5 New Year Career Resolutions

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A new year is a new start: it’s the perfect time to think about what you want to accomplish and to set new goals. Why not use January to reflect on your career ambitions and formulate plans for achieving them?

  1. Follow relevant people and organisations on Twitter: use your social media profiles to develop an up-to-date and comprehensive understanding of the field or fields you are interested in. This can be a source of inspiration and interest, increasing your passion for pursuing your chosen career path. Getting to grips with current issues or debates in the industry is also very useful for answering commercial awareness questions in future interviews (e.g. ‘what do you think is the most important issue currently facing our company’).
  2. Reflect on 2017: why not use January to reflect on the progress you’ve made in 2017? What skills have you developed through your course and your extra-curricular activities? What responsibilities did you take on in your work experience? Did you receive any praise from fellow team-members or from an employer? It’s useful to keep an ongoing record of your accomplishments which you can use as the basis for targeted CVs and job applications in future. Think also about your interests. What motivates you, energises you and interests you? Reflecting on the kind of tasks which you find meaningful and engaging (rather than the sort of tasks which you feel you should be interesting to you) can be useful in making decisions about your career path.
  3. Decide what you want to achieve in 2018: think carefully about what you want to accomplish for your career this year. You could start by looking at the person specifications and job descriptions for graduate and entry-level jobs in the area you’re interested in. Where are the gaps in your CV which you need to fill before you’d be able to apply for these jobs? Then look for ways in which you can fill these gaps, such as work experience placements, QProjects, internships and volunteering. Identifying your goals at the beginning of the year can give you direction and focus.
  4. Make a plan: think realistically about how you will achieve your aims. If your goal is ‘find work experience’, break it down into small, manageable steps.
    E.g.: Step one – research organisations offering summer work experience placements. Step two – start an application for one placement, tailoring your CV and cover letter to the employer’s requirements. Step three: visit the Careers and Enterprise Centre to have the application reviewed. Step four: Revise the CV.Decide when you will work on these career development tasks. Why not set aside a regular time each week? Set yourself deadlines to make sure that you complete everything you plan to.
  5. Brush up on your interview skills: practice is the key to successful interview performance. The more familiar you are with articulating your key selling points in succinct and compelling ways, the more likely you are to be a persuasive interviewee. You might not have an interview coming up, but why not record yourself answering common interview questions (such as ‘tell us about a time when you have demonstrated effective communication skills’)? Then watch the interview back – even if it’s embarrassing! Look at your body language, listen to your tone of voice and think about how specific and concise your answers are. Then work on ways to improve your weaker areas. You could also practice with a friend, and take turns being the interviewer and interviewee. This will give you a new perspective on interview questions.
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Careers terms explained

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Whether you’re writing your first CV, applying for internships or about to start your first job, you might find there are a lot of terms out there that you’ve never heard of before. So here’s our handy guide to some of the main terms you may come across when it comes to the world of work.

Job Hunting

CV – A CV is a tailored document matching your skills and experience to a particular job role. You should keep your CV up-to-date in case you need to send it to a recruiter at short notice.

Cover letter – This accompanies your CV as part of an application. As well as introducing your CV, it explains your experience and how it relates to the role, whilst outlining your motivation for applying.

Job description – Advertised vacancies will have a job description, which outlines the tasks and responsibilities involved with the position. It will include the skills that the employer is looking for, which you’ll need to match in your application, any may include information such as salary range and who the position reports to (line manager).

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What is a graduate scheme?

At this time of year, you might be hearing a lot of people talking about graduate schemes; but what do you know about them?

A graduate scheme is a structured programme that combines working and training, targeted at recent graduates. They allow graduates to experience many aspects of both the role and the organisation as a whole, over a period of anything from 3 months to 3 years.

Things you need to know …

  • There are a limited number of spaces available on any graduate training scheme, so employers will set minimum requirements to qualify for entry, in a similar way to when you applied to university. It’s common for employers to expect a 2:1 degree or higher for most graduate schemes (see here for information on schemes available to graduates with a 2.2).
  • In some sectors, such as finance, retail management and surveying, graduate schemes are common in the large companies. Other industries such as the charity sector, journalism and NGO fields run very few graduate schemes.
  • Application deadlines are often from September to December, almost a year before the start date, so you’ll need to start looking now if you’re in your final year.
  • Graduate schemes are competitive and only 12-15% of students get a place on one.  They tend to have a longer and more formal recruitment process. 
  • Salaries tend to be relatively high for graduate roles.

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Careers & Enterprise: Who we are

Whether you need help finding a part-time job, writing a CV or cover letter, or preparing for a graduate scheme, we can help.

Where are we?

queensThe Careers & Enterprise Centre is based in the Queens’ building (pic on left) on the Mile End campus, which is number 19 on this campus map.

We’re in room WG3, on the ground floor, near the Octagon and the Student Enquiry Office . From the main entrance, head down the corridor on the left-hand side and follow the signs.

What can we do for you?

We help QMUL students and recent graduates (up to 2 years after you graduate) with anything careers-related, from writing a CV to exploring your options after graduation. A career might seem a long way off if you’ve only just finished your first year, but whatever stage you’re at on your QMUL journey, come and see us! Even if you’ve never even thought about life after university, we’re here to help you …

Appointments with Careers Consultants

We offer 20 minute 1-2-1 appointments with a Careers Consultant, and these appointments can cover any careers query, including: CV & application feedback, finding and applying for jobs, or deciding what to do after graduation.

Job hunting

Whether you’re looking for part-time or temporary work, or a full-time role after graduation, take a look at our jobs page for a range of opportunities: careers.qmul.ac.uk/jobs. We also have a range of industry-specific resources in our information room and on our website.

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Ultimate Careers Guide 2018

Whether you’re looking to boost your CV with an internship, find a part-time job during your studies, develop work-related skills or identify your dream career, The Ultimate Careers Guide is here to help. 

Written by the staff at Careers departments across the University of London, the guide is piled high with tips and advice, including: GTI_18

  • Avoiding common application mistakes
  • 10 ways to create your own work experience
  • Advice for international students
  • Is further study right for you?
  • Job-hunting tactics
  • What to expect at an assessment centre
  • Effective networking using LinkedIn
  • Creating the ideal CV
  • Starting your business

And much more!

Copies are available in the Careers & Enterprise Centre, so come and pick up yours today!

 

What 2 do with a 2.2

Congratulations to everyone receiving their exam results from QMUL; well done! Some of you might have faced the disappointment of just missing out on a 2.1, and are now left wondering what your future looks like with a 2.2. The first thing to remember is that a 2.1 isn’t a ticket straight into a dream job. Neither, on the other hand, is a 2.2 a life-long barrier to it.  Getting a 2.2 might be a disappointment and it might mean having to re-think your options, but it doesn’t mean automatic exclusion from a fulfilling career.

You have options …

You may be surprised to discover that the vast majority of employers are flexible in the grades they require because they’re more concerned with your personality, skills and experience. Remember, academic grades are not everything and you can certainly compensate for them in other areas.

There will of course be several immediate options that aren’t open to you, but just from taking a quick look at this Target Jobs article, you’ll see there are a number of graduate schemes accepting 2.2 degrees. It could be that when you apply to these schemes, the rest

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Career choice – top tips from Careers Consultants

choose-the-right-direction-1536336_960_720Exams are over! But you might be wondering … what next? Firstly, don’t panic! We’ve heard almost 50% of UK undergraduates enter their final year of study not knowing what they want to do next… so you are not alone! 

We see lots of students at this time of year who don’t have a career in mind – remember you don’t need to have a plan to come and see us for a 1-2-1 appointment (see here).

To get you started in thinking about your options, we asked our Careers Consultants to share their top tips …

    • Work experience is invaluable to help you work out what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. Only a minority of students will secure big name internships whilst studying, but working in any environment will help you learn about work cultures, organisations and working life. You might discover that you actually hate working in an office or that you definitely want to work as part of a team.
    • If you know what you want to do for the next 40 years… fantastic & good luck!  However you don’t need to have your whole life mapped out… all you need to decide is what you want to do next.

Careers Consultant Caroline tells us … “When I graduated, I joined a big business to work in Marketing, but realised quickly that actually what fascinated me were the relationships between brands & their consumers and that there was a different job in a different business that would allow me to work on that all day long – until I actually worked inside a business, I had no idea a) what really motivated me and b) that such a perfect job actually existed.”

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