University of Leeds 2018 Sociology graduate Alice Whapples explains how her part time jobs have given her a wealth of transferable skills. She has some tips on how to identify vital employability skills you have gained from work and study.
Alice is currently an Employment and Progression Assistant at the University of Leeds Careers Centre giving careers support to our Arts, Humanities and Cultures undergraduates.
I often hear people talking about trying to ‘bulk up’ their CV with relevant work experience, or worrying that they do not have enough experiences to talk about in interviews. When I started looking at employment I was exactly the same.
Identifying your skills
Employers are increasingly looking at an applicant’s awareness of the skills they currently possess and an ability to demonstrate them in relation to the job brief. This can seem daunting, especially when you feel like you haven’t got enough experience of the working environment. However, many students don’t realise that skills they have gained through part-time work and during projects at university are transferable for loads of jobs within the graduate labour market.
Kelsie Root graduated with a Masters in History of Health, Medicine & Society at the University of Leeds in December 2018, having put off jobsearch until completing her studies she found it difficult to find the right job with the right organisation straight away. Read how Kelsie learnt the importance of understanding what she could bring to an employer and finding a role that fitted with her skills, motivations and values.
Focusing on my studies
When I graduated in December, I was excited, relieved and deeply anxious. I had spent the year with my nose to the grindstone working on my MA and the various side jobs that paid the bills during the previous year. The demands of MA study and juggling paid work made it so difficult to spend time finding opportunities, drafting applications and getting feedback that eventually I gave in and decided I would start looking for a full-time job after I had handed in my dissertation. This felt like a good idea, and I now think it was the right choice for me at the time. Once I’d finished, however, I immediately felt like it had been a mistake. I had no idea what I was going to do next.
Applying for any job…my misplaced efforts
I quickly realised my first step had to be figuring out how to showcase my skills. Using the resources from the Careers Centre website I looked over all my work experience to date and put together a skills-based CV. This helped me to match my skills to job descriptions and work out what I could do. I started applying to any job that matched my skills-based CV and secured a variety of interviews. As soon as I started going to interviews, it became clear that I was doing something wrong. I just wasn’t gelling with the teams, the places or the work itself. I soon became stressed, questioning how I could keep motivated when all my efforts seemed to be misplaced.
Ghadir Ghasemi is a Laidlaw Scholar in the final year of his Chemical Engineering degree, find out how he has developed his research and leadership skills through this funded scholarship.
Laidlaw Scholarships are open to first year undergraduates, providing the opportunity to develop leadership and research skills through a range of personal development activities and two six week periods of project work.
How did you secure your scholarship?
I initially found out about this scholarship through an email from the Engineering Employability suite. I took the time to read all the information given about this and was required to submit an initial application which consisted of four different questions-its main aims were to demonstrate my suitability to the proposed research project and to the scholarship as a whole, with regards to the leadership aspect.
The application process was very straightforward. Once I had sent my initial application, I was shortlisted to take part in an interview with the two project supervisors. The interview was not very long and the supervisors wanted to find out more about my passion for the project as well as the leadership aspect of the scholarship. Within a couple of hours, I received an email from the interviewers saying that I had been selected to receive the scholarship. Prior to sending my application, I attended an informative session which gave me tips and advice on how approach the interview. I also talked to staff at the employability office who helped me to prepare my application and subsequently practise for my interview.
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
Daniel Davis is a 3rd Year Neuroscience BSc student and is doing an internship as Student Engagement Event Coordinator. In this post he outlines the fantastic Student Engagement Showcase event, taking place this Wednesday, 25th November, which is open to all students and staff at the University of Leeds.
When I started university, the most common phrase I heard was ‘Make the most of it, it goes so quickly’ and it is 100% true. Now in my final year Neuroscience BSc, it seems like yesterday that I first moved into halls of residence yet now I am preparing my final year dissertation! It goes so quickly you have to grab every opportunity possible, and the University of Leeds offers an extraordinary amount of opportunities for both inside and out of your degree.
My latest project is an internship within the University as one of the Event Coordinators for the Student Engagement Showcase. This one-afternoon extravaganza celebrates the immense diversity of opportunities available for students; from internships to volunteering, research, societies and course reps to Leeds for Life. All are amazing ways for students to get involved in the running of the University and gain some invaluable experience for the future. Continue reading
Laura Riggall recently completed an industrial placement year with GSK. In this post she outlines how the placement helped her to develop many key employability skills and experiences.
Having recently completed an industrial placement year, I can honestly say it was a fantastic year for personal and professional development. I was based on a laboratory placement at GlaxoSmithKline within the Investigative Preclinical Toxicology (IPT) department in Safety Assessment, at GSK’s Ware R&D site in Hertfordshire, and in this post I hope to highlight to you the benefits of completing a placement year based on my own experiences Continue reading
Steve Carter, Career Consultant talks to us about the wide range of options available to Sport and Exercise Science students and why it is so important to be able to promote the transferable elements of your degree course.
So, what can you do with a degree in Sport and Exercise Science (SES)? This is a question that I am sometimes asked by SES students themselves, and by some employers who think that all SES students do is play football and rounders all day!
The short answer to this question is anything, or at least the 60/65% of graduate jobs that are not asking for any specific degree discipline. This percentage increases for SES students as they can obviously do those graduate roles that do require specific sports related knowledge (of which more below) and careers related to biomedical sciences Continue reading
Professional Development Tutor in Leeds University Business School, Marianne Savory discusses why Masters students can’t afford to wait to start planning their career.
You arrived in Leeds a few weeks ago and are anxiously excited about the beginning of your programme. A few people have mentioned careers and job applications but you don’t need to worry about that yet, you’ve got loads of time – right? Wrong!
To ensure the best outcome after you finish your programme, you really need to start thinking about your career options now.
Start to think about how you might develop the skills and attributes required for your chosen career. This will allow you to make a plan and access the most appropriate resources and opportunities whilst here in Leeds, and there will be loads available so you need to be selective and target your time accordingly. You can search for opportunities which will develop specific skills on the Leeds for Life website and check out the ‘how to develop your skills’ section of the Careers Centre website.
Have you gained work experience this summer? Want to share what you’ve been doing to help inspire your fellow students?
We know that Leeds students undertake all sorts of varied and interesting experiences and would love to see what you’ve been up to. Whether on a placement, internship, part-time job, volunteering or any other form of work experience, we want to hear from you!
We’re looking for photos of you at work, and are particularly interested in photos demonstrating the skills you’re developing or why your placement is unique and/or interesting. Tweet us your pictures @LeedsUniCareers using #ShowYourExperience and #LeedsIntern and we’ll include the best ones in an album on Facebook. If you’re not on Twitter you can send them as a private message on Facebook.
If you need some inspiration, here’s some photos from students who were on year-long placements in 2013/14
We are looking for submissions between 20th August and the 3rd September, after which we will compile the best ones into a Storify. Feel free to submit photos taken at any point during your experience. Be as creative as you like and we look forward to hearing from you!
Terms: By submitting a photo you are accepting that the University of Leeds is able to use your photograph, graphic, artwork or written evidence to promote work placement and work experience activity, either on printed or digital materials or in presentations, workshops or through social media.
How adaptable are you? Adaptability is an increasingly important aspect of employability. Here, Careers Consultant Jess Henderson examines some of the evidence and gives advice on how to develop and demonstrate this key attribute.
Whilst adaptability as a career-skill is not a new requirement, a number of recent high-profile reports have served to underline its importance and value in an increasingly dynamic labour market. This tweet from the National Council for Universities and Business caught my eye
and led me to their recent report Career Portfolios and the Labour Market for Graduates & Postgraduates in the UK Whilst he whole report makes for interesting reading, the following quote in particular resonated with me; Continue reading