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.

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.