Author Archives: LeedsUniCareers

About LeedsUniCareers

The place to keep you up-to-date with the University of Leeds Careers Centre’s latest news and events. For more information, visit our website:

How I started my own business – Retrasafe

This week we have another SPARK business blog post. Leeds student Jumana talks about setting up her Retrasafe – an award winning ladder stabiliser business.

My Business Journey

downloadI started my business with my partner two years ago after my first year at Leeds. This was my first business venture and so had no clue what to do. My partner had a problem trying to use his ladders safely in many places so we decided to tackle the problem that many others also struggled with. We had designed a retractable ladder stabiliser and set up Retrasafe to make and sell the stabiliser systems. We launched the product a year ago and the product has won British Safety Industry Federation Commended Award for Product Innovation in 2016 and was a finalist for Association for Project Safety Health and Safety Innovation Award 2016. We have done exhibitions both here and abroad and have got a lot of interest around the product from small and big companies. I also got to visit the House of Commons and meet the Duke of York when I won the Duke of York Young Entrepreneurs Award 2017. We have now got a couple of different products that we are marketing and selling.

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3 Ways to Stand Out When Applying for Graduate Jobs


Photo from StockSnap

This week we’re discussing some simple steps you can take to stand out from the crowd when applying for graduate jobs/internships.

If you’re a soon-to-be graduate looking to give yourself nightmares, Stephen King has nothing on job hunting statistics. To snag any given graduate role, you’re going to have to fight off thirty-eight other applicants, and that number only rises if you’re applying for a particularly competitive industry or particularly prestigious employer.

Of course, some of these competitors may quickly rule themselves out of the running with low grades, sloppy professionalism or general incompetence. But many won’t. And while polishing your CV and honing your interview technique will certainly put you ahead of less dedicated job-seekers, it won’t elevate you above people as prepared as yourself.

Luckily, there are ways to stand out from even the most experienced, conscientious and competent crowd. Using the methods below won’t guarantee you a job, but it’ll definitely up your chances.

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In Leeds: Mock interview and CV advice from employers


This week’s blog post is a summary of Leeds student Hristina’s In Leeds Day experience focusing on what she’s learned from mock interviews and CV coaching sessions with Leeds graduate employers.

I recently participated in the ‘In Leeds’ day organised by Leeds City Council, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and the three universities in Leeds. The day was an amazing opportunity to meet students and employers from Leeds and has convinced me that Leeds is a great place to stay after graduation.

As a part of teams of 8, we had to come up with an innovative way for companies to retain talent in Leeds. We then had to present our idea to a panel of professionals from companies such as PwC, Sagar Wright, FDM Group, Sky Betting and Leeds City Council. Presenting in front of over 70 people was a daunting experience but I’m more than pleased to say it went well and I was lucky enough to be on the winning team.

As a prize, employers offered CV checks, mock interviews and coaching sessions to the winning team which was amazing of them to do.

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How I got my job – Financial services, Audit at Deloitte


Source: GotCredit

Economics and Politics student Tom talks about how he landed his position in Financial Services, Audit at Deloitte.

The Role

Working in Audit in the Financial Services industry means providing advice on financial reports of banks, insurance firms and investment managers. The purpose is to inform the senior management and other stakeholders on whether the information presented in their financial information is accurate and up to date.

Deciding a career path

After finishing second year I still didn’t have any great idea of what I wanted to do after graduating. I had been rejected by most of my internship applications for that penultimate summer so I wasn’t feeling hugely optimistic! I knew I wanted to work in finance and fortunately, I managed to secure an internship with a charity in their finance department over summer. During summer, I had a look at loads of different career paths and spoke to family and friends who worked in Finance to get an idea of what would suit me. Eventually I decided that I wanted to start my career in Professional services, this refers to roles in Audit, Tax and Consultancy. Compared to banks and investment management firms, professional services firms hire far more graduates and offer better training opportunities. The prospect of being paid to take a professional qualification was an attractive one, particularly with such a competitive job market in the finance industry; it also opens a lot more doors later in your career. Deloitte offers a huge amount of training and development opportunities in all their different service lines.

Why Audit and why Deloitte?

It goes without saying that Audit isn’t exactly the most exciting job in the world! Saying this though, in your first three years you spend a lot of time in college revising for your ACA. Having spoken to friends in the industry, everyone said the same thing, ‘get your professional qualifications and go from there’. Compared to other areas in professional services, audit provides you with a breadth knowledge about every aspect of a firm, something that will no doubt be invaluable for the rest of my career. Despite part of me dreading another three years of exams, I know it will be a completely new challenge which is an exciting prospect.

My key goal was to get a job at the ‘Big 4’, particularly Deloitte. I’d attended open evenings and career talks at a number of firms but the Deloitte evening in their Leeds office really sold it for me (I would recommend going- there’s free food and booze). On a serious note though, all the graduates I spoke to seemed down to earth and Deloitte are a huge global brand, offering so many opportunities to travel or move around internally within the business.

The application process

Like most grad jobs, the application process is long and quite tedious! Professional services firms all follow a similar structure. Personal info, followed by a few longer questions about you, your experience and why you want to work there. For Deloitte, I also had to do a personality test which assessed you on areas like determination, risk taking ability and accuracy. After this, you go through the psychometric tests (numerical, logical and verbal reasoning). I found these challenging but there are so many resources to give you a hand; I would recommend using and any packs that the Careers Service have.

Interviews and Presentation

Next up was the interview stages. Deloitte was the only ‘Big 4’ firm that didn’t require a telephone interview which made the process slightly easier. For my other applications, the telephone interviews were competency and strength based. I’d recommend focusing all your answers on the firms’ values and make the most of people’s comments on websites such as Wikijobs and Glassdoor, where people talk about their interview experiences. Most of the time you can pre-determine what questions come up. Whilst the interview was taking place, I would have flash cards on my wall with brief points on for all the different potential questions.

The next stage was the Assessment Centre, once again it was a different format to the other ‘Big 4’. I was given a case study of a few different investment options and had to pick which one I would go for, given a few different situations. I then had a one on one interview whereby I was questioned on the case study and had to explain a few calculations. After this, the interview was quite casual and followed a similar competency/ strength based format. The other Big 4 interviews are slightly more formal. For PWC, you first do a written exercise, then redo numerical and logical tests and finally do a group case study.

The last few stages move along a very quickly and I was soon asked to come in for the presentation and final interview stage. 5 days before the presentation I was given a topic that I needed to prepare. You are given a fair amount of detail for what they want from you. The best advice I’d give is to draw all your points back to why your topic is vital and relevant for a firm like Deloitte and make sure you show your knowledge of both general current affairs and any news that relates to the company. After the presentation, there was about 10 minutes of questions and then another round of strength based questions, mainly questions like ‘give me a time when you have demonstrated…’


Apply early!!! Applications are time consuming and grad/ intern spaces fill up very fast.

Don’t rush applications- get people to check them.

Attend open evenings and talks- you can sign up through the Careers Centre website. Mentioning that you made the effort to go to these events and dropping some names looks great on your applications and later interviews.

Utilise friends who work in the industry to give you tips on the process and the kind of people that the firm like to hire.

If you can, enrol in the Career Development module, I can’t emphasise how much it helped the application process.

Good luck!

Making applications? Don’t forget to check out the applications information on our website, or book an appointment for further application and interview guidance.

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All’s Fair in LUBS and Chores

Vincent pic

Business student, Hsiang-Hao Chen, offers some insight (and tips) into his experience of this year’s China Fair

The China Fair is a great opportunity for you to get exposed to potential employers and acquire experience interacting with them. Effectively and efficiently visiting booths and communicating with employer representatives is key to making the best use of the event. Here are some tactics for your reference. If you find them convincing enough, I would recommend you selectively using them, mixed with your own nature, and showing the unique aspects of you. Of course you want to behave properly but you also need to be different to stand out. When using these tactics, don’t forget to be yourself as well. Continue reading

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What is the recruitment process like at a startup or SME?


Considering working for a start-up or SME? Find out what their recruitment process is like in this week’s blog post.

Over the past few years, there’s been a noticeable increase in the number of university leavers pursuing a graduate job at a startup or SME (small or medium-sized enterprise); over 50% of graduates now say they would rather work at a small company than for one of the larger, more traditional graduate employers. And it’s easy to see why, given working for an SME can be a great way of kick-starting your career. You’ll be given the opportunity to develop a wide skill set, take on high levels of responsibility and get the chance to really have an impact on the business and its development.

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Why you should always target your CV


Career Rock‘ by Louise Smith

This week Beth Leslie from Inspiring Interns is talking about why you should target your CV to the job and company you’re applying for and gives some useful tips on how to go about this.

Let’s be honest, job hunting is not fun. The path to that fulfilling and high-paying career of your dreams is strewn with obstacles, from all the other applicants you have to compete against, to the fact that some job openings never get advertised.

With opportunities scarce and competition fierce, many graduates are trying to up the odds by applying to every role they come across. They bung across the same CV and cover letter, cross their fingers… and get rejected 99% of the time.

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