Pablo Costa is a Careers Adviser here at the University of Leeds. Prior to working in HE he was a graduate recruiter running assessment centres- giving him an insider view of what it takes to succeed. Around 89% of major graduate employers use assessment centres to evaluate graduate candidates (Institute of Student Employers, 2018), so, it is crucial to understand the variety of activities you may face in an assessment centre.
One common example is presenting yourself to a panel of recruiters. Here are Pablo’s tips on how to approach this exercise.
Assessment Centre: Presenting Yourself
It’s the day of your assessment centre and they have asked you to talk about yourself for 5 minutes in front of a panel of assessors.
If you’re like most people, talking about yourself in front of an audience isn’t the easiest thing to do. But, maybe you like it. If so, that’s great. If you don’t, then we need to look at ways to make this a more comfortable experience.
Why have they asked me to do this?
Well, it’s to see how well you tailor communication and engage with an audience (if they hire you for the role).
OK, what do you mean by tailoring communication?
This would mean understanding what your future colleagues and/or clients want to hear when you are delivering information to them. In other words, communicating what they want to hear and not rambling, waffling or going off-subject.
So you’ve loved your time here, want to stay but don’t know what to do? The health sector in Leeds is thriving and, spoiler alert, there are plenty of roles where you don’t need a medical or science degree. In this blog, Careers Adviser, Suzie Bullock, explores options in the health sector in Leeds for graduates from non-science subjects.
Healthy outlook for the city
Leeds is home to some big players in the healthcare sector, including National Health Service (NHS) Trust hospitals, NHS England and NHS Digital.
Leeds has the third largest number of healthcare jobs outside London, with a turnover of £4.3 billion and employing around 13,000 people.
Moreover, Leeds City Council (LCC) aims to become the best city for health and wellbeing, where the poorest people improve their health the fastest. Consequently, the council is actively working to attract investment and the city is a major hub for health innovation.
Hopefully you’ve managed to find us around campus over the last couple of months of the Class of 2019 campaign, and heard about how you can continue to access all of our services after graduation. But what can you access, and more importantly how?
So, what can I access?
The short answer is, everything! There’s nothing that you’ve had access to as a student here that you won’t be able to get as a graduate. So whether it’s talking though career options and receiving application advice in appointments, attending career events and fairs, or browsing online graduate-level vacancies, we’re still here for you. Sounds good!
What do I need to do?
You’ll need to register as a graduate on our online system MyCareer, but it doesn’t take more than a minute! To do this, go to the login screen of MyCareer as usual. Up to your graduation you’ll be able to login to the system as usual using your single sign-in on the student login tab.
To use the system after you graduate you just need to select “Graduate login and registration”
Register as a new user with a personal email address, and within a couple of working days you’ll be able to use the system as before. You can sign up as a graduate at any point, including before graduation!
Is there anything else I should know about?
Whilst you can continue to access to MyCareer, your university email address will be closed around the time of your graduation, so it’s worth making sure you retrieve anything you need from there over the next couple of weeks before it’s too late!
You’ll also have access to the Leeds Network for 5 years after graduation, this is an online database of Leeds Alumni who have provided career profiles or have agreed to answer career-related questions. To access the Leeds Network you will need to use your old student (not graduate) login username and password.
Read more about what is available to you as a member of the University of Leeds Class of 2019
Luke Bird completed his MA Communication & Media Studies at the University of Leeds in 2018, after a number of false starts he began to realise he was making some fundamental mistakes with his approach to jobsearch. Read how his more targeted approach led to him securing a graduate job.
My overriding feelings of being a graduate without employment were frustration and disappointment, but it is worth noting that for many graduates this is par for the course. Some of the reasons for these feelings were out of my control, in that I was eager to secure employment in a field where there just weren’t many jobs in Leeds, but along the way I realised most of the reasons were in my control.
Detail is everything
Firstly, it is important to remember that detail is everything when applying for a graduate job. Most big companies receive hundreds if not thousands of applications every year, and in order to stand out you must pay attention to detail. After three months of taking the scattergun approach to job searching, where I had been sending my CV out left, right and centre through jobsites without much research about the companies I was applying for, I realised the CV I had uploaded to loads of jobsites made no sense. Because I hadn’t converted the document into a PDF, when I uploaded it online every single part of my CV had been jumbled into a nonsensical, seven page document that read more like code than a piece of work I had spent hours on.
Lewis Bailey studied Religion, Politics & Society at the University of Leeds, graduating in 2018.
With a love for Leeds but not many ideas of what to do next he pursued jobs where he could earn big money, however the reality of these roles led him in a different direction.
When I finished university my frame of mind was probably very similar to a lot of yours. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to stay in Leeds and carry on living with friends, and I wanted enough money to live comfortably by paying all my bills, but also being able to carry on having fun outside of work.
Money, money, money…
I’d done well in my social sciences degree, so I felt confident I could secure any entry level job I applied for in no time. I quickly found out that this wasn’t necessarily the case, and I learned I had to tune in better to what my prospective employers were looking for, which wasn’t simply a good grade on paper and a confident interview.
My primary motivation when applying for jobs was money, but this quickly changed. I applied for numerous roles in a sector which I had no interest in whatsoever, just because the salary was high and I had the chance to earn uncapped commission. I’ve always been told I have the gift of the gab, so I figured I could fake it ‘til I make it just to make a bit of extra coin. The feedback for every interview I did- and I did a lot of interviews- was almost identical. I was confident and approachable with great people skills, but the passion for the business just wasn’t there and employers were concerned I’d leave after a few months.
University of Leeds 2018 Sociology graduate Alice Whapples explains how her part time jobs have given her a wealth of transferable skills. She has some tips on how to identify vital employability skills you have gained from work and study.
Alice is currently an Employment and Progression Assistant at the University of Leeds Careers Centre giving careers support to our Arts, Humanities and Cultures undergraduates.
I often hear people talking about trying to ‘bulk up’ their CV with relevant work experience, or worrying that they do not have enough experiences to talk about in interviews. When I started looking at employment I was exactly the same.
Identifying your skills
Employers are increasingly looking at an applicant’s awareness of the skills they currently possess and an ability to demonstrate them in relation to the job brief. This can seem daunting, especially when you feel like you haven’t got enough experience of the working environment. However, many students don’t realise that skills they have gained through part-time work and during projects at university are transferable for loads of jobs within the graduate labour market.
Kelsie Root graduated with a Masters in History of Health, Medicine & Society at the University of Leeds in December 2018, having put off jobsearch until completing her studies she found it difficult to find the right job with the right organisation straight away. Read how Kelsie learnt the importance of understanding what she could bring to an employer and finding a role that fitted with her skills, motivations and values.
Focusing on my studies
When I graduated in December, I was excited, relieved and deeply anxious. I had spent the year with my nose to the grindstone working on my MA and the various side jobs that paid the bills during the previous year. The demands of MA study and juggling paid work made it so difficult to spend time finding opportunities, drafting applications and getting feedback that eventually I gave in and decided I would start looking for a full-time job after I had handed in my dissertation. This felt like a good idea, and I now think it was the right choice for me at the time. Once I’d finished, however, I immediately felt like it had been a mistake. I had no idea what I was going to do next.
Applying for any job…my misplaced efforts
I quickly realised my first step had to be figuring out how to showcase my skills. Using the resources from the Careers Centre website I looked over all my work experience to date and put together a skills-based CV. This helped me to match my skills to job descriptions and work out what I could do. I started applying to any job that matched my skills-based CV and secured a variety of interviews. As soon as I started going to interviews, it became clear that I was doing something wrong. I just wasn’t gelling with the teams, the places or the work itself. I soon became stressed, questioning how I could keep motivated when all my efforts seemed to be misplaced.