Category Archives: Careers in specific sectors

Now is the time! Hassan Nasir talks about the advantages of achieving the Bristol PLUS Award

There is just so much to gain”

Hassan secured a role with Dyson as an Electrical Engineer after graduating in 2016 with first class honours in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and, of course, achieving the Bristol PLUS Award.

— How did the Bristol PLUS Award help prepare you for your career after University? Are you glad you took part?

The Bristol PLUS Award is a catalyst for focusing upon and gaining crucial employability skills. To meet the Award requirements I was motivated to take on more important roles in societies. This helped make me more receptive to taking on responsibilities and becoming a better team player. These are the same set of skills that help set you apart in industry. Most importantly, however, it made me realise how much fun all of it was anyway!

— How useful was the Bristol PLUS Award in preparing you for the recruitment and selection process with your employer?

For the Award, I attended talks at the Career Service and I quickly realised how valuable the guidance I was gaining from these was.

The interview skills workshop was one of my favourites. I received constructive feedback on a mock interview and it paid off immensely when I attended an assessment centre.  Having practised with professionals previously meant calmer nerves during the real thing.

The Award also gave me a good point of discussion during my interview. There are a lot of skills and qualities you can quantify from completing this Award – all of which are relevant to the jobs out there!

—  Is there anything in particular you gained from the Bristol PLUS Award that you feel you would not have gained if you had not taken part?

If it had not been for the Award, there is a good chance that I would have only focused on academic study and missed out on the opportunity to develop the crucial employability skills which are so important for industry.

— Any words of advice or encouragement to current students thinking of taking the Bristol PLUS Award?

If you are interested in making yourself as employable as possible upon graduation then sign up to the Award as quickly as you can! You will realise that it’s not so hard to manage your time between studies and the award activities. There is just so much to gain; all it costs you is determination!

Registration for the Bristol PLUS Award is open until 9 February 2018, making now the perfect time to register and discover more! Visit the website to book on to a compulsory introductory talk now!

Where will you be in 10 years? Speak to Alumni to find out where you could go!

Earlier this month over two-dozen alumni from the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences came back to Bristol for the annual Biomedical Sciences Alumni Careers Evening, an event designed to help current students find out more about the wide range of careers that are open to them.

The event has grown continually, with this year’s being the largest ever. Over 180 students came along to meet management consultants, university professors, company directors, medical students, wildlife film makers and science communication professionals among many others.

Alumni delivering presentation

The evening gave students the opportunity to hear a number of short talks from the alumni to find out about their career paths since leaving Bristol. Students then had the opportunity to ask their own questions about topics such as how their degree has helped them in the workplace, what different careers are really like and what type of work experience is required for certain careers.

Students from all years of study across the Faculty were welcome to attend, from those who were in the early stages of career planning to those targeting specific positions. Those who hadn’t really given life after university much thought and had no idea what they wanted to do found it very useful to speak to people who had been in their position.

When asked what the most useful part of the evening was they said:

‘Seeing and hearing from people on different career paths highlighted areas that I might consider working in once graduated’

‘I enjoyed that the speakers were so varied in career path, it gave me confidence that I can use my degree for many roles’

‘Listening to speakers who went down different career paths and how they got there and why was very encouraging’

If you want to benefit from speaking to alumni it’s worth keeping an eye out for events that may be taking place in your school or society, in particular for the Faculty of Science Alumni Careers Evening taking place in February 2018.

Don’t forget that you can contact alumni all year round through LinkedIn and the Bristol Careers Network. For more information on contacting alumni and professionals take a look at the Careers Service website.

A Science Laboratory Internship- building on what I’d learnt on my course

During summer this year, I worked in a Biochemistry lab. My work involved looking at biological enzyme reactions which could be useful in biotechnology applications. Though this was a bit more left field than what I was used to in my regular Biochemistry degree, it was not as hard as it seemed. Thankfully, it turned out to be equal parts fun and work.

I found out about the opportunity by speaking to my tutor who suggested that I email labs whose work interested me. I was lucky enough to get a spot in the Anderson lab group after a short informal interview. From there, everything was pretty much settled besides funding, which required a written application and took a month to get a decision on.

As science students, we rarely get to practice our skills outside the lab and this was a great way of getting practical experience with things we usually only see on handout diagrams. It not only gives you lab skills but also general employability skills.

Working as part of a team of 8, I learnt the need for good communication and collaboration. I also got a sense of responsibility and confidence in my work ethic since I needed to be sure of myself and the work I was doing whilst knowing that support was available if needed. I also improved my critical thinking skills because I was always looking to improve my data.

Not only do you get a better understanding of your course since you are practising what you’ve learnt all the time, but you also get valuable work experience!

These skills I have developed will definitely help me in the future. I haven’t yet decided if I will carry on with academia or get a job after my degree, but I know the skills that I gained and developed will be useful to me regardless of where I decide to go.

Greg Pollard – third year Biochemistry student

 

 

Things that might surprise you about a career in Investment Banking

Things that might surprise you about a career in Investment Banking

At our Investment Banking and Management Consultancy Evening this month, we held a Q&A with representatives from Macquarie, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and HSBC. We heard what it’s like, and what it takes, to work in this fast-paced and exciting sector.  Read on for a few things that might surprise you about a career in investment banking

Learning doesn’t stop when you leave University

The learning curve when you start any new job will be steep, but it’s perhaps particularly true for Investment Banking. For most firms there is an intense training period and, then with new clients and complex problems in an industry that is continuously evolving, the learning will continue throughout your career.  The reward for this is an intellectually challenging and exciting career, but it will be hard work.

You don’t need a degree in Economics or Finance

Banks are increasingly looking to recruit a wide range of talent – from all degree subjects. As long as you can demonstrate a passion and commitment to the career, you will be trained in the technical knowledge you need.

Your potential and skills are what matter most. The top 3 listed by the panel were:

  • Resilience and flexibility to respond well when priorities change
  • Work ethic to work hard and keep learning throughout your career
  • Interpersonal skills to build relationships with clients and your team

A Spring Week or Internship is a great route into the sector … but it isn’t all you need on your CV

Most firms now offer work experience opportunities – from ‘Insight days’ through to Spring Weeks and summer internships. Most also use these to recruit for their graduate roles, so getting on one of these programmes can be a first step to a career in Investment Banking. 

However, this doesn’t mean that other experience doesn’t count. On the contrary, anything you have done that demonstrates your skills and makes you an interesting candidate will help you to stand out.  

Doing your research really does matter  

The work, culture and lifestyle can vary hugely between banks and divisions, so do your research and find where you fit. Start now by looking at our sector pages, and explore company websites. The connect with with alumni and professionals in person and on LinkedIn to find out what it is really like.

There’s no one career path in Investment Banking, so take time to find yours.

 

Jargon Buster

The terms employers use to talk about their organisation and/or their recruitment process can be confusing. Get prepared for the autumn term employer events and your job applications with our jargon-buster.

Organisations

Magic circle – Nothing to do with Harry Potter. This is the term sometimes used to describe the top 5 law firms in the UK: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Slaughter & May.

Silver circle Similar to the above, a group of top law firms that do not quite rank alongside the magic circle: Herbert Smith Freehills, Ashurst, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Macfarlanes and Travers Smith.

The big 4 – These are the 4 largest professional services networks in the world: Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and KPMG. They offer audit, assurance, taxation, management consulting, advisory, actuarial, corporate finance and legal services.

SMEs – Small or medium-sized enterprises. In the European Union, these are defined as organisations that employ fewer than 250 employees and have an annual turnover of no more than 50 million euros.

Work Experience

Vacation scheme – This is not a holiday! A period of work experience with a law firm, usually running for 1 or 2 weeks.

Internship – These are often paid placements offered by firms who regularly recruit graduates. Most often in the summer, but there are also part-time, term-time and vacation opportunities.

Job Descriptions and Applications

Hidden jobs market – This is a term often used to describe jobs that aren’t advertised. You can tap into this by networking, making use of contacts and writing speculative applications.

Entry level job – A role that requires little prior experience in the field or profession.

Referees – These are the contacts (usually two) you put on CVs or application forms who can be contacted by an employer to verify the information you have provided or to give insight into your personality. The referee should know you well enough to be able to write positively about you.

Transferrable skills – Also known as ‘soft skills’ or ‘portable skills’, these are skills used in one job or career that can also be used in another, rather than relying on direct experience of the industry. For example, leadership, organisation and communication skills.

DOE – Think it’s a female deer? Think again! Abbreviation for ‘dependent on experience’. An employer will offer a salary within a given range but is willing to pay more for a candidate with more experience.

OTE – Abbreviation for on-target earnings. This is an estimate of actual earnings where pay is made up of both base salary and a variable bonus/commission. Particularly found in job descriptions for sales roles.

Graduate scheme – A structured programme for recent graduates that includes work and training. It can last up to 3 years, though some are much shorter. Completing the scheme successfully often secures a professional qualification as well as a permanent role in the organisation.

Selection Process

Psychometric test – Any activity and assessment that is conducted in order to evaluate candidate performance, including intelligence, skills and personality.

Assessment centre – Usually a day or half day at an employer’s office or training venue involving a combination of tasks and activities to find the right candidates. Involves working in groups and includes a variety of exercises such as role play, in-tray exercises and presentations.

Competency-based interview – This is an interview where situational or behavioural questions are asked. They aim to find out how you have used specific skills in your previous experience and how you approach problems, tasks and challenges.

Strengths-based interview – Type of interview style becoming increasingly popular amongst graduate recruiters. It aims to find out what you enjoy doing and hence what engages you the most.

If you would like more information about some of these terms or support with finding and applying for opportunities, visit the careers service website or contact us directly.

Using the Careers Service – a graduate’s perspective

Here at the Careers Service we not only help all manner of students from all manner of backgrounds, through all stages of their career planning and development, but continue to support our graduates for up to three years after they’ve graduated! Natalie, a recent Law graduate, has shared her experience of using the Careers Service, and explains how we were able to help her:

I discovered the Careers Service during the first year of my LLB Law degree, as it was next to my accommodation at the Hawthorns. I used the Service in my first and second years by attending events and seminars as part of the Bristol PLUS Award, which was great for building skills, and later put on my CV.

During my third year I lived at home in London, so didn’t have the time to continue this level of engagement – I did, however, book a twenty minute appointment (conveniently on the day) with an adviser to discuss whether my plans and the steps I had taken to become a lawyer were sufficient and appropriate. This was a unique opportunity to get an opinion not only from an impartial third party (which I had not had before), but from an expert. The kindness and genuine interest shown for my concerns and questions was really reassuring, and exactly what I needed during my stressful final exams!

After University I learnt that the Careers Service is available to students for up to three years after graduating. Seeing as I was slow to begin the next steps to my future career (waiting around one year after graduation), it was again reassuring to know that this support was available. After a few months of travelling I decided to knuckle down. The first thing to consider was my CV, which I had not looked at since secondary school! The next day therefore I went into the Careers Service to have a browse through their available resources. It was great to have access to such a wide variety of up-to-date books, magazines, and newsletters dedicated not only to the art of CV writing, but also to developing interview skills, and finding out about particular sectors and industries.

Additionally, having computers available for use by graduates and undergraduates at 5 Tyndall Avenue was helpful – I often used these to look at the CV page of the Careers website, which provided plenty of useful examples, as well as top tips written in clear, plain English.

The Careers Service also offers accessible workshops and seminars. All of the advisers are especially welcoming, and provide useful advice, offering the opportunity for questions both during and after their events. Attending the CV-writing seminar, for example, bolstered what I had already learnt from the website.

The final step in composing my CV was to attend a drop-in session – a 10-minute appointment bookable at 8am on the day, during which an adviser will look over your CV, cover letter, or application form. This meeting was particularly insightful as the appointment was one-on-one, and the adviser provided honest advice and helpful suggestions, such as the use of ‘action words’ to make my CV more engaging.

For me, the entirety of the Careers Service has proven invaluable, helping me each step along the way. From the days when I didn’t even have a CV in hand, I am now able write this blog having just been given my first ever interview for a vacation scheme with one of the Top 100 Law Firms in the UK…!

So – if you’ve recently graduated from Bristol, and are looking for advice or guidance with any aspect of your career we can help. For more information visit our Graduate page today!

Converting to Law

The University’s MA in Law programme offers a wide choice of career paths – both inside and outside the legal sector. William Bartoli-Edwards, a Bristol Music graduate has posted a blog about this innovative postgraduate programme.

Why the MA in Law?

As a first year Law MA student who also completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol, the MA course has lived up to my hopes and expectations. My initial decision to enrol on the course was taken because I felt that, despite having taken steps forward in my academic development during my BA, I had not quite satisfied my academic curiosity and development. Therefore, looking for a course that gave me more academic challenges, but also complemented my initial degree, was a focus which quickly led to the Law MA as the ideal outcome.

When comparing the course to the GDL the Law MA seemed to suit my needs better; the GDL was more of a practical solution to being able to practise law, rather than an academic endeavour. Similarly, Bristol stood out in comparison to those other universities offering an accelerated LLB course. The MA provides a basis to support many more opportunities for further study and professional development outside the field of law, as well as offering the opportunity to preview an LLM, with the optional module in the second year being chosen from either the LLM options or a Master’s level research project.

Diverse range of options

For me, personally, because my undergraduate degree was in Music, Bristol, being a media and creative centre, lent itself well to support my continuing professional development, leading to a University Internship Scheme with Aardman Animations. This is also an example of how diverse law is as a subject. Not only does it enhance all of the sought after skills, such as critical analysis, but it is likely to complement most interests or sectors since specialist knowledge as well as practical knowledge often go hand in hand. Therefore, for example, a specialism in contentious music litigation is now a possibility for me.

Alternatives to Law careers

Nevertheless, a non-law focused career is equally possible. For me, with a passion for music and the music industry, there are a variety of jobs and possibilities which the transferable skills from law complement in the commercial music environment. In an industry such as music, ‘career paths’ are less common, or at least less clear, compared to many other professional areas. This is where the skills of the MA will be increasingly valuable. The critical thinking and the ability to analyse any situation you are dealing with means carving out your own, specialist, career path becomes much less worrisome.

Finally, the department itself is one full of enthusiasm and energy. The professors are extremely willing to help whenever and with whatever you need. From my experiences of other courses, within and outside of the University of Bristol, this course offers a great deal of personal development that is hard to find elsewhere.

Thanks William!

To find out more about a career in the Legal sector check out the Careers Service website – http://www.bristol.ac.uk/careers/be-inspired/career-sectors/legal-services/

Missed Media and Creative Industries Week? Here’s a roundup of what went on!

Last week, more than 15 industry experts – most of whom are Bristol alumni – came in to give talks, workshops and present case studies about all things media and creative. Film, TV, radio, publishing, the art world and the importance of having great ideas were all covered – for a list of speakers and their organisations, see our in-depth summary on mycareer.

Kate and Beth iFeatures1

Kate and Beth from iFeatures

Aside from things you’d expect to hear from creative professionals (expect a varied workload, the importance of getting your foot in the door, be innovative, don’t forget ab
out small to medium enterprises and how there’s no one definitive career path), there were a number of themes which youmight not have expected. This blog post will explore those and hopefully give you the opportunity to stand out in these competitive industries.

Watch, listen, read
Not just the people, shows or books you’re interested in or would like to work for – go bigger, immerse yourself! Watch TED talks (recommended by Laura from Speed Communications, highlighting the one on Airbnb), watch shorts and first feature films (tip from Kate O’Hara, Creative England), go to art fairs (Adriana, IESA) and think carefully about audiences (Rob from BBC History magazine had students in his workshop working out who their perfect reader was).

There are no excuses!

Many of our speakers said this exact phrase, multiple times and they’re right. With the amount of free technology, apps and programmes available, there’s no reason not to make your own content, building a portfolio of your work to take to interview or when shadowing somebody. Make your

Publishing Panel

The Publishing Panel

own demo (that was a top tip from Paris Troy, Heart radio), get some videos online (Will Wilkin, Lead Creative and producer for BBC radio) and practise responding to briefs (Gavin from Perfect Storm).

Be prepared

The funniest comedians and presenters have actually spent a very long time preparing their content. So, not only should you be preparing for applications, interviews and meeting industry experts, you should be developing it as a skill. Paris Troy was the guest speaker who spoke most about this and to do so, said you should make sure your organisation, time management and planning s kills are
up to scratch. Finally, a number of speakers including Will Wilkin, BBC Talent Managers Gaynor, Sas and Helen, and Julian Burrett also said be prepared to keep trying, be prepared to develop resilience and be prepared to do anything!

Tell a story

It’s not just about creating ideas – although the ability to do so helps – it’s about standing out and standing up for who you are (Paris Troy and Laura from Speed Communications). When Will Wilkin was talking about the need to tell a story, especially in applications, he said that you should literally tell a story (see his LinkedIn profile for a

Will

Will Wilkin from BBC Radio

n example) and that everyday life is suitable content. Other tips included create an emotional connection (Gavin from Perfect Storm, Laura from Speed Communications) and don’t be generic (Paris). Alongside this, Julian Burrett said it’s good to be open to creativity from others too.

Specialisms

On one hand, you should be an expert in what you do (Julian Burrett) but on the other hand, you need to be versatile (Will Wilkin). You might be generating ideas for multiple platforms (a magazine with an accompanying app, writing cricket news but cutting film about a match too) but you might also be working in a specialist area within the sector. For example, Laura talked about how Speed cover three main divisions: business and corporate, sports and wellbeing, consumer and lifestyle. Similarly, Adriana from the IESA described how the art world, sitting within the creative industries, has sub-sectors which include the dealers, contemporary art, art fairs, insurance and law, investment and client services.

Want more?

BBCTalentManagementTeam

BBC Talent Management Team

This is just an overview of the key themes but if you want more, check out our in-depth summary on mycareer. There’s a list of speakers on there too, as well as lots of information about the different areas of the media industry and creative sector.

So you want to get into wildlife TV?

Guest post by Liz Bell

Bristol is a great place to be if you want a career in television production. It’s renowned for the wildlife and factual programmes made by the BBC and the many independent companies based here, and with its close-knit professional community it’s an excellent alternative to the sometimes cut-throat London scene.

But if you’ve done your research, you’ll know that it’s not easy to get your foot in the door. Competition is fierce, jobs are rarely advertised and everybody wants someone with tons of experience (which you haven’t got because no one will give you a chance).

As a former TV producer, I get a lot of questions from people wanting to break into the TV industry. So here are my top tips to answer that perennial question: as a recent or soon-to-be Bristol graduate, how can you make yourself stand out from the crowd and get a job?

  1. Ask for work experience

It’s extremely unusual to get a job in a TV company without having done some work experience first. This usually takes the form of a week or so of unpaid work with an independent production company (a company that gets commissioned by broadcasters to make programmes).

Do your research online to find what companies are out there, and send them a CV and cover letter explaining that you want to do work experience with them.

  1. Show, don’t tell

It’s an old TV cliché – don’t tell your audience something if you can show it instead. TV companies get countless letters and emails from graduates who are “truly passionate about wildlife” and who have “loved wildlife documentaries from a young age.”

If you are as passionate as you say you are, get out there and volunteer with a wildlife trust, create a wildlife blog, make your own short films with your phone. The important thing is to show initiative, and a willingness to put some effort in.

  1. Edit your CV

If you’ve had the same CV since secondary school, it’s time to change it. No one is going to care what GCSEs you got, or whether you worked part-time in a shoe shop during school.

Give your CV a title – your name, and ‘Entry-level Runner/Researcher’ will do. Then start with a short, factual paragraph summarising who you are, including anything that makes you unique, eg: “Recent Zoology graduate with [strong writing skills / an interest in marine life / a keen interest in British wildlife] looking for work experience to start a career in wildlife TV production.”

Next put any relevant skills and experience – like making your own films, ability to take photographs well, being able to use Photoshop or any editing software, any PADI (diving) qualifications, driving licence, etc.

If you have any relevant work experience already, put that next, and only then put your academic qualifications. You don’t need anything before A Levels, and you don’t need much detail about your degree unless your honours project involved a specialist area you might want to expand on.

Finally, include two references – if you haven’t got a TV-related one, a university tutor/lecturer who knows you well, or someone you have volunteered for, are both fine.

  1. Make the most of opportunities

Jobs in TV, and opportunities for work experience, rarely fall into your lap. You have to go out there and look for them, which involves networking with people and keeping yourself in the front of their minds for the next time an opportunity arises.

Go to relevant events, meet people, email producers of TV programmes you’ve enjoyed. If someone offers you advice, always follow up and keep in touch, as it will make them more likely to think of you when they need a runner.

Once you get offered some work experience, or even land your first job, don’t sit back and think you’ve made it! TV work is almost all contract-based, and jobs are given largely based on recommendations. So make yourself useful, be polite and remember that even if you’re doing a week of work experience for free, you need the company far more than they need you.

  1. Be prepared for a career in TV

TV production is hard to get into mainly because so many people want to do it – and with good reason – it can be exciting, rewarding and very interesting. But as anyone who has worked in the industry for any length of time will tell you, it can also be stressful, frustrating and often mundane.

Short contracts mean no long-term job security, it’s hard to keep a work-life balance, and the majority of the time it takes to make a programme is spent in the office rather than filming animals in exotic locations.

In other words, keep your expectations realistic, and don’t expect it to be a dream job all of the time. If you know what you’re letting yourself in for and you follow some of these tips, you stand a great chance of getting started in a successful and fulfilling TV career.

Liz Bell is a Bristol graduate (Biology BSc) and former TV Development producer (working on and pitching ideas for new programmes). She worked in Bristol at the BBC Natural History Unit and at various independent production companies, as well as in Melbourne, Australia. She now lives in Birmingham and works as a communications consultant and writer for the charity sector.

The Media Careers Conference 2015 – what the students thought

On the 30th and 31st of March, over 90 students gathered in the Arts Complex for the Media Careers Conference. Over the course of the two day event, various media insiders (including Bristol alumni) came to meet students and deliver talks, providing students with an all-important insight into the world of media. Here two students, a fresher and a final year share their experiences of the event.

Emily Faint, First Year

As a fresher, I initially questioned the value of attending a careers conference. My career plans were hazy, and I certainly wasn’t looking to secure graduate placements given that graduation is still a mercifully distant future for me. By the end of the event, however, I was startled by how much the talks allowed me to clarify my thoughts regarding which career paths did, and didn’t, suit me. Each speaker had a wealth of information and advice to share, which included everything from the obvious suggestion of opening a LinkedIn account to dispelling myths about the perceived glamour of media careers.

Alex Ayling, a Bristol graduate who now works at BBC Worldwide, was a particularly notable speaker. He spoke of the importance of humility and resilience for those seeking a media career. I was startled to learn that companies such as the BBC rarely hire full-time staff, instead opting to recruit employees on a short-term basis depending on current projects. Patrick Ayree, a wildlife filmmaker and presenter, was also a delight to listen to. One of the most encouraging messages I received from Ayree was for young people to remember their value; young people are essential to the media and it is important to guard against feeling undervalued because of your inexperience at the beginning of your career.

For someone on the first rung of what I hope will be an interesting and varied career ladder, I’m certain the guidance I received at the conference will continue to benefit me for years to come.

DSCN2732

Emily hard at work at the conference!

 

Niamh Callaghan, Final Year

As a final year English undergraduate, I came to the conference looking for some careers advice and some tips on how to get into the media industry. On the first day, I went to sessions about digital television, copywriting in advertising, multi-platform production, and radio presentation. The networking sessions with previous graduates were really encouraging and gave some great advice. The careers service discussion about using resources (other than Google) to research careers was also useful, particularly as that is what I am currently doing after Graduation!

On the second day I went to two different workshops, one from Cardiff School of Journalism and another from Immediate Media. The journalism discussion encouraged everyone to find how they personally stand out from the crowd – learning technological skills is, apparently, very advantageous. The magazine publishers from Immediate Media spoke about identifying audiences and product pertinence. I also attended a talk from BBC Talent Management about routes into the BBC.  It was interesting to learn about career-specific skills and I was inspired to start learning some more.

One thing that seemed to come up a lot from every speaker was that, in order to work in the media, you should be creating a portfolio: filming videos, writing scripts, and building blogs. The general consensus was to make things!  The whole conference gave me some great advice for me to really begin my careers search. I left a lot more certain about my future career, with a handful of new connections on LinkedIn to get me started!