In June 2017 Abigail Heffer graduated from the University of Leeds with a 2:1 in BSc Biological Sciences (Ind), she now works at ApotheCom as a Senior Account Executive. Abigail secured a placement year at Roche during her studies- with CV support from the Careers Centre. Follow Abigail’s journey from University of Leeds student to the rewarding, dynamic, fast paced world of Medical Communications.
Applying for a placement year
From relatively early on in my degree, I knew a lab-based career wouldn’t be for me. I wanted the buzz of an office, and to have a role that necessitated communicating with a wide range of different people and personalities. An office-based role in the pharmaceutical industry seemed like it might be a good fit, and so at the beginning of my second year at University I applied for industrial placements with the major players – Pfizer; GSK; AstraZeneca; Johnson & Johnson – but with no success.
Careers Centre support
I hadn’t previously considered visiting the University Careers Centre, but as something in my applications wasn’t hitting the mark, I turned to them for support. The Career Advisers were incredibly helpful, making some key tweaks to my CV and covering letters that would help me stand out from other candidates. Multiple applications and many mock interviews later, I was very happy to find out that I had been offered a placement with Roche in their Clinical Operations department, Welwyn Garden City.
University of Leeds English & Philosophy graduate Annie Moss completed her degree studies in 2018, she now works for Xpertise Recruitment. Annie’s placement year in a recruitment consultancy helped her to understand that this fast paced challenging, rewarding profession was for her. Here she offers insight and advice on how it could be the right career for you.
How I got into Recruitment
I graduated in 2018 from Leeds University with an industrial degree in English and Philosophy, then I went straight into recruitment. Possibly not the most obvious choice considering my degree background, but definitely the right one for me.
I got into recruitment when I was researching industries for my placement year. I didn’t know anything about recruitment at this stage and was looking at roles in marketing, supply-chain, HR, (you name it, I applied for it)! Then I came across recruitment and after spending one day in the office to have a look round, I realised that it was a really good fit for me.
Why a career in recruitment?
Because recruitment is a fast-paced, lucrative, challenging profession. In the words of my manager, “if you want to progress in your career and achieve your financial goals quickly, then recruitment is a great industry to be in.”
Lucy Bolland graduated in 2017 in MA Advertising and Marketing from the University of Leeds. Currently an Outreach SEO & PR Specialist at Hub MDP she also has her own blog Life of Luce. Before moving to Leeds to study she completed a BA in Public Relations at the University of Sunderland.
My first graduate job
In September 2017, roughly two hours after handing in my dissertation, I bagged myself a role as a Marketing Assistant at a designer ladieswear shop in Sheffield. I ultimately wanted to stay in Leeds, but with huge competition from other graduates and no real digital experience other than my own blog and social media channels, I began to realise how I may have to make personal sacrifices at this early point in my career.
In my first role since graduating from my masters, I discovered more about a website’s CMS (Content Management System). I’d very much recommend setting up a blog before graduating, as I already knew the basics of navigating a websites backend which really helped me with my first role. I also learnt the basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), which would then lead me into my next role.
This article was guest written by Ryan Bell, who works for Delta Simons and is a graduate in Physical Geography.
My role as a Graduate GIS¹ Consultant involves establishing and developing GIS capabilities for Delta-Simons Environmental Consultancy. To provide some context, this involves a full set-up of a functioning system to introduce GIS as a service within the company, which includes aspects such as: identifying the most suitable system, identifying employee data requirements, database management, and template creation. Other responsibilities include GIS maintenance, solving of technical queries, providing training to employees, conducting analysis for technical reports, and developing efficiencies whilst maintaining business-as-usual activities. As the GIS workload fluctuates during its introductory phase, my role also provides opportunity to gain exposure to the range of environmental disciplines that Delta-Simons specialise in, such as flood risk and ecology.
Securing the role
The experiences which have helped me to secure the role at Delta-Simons began with the decision to extend my degree with an industrial placement. Initially, I wasn’t convinced that it would be worthwhile to invest a year of my time in a field that I may not be interested in.
This guest post was written by Jamie Costello, a Business & Communications student based in Manchester, drawing on experience working alongside Manchester solicitors and business law specialists Gorvins. As a freelance writer, Jamie writes on topics ranging from employment to strategy planning for entrepreneurs. Jamie can be found on Twitter at @Jamie88Costello.
Some new jobs will provide you with an employee handbook. The majority of the time it tends to be the larger businesses that publish these to their staff, but if you happen to be provided one, it’s good to know what you should be looking out for to protect yourself in your role. Here’s an outline of what you should be wary of.
Standard of Conduct
When you first step into a place of work, your main aim is to remain professional and conduct yourself appropriately. On occasion, some staff members can become laid back with their attitude within the working environment. For example, dress codes are provided as a guide on what attire is deemed appropriate in the workplace. In some cases your colleagues may adjust their attire for their own comfort, such as some staff choosing to wear all black trainers rather than shoes that would otherwise hurt their feet. If this is the case, you may be inclined to do the same, but be sure that the attire you choose is within reason. Read thoroughly through the rest of the conduct section so you’re aware of how you should conduct yourself at work, as this discusses disciplinary action and related policies. Serious breaches of conduct can escalate, with some cases becoming legal matters.
This blog post was written by POLIS student Sam Greet about his experience on the module Career Planning for POLIS Students.
When I was looking at my module choices for second semester, I wasn’t sure I had made the right choices back in September. My first lecture for one of my choices really didn’t suit me and I knew I had to think of something else to move onto, but amongst the array of discovery and optional modules I really struggled to narrow down exactly onto something I wanted to do.
Finding the right module
A module that I had originally glanced over (but not given much thought to) was the Career Planning for POLIS Students module. When it was getting closer to deadline for changing modules, I still had yet to find anything that really spoke to me from the traditional module list and I revisited the careers module in more depth. What I found was a comprehensive programme of teaching, with extended seminar sessions and no lectures that looked to develop all manner of skills and employability. However, I remained unsure about what this would really amount to in practice.
I’ll admit that I was at first concerned with academic rigour, as I very much enjoyed traditional subjects and essays, and was performing well with these. I decided to seek out lecturers and staff members to discuss the POLIS Careers module, and I was immediately reassured of the module’s immense value. Ultimately this convinced me to take the plunge and switch – and I can say that this was one of the best decisions I have made in my second semester.
This piece was written by Sherry Zhang, who studies MSc Management Consulting at Leeds University Business School.
Last year, I attended an assessment day at one of the ‘The Big Four’ (the four largest professional services companies offering audit, assurance, taxation, consulting, advisory, actuarial, corporate finance and legal services). The single most important thing I learnt from this experience is that if you want to perform well at an assessment centre, good preparation is necessary.
Here is an account of my experience and some more tips to share with you:
What is an Assessment Centre?
It refers to a combination of tasks and activities that test if you are the right person for the advertised role. It provides an opportunity to showcase relevant skills through exercises such as a group discussion; written assignment; presentation and face-to-face interview. Employers’ generally have a set of competencies and a benchmark to assess your performance against.