Category Archives: Uncategorized

£10 Challenge winner James Mulholland talks about the experience

A group of our entrepreneurial students won both prizes (‘Most Innovative’ and ‘Most Profit’) in our £10 Challenge for Start-up week – A five day challenge to make as much profit as possible with just ten pounds. James Mulholland, Olivia Brooks, Ryane Tully and Anders Morris put their enterprise skills into action with a soya candle-making venture which James Mulholland wrote a blog post about below:
How we turned a tenner into £152 in 6 days.

Each year, Bristol University runs a ‘£10 challenge’ where teams compete to make as much money as possible from a £10 investment in under a week. Since I’m looking to maximise my business experience before I graduate in the summer, I thought I’d have a go at getting a team together to give it a shot.Once I’d teamed up with Liv, Ryane and Anders, we sat down to pick an idea and quickly settled upon candle-making. With Mother’s Day that week, Liv already having knowledge in the area and there being lots of opportunities to do things in a DIY way, candles looked like the perfect opportunity.

Fake it till you make it!

After a gruelling trip on the bus to Hobby Craft in the snow, we sat down to turn some £8 wax, £2 wick sustainers and other supplies that we’d cobbled together from around our homes into our first set of candles.

What we didn’t quite count on was how horribly over-priced Hobby Craft was going to be; £8 worth of wax doesn’t go very far. Candle-making, it turns out, is also much harder than WikiHow would have you believe and, in the end, we only produced a single half-decent looking candle. Not that we were going to tell anyone that. Using our one, precious candle, we grabbed the only label that we’d managed to wrangle out of the printer before it jammed and stuck it on to the jar with some honey we stole from Ryane’s housemate (real glue was out of our budget).

Using our fake, largely scentless candle, we took the artiest photos we could and began constructing our brand, Native Candles. We whipped up a logo with Canva and plugged it into Adobe Spark to make some banners and imagery for social media. Voilà!

With some deceptive photography in hand, I set up a Digital Ocean server to host our Wordpress/WooCommerce site (using GitHub’s education discount to get some free credit) and plugged in a theme I had lying around from some web-development work. Add some fancy copywriting and there you have it: a credible brand for the grand total of £0.

Next up was getting some orders in. This was the area I had the most apprehension about but in the end, what gave me the most learning and enjoyment. Selling to friends was easy enough but going out to real vendors with a product you know you’ve messily constructed in your student kitchen the day before is quite different.

Ryane and I walked into our first shop and started selling, pretending we had the faintest idea about the difference between soya and paraffin wax or what a ‘pure’ essential oil is. We’d been selling to friends for £5 but apparently our pitch had gone well and the shop-owner said she’d expect £10 and that we could stock up to ten candles if we came back the next day and got agreement from her business partner.

Ultimately, due to our highly-restricted schedule and a slow turn around for shop sales (everywhere wanted us to leave stock, take a commission and then return to collect our profits a week later), we ended up getting most of our 6-day revenue in the form of sales to friends and friends of friends. That said, we’ll be heading back out in order to put our remaining stock out there and it’ll be fun to see how successfully the product sells…

In all honesty, after one week’s work, the profit to time-investment ratio wasn’t astonishing per person. If I wanted to, I could definitely earn more in a part-time job. But to have money in your hand that you’ve truly earnt yourself is somehow so much sweeter than getting a monthly pay-cheque. And of course, this was in only one week with a bunch of artificial constraints that slowed our progress and limited our profits. With time, Native Candles could be tweaked further, indeed a couple of team members are going to carry on the business past the challenge deadline.

Finally, I’d like to give a shout out to the Career’s Service for running the challenge and for providing some tasty prizes for us.

Please see the original and full article here: http://blog.mulhol.io/the-10-challenge/

To check out their website: https://nativecandles.co.uk/

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.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Postgraduate Researchers: stand out with the Bristol PLUS Award

Postgraduate Research students; why not challenge yourself this year and develop a range of skills and experiences to enhance your career prospects and opportunities after your research? Last year PGRs from all faculties took part in the Bristol PLUS Award. The feedback was fantastic, as these case studies show:

Hannah Barber: Part-time Medicine PhD

As a part-time PhD student, my schedule can be very busy. The PLUS Award provided me with a great opportunity to enhance my employability skills and CV without consuming too much time. The award encourages you to take part in extra-curricular activities which will help you seek out a career. The experience enhances your reflective skills which I found could also be transferred to my daily research.

Through the PLUS Award I learnt about career opportunities beyond research. It taught me how to lay out my CV in a clear and concise manner which will attract a future employer’s attention. I found the whole experience very useful and would recommend it to anyone who is keen to make their CV stand out from the crowd.

 

Ji Youg Li: PhD: Philosophy

Doing well in postgraduate research is not only about academic success, it is also important to develop transferable skills. In signing up for the Bristol PLUS Award I wanted to engage in activities that would be beneficial for my career. I branched out in the variety of activities for my work experience and had fun as well! I also became more productive in my academic work, as I learnt skills in maximising my time and effort.

Through PLUS I gained insight into how to articulate my skills to others, how to reflect on my experiences and how I can apply transferable skills to career-related opportunities as a PGR student. The employability workshops were especially helpful, breaking down the key points needed to enhance my CV and prepare for interviews. The great thing about the PLUS award is that it encourages you to try new things and go outside of your comfort zone. Bristol PLUS was not simply an ‘award’ but a source of inspiration for me to keep being proactive, and to continue to practice and apply my skills. I really enjoyed my experience; the award offers an invaluable experience for PGRs so I would definitely recommend it.

David Dewar:  MPhil: Music

Though a somewhat mature PGR, the Plus Award seemed a useful and potentially helpful achievement. I started thinking about how I could use the award in my own situation.

The workshops were relevant to my future aims, and were also interesting and not too time consuming. Reflection on what one has achieved was a further rewarding feature. More recently I have learnt from interviewers in academia, industry and music that the record of such an achievement on a CV stands out and demonstrates your abilities, achievements, and self-endeavours; very valuable skills to advertise when backed up by formal recognition from the University of Bristol. I would recommend it to everyone, particularly PGRs; it’s enjoyable and meaningful.

 

 

 

 

Visit the Careers Service website to find out more about the Bristol PLUS Award and book on to an Introductory talk before  9 February 2018. Intro talks are open to all students and PGR tailored Intro talks are offered on  19 October  and 19 January.

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!

 

Getting the most out of your summer job

For some, the summer vacation is the opportunity to travel or volunteer in other parts of the world. Some will have been lucky enough to secure a summer internship in their chosen industry, and some will choose to earn money through a job seemingly unrelated to their career plan. If you fall into this last category, and think that your summer job is simply about saving up for the next academic year…think again.

Working in industries, such as retail, tourism and hospitality, offer you an excellent opportunity to develop, and provide evidence of, your employability skills.  These skills, which are “the skills almost everyone needs to do almost any job”, were ranked by employers as the most important factor when recruiting graduates (CBI Education & Skills Survey, 2016).

Throughout your summer employment, take the opportunity to reflect on what you do, and look for ways to develop and demonstrate your skills.  Doing this now will provide you with practical examples to provide to future potential employers when applying for graduate jobs.

Here are five skills you could develop while working this summer:

  • Communication

Customer service roles are an excellent way to demonstrate how you communicate.  Think about all the people that you interact with (customers, colleagues, managers), how you communicate with them (face-to-face, telephone, email) and the purpose of your communication (greeting, explaining, persuading, listening).

  • Initiative

Even if it is a temporary job, show your initiative by looking for opportunities to accept more responsibility or make a positive difference.  Consider offering to train a new team member, or considerately suggest a new process that could improve sales or business performance.

  • Readiness to Improve

Request feedback and act on it to improve your performance. Not only does this show professionalism and a desire to be the best that you can, it will help you to identify any areas for improvement before applying for graduate jobs.

  • Problem Solving

This doesn’t have to be something worthy of a global news report! Solving a problem could be implementing a new email filing system that improves the speed of responding to client enquiries, or appeasing an upset customer.

  • Team Working

Whether you are working for a small business or a large organisation, it is likely that your summer job will enable you to demonstrate how you work with other people. Think about how you cooperate with others to complete a task and how working together can improve efficiency or business performance.

No matter what job you do, make sure that you get the most from your summer job by investing time in reflecting on your experience, and updating your CV to demonstrate the skills that you have.  

Calling all finalists – it’s time to put your future first!

I have some simple questions for you.

Are you ready for life after university?   

Do you know what work you want to do?

Are you ready to compete for those jobs?         

Did you answer “no” to one or more of these

questions?

If so, it’s your last chance to prepare for the workplace over the coming months with help and support from the Careers Service.

We are open throughout the summer months, so you can speak with our experts and get information and advice on what might be the right path for you.

Plus we are running an exclusive finalist workshop in June to help you understand what might be the right career for you, and the steps you need to take to get to it! Spaces are limited for these, so reserve a spot today through mycareer.

If you already have a good idea about what you want to do, then we are currently advertising hundreds of immediate start vacancies on our website, posted by organisations hoping to recruit a Bristol graduate.

If you think you need a bit of extra help competing for the jobs you are going to be applying for, you can come and get feedback on your job applications and ask us about how to answer those tricky interview questions.

The Careers Service is your vital link to life after university, so don’t put it off any longer – come and see us to find out how we can help you today!

Why PGRs should do the Bristol PLUS Award

This year we’ve been running new tailored PGR Introductory talks for the Bristol PLUS Award and suggested work experience and intensive skills activities that are relevant to PGRs thinking about academic and non-academic careers. This has seen up-take of the Award amongst PGRs increase by 667%! Below Miquel and Oli talk about what benefits they got from doing Bristol PLUS.

Miquel Perello-Nieto: Computer Science PhD

The Bristol PLUS Award encourages you to be more proactive during postgraduate study. To complete it you must accomplish a set of requirements, involving different skillsets. By participating in the PLUS Award you increase your chances of getting a job by attending workshops on, for example, job hunting, networking, or interview skills.

The workshops

I attended a workshop about creative job searching that offered a set of useful tools to find jobs, and emphasised the importance of networking in this process. I also learnt about assessment centres and what to expect in the selection process, and attended a very useful workshop about enterprise, innovation, and communication for researchers. These helped develop my skills in giving effective presentations of my research, and a clearer mindset for tackling common problems faced by researchers. I am now more confident when presenting my research, and am also more organised when preparing for meetings, taking notes, and summarising afterwards.

The benefits

The Bristol PLUS Award has improved my skills, and is really useful in encouraging a proactive habit for learning and appreciating a set of skills not acquired during a postgraduate degree. I am now more prepared to find a job and make a good impression – the next step is to find a job!

Oli Bell: Medicine PhD

The Bristol PLUS Award allowed me to gain accreditation for work I was already performing, and helped strengthen my applications. It will demonstrate to potential employers that I take career development seriously, and that I am taking strides towards enhancing my employability skills.

I first read about the Bristol PLUS Award whilst browsing the Bristol Doctoral College’s course system. When I attended the introductory talk I had already completed the vast majority of tasks required to complete the award. The mainstay of tasks I completed were in relation to my intended future career path in teaching and research, so it was easy to fit in around my study.

Work experience and workshops 

Throughout the Bristol PLUS award there were several workshops and opportunities available through the Careers Service, as well as the possibility to use external workshops. To develop my teaching skills, I worked as a tutor with the company MyTutor, who offer online tuition for GCSE and A-level pupils in an interactive online classroom. I attended education workshops and undertook the ‘starting to teach’ course offered by the Bristol Doctoral College, which constituted my intensive skills activity. During this time, I gained insight into the challenges of teaching in university, and began to work on techniques in teaching. I also gained skills in lab demonstration, and this will undoubtedly strengthen any future applications I make in this area.

The benefits

The booking and submission process were easy, and fully-integrated online, allowing you to submit from anywhere, and to complete the Award at your own pace. This was very convenient for me as I needed to fit work toward it around my busy schedule.

In summary, I feel the Bristol PLUS award can only strengthen a CV, as it helps you develop core skills that serve to enhance future job applications.

 

Further information:

For more information and to find out how to sign-up for Bristol PLUS next year, read our Bristol PLUS Award webpages.