16 July 2012 09:41 AM

WIN £50 PLUS ALL YOUR SUMMER ESSENTIALS!

We've got loads of great summer goodies to give away, plus fifty English Pounds for your delectation - sound good?

To be in with a chance of winning, you need to like our page on Facebook, then share the prize photo with 2 friends. That's it!

We'll pick a winner at noon on Monday 23rd July. 

Click here to win!

 


30 May 2012 10:16 AM

70 things to do before you leave university (as well as research your career!)

Yes, we’re all about getting ahead on your graduate career research, but don’t ever let that stand in the way of making the most of all the other things on offer at university. It’s all about balance – any good employer will want to work with someone who’s had some fun and learnt something about who they are, as well as aced their exams and researched their career. Let’s face it, when else in your life are you going to have chance to devote your time to sleeping at strange hours, researching a subject you love just for the sake of it, joining obscure societies, organising charity events, surviving on cheap cider and whatever’s left in the fridge, and having house parties on a Wednesday night?

At CP Towers we’re all well into our old age - well, early twenties to early thirties; trust us, it feels old when you work with students for a living – and so we’re more than a little envious of all you carefree youngsters out there. So we decided to pass on our collective wisdom! Here’s our complete guide to the things you must, must do before you leave uni - and yes, we’ve either done them, or know someone who has, so get cracking…

1.  Get a degree! (this one is pretty important…)

2.  Wear the silly gown and hat and cringe while your parents hug you.

3. Feed the campus wildlife. Bonus points if you can befriend a specific duck/squirrel/rabbit.

4. Fall asleep in a lecture.

6. 'Borrow' a traffic cone, shopping trolley, or life-sized cardboard cut-out.

7. Make friends with the freshers and enjoy a brief moment of being revered for your wisdom and life experience.

8. Hand in an essay early. Feel smug.

9. Hand in an essay with seconds to spare. Sweat blood, curse printer. Swear you will never, ever do it again. Repeat at least once a semester.

10. Climb on the roof of your halls, preferably while wearing a superhero outfit.

11. Read Ulysses. Cos it’s what students do, innit?

12. Or, pretend you’ve read Ulysses and nod sagely whenever it comes up in conversation.

13. Make friends with the porters and the cleaners – make no mistake, they rule all!

14. Make friends with a lecturer. They know all the good pubs!

15. Go on a date with a lecturer (not one teaching your course, or they’ll get fired!)

16. Aggressively shush noisy first years in the library.

17. Have a frisky romantic interlude in the chemistry section of the library– no one ever goes there to do anything else, trust us!

18. Realise that you actually love researching your dissertation, and bask in the nerdy glow.

19. Negotiate with a librarian over an overdue book as if they’ve breached your human rights.

20. Form an unusual society.

21. Walk on grass that you’re not supposed to walk on.

22. Sit in on a lecture that’s completely out of your field, in the front row. Take copious notes.

23. Play ‘Human Buckaroo’ and see how many household objects – books, shoes, cuddly toys, cushions - you can pile onto a sleeping flatmate.

24. Turn up to a 9am seminar still drunk from the night before. Proceed to engage everyone in a spirited discussion despite the fact that you haven’t even glanced at the reading material.

25. Turn up at a 9am seminar still in fancy dress from the night before. Proceed as above. Except this time, do it in character.

26. Organise a flashmob. Water fight, bursting into song, dancing – you name it.

27. Do something really, really silly for charity.

28. Crash a campus event. The more formal, the better!

29. Attempt to blag your way into a club or a gig using a highly implausible sob-story.

30. Go for a hike in the countryside with a big group of friends. Take Pimms and sandwiches.

31. Go to a gig or a club night that you’d never normally choose, with an open mind, and boogie!

32. Participate in impassioned late-night alcohol-fuelled discussions about politics, life and the universe.

33. Take part in a student theatre production. Bonus points if it’s Gilbert & Sullivan.

34. Play a game of tag across the entire campus. Preferably in the dark.

35. Watch Withnail and I, and feel uncomfortably like you’re watching a documentary.

36. Get thrown out of a campus event. Preferably for something harmless yet outrageous, like building a human pyramid on the dance floor or attempting to kiss the bouncer.

37. Run for student office – or failing that, at least remember to vote!

38. Become on first-name terms with your local takeaway delivery driver.

39. Go out stone-cold sober – yes, really!

40. Swim in a fountain, river or other inappropriate body of water.

41. Set two friends up on a date…

42. …then watch it implode spectacularly

43. ...or realise that you’ll end up going to their wedding in a few years’ time

44. Invite your lecturer for a drink with your seminar group.

45. Hug your dissertation supervisor and give them a bunch of flowers. Thank them profusely for their saint-like patience in reading and re-reading all 10,000 words of your inane ramblings.

46. Go to a foam party. Preferably in a gay club. While wearing at least one item of neon or spandex clothing.

47. Realise that never again will you be able to devote this much time to pre-war French poetry, the Stanford Prison experiment, or dark matter. Enjoy it while it lasts!

48. Present a show on university radio.

49. Make punch using every form of alcohol you have in your flat. Preferably in a bucket, bathtub or other non-beverage-designated container.

50. Dress up as member of the opposite sex.

51. Host a house party.

52. Write for the student newspaper.

53. Do something outrageous that gets you written up in the student newspaper.

54. Take part in a protest.

57. Host a study group at exam time. See how many people you can fit in your room at once.

58. Instigate a standing ovation in a lecture – for maximum effect, this should be a lecture on something decidedly uninspiring, like study skills or business accounting.

62. Form a band, then grab all the other bands on campus and hold a mini-music festival.

63. Perfect the art of the toasted sandwich.

64.  Do all the touristy things in town – ghost tour, sightseeing bus, zoo, museums…

65. Kiss someone of a gender you wouldn’t normally go for.

66. Play a ridiculously elaborate prank on someone. Going into their room and turning everything upside down – from the bed and desk to the posters on their walls – always works a treat.

67. Go to a pub quiz. Participate with enthusiasm. Lose spectacularly.

68. Hold a Christmas dinner for everyone in halls just before you all head home for the holidays.

69. Organise a road trip during the summer break. Get a flat tire. Bicker endlessly with your travelling companions. Sleep in a tent. Then do it all again next year!

70. Finally, have fun and create some amazing memories. Yes, you need to think about the future, but not to the point where you get stressed about it! To make researching your career easy, visit www.careerplayer.com and get the inside scoop on how to choose your career.

 


17 May 2012 04:42 PM

No-nonsense graduate career tips: How to fill in an application form

The top graduate recruiting companies - banks, law firms, the big 4 - tend to use online application forms to help them sift through the huge number of applications they get every year. if you want a graduate job in one of these firms, you'd better get good at describing your achievements in 250 words or less, because you are going to be filling in a lot of these!

First things first - if you are incapable of writing in sentences, using full stops and checking your spelling - despite the wonders of spellcheck, the internet and that trusty proofreading friend who you've bribed into helping out - you are probably not ready to apply for a job at a world-leading graduate recruiter. Just sayin'...

Assuming you've covered the above, what else can you do to make your application stand out? Most advice runs along the lines of 'Make sure you show HOW you've achieved XYZ, rather than describing it.'

But what does that actually mean in the real world?

Let's say you're being asked to 'Describe a time when you went the extra mile to achieve a great result'. You're already a bit jittery on this one because a) you've never had a job apart from that horrible summer job in a cafe after A-levels, and b) you've just used all your academic examples in the previous question. You are already having visions of your competitors describing the time they went the extra mile by rowing their entire university rugby team down the Amazon after a plane crash, and then leading them to victory against the opposition despite having had to eat one of their teammates in order to survive in the jungle. What do you say?

First of all, rest assured that the graduate recruitment team is not expecting you to have done anything overly dramatic - they just want to know that you fulfill certain criteria - often referred to as core competencies - that they look for in their staff. You need to read between the lines of each question to work out what they're really asking. For example, in this question, they want to know if you're the kind of person who can use initiative, work to achieve a goal, and perhaps go over and above the line of duty.

Got that? Good. Now, if you can bear to, think back to that summer in the cafe. Did you ever have to deal with a difficult customer and keep the other staff calm at the same time? Did you ever offer to sort out the holiday rota or cover a shift for a sick colleague? Did you make the effort to chat to new customers so that they felt just as welcome as the regulars? Did you, in short, do anything to make life easier for your boss, colleagues and customers?

Pick your favourite example. Now, write it out as if you were describing it to a friend - just to get it down on paper:

'During my summer role at Bob's Cafe, I used to do the rota for my manager because he spent most of his time flirting with the florist next door and didn't understand basic organisational skills like listening to staff, writing things down or using a diary. He was a bit of a waste of space and it got everyone down when the rota wasn't organised, so I picked up the slack for him.'

Obviously, you can't put this on an application form - it's accurate, but it needs translating into professional language, and it needs the STAR touch. You need to rewrite it describing the SITUATION, the TASK, the ACTION you took, and the RESULT.

So, for this example, you could write something like:

'During my summer role at Bob's Cafe, the owner's managerial commitments meant that he sometimes fell behind on rota organisation. I observed that this had a detrimental effect on staff moral and motivation as they felt unable to achieve a work-life balance. - SITUATION
I volunteered to take charge of the rota in an addition to my assigned tasks. -
TASK
I did so by implementing a system in which staff members contacted me each Friday evening with their availabilty for the coming week. I then sorted the shifts into an online calendar which I emailed to all staff after seeking managerial approval. I also printed a copy so that it was easily visible to all staff in the office. -
ACTION
The new system improved staff motivation and resulted in a significant reduction in staff absences at short notice.'
- RESULT

That's it, you're done! Now repeat, using different examples, for the other eleventy-billion forms you need to fill in - and good luck!

P.S. Of course, don't forget to research the company - we have interviews with members of all the Big 4 Accountancy Firms here, so get clicking to watch. 

 

Aim high on your application form and you won't go far wrong... 

 


23 April 2012 10:04 AM

Women in Engineering - we made a documentary!

And we're very proud of it. We even got to go to the House of Lords for International Womens' Day because of it - how cool are we?

We were pretty horrified to discover that just 7% of engineers in the UK are women, so we decided to do something about this (we're practical like that). We made a film that showcases influential women in the world of engineering, telling us why they love their jobs and why engineering is a great industry to work in, regardless of gender.

We made two edits of the film - the first is aimed at schoolkids so it's a bit more general - and here they are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQzPfib7YyA 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgjaWq0d7I8 

We're so chuffed with these - we'd love you to reblog/retweet/tumblr/facebook them, etc - especially if you're a) a woman, b) a nerd and c) think that the next generation of girls and women need to know just how awesome it is to work in science and engineering.


18 April 2012 05:24 PM

It's a boy!

Just in time to redress the gender balance in the office after last week's events, Tom joined the team at CareerPlayer on Monday and has already been forced to do the tea and coffee round twice - best to get him used to it early, we say. It's kinder in the long run! He's going to be bringing his expert sales technique to CareerPlayer Towers, so, without further ado, here's Tom, ladies and gents!:

"The CareerPlayer family have welcomed me as their younger brother. I graduated from Bournemouth Uni last year in Leisure Marketing and moved west to quench my thirst for cider. When I’m not working you will either find me producing music, playing darts with my recently established darts team 'Chairmen Of The Board' or planning a music festival. I will be teaming up with Adam to make sure the sales go through the roof and the great testimonials keep rolling in! Lights, camera and action!" 

Tom enjoys blending in with the local culture whilst travelling abroad, as can be seen below: 


12 April 2012 03:46 PM

Yes, it's official...

...Careerplayer has hired its first ever woman. What on earth would Don Draper make of that?

Isabel is going to be handling all the marketing for the team, as well as correcting everyone's spelling (she's recently jumped ship from the world of print publishing, lured by the glamour of CP towers). As a recent(ish) graduate, she's the baby of the team, and hopes she can use her own knowledge of the perils of the grad job market to help the next generation of uni leavers.

When she's not working, Isabel and her lovely music therapist buddy run a charity music group in a residential home for the elderly. They sing, play music and generally have a great laugh (and lots of tea and cake). 

Isabel brings a wide range of transferable skills to the team, including an appreciation for cask-strength Islay single malt whisky, an excessive fondness for the word 'aesthetics', and a penchant for talking about herself in the third person.

Look out for her at your next uni careers fair - she's the chatty redhead, so come and say hello! 

Then (check out that early 90s outfit!)...   

 
 
...and now (yes, every day is 1940s gangster day at CP towers)
 

12 April 2012 02:26 PM

Guest Post: Relevant Work Experience Valued by Graduates over Part-Time Jobs

As competition amongst young people for graduate jobs remains fierce, placement work schemes and placements that offer relevant work experience are becoming more highly prized over part-time jobs that may pay better but are less relevant to the graduate’s desired career path.

During their university years, students have often been advised to take almost any form of part-time work between term time. This not only helps ease the financial burden of student life but also stands students in good stead for the process of job applications later on.

However, the advice now being given to students is to be more discerning in what they take on between terms and even before arriving at university in order to secure the best chances of getting a position in the industry of their choice. Building up a portfolio of work experience that is relevant to their chosen industry can be far more valuable than simply picking the first thing that’s offered on a campus jobs board.

This is not to say that student won’t gain valuable skills and experience working part-time in the services industry or other fields of a more temporary nature. However, graduate careers advisors have warned that this type of work experience by itself may not be enough to secure them their preferred job after graduation.

Instead, university based programmes which offer built-in work placement schemes and internships have become an increasingly appealing prospect and have been espoused by both careers advisors and business CEOs as the ideal means to get graduates onto their chosen career path. Degrees with an additional year of work placement after three years of academic study are being offered by an increasing variety of business schools and universities as relevant work experience rises on the priority list of prospective employers, especially those offering IT jobs in London.

After reviewing the process of collaboration universities and businesses, Sir Tim Wilson fully endorsed work placements and internship schemes that allowed students to amass vital work experience before entering the often tough proving grounds of finding their first position after graduating. His research suggested that students became eminently more employable after completing such schemes.

He said: "I think we're beginning to see internships being used as part of an extended interview process. The evidence that a placement year improves employability opportunities is strong while a lack of work experience appears as a key barrier."

A report from the Office for National Statistics has shown that the graduate population has rocketed in the last 10 years by more than 430,000. Clearly this makes for much stiffer competition for the most attractive positions as they complete their studies, in all industries from accountancy to IT jobs UK wide. With the prospect of a solid year of relevant work experience behind them, graduates stand a much better chance of standing out against the much expanded crowd.


15 November 2011 01:30 PM

Graduate Engineers and a SuperSonic Car!

At CP towers, we're working on a huge amount of new content for the website and our clients. One of the most exciting projects brought us in contact with the Bloodhound project. For those that have never heard of it, this is the British attempt to smash the world land speed record. It's an immense project but what makes it so special is that the primary aim is to inspire a generation of kids with what can be achieved with science and technology. Breaking the speed record is secondary.

Below is a snippet of a video we're producing that features some of the brains behind the project. We can safely confirm that it is the coolest car we've ever laid our eyes on. The top gear cool wall isn't nearly wide enough to plot this little beauty.


15 November 2011 01:01 PM

Guest Post: Some good news for IT graduates...

Unemployment among IT graduates has fallen for the first time since the beginning of the recession, research has found. The number of graduates out of work, after leaving university, dropped from 16.3 per cent in 2009 to 14.2 per cent in 2010, according to research from the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU).

There was a 4.2 per cent rise in the number who had IT jobs in the UK, with a total of 68.6 per cent in work, the annual survey of graduates found.The proportion of graduates working directly as IT professionals also jumped from 38.9 per cent to 44.2 per cent. The majority of these (14.4 per cent) were software designers and engineers, followed by programmers and computer analysts (7.4 per cent) or web developers and producers (5.8 per cent).

Google, Microsoft, Unilever, BSkyB, Credit Suisse and Lloyds TSB Banking Group as well as the NHS were just some of the companies and organisations that had employed IT graduates. The research, which some 8,845 people took part in, also found that less IT graduates are undertaking further study. This number dropped sharply from 11.3 per cent to 9.5 per cent. However, a large IT gender gap is still present, with the survey discovering that only one-fifth - 17.4 per cent, or 1,540 employees - were women.

Graduates were undertaking a variety of Masters and PhD degrees, such as computer science, management, computer games technology, computer security and resilience, e-business and financial systems engineering. This shows the spectrum of emerging and evolving industries where IT graduates are now required, such as the rapid increase in gis jobs available. Options for non-IT degrees included law and international human resource management.

"The jobs market for graduates in IT and computing degrees is improving, and the unemployment rate is coming down," said Charlie Ball, HECSU's deputy research director. “It’s also encouraging to see many graduates in the sector are going to work for small and medium-sized businesses – often very exciting and dynamic places to start your new IT careers"

"Graduates in computing and IT are also more likely than most to start their own business and this enterprising streak is good for their careers and good for the economy.”

According to separate research, IT roles in the retail sector have risen this year by 21 per cent. Advertisements for retail contract work increased by 24.4 per cent. And ads for permanent positions in software companies and consultancies grew by 18.8 per cent in the past year. Job opportunities in financial industries rose by 3.9 per cent. Contract roles in the same sector jumped by 16.5 per cent in the past 12 months. One industry insider said that the increases were likely to be a result of firms outsourcing to get costs down.

In early October, figures released by the Office for National Statistics revealed that unemployment in the UK was at a 17-year high. There are now nearly one million young people between 16 and 24 who are jobless. Plans to recruit 5,000 business mentors to help push up the number of female entrepreneurs, and to help kick-start the economy, were recently unveiled by the Government.


14 September 2011 10:51 PM

Guest Post: After your degree...

Your degree is an important milestone on the path to a career but unfortunately it is not a passport to the job of your dreams. You will still need to make an impression in your interviews so that you are selected for the position above all the other candidates. So, what can you do to stand out from the crowd after your course?

Practise Your Interview Skills.

Even the most qualified applicant can be moved to the bottom of the list after a poor performance in an interview. Employers do not only use interviews to assess your knowledge and enquire deeper into the skills you have listed in your CV. They also use the interview to assess you as an individual, see whether your personality will mesh well with their team dynamic, and generally get a feel for you as a person. These aspects of your interview are especially important for positions related to media and communications management as forging personal connections and similar people skills are an essential aspect of your role. The only way to know whether your best qualities are coming across in interviews is to receive honest, frank feedback from a friend or professional interview coach.



Know Your CV Inside and Out.

Before your interview, it is essential that you read through your CV and make certain that you can justify and elaborate on all the skills that you have listed. Think through the work and education that you have included and try to assess which elements of that experience are most relevant to the position for which you are applying. Your interviewers will likely question those entries that show excellence as well as those that they may be concerned about, so it is vital that you can explain precisely why you have achieved what you have.



Research the Job and the Company.

You should demonstrate your enthusiasm for this particular role that you have applied for and the company with whom you are interviewing. A general knowledge of the industry will not impress the interviewers. Rather, you should make it clear precisely why you wish to work for this particular company. Researching the company also allows you to show why you are particularly suitable. For example, a company with an environmental ethos may be interested in any environmental advocacy you were involved with at university. This may require a large amount of research, but will really pay off in the interview.



Keep up to Date with Industry Developments.

Your degree is a great foundation for the knowledge you will need in your role, though remember after leaving university practises change and your knowledge will start to become dated. By keeping up to date with new legislative or best-practice advice you show the interviewers that you are self-motivated and potentially ahead of your peers in your current knowledge base. Your peers will all have completed similar degrees, so any individual learning that you have done will help you to stand out as a more qualified applicant and could be the sole reason you are accepted for a job over everyone else.



Volunteer, Intern or Innovate.

Work experience is an important consideration for employers and most companies looking to hire you it is almost seen as a requirement for you to have the experience under your belt. This is something you can gain this experience before your first interview. A great place to start is during out of term time whilst your university course is still on going, the best being during the summer where you will have a few months to really get stuck in to an internship program. Making sure that you are well prepared before the term ends is a must though, as the summer internships can be very popular and become unavailable quickly. Also while you are waiting for interview or applying for jobs you can easily apply to be a volunteer for short internships in the field. This is a great way to show both a willingness to gain additional experience and an added level of ability to show on your CV. If you cannot find an official position as a volunteer or intern, it is still possible to gain experience on your own. Even something as simple as setting up a blog where you discuss current developments in the industry or your own thoughts on your field can make a positive difference.

Guest Post by Media Masters Degree course provider Middlesex University

Email updates

Recent Posts

Blogroll

Topics

Archive