Using LinkedIn to develop your network – 4 templates to get you started

linkedin-911794_960_720LinkedIn is an amazing resource. It gives you access to the career history of millions of people around the world, many of whom have similar backgrounds or interests to you. It also makes real the possibility of actually communicating with these people to find out more about what they do now and their career journeys.

All that said, it can be scary and potentially awkward introducing yourself to people you don’t know online.

To help you get started here are 4 easy templates which you can adapt to reach out to people on LinkedIn or via email.

The key principles here are:

  1. Be clear what you’re asking
  2. Get straight to the point

People don’t owe you anything and people are busy but if you can be specific and gracious in your approach there are a lot of people who are happy to oblige (it’s a nice feeling to get asked for your expert opinion).

  1. Contacting Queen Mary alumni

Finding people on LinkedIn who studied the same thing as you (or were in the same clubs/societies as you) is a great basis upon which to strike up a conversation with someone. You automatically have something very concrete in common. So use that to your advantage as shown in this template:

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10 myths about graduate schemes

1.Graduate schemes are the most common form of graduate employment.

False – It’s been suggested that around 10% of graduate employment is in graduate schemes. Most are employed in graduate jobs in companies that do not offer graduate schemes.

2. Graduate schemes are a kind of training, rather than a job.

False – although a lot of graduate schemes have some training courses or induction processes, they are jobs – you will have responsibilities and tasks to do in return for the salary you earn, and will be expected to contribute to the company from day one.

3. Getting into a graduate scheme is easy because they take a lot of applicants in one go.

False – although most graduate schemes do take more than one applicant in each recruitment round, the high number of applicants for graduate schemes means that the selection process is very tough. Companies may regularly have over 1000 applicants for their graduate schemes, and will usually select the best through a lengthy recruitment process which may include online reasoning tests, application forms, video interviews and assessment centres.

4. Once you are on a graduate scheme, you are on a career path for life and don’t need to make any more major career decisions.

False – a lot of graduates who start with a company on their graduate scheme will choose to move to another company and/or change jobs within five years of starting their job. Even if you stay within the same company, you will continuously need to make career decisions as to what departments you work in, how much responsibility to take on, and whether you want to apply for promotions.

5. Graduate schemes are only for the private sector.

False – public, not-for-profit organisations such as the NHS, Metropolitan Police or Teach First also offer graduate schemes.

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How and why to get work experience

So why is work experience so important?

  • It means you can earn money during your studies
  • You’ll gain skills valued by future employers (e.g. commercial awareness, initiative, team work)
  • You can build relevant experience for your future career
  • You’ll find out what an industry / job role is like in reality
  • It helps to build your network / contacts

What can I do?

It can be challenging to find part-time work that is linked to your degree or the sector you would like to work in after graduation. Many students combine their part time job with some volunteering and work experience (e.g. internships and work shadowing) to earn money as well as gain valuable relevant work experience.

For a wide range of part-time, internship and work experience vacancies visit careers.qmul.ac.uk/jobs

Roles on campus and in the local area

There are many part-time opportunities on campus, from Student Ambassadors and Library Shelvers, to residential, café, and bar staff. See the work experience hub to explore the variety of ways (paid and voluntary) you can develop your experience on campus. For jobs within the Student’s Union see: www.qmsu.org/jobs/

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International Job Search Guides

Careers & Enterprise have produced five country-specific job search guides for international students from China, Malaysia, India, Pakistan and Russia. You will be able to find all the important aspects of job hunting in these countries, including how to market your QMUL degree to overseas employers, how to start your job search and what to include in your applications.

You can also find more information for international students on the Careers & Enterprise QMPlus page.

The Basics: Job Hunting

Whether you’re trying to find part-time work, looking for an internship or getting a position after graduation, job hunting can be a bit daunting. But never fear! We’re here to help.

What is job hunting?

Ultimately we meaning finding work in whatever form – full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary, internships, work experience etc. Learn to job hunt effectively for one kind of work (say a part-time job) and you will be able to use the same skills for other types (when you are then looking for a job after graduation, for example).

You may also think that we mean looking at vacancy websites – but there’s so much more to job hunting than that. It’s about finding work opportunities wherever they might be.

Where do I start?

Know what you want to do?

Then you are effectively doing a targeted, specific job hunt. You need to develop your industry understanding (known as commercial awareness)- find out as much as you can about how the industry works, the key companies (big and small) and how hiring is generally done. For example, jobs in finance are usually advertised on company websites and jobs boards, whereas finding work in the film industry is more common through networking and word-of-mouth.

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Identifying fake jobs and scams

Just graduated and looking for a job? Unfortunately, according to Saferjobs, a joint industry and law enforcement organisation which aims to tackle recruitment fraud, “job scams are on the rise and in the last two years we have witnessed a 300% rise in recruitment related fraud and misconduct.”

It’s important to be aware of what to look out for, to avoid becoming a victim. If a job is offering you the opportunity to earn money quickly, without requiring any skills and perhaps not even inviting you to interview, it could well be a scam. Legitimate employers will never ask you to send them money for set up costs or to make use of your bank account. Looking at a company website can help you decide whether the employer is genuine. Does it look professional and up to date? Do they have professional email addresses (rather than a Hotmail or Gmail account) and do they provide details of their office address and phone number?

get-me-out-1605906_960_720Be suspicious if you see the following in a job advert:

  • Personal email addresses, e.g. xyzrecruitment@hotmail.com
  • Regular spelling and grammar mistakes, which could indicate poor translation
  • Unrealistic salaries (if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!)
  • A job offer without an interview
  • Stating ‘No Experience Necessary’ as a job title
  • Premium rate phone numbers for interviews
  • Illegitimate company names and web addresses (Google them to see if you can find any information online)
  • Extortionate DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) costs (anything over £75 should be queried), or requesting a candidate to pay for a CRB check (Criminal Records Bureau), which no longer exists

Other useful sources of help: Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre & Citizens Advice Bureau

If you would like to book an appointment in relation to any of the topics above please see http://www.careers.qmul.ac.uk/contact/book/ to book an appointment or for further information visit the Careers & Enterprise Centre in Queens’ WG3, Mile End campus.

Apply now for 2018 Graduate Schemes

This is a good opportunity to remind you that many large graduate programmes conclude their recruitment by the end of the autumn term. If you think you might want to apply for one of these schemes make sure you start looking now! Many finance positions are already open and fill quickly. The benefit for you is that you can complete the recruitment process before you get too far into your final year – so you can concentrate on your exams rather than your job hunt.

Banks who have opened up their graduate scheme applications include Citi, Goldman Sachs and Credit SuisseFor those of you thinking about applying to Investment Banking internships for summer 2018, please note that some Banks have already started accepting applications – including Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse.

If you need some support in your job search, or with applications and interview practice, please do make use of the Careers & Enterprise Centre as soon as you can. During the first few weeks of the autumn term we will be extremely busy with appointments, so the more you can do over the summer the better!

Also don’t forget we have a huge range of events taking place in the autumn term where you can meet lots of employers with open positions. These events will be announced on our website before the start of the new term.

In the meantime take a look at careers.qmul.ac.uk for further resources, and our vacancy site www.careers.qmul.ac.uk/jobs for opportunities.