Saturday, January 25, 2014

TARGETjobs career advice roundup

It’s that time of the week again... it’s the TARGETjobs career advice roundup!

Before we delve into the wealth of career advice we have prepared for you this week, we have an announcement to make: this month the TARGETcourses Postgraduate Study Fairs are gearing up for the Spring.

Every year we tour the country, setting up Fairs that bring the UK’s most desirable providers of postgraduate education to you. Come to a PG Fair and you’ll get to meet  over 30 exhibitors and attend free seminars on postgraduate funding, courses, and applications.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, there’s even free lunch and travel reimbursement for students who attend. Find out which fairs are taking place when, and if you want updates on the fly then follow us on Twitter: @TARGETcourses.

While we’re in postgrad mode, we’d also like to hear what you have to say about the funding and course choices available to you. If you’ve got five minutes then please do take our survey.

Now on to the career advice:

First up we have a comprehensive list of all the law firm summer vacation placements with a 31st January deadline. Most commercial firms expect applicants to have submitted by the 31st, so make sure you’ve turned your application in on time. 

Do you want to work in the NHS? Last week we had an article on the Scientists Training Programme, and this week we have two articles on the Graduate Management Training Scheme: here’s a run-down of the application questions for NHS Wales. Applications close in February, so get your foot in the door now.

Are you applying to the NHS England scheme? Then successful applicants will attend the assessment day, which takes the form of a “day in the life of a graduate manager.” Rob Farace, the lead resourcing manager at the NHS Leadership Academy, tells us what to expect.

Writing a good application form is an art, and if you’re applying to Aviva then you need to know how to answer their question about leadership with grace. Give examples of times that you’ve planned, delegated tasks, and given clear communication while keeping your goal in mind. That’s the kind of leadership Aviva are looking for.

Are you applying to M&S and hoping to get through to their graduate assessment day? Then you should try preparing with these example questions.

As well as an interview, the M&S assessment day may include a role play. The role play sessions are designed to simulate work that you’ll be doing on the job, so expect customer complaints and manager-employee meetings.

As always, we’re finishing up with all the deadlines for the coming week.

First, here’s the round-up of next week’s work experience and internship deadlines. There are a number of law firm deadlines here too, so be sure to check them out.

Finally, here are the graduate job deadlines. They’re piling up as we come to the end of January, so take a look and see if anything catches your fancy. 

Have an excellent weekend.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

TARGETjobs career advice roundup

With the New Year comes new internships, new courses, new jobs and new opportunities. As always, we’re here to give you all of the career advice you’ll need to make the most of 2014.

To begin with we have some law advice, first for aspiring barristers and then for aspiring solicitors:

If you intend to become a barrister then you’ll be thinking about pupillage. At the TARGETjobs Law National Pupillage Fair 2014 you can hear from qualified barristers, talk to course providers and get information on funding. Here are six reasons you should be at Lincoln’s Inn, London on March 8th. 

In case you can’t make the Pupillage Fair, here’s some advice on finding the best law course to get your career as a barrister off to a flying start. 

Aspiring solicitors have only two weeks left to apply for summer vacation schemes at the leading commercial law firms (most firms use 31 January as a deadline). Vacation placements can be a smooth pipeline to a training contract – if you’re organised about deadlines and plan ahead. In 2012, 20 out of 24 vac schemers went on to get a training contract at Shearman & Sterling; Shoosmiths recruits 50% of future trainees from its vacation placement. Graduate recruiters at three firms explain the importance of vac schemes and we let you know what to do each term to make sure you get one.

Next we have a list of articles to help you navigate the application processes in specific companies, beginning with the NHS:

Graduates have just one month to apply for the NHS Scientists Training Programme (STP) and competition is tough. The scheme attracts thousands of graduates for approximately 250 healthcare scientist jobs each year and it all begins with the application form. To help you get ahead with the application questions we’ve put together this very simple guide. 

Is house building your thing? Then take a look at Barratt Developments PLC. Suzie Flynn, the talent manager at Barratt, explains that the company is looking for specific and well-tailored applications and career-hunters, not job-hunters. 

You can indulge your sweet tooth both in your personal life and your professional life if you apply for a job with Mars, and here are the five fundamentals that you need to demonstrate in a Mars interview. 

If that wasn’t enough, then we can also guide you through the specific questions you’ll encounter in an interview with Mars. 

As always, we’re finishing up with a list of the graduate jobs deadlines for you to browse.

Plus, as an added New Year bonus, we also have all the deadlines for internship and work experience applications here for the coming week. 

Have an excellent weekend.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Attending one of our law events? Read Charlotte's blog to find out her tips for the day!

Name: Charlotte Evans
University: Queen Mary, University of London
Course: Law
Events attended: A Day in the City

Why did you apply?
I was made aware of the event through my university Law department and thought I would apply given my interest in a career as a City lawyer. After reading about the event online, it stood out due to the fact that you were able to visit and speak to members of two different law firms in one day. I also wanted to have the opportunity to take part in the various structured exercises that would be similar to those expected of you at interviews as I had no previous experience of this.

What were your goals for the day? How did you set out to achieve them?
My main goal was to get a feel for what working in a big city firm was really like and decide whether I would be suited to such a career path. I decided the best way to do this would be to speak to as many people as possible and find out why they enjoyed their job and what advice they would have for me coming into the profession now.
I also wanted to get stuck into things like negotiation exercises. I hadn’t had a lot of opportunity to do things like that before so I made sure I had read up on both firms to get an idea of what practice areas they specialised in and what they would want to offer their clients. I also did a bit of reading up on how the City operates and how to think about issues from both a clients and firms’ perspective to come to the best solution.   

Tips for the day?
1. Research – it might not be an interview but I found that having some knowledge about both firms really helped when asking questions.
2. Don’t just talk to people about work – it sounds strange but I actually made some really valuable contacts through conversations completely unrelated to the event.
3. Join in –everyone else is in the same boat as you and are just as nervous. Just may sure you keep up and you’ll be fine.

What did you learn?
Don’t try to be clever, just be honest about why you’re there and be yourself. You’ll be surprised at how much more valuable the event will be!

The event this year is due to take place next week! Applications for for our City law for ethnic minorities in June are now open!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winner of the Engineering Undergraduate of the Year Award, Jake is now half way through his placement with EON. Read why it's not that scary really and why you should enter!

I’m now almost half way through my placement journey and I’m feeling refreshed after the Christmas break; I definitely needed to relax after a fast-paced, but incredibly enjoyable time with E.ON!

I was always concerned that as the intern I would be responsible for fetching the drinks, but this has been far from the case! During the start of my placement I was tasked with the analysis of a project at our Port of Liverpool Combined Heat and Power (CHP) site, which identified significant financial savings over one year.

I was thrown in the deep end slightly when I was invited to present my project at an internal conference to managers from across Europe, but this certainly improved my confidence! Also, it resulted in an invitation to spend a day with E.ON Global Commodities, which was a brilliant opportunity to see a different perspective of our organisation.

As with the majority of professional roles, there is a great deal of office based work; emails, meetings, video conferences (the international ones are especially interesting!) and spreadsheets (certainly a lot of them!). However, working for such a large company means there is essentially always something happening.

This is especially apparent in engineering, as we are privileged to visit many of our assets that we operate, while working with a variety of teams including commercial analysts, strategy and finance. It definitely provides me the opportunity to learn a great deal about the whole sector, as well as my specialist area in generation.

Exploring site:

During September, I travelled with my team to Scotland to visit our Steven’s Croft biomass plant, which is the largest wood-burning plant in the UK. It was extremely interesting to explore the site, join meetings and understand our customer’s requirements.

I am in a particularly fortunate position that the team is highly diverse with a variety of specialist engineers, a chemist and a system analyst; this makes for a hugely enriching learning experience and allows me to relate my computer screen in the office directly to our sites!

Understanding ‘The Bigger Picture’:

Energy is certainly a very topical issue, so I consider it important to understand ‘the bigger picture’. During November I had the chance to attend Energy Live 2013, which was a conference hosting high profile speakers from the energy sector and large scale customers, such as utility and manufacturing companies. The event was held at the (very dark!) London Film Museum and provided the occasion to understand these challenges directly from industry leaders.

I thought that I had a fair comprehension of the energy sector, but this day made me realise how little I knew! If you’d like to work in an ever-evolving industry, then I’d suggest energy – I struggle to keep up with all the interesting developments!
Looking forward to 2014:

As a result of the financial savings that I mentioned at the start of this blog, I have been challenged to develop this project further through the creation of a model for our Liverpool site. It has been fantastic how E.ON have allowed me to undertake a real project with high impact; I certainly didn’t expect such responsibility! I may have felt out of my depth at times, but I couldn’t ask for more supportive colleagues; I feel that I’ve been encouraged to succeed from day one.

I’m excited for the remainder of my time on placement at E.ON, as there’s still so much to learn and projects to complete. To continue my understanding of the sector, I’ve been invited to attend a Westminster Energy Forum, so I’m very much looking forward to understanding our relationship with the politicians!

I was apprehensive about being the only intern at work, but it’s been brilliant to share my experience with the other undergraduates at E.ON HQ, as we are able to discuss our personal development and different areas of the business. Also, we had the privileged opportunity to meet with our CEO, which shows E.ON’s commitment to their undergraduates.
If you’re considering working in the energy sector, I’d strongly encourage you to apply for the Engineering Undergraduate of the Year award – there’s only a short time left. As I said in my last blog, I saw it as application practice and considered myself to have no chance, but I am now enjoying the most incredible experience! Also, it’s interesting to note that a number of the finalists also had job offers. If you see E.ON on your university campus, be sure to say hello – the recruitment team are an extremely friendly bunch! Good luck with your application.

Attending a TARGETjobs Event? Chances are there will be a networking opportunity! We spoke to Project Manager Becca who gave us her top tips!

Name: Becca Ritchie-Timms
Job title: Project Manager,TARGETjobs Events team

I work with the TARGETjobs Events team to deliver a wide variety of events which always include networking sessions. So here are my five top tips to working the room:

1.      Read the room
People stand in circles. A wider circle is open to anyone to join. A closed circle usually denotes a private conversation. Closed circles are not common at our events so if you are not sure, hover outside a circle: if they are open they will widen to invite you in.

2.      Join a group
Conversations rarely cease at networking sessions so don’t be afraid of offending by joining mid-flow. Introduce yourself when there is a pause in conversation. How you do this is up to you; there are various styles. I would suggest for the purpose of TARGETjobs Events, that you stick to your name.

3.      Engage
Ask questions: if you are interested in other people, they will be interested in you. Let the conversation flow naturally and be yourself.

4.      Know when to leave a group
Leaving without feeling rude can be the most difficult part of networking. To get the most out of a networking session, make sure that you move around the room. Decide whether there is more to be gained by remaining in your current group. If not, wait until the current person speaking has finished. Thank the group and tell them that it has been a pleasure to meet them. You can either move straight on to another group or, if you feel uneasy, make an excuse eg to get a drink. Then wait a moment before moving onto another group.

Warning, if someone leaves your group to ‘get a drink’ it is possible that they want to move on to another group. Try not to follow someone around the room to achieve your own goals. You could be in danger of being a pest and no one wants that. Think of the responses they have given you in your conversation and if you believe there is a contact to be made, try approaching them again later on in the session.

5.      Exchanging contact details

Striking up a good conversation can bring you great value but only if you follow up with your new contacts later. You will know when you have struck gold with a contact. Ask them if you can exchange contact details. You can do this toward the end of your conversation, or if you are confident that you will have time and opportunity, go back to them at the end of the networking session. Choose a method that works best for you: this could be finding them on a site like LinkedIn or exchanging business cards. Make sure that you follow up with a simple ‘hello’ stating where you’ve met a couple of days afterwards.