Time to think outside the box

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As the job market becomes increasingly competitive and the volume of applications employers receive grows, it’s more important than ever to consider transferable skills, alternative roles and indirect routes into a placement – and ultimately your graduate job role.

Here are some ways to think outside the box when you’re making your application…

 

Think differently
Instead of following your usual thought process – for example: ‘I want to get a job in marketing, therefore I must get a placement as a marketing assistant’ – branch out and consider other roles. The qualities associated with roles such as a marketing assistant include a good eye for detail, the ability to effectively compare and analyse data, and a creative mindset. These can all be found in other roles, which can offer you the transferable skills needed for a career in marketing. Positions such as content writers, social media assistants, brand consultants and PR interns will still enable you to build transferable, industry-related skills.

Widen the employers you approach
Only wanting to work for a marketing company will limit your search. Many diverse organisations and employers have their own marketing teams or positions – including local businesses such as Dyson, Airbus, the National Trust, Bath Spa University, Clarks, Wessex Water and Bath & North East Somerset Council. This list is by no means exhaustive but should help you to spark some ideas! Different sectors and employers may offer additional benefits, too.

Attract the right attention
Think about how often a company receives the standard ‘please find my CV and cover letter attached’. You may well have the best CV in the world, but this opening email doesn’t inspire the recipient to keep reading or open your attachments. Consider using your covering letter as the body of the email… which you will, of course, have tailored and checked for errors. Both this and your CV should be well-researched and planned to not only showcase your skills but also your interest in that particular company. There are also non-traditional ways that you can showcase your skills. Build an online portfolio or film a video CV that’s then uploaded to YouTube? Use colourful or creative format? Do be sure that this method is appropriate for the industry, company and the role you are applying or approaching them for, though. If you’re not sure, stick with a CV and covering letter.

Don’t judge a job by its title
Don’t discard a job just because you feel it doesn’t apply to the level you are looking for. Many of us are often tempted to go back to old habits, such as only considering roles titled ‘graduate intern’. Entry-level roles such as junior business executive or business administrator may still be suited to your experience and skills.

It’s not always what you know, but who you know
When seeking opportunities, look at who you already know that might be able to help you get your ‘foot in the door’. Family, friends of friends, work colleagues or Bath Spa University alumni may all have links to the industry that you wish to work in. 70-80% of roles (including placements) aren’t advertised on the open market through job adverts or agencies. Instead, they are found through word of mouth and recommendations, or filled by candidates the company already knows as a result of previous placements and work experience. Speculative applications can put you a step ahead of other students and graduates. You can take a look at some examples here to get you started.

 

The hard and fast rule is not to underestimate the experience a different role might give you. By trying something new, you may find you really enjoy a role you hadn’t fully considered before.

Remember, the Placements team are here to help. If you’re currently seeking opportunities and not sure where to start, or want to talk about a role advertised through one of our schemes, come along to our drop-in, every Tuesday and Thursday during term time from 1pm-2pm in Steward’s Lodge. You can also get in touch with us by emailing placements@bathspa.ac.uk.

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Considering a year in industry?

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Have you been weighing up the pros and cons of carrying out a year in industry placement as part of your degree? If you are, read on to hear first-hand from Bath Spa student Richard Napier about his experience of working for recruitment firm Hays

“I have been studying Business and Management at Bath Spa, and as part of my degree I wanted to take advantage of an industrial placement to gain exposure to the business world. I did my research via Rate My Placement; however, after speaking to various companies I got the impression I would be doing very basic functions in their businesses rather than gaining real insight.

“During my research, I discovered Hays ­– and the more I read about their 10-to-12-month internship programme the more attracted I was to applying. All of the reviews I read about the placement made it very clear that I would be given a lot of responsibility during my fixed-term contract and in theory run my own business (my desk) with the backing of a global brand (Hays).

“I discovered that I would be rewarded for my hard work through monthly performance bonuses; individual, team and regional incentives; and be offered the same flexible benefits package as all permanent employees.

“I was incredibly excited about the prospect of joining Hays, and when I did start in the business I was not disappointed. I loved the fact I was working in a fast-paced, target-driven and competitive environment, with like-minded people who not only worked hard but had fun doing it.

“Nine months into my internship I am more confident, have developed my sales skills and have had the business exposure work that I was looking for when I originally applied. The skills and knowledge I have gained through my internship cannot be learnt in a classroom. My success at Hays has meant I have been rewarded through remuneration and that money is going towards my post-internship summer vacation fund!

“I am extremely proud to work for the number-one employer of choice in the recruitment industry, and look forward to returning to Hays after my final year of university.”

To find out more about an internship at Hays, contact Talent Scout Richard Napier People and Culture Coordinator Anne-Marie Kalas.

Create a Winning LinkedIn Profile with 10 Top Tips

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On Wednesday 1st March in your diaries, as we will be hosting our interactive LinkedIn Day event throughout Commons, Newton Park.

With various workshops, industry speakers, opportunities to have you photo taken and competitions to get involved in, it’s an opportunity you shouldn’t miss! To get ahead, check out these top tips for your profile:

  1. The profile picture
    Showing off that all-important headshot will help you to gain 14 times more views than you’d receive if you went without. Make sure to give a good impression!
  1. A hot headline
    Alongside your name, this will be the first thing any viewer sees when checking out your profile, so make sure to keep it short and snappy. Keep it current and professional.
  1. Sell your summary
    Supplying a great summary can help you to gain seven times more profile views. Consider it as an elevator pitch; keep it short and to the point, but be make sure you highlight what you’re all about.
  1. Experience gives the extra factor
    Make sure you provide detailed experiences. Whether that’s voluntary work, internships, work experience or a part-time job, it demonstrates that you know what you’re talking about when it comes to your field of interest/study.
  1. Education counts
    You’ve managed to land yourself a place at university and are likely doing well, so ensure you cover all your key qualifications for employers to see.
  1. Include key projects
    If you’ve overseen any notable projects in university or work, you should be showing off your skills. Include links, or embed photographs and videos to alongside your education and experience.
  1. Shout your skills
    Having a key skill that fits with your career could improve your profile views thirteenfold. You likely have more than one, so get noting those technical and team-working abilities now.
  1. Recommendations rock
    Think of a recommendation as a reference on your CV. Likewise, think carefully about who you ask to recommend you and ensure the contact will prove relevant to the career you hope to focus on i.e. if you’re an avid photographer, perhaps don’t get the milkman to shout about your skills…
  1. Share endorsements
    They say sharing is caring, and endorsements do everyone good. Is your best friend good at drawing? Endorse her to confirm it. In return, she might vouch that you are capable of teaching, which reflects well on you. It’s a win-win situation and can make you feel good, too.
  1. Get connected
    Now you’ve completed your profile, it’s time to start showcasing yourself to potential employers. Research relevant connections in you field of interest/study and approach them with personalised emails asking them to connect with you.

We will be running a series of workshops on LinkedIn Day – you can book your place here!

Spring term employer events – helping you find an internship or graduate job

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The spring term is well underway, and for some of you that means graduation is looming… along with the need to find a graduate job. Or maybe you’re looking for a placement or internship to gain some valuable work experience over the summer and earn some money while doing so.

Well, panic no more! We have some fantastic employers on campus over the next couple of weeks to talk to you about their opportunities, and even provide hints and tips on how you can succeed during their application processes – so make sure you pop these dates in your diary.

On Tuesday 21st February, Teach First will be hosting a pizza presentation. That’s right: enjoy a slice of pizza whilst hearing about their Leadership Development Programme (LDP)  – a paid two-year programme that trains and supports committed individuals to become inspirational classroom leaders in low-income communities. The programme combines teacher training and a fully- funded Postgraduate Diploma in Education (worth twice the credits of a PGCE) with one-to-one coaching. If you are in 1st year or 2nd year you may also be interested in hearing about their one-day taster programme or two-week insight programme. To attend, book here.

If you are you considering working abroad, how about China? Opportunity China will be on campus on Thursday 23rd February to talk to you about their exciting graduate and summer employment opportunities. Their presentation will look at the employability benefits of living and working as a teacher in China, vital information about salary expectations, living arrangements and a first-hand account from a former head teacher at an English School in China.

Finally, are you heading for an interview – whether it’s for a part-time job, internship or graduate job – and want to make sure you stand out from the crowd? On Tuesday 28th February, there will be a session on understanding the importance of how others perceive you and why your personal brand is so vital when applying for jobs.

Don’t forget, you can also meet a range of employers at our Employer in the Foyer sessions, every Tuesday, in the Commons Atrium from 11am – 2pm!

Final-Year Drop-Ins: an update!

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We all know that third-years are frequently worried about their workload and preparing frantically for dissertations –  it’s often easy to lose sight of what all the hard work is for.

The Bath Spa Careers team are here to help ease those added stresses; whether it’s helping to choose your next step after graduation, additional support with postgraduate applications or assisting with your graduate job search.

We understand how important the next step is after finishing university, which is why final-year students have their own timeslot to discuss these issues –every Tuesday between 11am-1pm, downstairs in Steward’s Lodge (the cottage opposite the library bus stop).

What are Final Year Drop-Ins for?

  • Help with searching for graduate jobs and schemes
  • Support in applying to postgraduate study/teacher training
  • An informal space to discuss you options after graduation
  • Guidance to postgrad study abroad and international opportunities
  • Quick queries regarding the Bath Spa Award in your final year

Careers Space – Steward’s Lodge. Every Tuesday – 11am-1pm 

Simply pop by and say hello, no booking required.

Hope to you see you soon!

Summer Placement Scheme

 

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Having survived Blue Monday, perhaps your thoughts have turned to summer – holidays, sunshine, socialising and coming out of hibernation! But inn the Placements team, we’ve turned our attention to the launch of the Bath Spa University Summer Placement Scheme.

Why would you want to spend your summer doing a placement/internship?

  • Allows you to develop specific industry skills
  • Work in or learn about a specific profession or sector where you will undertake a role with real responsibility or changes
  • Gain experience that you can add to your CV and later help you land that graduate job
  • Build new relationships and wider networks
  • Get paid!

For those of you who haven’t heard of this scheme yet, we work with a wide variety of local businesses to provide paid 3 month opportunities for second- and third-year Bath Spa students. Placements and internships will be advertised on My Career from the end of February, with start dates of May-July.

The majority of applications will be via a CV and Covering Letter – did you know you can get this checked through our Careers team, by booking an appointment or uploading to ‘Ask a Question’?

Alternatively, if you have already arranged your own local placement/internship for the summer why don’t you contact us to see if we can support this with our funding? We provide £1,500 towards the cost of the three months and the employer must make this up to reach at least National Minimum Wage.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the opportunities as they come in, please complete the short form here. Those that sign up by the 10th February will be entered into a prize draw to win a £50 Sainsbury’s voucher!

For any support with finding placements/internships please contact the team on Placements@bathspa.ac.uk / 01225 876638 or come along to the Placements Drop In (1pm-2pm) every Tuesday and Thursday in Stewards Lodge.

Keep in Touch over Christmas!

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It’s almost the end of term, and the holiday festivities are looming. But as well as enjoying some well-earned rest and recuperation at home, the Christmas and New Year period is also a great chance to get thinking about careers – especially if you’re in your final year!

If you want to get on a graduate scheme, it’s well worth starting to consider where you’d like to apply. Our 10 top tips can help get you started, and we’ve also got plenty of information about various industry sectors available on My Career.

Equally, you might like to take some time to research placements and why they can be so useful. If you’d like an inside view from students who’ve been on placement themselves, check out this interview. Now is a really good time to familiarise yourself with our placements search tool, and to look into any other companies you might like to contact regarding a placement or internship.

While you’ll be off over the holidays, we’ll still be around for most of the break – barring our Christmas closure between 24th December and 3rd January – and we’ll still be contactable on careers@bathspa.ac.uk and 01225 875525.

If you’ve got a question for us, or have a CV/cover letter you’d like us to look over and provide feedback on, submit it via our Ask a Question facility and we’ll aim to get back to you within five working days.

Over Christmas, you’ll still be able to book spaces on workshops – keep an eye out for next term’s programme of events! – and 1:1 careers guidance appointments for when you’re back after the holidays.

So keep in contact with Careers over the festive break and, most importantly, have a very Merry Christmas!

Bath Spa Award: The Lowdown

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What is it?
You might have heard people talking about the Bath Spa Award, and so probably asked yourself two obvious questions… what exactly is the Bath Spa Award? And why is it worth undertaking?

Have a minute? Great, then let’s talk you through it.

The Bath Spa Award was created so you can gain official accreditation for the extracurricular strengths and skills you’ve gained alongside your degree. Here at Bath Spa, we know our students are involved with all sorts of volunteering, part-time work and activities, so we wanted to make sure these achievements were recognised. If you’re a second-year, third-year or postgraduate student, you’re eligible!

In a nutshell, the Award:

  • Recognises achievements such as positions within clubs and societies, voluntary work, paid jobs outside of uni and your dedication to networking with employers
  • Provides a unique opportunity to build on essential skills for your future career
  • Gives you a chance to form friendships with like-minded students

 

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What do people say about it?
“The Bath Spa Award definitely motivated me to take those extra opportunities and I’m really proud I’ve got it. A lot of the work and volunteer hours were things I was doing anyway as part-time jobs. It’s a good way to assess the things that I wanted to work on and think, ‘I’ve actually managed to do that!’”  
Matilda Karabina, BA (Hons) Creative Writing

“One of the most beneficial things about the Award was choosing the skills you wanted to cover. I wanted to cover leadership, so I was able to get experience and prove that I had worked on my leadership skills.”
Amy Lamborn, BA (Hons) Education Studies with Media Communications

 

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What do I have to do?
There are seven different steps to gaining the award – but don’t be daunted, it sounds more work than it really is. You’ll probably find that you’ve already done more than you think once you get started!

  • Get Thinking (recognise two skills you want to improve)
  • Get Informed (attend two Careers workshops)
  • Get Experience (100 hours of work experience)
  • Get Digital (show your experience of digital skills)
  • Get Networking (have two face-to-face and one online interaction with employers)
  • Get Advice (book a 20-minute guidance appointment)
  • Get The Award (attend our assessment centre event)

Each section is aimed specifically to ensure you have all the essential skills you’ll need to be a success in the workplace. Don’t worry: if ever you feel like you’re struggling or don’t quite know how to complete a section, feel free to get in touch with one the Bath Spa Award team via our Ask A Question service or by emailing theaward@bathspa.ac.uk

 

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Great! How do I sign up?
If you head to bathspa.ac.uk/theaward and sign in with your BSSU student details, you’ll be taken straight to My Career’s Bath Spa Award information section. Simply click on the registration form link, fill it out and submit – it’s as simple as that. Within several days you should receive an email from the Bath Spa Award team, confirming your place.

What are you waiting for? Get signed up today!

 

Graduate Opportunities Officer: who we are & what we do

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The title of Graduate Opportunities Officer may be a mouthful, but one that I hope is fairly self-explanatory. My name is Jenna Rainey, and it’s my role to ensure that final-year students are aware of the facilities and opportunities available to them with regard to the big, wide world of careers. I help to maintain a database of graduate schemes and opportunities, which span across a vast range of subjects undertaken by students here at Bath Spa University.

If you think these resources might be of interest or use to you, you can find them on My Career.

I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing from Bath Spa and am currently undertaking my Masters degree at Corsham Court (they couldn’t get me to leave – now I’m working here as well). So I think it would be fair to say that I have a rough idea of where our final-year students are coming from! Having recently made the same transition myself, I am passionate about creating opportunities for final-year students, helping them to strive toward potential success after graduating.

In my final year at university I maximised my opportunities by attending regular events and workshops run through the Careers service. These helped me gain industry insights, assisted me with networking and I even looked into how to start up my own business. It made me aware of things I hadn’t previously considered and proved valuable information. I also completed the Bath Spa Award – which, if you didn’t already know, is a fantastic way of having your extracurricular skills and efforts recognised by the university before you graduate.

It’s also important to note that Bath Spa Careers are here to help for up to three years after you graduate. So if you’re still having difficulty with your career or study after graduation, then don’t fret, there’s still help for you here!

We operate from Steward’s Lodge (the cottage opposite the library bus stop). From here we hope to help you with any queries you may have in regards to the world of work. I personally run drop-in session for final year students on Fridays between 10am and 12pm. It’s advised that you book ahead on My Career if you can, to save missing out during peak times, however you are always welcome to simply pop-by for a 10-minute chat if it’s easier for you. And, of course, I’ll endeavour to do my best to assist you however I can.

The key thing to remember? Don’t panic, you’re not alone!

What to Look for in a Graduate Scheme: 10 Top Tips

 

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So you’re in final year and probably thinking about what you will do with your life when you finish next summer. (By the way, it’s true: final year always goes by far too quickly, so it’s definitely a case of the sooner the better!)

Graduate schemes are great entry-level opportunities that are definitely worth considering. It’s a myth that graduate schemes are just for Business students – most of them are open to all subjects.

However, not all grad schemes are created equal. Just like when you were deciding which course and which uni to go to, different employers will offer different types of graduate schemes. Here are the top ten things to look out for when browsing:

  1. Structure
    Grad schemes come in different shapes and sizes. Some are known as ‘rotational’, which means shorter placements in different departments. So you might spend six months in Human Resources, six months in Marketing and then six months in Sales, and so on. This can be a great way of testing out which areas of a business you enjoy working for the most. However, you may want to get stuck into a particular area straight away, in which case a non-rotational grad scheme might be better. Also schemes can vary in length, but usually last one to three years, so you might want to think about how that fits in with your future plans.
  2. Flexibility
    Generally, larger employers offer a fixed structure and timetable, whereas smaller and medium sized organisations might have more flexibility. There are pros and cons to both: larger employers’ schemes might be more ‘tried and tested’ by previous graduates, whereas smaller employers might take your interests into account when mapping out the scheme – so think about what is more appealing to you.
  3. Location
    Do you have a specific location in mind, or can you be flexible? Some graduate schemes are based in one location, but rotational schemes often require you to move around the country. It’s also worth noting that grad schemes are mostly based in larger towns and cities, such as London, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol. Check out the Target Jobs Career Location guide for lists of top employers in certain locations in the UK.
  4. Professional qualifications
    A real perk of some schemes is the opportunity to get additional qualifications, particularly if you pick something like Human Resources or Accounting. These tend to be funded which is a bonus, but of course you would need to commit to further study.
  5. Support and progression
    A key feature of grad schemes is CPD (continuing personal development) i.e. making sure you are learning, developing and progressing in the role. This often means things like training opportunities or having a mentor.
  6. What next?
    It’s worth considering where a grad scheme might take you. Some employers might expect you to stay within the company, but this is often not obligatory. Search for previous completers of the scheme on LinkedIn to see what they are doing now. Have they stayed within the company or have they moved on to pastures new?
  7. Insider perspectives
    The glossy pages of an employer’s graduate brochure or website might showcase some great stories of previous graduates who have done the scheme, but do some wider research to get a better picture. Use Glassdoor’ to check out reviews (TripAdvisor style) of employers. In addition, get networking with current grads on the scheme. Connect with them on LinkedIn and ask questions – or, if possible, talk to company reps at a graduate fair to find out what life is reeeeally like at that organisation.
  8. Number of opportunities
    The number of graduates an employer takes on each year can vary from 1 to 1200. However, this does not mean that only applying to organisations that take on thousands is the best tactic. These organisations tend to have dedicated graduate recruitment teams, which tends to lead to thousands of applications. Don’t let this put you off, but be aware of the competition you might face and make sure your application is top notch.
  9. The application process
    Grad schemes often have a lengthy and detailed recruitment process, which may include application forms, psychometric tests, phone or video interviews, assessment centres and an interview in person. Again, this shouldn’t put you off, but you should be prepared. As always, the advice is ‘quality not quantity’ – identify the grad you’re really interested in, and put all of your effort into making a brilliant application.
  10. Other benefits, including salary and courtesy cars!
    Employers want the best graduates to apply for their schemes. This often means they can offer great benefits, including a good starting salary and other benefits. Aldi is well-known for offering a £42k salary and a fully expensed Audi A4! Niiice!

Find out more about grad schemes on My Career, or book an appointment with a Careers Consultant. Remember, deadlines are often before Christmas, so make sure you look as early as possible in the autumn term.