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.”

Continue reading

Making the most of summer

blog-picWith exams now over, it’s time to start making plans for the summer. Read on for advice from Careers Consultant Andrea on how to make the most of the next few months …

  • Think carefully before applying for advertised work experience positions so you identify the best opportunities e.g. what’s your main motivator for getting work experience?

– Experience in a particular sector?
– A chance to develop a new skill?
– Getting an ‘in’ with a particular company?
– Money?
– Broadening your network?

  • If you know a specific small company you’d like to work with then think about a problem that they need solving and then think of a piece of work you could do for them which would help solve that problem and add value (e.g. competitor analysis, a specific social media marketing campaign, running an event). Approach them on LinkedIn and ask if you can meet for a coffee for 15 minutes to discuss your idea.

Continue reading

Career myths – let’s do some busting!

It’s confusing world out there, with so many mixed messages about careers and the world of work. Let’s look at some of the most commonly spoken career myths and discover the truth behind them.

“The earlier you decide on your choice of career, the better.”

Not necessarily. While it may appear to give you a ‘head start’ over others, that is no use if the choice isn’t the right one. What is most important is that you conduct thorough research to enable you to make the best choices for your future. Getting a range of exposure across a number of industries, whilst at university, may help you discover which is right for you. And don’t forget that these days it is common for people to change careers several times throughout their working lives, perhaps as their own needs and circumstances change.

“Your career should be directly relevant to your degree or university was a waste of time”.

Wrong! A degree isn’t a vocational training programme (although, in some cases, it may carry professional qualifications with it). It’s an academic qualification which shows your ability to learn whilst developing a whole host of useful transferable skills such as research, communication skills, critical thinking etc. Additionally, university provides a unique environment in which to bolster your transferable skills whilst also exploring different career options. This is why the majority of graduate employers do not specify a particular degree discipline from their applicants and prefer, instead, to draw from students from a diverse range of academic backgrounds.

“The best careers are those that pay the most.”

To some people, yes, to most people, no. There are always going to be people who are more money motivated than others and for these people a high salary is going to be important. But let’s not forget that there is usually a big pay-off for a fat pay cheque. These jobs often involve insanely long hours and a lot of responsibility and pressure. If that doesn’t drive you then think about what’s important to you – do you need a job that helps other people/has professional respect/is intellectually challenging? Aligning your career with your own set of work values should help ensure that you find the best job for you in the longer term.

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Charity fundraising – more than just shaking a bucket

It might surprise you but there’s actually a lot more to charity fundraising than you may think, and the term describes a wide range of incredibly important roles in charitable organisations.

So what roles are available?

A typical fundraising team might be made up of the following:

Community fundraising – This team works with a range of individuals, groups and organisations in the community, encouraging them to raise funds in their local area. This could include schools, places of worship, small businesses and local groups. A Community Fundraiser builds networks and relationships to increase the profile of the charity, whilst raising vital funds.

Corporate fundraising – Corporate fundraisers work with large national and often international companies to raise large sums of money for their charity. This is often in the form of ‘charity of the year’ partnerships and, depending on the size of the charity, these pots of money can be anything from hundreds up to £1million+. These roles involve

Continue reading

Guest blog: MSc Engineering conversion courses at the University of Exeter

You don’t need to have studied Engineering to begin a career as a professional engineer

Why should I consider an engineering conversion course?

An engineering conversion course can be a great way to learn new skills, build on your existing knowledge and increase your employability. In an ever competitive job market, the demand for engineers only continues to rise. Employers are placing increasing value on graduates with well-rounded professional skill-sets and a broader knowledge base – gained from transferring from a different undergraduate specialism. All of this, plus the introduction from 2016 of postgraduate student loans of up to £10,000, make now a great time to consider a career in engineering.

How are the programmes delivered?

The programmes are delivered in short, intensive teaching blocks, enabling you to quickly build new knowledge in each individual area before moving on to the next. Some teaching takes place in conjunction with the University’s Business School. The structure of the courses mean that some modules are taught in conjunction with other programmes, enabling you to network with students from other specialisms and build professional contacts for the future.

What career opportunities are available following an Engineering conversion course?

Continue reading

Prepare for the Fair

The Business & Finance Fair is for students who are looking to discover more information about a career in business and finance. The fair is designed to showcase the range of opportunities that are available in this industry, including work experience, internships and graduate opportunities.

Business & Finance Fair, Tuesday 11th October, 5-7pm, The Octagon.

To make the most out of the evening, read on for our 3 top tips on preparing for the fair …

  1. Research

Take a look at the list of employers who are attending (below) – this will help you prioritise who you want to talk with.

eeee

Keep an open mind as opportunities can come from the least expected places and you could end up speaking to people from organisations that you might not have thought about before. Be sure to research as much as you can about the companies you really want to meet. You will impress them by knowing who they are and what they are about. When researching employers you can find out about the company itself from their website and social media pages, but also catch up on the latest news and current affairs, particularly any stories that might be relevant to the employer. Showing your commercial awareness this way will help you to stand out more in the recruiter’s memory.

Continue reading