Jo Horton joined the university as a Careers Adviser in May 2019, having completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Guidance Studies the previous year. Prior to this, she worked in a diverse range of roles, including university administration, publishing and as an English Language Teacher in Japan.
It’s 2002 and I’m sitting in Leicester railway station, crying my eyes out on the phone to my mum. Earlier that day I’d had an interview for my dream job as a Research Assistant in the History Department at Leicester University. The interview had gone well but I’d just received a phone call to tell me that I hadn’t been successful. They liked me and would have given me the job, except one of the other candidates had a PhD while I only had an MA.
Over the next few weeks I spend a lot of time thinking things like ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m never going to get a graduate job’, ‘What’s the point in applying for anything else?’, ‘Life is so hard – it’s not fair’. I briefly look into applying for PhDs but to get funding I’d have to teach undergraduates alongside my research, which I convince myself I am not capable of doing. I drink a lot of wine and eat a giant bar of chocolate to console myself. I stop searching for graduate roles and resign myself to a life of unfulfilling temp jobs.
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 for Class of 2018 Month by Lisa Carr, a Careers Consultant at the University of Leeds Careers Centre.
According to the Institute of Student Employers, over half of employers now use video interviews as part of their graduate selection process. Most video interviews are pre-recorded and are shorter than live face-to-face or telephone interviews, with employers often scrolling through and deciding in the first couple of minutes whether to watch any further. So it pays to be prepared – that first impression is crucial.
Here’s how to give yourself the best chance.
Set the scene
Recruiters make quick judgements based on visual cues. A strong impression is also formed by the room you are in. What does the room say about you? Choose a neutral canvas and remove clutter and distractions (such as empty beer cans!). If books or pictures are on display, make sure they look professional. Ensure your desk and chair give you a good posture and that your room is well lit – avoid sitting in front of the window as this can cast a shadow. You’ll also want to make sure your housemates know not to disturb you. If in doubt, you can always book a room at the Careers Centre if you want a quiet, professional-looking setting for your interview.
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!
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.
Do nerves get the better of you in interviews?
Does the thought of networking or giving a presentation fill you with dread?
These are essential elements of job search and selection processes but are things which many of us find terrifying at worst, or simply uncomfortable at best. Confidence – or at least being able to fake it ‘til you make it – will help you excel in these. In this post I share tips for improving your confidence, through the lens of behaviour expert and author Olivia Fox Cabane’s work on charisma.
As a Careers Consultant, confidence – or lack of it – is one of the things I most often see holding people back. Whether this be a general lack of self-confidence, or more specific issues around situations like interviews and presentations; how we feel, think about and talk to ourselves are, in my opinion, the biggest influences on confidence. Continue reading
As something that I usually mention in interview preparation with students and graduates, I’ve been thinking about writing a post on the rule of 3 for a while. Being reminded of the Olympic motto, with its focus on aiming high and continuous improvement, this weekend prompted me to get it written.
The Olympic motto; “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, meaning “Faster, Higher, Stronger”, is one example of the rule of 3. Think how often popular phrases, soundbites from famous speeches or advertising slogans are comprised of 3 words or parts.
You can find examples in pretty much any area of life, Continue reading