21 November 2012 09:34 AM

Five things you should know about graduate jobs in accounting

Interested in a graduate job in accounting? Accountancy isn’t just about number-crunching – you also need to be able to see the big picture when it comes to the future direction of a business. You will help companies of all sizes, from one-person businesses to multinational corporations and charities, manage their finances and comply with legislation. But what is a graduate career in accounting really like? Read on to find out the top five things you need to know before you start filling in that application form…

1. You will probably spend quite a lot of time away from home if you go into an audit role, especially if you work for one of the Big 4 accounting firms (KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young). There’s lots of driving and nights away from home at client sites, so you’ll need to develop a certain fondness for hotels, motorway service stations and fast food. If the thought of this brings you out in a cold sweat, the good news is that tax roles tend to be much more office-based.

2. There are three main paths that a graduate accountancy trainee might take after finishing university. Perhaps the best-known route is to train within an accountancy firm (such as the Big 4 or a smaller firm), providing a consultancy-based service to clients. However, you can also train within the finance department of a public sector organisation or a commercial business. Which brings us to…

3. Qualifications! One of the best reasons to get a graduate job in accounting is the training on offer, as it will stand you in good stead for the rest of your working life. And best of all, it’s usually funded by the company. You might also get paid time off to study. The qualification you study for will depend on the organisation you’re training with and the area you want to work in. If you’ve working with an accountancy firm, you’ll probably study the ACA or the ACCA – the former probably has the edge in terms of prestige, but the latter is often said to have more international recognition. If you’re studying within a business to become a management accountant, you’ll take the CIMA exams. Public sector accountancy trainees will study for CIPFA (in case it’s eluded you thus far, accountancy is a profession littered with confusing acronyms – so brush up!)


4. Entry to the profession is fairly stringent – you’ll usually need at least a 2.1 for the bigger firms. However, there are lots of routes, including those aimed at school leavers, so a degree isn’t a prerequisite. A good tip for aspiring accountants at all stages of their education is to get as much work experience as you can, whether it’s in a high-street firm or on a vacation placement with one of the Big 4. All relevant experience is good experience when it comes to getting your first accountancy job.



5. One of the most valuable things you’ll learn as an accountant working with clients is how to relate to different people and businesses – it’s a great way to make contacts across a wide range of areas. Plus, it’s interesting! If you enjoy finding out how things work and thrive on variety, you’ll probably enjoy working with external clients. One client might give you a plush, peaceful working area with a comfy chair and coffee on tap, while a small business might be tight for desk space and have you working in a meeting room or even in a warehouse. Even if you’re in-house, you’ll still be expected to be adaptable and flexible, as you may still need to visit different business sites.

So there you have it! If you're keen to find out more about graduate jobs in accounting and financial services, click here.

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26 October 2012 10:18 AM

10 tips for getting a publishing job without doing a publishing internship

Most humanities graduates have, at one time or another, considered a career in publishing. If you're one of them, no doubt you've imagined a glamourous 'Devil Wears Prada' magazine career involving a terrifying boss, free Dior handbags and trips to Paris Fashion Week.

But what is it really like? Click here to find out more, or read on...

As it happens, before I joined CareerPlayer I was a magazine journalist - so here's a list of the things I wish I'd known before I turned up starry-eyed on my first day at an international publishing house:

1. Beware unpaid work - there is another way! It's important to get your foot in the door, but if you don't value your work, no one else will either, so don't work for free if you can possibly help it. Unpaid work experience may be the norm, but it's only worth doing for a couple of weeks to get a feel for the industry. There are entry-level jobs out there, so instead of doing endless unpaid work, do a few bits of short term in-house work experience and focus instead on building up your portfolio of skills in a specialist area. Lots of people can say 'I like to write' or 'I'm good at designing' but what editors wants to see pop up in their inbox is someone who can create a highly-specialised feature for their target audience, with minimal input and editing from the production team. Got a special interest in music, triathalons or computer games? Know the industry inside out? Great! Start a blog, build contacts with suppliers and key people in the industry, then call up publishers and ask if they're interested in having you write a freelance article or design a graphic for them. Point out your specialism, the contacts you can bring in, the expertise you can offer. Direct them to your blog so they can see a sample of your specialist knowledge and abilities. Repeat as necessary with publishers large and small.

2. Publishing is not like it's portrayed in the movies. It involves a lot of hard work, yes, but it's also not nearly as cut-throat and backstabbing as Hollywood would have you believe. People tend not to take themselves too seriously and are often about as casually dressed as you can be without actually wearing pyjamas as daywear.

3. Publishing is a team sport. Most publishing houses have a small core team assigned to each magazine. Larger magazines will have various hangers-on like section editors, editor's PA, art assistants, editorial assistants...the list goes on! At minimum, this will have an editor (who oversees the editorial direction of the magazine), an art editor (who oversees the creative direction of the magazines, but is subordinate to the editor - which leads to the odd, erm, 'creative difference') and a production editor, who is the hapless dogsbody entrusted with keeping the peace, making sure everything is where it's supposed to be, proofreading every page, sourcing images, arguing with the printers, writing all the regular content and building relationships within the industry. Guess what my job was?

4. Essentially, magazine production is a process-driven industry. You need to be creative, yes; but while a certain degree of artistic scattiness is acceptable on the design side of the fence, editorial teams need to be on top of everything at all times. If you enjoy lists, order and ticking things off, it's a good area to work in. You need to be fairly calm, organised and focussed as you'll be working to some truly horrendous deadlines from time to time - ten days to turn around a 70-page magazine, anyone?

5. No one likes a diva. Make friends the moment you arrive with the hermit-like individuals (usually men in baseball caps) who inhabit the print room. They are in charge of final page setup and creating proofs, as well as essential bits and bobs like business cards. Get them on your side ASAP. Ditto for the receptionists and PAs (who are the people responsible for keeping the entire organisation together, often a rather thankless task) and the classified ad sales teams (who are the ones actually making money for your magazine!)

6. You do get quite a lot of freebies. Depending on the magazine you work on, you may end up with more clothes, makeup, hair products, books, cupcakes, computer games or mountain bikes than you know what to do with. In my magazine offices, we had whole cupboards full of free stuff that were occasionally flung open for everyone, from the cleaners to the MD, to take their pick. You can also pick up a few perks like free hairdressing appointments, photoshoots and trips to fashion events.

7. You won't be retiring at 30. Magazine work is NOT well paid, to put it mildly. You will find that 90% of people who work on magazines do quite a lot of freelance work in their spare time. So be prepared! Build contacts in the industry and you'll always have a bit of extra work coming in.

8. InDesign rules all. If you haven't heard of this software yet, you will! It's one of the most commonly used publishing packages and it's a bonus for an editor if they don't have to teach you how it works from scratch. Get hold of a free trial version and learn the basics. It will really make you stand out.

9. The future of magazines is definitely digital. Make sure you take every opportunity to get to grips with social media, SEO, blogs and websites. Knowing how to use a basic website content management system won't hurt, either.

10. Finally, some words of wisdom from an industry veteran I worked with. 'Always proofread everything three times - once for sense, once for structure and once for luck.' 

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03 October 2012 04:43 PM

Spotlight on: Graduate Marketing Jobs

What exactly is marketing? The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines it as 'the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.' But what does that actually mean in day-to-day terms? Find out here...

Essentially, marketing covers all the actvities involved in promoting and selling a product or service - such as market research, pricing, packaging, advertising, sales and distribution. Every product you can think of - from toothpaste to charities to government services - will have been through this process at some stage or another!

Qualities required include confidence and resilience, strong communication and negotiation skills, numeracy, analytical ability, commercial awareness, eagerness to take responsibility and a competitive streak.

Marketing executives are involved in developing marketing campaigns to promote a product, service or idea. The role includes planning, advertising, public relations, organising events, product development, distribution, sponsorship and research. The job is pretty varied - you might be writing press releases, working with PR agencies, meeting and greeting at an industry event, or implementing a social media strategy.

Hear the inside scoop on succeeding in the industry from a top marketing director here.

Find out more about marketing careers at The Chartered Institute of Marketing.

 

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26 September 2012 11:39 AM

How about a job at...the Civil Service Fast Stream?

The Civil Service Fast Stream is a unique graduate scheme that's designed to catapult the very best graduates into top-level roles across the UK. Sound good? Read on!

The Fast Stream allows you to gain a huge range of experience in a very short time. Fast Streamers undertake a variety of placements, move between projects and try out areas of work to build up a portfolio of experience that's hard to beat. Find out more about government and public sector careers here.

Starting salaries usually range between around £25, 000 and £27,000 and you'll be expected to be flexible - you need to follow the job wherever it takes you across the UK!

Click here to find out more!


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06 September 2012 09:09 AM

Guest post: Cybersecurity Sector Seen as Secure Employer for Graduates

 

With the continuing instability of many key UK employment sectors, a sure thing is hard to find. However, cybersecurity has been heralded as an extremely secure career option for graduates with the right skills to offer.

Thanks to the rising demand for online security services and the relative scarcity of qualified candidates, the genuine difficulty faced by many job hunting graduates of ‘too much competition, too few openings’ doesn't apply in this dynamic employment sector. Both private sector and government institutions need the services of hundreds more experts in the near future to combat the rising tide of cyber-related attacks, as well as the more mundane annoyances of low-tech spammers that plague today’s internet.

While the majority of the cybersecurity industry creates tech support jobs that deal with the daily countering of these low-tech nuisances, at the other end of the scale experts are needed to fend off more sophisticated cyber-attacks. These can take the form of defrauding attacks designed to steal or misappropriate capital, or in more deadly instances they can target critical digital infrastructure that can cripple power grids or banking systems with impunity.

Cyber-related attacks are a global threat with a cost to the British Government that not even the most well-informed experts can agree on, but it certainly runs into billions of pounds every year. While the demand for cybersecurity is there, the supply doesn’t measure up to it. Edwin Kanerva, Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton, recently said: “It’s tough going out there. Every company is looking for the same thing. There’s just not enough of them. The gene pool is small.”

Given the job security and relatively high salary that a cybersecurity expert can expect to enjoy, the number of new graduates who are entering the field remains disproportionally low. Perhaps the most obvious reason for this 'small gene pool' of employable graduates in this field is the fact that students who study computer science are being lured away by the bright lights of computer engineering or software development.

The most exciting tech companies, who have Silicon Valley headquarters and a large presence in the UK, are proving to be too much of an attraction to eager young graduates with computer science degrees. The large salaries and inherent coolness of innovative tech companies means that careers with Google, Microsoft and Oracle are highly sought after, drawing computer studies graduates away from online security firms and government departments. These tech giants are also increasingly reaching out to pluck potential candidates from the graduate pool to employ them in Java jobs, as the programming language has come under fire recently for its supposed security issues.

While software development jobs with this kind of employer may be an attractive option, graduates with computer related qualifications should certainly consider the variety of excellent employers looking for cybersecurity experts. The generous salaries, job security and relatively lower levels of competition make it an excellent employment sector.

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15 August 2012 12:27 PM

3 things graduates need to know about consulting

For many graduates, consulting has a glamourous ring to it – the idea of walking into a different organisation every fortnight and helping to smooth out their business issues. However, it’s notorious for being a highly demanding career path – have you got what it takes?

1.    Commitment

Consulting is not a profession for graduates who aren’t 100% committed to their career – it involves frequent travel and long hours, with often only a day week spent in your base office. If the idea of becoming closely acquainted with a variety of hotel facilities across the UK doesn’t faze you, then a graduate job in consulting might suit you.


2.    Diplomacy and tact
Consultants are often brought in to help organisations that are having difficulties, so an ability to empathise, be tactful and work collaboratively to solve problems is a valuable skill. 


3.    Organisational skills

You’re not going to be based in the same place all the time, so your ability to get (and keep) yourself organized needs to be top-notch.

Still think you’ve got what it takes? Find out more about careers in consulting by clicking here.


Or click on the image below...


08 August 2012 10:30 AM

Four things you need to know about a graduate career in law

Every year many hopeful graduates apply for coveted and scarce graduate schemes at top law firms. Known in the industry as training contracts, these demanding but well-rewarded positions often come with a hefty sponsorship deal to help graduates through the final stages of their legal training before they join the firm. If you’re one of these hopefuls, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons! Read on for our top things you must think about before you even start to fill out application forms:

1. Make sure you want to work in law for the right reasons
Do you have a real and genuine interest in the law? Do you believe you will find the role as a solicitor or barrister enjoyable and challenging, or are you only interested in the money and perceived prestige it can bring? Do you enjoy logic, details and intellectual challenge? Are you happy working through piles of paperwork? Can you explain complex terms clearly, to people who have no idea what you’re talking about, without sounding patronising? Be honest about your personality and skills, and you’ll be happier in the long run. But equally, don’t rule out law just because you have visions of brash City boys spending 18 hours a day in the office – there are many different types of law and many different law firm cultures. Don’t assume you won’t fit in because of your gender, background or personality. Which leads on to…

…

2. Research!
If the idea of this makes you glaze over, law is probably not the profession for you – it’s research-intensive! If you’re the kind of person who can pick out vital bits of study texts and speedily interpret them without plodding though the whole book, this will stand you in good stead. Find out all you can about the career paths and firms that interest you. Do you know the day-to-day differences between being a solicitor and a barrister (beyond ‘one of them wears a wig’)? Do you have a specific idea of the geographical area or specialism you want to work in, or are you looking for a company that will give you a broad range of experience? 



3. Work experience
This doesn’t have to be legal, particularly if you can demonstrate decent business experience – for example, if you had a placement year at university. If you can get on a vacation scheme at a large firm, this will help you decide if commercial law is for you – but if you can’t it’s not the end of the world! Voluntary work with legal aid organisations, shadowing a family friend who’s a barrister, or working part-time as an office assistant at high street law firms all count. Good employers will accept that people come from different backgrounds and can bring different things to the table. Having said that, if you turn up for an interview and tell a senior partner that you’ve got no business or legal experience but you want to be a lawyer because you like watching Boston Legal and you want to make loads of money, expect to get short shrift.



4. Be realistic about your prospects
If you don’t have, at MINIMUM, a mid-to-high 2.1 and at least one or two As at A-Level, you stand little chance of making it into a top law firm. There is huge competition for places, and although firms will take your circumstances into account, they do have to have a cut-off point somewhere! Last year there were 4,874 training places available, whilst for the same year 7,064 people registered on the LPC (the last stage of academic legal training) – so you need to be one of the best. Becoming a barrister is even more competitive and is really not for the faint-hearted – there are far more applicants every year than there are training places, and as the Bar is very academic in slant you really do need a First (or a lot of luck and a 2.1) to be in with a chance. The moral of the story is that it is probably not worth forking out the many thousands it will cost you to train in either profession if you’re unlikely to get a job at the end of it and make that money back. The exception to this rule is if you have high grades but just haven’t managed to secure a training contract that pays for your training before you start your legal studies, or if you have good grades but want to work for a smaller firm that doesn’t offer sponsorship. But if you have less than a solid, 65%+ 2.1, you are probably better off pursuing other career paths. Honesty with yourself is the best policy!

To find out more about different careers in law, click here.


The Law Society and the Bar Council websites are packed with useful information and are great place to start researching your legal career.


02 August 2012 03:18 PM

What to expect from summer internships

Summer internships are a great way to work out if a particular career path is right for you – and when you get to the stage of filling in application forms and going for graduate job interviews, they will help you demonstrate your motivation and understanding of the industry you want to work in. Placements in large organisations such as banks, law firms and consultancies tend to be highly structured and place great emphasis on giving you a real taster of life at a particular company.

On a typical summer placement with a large company, you’ll likely get to have a go at some of the following: 
    •    Going along to seminars or presentations
    •    Office-based work such as helping with research on projects
    •    Going to client meetings
    •    Taking part in a business task with other placement students and giving a presentation on this at the end of the placement
    •    Socials – many firms will wine and dine you at least once during your internship!

By the end of your placement, you’ll have a definite idea of whether the company – and the career itself – is a good fit for you. For more info on how to make the most of graduate internships, click here.

Or click on the image below...


24 July 2012 03:30 PM

Meet your Career Twin With Our Unique Psychometric Tests!

The Intelligent Career Test - A CareerPlayer Special For Your Enjoyment This Fine Wednesday Morning

In case you hadn't noticed, we do things a bit differently here at CareerPlayer. For a start, we don't believe in silly 'Career Matching' tests that ask you questions like 'Do you enjoy selling?' and then suggest you go for a career in Sales. Well, duh!

Instead, we got every single person in our videos, from CEOs to Interns, to take the psychometric tests here. Because they're real people, they have real interests, priorities, career values and personalities - just like you, in fact. From our years of interviewing artistic engineers, creative barristers, analytical animators and super-organised advertisers, we know that all kinds of different personalities can excel in all kinds of careers.

If you haven't done so already, take the test today and get matched to the professionals on our site who share your values - you might just surprise yourself!

To find out more CLICK HERE

Or click on the image below...

 image


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.

 

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