Tag Archives: career choice

Class of 2019: I had no idea what I wanted to do, but this is how I found out!

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.

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Class of 2019: How personal reflection and work experience can help you get on the right track

Jamie Gayya is a recent University of Leeds graduate, currently working as an Employability and Progression Assistant based in the University of Leeds Careers Centre.

Here she talks about how immediately after graduation she felt the pressure of being left behind as friends secured graduate jobs or further study.  However, by reflecting on her skills and values and undertaking volunteering she found a career path she is very much engaged in.

The benefits of University

In many ways, university has been more than just a place to gain an academic qualification. It has been a place that has exposed me to various opportunities and challenges – all of which have significantly contributed to both my career and personal development.  Beyond the accomplishment of graduating, my time at university has been significantly rewarding and memorable, as I have taken part in various opportunities. I have been involved in supporting a candidate campaign during the student executive elections, was a committee member for the Leeds Filipino society, and worked as a Leeds Loves Ambassador to promote the study of Arts and Humanities to secondary school students.

Where to start?

Having these experiences enabled me to gain a range of transferable skills that were useful for the world of work. Furthermore, these opportunities were very helpful in distinguishing what I enjoyed and disliked.  Despite acquiring all these skills, finding where to start after graduation continued to be a challenging and nerve-wracking phase. With my friends securing places for further study, graduate jobs and employment, I felt a lot of pressure that I had to get my career rolling to make sure that I wasn’t left behind. “But where do I start?” was a constant question and thought.

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Life on Mars: A Day in the Life of a Mars Grad

This is the first in a series of careers insights, find out what University of Leeds graduate Jazz does in her role as a Brand Manager at Mars.

Name: Jazz Moodie
Grad Scheme: 1st Year Mars Leadership Experience graduate (MLE scheme)
Job Title: Dolmio Brand Manager
University: University of Leeds, studied Management with Marketing and studied abroad.
Favorite Mars Product: goodnessKNOWS

What I do

My role as brand manager is pivotal in ensuring that the business has a long term view of innovations and product developments coming to market. I am working on projects ranging from packaging redesigns on existing Uncle Ben’s ranges, to scoping out obscure opportunities in Italian, that are way beyond our current capabilities.  What I love about my role on a day to day basis is that I connect with so many different areas of the business.  When I’m scoping out a new product opportunity, I will work with our consumer insights team to understand the kinds of products that consumers would value.  From these insights, the marketing team pull together an array of potential formats that the new product might take to suit these consumer needs perfectly.

From concept to supermarket

One example, Dolmio launched a new range of sauces, bursting with 2 portions of your 5 a day (Dolmio Veggie Goodness) – this was based on the insight that consumers are searching for simple ways to get vegetables into their mealtimes.  Once a concept is decided, we work with our agencies to design packaging that stands out on shelf! We put a lot of effort into getting every detail right – I got to work with an incredible team made up of a Food Photographer and a Food Stylist to make sure our product and meal shots on pack reflects the quality of our product. It’s really interesting visiting our agency offices in London to see where the creative magic happens!  It is so rewarding to then see concepts come to life and land on the shelf in my local supermarket!

Assessment centre top tip

Make sure you sign up to a mock interview at the Careers Centre where they will run through the most frequent questions asked at Mars interviews. Use the STAR method in your interviews and practice going through the steps (Situation, Task, Action and Result), making sure to add what you learnt from the experience! Understand your MBTI personality type and how you work with others.

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How I got my job: Women in Business at PwC

 

Lucy Bonnett is a final year undergraduate student at the University of Leeds studying French and Mathematics.  She participated in the Women in Business Programme, a three day paid work experience programme with PwC.    Lucy was uncertain about her future career plans but took the opportunity to get an insight into professional services.   As a result Lucy has secured a place on their Assurance Graduate Scheme.  Read more about Lucy’s story.

Why I applied

My week at PwC turned out better than I could have imagined. To be completely honest, I applied for the Women In Business placement to find out more about professional services, mainly with a view to ruling it out as an area I didn’t want to work in. I had no idea what I wanted to do after university, so I had decided to do a few placements during my second and third years at uni to see what interested me.

Application experience

The fact that the application process for the placement is identical to that of a graduate scheme was useful – at every stage of the application I thought “Even if I don’t make it to the next stage, I’m gaining valuable experience and application skills”. These skills definitely came in handy when applying to year abroad placements, and my experience allowed me to be relaxed and confident in interview situations.

Gaining an insight into PwC

The week itself was very insightful. We started with a day of training and introductions, easing us into the working atmosphere. I felt at ease in the office straight away – everyone I met went out of their way to make me feel welcome and to explain their roles to me. This itself was interesting, as I hadn’t even heard of some of the jobs and departments that exist in a company as big as PwC, and it showed me that there is plenty of opportunity for growth and change once you’ve joined.

Shadowing

After the first introductory day, I was shadowing a director in the Assurance department, following her from meetings to conferences to phone calls and looking over her shoulder when she was working alone. Karen was brilliant in explaining everything she was doing, and was happy to answer any question, however seemingly obvious. I was also paired up with a recent graduate, who talked to me about the first few years of life at PwC: the training and exams, her day-to-day routines, the atmosphere in the office. I think speaking to women at such different stages in their careers was incredibly helpful, as it helped me to understand both where a graduate would start within the company and where they may end up.

Securing a position

Everyone on the program was offered an interview at the end of the week, either for a summer internship or a place on a graduate scheme depending on how far through your degree you were.  I was successful in my interview and was offered a place on the Assurance graduate scheme. This was so far from my original goal (ruling out professional services as something I didn’t want to go into after university) that I didn’t know what to think at first, and it seemed like a big scary decision to make about my future so early on in my degree. However, after some consideration of the offer and consulting friends/family/university advisors, I decided PwC is a fantastic place to start my career and I have subsequently accepted the offer. And, although I would in no way describe myself as a relaxed care-free fourth year student, I am able to concentrate on my studies and on achieving a classification that I will be proud of, rather than jetting off to assessment days every other week at the same time as striving for a grade that will make me attractive to employers.

My advice

I would recommend the placement to anyone: whether you have no idea what kind of career you would like post-university, or if you are looking to get a head-start on the application process!

 

Read more about the three day  Women in Business programme they are still advertising opportunities (including in the Leeds office) until remaining places fill.

And don’t forget if you want to discuss a career in the professional services sector or any other, the Careers Centre can help you explore your options  and support you in your applications- learn how here.

 

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A career in Recruitment – what’s it all about?

Annie Moss2

University of Leeds English & Philosophy graduate Annie Moss completed her degree studies in 2018, she now works for Xpertise Recruitment.  Annie’s placement year in a recruitment consultancy  helped her to understand that this fast paced challenging, rewarding profession was for her.  Here she offers insight and advice on how it could be the right career for you.

How I got into Recruitment

I graduated in 2018 from Leeds University with an industrial degree in English and Philosophy, then I went straight into recruitment. Possibly not the most obvious choice considering my degree background, but definitely the right one for me.

I got into recruitment when I was researching industries for my placement year. I didn’t know anything about recruitment at this stage and was looking at roles in marketing, supply-chain, HR, (you name it, I applied for it)!  Then I came across recruitment and after spending one day in the office to have a look round, I realised that it was a really good fit for me.

Why a career in recruitment?

Because recruitment is a fast-paced, lucrative, challenging profession. In the words of my manager, “if you want to progress in your career and achieve your financial goals quickly, then recruitment is a great industry to be in.”

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Career planning; change, chance and chaos

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Concerned about career planning? This post gives you a different perspective on the traditional concept of career ‘planning’ and some tips on how to approach this in a world which can be random and unexpected.

At this time of year many of our thoughts turn to the coming year: What we might try to achieve or change in our lives. It is for many, a time for goal-setting and thinking about where they want to be. It is also a time when many people’s thoughts turn to their careers.

I have never particularly subscribed to the view that a career can be planned per se: Life is too random and there are far too many variables involved to make the construction and implementation of a rigid plan feasible.  As such, I have always been drawn to theories of career development which acknowledge the impact of outside influences, unexpected or chance events and encounters on our careers.  Theories such as Planned Happenstance (Mitchell, Levin & Krumboltz, 1999) and more recently, the Chaos Theory of Careers (Pryor & Bright, 2003) particularly resonate with me. You can find out more about Planned Happenstance and how to use this here and more about the Chaos Theory in this video or in the journal articles referenced at the end of this blog. Continue reading

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Networking, networking and the Leeds Network

Andrea1

Andrea Manouchou studies Management and is currently on an industrial placement with the University’s Alumni Department, where part of her role involves promoting the Leeds Network.  In this post she outlines the value of networking and how the Leeds Network can help you access insights, tips and advice from Alumni of the University working in your sectors of interest.

Why

Networking is extremely important for our generation. It is one of the best ways to acquire career information or words of wisdom from experts in the sector that interests you. Contacts made through networking have now become more important than ever before. LinkedIn, a professional networking tool, now has over 380 million users, proving how valuable networking is. And now is the best time for you to start networking as well.

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