5 ways we can support you this term


Here are 5 ways you can use Careers and Placements this term to support you whether you’re not sure where to start, you want to find out more or you’re in the midst of applications.

Use our events to explore options and do some research
Our careers events are designed to give you an insight into potential career options. Our programme changes every term and this term, we’re running an event called Careers in and we’re focusing on three different sectors. They are:
1. Advertising, Marketing & PR
2. Big Data
3. Policy & Development
At this type of event, we invite York graduates and contacts working in the sector that we’re focusing on, to come back and answer questions and to share their direct personal knowledge of their role and the industry they work in. We’ll also be exploring work experience options and the types of skills in demand in three smaller events focusing on advertising, marketing & PR (week 4), criminal justice (week 5) and community support & engagement (week 6).

Practice and prepare
You wouldn’t do a 10k run without doing a bit of training and a warm up first. Think about an interview or assessment centre in the same way. This term we’re running an assessment centre and interview experience where you can try some typical assessment centre exercises used by real recruiters. Similarly, if you have an interview coming up, you can book a mock interview with one of our careers consultants or use the application and interview tips on our website. Get some practice to help you approach interviews with confidence.

Try something new and boost your skills
Through our volunteering programme we advertise opportunities from a range of organisations. Whether you’re interested in a specific sector or type of work or would just like to get some experience and develop your skills, there is lots on offer. This term, for example you can volunteer to help run craft and lego clubs, plan sensory sessions for people with hearing and sight loss and work with an advocacy charity to provide support and information for older people.
Deadline for volunteering opportunities: Sunday 10 February

Consider a Placement Year
You can opt to take a placement year between your 2nd and 3rd year of study, providing you with up to 12 months of valuable work experience. You need to find and secure your own work placement however Careers and Placements are on hand to provide support. If this is something you’re interested in, contact us to book a placement appointment.

Think about what makes you tick
Our York Strengths programme is designed to help you uncover what your personal strengths and preferences are. The first stage for first years is an online test which is available now. Complete the test and receive feedback on your top 3 strengths. The next stage is to come to a York Strengths development day where you’ll have the chance to delve a bit deeper. We’ll help you understand what your strengths mean and how you can use them effectively.

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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/

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.

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

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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