University: Jobs After Education

I remember going into sixth form (gulp, five years ago!) pretty much determined that I wasn’t going to university. I didn’t see the point of the expense, I was set on an accountancy course. My parents have never pressured me to do anything, but they’ve always made me find out about each option – something I’m so grateful for as quite clearly I changed all my plans!

 photo Employment After Education_zps5rzlkw4d.pngKnowing how difficult I found it deciding what to do, I’m pleased to bring you this guest post talking about various employment options after university;

“You’ve taken your first steps, made the journey through school and now you’re embarking on your career. If you’re still unsure of what you want to do, read on to find out more about the potential routes you can take.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a great option as they enable you to train on the job while also bringing home a weekly or monthly wage.In many cases, if an apprentice impresses, they could even be offered a permanent position after completing their studies.

They’re available in a range of sectors and some of the UK’s biggest companies offer them. For example, Nifty Lift offers a wide range of engineering apprenticeships, which could be a great way into this tough industry for the right candidate.
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University & Graduate Schemes

University is a great option if you want to continue their studies or attain a career where a higher level qualification is needed. However, after graduating, it can be difficult to secure a job that makes use of new skills.

Graduate schemes are a great entry route to well-paid positions in some of the world’s leading companies. Competition can be tough though, so CVs need to stand out from the crowd if they are to be selected for an interview.

More information and tips about graduate schemes can be found at Save the Student.

Don’t Feel The Pressure

Pressure (from yourself, friends, teachers or parents) to get your head down and hit the books runs the risk of stress, overload and reluctance. Setting unrealistic expectations will place extra stress on yourself — it’s the last thing you need while deciding what they want to do for a career.

Just try to do the best you can do and take your time in choosing the most suitable route for you. Remember, academic paths aren’t for everyone and you can still succeed via alternative means.”

I hope you find this useful – I know I would have really appreciated some simple, short, down-to-earth guidance when I was thinking about what to do. In a way I’m still in the same boat as I’m applying for grad roles and deciding what kind of actuary I want to be. I think I know, I’m just having a case of ‘maybe the grass is greener.’ Growing up is so confusing!

*Sponsored post

How did you find the job search when you finished education? I’m so nervous for applying to grad roles!

All Stars Guest Post: Cissy’s Interview Tips

Hi readers! I relatively recently signed up to be part of Philofaxy’s All Stars 2013 Team, and here is the first guest post on this blog. Written by Cissy of The Contemplative Belle, it’s a fabulous little guide  to interviews. Check out my CV writing tips on this post here, and of course have a look at Cissy’s wonderfully eclectic blog!

 

All the studying, the budgeting, sitting through lecture after lecture that you thought would never end and finally you are at the light at the end of the tunnel. Your dream has come true and your college education is complete, diploma in hand. What’s next?

The job search is the next step and by this time you have probably gotten a lot of advice about resumes and the CV. However, it seems no one has given you much advice on the actual interview and what to do and say once you are in the “hot seat” sitting across the desk from your desired employer.

There are a few critical points to remember. The first is to remember that you are there to interview for a specific position and need to remain focused on your skills and qualifications as related to that position. Your job in that interview is to convince the interviewer that you are the best person to fill that position and that you have growth potential. Too often interviewees spend too much time focusing on unrelated skills and fail to fully express their ability to fulfill the job duties in the position they are applying for. Stay focused on the mission at hand.

Another error interviewees often make is jumping directly into discussions regarding salary and benefits. There are two kinds of employees: money-takers and money-makers. If you jump into the money talk first you are likely to come across as a money-taker rather than a money-maker. Any discussions regarding money should be instigated by the hiring party. After all, you don’t even know if they are interested in hiring you yet. Your focus should be on convincing them they can’t live without you. Once you have done that the money conversation will be brought up.

Remember, the interviewer is a professional and it is their job to make you feel comfortable so that you disclose things you may not otherwise choose to disclose. The interviewer is NOT your friend. Build a good rapport but do not let them distract you away from discussing your skills and qualifications for the position and into confessing the irrelevant or disclosing personal details that may not place you in the most flattering light. Keep the conversation on the skills you bring to the table and what you can offer the employer. If you focus on your skills, as related to the job you are interviewing for, and demonstrate the traits of a money-maker you are sure to make a good impression when you hit that “hot seat”. 

 

And so that’s Cissy of The Contemplative Belle‘s interview tips. Have a look at all of the All Stars entries here.

 

Good luck for any of my job-hunting readers out there! Do you have any good tips to share?

REBLOGGED: Diary of an (Actuarial) Undergrad – Trials and Tribulations of a Good CV

I was recently asked to do a couple of guest posts for my university’s careers service blog, which can be found here. I must say, the support I have already received from the University of Kent in terms of careers has been outstanding. I reccomend a look on their website even if you aren’t a student, as there is some amazing advice. Definitely check out their blog too, and here’s my original post.

 

I’ve just finished my first year in Actuarial Science (which is, to put it very simply, a mixture of mathematics, applied statistics, economics and finance) and will be beginning a yearlong placement in the summer of 2014 as part of my degree. As of yet applications are only just starting to open, so I’ve been concentrating on getting my CV up to scratch.

 

The simple fact is you will be asked to produce a CV for potential employers at some point in your life.

I’ve held two part-time jobs whilst studying, and both of these were obtained by handing my CV to a prospective manager, so I know firsthand how crucial these ‘little bits of paper’ are. I also know that having to quickly produce one to hand over is probably one of the most stressful things in existence. So even if you ignore everything else I write in this post, at least do one thing; prepare your CV now, when you have a spare minute, and then update it as and when needed.

 

So, the perfect CV. What’s in it? What definitely shouldn’t be in it? How long should it be? What font should I use?

There’s a list of endless questions you could ask, and I’m not going to pretend I have all of the answers. But I have been told my CV is strong, and I’ve also had some fabulous advice from Nikki Ellis (the industrial placement adviser in the Schools of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science) so I hope I can guide you to the right direction.

The general consensus is that a CV for industrial placements (and indeed graduate roles) should be 2 pages in length. That should be a full 2 pages. Not 1.5 with hugeeee writing. And not squished-up-with-tiny-margins-and-tiny-font 2 pages. You shouldn’t be altering the layout of your paper and the size of your font to compensate for too short/long CVs. On that note, go for a standard font (something like Calibri or Arial) – none of the fancy swirly stuff! Keep the size between 10 and 12, any smaller and it will be difficult to read, any larger and you run the risk of it looking a little child-like.

The layout used is a bit more personal. I went for a tabular style CV, with section headings down the left. I also made important details (sub-headings such as educational results and job titles) stand out by putting them in a bold type face. One of the best pieces of advice I have been given is to  break up large chunks of text, either through bullet points or some other means. A hunk of text will be off-putting, you want something easy to scan, something that will easily highlight how wonderful you are.

Content is a bit easier for me to advise on. I’ve been told that the order of the section in a CV should be as follows; contact details and profile; education; experience; skills; interests; and references. This is the order in which I will discuss the sections, just to make it a little easier for both me and you…

  • You want to start with your name and contact details. Make sure you include a phone number, email address and postal address.
  • Then go with a short paragraph (or maybe two even shorter ones) called a profile. This should briefly introduce yourself, summarise your experience and education, and state your current career goals. This section should be brief and to the point, and no more than a few sentences. Now is not the time to waffle (actually, at no point should a CV contain waffle!).
  • Then comes the education section. This should be in reverse chronological order, i.e. the most recent first. A good piece of advice, particularly if you find yourself short of space, is that the most recent qualifications should be talked about more, and the ones you took years ago the least. Hence I have just two lines devoted to my GCSE’s on my CV; the institution I sat them at, and the grades received. I haven’t mentioned specific subjects (although it is a good idea to clarify that they do include Mathematics and English), but I did mention the subjects I studied at A-level and devoted a little more space to these qualifications.
  • University modules and grades are often far more important. If your degree is directly relevant to the roles you are applying for, I’ve been told to detail the modules you have taken. I was also advised that, if ALL of your module grades are of a high standard, to include them in your CV. However, I really wouldn’t advise doing this if one is significantly lower than the others, or if they should any kind of inconsistencies in your academics. Best to use your own judgment to make that call!
  • Again in reverse chronological order comes your work experience. This can be anything from volunteering roles to employment. My personal advice would be to head each section with the place of work and the timescale, then briefly evaluate which skills you have gained from the role.
  • Following this section should be where you detail your key skills. My opinion is that bullet points are best for this, but at the same time make sure you write in full coherent sentences. Steer clear of clichés, and make sure you don’t repeat yourself. I know when I first got my CV reviewed by Nikki Ellis she counted a ridiculous 21 “I am”s in mine! Keep things clear, to the point, and relevant to the kind of roles you are applying for.
  • Next is the interests section. I’ll admit my CV actually lacks this, as I was short on space and it the thing that should be compromised on as opposed to nixing part of your education or employment history. This section is more important to some companies than others (do your research when applying!) and remember that any hobby or interest you list will give an impression about you as a person so think carefully about any potential implications.
  • Finally references. Here you have a choice; include full contact details of your chosen referees (make sure they are happy to provide references prior to submitting your CV if you chose to do this!) or state that you have references available on request. At university I’ve been told I need to include on academic referee (check with your department who the appropriate person is) and one employment referee; I have stated these two referees, and also mentioned that I am able to provide further employment references on request (as I have held done more than one job in the past).

 

And so that’s it, my not-so-brief guide as to what a CV should look like and include. I hope it helps at least one of you to create an excellent CV and hopefully gain a job! I’ll hopefully be back in a few weeks with a post on application processes, and those lovely online logical and numerical reasoning tests that a lot of companies implement into applications. Until then, have fun updating your CV…