Have yourself a merry little interview


Written by Careers Brand Ambassador, Lindsay Christison.

So you’re curled up on the couch, home alone is holding strong at its 100th showing this season and the Christmas food coma has worn off enough for you to be halfway through a tin of quality street (apart from the toffee pennies because let’s be honest you’re not that desperate yet). Next thing, you get an email. You’re invited to an interview for that job/placement you so optimistically applied to last term.

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I give you: A Christmas wish list to boss that interview… *hair flick*

A holly jolly… firm handshake

Well first impressions count right? My first wish is the Goldilocks of handshakes. Strong enough to show I mean business but not so aggressive that their memory of your interview is the red imprint of your hand over theirs.  

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^^Tip: Don’t do this either

What I’d ‘Love Actually’ are easy questions

Please don’t hit me with all that ‘If you were a biscuit, what kind of biscuit would you be?’ nonsense…. There is no chance I can show off my Gold DofE with that… Wish number two: Straightforward questions to which I can regurgitate my pre-prepared evaluation of what my part time job has taught me about time management and customer service skills.

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Baby it’s cold outside… but can my hands stop shaking?

Wish number three is to release my inner Taylor Swift and shake off those pre-interview trembles… The only trembles we need belong only to a House of Madness. Deep breaths, eye of the tiger on headphones and lucky pants… you can do this!

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My only wish this year… is some actually relevant experience

It’s always the case that you’re always busy so you must have experience and skills but how on earth do you apply them to this job? So my fourth wish is the ability to figure out how all of the things I spend my time doing have made me employable… what did I learn? What was I good at? How did getting lost on DofE teach me resilience and how did that annoying customer at the cafe teach me interpersonal skills? Hmm…. maybe I do have experience?

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Don’t suffer ‘Home Alone’… get help from Careers and Placements with a mock interview

My fifth wish would be a practice run at the interview. Like pancakes, what if the first one’s a dud? This wish is probably the easiest to grant. The magic elves at Careers and Placements can book you in for a mock interview! They can test you with surprise generic questions or you can work with them beforehand to arrange a sector specific interview.

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And finally… A Christmas miracle… on 34th street

It’s worth a shot.

Wish six. A miracle.

*crosses fingers and toes*

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And with all that, hopefully, is the makings of a very merry interview!

Happy holidays everyone and best of luck for those pesky January exams and essays!

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Time to take stock


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You may remember, we spent the first half of term encouraging you to get involved with all sorts of activities from work experience to volunteering, student societies to attending careers fairs.

Hopefully, you did do one or two things – but there’s no point in just doing! We suggested trying things out so you could build up experiences and develop your skills, as well as to have some fun.

So why not take some time to think through what you’ve been doing and what it’s given you? It’s a good idea to record the activities you do and also the skills you’ve gained. This will make a handy prompt when you’re applying for jobs or further study and you need to give some examples.

Not sure how to do this?

If you need some help thinking this through, try the following resources.

Not had chance to do anything yet?

Don’t worry, there’s still time to get involved. Here are some ideas for things to do next term.

  • Volunteering – deadline Week 5 for applications for Summer Term opportunities
  • Placement Year – for 2nd year undergraduates, who don’t have this as an option on their course. Register interest by 20 Jan
  • Network – Careers in… events. Check the events schedule
  • Enterprise – lots of competitions and events coming up
  • Recruitment – Assessment Centre and Interview Experience will run again in Spring. Check the events schedule

2nd undergrads – putting it all into practice

Don’t forget, if you’re a second year undergrad, you can apply for York Award Gold in the Spring Term. The application asks you to describe the activities you’ve been involved with and what you’ve gained, as a result.

Keep a look out for more information – including the application form and deadline – via the Careers Bulletin, delivered direct to your inbox.

5 actions to refine your business idea


Guest Blog written by Stuart McClure, Co-founder of Lovethesales.com

adult-bar-brainstorming-1015568(1)Creating business ideas is exciting. Working on an idea that you have thought of is both liberating and rewarding.  However, narrowing your ideas into one cohesive business plan is a challenge in itself, one which if done right can set you on a path to creating your dream business.

Here are 5 actions you can take to refine your business ideas and ensure you have the best launch pad for your next project.

Choosing the right idea

Having focus is important for an entrepreneur. You might have thousands of half thought out ideas and not know which one to focus on. So how do you know which is your best idea? I’d suggest keeping a list of all your ideas. Then, when you’re ready, you should put each potential idea through this exercise.

Take one of your ideas and write the name for it in the middle of a blank A4 page. Then answer the following questions, writing the answers around the outside of the idea:

  • What problem does this solve? How big is that problem? Why are you sure it’s a problem?
  • Has it already been done?
  • What barriers to entry can you create? (What would make it difficult for someone with more resources to come in and compete against you?)
  • What’s the potential market size?
  • What money would you need to invest to start the business and make it profitable?
  • What skills do you need in your team to get it going? How will you find people with those skills? Can you get it going by yourself?

After this exercise you should be able to filter out implausible ideas and be left with your most viable options.

Putting your proposal into one sentence

You need to have a clear picture of what your business offers, who it will help and what is its biggest benefit. You should be able to put all that information into one sentence, like the one in this template:

(“My business is, _(insert name of business)_, we develop _(define your product or service)_ to help _(define your audience)_ _(the problem you are solving  for them)_ by _(main benefit of the business )_”).

Mine looked like this:

“My business is LovetheSales.com, we are a discount aggregator that brings the sale products from 850 retailers, into one place. We help shoppers save money on the brands they love by finding the best deals across the web.”

This exercise is really useful for the actions below, where you will need to describe your idea succinctly to people (Will they understand it?)

Test your idea

Start sharing your idea with the people around you. Anyone who can spare 5 minutes to hear your proposal. This is a great way to get direct feedback on what’s good and not so good about your idea. Did they understand it? Do they have problems with it? Try to collect feedback from at least 30 people. It would also be an added bonus if some of them are your target customers.

It can be difficult to listen to criticism of your ideas from others, however it’s really important to try to elicit this kind of feedback without getting defensive. It can save you a lot of wasted time and effort. Getting early feedback, no matter how brutal it is, will help you to adjust your plan and give you a higher chance of success.

Tip: Try and get peoples uninfluenced and unbiased opinions. Refrain from interrupting or trying to change their objections with new information. The best feedback is fresh, unaltered first impressions.

Attend regular events related to your industry

You should try and become a mini expert of the industry you’re about to enter. Like a research project, you’re finding out who the major players are, the supply chain, the audience it attracts etc. Don’t try and overload yourself with all the information at once, it will take time and doesn’t happen overnight.

The best way to start is to attend regular events that would concern your business. For example, if you are starting a recruitment company, you want to attend recruitment conferences, business talks and meet ups that involve relevant people in that industry.

Eventbrite is a great tool to find these types of events near you. If you have a niche business and you can’t find events relating to your idea, try broadening your search to general business lectures, Marketing & PR events and so on.

Tip: These events are also fantastic for networking. Set up a LinkedIn and have it open and ready to share with new contacts you meet.

Find a good mentor

Good advice is like gold dust and having the right team around you is a critical part of successfully building your idea. Reach out to your university business professors, the Enterprise team at your university or join the entrepreneur society, try to find people who wouldn’t mind offering you bits of guidance from time to time.

There will be plenty of entrepreneurs and business leaders that are happy to pass on their wealth of knowledge. LinkedIn is also a great tool to keep in touch with these contacts.

Author

IMG_3279Stuart McClure is the co-founder of a company called LovetheSales.com – a website that aggregates sale items from 100’s of retailers into one website, helping consumers to find the best deals on products they want.

He has 14 years experience in digital marketing and business management and, before starting his company, worked in a number of multi-million pound businesses in senior positions.

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/stuartmcclure/

LovetheSales.com – https://www.lovethesales.com/

Autumn fairs – your views


Over 2,000 students visited our fairs in weeks 2 and 4 this term – and we asked them what they thought.  Thank you to everyone who gave us feedback. We had lots of great comments from students who’d enjoyed the fair, and some concerns as well. Here’s a quick summary, together with our responses:

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You said: The fair was too crowded, it wasn’t easy to get around; this could be difficult for students with anxiety; the fair should be in a bigger space. Continue reading

Why Start-Ups and SMEs can be a great place to start your career


Guest blog written by TalentPool , a recruitment platform matching recent graduates with job and internship opportunities at start-ups & SMEs.

When you enter your final year of university and you start thinking about your graduate job, it is easy to end up feeling like big companies and graduate schemes are the only avenues into the world of work. In fact, it may interest you to know that 9 in 10 graduate jobs are in start-ups and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). These companies can offer you a unique and valuable route into your career with great opportunities for development. Here are the top 3 reasons why we think you should consider starting your career at a start-up or SME.

You will be given responsibility

adult-brainstorming-business-1181622At  a start-up or SME the team you work in will be small, so each person’s contribution counts! Far from being kept away from the core of the business until you are more experienced, at a start-up or SME you will usually be given high levels of responsibility very early on. You will be working in a small team, so you will receive lots of feedback and your work will not get ignored among a mass of other tasks. This will allow you to build your skills and see the impact of your work – pretty good for a fresh graduate! ! You’ll get a real insight into how a business operates and get to try your hand at a range of different tasks and projects.

The work is exciting

Working for a start-up or SME means working in a company that is constantly growing and evolving. Your role will probably develop throughout the years you work with the company, so you definitely won’t get bored! In many smaller businesses, due to the close-knit teams, employees from all levels of the company are involved in the big decisions. Seeing the work you do has a real impact on your company’s growth and development is one of the most exciting things about starting your career in this sector.

The company culture

Often at start-ups and SMEs, the environment you work in is more relaxed than it would be in a larger corporate. Dress codes are not as fixed and there is often a less rigid hierarchical structure to the team. Lots of these businesses have socials and team members get to know each other quickly. At a start-up you will be working alongside emerging talent and creative colleagues, making the company culture at a small organisation a very exciting one to be a part of.

Graduate careers: what are the alternatives?


 

At this time of year there are lots of posters, publications, messages and events about graduate jobs, whether they’re schemes run by big companies or ‘mainstream’ graduate careers.

What happens, though, if you’re not interested in working for a large corporate or don’t want to go into ‘traditional’ work after university?

It’s not to say the role of an accountant, retail manager or management consultant isn’t challenging and interesting, but obviously they don’t appeal to every student or graduate.

4 alternative approaches

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Not working 9 – 5 to make a living

Work doesn’t have to mean the usual office hours. Flexible working is widely available for ‘typical’ jobs, as well as the more unusual working environments. It could involve compressing working hours – working more hours on fewer days during the week or working from home, giving you more freedom for fitting in work and home life.

Portfolio careers (because one size doesn’t fit all)

Why have just one job, when you can have several? In some sectors (eg the creative industries, consultancy, etc) portfolio careers can be the norm. However, it may be an individual’s lifestyle choice, enabling them to have a variety of roles or test out possible career/business ideas.

Our alternative working web page details both flexible working and portfolio careers, as well as self-employment.

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The great outdoors (or somewhere other than an office)

You may not know exactly what you want to do as a job, but you might be clear that you don’t want to work in an office. If that’s the case, you need to check out careers in a variety of environments. Try generating some career ideas, using some of the resources listed on the career planning information sheet. Alternatively, see what different jobs entail with Prospects’ generic job profiles. However, be prepared – many jobs may require you to be office-based, so even if you’re ‘out and about’ for most of the day, you may spend some time in an office!

Small is beautiful

The large companies you see on campus are not the only option.  There are also small/medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and in the UK small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector companies in 2017.* So, it’s unsurprising to know that a lot of of graduates go on to work for these sorts of employers.

There’s more information about working for SMEs on our website.

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Want something alternative?

Have a look at the resources mentioned above first and then book a careers advice appointment via Careers Gateway to discuss things further.

Science student?

You might also be interested in our Science careers outside the lab information sheet and 10 alternative science careers.

 

* FSB – www.fsb.org.uk/media-centre/small-business-statistics

An insight into the York Students in Schools Programme


colored-pencils-color-wooden-pegs-pens-draw-schoolEvery year we help hundreds of students to volunteer in local schools through the York Students in Schools Programme. We’ve been asking some of our current and former volunteers what their experience was like, so if you’ve been considering volunteering in a local school, read on to find out what it’s really like.

There’s still time to apply to volunteer during next term but the deadline is this Sunday 28 October. Apply online! 

With thanks to our York Students in Schools volunteers – Hannah, Rosie, Alex, Thomas, Aillen, Anh and Rebecca

Continue reading

Going abroad? Check out GoinGlobal!


 

Students sometimes wish they’d done a bit more research before studying or working in another country – and we have a great online resource to help you do just that!

How do you know about…

  • Business practice and workplace etiquette?
  • Suitable gifts when visiting someone – and which flowers can cause offence?
  • Bargaining when shopping – is it expected or unacceptable?
  • How to greet people?
  • Eating out – and whether or not people share the bill?
  • Conversations and discussions – and whether it is OK to interrupt another speaker?

GoinGlobal can give you the answers to these and many more questions. GoinGlobal features country career guides, a jobs and internships database, lots of information about finding work and business culture as well as practical information such as healthcare and cost of living.

From the home page select Country career guides and choose from a list of 40 countries.

You will be able to access job search resources, information on growth sectors and areas where your skills could be needed, advice on CVs and interviews, and overview of visa requirements and information on living in that country – all compiled by people who live there.

Similarly, the City guides (mainly US cities and around 30 more cities worldwide), provide a toolkit of jobs resources and cultural advice.

Access GoinGlobal from our International work page and see what you can discover.

The York Award: What’s it really about?


Written by Oliver Davies

You’ve hopefully seen or heard something about the York Award on campus this term, but you might still be wondering exactly what it is, what the application is like, and why you should do it. If so, then read on – I’m here to show you exactly what the process involves, and why it’s such a great opportunity for second year students to help you stand out from the crowd!

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What is it?

Open to second years, the York Award is a certificate awarded to you as an individual which officially shows that you’ve been proactive throughout your time so far at York. It shows that you have gone above and beyond your academic studies to enhance your own personal and professional development. Its a really useful addition to your CV which will catch the eye of any potential employers. Its also a great conversation topic in interviews when employers ask you to talk about your top strengths and how you developed yourself at university in anticipation of entering the world of work.

So, what exactly does the application involve?

There are three basic sections which are easy to navigate and help you reflect on your time at York.

The first section asks you to reflect on your top Strengths (you might remember these from your York Strengths development day in first year, things like problem solving, authentic communication, pioneering thinking among others) and explain how you have used and developed these Strengths throughout your time so far at York. You can use any examples from your time here – so if you’ve been part of a society, got involved in volunteering, had a part-time job or got involved with your college activities, write it down! As long as its helped you develop your strengths, then its a great example!

The second section asks you to reflect on other activities that have helped you develop personally,  helped contribute to the university as a whole, as well as demonstrating employer engagement. Again, any example is great. There are no set top answers and it is great to use unique examples personal to you.

The final section asks you to lay down an action plan, and explain how you will be developing yourself, your Strengths and your employability further over the remainder of your time at York. Think creatively in this section, but keep it achievable and something you really will hopefully be able to do.

Your answers to these questions only have to be a couple of hundred words long, so don’t worry about having to write tens of thousands of words, there are no essays here!

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Why do it?

From personal experience, I can truly say that completing the York Award is a great thing to do and a fantastic asset to have on your CV when applying for jobs, volunteering or anything really! It’s a great chance to reflect on your first year at York and give an overview of everything you’ve done.

In my application, I wrote about how I took part in the York Strengths programme, volunteered in an @Work project with the Jorvik Centre, got involved with college sport (Derwent ‘til I die) and worked on the Policy Review Group for YUSU. Everyone has different experiences, but these are just some examples from my time which might spark your imagination!

The York Award has also really helped me in applications and interviews since I completed it as well. I’ve been able to talk about it in my interview for an incredible International Study Centre to the University of Cape Town in South Africa. It also helped in my application to become a Careers and Placements Brand Ambassador, and is (fingers crossed…) going to contribute to me getting a grad job at the end of this year!

If it can help me, then it can help you. It is a really fantastic opportunity. A springboard for going on to do York Award Gold and the York Leaders scheme. A way for you to reflect on your first year, and an excellent way to show employers that you stand out from the crowd. Also, it is vital if you want to apply for the York Futures Scholarship (worth up to 2100 pounds), which can help you access further opportunities to give you a head start in the job market, you need to successfully apply for the York award.

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Time is running out – applications are closing Monday Week 4 (15/09), so get involved and apply now!

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

 

Spotlight on Placement Years


40908_Placement Year_officeSo you might have heard people talk about doing a ‘Year In Industry’ or a ‘Placement Year’ and wonder what it’s all about?

There are 8 departments here at York who have a Year In Industry programme. They are the Departments of Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Electronic Engineering, Environment and Geography, Mathematics, Politics and The York Management School.

Students in these departments have the option to work for a year as part of their degree. In most instances the placement they do is strongly aligned to their degree programme.

For other Departments, as of last year, there is now the Placement Year programme. Students on this programme, can do a placement in an area that is either related or unrelated to their degree programme.

So it’s now an option for pretty much all York students to work for a year as part of your degree!

What are the benefits?

There are lots of benefits for doing a placement year as part of your degree. Two key ones from talking to employers and previous placement students are:

It provides you with what employers call “CV Gold”. It’s gives you a substantive piece of work experience to add to your CV – you can confidently talk to future employers about your experiences of working in a professional environment, the skills you develop and reflect on the organisational fit, which suits you the most.

It’s also a career taster – you might have a few ideas of where you’d like to work once you graduate – why not find out what you’d prefer now? Alternatively, you might have no idea of where you want to work – why not give something a go now before you graduate? No work experience is bad experience.

What could I do on placement?

venveo-609390-unsplashYou can do a placement in the UK or overseas. It’s down to you to find the placement that’s right for you and we will support you through the process.

There are a variety of advertised roles with a range of organisations – Finance, Marketing, Advertising, Market Research, Analysis, HR, Technical, Corporate Social Responsibility

It can be quite overwhelming to know where to start. Top tips to get started:

1) Take a look at current placement student stories on the Placement Year Padlet

2) Have a look at the reviews on Ratemyplacement – these are anonymous reviews by placement students

3) Refer to the guides on Prospects, to get an understanding of the different types of job roles and typical destinations for your degree area

If the advertised roles don’t interest you, why not contact organisations you are interested in working for directly? This is the ‘hidden market’. The world is your oyster so don’t delay in getting started with your search.

Registration for the Placement Year programme is now open for 2nd year students. If you are looking to pursue this option, register now and benefit from the support available to you.

Blog written by Lucy Brookes, Placement Co-ordinator, Careers and Placements

GUEST BLOG: The Recruitment Wish List – what skills do employers look for?


rawpixel-660716-unsplashGuest blog written by Jessica Ching, Digital Content and Marketing Executive at graduate recruitment experts,  Give a Grad a Go

It can often feel like employers are looking for a very specific person in terms of qualifications and work experience – but in reality, there are a number of other things that employers look for in their graduate hires.

If you can show that you have these desirable attributes on top of your degree, you’ll make your job application stand out from the crowd:

  • Transferable skills – A degree is an important part of any job application; but if you can demonstrate the skills you’ve learnt throughout your education, and relate them to the particular role you’re applying to, you’ll show the employer what you can offer their business. “Soft” or “transferable” skills can include communication skills (an employer favourite!), teamwork, time management or problem-solving skills – and can be demonstrated through your achievements, involvement in extra-curricular activities throughout school and university, and other hobbies or interests.
  • Commercial awareness – Employers across the board are becoming increasingly interested in hiring graduates who can demonstrate commercial awareness (an understanding of the business world). Show you have an understanding of businesses work by reading up on the market, taking an interest in news and current affairs, running your own business venture at university, or organising a fundraising event.

  • Culture fit – As much as skills and attributes are important to employers, they’ll also be looking to hire someone who will fit into their business and work well with their team. The best way to get a feel of the company culture before you apply is to check them out online (LinkedIn, Facebook, even a quick Google search). If you think you’d be a good fit for their company, show the employer your enthusiasm and dedication to the role throughout the interview process!
  • MemorabilityThe graduate jobs market is incredibly competitive – so if you can make yourself memorable to an employer this is a huge plus. They’ll read thousands of very similar CVs – so a unique design or an interesting combination of skills will make you stand out from the crowd.

  • Research – Preparing for an interview and doing your research around a company is looked on very favourably by employers. If you can drop things you’ve read about their organisation, product or service into an interview, you’ll show that you have a genuine interest in their company and the wider industry.

Find the latest graduate jobs on Give A Grad A Go’s website!

Careers fairs – what are the benefits?


LawCareersFairSo, the next few weeks see the career fairs making their appearance this Autumn. Which means lots of employers on campus, showcasing their graduate jobs, placement year offerings and internship opportunities.

Obviously a recruitment fair is not the only way to find work – you can search for vacancies online or even have them sent direct to your inbox, and you can read up on companies via their websites.

So why go to a fair?

Straight from the horse’s mouth (if you pardon the expression!)

You can’t find out about a company and the roles they’re offering any more direct than at a fair. Also, you’ll get a better feel for the culture of the firm and whether it’s a good fit for you.

In your shoes

Often employer reps attending fairs include current graduate trainees, who can give you an idea of what it’s really like to work there. As they were in your shoes only a year or so ago they know what sorts of things are important for you to find out. Their personal insight can tell you so much more than the company website.

Which leads us on to…

Questions their websites can’t answer

You may get a useful amount of basic information from a company website, but what happens if you’ve got further questions? It can be difficult to contact the company and ask them. Speaking to employers at a fair can answer those questions much quicker and more easily.

Make a good impression

Talking with employers in the informal environment of a fair makes it more personal and allows you to show your enthusiasm and interest outside of the pressure of the formal recruitment process.

Don’t know where to start?

If you’re unsure of what to say to employers, the fact that there are lots of other students about, means you can listen-in on some of the questions they ask, to give you some ideas. Plus the format of the fairs means it’s quite acceptable to listen-in without appearing impolite!

All the fun of the fair

Career fairs are usually lively and busy and are actually quite good fun, so why not give them a go?

By the way…

Be sure to do a little reading-up on the companies attending, so you know at least what they do. Employers soon get tired of hearing the opening question of “what does your company do?” – especially when you could have found that out beforehand.

We’ve got more info about preparing for fairs in our information sheet, Making the most of careers and recruitment fairs.

10 things you need to know about Careers and Placements


  1. We’re not just Careers and Placements, we’re also Volunteering, the Student Internship Bureau, Enterprise and we run the York Strengths and York Award programmes

  2. We’re here for everyone. You don’t have to be in a particular year of your degree. We’re here for all York students and are happy to see you whatever career path you’re hoping to take, whether you’re taking your first steps or are further along or even if you haven’t started to think about that yet, you can still join in with all of the activities we have on offer 
  3. York Strengths – our strengths programme helps you identify what you’re good at and how you can develop this further.  It starts with an online exercise in Spring and is followed up with a development day in Summer. First years are automatically enrolled on the programme. Discover the 9 strengths we’ve highlighted in our York Strengths film
  4. IMG_20180927_114948We’re based on campus west, next to central car park and we’re open 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday. 
  5. The outside of our building may look the same but the inside had a facelift during the summer and now looks scandi chic! It’s a great space you can use for study and to browse our reference materials plus there is free tea and coffee 
  6. Come and speak to us! We run a Careers drop-in between 11am and 1pm Monday to Friday or you can book longer appointments online for careers advice and CV, application and personal statement reviews. There are also Enterprise appointments if you’d like to discuss a business idea and Placement appointments if you’re considering taking a placement year as part of your degree. 
  7. 42152_1180x700_Careers Fair digiPopUp_Nouse_V1Every Autumn we run 3 careers fairs. Meet recruiters and find out more about graduate roles, internships, placement years and insight days from over 40 graduate employers all under one roof. To see which companies will be at this year’s fairs, take a look at our careers fairs web page 
  8. We put together a programme of careers related events every term. These take place on campus and some will be in your department. See what’s coming up in the What’s On section on the Careers and Placements website
  9. pound-414418_1920We advertise part time jobs in York and on campus. Go to Careers Gateway and search under the Opportunities tab. Don’t forget to filter your search to part time work while studying.

  10. Last but not least, the website! There is lots of useful information on there including help on the application basics – CVs, Interviews, Assessment Centres plus a detailed look at various job sectors including what you can do at York to develop sought after skills for each sector. Our York Profiles and Mentors pages contain a collection of career profiles from York graduates working in a breadth of industries and many are happy to answer career questions from current students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To tweet or not to tweet. Managing your online presence


Social media – great fun, isn’t it? Keeps you in touch with friends and lets you share your experiences (partying, travelling, trying new things) and thoughts (what you really think of the latest Celebrity Big Brother…).

Your use of social media gives an impression of who you are, but don’t forget employers use it too to let you know about their business.

Get the lowdown

Following organisations or individuals you’re interested in on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn is a great way of getting an insight into different companies and being among the first to know when they advertise a new job opportunity. You can pick up lots of snippets that might be useful when applying for jobs or going for interview too.

Join York Alumni Association on Facebook and LinkedIn as your fellow graduates do post opportunities to those pages and it’s a great way to badge your profile to strengthen your personal brand.

There are also some handy tips on using social media in your job hunting from Prospects  and GradIreland.

Showing your professional side

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet – and don’t think it’s too soon in your career to have one! – take a look at LinkedIn’s guide for students, which will talk you through creating a good profile and then using LinkedIn to find out about employers.

LinkedIn is great for finding out the latest in sectors/industries, as well as hearing about employers. It’s also a useful networking tool, helping you to make contacts and add to your knowledge.

So, if you’re going to spend some time on social media anyway, why not use it for your job hunting too?

“Tell me about yourself” Cracking the interview


There’s some great help and advice on preparing for, and attending, job interviews in our info sheet. It includes thinking about how you’ll answer interview questions using the CAR or STAR technique. Use whichever you find easier to remember, to help structure your reply.

Answering the question 

CAR stands for Context, Action, Result. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Questions starting “Tell me about a time when…” can be tackled effectively by using CAR or STAR –  talking about the situation you faced and what was required of you, what you did, and the outcome or result, and what you learned.  Note that the result does not always need to be perfect!  If it didn’t go quite right, you might still have learned something really useful to apply in a future situation.

10 reasons why interviews go wrong (according to employers)

1. Candidate doesn’t give sufficient evidence of what they’ve achieved.

Prepare some concrete examples of what you’ve done

2. Poor level of knowledge from a candidate, who has gone for a job in a specialist field.

Are you sure you’re right for the job? If so, gen-up!

3. Ill-defined aims or lack of career planning.

You don’t necessarily need to have your future mapped out point by point, but you should be able to express your initial goals

4. Unable to express thoughts clearly.

Prep and practise!

5. Candidate doesn’t ask any questions about the job.

The company website might be very comprehensive, but there’s bound to be something it hasn’t told you

6. Poor personal appearance.

Haircut, clean fingernails, clean interview wear and don’t slouch!

7. Candidate doesn’t show any real interest or enthusiasm for the job.

Employers want to feel you’re committed to the role. If you’re interested, you’ll do a better job

8. Evasive about unsatisfactory performance.

Be honest and show you’ve learned from any instances from your own experience

9. General lack of confidence.

Tough one to address, particularly if you’re nervous. However, if you’ve been invited to interview, you must have shown something to interest the employer, so take heart from that! Practise answering questions and if you’re well prepared that will boost your confidence too

10. Overbearing, arrogant and conceited.

No one wants that sort of character working in their company. If you’ve achieved lots – great, but you can be modest about it too!

Hire me! The art of drafting job applications


Naturally, you’re keen to land that first job, so it’s tempting to send off lots of applications to ensure major coverage. It’s quite quick to write an application and then copy and paste with a few changes, where needed.

However, it’s more effective to spend the time on a few high quality, well-tailored, applications than lots of generic ones. It may take longer, but a personalised, well-researched application will be more likely to hit the mark with an employer.

Preparation is key

Take time to research the organisation and the job, and to reflect on your experience and skills (including your degree and time at York), before you start an application, and check out this guide on what to do.

There’s also a helpful info sheet on what to include in your CV.  (This resource includes a personal profile in your CV, but this is optional so only do this if it works for you.)  Use active words to let employers know what you’ve done and the impact of it – here’s a helpful list.

CV Feedback

We’re always happy to give York grads feedback on their CV – just send it to us via Careers Gateway and one of our Careers Consultants will have a look at it for you; often it’s just a case of a couple of tweaks to make more impact.

 

 

Where do I go from here? Exploring career directions


You may wish to you have a job, which draws on and actively uses your degree subject knowledge. Start with Prospects’ ‘What can I do with my degree?’ and click on your subject or the closest one to your programme.

This resource will give you ideas of jobs which are either directly related to your degree or where the subject would be useful.

The information here also covers the sorts of skills you will have acquired through your studies, as well as destinations of graduates from that same subject area.

What are other York grads doing after University? 

You can get ideas by looking at the career stories of other graduates from your department in York Profiles and Mentors.  (You need a York log in to ask alumni questions direct, but if there is anything you particularly want to ask, get in touch with us at careers@york.ac.uk, and we’ll see what we can do.)

The profiles make interesting reading with alumni covering a range of topics, including what they do, how they got there, the recruitment process, and advice and tips for others.

What’s right for me?

Sometimes a personality assessment can be helpful in identifying your personality strengths and preferences, and how these might relate to your career choices.  The SHL Direct personality questionnaire, for example, analyses your strengths in eight key competencies, helps you understand what these are and how could use them in answering interview questions.

There are other tests available, some free of charge and others charging for a more detailed profile, eg Team Technology’s personality and careers tests, What career is right for me?, Career choice profile.

These resources are intended to help you think about your next possible steps, so don’t think you have to have your entire career mapped out straight away! As always, we are still available to help you, whether that’s through a chat with one of our staff or a pointer towards information that’s relevant to you and your situation.

More than money. Lindsay tells us all about her summer internship


Name: Lindsay Christison

College: Halifax

Course: Politics (Ba)

What do you want to do after University?

Not 100% sure but probably something in events organisation/ management within a company- like the CPD Unit/training gateway at York

Where and what is your internship?

CPD and Policy intern- Working on a project for the University of York relating to academic research and its impact on policy in the UK and abroad.

What did you get up to?

In general, I was asked to find out how the University helps academics turn their research into real world policy and where this help could be improved. In many ways, I was granted a lot of freedom in the tasks I had to complete. My goal was broadly to help the team kick-start a long term project on policy influence and therefore anything I completed would probably be helpful. I was initially tasked with internet research and received some suggestions on where to look, but also given the chance to use my own initiative and explore further. Later in my internship I was asked to present my findings and suggestions for the university to various members of staff.

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Initially, I struggled working with such flexible expectations and the requirement to work out for myself what tasks needed to be completed in order to fulfil a broader and longer term goal. As a result of this style of working I have learned how, in the workplace, large projects evolve greatly in their early stages as ideas and leads are tested and evaluated. This experience will be useful in the future as I now have a greater understanding of the processes behind project work. Moreover, I have learned that I can have confidence in trusting and following my instinct. After meeting with my managers and seeing the benefits of my work for the team, I now have greater confidence in my abilities.

What did you enjoy?

The most enjoyable aspect of my internship has been finding out more about the work the university does outside of teaching students. For example I was able to spend some time discovering what groundbreaking research our lecturers do and gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the academic prestige of our lecturers. (I also appreciated the confidence boost a power suit can bring to you on a Monday morning!)

“I have learned that I can have confidence in trusting and following my instinct.”

What was the application process like?

In all honesty, I applied for an internship, like most people, for the cash and to improve my CV. However, on top of this I really feel like I’ve gained a greater understanding of what the workplace expects of me and what I expect of the workplace. It has given me the opportunity to understand my professional strengths which will be helpful when applying to jobs in the future.

Applying for this internship I was particularly nervous as I knew I would be on holiday during the week of interviews and had to consider how to communicate in my application that I was really excited by the opportunity and if they could please still consider my application (in the office I have since found out I was dubbed ‘the excitable one’ when they were considering applications). However, after an hour of failed Skype call attempts from Majorca I had a quick interview and received my acceptance email the following day. The Student Internship Bureau really helped out here as they evaluated my application before it was sent to my employer which meant the interview didn’t need to be very long; this was greatly appreciated after an hour of nervous waiting in a 35 degree hotel room.

“After an hour of failed Skype call attempts from Majorca I had a quick interview and received my acceptance email the following day.”

Any reflections on your internship?

Working with the CPD unit and Research and Innovation team at the University has been absolutely brilliant and I cannot recommend enough, taking on a summer internship. The whole team have been so friendly and not once judged me for the amount of biscuits I bring into the office.

I feel like I couldn’t have had a more informative and yet friendly toe-dip into the world of work.

Find out more about the Student Internship Bureau by clicking here.

A guide to graduate job hunting


Now graduation is over you may have turned your attention to the little matter of job hunting. Here are some handy tips on getting started.

Know what sort of job you want and in what sector?

If you’re not sure what type of job and for what type of company, check out the Get Ideas of the Careers website. Here you’ll find exercises to help you think about what’s right for you. The job sector pages give you background information on a variety of occupational areas and our York profiles give you an insight into the range of jobs York alumni have entered.

Where do I find jobs advertised?

There are lots of graduate level jobs advertised on a host of online jobs sites. Our information sheet, Finding graduate job vacancies, gives a list of suggested general job sites, including Careers gateway, Prospects, TargetJobs and lots more.

Depending on the sector you want to work in, you might be better checking job sites which are particular to certain industries and services. The job sector pages will give you links to specialist sites.

The things nobody tells you

There are some details, which aren’t often covered in advice to graduates. These include busting a few myths around graduate job hunting (“all the jobs are in London”, “I’ve missed all the opportunities”, “all my peers have got jobs”, etc) and what employers really want from candidates.

Some of these issues are tackled in the job hunting toolkit, along with understanding job sdverts and how best to use job sites.

Getting the job

Making applications is only the first stage on, what can be, a long recruitment process. Help with writing a CV or completing a form to sitting aptitude tests and attending interviews is available on the apply for jobs web pages and the info sheets linked from each page go into more detail.

Keeping it local

If you’re keen to stay in York(shire), Yorkshire Graduates advertises vacancies in the region.  Other regional sites include Inspiring Interns (for Manchester and the north of England, as well as London), Graduate Advantage (Midlands), Unlocking Potential (Cornwall); if you’re using national sites, eg Graduate Talent Pool, you can often filter by location.

International work

Whether you’re an international graduate returning home or any nationality looking to work outside of the UK, use the international work resources for vacancy sites and advice.

For international students considering working in the UK, it’s important to read through the information about options and visas on our pages for international students.

Unsure of your next move?

You might feel you’re not ready to start job-hunting yet, and need more time to be sure of your direction.  So, if you need to talk to someone here in Careers, please give us a call on 01904 322685.

GUEST BLOG: Chinese students: Advice from graduates in China


This post was originally published a few years ago – but the advice from our Chinese graduates is still good if you’re thinking about your return to China:

Seven million new graduates will enter the job market in China this year. If you are a Chinese student at York you might already be thinking about the move back home at the end of your course – and considering how you can make the move from education into employment successfully.

Through our Graduate Profiles database we have collected some interesting insights from former Chinese graduates who have already successfully returned home to find work.  Here’s what they say:

Continue reading

3 benefits of taking some time out after your degree


Graduation was the climax of the last few years of your life and now it may feel like you’re in a headlong rush into employment. Taking some time out after your studies can be a great opportunity to have fun, build skills, reflect on your university experience and prepare yourself for your next steps. The time you spend doesn’t have to be a year-long, it could be as little as a few weeks – enough time to pause, find inspiration and gain skills.

Pause

pedestrians-400811_1920This has probably been the busiest year of your degree. Library, revision, lectures, seminars, exams, dissertation and in the background, the nagging feeling that you should really have a plan for what happens next when you finish University. It’s OK to pause, in fact it’s good to pause. If you’re not sure what you want to do next then taking some time out will allow you to try different things whether that be volunteering or work experience related to a career area you’re interested in, or travel and work overseas. All experiences will teach you something, it may be that you definitely don’t want to work in a certain career sector but this is still useful! You don’t need to have all the answers right now, but by allowing yourself some headspace, you’ll be able to stop, gain some perspective and figure out what is important to you.

Find inspiration

airport-2373727_1920If you’re taking time out, use it wisely and have a plan. When it comes to securing a  longer term job, employers will want to know how you spent your time out and what you gained from it. You may be considering travelling and experiencing different cultures or you may decide to stay closer to home and and use work experience or volunteering to get an insight into different career sectors or you could combine the two. The point is through your experiences, you will learn more about yourself. You can only know what you do or don’t like, by trying things.

Gain skills

You might think that unless you’re in a graduate level job, you’re not gaining useful skills but the good news is many skills can be transferable. On our website we have a list of skills that employers look for when recruiting. Whatever you do during your time out, you’ll likely be adding to your skillset and fulfilling some of the employer wish list, for example, if you plan to travel, learning a language is a great skill to have and the communication and intercultural skills you’ll develop will be a great addition to your CV, not to mention the self management and planning skills you’ll also acquire. See your gap period as an opportunity to gain experience before entering permanent employment. Short term work can help you identify what really interests you and where your career motivation lies, and it doesn’t have to be ‘casual’ work. Check out the graduate-level internships on Graduate Talent Pool for quality work experience.

Finally…

Once you’re ready to take the next steps – whether it’s a graduate job or further study – Careers and Placements is still here to help. As a starting point, our web resources have plenty of info and advice about job hunting, further study, making applications and going for interview.

Further info:

Check our web page – Taking time out

Read our information sheet – Taking time out

Graduate internships – Graduate Talent Pool

Look at our information sheet on Working outside the UK, this has links to lots of vacancy sources plus volunteer overseas programmes

GoinGlobal is available on our website and includes country profiles, job search resources and cultural information for 41 countries

We’re still available for you. Check out how to set up your lifelong careers service

Graduating this year? Here’s how to set up your lifelong Careers Service


It’s been a tough few years, full of ups and downs, but you’ve made it! You’re graduating from the University of York! The end of a very important chapter in your life, but not the end of your careers service.

We offer all of our graduates a lifelong service. That’s right. If you want a career change at 92, we’ll be there to help you through it. You’ll have access to the full shebang. Appointments, mock interviews, online resources, quick tips and guidance. Whatever you need to help you through your career, we’re here.

There is just a quick little admin task we need you to do: upgrade your Careers Gateway status by registering as an Alumni.

Here’s how you do it:

Go to Careers Gateway.

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Click on ‘Alumni login and registration’.

Click on ‘Alumnus sign up’

Fill in your credentials and click submit (remember to give your current and most active email address).

Once you’ve submitted your form, we will verify that you were a student here and you’ll receive an email when your account has been updated. You will then be able to use Careers Gateway exactly as you did when you were a student, including booking an appointment and browsing opportunities.

You can update your personal details and email preferences by clicking on ‘Profile > Update Profile’. Click ‘Next’ and ‘Save’ to ensure all changes are recorded.

Congratulations on your graduation! Now a new chapter begins and we’ll be here if you need us.

 

All I want for Christmas is… a job


One of our Careers Brand Ambassadors, Steph Gardner, let’s you know her Christmas wishlist when trying to land a grad job.

The countdown to Christmas has begun. So, we thought it would be ‘fun’ to talk about…you guessed it: Grad Jobs! We know, nothing can quite ruin the holidays like the thought of impending unemployment, so here’s Steph’s Christmas Wish List for the perfect grad job…

Minimal Entry Requirements

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So you’re reading through a job description and everything is going great, it seems like a great opportunity and all you need is a 2.1. Then you get to the very bottom and it says that you need not apply unless you donate your kidney to the manager’s sister’s best friend’s cousin. Obviously that’s an exaggeration, but nothing is more annoying than getting excited for a job and realising that because of your degree, or your A-Level results, or anything out of a list of about a 100 things, your application will be tossed aside before it’s even been read. So unless it’s a highly specialised field, my first wish is for a job that doesn’t demand ridiculous things before we’ve even started to apply.

Money to Spare

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Nothing is quite so disheartening as realising that the type of job you want pays next to nothing, and that in order to afford rent you’ll probably only be able to eat rice and nothing else for a couple of years. So my second wish is for a job that pays well, or at least enough to not be forever penny-pinching.

Free Stuff

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Recently, while job shopping, I came across a graduate scheme where part of the perks were free fruit and yoghurt. It seemed at first like a strange thing to advertise, but as a student (or former student) any free stuff is good stuff, so grad schemes that offer gym memberships, private healthcare, and more get bumped to the top of the list. My third wish is for a graduate job that offers perks aside from just working for them, let them make it worth my while to apply.

Not Too Much Competition

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Some people might find the idea of fierce competition a challenge, and while I don’t mind a bit of healthy competition, nothing quite puts me off applying for a job like company statistics saying that only 1 out of every 1,000 applicants gets hired. It could be that there are just lots of bad applicants, but if I’m not deluding myself, I know that a great chunk of the people applying are amazing candidates, and even they are not good enough. So even if some companies have only 1 or 2 vacancies, they’re worth applying to anyway because you might only be facing 100 other candidates instead of 3000.

Anyway, that’s enough about grad jobs, enjoy your holiday, and good luck with any revision or applications you might do! Remember you can always come to Careers for advice and help with job applications, your C.V., and interview prep.

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