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.

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!

Placemements: the inside view

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If you’re thinking about going on placement but wondered what it might be like, then find out more from graduates Hannah White and Daisy-May Chivers-Black who took part in our Summer Placement Scheme.

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They went on placement at The Wedding Secret, a website dedicated to connecting engaged couples with the wedding venues and services they need to hire locally for their wedding day.

Why did you decide to do a placement?
Hannah: I decided to get involved with the placement scheme as I had done the year before and found the experience beneficial. As a graduate I knew I needed to gain experience and further develop my skills so it seemed a good idea to go for an internship.
Daisy-May: The internship gave me the opportunity to gain experience in the field that I’d like to work in.

What did you do on placement?
Hannah: My job involved three key tasks on a daily basis. First, calling companies to offer a free, no obligation trial on the website. Second, writing the content for the listings of the business who signed up to the trial and then uploading this onto the content management system. Finally, helping to market The Wedding Secret via social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. I create, design and action marketing campaigns to help deliver fresh content that, in turn, helps increase the reach of the business.

How did you benefit from this and what impact will this have on your career plans?
Daisy-May: My internship has been extended and I am hopeful that I will be offered a permanent job after the placement has finished. All aspects of my job have greatly developed my existing skills and enabled me to action the skills I obtained while at university in an actual, live business environment.

Describe your experience in one sentence…
Daisy-May: Working at The Wedding Secret was a really enjoyable experience that has given me the chance to apply the skills I learnt at university, thus giving me more confidence in my ability.
Hannah: Placements are a great way to show interest, build a network of contacts and put your skills into play in a real business environment. Therefore, I would, 100%, recommend that all students do or, at least, research a placement, as the experience is invaluable!

 

 

Placements: who we are & what we do

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Firstly, let us introduce you to the small but perfectly formed Placements team here at Bath Spa University:

 

Jamie Bradbury

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Jamie Bradbury (Placements Manager) has been at Bath Spa for a combined total of eight years – spending four of them as a student and then three in the Careers and Enterprise team, working his way up from Placements Administrator. He’s a huge fan of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, and attends the London Film & Comic Con every year. In his role as Placements Manager it is his responsibility to engage with employers, academics and students to support placement modules as well as our own internal placement schemes. He is likely to pop up in seminars throughout the first term to provide you with the tools to find a placement and answer any questions you may have.

 

Ella Matthews

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Ella Matthews (Placements Coordinator) has been with the Careers and Enterprise team for 10 months, and prior to this lived and worked in London. After relocating to Bath, she knew she wanted to work somewhere she had happy memories, and Bath Spa was the perfect choice: Ella graduated from here in 2011. She enjoys keeping fit, boring all her colleagues with tales of the gym and completed the Battle of Lansdown earlier in the year. As Placements Coordinator she supports Jamie with the work he does through the curriculum as well as being the first point of call for student queries. She holds drop-in twice a week in Steward’s Lodge.

 

Not only do we provide you with the groundwork to enable you to find your own placement we also run three paid (at least National Minimum Wage) schemes throughout the year that offer opportunities to second- and third-years, as well as recent graduates:

  • Running from September, the Graduate Internship Programme provides three- or six-month roles to this year’s graduates. Previous roles have included Marketing, Publishing and Art.
  • From November onwards, we have the Santander Internship Programme, which is open to this year’s graduates and those who have graduated within the past two years. These are opportunities working in small and medium-sized organisations. Last year we had opportunities with Sales Coaching Solutions, Natural Beverage Company and Somerset FA.
  • Finally, we have the Summer Placement Scheme. Advertising from March for the following summer, these positions are open to second-and third-year students. We have six- to 12-week placements in a range of roles, from Psychology Research Assistant to Junior Motion Designer.

You can even find your own opportunity for us to part-fund if there is a specific company you want to work for. If this is something you’d like to consider, please get in contact.

Not only do we support various placement modules and our own internal schemes, but we also help run various events throughout the year. New for 2016 is the Careers & Opportunities Fair, Newton Park and Sion Hill networking events and a Placements Pop-Up! We will also still be running our regular ‘How to find a placement/internship’ workshops and Steward’s Lodge drop-in sessions. More information on these can be found on My Career.

You can contact the team by email or phone throughout the year on 01225 876638 or placements@bathspa.ac.uk.