been consistently better in your first/second year. Be honest with yourself – if you know that your result was due to lack of effort or that you tried hard but struggled with your course then this can help you with your career planning. For example, if you found certain parts of your course difficult or boring then avoid jobs that focus on these areas. Employers are individuals and will really differ in their attitudes to graduates with a third. Some will automatically filter out candidates who don’t meet their degree requirements but others will be open-minded and be more interested in your personal qualities (and some may even have thirds themselves!).  How you present yourself is very important – a graduate who neglected their studies but ran a successful student society or set up a business venture will be viewed more favourably than a graduate who didn’t appear to do anything while at university.

Finally, remember that if you get a 2.2 or a third it doesn’t mean you can never work for a major employer. Degree classifications are usually only used as a filter for graduate entry jobs – once you have some experience under your belt recruiters will be far more interested in your skills and experience than how you performed at university.

To find out more about options open to you if you have a 2.2 or a third, sign up for our webinar on Tuesday 14 July at 12.00.

Suzanne Ball is the Careers Adviser for the School of Creative Arts and the School of Health & Social Work at the University of Hertfordshire.  She regularly tweets on all things creative via @careerview.

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