Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An intern’s guide to writing CVs and impressing at interviews

Hi I’m Lizzie, a current editorial intern at GTI Media (the parent company of TARGETjobs). As an intern, I am very familiar with the process of applying for work experience; I’ve been through it! Here are some key pieces of advice that I’ve learned on writing a good CV and covering letter, and how to impress at an internship interview. 

Writing your CV and covering letter

My key pieces of advice for applying for internships are to thoroughly research the companies that you want to apply for before you write your applications, and to tailor each CV and covering letter to what the individual job advertisement asks for. If an employer puts a list of skills or attributes they want candidates to have, go through the list and explain how you have them/give examples for each on your covering letter. If they ask for your earliest starting date, put one! If they put a name on the job description, address your application to that person – if there is no name, either see if you can Google who to address or phone up the company and ask.

Here are some resources that I found useful when applying for internships. 

Presenting yourself well at interview

You should take internship interviews just as seriously as you would interviews for permanent roles; securing an internship could make a huge impact on your future career! Dress smartly, show up about 10–15 minutes early, give a good handshake, smile, make eye contact and be polite – don’t let being nervous make you come across as uninterested or rude! Preparing answers to common interview questions beforehand can also make a big difference to how well you come across during the interview.

Although you should have researched the company when you applied, you’ll need to do it again to refresh your memory the day before your interview, and to see if there are any updates. Also, if you have to travel quite a long way to get to your interview, plan your route in advance and make sure you know where you’re going when you arrive.

Once you are invited for your interview, don't forget to check out advice on how to shine in your work experience interview

Article written by Lizzie Akass, TARGETjobs Editorial Intern. Connect with Lizzie on LinkedIn.

Friday, July 24, 2015

An intern’s guide to finding work experience and internships

Hi I’m Lizzie, a current editorial intern at GTI Media (the parent company of TARGETjobs). I know that finding the right work experience, internship or placement when you're a student can be tricky, so here are a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned from my own application process for anyone needing a little help!

Use your university’s careers and employability service

My university was my main resource to find work experience opportunities. It’s how I found a work shadowing day at GTI Media, which led to me getting a summer internship in its editorial department. Your university’s careers and employability centre should advertise placement, internship, work experience and work shadowing opportunities – so keep up to date with what’s advertised on their website and in their e-mails. Also, keep going to the careers advice centre’s talks and presentations; I went to a few presentations by our careers advice team and found them really helpful. The people I spoke to continued to e-mail me with ideas and advice afterwards, and even offered to conduct a practice interview with me when I told them I got an internship interview at GTI Media. Unfortunately I couldn’t take this opportunity due to a lack of time with essay deadlines, but in hindsight I think it would have been really helpful as it was very different to interviews for my previous jobs.

Use what’s available online

You need to do thorough research on job descriptions, companies, and vacancies. There is an entire section of the TARGETjobs website giving advice on internships and advertising available opportunities and openings. There are also plenty of companies and organisations that use social media to advertise openings in specific fields. Alternatively, if you have any particular companies in mind see if they advertise any work experience or placement opportunities themselves, or if you’ll need to contact them directly to find out if they do.

Choosing where to apply

Stay open minded when making this decision, as any experience you get in your field will give you valuable skills and experience, give you a great insight into a potential career, help you make networking contacts, and be good to put on your CV. Internships and placements are brilliant if you have a clearer idea of what area of work you’d like to go into, but if you’re unsure then short term work experience and work shadowing days are perfect. They’re a great way to get insight into fields that you’re thinking about, plus whilst you’re there you can speak to people in various sectors to learn about different roles that you could potentially look into in the future.

For a break down of all the experience opportunities available to you, look no further than TARGETjobs

Article written by Lizzie Akass, TARGETjobs Editorial Intern. Connect with Lizzie on LinkedIn

Monday, July 20, 2015

How my work shadowing day helped me get an internship at TARGETjobs

Hi, I'm Lizzie and I am currently an editorial intern at GTI Media (the parent company of TARGETjobs). I got the opportunity to apply for the internship after completing a work shadowing day at the company. Here's a few tips from me for anyone looking to do a work shadowing day or get an internship, based on my own experiences!

Finding the work shadowing opportunity

The work shadowing day at GTI Media, which was advertised through my university’s careers and employability website, really interested me as it was offering experience in a role and career field that I was interested in, with a company name that I knew through TARGETjobs e-mails. The fact that it was only for one day during Easter, as opposed to two weeks like some companies offered, also appealed to me as it was far more practical in terms of balancing my time with the essays I had to write in those few Easter weeks.

After completing the online application form, I got a place on the work shadowing day. I then had a meeting with a member of the careers guidance team at university which consisted of a short interview followed by run through of details, correct conduct and what to do next.

What my work shadowing day consisted of

It was well-structured with a number of exercises for us to do, and designed to give an insight into a variety of different tasks completed by the editorial team. We were even asked to give feedback on some layouts for a new website, which was great as it showed that the editors genuinely wanted our input and valued our opinions. Everyone was so accommodating and willing to answer our little group’s questions and talk us through how publishing differed at GTI to other companies they had worked at. This gave us a much broader insight into the publishing field than I was expecting. At the end of the day we were invited to apply for the summer internship by e-mailing our CVs and covering letters, and I was offered an interview the following day so it was a very quick process.

Reflecting on the work shadowing day

Even if I had applied for the internship beforehand, I still think the work shadowing day would have made a huge difference to my chances of getting an interview at GTI Media. It allowed my interviewer-to-be (and now manager), and other editors in the department a chance to get to know me in person and see for themselves how I worked with other people and took on the tasks that were given to me. It also gave me a new understanding of the company, and day-to-day tasks of an editor, and the insight I needed to decide whether this was a role I wanted to get further experience in. It was an all-round positive experience, and I definitely recommend students to seriously consider work shadowing days and short-term work experience as valuable opportunities which can potentially lead to longer placements.

Tips to impress:

If you have a work shadowing day coming up, here are some useful tips to make sure you make the most of the day. 
  • Check the dress code – this differs at every company so it’s important to ask what’s appropriate. GTI Media has a fairly relaxed dress code meaning I was able to wear smart jeans and a t-shirt, but if I’d been in another company I might have had to wear something more formal.
  • Show up at least 15 minutes early – this includes planning your route well in advance and checking the day before that your planned route is still useable (eg replacement buses meaning you’ll miss a connecting train).
  • Prepare some questions to ask specific to the role – I needed to think through exactly what I wanted to know about the publishing field, company, and role/duties of an editor.
  • Bring a notepad and pen – taking notes is always useful as you might forget a lot of what you’re told on the day (there will almost definitely be a lot of information!), and it’s also never a bad thing to look prepared.
  • Keep your energy up – between the commute, being nervous, and completing the tasks you’re given, you will get tired. Have a good night’s sleep the night before, and maybe get a little caffeine over lunch if it helps!
  • Take part and be enthusiastic – they won’t expect you to get everything right, so the way that you approach any tasks given, both practically and emotionally, are very important too. The exercises our group were given were an excellent opportunity to show that we were able to work in a team and individually, and could rise to new challenges and explain the reasoning behind our decisions.
  • Don’t be scared – it’s natural to be nervous, but I found the work environment at GTI Media so friendly that it quickly became clear that this was a positive learning experience and a chance to make a good impression, and not a day to be scared or too shy. If you can’t get over your nerves (it happens!) fake it ‘till you make it: smile, give a good handshake, and pretend you’re confident until you’re comfortable enough to actually feel confident.

For more information on internships and how to get them, check out the internship section on TARGETjobs. 

Article written by Lizzie Akass, TARGETjobs Editorial Intern. Connect with Lizzie on LinkedIn

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The 10 stages of leaving university

Some students are prepared enough to think about leaving uni before it actually happens. For everyone else, there are some inevitable struggles.

1. Clearing out your room

You haven’t got that much stuff…how bad can it be?

2. Becoming overly sentimental about your belongings

Remember all the free stationery you got at the fresher’s fair? Well, it looks like it didn’t come in handy after all. So why is it so hard to part with that biro collection?

3. Believing that there’s absolutely no way that you’ll have to pay back your library fines

You’ve spent three years racking up library fines with reckless abandon and now you owe significantly more than your overdraft will allow. Surely they won’t make you pay them back now?

4. Actually having to pay off your library fines

The inevitable has happened. You’ve received a threatening final reminder about those fines and it sounds as if a visit from the bailiffs might be imminent. Reluctant to cause a stir among the neighbours, you bite the bullet and go to face the librarians. This is even worse than the time you got caught eating biscuits in the silent study area.

5. Realising there’s no more student discount

You’ve tried to ignore it, but that expiry date on your student card is creeping ever closer and it’s time to accept that you’ll never be able to afford to go shopping again. All the more reason to keep those clothes you were meant to throw away…

6. Facing judgement day…

Oh god. Results. You’ve not been looking forward to this bit. You begin to berate yourself for not working hard enough. You convince yourself that you’re definitely going to fail. You start thinking about all those lectures you missed. Were those nights out really worth it? Will anyone ever employ me? Will I be living with my parents for the rest of my life?

7. …followed by relief

But somehow, miraculously, you’ve made it. You officially have a degree! You can start using social media again without feeling guilty for procrastinating! That is until you realise that everyone you know is posting smug statuses announcing their results and log off in disgust.

8. Graduating

As if the library fines weren’t enough, it turns out that graduation is out to fleece you too. Appalled by the price of gown hire, you begin to consider knocking one up yourself. How hard can it be?

9. Going home

It’s all over. You’ve graduated. You’re living at home again. Your parents won’t leave you alone. Extended family members start interrogating you about your life plans. Moving to a faraway country becomes increasingly tempting, but then you remember that since you’re unemployed you probably can’t afford to go much further than Dover.

10. Starting the job search

The inevitable final stage. Eventually, after weeks of moping around, binge-watching Netflix and googling graduate unemployment statistics, it’s time to sort your life out and start looking for a job. If you can just remember where you saved your CV…

Leaving uni is a daunting prospect, even for the most organised of students. However, you’re not alone! TARGETjobs can help you navigate the unfamiliar territory and create a great graduate CV – even if you haven’t looked at yours in three years. 

Article written by Amie Marshall, TARGETjobs Editorial Intern. Connect with Amie on LinkedIn

Friday, July 3, 2015

Out with the old and in with the new at TARGETjobs Events

After three long and happy years at TARGETjobs Events, we are sad to announce that Katy Phillips is leaving us for pastures new. As Senior Project Manager, Katy has worked on many of our top events. She’s taken the lead on IT’s not just for the boys! Undergraduate of the Year Awards and City law for ethnic minorities, to name but a few. Today is Katy’s last day in the office and we would like to wish her well in her exciting new role as an Event Manager!

Katy says…..’It’s been a real privilege to work with so many incredible people during my time at TARGETjobs Events; from the support and encouragement I’ve received from the companies and representatives involved in our events, to the reward of seeing students change from applicants to attendees to graduate representatives enjoying new roles. Mostly though, I have loved being part of such a tight knit team; for me the people are the most important factor in any job, and these girls have such a positive work hard/play hard mentality that has made each day a giggle. Thanks ladies :)  Katie W, I wish you the best of luck and hope you enjoy it as much as I have!’

However. Do. Not. Worry! We don’t like change very much here at TARGETjobs Events so we’d like to introduce the newest member of our team…Katie Walton! Those of you who attended the most recent City law for ethnic minorities event will have already met Katie, but she’s joining us full time on Monday and she can’t wait!

We’re all looking forward to our autumn events (hint: applications are open now!) and hope to see many of you there!

Katie, Katie and Nakita!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

20 emotional stages of leaving an essay to the last minute

This is perhaps the most panic-inducing experience of your uni life. Whether your essay was left until the last minute by choice, or if the decision was out of your hands (laptops breaking, essay question release dates being delayed, getting ill, the list goes on), the result is always pretty much the same for everyone:

1. The initial panic

You work out how many hours you have until your essay is due, and then have a minor break down.

2. The first hurdle

You haven’t even looked at the essay questions yet. Why haven’t you even looked at the essay questions yet? You skim through and find one you think fits with the books you actually had time to read most of.

3. Denial

You write the title. Time for a break. You’ve earned it.

4. Cry

You really hadn’t earned it.

5. Get productive

You skim through the books and start finding quotes that fit with the question. Things are looking up; you might just pull this off.

6. Overload

Your brain is still buzzing from the emotional rollercoaster you just had re-reading the end of that book. You need a break.

7. Cry again

Stop taking breaks. You haven’t earned any breaks!

8. Realising the time

When did it get dark? How many hours do I have left? Oh god.

9. Introduction complete

It’s actually pretty good too. Even threw in a few academic secondary sources. Celebrate with a BeyoncĂ© dance to the kitchen.

10. Disappointment

Why is there no food in the fridge? How are you supposed to be an academic genius on an empty stomach? Sad dance back to your bedroom.

11. First paragraph done

Eyes starting to droop. Wake yourself back up by watching YouTube.

12. Panic again

Why have you been watching cat videos for an hour? Stop taking breaks!

13. Inner turmoil

At this point you’re not even hungry, you’re just so bored. It’s 5am. All of the shops are closed, Domino’s just stopped delivering, there’s no food in the fridge. The only option is the library vending machine. Can you really afford to lose 20 minutes walking to the library and back? Why isn’t there a 24 hour dessert delivery service?

14. Making contact

It’s now 6am, and you’ve miraculously had a productive hour and finished your second paragraph. You’ve earned your vending machine trip. You message your friends who are doing an all-nighter in the library and let them know you’re popping over.

15. Relax

There’s a group of people in the library all from your course collectively panicking and emotionally supporting each other through the night whilst consuming enough chocolate to feed an entire village. You’re not the only one, cool.

16. Realisation

You get back to your room and realise you look like you’ve slept outside for the past month, in the dirt. Sexy. Zero shame.

17. Relief

With a few hours to spare, you somehow scrape together the rest of your essay and write a conclusion.

18. Panic

You’re exhausted, stressed, and haven’t had a chance to edit with fresh eyes. Oh god, oh god, your grades are going to drop. You set an alarm for a 15 minute nap. After panicking too much to actually sleep, you lie to yourself that it’s fine and you can edit and print confidently now with a great quality essay.

19. Handing it in

You arrive to hand in and see your friends. You all look like zombies. But, if you all look like zombies, then the standards drop so you all look totally OK.

20. Sleep

Go home, you survived the night. Swear that you’ll never let yourself go through that again. Crash until it’s time for your celebratory night out.

As bad as having to write last minute essays are for uni, it’s nothing compared to a last minute job application. Our tips on writing last minute job applications are an absolute life-saver in case you ever find yourself in that terrifying position. Good luck! 

Article written by Lizzie Akass, TARGETjobs Editorial Intern. Connect with Lizzie on LinkedIn.