Tag Archives: commercial awareness

4 Top Tips for Landing Your Dream Job (and why I should know…)

Landing your dream job can feel like the stuff of fantasy, but it doesn’t have to if you take the right approach.

As an ex-lawyer turned career coach with experience in property, PR, teaching and copywriting, I know all too well how important finding the right job is and the frustrations of being in a role which doesn’t quite fit.

I also know how much you’ve invested in your studies, the time you spend thinking about your career and that fulfilment can hinge on more than a pay cheque.

So here are my top tips for securing a job which ticks all the boxes:

  1. Know Your Values

Knowing who you are and what you want is essential to positive change. Before considering what kind of company or organization you’d like to work for, ask yourself what gives your life purpose and meaning, in and outside work. Your values might range from money, work-life balance and family to meeting new people, travel or having fun.

If you’re unsure what drives you, ask yourself what you couldn’t do without in a dream day, what you’re doing when you’re happiest or what you’d love to be paid for. If you’re still struggling, ask yourself what you really dislike and turn this on its head. For example, if it’s working long hours with little time to socialize, it may be that work-life balance is top of your list.

Once you know what drives you, focus on organizations which meet these needs and maximize your chances of fulfilment.

  1. Harness Your Strengths In Your Search

If you’ve got into the University of Bristol, chances are you’ve got strong analytical and critical thinking skills – the perfect combination for identifying your dream job! The most fulfilled people are resourceful in harnessing their strengths, helping them narrow down their ideal workplace, prepare for interview and seal the deal.

If you’re struggling to find the time or perspective to research what kind of organization appeals, reach out to one of our career advisors. They’ll help you move from where you are now to where you want to be. Our applications advisor will also have top tips for how to craft a winning CV, covering letter or application form.

  1. Prepare For Interview

Whether you’re a rising star or a Mensa child, intellectual skill and charm are no substitute for interview preparation. The most common pitfalls are being unable to communicate what an organization does, why this appeals and how your experience and skillset set you apart.

Avoid this by thoroughly reading the organization’s website, articles published by key stakeholders and talking to any contacts you may have. Then identify questions you could be asked and practise your answers with a trusted friend or one of our careers advisors. Ensure you tailor your answers to the skills and experience required in the job and person specification. And if you’re asked a competency based question (tell me a time when…), structure your answer around the STAR acronym – check out this handy video for tips.

Finally, be sure to show-off commercial awareness by reading up on market and organizational developments.

  1. Trust Your Instincts

You can read all you want around the firm but there’s no substitute for face to face gut feeling. If you have a good gut feeling, trust it. If not, ask yourself which of your core values aren’t being met and if this is a deal-breaker. Good luck!

 

Career profile: IT Consultancy

A University of Bristol graduate talks about their experience of IT consultancy: 

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It’s a fact that Computer Science students in general enjoy excellent job prospects after graduating, with University of Bristol graduates being particularly sought after in the industry. All modern businesses require staff who understand how to fully exploit technology. In fact, many businesses will pay a handsome sum to anyone who can prove that they have the skills to unlock potential in their organisation using technology. So why is it that so many Computer Science students choose to apply for ‘safe’ graduate jobs (a.k.a. coding and development) instead of exploring all the different opportunities out there?

 I graduated from the University of Bristol seven years ago. Unlike many of my peers, I was not looking forward to the prospect of sitting in a dark room cutting code all day. Instead, I opted for a career in IT consultancy. Consultancy firms essentially get paid by other organisations to take on their most difficult projects as they have the expertise to resource and deliver the most challenging IT programmes. As a consultant working for one of these firms, I am kept constantly on my toes. Engagements tend to be short, meaning the next challenge is always just around the corner, and I rarely wake up knowing what my day is going to be like or where in the country I am going to be working tomorrow.

After graduating and accepting a junior role in a large consultancy firm, I spent nearly four years as a consultant analyst working for the British intelligence services. Although the work I did is classified, I can say that working on the most complex projects these organisations had was both challenging and rewarding. More recently I have been able to adapt my skills to work in the private sector, where I have helped around forty different companies across a variety of sectors. I mention this to illustrate the sheer diversity of jobs out there for Computer Science graduates.

The one thing I have learnt in this time is that there is a desperate lack of graduates applying for the more niche, highly skilled technical roles that companies need, and an overwhelming abundance of graduate coders. I believe this is purely down to Computer Science graduates undervaluing their skill sets and focussing on what they believe they can do best – coding. However, the harsh reality is that coding is often done better, faster and more cheaply by teams of offshore developers. Outsourcing has changed the landscape of jobs available to Computer Science graduates and it’s time to adapt!

 UoB Graduate

 The University of Bristol Careers Service adds:

Our ‘My degree…where next’ pages offer an introduction to the many different options available to you with a Computer Science degree.  It is useful to consider the destinations of previous Computer Science graduates, and read other case studies.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR as it is more commonly known, describes the way a company accounts for the impact of its business activities. This includes:

  • Impacts on the environment – use of resources, impacts on climate change
  • Impacts on social needs – poverty, equality, health, promoting strong communities with the resilience to cope with change, support for youth, education, older people
  • Impacts on cultural heritage – the importance of diversity and the protection of the things we value as our heritage.

The CSR definition used by Business for Social Responsibility (http://www.bsr.org/en/) is: ‘operating a business in a manner that meets or exceeds the ethical, legal, commercial and public expectations that society has of business.’

CSR is a top priority for many organisations today and employers increasingly want evidence that potential employees have clear ethics and a good understanding of the role CSR plays within businesses.

“Having strong CSR platforms enables companies to conduct their business in a way that is ethical, whilst taking account of their social, economic and environmental impact. It is important that as potential employees of a company you fully understand the role CSR plays within the business, it’s main purpose in fulfilling their goals and mission and how it is now seen as an important way to increase competitive advantage, protect and raise brand awareness and build trust with customers and employees”.

Martyn Flynn, Talent Acquisition Manager, Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Every organisation interacts with employees, customers, suppliers and stakeholders. CSR is about managing these relationships to produce an overall positive impact on society, whilst making money.

Companies approach CSR in different ways and it’s likely that organisations will have several CSR activities. Many companies start with small projects such as giving money to charity or creating recycling policies because these activities are quick and easy to decide on and implement. The Green Impact scheme developed at Bristol is a good example of this: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/environment/green_impact.  Ideally, organisations will move towards CSR strategies that focus on truly adding value for the business and society.

Below are a few examples of what real businesses are doing to address CSR:

Having knowledge of CSR is now part of the Bristol PLuS Outstanding Award requirments. Find out more on the Bristol PLuS Award webpages: http://www.bris.ac.uk/careers/plusaward/Index.asp

Jenny Smith, Bristol PLuS Award Coordinator