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

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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.

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.

 

 

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.