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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‘Kickstart’ your life after uni!

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Calling all final year students! You’re nearing the finish line!…

Soon you’ll be celebrating your success as a fully-fledged graduate! But what comes next? Have you got an all-important job lined up? Need help on perfecting that winning CV? Don’t panic! Bath Spa Careers are holding a series of events especially for you!

Introducing… ‘Kickstart’ Your Life After Uni

Our Kickstart series is designed to help final-year students prepare for life after university. With graduation on the horizon, we’re here to help you with the essential toolkit to source your graduate career.

Each session will consist of three key workshops, looking at job search strategy, how to show off your best CV, and tips to ensure you ace that interview process. There will be short intermissions, with light refreshments provided.

After you’ve got to grips with the nuts and bolts, you will also have an option to stay behind afterwards and speak with student advisors on staying savvy with finance and well-being.

Booking for this event is essential!

In the mean time, if you have any queries with regards to your future career just pop along to our Final Year drop-in –Every Tuesday from 11am-1pm in Steward’s Lodge!

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!

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.

 

Careers & Opportunities Fair Round-Up

 

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Tuesday 25th October was, if you’ll excuse the self-congratulation, quite the day. We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone attended our first Careers & Opportunities Fair – a stunning 716 students and 33 employers! We hope you all enjoyed the day, and we certainly did. Our marquee in the Walled Garden was buzzing all day, and there was a fantastic atmosphere. It was brilliant to see so many of our students interacting with employers – many of whom later told us how impressed they were!

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Don’t forget to follow up with the employers you got chatting to on the day. Networking is an invaluable way of making contacts, and getting your name known by recruiters before you apply for roles is a great way to make sure that your application stands out.

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If you’d like some more advice and guidance from the Careers team, sign into My Career to check out our jam-packed programme of workshops for the rest of the term or book an appointment with one of our Careers Consultants.

If you weren’t able to make it to the Fair, don’t despair – our guide (handed out in hard copy on the day) is packed full of handy info on all of the employers in attendance, plus top tips from our team, and is now available online. Click here to take a look at the PDF!

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It wasn’t just the Fair going on, either. We had Google’s Digital Garage on-campus at Newton Park, giving talks to over 250 students about how to get stuck into digital, and the importance of having an online presence for your business. If you missed out, don’t worry – we have three more Make Your Own Career events over the next three weeks, covering freelancing, creative careers and entrepreneurship. Check out the Bath Sparks site for more info and to book your place for these must-attend sessions.

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Sion Hill didn’t miss out, either, with 100+ BSAD students treated to a fascinating session by Holly Burton from Crafts Council UK about how the organisation supports makers and creative enterprise. Take a look here to see what other workshops we have coming up at Sion Hill.

If you’ve got any feedback for us about the Careers & Opportunities Fair, we’d love to hear from you! Email us, or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter to let us know what you’d like to see in future. We’ve got you covered!

What Employers Are Looking For at the Careers & Opportunities Fair

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There’s just one week to go until the Careers & Opportunities Fair (Tuesday 25th October, 11am-3pm in the Walled Garden, in case you’d forgotten) and we can’t wait for you to meet all of our fantastic employers!

While the Fair is the perfect opportunity for you to explore your career options, it is also worth bearing in mind what employers are looking to see from you. We’ve asked a couple of organisations attending what they’re hoping to see…

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Kate Buffery – Student Recruitment Officer, PwC
“Ask inquisitive questions – whether that’s about our various business areas or our application forms. That’s why we’re there, after all! Don’t be too shy to ask any ‘silly’ questions either, as chances are everyone who helps us out at our stand will have been through the graduate application process and would have been in your shoes only a few years before. Oh, and always take the freebies!”rmpAmirah Hajat – Rate My Placement
“Dress appropriately – first impressions are key, so if you’re looking smart and alert you’re going to leave a good, lasting impression for all the right reasons. If you’re dressed the part, you will feel the part, and this will enable you to be confident. You’re going to be talking to a lot of people – potentially people from companies you want to work for – so be don’t be shy. Remember: you’re a lion, not a mouse!

“Most importantly, do your research: wow the representatives by showing how enthusiastic you are about the company and the work they do. Look at if they have been in the news recently, the offerings they have for students and graduates as well as the specifics of the role you are interested in. Lastly, have fun! This is a marvellous opportunity to network, so enjoy it.”

Have a look at the event on My Career to see the list of exhibitors attending on the day. You’ll be surprised at the range of placement opportunities available at Bath and North East Somerset Council, for example – encompassing Operational Improvement, Sustainability, Disaster Planning and Marketing/Communications projects, as well as an exciting range of graduate opportunities with a wide variety of national and international businesses across all industry sectors.

Some companies receive hundreds of applications for their opportunities, so the Careers Fair is a great way to meet the recruiter face-to-face and make a lasting impression to set your application apart from others.

If you’re unsure how to prepare for the Careers Fair or don’t know what to expect you, why not book on to our Preparing for the Fair workshop and read our previous post on how to talk to employers?

For more information on the Careers & Opportunities Fair, like our Facebook page.

Careers & Opportunities Fair: What’s in It for You?

By now you’ve obviously heard about our Careers & Opportunities Fair, which is taking place on 25th October between 11am and 3pm in the Walled Garden. If not, you’ve clearly been living under a rock, and need to watch this video immediately:

But what’s in it for you? We’ve compiled a handy list of what benefits are on offer for Fair attendees (that means you)

1) A headstart when applying for graduate schemes
The astounding range of graduate schemes on offer can be overwhelming, can’t it? With different deadlines, requirements and applications/interview processes, there’s a lot to find out about. Many of the employers at the Fair will have their own schemes, so this is a fantastic chance to find out more about the various programmes and to get any questions you have answered in person.

2) A placement (or year in industry)
Our placements team do a brilliant job of seeking out opportunities for you to get hands-on experience in a huge range of workplaces. But it’s not just up to us! Tracking down your own work experience or internships means you’re able to try out a role that’s absolutely perfect for you – and talking to and building your own relationships with employers is one of the best ways to go about this.

3) A new set of contacts – and practice talking to them
As we’ve covered in a previous post, we know that talking to employers can be daunting if you’re not used to it. So with more than 30 companies on-campus, this is your time to get practising. Introduce yourself to the employers and have a brief chat – once you’ve got their details, you can follow up with them and get in contact with any further questions in the future.

4) Careers advice on hand
In addition to tens of employers, we’ll also have a Bath Spa Careers stand of our own at the fair – so you can pop by and pick up some advice from one of our friendly Careers Consultants, or ask us a question. We’ll be giving out brochures to take away and read in your own time, too, in case there’s anything you’ve missed or need to refresh your memory on.

For more information on the Careers & Opportunities Fair, like our Facebook page.

Introducing Bath Spa’s Careers & Opportunities Fair!

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Here it is… Bath Spa’s first ever Careers & Opportunities Fair, and it’s one you’re not going to want to miss!

On Tuesday 25th October, we will be welcoming 32 organisations onto campus who are keen to talk to YOU about the types of opportunities they have available and what it’s like to work within their organisations.

Taking place between 11am and 3pm in the Walled Garden, you can drop by between your lectures and on your lunch break to explore what’s out there in the big wide world of work.

The fair is open to students from all degree disciplines and all year groups. If you’re in first year, this is a great chance to start exploring possible career paths and talking to employers about what it’s like to work within their industry.

If you’re a second-year, you may be thinking about carrying out a placement or internship during the academic year or over your summer break. The fair is the right place for you, too. There will be employers there offering these kind of opportunities, who will be able to talk to you about what to expect.

Final-year student:, this is an absolute must-attend, even if you have no idea what you want to do once you leave University! It’s important to remember all those transferable skills you have developed and how they could be used in a number of different industries. Use the fair to explore graduate positions you may not have considered before and ask lots and lots of questions about the type of experience you would need to apply for the role – and, of course, any hints and tips you can gather for the application process.

A lot of the organisations attending will be bringing along recent graduates that currently work for them, as well as students on placement within their business – even some from Bath Spa. Remember that they want to talk to you just as much as you want to talk to them.

Prior to the fair, you can attend one of our workshops on ‘How to prepare for the fair’. Book your place through My Career.

Like our Careers Fair Facebook Page to find out more about the organisations you can look forward to seeing on the day.

See you there!