Category Archives: Advice

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

Class of 2018: Researching for interviews

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This piece was written for Class of 2018 Month by Pablo Costa, a Careers Adviser at the University of Leeds Careers Centre.

As a former recruiter, I was pretty sure an interview candidate would know what skills we would talk about during an interview. After all, we highlighted them on the advert. But I wanted to see the motivation that they had for joining the organisation in the first place. Why?

Well, many recruiters worry that candidates have just applied because they think “the more I apply to, the more chance I have, right?” So how can you show motivation in an interview using research?

A really easy way is to follow the company via social media. Most organisations have LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook accounts, and you can follow them for the most recent updates. You can research the organisation’s website, but what information should you gather? A good idea would be to fully understand who they are, their sector, and any recent news, but for more in-depth points to cover in your research, read on!

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Class of 2018: Can you really plan your career?

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This piece was written for Class of 2018 Month by Lisa Carr, a Careers Consultant at the University of Leeds Careers Centre.

We are taught from an early age that successful careers are the result of planning. Parents and teachers ask us what we want to be when we grow up. Employers ask us about our 10 year career ambitions in interviews.

Yet in this fast-changing age of the gig economy, portfolio careers, and an increasingly AI-driven and globalised world, how realistic is it for anyone to really plan their career?

Should you even try?

The answer is yes – and no.

The traditional approach to career planning is analyse-and-implement. You work out your motivations and interests (using something like prospects planner), find out which jobs match, and then apply to an advertised vacancy. This approach still works well if you like planning ahead, want to commit to a long term career path and are applying for sectors which recruit well in advance, such as banking, teaching or law.

But not everyone wants to commit to a long-term career path. Often, you don’t know what you like doing until you are actually doing it anyway. In real life, most people’s careers unfold rather than being actively planned.

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Class of 2018: Getting the most out of the ‘hidden job market’

 

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This piece was written for Class of 2018 Month by Alex Proctor, a Careers Adviser at the University of Leeds Careers Centre.

“It’s not what you know, but who you know.” It’s a common phrase; a cliché even, but it’s one all graduates should bear in mind when undertaking their job search. The importance of contacts in any industry shouldn’t be understated, because the ‘hidden job market’ does exist.

My success story

I was fortunate enough to benefit from the hidden job market when trying to break into the world of Careers Advice and Guidance. While on a placement within the sector, I put time into developing professional relationships with two senior managers outside of my team. As a result, they went on to offer me a further unadvertised role.

Admittedly I wasn’t an expert for this particular job, and needed a lot of training to undertake the day-to-day responsibilities, but by demonstrating my networking abilities, enthusiasm for the sector and transferable skills, I managed to crack the hidden job market. Without working on my professional contacts, I might not have been fortunate enough to gain this experience, which I am still developing in my role at present.

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Why accounting students should take a year abroad

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This guest post was written by Kara Copple of The Accountancy Partnership, which manages accountancy and tax affairs for over 4000 UK businesses of varying size.

Congratulations! You’ve worked so hard and finally got your degree. You may be thinking   “now what?” – should you go straight into the world of work, or should you take some time for yourself?

While some will opt for getting a job while all your knowledge is fresh in your head, there are plenty of benefits to holding off. A well-earned break after all those long hours of hard study sounds enticing, doesn’t it?

However, a survey conducted by HostelWorld in 2016 showed that only 25.93% of respondents had taken a gap year.

Productive gap years

A gap year might be a good excuse for a holiday, but the best ones are productive as well as fun. We’re not suggesting spending a year sitting on a beach sipping cocktails (although there will be room for some of that).

A productive year abroad can help set you up for a successful career in accounting if you use your time wisely. If you’d like to know the benefits of taking a year abroad, read on.

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How I got my placement: Clinical Psychology, Fieldhead Hospital

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Bethany Temple studies BSc Psychology (Industrial), and has been on her placement with Fieldhead Hospital’s Bretton Centre in Wakefield for eight months.

Getting my placement

To be honest, I was completing application after application in the hope of finding some kind of experience within psychology, but at times they can feel like gold dust! I applied for this forensic psychology placement, not really knowing at all what forensic psychology was. I thought I was going to be some sort of criminal profiler; clearly I’ve watched too many crime series! I filled in their application, which I received through the psychology department, and sure enough got my first ever interview. I researched the hospital I would be based at before the interview, and came up with some questions about the types of therapy that are offered to service users. I also went to a mock interview at the careers centre, which I’d highly recommend. In the real interview, my enthusiasm for psychology clearly outshined my lack of knowledge on what clinical/ forensic psychology is, and I got a call the next day saying I’d been accepted!

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Volunteering with… Skelton Grange

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Ruth Trainor studies Sustainability and Environmental Management, and has been volunteering with TCV at Skelton Grange during her second year.

I am the proud owner of a badge that says ‘Ruth – Volunteer Leader’. I wear this every Wednesday – when lectures don’t get in the way – and spend that day in the woods and grounds of TCV Skelton Grange.

My Role

It’s a fairly awesome day, to be honest. I arrive at 9am, having cycled for about 40 minutes along the canal. The first order of business at Skelton is always a cup of tea, accompanied by a short catch up with the other volunteers and staff at the centre. Once the mugs are empty, we start setting up for the day.

Wednesdays are education days, so the activities run from around 11 to 2. These education days vary according to the season and the needs of the school, but all of them are essentially about familiarising the children with being outdoors and piquing their curiosity about the natural world.

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Advice on getting your first tech job – from an IT recruitment agency

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This guest post was created in collaboration with Venturi Group – one of the UK’s top IT recruitment agencies.

As an IT recruitment agency, we work with recent graduates every day. For many students, getting that first foot on the career ladder after finishing university is a daunting prospect. While some nerves are unavoidable, there are things you can do to give yourself a headstart in today’s competitive job market. Below we have outlined some advice on what to do before beginning your search for your first role in the tech industry.

Get involved in projects outside university

You’ve probably heard this one a few time before. Employers look fondly upon students who are engaged in technical projects outside university. After all, it’s a clear indication of a genuine passion for technology. In a market saturated by graduates, having that extra something on your CV will inevitably make you stand out from the crowd. For example, being able to list coding projects you have worked on, hack-a-thons you have entered, or internships you have undertaken are all major advantages when it comes to applying for jobs.
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