Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ford will be at Engineer you future on Monday! Read about a typical day here....

I joined Ford Motor Company two  years ago as a Graduate Software Integration Engineer and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I work with prototype vehicles and perform engine calibration software release as a part of my job.

A typical day for me would start with catching up on emails from my colleagues & suppliers around the globe. I would then be dealing with software testing work planned for future releases also supporting specific requests from Calibration team whilst they are out on testing in different parts of the world. I will be getting new software plug-ins from suppliers and my job will be to deliver a fully functional engine software for the calibration team to work on.

Ford Motor Company has a comprehensive employee development programme which allows me to work in different teams and get an idea on how the wider organisation operates. Also I am given every opportunity to follow my interests and develop my career, even my personal life. In my current position as an Systems Engineer, I have been fully accountable and responsible for  developing a state of art engine from day one. I have been given the opportunity to develop a brand new engine, this is a challenge quite lately, but one I enjoy immeasurably.

It’s a pleasure to work for such an established auto-manufacturer with an impressive history and a bright looking future. Being able to see the product out on the roads every day, everywhere you go is a real thrill and knowing that you were involved gives a real sense of job satisfaction.

Anjana Prasad

Monday, October 28, 2013

Amy was a finalist in last year's National Schools' Challenge - Read about her experience!

Full name: Amy Herbertson
Age: 17
School attended: Watford Grammar School for Girls

About Amy
Since project managing my school’s Young Enterprise team I have been really interested in the financial sector, and recently decided that I would like to pursue a finance-related career in accountancy. I entered the competition because my economics teacher told us about it and suggested that we all give it a go. When I took the assessments I never expected to do well, or to reach the grand final, but I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. The tests, especially the in-tray exercise, were time pressured which made the whole experience quite exciting. I am glad that I decided to enter the competition and would encourage everyone, whether in lower or upper sixth, to enter.

The grand-final!
Thinking back to the grand final, it all feels very surreal. The final was held at Deloitte in London, and the place was beautiful! The other competitors I met were all lovely, and the professionals I had the opportunity to network with were easy to get along with. There were six different activities, each with the aim of testing a different part of my business acumen, ranging from straw tower building to how best to recycle everyday products such as a keyboard, a mouse and a USB key into new viable products. In the latter exercise I remember my team being very creative and suggesting a wheelchair race in central London as an advertising stunt. The final was very tense, as it felt as though I was constantly being judged, but fun nonetheless.

A word of warning to challengers:
Don’t think that because you’re at a competition you can’t have fun and make friends with the other competitors - if you do make friends it will make you much more relaxed and so perform better.

Future plans……
In the future I hope to become a Chartered Accountant working for one of the Big Four. It was the exercises at the grand final and the networking session with current trainees at Deloitte that showed a career in accountancy does not have to be boring: if you work for the right place and with the right people it can be a fun and rewarding career. As a result, I have taken on many work experience placements, most notably the ‘Summer School Programme’ at BDO which means that I have been offered a place on their School Leaver Programme. I am also looking into fly-start degrees (those where you work towards a degree and an ACA with one of the big four simultaneously) which are offered by PwC, KPMG and EY. Although very intense, these seem like an excellent way to start off a financial career, and I look forward to applying soon. Had I not attended the grand final I doubt I would have been aware of how interesting a career in accountancy can be.

Fancy giving it a go and being the best to win £500! ENTER HERE!

Friday, October 25, 2013

TARGETjobs Careers Advice Round up

Hello and welcome to this week’s careers advice round up blog. This is the summary of all the top advice that has been published or updated this week on the TARGETjobs site.

Let’s start, as usual, with a few internal announcements:

If you are looking to return home to Asia or the Middle East for work after studying in the UK, make sure you check out our Asia & Middle East Graduate Careers Event on Saturday 9 November from 11.00 am – 3.00 pm. You will be able to meet recruiters from your country, attend insightful seminars, discuss further study opportunities and much more. 

Interested? Apply here today.

The TARGETjobs National Student Challenge is also back, with only 30 days left to apply! This is your chance to not only practise online tests similar to those used by graduate recruiters, but to also benchmark yourself against fellow students around the country. And if that wasn’t enough to tempt you, there are cash prizes worth up to £1,000 and the winner wins an internship with Siemens. What are you waiting for? Take thechallenge today.

On to sector specific news:

If you are applying to BNP Paribas Real Estate here are some tips on how best to write your graduate CV and covering letter.  

Talking of covering letters, here is some essential advice for all graduate vacancies.

Bringing back an oldie, if you are applying for a construction, civil engineering or quantity surveying job, here are four ways to get your foot in the door. 

And as law fair season is upon us, here are six ways for you to impress firms at law fairs. 

Lastly, as always, we conclude the post with next week’sgraduate job deadlines

Friday, October 18, 2013

TARGETjobs weekly career advice roundup

Hello and welcome to this week’s graduate career advice roundup. Here you will find the latest career advice we have posted or updated on our website. It’s been a pretty exciting week at TARGETjobs HQ as we have just added an eleventh award to our Undergraduate of the Year awards: The Scotland Undergraduate of the Year.

If you are studying in Scotland and are in your final year, this is for you. It’s officially launching next week – so make sure you keep an eye out on the Undergraduate of the Year website and our social media feeds for the big announcement.

The National Student Challenge has also gone LIVE!  Practise using the type of assessment techniques that graduate recruiters use to select employees and benchmark yourself against thousands of students. And, if make it to the top of the leader board, you could win up to £1,000 and a paid internship with Siemens.

Moving on to sector-specific news:
If you are applying to Roland Berger’s graduate scheme here is what you will find on the application form and some useful tips on how to be successful 

Applying for property graduate schemes? Make sure you send your completed applications off soon! Some deadlines close end of October

Talking of applying - make sure you take some practice psychometrics test before you do the real thing. This gives you a better chance of succeeding. 

Are you using the same CV over and over again? This is where you may be going wrong. Read our handy guide on writing CVs for different types of graduate jobs 

Still deciding which employers you would like to work for? Check out where they rank on the Guardian UK 300 – this may help sway your decision.

And, as always, we round up the blog with next week’s graduate job deadlines. Get them before they go! 

Hope you all have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Girls vs Boys: Who relies most on their parents?

Picture the situation: you’ve opened up your very own student account and the student finance is rolling in. However, after a hefty Fresher’s week, your funds have taken the strain of one too many J├Ągerbombs, not to mention those all-important textbooks.  It’s looking like soon you might just need to open up an account with the bank of Mum and Dad.

And why should you feel guilty? Your parents have left you to fend for yourself. You’re now forced to live on a diet of foods you can actually cook which, if you’re honest, somewhat limits your meal choices. Even worse than that, you have to pay for it all yourself.

So, when your parents ring up worried about the health of your bank balance they’re usually more than happy to fork out to keep you topped up on the essentials.

According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of (and compiled in this excellent student spending infographic below), girls receive £1,125 on average per term, whereas boys only receive an average of £713. That’s a staggering 158% more for girls from their parents than boys.*

This infographic is brought to you by NatWest Student Accounts – taking the hassle out of student finance.

But what’s the reason for this disparity between the genders? Is it that girls give into temptation more easily when looking at things to buy? Or maybe this proves that boys are much better at budgeting than girls. Perhaps a more likely scenario however, is that daddy’s little girl knows how to tug on her parents’ heart strings better than her male counterpart. Whatever the reason, it looks like boys are going to have to work on their persuasion skills if they want to squeeze any more money out of Mum and Dad.

But are you being honest about where that money is actually going? Statistics reveal that you’re probably not.

Of those paents asked in the survey, none believed that their little girl had been completely dishonest about how they spent their money. However, the survey revealed that statistically, girls are more likely than boys to lie to their parents about what they spend their money on. Looks like daddy’s little girl’s halo is starting to slip.

Not everyone, however, is lucky enough to have a helping hand from parents. Luckily, there’s plenty of help out there to support you during your time at university. Many student accounts offer interest free overdrafts to help you out with a bit of extra cash if you’re struggling. You often don’t even need to worry about paying it back until a few years after you’ve finished ‘Uni’.

There are also plenty of tools out there to help you manage the money that you do have, such as the student budget calculator which will hopefully help you handle your finances a little better.

Living away from home can be hard and, frankly, sometimes you need to splash the cash on some luxuries to get you through. Whether it’s in the form of Mum and Dad or the bank, there’s always a helping hand available to you during your time at university.

*Based on data from a GMI nationally-representative online survey conducted between 29th July and 2nd August, 2013. The total sample size was 400 adults, of which 200 were full-time students aged between 18-25 years, and 200 were parents of full-time students in their first, second or third year.

About to embark on an internship? Find out how to survive on expenses

Friday, October 11, 2013

TARGETjobs career advice round up

Hello and welcome to this week’s TARGETjobs career advice round up blog. Here we summarise everything that has been added new or updated on our site.  This week is all about how to impress in applications, interviews and assessment centres. And what better way to impress than by taking the time to network with employers. 

Well if you are a girl and interested in the IT sector here is your chance but hurry there is only ONE WEEK left to apply to the TARGETjobsevents IT’s not just for the boys event.

This is a great chance for girls wanting to get a head start in their career, network with employers, meet incredible women that work in the sector and receive advice on how to succeed in this industry. Spaces are running out so make the most of this weekend and apply to this great event!

Changing industry now: we’ve had a flurry of activity on our law pages. First we interviewed Erin Hitchens, barrister at XXIV Old Buildings. Read her thoughts on how to impress pupillages committees in applications and interviews.  

Moving on to solicitors find out ‘How Bird & Bird you are’ – Read what Bird & Bird values and the key competencies they look for in applications. This will surely make your application stand out from the rest. 

If Bird & Bird is not your cup of tea and you are applying to CMS Cameron McKenna this is a must-read.  When you get to the partner interview stage make sure you cross reference and set your own questions. How do you approach this? Find out here. 

And if you need some tips on how to tackle the CMS Cameron McKenna assessment centre we’ve got that covered too.

If however you want to impress John La Salle and real estate is your sector of interest, here is how to shine on their application form

Applying to Balfour Beatty? Here what you need to know to get your application at the top of their list.

Do you dream of a career in consulting? Make sure you read about what to highlight  in your covering letter to Bain & Company for a shot at getting through to the next recruitment stage 

As always here is our upcoming deadlines 

And if you are following Alan Radbourne’s journey you will be pleased to know he has reached a total of £7120.38 in just 19 weeks. Stay up-to-date with his latest achievements. Rumour has it he is planning an interesting blog on how to survive after graduation. Should be an interesting read.

Hope you all have a good weekend,


Monday, October 7, 2013

Do you pay enough attention to detail? It's the little things that count! Great application advice here!

As an editor, it’s my job to sweat the small stuff – let’s face it, if I didn’t I’d probably be out of a job.  But getting the little things right is also crucial when you’re applying for a place on a graduate scheme, at a TARGETjobs event or as an intern. Paying attention to detail can mean the difference between being called for an interview and your application being put on the rejected pile. You may be a star candidate, but a spilling error, poor grammar or other mistake in your covering letter will immediately make you shine a little less brightly in the eyes of the recruiter (yes, that was deliberate).
At TARGETjobs we spend a lot of time talking to recruiters, who tell us of their frustration when an otherwise great CV, covering letter or application form is let down by a candidate:
  • using the wrong company or event name. You say you’ve always wanted to work for Goldman Sachs, which is great, but you’re applying to Barclays. Or you tell us why you think you’d really benefit from attending the Women in Investment Management event but it’s the Engineer Your Future form you’re filling out. This kind of mistake tends to slip in when you’re applying to several employers and copying and pasting.
  • getting the facts wrong about a firm. You say you’re looking forward to meeting the recruiters at their environmentally friendly offices at Canary Wharf, but they’re based in Birmingham. An otherwise promising applicant for our editorial intern role was rejected because he told us, ‘I am applying to you because I'm really keen to gain further experience in TV and programming production.’  We do many great things at TARGETjobs, but we do not work in television.
  • addressing the wrong person. I’m sure Steven Phillips is delighted that you want to join the firm he represents, but it’s Steve Phipps who’ll be reading your application.
  • forgetting to leave the correct contact details, or misspelling your email address. When you’re rushing to get an application done, sloppy errors can even sneak into the basics.
  • not following the recruiter’s instructions about how to upload your information, even when they’re given clearly.
  • formatting headings and dates inconsistently on the CV. Choose one format and stick to it
You’ve probably heard it a million times before, but once you’ve completed the application, read through everything carefully. Then read it though again. Then, ideally, before you press ‘send’, get feedback from someone you trust.
Paying attention to detail shouldn’t stop at the application stage. It must continue at the interview, assessment centre or event. Take a last look in the mirror and ask yourself:
  • Are my shoes polished, not scruffy?
  • Do my socks match? Are my tights run free?
  • Is my skirt no shorter than just above the knee?
  • Is my body language friendly? Think about how you’ll greet people, and how to look interested when you’re listening to others speak.
You’ll feel much more confident walking into an event if you know you’ve taken care of the details. You can then focus on the important stuff.
Getting the little things right can be the basis for a top career. If you’re in any doubt, consider this anecdote from Vic Gundotra, Google's senior vice president of engineering. One Sunday morning he took a call from Steve Jobs, with whom he was working on mobile apps. Jobs had been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone. He was calling to let Gundotra know that he didn’t think the second ‘O’ in Google had quite the right yellow gradient and had arranged to get it fixed immediately. Gundotra says, ‘When I think about leadership, passion and attention to detail, I think back to the call. It was a lesson I'll never forget. CEOs should care about details. Even shades of yellow. On a Sunday.’

by Jacky Barrett

Friday, October 4, 2013

TARGETjobs Careers Advice Weekly Roundup

Hello and welcome to our weekly careers advice round up. This is the place for you to find all the new advice we have written over the course of the week if you haven’t had time to check out our website or twitter feeds.

Let’s get straight into it by starting with how to write cover letters, CVs and application forms for graduate jobs at Savills.

And, to make your application stand out further, find out the skills and qualifications Savills looks for in new recruits.

Talking about what recruiters look for, find out what employers think of graduates with work experience. May make you re-think your holiday plans! 

Going back to sector specific advice, wannabe accountants would benefit from knowing what kind of research to do before applying to accountancy firms. 

And here are a few top tips for budding consultants on how to write a perfect consulting CV 

If you are currently applying for 2014 graduate schemes find out which schemes have deadlines coming up next week.

Moving on to some internal announcements:

Entries to our Undergraduate ofthe Year Awards are now open! There are 10 awards up for grabs,
The Undergraduate of the Year award for Commercial Excellence, The IT & Computer Science Undergraduate of the Year Award, The Engineering Undergraduate of the Year Award, The Law Undergraduate of the Year Award, The Management Undergraduate of the Year Award, The Construction Engineering & Design Undergraduate of the Year Award, The Low Carbon Undergraduate of the Year Award, The Mathematics, Economics & Finance Undergraduate of the Year Award, The Female Undergraduate of the Year Award, and The Future Business Leader of the Year Award. All sponsored by top employers, offering internships, gadgets, trips abroad as more as prizes. Do you have what it takes to be a winner? Apply now.

Our second internal announcement is for Asian and Middle Eastern students studying in the UK wanting to return home to pursue their career.  We have an exciting new event taking place on Saturday 4 November in London. Here you will get the chance to meet employers from your country, find out how to write your CV to target employers in Asia and the Middle East, seminars and a chance to discover your further study options in Asia and the Middle East. There is limited space at this event so apply now to book your spot.

Lastly, we conclude the blog with new of Alan Radbourne’s grand total: after 17 weeks, with an initial £1 investment, he has currently earned, £6,256.52 To find out what can be achieved with £1 in one year, follow Alan on his journey. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Interning for EC Harris: current third year student from Sheffield University, Nicole Louis, talks about her summer internship experience

It wasn’t until the end of my second year at university that I was met with the sudden feeling of anxiety and fear, as my degree intensified. Today, we are constantly told that securing that all important work experience is essential, in addition to obtaining a 2.1, especially for any geography graduate not wishing to become a full-time explorer. It also enables you to assess whether your desired career path is right for you, just in time before the graduate programmes open.
While I’m a firm believer that geography has provided me with a strong transferable skill set, I knew that work experience was essential to pursuing a career in surveying. After reading horror stories in the form of intern experience blogs, it is safe to say that I was nervous that an internship would wholly entail fetching coffee, and monotonous filing. However, I was lucky enough to secure a 1 month internship in London at the consultancy firm EC Harris. So just days after finishing my 2nd year exams, I delved into the world of construction.

I knew the industry was known for being sociable, so I took every opportunity to meet as many people as possible. While this immediately made the first day less daunting, the word also seemed to spread fast that a young intern was here, willing to take on any work. Albeit overwhelming on the first day with a growing list of tasks to complete, the more people I met brought with it greater responsibility, and not to mention people to enjoy the free bar with. I was pleasantly surprised with the amazing people I got to work with, who instead of ordering me to fetch coffee, invited me, and instead of reducing me to filing, gave me real work to complete.  I would say to anyone that making connections is crucial not only for learning, but making the whole experience enjoyable both in and after work.  One way that you can increase the number of people you meet is to request to rotate around different teams or departments in the firm. In my month at EC Harris I spent time working with project managers, cost consultants and CDM coordinators. Perhaps the most crucial element of this rotation was that it allowed me to explore the different roles available in the industry.

I was fortunate enough to have been treated like an employee, and also to go on exciting site visits which included the East Village and St James’s Square. But on the very rare occasion (perhaps once) where I met the infamous photocopier mentioned in every intern’s story, I approached it as a learning opportunity by reading through what I was copying and asking questions afterwards. Any task which may initially appear mundane is an opportunity to learn, and is part of the exciting bigger picture. But you have to ask questions to find out.

I am no stranger however to the fear that you’ve asked too many, or stupid questions. One day after spending 20 minutes checking that my calculator was working, and spending even longer assessing whether my colleague was busy, I approached them to ask why these figures made no sense. As I walked over I was establishing what face I would make after being humiliated, only to find out there was actually a typo. Anyway, the point that I am making is unless you’re finding out what their cats name is, asking questions that you’ve at least spent time trying to answer yourself first is not a bad thing!

As the time for applying for graduate schemes draws nearer I can reflect on my experience with fond memories. I’ve understood the day to day tasks a surveyor completes, but also the importance of soft skills such as commercial awareness and interpersonal skills required for the culture of the industry. With knowledge of this I can spend my last year of university enhancing these skills through various societies, clubs and projects.

I would say to anyone to make the most of your internship by writing down everything you did, and the skills that you developed.  One final piece of advice is to just be confident, talk to as many people as you can, and keep in contact with them via LinkedIn; this has definitely proven to be helpful for myself.

I am now eager and excited to apply for graduate programmes in the industry.  My internship has certainly convinced me that the world of work can be just as enjoyable as university

Want to find out more info on EC Harris? Visit their page on our site. And for more information on applying for internships read our advice