Tag Archives: careers network

Starting your career – top tips from three recent graduates


Our
Careers Network is bursting with inspirational stories from our graduates about how they found their first jobs after university. It’s a great place to start researching your career options! In our online library, you will will find tales of adventure, wise words and even a love story…

Tales of the unexpected

Even if you think ahead, sometimes life doesn’t go to plan. This was the case for Raven Swaine, who had planned to go straight into work after graduating, but instead took a year out.

Having left university without securing a graduate position, Raven travelled and volunteered, building up evidence of skills that employers are looking for. She applied speculatively to companies, resulting in a paid placement with First Actuarial – and six weeks later, a permanent job! So when life doesn’t go according to plan, use it as an opportunity to make a new one.

Memoirs of a graduate

It’s never too early to start thinking about your career. Whilst at university, you are surrounded by experts who can help you get to where you want to be when you graduate.

Jennifer Hoare made the most of her time at university by engaging with the Careers Service early. After completing the Bristol PLUS Award, she applied to graduate schemes, using our interview skills workshops and CV writing resources to help her prepare. Her hard work paid off, and she received two job offers through this highly competitive process! If you want to stand out, start now.

Love story

Craig Simpson met his employer, Newton Europe, for the first time at a careers fair and knew they were right for him. He moved fast, and within a month had a role with them!

To find the right employer for you, Craig advises that you do your research. He started by following our top tips for researching employers. He also attended our careers fairs, using this fantastic face-to-face opportunity to ask company representatives more about what it’s like to work for their organisation. True love could be just a conversation away!

How we can help

Recent graduate Brooke Theis told us that she learned not be afraid to start talking to people about what she wanted, because people want to help. That’s us!

We understand that no two stories are the same, so can help you with your research and questions. If you haven’t already, visit the Careers Service today!

Kickstart your career network

‘Networking’ is something you’ll hear about constantly when you looking for internships, work experience and graduate jobs. For some, talking to strangers about their job comes naturally. Many others see the word ‘networking’ and instantly switch off and go back to their job search. If you’ve made it to here in the blog post, well done!

The thing is, networking doesn’t have to be a scary switch off word. It is a useful tool to help you understand the roles you are applying for, get some insider knowledge for an application or even as a way to find experience.

The Careers Network is our tool for helping you get over the biggest hurdle: where to begin. The Network contains hundreds of case studies and contactable Bristol alumni from a wide range of backgrounds. This is a great place to start as the alumni on there are ready and willing to answer any questions you may have.

What next?

So you’ve found somebody doing a job you want to find out more about. What next? Send them a message!

The message doesn’t need to be long or complex. The most important thing is you ask meaningful questions that will help you understand their career path, role or employer better. Start with a short introduction explaining who you are, ask your questions and finish off by thanking them for their time. If you are a bit stuck on the questions, use these examples to get thinking:

  • I have an interview with X, do you have any pointers that would help me stand out?
  • I am looking to work in X when I graduate. Do you have any suggestions about how to approach companies for work experience?
  • Could you tell me a little bit more about how you found your current job?
  • I’m due to graduate with the same degree as you but am a bit uncertain what to do when I graduate. Was there anything in particular from your course that inspired you to pursue a career in X?

Remember: our alumni are working people. If they do not get back to you immediately, don’t panic! If you have not received a reply after a week consider sending another message, or let us know so we can contact them on your behalf.

If you would like further tips on networking, have a look at our talk to alumni page. If you’re still feeling stuck but want to be proactive, come in and speak to one of our advisers about networking techniques and other ways of searching for alumni.

Alumni panel inspires law students with their personal insight into diverse career paths

A panel of four University of Bristol alumni offered a fascinating insight into their careers to Law School students earlier this year. The event titled ‘Alternatives with a Law Degree’ was jointly organised by the University’s Careers Service and the Law School in response to the increasing interest from law students in career options outside of the traditional legal sector.

The objective of the event was to introduce Law students to some of the many options available to those studying for a law degree, including those outside of the legal sector such as EY, one of the ‘big 4’ (professional services) firms, as well as utilising a law degree in a non-law firm environment like the Army Legal Service. Each alumni spoke about their career path and informal networking over drinks allowed the students to meet the panel members and continue their discussions about life after University.
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Reassurance

A key message from the panel was to reassure students that there are many diverse career paths open to them and to encourage students not to feel pressured into making a rushed decision on graduation.

Explore your options

If you are keen to consider the options available with your degree there is a lot of support on the Careers Service website. A good starting point is the ‘Be Inspired’ section.

“The panel helped broaden my mind beyond the confines of commercial law and private practice, and also reassured me that it is ok to be slightly unsure of what I want to do after I graduate, because the transferable skills I will gain from a law degree from Bristol will set me up for a role in a variety of areas both inside and outside the legal sector.” Komal Patel, a 2nd year Law student commented about the event.

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Esther Wride, Corporate Human Resources Business Partner at Avon and Somerset Constabulary, attended the event with Tom Tooth, a Police Officer, and current part-time PhD student at the Law School. She commented, “It was great to meet a variety of students who were interested in finding out about opportunities with the Police and we continue to encourage people from all backgrounds to consider a role in Policing.”

Be inspired by alumni

Attending an alumni event can be a great way to find out what Bristol graduates have done after they left University, but there are other ways to be inspired by our alumni. For advice and information about how you can connect with alumni, including the alumni mentoring scheme, careers network and not forgetting LinkedIn, have a look at the Careers Service Website.SL271880

Meeting Alumni – a Valuable Step in Career Planning

What do you think people from your degree course are doing 10, 20 even 30 years after they graduated? What questions would you ask former students that graduated from the same course as you? This is an opportunity that students from the Biomedical Sciences Faculty got when they helped set-up the first Biomedical Sciences Alumni Evening.

Definition of Alumni from thefreedictionary.com

Definition of Alumni from thefreedictionary.com

 Last November, alumni from the 1980s to the present day came back to the University to talk to current Biomedical students. They came from a huge range of specialisms: including, postdoctoral researchers, medical consultants, clinical scientists, laboratory managers, accountants, medical demonstrators, academics, medics, and strategy consultants.

Current student chatting to Tony Stanley, PolyCoversDirect Ltd.

Current student chatting to Tony Stanley, PolyCoversDirect Ltd.

Students across the year groups found that talking to alumni was a very useful exercise. As well as being inspired to think about careers they hadn’t yet considered and encouraged to explore a range of opportunities, students also had the chance to pose questions to alumni who have gone on to pursue a range of influential careers. For example, they could ask them about what employers valued most from their degree course; what different industries were like; or what advice they would give their former selves when they were back studying at Bristol. Some of the feedback from students included:

‘[The evening] allowed me to discuss the pros and cons of different job opportunities, mainly academia vs industry. It really helped give me a realistic picture of each. I also learnt a lot about pursuing a PhD, travel and MRes courses, which I hadn’t previously heard about’

 ‘Very good! Helpful advice for PhD applications and opened my mind to other career options too’

‘I was able to ask questions about careers I was interested in and get answers from someone who knows the job well’

Speaking to Alumni is an excellent way to explore career ideas, to get the inside information on different sectors and to ask advice from people who have actually been there!

The alumni who attended the event were

Richard Pither, CEO Cytox Ltd, talking to Biomedical students

Richard Pither, CEO Cytox Ltd, talking to Biomedical students

equally enthusiastic. Bronwen Burton (BSc 2007), Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Immunology, said: ‘The event was a great success. The students seemed enthusiastic and engaged, asking lots of questions during the discussion sessions. Several also approached me during the networking session with further questions. The array of different careers which we, as alumni, represented provided an inspiring illustration of what can be achieved after completing a degree in Biomedical Sciences.’

The evening was requested by students and came from feedback during the Faculty Student Staff Liaison Committee that students wanted more contact with alumni. If this sounds like something you could benefit from it’s worth finding out if you have any alumni events that take place in your school or that are run by your course society.

How can you get in touch with Alumni?

You don’t need large events like this to be able to speak to Bristol Alumni. The Careers Service host the Careers Network – an inspirational community of Alumni who are happy to answer questions over email from current students about their careers, professions or entrepreneurial activities. Search the Careers Network to look for Alumni in specific sectors or from the same course as you!

You can also use LinkedIn to connect with Bristol Alumni. Simply create a strong LinkedIn Profile and ‘Find Alumni’ under the ‘My Network’ tab.

Be sure to read the advice and further suggestions about how to connect with Alumni on the Bristol Careers Service Website.