Category Archives: Advice

Advice on all things career related from a range of people, including careers staff, students & graduates, external organisations and other professionals.

Effective remote working during the Covid-19 global pandemic



Matt Wheeler and Sam Taylor University of Leeds Graphic & Communication Design graduates founded in 2019, a creative and digital design studio based in Leeds city centre- with the help of Spark, the University’s business start up support team.

Under lockdown we hear how Matt and Sam made the change to working effectively from the comfort of their own homes.


We became good friends during a final year brief for our degree, Graphic & Communication Design at the University of Leeds. With joint aspirations of combining digital design practice with strong business values, was born.

We now collaborate in a range of sectors from healthcare to construction, delivering progressive digital design solutions to help businesses thrive on an international scale.

Help from Spark

With the help from the University’s Spark team, we’ve been able to access business mentors, funding and facilities which have given us an incredible platform to build on. Spark has given us a great pool of contacts, from direct mentors to everyday friendships, which have been pivotal in the start-up phase of the business.

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How to survive and succeed in a new online role

cookie-the-pom-SNf-hZz6zOY-unsplashJust as you got used to and mastered studying remotely online, many of you will be embarking on new careers and roles from home. In this blog, Kate Wortley, Frontline Careers Team member, and Suzie Bullock, Frontline Careers Team Leader, outline how to survive and succeed when joining an organisation virtually.

Working from home can be tricky, the main thing to remember is you are not alone in this. The coronavirus is presenting new and unique challenges across the world. Embarking on external roles and virtual internships may seem daunting, but we have outlined a few top tips for you to consider on your journey to embracing new ideas and change.

1. Be kind to yourself

Starting a new job or role can be stressful at the best of times, let alone when joining an organisation remotely. Here are some ideas for you to consider when starting out.

  • Focus on all your good qualities. It’s too easy to be self-critical. Allow yourself to feel positive. You have a lot to offer.
  • Take regular screen breaks and move around your work area – a walk, a jog, a dance around the kitchen! Exercise is known to release “feel-good” chemicals (endorphins) and we all want those in our lives!
  • Remember to nourish your brain and your body – shopping may be more difficult and comfort food may be calling but try to maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. Your immune system needs you!

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Inspiration from innovation


Photo: Yamchild, Flickr

Inspiration can come from many areas of life, for Marc Steward, Careers Consultant at the University of Leeds music is his passion and the recent passing of Florian Schneider got him thinking about Kraftwerk the trailblazing band from Germany.

Marc outlines how these pioneers have had a massive influence on the music scene and in this time of change-and the ‘new normal’- how innovation and taking a chance can help you.

Now, I have a real issue when “celebrities” are picked out for obituaries by terrestrial news channels or social media feeds at a time when we are losing so many people to the terrible Covid-19 virus. I feel like it belittles the lives of people who, in their own ways, have contributed a great deal to the people they live and work with.

After all, much of my work is explaining to students what great experiences and skills they have and how to articulate these for application forms, CVs and mock interviews. It is not just “celebrities” who are “successful”. So, why break my own “rule” for this blog? And for who?!

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Virtual Volunteering: How to make a difference from your own home


Leeds volunteering

Social distancing has meant almost all face to face volunteering has been suspended.  Jo Hargreaves from the University of Leeds Volunteering Team outlines how you can continue to make a difference through virtual volunteering.

Given the choice, up until the middle of March if you’d been asked whether you’d prefer to volunteer in person or online most of us would have chosen in person.

One of the main motivations to volunteer is that personal connection: meeting new people, going to new places and experiencing making a difference in person.

But due to our ongoing battle with COVID-19 we’re now living our lives with social distancing at the core and almost all face to face volunteering is suspended.

Whilst we’re all staying at home how can you continue to make a difference?

There are many virtual volunteering roles to choose from and the Volunteering Team have found a few which we thought were both interesting and will also add skills and experience to your CV at a time when it’s not so easy to do this in traditional ways.

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My summer research placements were cancelled- what I did next…

Sakina Amin, a second-year Biological Sciences student at the University of Leeds lost two exciting summer research placements at the University of Cambridge due to Covid-19. Since then, she has been engaging in online courses, working on her mental health and researching her academic areas of interest.

The cancellation of my placements made me feel really disappointed as I had worked hard to achieve them. However, I am motivated to spend  summer pursuing my research interests in molecular biology and developing computing skills as I know they will be useful in my degree studies and beyond.

After my undergraduate studies, I plan on pursuing a PhD and entering academia, so summer research experience would have benefited me tremendously. However, during these uncertain times, I have realised the importance of mental health and optimising available resources to make the most out of the situation and remain positive.

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Resilience and adaptability in changing times

Road change ahead

In these constantly changing times how are we adapting?  Marc Steward, Careers Consultant gives his thoughts on the challenges faced by students for personal and professional development in these uncertain times and the support the University continues to offer.

Key skills in 2020

In what seems a lifetime ago, but was only semester one of this current academic year, I often quoted a TARGETjobs article to students in my workshops, teaching classes and guidance appointments, about what TARGETjobs predicted the key skills for 2020 would be. Included in this list were adaptability and the need to understand transferable skills.

These skills were key back then in an ever-changing world of work, dictated to by the speed of change brought about by technology. Move forward to the present day and never have those skills looked more pertinent and valuable.

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Class of 2020: Faculty of Biological Sciences finalists – what are my options?

Explore your career and study options as an FBS final year student with the help of Alison Kusinska, Employability Assistant in the Faculty of Biological Sciences.

Current picture

Research so far under lockdown shows graduate hiring is down but has not ceased. The full effects are still uncertain in many areas. Effects on big graduate recruiters may be less, however, already competitive recruitment processes may be difficult to conquer. You may find opportunities in smaller companies more accessible and somewhere you are able to grow in confidence and gain experience.

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An introduction to virtual internships

Virtual internship

You may have heard of them- but what exactly are virtual internships and how do you find them?   

If you’re feeling in the dark about virtual internships this blog compiled by University of Leeds colleagues Suzie Bullock, Careers Adviser Team Leader and Alison Kusinska, Employability Assistant is a great starting point to boost your understanding.

We know the internship, placement and recruitment world has changed significantly over the last few weeks, and this may have altered or paused your plans to undertake a placement this summer and beyond. At a time when it may feel like the world is coming to a bit of a stand-still due to COVID-19, it is important to remember that many organisations are continuing to recruit, albeit slightly differently.

After an initial pause in recruitment, many internship and placement programmes are still planned to go ahead this year in the form of a virtual internship or remote working opportunity. Read on to find out more about virtual internships, how they can boost your employability and where you can begin your search for your next opportunity.

What is a virtual internship?

A virtual internship is a fixed period of online work experience (project work/tasks) or work-based training offered by an organisation lasting typically anywhere between a week and three months but could be less than a day. You should have regular meetings and support from the organisation.

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Commercial Awareness and COVID-19

person writing on notebook
Photo by Julia M Cameron on

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the UK and global economy meaning major shifts across industry and the labour market. Jade Rogan, Careers Consultant at University of Leeds has some tips on how you can keep commercially aware to inform your career planning in these uncertain times.

There are a few different words I could use to describe the current situation COVID-19 has put us all in. Most of which I couldn’t write here. When we look at the reports of the economic impact of COVID-19 we see buzz words, ‘Economic crisis’, ‘economic fallout’, ‘recession’ bandied about by the media.

Some recent news headlines from the BBC include ‘Chancellor warns of ‘tough times’ for UK economy’, ‘South Asia faces worst economic growth in 40 years’, and, to add insult to injury, ‘’Up to 50m’ pints going to waste in empty pubs’. It’s intimidating and it’s uncertain.  No one knows for sure what will happen in the next week, three months or in twelve months time.

But the wheels keep turning for students and graduates still looking for work experience, graduate roles or to pursue further study. So amongst all of the uncertainty and the media’s worrying headlines, how can you keep up to date and stay commercially aware? Why is this more important than ever? And how can you use this to your advantage when making applications or thinking about your career plans?

We’ve got some ideas, take a look…

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Class of 2020: How might COVID-19 affect my life post-graduation?

During this challenging time, you may be feeling uncertain about what life after graduation holds. In this piece, Aaliyah Farr, Employability and Progression Assistant, reflects on recruitment trends and how you can prepare for your future.

With uncertain times ahead, this graduation season seems challenging. The idea of entering the working world with the rising anxiety surrounding COVID-19 may have left you feeling slightly lost and concerned about how to navigate the graduate job hunt.

Here are a few tips to get you thinking about how you can prepare for your next steps:

Feeling lost or demotivated?

Start by reflecting on your strengths and brainstorming your skills. Do some research to explore areas you might be interested in – Prospects and Bright Network are good starting points. You can also refer to the LeedsforLifeskillsmap- this is a useful platform that can help you to articulate your unique skillset.

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