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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Graduate opportunities in the public sector

Want to make a real difference with your degree? Ever considered a a public sector graduate scheme?

Here are 5 top opportunities for graduates in the public sector:

The biggest graduate recruiter in the UK, Teach First places graduates in schools with a higher-than-average proportion of free school meals or in areas of deprivation. After a five-week training course you head straight out into the classroom, working with young people while completing your training. At the end of the scheme, you’ll have a fully-funded Postgraduate Diploma in Education and a salary starting at £20,909 in inner London, increasing to £28,660 in your second year.

Dealing with everything from finance to health, the Civil Service offers graduates a diverse range of roles within which to specialise, while supporting the delivery of high quality services for the public. You will develop a portfolio of experience across different placements in government departments and agencies. You’ll benefit from an accelerated career path to leadership roles, with a starting salary of £28,000.

For schemes working in local government, also check out the National Graduate Development Programme.

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Guest blog: Three non-obvious careers for science graduates

So, you’ve decided that research isn’t for you? That’s okay – there’s life beyond the lab! Here are three alternatives that will allow you to put your undergraduate and/or postgraduate science degree(s) to good use.

Patent attorney

If you’re interested in the law as well as science, you might want to think about becoming a patent attorney – an intellectual property law expert who helps clients (from individual inventors to big companies) obtain and maintain patents for their inventions.

In broad terms, patent attorneys:  

  • assess whether an invention meets the legal criteria for patentability
  • apply for patents from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO)
  • draft patent specifications, i.e. a detailed written description of the invention and the scope of the protections sought, submitted as part of the patent application process
  • defend or enforce the rights conferred by patents (alongside solicitors and barristers) once they have been granted

If that sounds like your cup of tea, you should start browsing the many training programmes offered by law firms. An undergraduate science degree is the only qualification you really need to be a candidate for one of these. According to allaboutlaw.com, around 40% of patent attorney trainees do not have an MSc, and around 70% don’t hold a PhD. So while a postgraduate degree certainly doesn’t hurt, it’s not necessary.

When you’ve secured a training contract, don’t expect to get your patent attorney wings for another 4-6 years. That’s typically how long it takes to satisfy the criteria for acceptance on to the Register of Patent Attorneys. While training is mostly on-the-job, it does involve external courses and examinations:

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QChallenge London – applications now open!

Are you interested in building your CV and professional networks by leading real change in a top London organisation?

QChallenge London is a brand new employability programme exclusive to QMUL undergraduates in partnership with Common Purpose, and applications are open now.

Successful candidates will work in a team to explore a major challenge for a London organisation with a focus on health, housing and transport.

This opportunity is ideal for students who are:

  • Interested in developing their skills in the working world
  • Keen to put their mind to a real life business challenge
  • Looking to network with leaders from business, government and NFPs

Participants will be offered the chance to present their findings to their organisation as well as receiving a £50 voucher for submitting a reflective essay.

QChallenge blog photo

The programme will run from 5 February – 13 April 2018. Applications are open until 3rd December for all QMUL undergraduates. Postgraduates may not apply.

Apply online here

If you’re looking for a unique challenge, which will not only expose you to an exciting range of networks and experiences but test your creative thinking, then apply for QChallenge London.

Hot topics for accounting candidates

pexels-photo-209224At our ‘Working in Accounting’ event earlier this week, Brexit was stated by the panel of accounting alumni and professionals as the hot topic to be discussed at interviews to impress employers.

Interested in a career in accounting? Read on for some more insights from the event …

  • QMUL alumnus Akram Rizvi, who works for Westminster Council as Finance Manager, explained the cost implications of Brexit were vast for the public sector, and the effects on immigration, labour market costs, and changes in laws could potentially lessen investment options in EU banks. QMUL SBM alumnus Roni added that Brexit costs at his employer Acorn will sky rocket.
  • We heard from QMUL alumna Sonia Akhtar, Associate at Grant Thornton, who told us that tax transparency is a hot topic in the tax world, as companies are now under pressure to publish their tax strategy and give full visibility. Sonia studied French & German, graduating in 2015, and her role involves preparing tax returns for her clients. Having languages and a study abroad year, as well as part time work and being a member of the rock climbing society, helped her applications stand out to employers.

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Preparing a CV for part-time work

Joe Cronin, Application Adviser

Now that Freshers Week is over, you might be thinking about taking on a part-time job while you study. These are increasingly valued by employers as evidence that candidates are familiar with a working environment and possess some of the skills (organisation, time-keeping, interpersonal skills) that are essential to working life.

Applications for these types of jobs are generally much more straightforward than for graduate careers, but there are still some important points worth bearing in mind. In particular, the CV you send to employers for part-time work should be different to the one you use for graduate applications. Here are a few tips for preparing a CV for part-time jobs:

  1. Reshuffle

When applying for graduate jobs, the Education section of your CV should come before Work Experience. However, when applying for part-time jobs, reversing this order can be a good idea so that you emphasize what the employer is more interested in.

  1. Emphasise skills

You don’t need to stress your academic achievements as heavily (so no lists of the modules you’ve taken, for example), but you do need to draw attention to the broader skills you’ve gained at school or university or through other jobs. If you haven’t done this before, think about what these could be: being a prefect at school shows evidence of responsibility, for example, while being a captain of a sports team shows leadership and organization skills.

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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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