07 November 2012 10:29 AM

Get Ahead Of The Graduate Jobs Game With A First-Year Insight Day

With competition for graduate jobs and internships getting stronger every year, it's essential to start your graduate job research early. While internships have been a familar aspect of the graduate job world for some time, insight days are relatively new, so you may not be familar with them.

Aimed at first-year undergraduate students, these are 'mini-internships' ranging in length from a day to a few days. They're designed to give you a taste of what it would be like to do an internship, placement or graduate programme with an employer. You'll meet current graduate trainees, attend presentations, and perhaps take a tour of the offices. Insight days are a fantastic addition to your CV, as well as a great way to network and get yourself noticed by future employers.

Many large graduate employers, including PwC and Lloyds Banking Group, will be running insight days in 2013.  Some recruiters say that they look for applicants who've done an insight day with the company when they come to select students for internships and placements. So it's definitely worth trying to bag a few if you can - click here to find out how to make great applications.



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30 October 2012 02:37 PM

Application time: Internships and work experience

Graduate employers are looking for more than just a good degree, and at this time of year it's coming up to internship application time, with most schemes closing around Christmas or January. To be successful in the graduate job market you need to demonstrate that that as well as academic ability you have employability skills which will enable you to be an effective employee from day one. Work experience will enhance your practical workplace skills, while testing out a few different working cultures will help you to decide where you fit in.

  • Part-time jobs or vacation work - any work experience, however irrelevent you think it is, can used to demonstrate valuable skills on your CV.
  • Traditional internships - these are paid, structured placements, often taken over the summer. Many industries offer placements, with law internships, marketing internships and investment banking internships being some of the most popular. They offer you a real taste of life at a large company.

  • Work placement - some degrees, particularly those with a vocational element such as engineering, offer a year-long placement as part of the course.
  • Voluntary work and gap years - Whether you're working with kids in Peru or helping serve tea at the old peoples' home down the road, volunteering is great work experience. Not only does it help you build up workplace skills, it also shows that you're capable of taking the initiative, and that you've a nice person!
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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...


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.


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.


14 June 2010 09:05 AM

Internships. Internships. Internships!

If there's one thing we hear from employers it's the importance of internships - "a must for all top students" they say...

So what's the best way to land an Internship?
 
And how do you squeeze the most out of them?
 
We wanted to find out - here's a video of what we learnt. It includes advice from employers and experts on everything you could ever want to know about landing your dream Internship.  

Click the image below to watch the video on CareerPlayer... 


12 April 2010 09:45 AM

Internships...are they worth it?

Wondering whether you should bother sorting out some work experience?

Think your summer could be better spent hanging out with mates?

Well. We asked some graduate employers what they thought...

 

OK. So that's pretty definitive! Skates. Get. Quickly. On...


05 February 2010 10:52 AM

Graduate Internship Awards

Our friends at RateMyPlacement have just held the inaugural National Placement and Internship Awards celebrating the best employer and student contributions to work experience.

Being a nosey bunch, we were thrilled to be asked along to film the proceedings and find out what they're all about.

Check out our promo film of the day below...

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