Tag Archives: Work experience and internships

The Spring Careers Fair 2017

Our final employer event on campus this term was last week’s Spring Careers Fair.

New for 2017: careers fair app

This year we trialled a careers fair app which allowed students to research and prepare for the fair using our top tips section, filter and search to find the most relevant employers by the types of roles they were advertising and the academic departments employers were targeting, and then highlight these employers on an interactive floorplan.

We had over 500 downloads and positive feedback from students who downloaded the app. One student commented, “very helpful to plan who I’d like to speak to. Made my day more efficient. The map was a great feature.” Other comments included, “very useful resource”, “App very useful for prep”.

After the success of the Spring Careers Fair, we will be using the app for all of the careers fairs this autumn, if you want to get a sneak preview of the main features and benefits as well as check out the employers that are still recruiting and attended the event, the Spring Careers Fair app is still available to download – search for Bristol Uni Careers Fair Plus on the App Store and Google Play Store.

Bristol PLUS celebration

Exclusive to those who completed the employability award, the fair opened early with a welcome and the chance to speak to employers more directly over coffee and pastries.

The Bristol PLUS Award provides a framework to help you enhance your CV, develop a variety of employability skills and be more prepared for the interview process. A degree is no longer enough to make you competitive in the recruitment process. The Bristol PLUS Award rewards University of Bristol students who have gained significant skills and experience through activities outside of their studies.

Careers Service pop-up event & Bristol Opportunities area

One of the marquees outside the event held a Careers Service pop-up event with lots of taster talks open to all students as well as offering specific advice for postgraduate students. For those students still confused about their career options staff were on hand to offer one to one advice. The other marquee was the Bristol Opportunities tent, offering a list of immediate vacancies in the city, the chance to meet some local employers and advice on applying to the UoB Internship Scheme.

Employers love Bristol students

With a leading global reputation, and one of the highest rates of employability in the UK, your degree from the University of Bristol will help you get wherever you want to be. The quality of today’s students attracts many recruiters.

Employers from a diverse range of business areas attended this event including media, charities, consulting, finance, teaching, hospitality and IT, to meet with students and promote their organisation as well as upcoming and available opportunities. Around 2 thirds of these were SMEs with the rest being larger organisations. Many commented on the calibre of students and the conversations they had.

“Very inquisitive students.”

“It was a pleasure to meet the high quality students at Bristol.”

“It’s always great to visit Bristol Uni – lots of interested students with lots to bring to the charity sector.”

“A fantastic event for students to drink with cups from the fountain of business knowledge from fossils like ourselves.”

Missed out? You can still catch up

We are here to help you get to where you want to be when you graduate, offering you careers support in person, online and over the phone. The Careers Service opening hours are Monday to Friday 9:30 pm to 4:45 pm and in vacation 1:30 am to 4:45 pm. You can download the app to research employers and get ahead for next year. Our employer events programme will resume in the autumn term so check mycareer for updates.

Making the Most of Your Summer

Exams are almost over and it’s nearly time for a well-deserved summer break. Travelling, volunteering abroad and summer placements are popular ways to build your skills and experience during the long stretch of time between June and September, but don’t worry if you haven’t got one of them lined up as there are plenty of things that you can do to make the most of your summer.

Four things that you can do to make the most of your summer

  1. Volunteer in the UK – Volunteering is a fantastic way to help others and give something back to the community. Not only that, it can also help you to gain valuable experience, especially if you are thinking of going into an industry such as media, charity, heritage or other areas where it’s more difficult to secure paid work. If you’re not sure about what you might want to do after university, volunteering can also be a good short-term way of finding out what an industry is like to help you narrow down your choices.
  2. Work Shadow – Similar to volunteering, work shadowing is a great way to gain exposure to an industry that you think might interest you, but in this case it’s likely to be far more short-term and hands off, maybe only a week at a time. Lots of companies are happy to allow someone in just to observe, and it has the added benefit of helping you meet a wider variety of people and build up your crucial professional network!
  3. Read – Reading is a fantastic way to spend your spare time; whether you’re on the beach, in a park, or listening to the rain outside your window you can settle down and get stuck into a good book. Think about using part of your holiday to dig into some of your more interesting course material, read through articles to build your commercial awareness, or just to relax and get stuck into a novel that you’ve been meaning to get around to!
  4. Work on a Personal Project – Is there a project that you’ve not managed to find the time for? Now that your lectures, assignments and exams are out of the way, pour some of your energy and time into something that really interests you. You could aim to write a blog post or an online article on a topic that you’re passionate about, try to build an app that you had an idea for, or even start writing up a plan for your own business idea.

If you need any help with your career planning, don’t forget that the Careers Service is still open as normal for the next few weeks and then for slightly reduced hours over the summer months:

21 June 2016 – 16 September, 1.30 pm – 4.45pm Monday to Friday
(Careers Service closed Monday 20th June)

A first year’s ‘Spring Week’ experience.

ID, check. Two copies of relevant documents, check. Clean, well-ironed smart clothes, check. Room in the purse for inevitable free gifts from Barclays, check. Positive energy and attitude, check. “Never be late. Never be just on time. Always arrive a little bit early.” My friend’s advice echoed in my head, as I got on the London Underground and checked the time. I should be there 10 minutes before meeting time.

Upon arrival, the recruitment team took our name and relevant documents, and handed out our name tag for the week before being thrown into a swarm of people we hadn’t met, (or had, depending on whether you’ve done spring weeks or insight days at different firms), and given a briefing about what this week would entail: work experience, better understanding about the industry and Barclays, and networking opportunities. The recruitment team didn’t emphasize it specifically, but how we perform throughout the week – how we interact with others, the questions we ask to the company reps and the way we tackle tasks given – was going to be taken into account to our overall assessment on deciding whether or not we get an offer for the next year’s summer internship.

From that moment on to the end of the programme on Friday, my days were packed with heavily informative sessions such as trading exercises, talks delivered by senior executives, preparation for the assessment, work shadowing, various presentations and skills sessions and networking opportunities. We had to absorb and understand a lot of information, ranging from the simplest basics such as how to present yourself well or business etiquettes to learning about various divisions within the firm and how they work – all of which was extremely helpful. What I had learned about the industry and Barclays prior to commencing the spring week became more consolidated and contextualized in my mind, and overall, everything just made so much more sense. It could be intimidating, entering into a whole new world, where you don’t know the people around you or comprehend exactly what is happening, but more often than not, everyone is friendly and eager to help. I made sure to remember to just be myself, have fun, relax, and be willing to learn while doing my best and being well-prepared. Having fun and giving one’s best are not mutually exclusive!

My spring week ended with a weekend spent with the students I had met earlier that week, finally with a phone call the following Monday, letting me know that I have an offer for an internship next summer! It was a very intense, challenging week, but I did get out of the week all that spring weeks could offer: great experience, a better understanding of the company and the industry as a whole, a network of people that inspired and motivated me and an offer for next year. Oh, and the compensation for the week wasn’t too bad either!

By Jess Ye Seul Kim.

A 1st year Childhood Studies with Management (BSc) student.

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.

Ten Tips to make the most of your Christmas Holidays!

Now that the end of term is approaching and the holiday season will soon be upon us, have you considered how you might spend the break from University? If you want to make the most of the time, this can be a good opportunity to continue your Careers and Employability journey.

Have a look at our top 10 tips to help you maximise the break from University….

  1. Know yourself – choosing what to do after you leave University is a process that takes time and requires self-investigation, self-reflection and focus. If you’re really not sure where to start spend some time doing some homework on you! Ask yourself questions like: What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What motivates you and how does this fit with your beliefs and values? You may want to chat to friends and family about what they think your skills and strengths are, you may be surprised! There are lots of tools to help you start career planning including the Windmills Career and Life Management resource.
  2. Do some research – investigate the career options that are open to graduates from your degree using the Prospects ‘options with your subject’ Also take a look at the Careers Network to see what Bristol graduates from a range of courses have gone on to do.
  3. Volunteer and boost your transferable skills – December can be a busy time for the voluntary sector with lots of opportunities available, ranging from Charity shops to homeless shelters and residential homes for the elderly. Have a look at Do-It to see what opportunities exist.
  4. Earn some money – part-time work at this time year can be a great way to help you spread some festive cheer and also help you to enhance the skills that all employers value; for example working in a team and communication skills. Lots of companies require an extra pair of hands at this time of year. The Careers Service has information on how you can find part-time work.
  5. Keen to find out more about an area of work that interests you? Contact local employers to see if you would be able to do a day work-shadowing to gain an insight into their organisation and sector. There are employer databases on the Careers Service website to help your research into organisations.
  6. Personal Skills audit – look at graduate job opportunities in a field that interests you and list the skills employers are looking for, then audit yourself against these skills. Once you have identified any gaps, start to plan how you can fill them.
  7. Re-visit your CV – make sure your CV stands out. For more help on CVs look at the Careers Services resources on applications and Prospect’s resources. Maybe one of your parents or family friends would read through your CV for you!
  8. Develop your Social Media presence – LinkedIn is becoming an increasingly popular tool used by recruiters, so it’s important to have an effective profile. LinkedIn publish lots of useful resources for students and some fun clips.
  9. Apply for a summer internship – relevant work experience can be a great way to ‘test-drive’ if a career-path is right for you and help you explore your career options. The UoB Internship Scheme is aimed at Small and Medium size Enterprises in the UK, including charities, social enterprises and Non-Governmental Organisations. There are also opportunities available through the Careers Service website and sector-specific websites like Gradcracker for Science, Technology & Engineering students.
  10. Relax – Don’t forget to enjoy your break from University!

The Careers Service website has lots more support and information.

Getting into the field of wildlife conservation

Wildlife conservation is a rewarding but competitive sector and gaining work experience and thus developing your skills is really important. Developing your skills and knowledge when you first start your studies makes things more manageable but, if this is not possible, there’s no time like the present! A good source of general information is the agriculture and working with animals sector guide on our website. This will help with your initial research of the sector.

Explore the conservation sector within Bristol and see if there are any charities or organisations you’d be interested in volunteering with – you may find our employer directory useful when searching for local, regional and even national organisations. You can then contact them asking if there are any opportunities available but remember to check on their website first to see if there are any positions already advertised. It is also handy to sign up to any newsletters they may offer in order to keep up to date with potential opportunities and news regarding that organisation.

You may want to look for a regular volunteering role, enabling you to build a relationship with the organisation during your time at university. It’s invaluable to have someone you can ask when you have questions about the sector, and it’s a really good opportunity for networking and showing your enthusiasm. One-off or sporadic volunteering is also still really valuable, so if something sounds interesting, go for it!

In addition, there is a group called Bristol Nature Network who advertise volunteering opportunities and also events such as identification walks. Any type of volunteering or work experience is going to build your skill set and increase the chances of you getting where you want to go so make the most of the opportunities available. It might be worth noting down the volunteering you’re doing as you go, detailing what activities you did and what skills they gave you, so when it comes to writing your CV and filling in application forms, you’re ready!

You might want to attend some events e.g. lectures, work days held by the organisations you’re interested in. These will be attended by like-minded people and professionals within the sector, enabling you to form even more connections. They may also be helpful to you in deciding if you’re interested in a specific area within wildlife conservation, whether that be particular taxa or certain aspects of wildlife conservation e.g. public engagement or research.

The vast majority of conservation volunteering is unpaid so be prepared for this. However, a way of earning money whilst you are gaining experience is applying to the University of Bristol Internship Scheme. A number of organisations advertise posts on the vacancies section of mycareer or a student can approach an SME, including charities, social enterprises and NGOs, asking if they would like to participate in the scheme.

You can also approach lecturers regarding advice and possible work experience. They are a particularly useful resource regarding work experience over the summer, so if you’ve found their area of research interesting, get in touch! The Careers Service is another valuable source of help regarding locating work experience and internships. You may find the information discussed and presented at the Snapshot: Wildlife Conservation helpful.

So, what are your next steps?

Start looking for organisations you’d like to contact regarding possible volunteering or work experience. If you’re unsure, attend some events or workdays, perhaps chatting to people to get an idea of what is involved.

  • Be prepared! Remember that long-term volunteering or work experience is often unpaid. However, don’t forget to check for positions via the University of Bristol Internship Scheme.
  • Use the resources available to you! This may be from numerous avenues e.g. lecturers, the Careers Service.
  • And finally, good luck!

                                                                                        Alice Lawrence, final year Zoology student

Celebrating the Overseas Internship Competition

The Careers Service ran its Overseas Internship Competition earlier this year and received a great array of entries.

The competition was open to students and graduates who had sourced and undertaken internships abroad during 2014. We received entries that included descriptions of internships in a Singapore law firm, a museum in America and an IGO in France, to name but a few.

Entrants were asked to outline how they identified and secured their internship, to describe the internship itself, including the responsibilities they had and the projects undertaken. They also reflected on how the opportunity had contributed to their personal and professional development.

Entries were of a high standard and our winners included students who undertook a satellite engineering internship in India and a software role in North America. They described their internships extremely well, and it was a pleasure to read the entries.

Skills that were enhanced by undertaking internships included teamwork, time management and communication. Entrants described how they were given responsibility for completing tasks to deadlines, sometimes working across teams, and alongside colleagues of different nationalities.

‘This internship experience has given me the confidence and the professional insight that I need to excel in my career. Being appreciated for my work and contribution in the department by the senior managers was the most memorable thing that happened to me during my internship. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and fuelled my motivation to succeed.’
Overseas Internship Competition Winner

The impact of the internships on career planning was also stressed. Entrants related the ways in which the training they received and the exposure to their organisation’s working environment would influence the decisions they make in the future. They also articulated how they felt they had made a contribution during their internship.

‘Interning gave me the opportunity to work for a company whose products are owned by many. Knowing that I’ve played a part in this is something that you can’t get from just going to university.’
Overseas Internship Competition Winner

Our thanks to all the entrants and congratulations to our winners.

 

Want to work in the UK after your degree but can’t get a visa – have you tried Tier 5?

Applying for jobs in the UK after graduating is a popular choice, but only a few students are successful in getting a job offer from an employer that can sponsor them for a Tier 2 visa. This blog post talks about an opportunity you might have missed, called the Tier 5 visa.

As a non-EU international student, working in the UK can be very valuable in terms of your career prospects back home. In 2012/13 I studied a masters course at the University of Bristol and really enjoyed it. However when I arrived back home, I realised that getting a good degree isn’t enough to get a dream job. Employers are looking for transferrable skills and knowledge and also whether you have experience of putting those skills into practice. For this reason, work experience in the UK is highly valued.

So if working in the UK is so valuable and so many people want to do it, what’s stopping them? The most common answer is “I can’t get a visa”.

As you probably know, non-EU international students need a visa to work in the UK. If you have been offered a skilled job in the UK, you can apply for a Tier 2 visa. However, it’s hard to get an offer for a skilled job in the UK. The job market is very competitive, and includes plenty of hard-working UK and EU graduates who don’t need a visa. The job has to have a high salary and the employer also has to be willing and able to sponsor your visa application.

But this isn’t the end of the road for non-EU international students – there are other ways for you to work in the UK, and using a Tier 5 visa scheme could be right for you.

So what is a Tier 5 visa?

On February 10th I attended a talk held by the University of Bristol Careers Service Centre that included some good information on the subject, which I’ll share with you here.

There are a number of categories of Tier 5 visa, but the most relevant one for non-EU international students is the “Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange)” visa. There are many different Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) schemes available, which allow non-EU international students to apply for internships in the UK. Their aim is to share knowledge and allow the interns to experience the social and cultural life of the UK.

You can find the official UK government website showing details of the visa here:

http://tinyurl.com/ktn4ybu

The Tier 5 visa is different to the Tier 2 visa in several ways and there are a number of criteria, so I’ve tried to summarise the most important ones below.

  • Under a Tier 5 visa, you will require an overarching body, such as AIESEC or the British Council to sponsor your visa. The employer doesn’t sponsor you directly.
  • The maximum term of placement for the internship is usually 12 months at a time, but some do stretch to 24 months.
  • The person doing the internship must have completed their last studies no more than 3 years ago.
  • The internship should be full time (35 – 48 hours per week) and the conditions of employment should be in line with the National Minimum Wage Act if outside of London or £15,000 per year if based in London.

Are you interested? Well, there are a number of organisations that provide Tier 5 GAE schemes, and you can find a full list by pasting the following link into your browser window.

http://tinyurl.com/k3cs2g5 

Overall, the Tier 5 scheme can be a useful option for non-EU international students who are keen to work in the UK for a while before going back home.

If you’re interested in hearing this talk for yourself it will be taking place again at 5pm on 9th June 2015 at the Careers Service. However please don’t forget that all immigration enquiries should go to the International Advice and Support Team at the International Office.

So the above is what I have learnt from the event. Some other attendees commented, “Very informative, clear and concise” and “Very good, should have a few more of these to reach more international students.” I hope it’s useful for you too.

–Xiujuan Wang

Why should you consider Spring Insight with an employer?

An Insight scheme or programme is a brief period spent with an employer, usually in the spring or summer, to gain industry knowledge and explain career opportunities within that business. Activities provide an overview of company life and usually include presentations and seminars, work shadowing and some practical work experience.

Banks, Law firms and Professional Services companies are the main employers offering Insight programmes. Eligibility varies but many schemes are designed for first years whilst remaining open to other year groups. Here are 4 reasons why insight could be an important step for your career planning.

1. Narrow down your career options

It is common to feel pressure to discover your career path while at University. Insight schemes are a great way to narrow down the options. You may discover your future career or rule certain options out. This is all useful experience.

2. Get work experience

As Insight programmes range from a few days to a few weeks you can try out multiple industries to add work experience to your CV. Whether you find a sector you can picture yourself in or not you are still sure to develop transferable skills to boost your employability for any job.

3. Make industry contacts

You are likely to work with fellow students, interns, graduates and more experienced staff. You leave a first impression even in a short time, show yourself to be keen and colleagues will not mind you following up with further career questions.

4. Turn Insight into a job

Employers are increasingly using these programmes to funnel strong candidates through to internships and then graduate roles. If an Insight scheme goes well it could set you on the path to future full time employment!

Rate My Placement is a good place to start looking for Insight opportunities. Our advice is to apply early, many places get filled on a rolling basis. As always the Careers Service is here to answer any questions or help you to prepare an application.

Good Luck!

Maxine Robinson, Graduate Recruitment Officer

How to use the Law Fair to get work experience

Original URL: http://nickbaines.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/

I am a postgraduate researcher in an arts subject (not Law!) but last October, at the Careers Service Law Fair, I managed to get a week’s work experience in a mid-sized City firm – the Holy Grail of the would-be lawyer. I got this purely through chatting to the people I met on each stand. As networking and meeting people is a great way to get a foot in the door, especially for law, I thought I’d share a bit on the blog about how I went about it.

Just ask!

I chatted to a few employers at the firm, and got (alongside a lot of free stuff) 2 business cards, and 1 offer of work experience. At the stand of the firm in question, there were a partner, a trainee and an HR person, and I tailored my questions to each of them. After talking to all three for some time, I asked the lady from HR if there was any possibility of a week, or even a day, of shadowing. She’d already offered to take my email address, and suggested I drop her an email with my CV and the practice areas I’d be interested in. She actually emailed me with a reminder before I’d had a chance to get in touch with her, and once I’d sent my CV, she arranged for me to sit in my preferred department for a week in January.

The lesson here is an old one, but it’s true: if you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you feel a conversation is going well, then why not ask? Some firms, of course, will say no, but you’ve lost nothing, and it’s worth it to get even one yes.

Research, research, research

You’ll probably have heard this already, but research is key to securing legal work experience – even informally. And preparation is vital for law fair success:

  • Before the fair, I made a list of firms I was interested in, why I was interested in them, and what questions I wanted to ask in order to find out more.
  • I also had a think about more general questions I could ask. For example, it’s always good to ask about the structure of a firm’s training contract, as this differs from firm to firm.
  • As I mentioned, I tailored my questions to each person – when talking to a partner, I wouldn’t ask about the structure of the training contract (put that to trainees or HR), but I would ask about practice areas or the firm’s structure.

I met this firm for about 15 minutes and impressed them enough to get a place, and I can only assume this was because of my research. I was enthusiastic and interested, and it showed that I had prepared beforehand.

For more on researching employers, see the Careers Service pages about how we can help with your research. You can come into the Careers Service in person and talk to Information Specialists at our Resources Help Desk, who can help with this.

The Careers Service also runs talks on how to prepare for the Law Careers Fair. You can read our blog post about preparing for Careers Fairs and our blog post with tips for becoming a solicitor or barrister.

Don’t forget to come along to the Law Fair this year: 5 and 6 November at the Wills Memorial Building. See a list of the different firms attending each day on our website.

Lucinda, a previous Careers Service Information Assistant Intern