Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Five top tips for students heading on a year abroad

If your course involves spending your third year abroad, let me just start by letting you know that you’ve hit the jackpot. I’m a Durham student who spent my third year abroad, working with the British Council in Paris. Whether you’re about to head abroad to Europe, South America or even the Middle East in the next month, there are a few tips you should follow to avoid disappointment or disaster!

1. Live with natives.

You’ve probably heard your lecturers banging on about the importance of having housemates who speak the “target language”. Yes, it’s definitely easier to sort out accommodation with a mate from your course, but as much as you swear to one another that you’ll both chat exclusively in the “TL”, you won’t – trust me, you just won’t. It might seem daunting at first, but living with locals is really the only way to truly experience the culture and fully develop your language skills.

2. Have money to set yourself up.

You’ll realistically need about €1,500 (about £1,100 or $1,700) to get everything sorted in the first few weeks ­­– the last thing you want to be stressed about is money, especially when you’re traipsing around unknown territories, trying to find flats that are only a little bit grimy (you know, in a charming kind of way). You’ll most likely need money for the first month’s rent, plus a deposit, money for a travel card, basic house supplies, and enough to tide you over until your Erasmus grant comes in or you get paid, either of which is unlikely to be before the end of your first month.

3. Be wary of the banks.

Not that they’ll try to swindle you, but you should be aware that their work culture is very different to that of the UK. Often, they tend to lack any sense of urgency with general admin procedures. You can expect those in France, Italy and Spain to close up shop for two hours on weekdays, and not to be open to the public on Mondays. They don’t like Mondays. In France, it is normal to pay an annual fee for a current account and to not have any interest rates in return. Research what system the banks use in the country in which you’ll be living before you go to get an idea of what’s normal and which banks have the best rates.

4. Make a to-do list.

You might experience a shock to the system to find yourself living in a foreign city where you don’t know a soul, having become accustomed to living with and being surrounded by friends approximately 24/7 at university for the past two years. It’s normal to get a bit lonely (*sob*) at first, so don’t panic if you feel it. A good thing to do is to make a list of all the fun things you want to do and places you want to visit during your time abroad before you go. Your year will fly past, and on days when you’re not sure what to do with yourself, it’s good to have a list of activities at hand.

5. Get Facebook stalking!

There are groups set up every year for Erasmus and other university students who are planning to spend a year abroad. Groups include those for students heading to a particular city, for students who will be working for the British Council in specific regions, and for students who will be spending a year studying at another university. These groups provide a great support network, and are a good way to meet people and learn about different events and parties that are taking place in your area for students. 

Good luck!

Article written by Ruth Thompson, TARGETjobs Editorial Intern. Connect with Ruth on LinkedIn

Monday, August 17, 2015

What to wear and how to prepare for TARGETjobs Events!

I have been at TARGETjobs Events for just over two years and the two questions we always get asked about our events are: What should I wear? and Do I need to do anything to prepare?

For our events we recommend that you dress as you would for a job interview. Get your outfit together and try it on in advance in front of a full-length mirror. Your outfit doesn’t have to be a plain black suit and white shirt – colour is fine. Nor do you have to go completely against your personality in terms of appearance – you’re looking for a good match between who you are and your potential employer.

The most common mistake we see? Footwear! Some of our events can involve a lot of walking and some of the venues we go to have a lot of stairs, so make sure you can walk in your shoes. On the other hand, don’t even consider wearing trainers (not even black ones!). We had someone turn up to an event in bright green trainers once, and needless to say, we turned him away. Ladies: if you want to wear high heels, there’s nothing wrong with bringing a smart pair of flat shoes in your bag as back-up – we do it all the time!

Men: wear a suit, shirt and tie (make sure they have both been ironed!) and wear matching socks.
Ladies: skirts or dresses should be no shorter than just above the knee and make sure you check the length is still OK when you sit down! Always try to avoid chipped nail polish, too.

Finally, keep any piercings discreet, and it is more than OK to wear religious dress.

What should I do to prepare for the event? Our top three things: research, research, research!

The most common misconception that our attendees have about events is that attending one is a fast-track to a grad scheme or internship. Our events are an introduction to an employer, so the more you put in to prepare, the more you are going to get out of it!

Recruiters are not there to answer the simple questions that you find on their websites. Hopefully you will have already done some research into the companies for your interview so attending the event is now your chance to find out the nitty gritty. Demonstrating your knowledge of a company will not only help you come across as someone who knows what you are talking about, but enables you to have better conversations and hopefully be more memorable. Remember there could be 50+ other students in the room that they will also talk to!

Have a list of questions written down in your pocket so you don’t leave the event thinking ‘I wish I’d asked that’. A few students also bring business cards. It’s not at all essential, but it can make you look professional and on the ball. It’s particularly helpful in networking situations if you meet people you’d like to stay in touch with.

Check out all of our upcoming events on the TARGETjobs Events website.

Best of luck and I can't wait to meet you at our next event!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Parents fill in ‘guidance gap’ over career advice for school-leavers

  • 53% of parents felt they were the biggest influence on their children’s post A-Level education and career choices – more than their child’s friends and careers advisers

  • 79% of parents felt that their child did not have a clear idea of what they wanted to do after finishing education

  • Over three quarters of parents felt that extra-curricular activities were just as important as academic activity

LONDON, 11 August 2015: With A-Level results released this week, over half of parents say they will have the biggest influence over their child’s next steps, but most aren’t fully aware of the non-university options available, reveals new research from graduate recruitment company, GTI Media, and professional services firm, EY.

The YouGov survey of 1,018 parents looked at their role in giving careers guidance; their attitude towards schools; and whether young people are adequately prepared for the workplace.

When asked to rank who had the biggest influence over their children’s education and career decisions, the majority of parents - 53% - felt they had the biggest influence. This was followed by teachers on 23% and their children’s friends on 23%. Careers advisers were ranked in fourth place with 21%. However more than half of parents (64%) recognised that they needed better information and called for more resources to help them to support their children at this important juncture.

In addition to this, only 1% of parents said they knew ‘a lot’ about school leaver programmes; only 6% knew of ‘vocational further education courses’; and only 9% were fully aware of 'apprenticeships or higher apprenticeship programmes’.

Maggie Stilwell, Managing Partner for Talent at EY, comments: “The survey results suggest that there is a ‘guidance gap’ between what parents expect their role to be and the knowledge they have at their disposal."

“While parents are aware of their influential position over such an important decision, they are looking to be better armed with resources to help ensure they are able to give the best advice possible. In the absence of information and awareness about alternative career routes, such as an apprenticeships or school-leaver schemes, university can often become the default option.”

University continues to be promoted as favoured career route

The survey also looked at the perception of careers advice that young people received. Of those surveyed, 25% of parents were not aware of any career advice given to their child at school, and over half (51%) stated their child had received ‘some but not enough’. In addition to this, over three quarters (79%) of parents felt that their child didn’t have a clear idea of what to do after leaving school or college.

According to the survey, university continues to be the most promoted career route by schools with 37% of parents stating that their child’s school ‘promotes the university route as the best route to take’.

Matt Dacey, Director of Products and Services at GTI Media, added: “The research highlights the extent to which parents and schools still see university as a default route for young people. Employers are having difficulty in promoting alternatives to university, particularly at a time when professions from accountancy and financial services through to engineering are looking to increase their school leaver intake through the creation of exciting new alternatives. The need to engage and support parents with information about these would seem more important than ever.”

Maggie comments: “Regardless of whether students ultimately opt for university, a school leaver scheme, apprenticeship or another route entirely, it’s important that they are able to make well informed choices about their career path. This requires parents, schools and employers to work together to fill the current perceived guidance gap."

Parents concerned by employability skills

Like many employers, parents recognise the importance of work experience and other extra-curricular activities as a means of young people developing skills that will later benefit them in the workplace. Over three quarter of parents (76%) stated that ‘what their child does outside school is as important to their development as formal education’.

Despite this, only 39% of parents’ surveyed said their children had a paid part-time job or worked as a volunteer.

Maggie comments: “As the competition for talent increases, it is ever more important for school-leavers to have developed key life skills such as communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving. These are some of the strengths that we look for as part of our recruitment processes."

"This doesn't have to mean a month-long internship though, or a gap year in Tibet. These are skills that can be honed at a Saturday job in a supermarket or even on the school football or netball team."

Download the full report from the GTI Media website

Read more here

Top tips for the TARGETjobs Events application process

Hi, I’m Nakita and I’m a junior project manager at TARGETjobs Events. I’ve been at TARGETjobs for just over a year and I have some great tips for the TARGETjobs events application process.

The application process for attending a TARGETjobs Event is pretty straightforward. You will be required to complete an online application form and, if you fit the criteria, have a telephone interview. The two stages have been broken down below to help you gain a better understanding of both stages.

Application form
  • Before submitting your application form it is important that you read the application criteria, usually found on the overview page of each event’s website. You also need to ensure that your CV is no more than two pages long.
  • The application form is the first step of the application process. It consists of providing personal details, your current university details and your predicted/achieved grade. The next section involves a 200 word covering letter. This is probably the most important section as it usually determines whether you will be invited to attend a telephone interview. You have been given the chance to show why you would like to attend so take advantage of it! This should include how you will make the most of the opportunity and what work experience or activities you have done to show your passion for the specific sector you are interested in.
  • Once you have submitted your application form, one of the TARGETjobs Events team will be in touch via email, letting you know whether you have been successful.   
  • If you have been unsuccessful, do not be discouraged from applying again. Our events are usually very popular and it is more than likely we will have more than one per year.

Telephone interview
  • If you have been invited to attend a telephone interview, – well done!
  • Our snazzy interview booking tool allows you to choose an interview time that suits you, which means we're expecting you to be prepared and ready for our call.
  • How you answer the phone sets the tone instantly for the interview, as it's our first interaction with you as a person, not just as a CV. Consider your greeting;: beginning with 'good morning/afternoon, this is Nakita speaking' will instantly make you sound prepared and confident, and create a much better first impression than a 'hey' or, as I have experienced, 'what?'. Not the best way to start. Equally, you want to finish your interview on a positive note, so have a question or two prepared (but not 'when will I hear from you?') and thank the interviewer for their time. Most importantly, be yourself! You’ve been offered this chance because you’re the kind of person the interviewer is looking for, so relax, be confident and let your knowledge and motivation for the job/event/sector shine through!
  • The interview will usually consist of questions regarding why you would like to attend and what you have done previously to show your passion for the specific sector you’ are interested in.

Our events are an amazing opportunity for you to meet some fantastic companies and graduate recruiters – don’t miss out and apply today! Check out all of our upcoming events on the TARGETjobs Events website.

Five top tips for de-stressing your results day

Hi I’m Lizzie, a current editorial intern at GTI Media (the parent company of TARGETjobs). The big day that thousands of students across the UK have been anxiously waiting for is nearly upon us, A Level results day! Everyone knows that getting your exam results can be a pretty terrifying experience – but there are steps you can take to prepare for any outcome, and make results day far less stressful! Here are our five top tips for de-stressing your results day. 

1. Get distracted and stress-free.

Make yourself a cup of tea: everyone in Britain knows this is the number one way to deal with any situation, ever. Other good ways of relieving stress include: having a mini dance party to yourself, doing something fitness-related, or watching something funny – particularly stand-up comedy as the jokes are regular and continuous. The more you smile the less stressed you’ll feel.

2. Try to get a good night’s sleep.

Falling asleep can be a very hard thing to manage if you’re stressed out over exam results. But, if you stay up all night worrying, you’re going to be overly tired and maybe a little more emotional the next day – which is not a good idea! Try to get to bed early and fall asleep before you get caught up in your thoughts and worries. Listening to relaxing music can help you do this.

3. Back-ups are OK!

It’s really hard to gauge how exams go and what sort of marks to expect. Chances are, you will have prepared properly for your exams, and so are in with a good chance of getting the results you want. However, if the worst comes to the worst, retakes or going through clearing are not the end of the world! If you think that you might have to go through clearing, research before your results come out which courses different universities offer for this; remember that you are not limited to only the subject you originally applied for. Also, always phone universities yourself – they’ll want to speak to you, not your parents!

4. Your options are wide open.

No matter what grades you get, you will find employment after graduation in your field if you do your research and gain enough of the right skills from work experience or internships. A part-time job can help you long-term too. Even if you don’t walk away with high marks, you can still take the necessary steps to make yourself employable in every other way possible, so you’ll be OK.

5. Accept that worrying won’t change anything.

This one is probably the hardest to do, but it’s also the most important. The fact is, your exams have already been taken, and your essays have already been handed in. There’s nothing you can do at this point to change the marks that you’re going to be given, so stressing yourself out over them is pointless. Just know that you did the best you could at the time, regardless of any outside circumstances. If it comes to it, there are loads of different ways of making up for lost marks to employers. But try to keep your chin up, because you’re going to be absolutely fine.

Good luck!

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

Monday, August 3, 2015

Why you should be an early bird!

We have some great events coming up this autumn providing you with a chance to meet some of the biggest graduate employers. Here’s why you should beat the rush and get your applications in now!
Early bird gets the worm!

·        Just like buying tickets for a festival, you are much more likely to secure a place on the event if you get your application in early and beat those last-minute Larrys!

 ·        Secure an early interview slot and you could land an early place on the event this will set you apart from everyone else! It gives you time not only to prepare for the interviews, but also to research the event partners and the graduate schemes they offer, putting you in a better position to land your dream job!

·        It gives you more time to research who is going to be there. Find out what exactly they have on offer, research as much as you can and prepare your questions – this will put you in a great position when applying for grad schemes as you will know exactly where you want to go and what you want to apply for. It will also make you stand out to the event partners you are interested in if you know what you’re talking about, which could help to secure you a place on their scheme.

·      What else do you have to do? It’s the summer! OK, so apart from your part-time, full-time or multiple jobs. Get your applications in early so that you have secured your place before you go back to uni. This way you won’t get distracted from your work or vice versa. You don’t want your application to get put to the bottom of your priority list and before you know it find you’ve missed your chance to meet graduate recruiters who could open that door to the start of a great career!

Applications are now open for Explore Sky, IT’s not just for the boys, Future Female Engineers and Women in Investment Banking, so why wait? Be an early bird and get your application in now at