How social media can help or hurt you in your job search

LinkedIn is ideal for building a professional network and giving prospective employers a good view of who you are and is a popular medium for recruiting people. However, have you considered your other social media pages when it comes to job hunting? Whether you’re looking for a part-time job, internship or a graduate role, social media can have a key part to play.


Twitter can be a perfect tool to get in contact with organisations. Following a company that you want to work for will keep you up-to-date with company news which could give you an advantage at interview and help you understand the company’s values and brand, plus make sure you see the most recent job vacancies and recruitment dates. You can use it to get in touch with employers too but be careful to remain polite.

You can search for job vacancies on Twitter by searching for key words and hashtags, for example searching for #vacancy or #jobsearch will give you a huge list of tweeted vacancies available all over the world. You could also try tweeting to help employers find you; for example ‘Can anyone suggest a company looking for legal interns? #internship #legal internship #lawgrad #law Thanks!’

Don’t forget that this might lead to employers looking at your profile, so try to choose a sensible username and image. Think twice about what you are tweeting and watch out for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors too. Use the opportunity to present yourself as a suitable candidate.

Employers have been known to check your Twitter after an interview to see if you have tweeted about the interaction so avoid writing anything negative about them or yourself.


Facebook is not really known as a professional network website but many companies and employees are also active on this platform. You could sign up to groups or company pages to help you keep up-to-date with company news and many companies post their job vacancies on Facebook too.

You can post a message on your wall to say you are job hunting – someone in your network might be able to help.

Don’t forget that Facebook isn’t just useful to you – it’s the ideal place for recruiters to check on candidates. Keep in mind your profile security settings as everything they can see on your Facebook profile could affect whether you get invited to a job interview or not.

Don’t think solely in terms of hiding or removing inappropriate content – you can also use Facebook to your advantage. Your Facebook page will hopefully give the employer a good feel for your personality; for example, does your profile show off your interests, skills and experience?

Consider, does the information on your profile conflict with what you are telling employers?

Check out our online information for more ways to research employers:

What’s your USP? – Marketing Yourself with Applications

If all products were the same, how would we choose between them?

A unique selling point – USP – is the attribute that makes a product different from and more attractive than its competitors.

Just as big brands need to hook buyers in with their USPs, job applicants need to find ways to catch the eye of recruiters. So, when applying for jobs, this means showing employers what makes you different, ensuring you stand out from the crowd.

Job descriptions and person specifications outline the skills and qualifications required of an ideal candidate, and in some cases additional ‘desirable’ qualities. However, the jobs market is a competitive place, and many applicants will meet the essential criteria, i.e. many people will be equally qualified to do the job.

This can make the shortlisting process quite difficult – between equally competent candidates, who should get the job? Therefore, as an applicant, you need to be able to offer something extra to differentiate yourself from the others and break that tie. You are aiming to tick all the essential boxes and offer additional benefits too!

Added benefits – USPs

If you think of your application as a marketing exercise, you are essentially promoting your individual benefits to employers and matching those benefits to their needs.

To do this you’ll need to identify your key strengths, experiences and achievements. What do you feel proud of? You are probably more interesting than you may think! Highlight what makes you different and describe the benefits that you can bring to the organisation. Consider all the wider experiences you can draw upon that, in combination, are unique to you.

You will then be able to present yourself as a full and varied package of skills and accomplishments that not only meets the job criteria, but exceeds them.

Of course, you can’t do this if you haven’t sought out opportunities to develop your skills and experience – so now may be the time to find out what you can get involved with to enhance your portfolio of skills.

What might these added benefits or USPs include? Here are just a few examples:

  • Relevant work experience or shadowing in a similar role
  • Further professional or academic study/qualifications
  • Volunteering experience which has developed transferable skills
  • Evidence of achieving personal challenges or goals
  • Commercial awareness – market sector understanding
  • Holding positions of responsibility – e.g. society secretary, course rep
  • Sponsorship or awards in recognition of effort or achievement
  • Engagement with social action or community projects
  • Charity fundraising
  • Evidence of a commitment to a long-held interest
  • Resilience – overcoming personal challenges or extenuating circumstances


The way in which you communicate your skills needs to be confident. Employers are looking for self-assurance (though not arrogance), because they want to be reassured that you have seriously considered the role before applying and know that it is “for you”. You should also look at our list of ACTION words and phrases and incorporate some of this strong, skills-based language into your applications to describe how you have made a positive impact in the past.

Focus on your specific contributions, and don’t be afraid to use technical terms. Using the correct terminology or key phrases will also highlight your market sector understanding and show that you’ve done your research.


Use simple techniques on your applications to highlight the most relevant information by using bold, italic, headings, sub-headings and bullet points. On a CV, you could use columns, boxes or tables to draw the eye towards your most relevant key skills or qualifications. Be careful not to ‘over design’ though. Consider what’s most appropriate for the industry you are applying to.

If it’s a more traditional environment, keep your presentation professional, simple and direct. If you are applying to a more creative industry, you might go a little bit further with your design skills to demonstrate flair.

Either way though, always ask yourself if your application is easy to read? Is it structured and presented in a way that will help the employer to find the most relevant information about you? Employers don’t have much time to look at each CV they receive, so you really need to make the important parts stand out quickly and easily for the reader.

Passion & Personality

Finally, your enthusiasm for any role needs to be clear. Evidence of a genuine interest or passion for the industry and organisation will impress recruiters and reassure them that you’re serious about sticking around in the role. Enthusiasm that demonstrates your motivation and suitability and gives your application an extra shine that employers are eager to see. If you can show this, alongside a thirst to learn, you will be a more attractive candidate. Ultimately, employers will always choose an enthusiastic, self-motivated applicant over a well-qualified but disinterested one. It can be more than a tie-breaker.

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



Careers in management consultancy: your questions answered

Management consultancy is a popular career choice for Bristol graduates, but many students ask us what it actually is, and what it involves. We got a chance to find out a bit more about the sector, and what it’s like to work within it, at our Investment Banking and Management Consultancy Evening last month.

Representatives from LEKOC&C Strategy ConsultantsPA ConsultingPwC, and CIL Management Consultants answered questions about this popular, but sometimes misunderstood sector. Read on to find out what they said!

What is management consultancy?

Broadly speaking management consultancy involves offering sound advice to clients in a wide range of areas, including their strategy for future growth, management structure, or their use of money or IT services.

Management consultants work closely with clients and their team members, so their skillset needs to encompass strong analytical skills, solid numeracy, and the ability to work well with people. You can find out much more about the sector in guides published by Prospects, TARGETjobs, and Inside Careers.

Why choose it as a career?

Reasons our panel gave for choosing management consultancy included a good work/life balance if you are of a “work hard, play hard” mentality, the fast pace of work, and the fact that you will be expected to take on greater level of responsibility much earlier in comparison to other graduate roles. This is good both for career progression and job satisfaction.

What’s the biggest challenge you will face?

Our panel said the biggest challenge new starters will face is the level of responsibility they’ll be expected take on. Working as a management consultant will often mean you’re in direct contact with CEOs, CFOs and experts who are at the top of their field, and you’ll be expected to keep up.

That said, our panel also said that since clients pay fees to consultancy firms to get help with their most complex and difficult problems the work is also likely to be interesting!

Other challenges mentioned included the variety of work, and working with disorganised clients. As such you’ll need to be very organised yourself so that you can keep on top of everything.

What does it take to succeed? 

You’ll need to think in a sensible, logical way, be able to challenge your own assumptions, and both justify solutions you propose and argue persuasively in their defence. As such you’ll therefore need to be charismatic and able to persuade people, without being overbearing or arrogant.

How do people get into it?

Our panel’s experience varied, but most took internships in the sector before seeking full-time work. This not only helped them build up relevant experience, but also helped convince employers that they were serious about pursuing management consulting long-term.

Applications generally involve submitting a CV and covering letter alongside psychometric testing. One thing to bear in mind when making any application is the importance of tailoring your applications and communications to employers, and management consulting is no different. Employers will also expect a high level of commercial awareness from successful applicants and will be most impressed by those showing a genuine desire to work with them.

For more advice or information about the sector, what it’s like, or how to get work within it visit the Careers Service website, or come and see us at 5 Tyndall Avenue.

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.


The ideal student job – working as a DLHE Telephone Researcher

This January I will start my third campaign as a DLHE Telephone Researcher. I can honestly say that it is the ideal student job! The work hours fit around lectures, the pay is great and you get some valuable experience.

The advantages of working for the university are the flexibility and understanding around academic commitments. During exam season I could take shifts off on the day before my exams and, in the run up to big deadlines, I was able to request fewer shifts.

The skills learnt in the role will help me in the future, as you need to have good communication skills and a certain level of persuasiveness to deal with more reluctant graduates. I have also had the pleasure of speaking to several of my lecturers who had recently completed PhDs!

Alice Hook, DLHE Telephone Researcher

Calling graduates will open your eyes to many possible career options that you might not have considered or had even known existed! From grad schemes to postgraduate degrees, I now have a much better understanding of what I can do with my degree.

Featured Q&A article with Bristol Entrepreneurs’ Society president, Joshua Greenidge.

Value Penguin, a price comparison website, approached the Enterprise team to find a great student representative of enterprise activity at UoB to do a Q&A interview with them. Joshua Greenidge, president of the Bristol Entrepreneurs’ Society (BES) seemed like the perfect person for the job and this featured article does him enormous credit.

Joshua Greenidge is studying Anthropology with Innovation and expects to graduate in 2020. Joshua first entered the University of Bristol in 2016 through the Foundation Year in the Arts & Humanities, a one-year program that is designed to enable a diverse group of students to enter university who may not have a traditional student profile.

What has your experience in the programme been like at your university? (Perhaps you could tell us about both the Entrepreneurial Services at Bristol and also the Anthropology with Innovation programme.)

It’s been AMAZING! I left secondary school early and was educated at home due to being dyslexic so I didn’t really know what to expect. I applied to Bristol knowing that I wanted to immerse myself in the innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem that the city has to offer, but I didn’t expect the community to be so welcoming, or for there to be so many opportunities.

Since starting at Bristol in September I have regularly attended Basecamp events and workshops delivered by the former Entrepreneur in Residence Jack Farmer, and I’ve recently taken over as President of the student-run Bristol Entrepreneurs’ Society.

I have also participated in the first round of the New Enterprise Competition, and am currently completing the Santander Universities Internship Scheme. The internship is an especially valuable resource for students as it provides the funds needed to really test their idea, while also providing them with a dedicated team of advisers that can be called upon if you need extra guidance.

This year is going to see a lot of changes taking place across the university with regards to its entrepreneurial provision, and I expect that students starting this year will have a great collection of workshops, events and meet ups to attend throughout their first year at Bristol.

Why should other students consider your degree and/or university?

The University of Bristol is one of those places where things can really happen. If you’re interested in deep academic learning, but you also want to combine technical real world experience with your time at university, there are lots of great opportunities that enable you to do that.

I would advise all students considering Bristol to look at the university in a much broader context than other institutions. The university’s location in the heart of the city gives you great access to a vast number of very enterprising companies, and there are some very innovative start-ups in the Bristol-Bath area for you to land that career-enhancing internship.

I would also suggest that students look into the Careers Service and student-run societies. There is a great community spirit at Bristol and I feel that the university leads the pack when it comes to creating a multidisciplinary learning environment.

Potential students should also look at the newly announced Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus to see what’s to come in the future.


To read the rest of Josh’s article please go to this link

What’s new? – Careers Fairs 2017

Whether you have a clear idea of what career you’d like to have, or no idea at all, careers fairs are great way to find out about different options, meet employers, and get the information you need to apply. We’ve got several fairs lined up for the Autumn Term. Read on to find out what to look for in this busy programme.

Careers Fair App

Download the ‘Bristol Uni Careers Fair Plus’ app from the App Store or Google Play to start planning and researching before the fair. Our top tips section is a good place to start. You can also filter and search the attendee list to find the most relevant employers by the types of roles they are advertising and the subjects they target. Highlight these employers on an interactive floorplan and use the links to company websites and social media to find out more about the employers who most interest you.

Confused About Your Career

If you have any general queries or want some advice, ask at the Careers Service ‘Confused About Your Career’ stand. We will be on the landing at the Science, Autumn and Engineering fairs and would love to help you get the most out of the events.

Bristol Opportunities

Opposite ‘Confused About Your Career’ will be the Bristol Opportunities stand. Come and talk to us about city opportunities, graduate vacancies, internships and business start ups. We’ll also be able to offer information and advice on the University of Bristol Internship Scheme.

Grads Love Bristol

Love Bristol and want to stay? Come to our new event in Bristol Museum on Monday 30 October to meet a variety of employers, large and small, with opportunities in the city.

Other Events

We have more new events this year including Employers Love Bristol, Public and Third Sector Q&A panels and events especially for International Students. Check the website and mycareer for updates.