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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Our UGOY Low Carbon runner up, Luthfilaudri, tells us about his experience of the awards!

The first time I heard about TARGETjobs' Undergraduate of the Year Award was when I was in my second year. I received an email from my university about the Low Carbon Undergraduate of the Year Award. At the time, I did not bother applying for the award and filling out a lengthy application form. I was thinking that the chance for me to win the award is really small since there is only one winner for each category. I thought that it would be better to apply for other summer internships which have bigger chance of getting accepted. 

In my final year, I received  the same email from university inviting me to apply for Low Carbon Undergraduate of the Year Award. But that time was a bit different as the uni told us that we had won the Low Carbon Award in 2014. That encouraged me to apply for the award, despite the stress I was bearing from doing my final year project. I filled out the application form and wrote the essays required for submission. After that, I clicked the submission button and I immediately received an email that led me to a series of online tests. And hey, who would have known that a couple weeks later I was emailed by EDF energy that a phone interview will be conducted to shortlist several candidates to be invited to an assessment centre. 

The day of telephone interview with an EDF employee eventually came. I was quite nervous at that time although it was not my first time conducting a phone interview. As soon as the conversation started, I felt a sense of relief because the interviewer was really friendly. This phone interview was the toughest interview I had ever done as the interviewer expected concise answers from a set of tricky questions. After the interview ended, all I could do was to pray and hope that I would get to the next round, the assessment centre. But surprisingly, I received an email from TARGETjobs saying that I managed to be in the top 10 finalists for Low Carbon Award. EDF decided not to do an assessment centre. They used the application form and the interview as the basis of their assessment. 

So briefly speaking, I was invited to Canary Wharf in London for the grand finale event. The event was a really great opportunity to network with many talented students from across the UK as well as many employees from highly reputable companies. Not to mention, the food they served was heavenly tasty (that was my first time eating a fancy three course meal). Time did fly and the moment of the winners announcement came. I already had a feeling that my best friend at uni, Rahul, would have won the award. I knew him as a well rounded person, who does not only excel academically but also in social aspect since he was once the president of Chemical Engineering society at uni. And my guess was right, Rahul managed to get the Low Carbon Undergraduate of the Year Award! I was really happy for him.

Although I did not win, I did not go home empty handed. I brought with me a spirit to be a much better individual. I also boosted my confidence level that everything could actually be achieved even if it seems far away from our reach. This has been proven by myself being able to get a postgraduate course and secure a prestigious government scholarship! So my message to all of you who wish to apply for this award is just apply because you will never know what you will get in the end. Do not see a failure as a failure, instead see it as an opportunity to learn and rebuild yourself to come back stronger than ever.



Me with the Uni of Manchester Finalists (top left).

Pre-register for the 2016 Undergraduate of the Year Awards now. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Thinking of applying to the 2016 Undergraduate of the Year Awards? Read our Future Business Leader winner's experience!

Secret from a Scottie…

Here’s my thinking… “Of the 350,000+ graduates throughout the UK that successfully graduate the class of 2015, how am I going to differentiate myself? How am I going to make myself more attractive to future employers and achieve my ambitious career goals?” I bet I'm not the first or last person to think this rather daunting thought.

With the highest level of competition ever in the workplace, it’s tough to carve out your career these days and if I could pass on one secret it would be this.


Back in November 2014 I received an email from TARGETjobs outlining the competition. The titles were daunting but they intrigued me. How could they really decide out of all these 350,000+ people who was the winner? Well firstly, not all 350,000+ would apply ,only 3,000 would make the effort. This already greatly improves my chances of winning but that’s still not great odds. Next I questioned, ‘what is the difference between myself, Lynne Howie, right now and the winner in April 2015? What do they have that I don’t?’

I didn’t know the answer but I was going to give myself the opportunity to be that person, so I took a chance and applied. Keeping the application very quiet, I put it in a box to the back of my mind to avoid jinxing myself and tentatively awaited a reply. The day came when I received the phone call from Mars. Taken a little by surprise and without much preparation I threw myself into the call and with delighted success an invitation shortly followed to visit their London HQ. The whole process was a whirlwind of excitement and when I realised I was in the running, my attitude completely changed. I realised just how valuable the title and experience of ‘Undergraduate of the Year - Future Business Leader’ could be to my career moving forward.

With a trip to Dubai and the opportunity to intern at Mars up for grabs there was really no stopping me, I had the desire to see the process to the end. When the congratulatory email pinged into my inbox I was absolutely elated to be a finalist. Making a phone call home to my parents that evening was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had! Considering they didn’t even know I’d entered, let alone been flown London and interviewed.

The ceremony was held in April at the stunning Winter Gardens in Canary Wharf, London. There was a buzz in the room, I was so excited to be part of it and relieved to have taken the time to enter in the first place. We were so lucky to have Fiona Bruce present the award ceremony and when she called out the winner of ‘Future Business Leader’ as ‘Lynne Howie’ I honestly took a moment to realise that was me! It was such a privilege to be chosen by Mars and I am forever thankful for the journey. It was a memory I will keep with me, pushing me onwards and upwards in my business career.

So when you wonder how you could make yourself stand out when it comes your turn to enter the labour market, perhaps use the secret of a Scottie…& make a small effort which might just make a massive difference.

"Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Apply for the 2016 Undergraduate of the Year awards today! 

Our UGOY Engineering winner, Jessica, tells us her experience of the awards!


Applying

Starting my 2nd year at Cardiff University studying Integrated Engineering I had to decide whether I should do a year in industry and what the benefits would be. I was looking at what was to offer when I came across the TARGETjobs competition for ‘Engineering Undergrad of the Year Award’. Looking at the previous year’s winner, the prize looked amazing. Not only would the winner get a year placement with Eon, they would also win a trip for two to one of Eon's European projects, an invitation to the awards ceremony and a trophy. I’m interested in the energy sector so knowing Eon sponsored part of this interested me. This title seemed pretty immense but I thought I’d give it try.

Process 

The process was quite straight forward. This process ranged from answering questions related to the energy sector to psychometric and logic test and submitting your CV. Don’t get put off by this it was all in small chunks which made it easier. I suggest doing them as soon as you can but there is still time to do them last minute if you forget! If you’ve made the effort to apply you’d be silly not to go the last leg. 

Assessment Centre

I got a call from both TARGETjobs and an Eon representative; I was invited to come to the assessment centre along with 20 others for the day. Assessment days are always a bit daunting but this one was actually quite fun (as fun as they can be!), all the assessors there really just wanted to get the best out of you to see your full potential. I thought the assessment day went relatively well but now it was just a waiting game to hear back from them.

Awards Ceremony 

The phone call I had been waiting for! I had been shortlisted to come to the awards ceremony. I was ecstatic. It was such an honour to get to the top 10, getting to this point was an achievement in itself. The competition was tough, I knew this the second I met all these energetic intellectuals at the assessment centre.

The awards ceremony was held in East Wintergardens in London, it was such a vibrant day, I got the chance to meet the other candidates from across the different awards and the Eon representatives. It was a really good place to network. TARGETjobs pulled all the stops out with this, from the delicious food to Fiona Bruce!  Of course one of the most interesting things was meeting her; she gave a great talk to kick off the ceremony. As she read through the winners I started to get a little nervous, the ‘Engineering Undergraduate of the Year’ was one of the last to be called out. Then it was the time all of us at the table had been waiting for. When she called my name out I froze, I couldn’t believe it. Certainly a moment I will never forget.

Working for Eon

I have now started my placement. It wasn’t what I expected as I didn’t know what to expect! With regards to developing and gaining new skills this is a fantastic place to do so. I feel part of a team here. I’ve been here four weeks and loved every minute of it. On top of this I still have a trip planned, to go to Germany to see one of Eon's projects.

Moving on/Advice

A female winning the ‘Engineering Undergraduate of the Year Award’ is a milestone in relation to us as a society moving forward in promoting STEM subjects to females and equal opportunities, I want to say a big thank you to TARGETjobs and Eon for supporting this, hopefully this will encourage girls to follow their dreams in subjects that are prevalently taken by boys. It is so important to have a mixed gender workforce!

Only advice I would give is to just go for it, do it for the placement, do it for the holiday, do it for the experience, the awards ceremony and for you. Through any part of the process you will only gain valuable skills to help you further in life. Apply now what have you got to lose!

Apply for the 2016 Undergraduate of the Year awards now. http://undergraduateoftheyear.com/  

Friday, September 25, 2015

We’re off! Our time as TARGETjobs editorial interns…

Hi, we’re Charlotte and Ruth, two of the editorial interns here at TARGETjobs. Today marks the end of our four month internship, so we thought we’d reflect on our time at GTI Media.


Highs

We’ve sincerely appreciated the friendly vibes at GTI. The expectation as incoming interns, as most students imagine, was that we’d be ostracized by the more mature and experienced full-timers due to our lack of life experience and the bad rep we suffer from as ‘students’. However, we couldn’t have been made to feel more at-ease. As a reasonably small company, we’ve gotten to know a lot of our co-workers – even the CEO stops for a quick chat when we’re grabbing a cuppa.

One of the best parts of being an editorial intern was the interviewing, from partners in law firms to accountancy graduates, we all got to talk to industry professionals. The variety of interviewees means every interview has been different; you could be talking about the impact of the legal aid cuts one day, and about advice for aspiring engineers the next. It’s great to see the article printed and seeing your name credited in the publication too.

As we’re both going into final year (scary!) it’s officially time to sort ourselves out and start applying for grad jobs. Our time working at TARGETjobs has definitely been instrumental in figuring out what we actually could (and want to) do with our lives.

Lows

We are based in an office and sitting down all day on a computer can take its toll (hard to believe, we know). There is also constant cake in the office and biscuit time at 3 pm means a fat bulge has appeared. No summer bod for us.

It’s great to have a CV with no gaps, but a four month internship does push the boundaries of endurance. Maybe that has something to do with being accustomed to the luxury of the student-summer, but the summer holiday bants have been sorely missed.

Relocating

Being from NI, commuting to work in Oxfordshire every morning wasn’t really on the cards. Luckily (especially given rent prices in the area) one of my best friends lives 20 minutes from the office. It might sound like a long time to be on top your friend and her family, but in reality when you’re working 9 – 5 and have a social life, you really aren’t in the house for much other than dinner and bed. – Ruth

I’m not from the Oxford area either, so had to rent a room that I found online and it really wasn’t as bad as it sounds. The family were very welcoming, and a full-time job and making friends in the area meant I was hardly in the house. I’d moved away from home for uni, so knew I’d be able to do it again. – Charlotte

Signing off…

We’ve both learned a lot this summer, and honestly feel like much more employable adults! So we can’t recommend getting a summer internship enough – and if you’re lucky, the person you get stuck sitting beside for over 40 hours each week could be really sound.

Article written by Charlotte Wharf and Ruth Thompson, TARGETjobs Editorial Interns. Connect with Charlotte and Ruth on LinkedIn. 

See what Kate Nichols has been up to since being a runner up in the 2015 Undergraduate Awards!

My name is Kate Nichols and I am in my fourth and final year at the University of Nottingham studying Management with German. I received an email from TARGETjobs while I was on my Year Abroad in Germany, inviting me to apply for the Undergraduate of the Year Awards 2015. Applying for the Management Undergraduate of the Year Award, sponsored by Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, was an extremely exciting and memorable process.  

Initially, I had to fill out an application form which consisted of a few questions from the sponsor regarding leadership and general managerial practice and my personal experiences. Following this, I was invited to undertake three online tests. 

A few days later, I received an email from a Talent Acquisition Manager at Enterprise-Rent-A-Car to inform me that my application and online tests had been successful and I was invited for a telephone interview. I had butterflies in my stomach and I wanted to start preparing for the interview straight away! I am a huge lover of new stationery so I went into the German town where I was living and bought myself some new sticky notes, highlighters, pens and paper. I printed off information regarding the award and Enterprise-Rent-A-Car and started preparing for the interview and eventually every inch of my living room wall was covered in sticky notes! Although I felt nervous about my telephone interview, the interviewer was extremely friendly and was skilled at putting me at my ease so I was able to relax and really enjoy the interview. I could not tell if I had done well enough to get to the next stage of the process. 

Following my interview, I received an email notifying me that I had been selected to attend an assessment centre at Enterprise Holdings in Egham. This was an inspirational and highly enjoyable day. Being surrounded by what I can only describe as the friendliest and most welcoming people, it was a delight to speak to current Enterprise employees about their experience of working for Enterprise and participate in management orientated activities. I received a phone call a week later regarding the outcome of the assessment centre. I was shaking as I knew I would be in competition with other very strong candidates, however I was over the moon to be chosen as one of the 10 finalists for the award.

Attending the awards ceremony in London was extraordinary. The Winter Gardens at Canary Wharf was the perfect venue to host a ceremony for such prestigious awards. It was a pleasure to share this day with the hostess, Fiona Bruce, who enlightened us all with stories of her past and present career. It was an excellent opportunity to share experiences with fellow candidates and network with employees of high profile companies.

As a result of reaching the finals, I was offered a summer internship with Enterprise-Rent-A-Car which I have now completed. By the end of my internship, I was proud of what I had achieved in a short period of time and have met some fantastic people working for Enterprise -Rent-A -Car. I am extremely excited to have also been offered further employment. Applying for the award was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It not only allowed me to experience a graduate application process, but also it exposed me to such wonderful and invaluable experiences which has provided me with a fantastic pool of networks. 

Apply for the 2016 Undergraduate of the Year awards now.

Was I right to go to university?

Hi I'm Charlotte, a current editorial intern at TARGETjobs. I have recently read a research report by TARGETjobs’ parent company, GTI Media, which was sponsored by EY. It found many parents seem to think of university as the only route for their children, as only 1% said they know ‘a lot’ about university alternatives such as school leaver programmes

During my editorial internship at GTI Media, I have researched and drafted articles for TARGETjobs, which is a graduate careers site, and I have also researched and drafted articles for TARGETcareers, which is aimed at school leavers who are deciding whether they want to go to university or not. I have learned there are many options available to students who have completed their A levels and it has made me think about my decision to go to university: is a degree worth the price tag or are work experience and other ‘earn while you learn’ routes  more valuable in the current employment market? Here are my thoughts.


The benefits of working

I have developed many skills that I can take to a publishing workplace during my four month internship. GTI Media has offered me training in how to conduct editorial interviews, how to communicate with clients, and the basics of search engine optimisation and HTML. I have also learned what recruiters think when interviewing, which will help me with interview processes in the future. These are all great skills and examples to add to my CV.

The best part, for me, has been gaining an understanding about business in general. I’ve had part-time jobs before, but attending weekly meetings at GTI Media about the progress of publications and online content, for example, has given me a commercial awareness and exposed me to how a successful business operates. My experiences have led me consider a business career – something I would never have thought of before. 

The training I have been given has been invaluable. My communication skills have grown from emailing and calling clients as well as interviewing professionals and graduates. My persistence has been tested from not giving up when clients have been hard to get hold of. My writing skills have been developed from drafting articles aimed at different target audiences that are published online and in print. I have learned that I work best when I have many different projects to keep my mind busy, and that I am motivated by visual results, such as seeing articles I have drafted being uploaded online. Surely these examples and skills will appeal to recruiters, not what I think of Dante’s Inferno?

The benefits of university

I have learned a lot of life skills during two years at university that are invaluable for later life. Moving away from home to a new area has allowed me to come out of my comfort zone. It took me time to realise that I'm not going to get on with everyone I cross paths with. I have learned how to pay bills, how to deal with the council, and how to balance my academic studies, extracurricular activities, a part-time job and a social life. How would I have gained these experiences if I did not go to university?

Being an English literature and drama student, I have developed my analytical, research and writing skills from meetings with academics who are experts in their field. University has also given me the opportunity to get involved with extracurricular activities, such as production managing for a theatre company, which has allowed my organisation and management skills to grow. Would I ever have got involved with production managing without going to university? I doubt it.

In conclusion

I have not reached an answer to my original question – I believe there are many options available to students and that all are valuable for different reasons. I do not regret my decision to go to university, as I will have three years’ worth of great memories and friends, and have accepted I will start my working life with a lot of debt. However, I do think that being in the workplace (whether via an internship or apprenticeship) teaches you how to apply your skills in a professional, working environment. Everyone has different desires and needs – students need to explore the variety of routes available to make sure their decision is the best one to suit their aspirations and career. 

Article written by Charlotte Wharf, TARGETjobs Editorial Intern. Connect with Charlotte on LinkedIn

What I learned on my summer editorial internship at GTI Media

Hi I’m Lizzie, and this summer I have spent almost four months working at GTI Media in the editorial department. Going from knowing incredibly little about the publishing world before starting, to having a pretty good insight now, I can definitely say that this internship has been a positive experience. There are a few key things that I’ve learned this summer.


1. The people you work with make all the difference.

I feel like I’ve been very lucky to be surrounded by some wonderful and hilarious people this summer. From the managers, to the other interns, to the CEO of the company – there’s a very friendly and supportive atmosphere here, and there’s always someone to help you out when you need. It takes away the fear of a new job very quickly!

2. New skills, insights, and knowledge.

A new job wouldn’t be a new job without a steep learning curve. There was an awful lot to take in at first and get used to, but it only takes a little while to start adapting to it and become more confident with what’s required of you. My writing style has definitely improved and I now have a number of new skills surrounding editing, research and writing that I didn’t have before. Visiting the printers’ to see our magazines being made was great too; I had no idea how everything was put together before that! It’s been an eye-opening insight into both the publishing world and all of the other career fields that I’ve spent my summer researching and writing on!

3. Working around my commute.

My commute has been a particularly long one (4–5 hours a day) but it was doable, I just had to adjust. In the beginning I was making plans almost every evening after work and all weekend – and I started to burn out very quickly. In the past I’ve worked full time in retail so have been running around all day, and I knew that was tiring – but no one tells you how tiring sitting down all day is; it was a big surprise for me! Working full time plus a long commute is exhausting, so you need to learn to leave some free time empty to recover and rest.

4. Whether or not I like an office environment.

This may sound obvious, but it’s actually a very important thing to find out. Offices suit some people really well; for others, it’s just not going to make them happy or comfortable in the long run. Luckily for me, I enjoyed sharing a desk with the other lovely interns, and it was a pleasant working environment; I would definitely consider an office job again.

5. Whether or not I want to continue working in the publishing field.

Again, this is might sound obvious, but it’s a hugely important decision that could affect my entire working career. Neither myself nor the other editorial interns had worked in a publishing company before, and so this really was our first real insight into the industry and the different career options available in the field. We’ve been very fortunate at GTI to have had such a long internship as well to get a really well-rounded and in-depth view of the company and industry, both in very busy and quieter months. I’m glad to say that I’ve had a very positive experience here, and will seriously consider pursuing a career in this industry.

If you’re thinking about applying for an internship, make sure you read TARGETjobs’ tips on being a star intern.

Another article I have found particularly useful during my time here has been the 'Writing: graduate area of work' article

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

15 songs to get you through your essay

Hi I’m Lizzie, an editorial intern at TARGETjobs and current university student. Writing essays can be tough day after day leading up to a set of deadlines. Music can help to make a big difference in maintaining your focus, whilst also relaxing and entertaining you. The key is to listen to a mixture of slow, calming songs with some more upbeat ones to continually catch your attention and get your energy and motivation up again. Here are my top recommendations!


1. Ed Sheeran – Shirtsleeves

This ballad by lovely Ed is beautifully relaxing. It’s basically a hug for your ears.

2. BeyoncĂ© – Start Over

Queen Bey is perfection to be honest; this upbeat ballad will wake you up enough to crack on with your essay, but not make you fidgety or distracted.

3. The Goo Goo Dolls – Iris

Ask almost anyone and they will say this is their favourite song. Luckily it’s also excellent background music.

4. Sam Smith – Stay With Me

This came out just in time for one of my biggest essay deadlines, and I listened to it on repeat over 250 times (I’m not kidding) while writing one essay. It’s one of the best for background music that both relaxes you and gets your energy up.

5. Tracy Chapman – Fast Car

This classic is a common favourite for essay music; plus, it’ll melt your heart.

6. AWOLNATION – Kill Your Heroes

This song slightly breaks the rules set out about what to listen to, but somehow it still works really well as study music.

7. Taylor Swift – Wildest Dreams

Back to the upbeat ballads with T Swizzle. Like a lot of artists on this list, pretty much her entire album is essay-worthy.

8. Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks

If you can ignore the less-than-cheerful lyrics, the tune and tone of the song is perfect to work to.

9. Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen

One of Ellie’s best; the vocals in this song are wonderful, and it makes great background music.

10. Emeli SandĂ© – Next to Me

Emeli’s voice basically defines powerful-but-pretty, and this song is fantastic in general.

11. Drake feat. Rihanna – Take Care

RiRi shows her softer side in this sweet song with Drake, and it’s strangely comforting being told you’re taken care of when you’re stressing out about deadlines.

12. Labrinth – Let The Sun Shine

A pretty cheerful song to lift the mood – studying might seem a bit less worrying after this one.

13. Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On

Despite the famously belting start, most of this song is pretty mellow, making it a pretty smooth background song to have on.

14. Ariana Grande – One Last Time

This is a particularly great song to listen to on the last day before your deadline; a fab little reminder that you’re almost finished!

15. P!nk – Raise Your Glass

Time for a break. This song is so good to get your energy back up and have a mini-dance party to (this is especially important if you’re working at night!). 

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

Monday, September 21, 2015

Catching up with our Future CFO runner up, Daniel Tascon


I applied for the Future CFO of the Year award because the award sounds very respectable, and it suited my interests in both Accounting and Finance. I was told about this competition through my university's career service, but it was one of many emails I received so when I saw it for the first time I didn’t pay much attention. But as the competition deadline coincided with the end of my applications for summer internships, I felt that being part of a respected competition such as Undergraduate of the Year would really improve my chances next year, and add to my CV regardless of how far I came in the competition. For these reasons I applied for the competition. 

After applying I was invited to take part in the numerical test and was told that I would know if I got through after a month or so. This period was quite nerve wrecking as I of course wanted to make it through to the assessment centre! After a month I was glad to receive confirmation that I passed the tests, and ACCA invited me to an assessment centre in their offices. I approached this assessment centre with little expectations that in a group of 30 people I would be able to stand out, but excited to see what ACCA had in store. When I got there the day was run very professionally, and I had to take part in a wide range of activities that tested skills such as presenting, problem solving and communicating clearly. 

After the assessment centre I had to wait another month or so before knowing whether I had made it into the last 10, and if I would be going to the awards ceremony in Canary Wharf. I was very honoured when I received confirmation that I was a finalist in the competition. I attended the event which involved networking and a speech from Fiona Bruce, which was all very enjoyable. In the end I did not win the award, however the experience was worth it and applying to the award helped me to gain confidence in my abilities as well as learn a lot!

After the competition I completed a 9 week internship at Barclay's within their Finance Department, which I found very interesting. However I have now decided to apply to Investment Banking this coming year, since I have developed a large interest in understanding corporate finance. I hope being a finalist in the Undergraduate of the Year Awards reflects my interest in the finance world and will help me achieve this!

Apply for the 2016 Undergraduate of the Year Awards now. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Interested in attending our City Law for Ethnic Minorities event? Read Damini's experience!


In June 2015 I attended the TARGETjobs City Law for Ethnic Minorities event, and had the opportunity to network with trainees, associates, partners and graduate recruitment teams from Reed Smith, Baker & McKenzie, Wragge Lawrence Graham and Co, RPC and Cooley. It was a great experience and I would recommend any aspiring lawyer to apply.

What is it?
City Law for Ethnic Minorities is a two day event hosted in London by TARGETjobs Events. It has been running for 12 years providing an invaluable experience opportunity for motivated law students. The two days provide a real insight and exposure to city law firms in London that would be otherwise difficult to reach for those from disadvantage and/or ethnic minority backgrounds. The organised skills sessions allow you to learn what firms are looking for from applicants, and how to make your application stand out.


Why did I apply to attend City Law for Ethnic Minorities?
I have always been interested in City law and as a second year law student studying at the University of Bradford, the geographic disadvantage means there are limited opportunities to gain this depth of insight.  After hearing about this event, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to gain experience in City law whilst also learning about the diversity of it and the importance of this diversity.


How did I find the application process and the interview?
The application process is not too hard, but don't be fooled, it is competitive. The application requests your CV so make sure it is up to date and no longer than two pages. Also a 200 word answer as to why you want to apply and what makes you a strong candidate is required. This is your chance to portray your personality, but don't get caught in the web of trying to list all your strengths into the limited space of 200 words, just be yourself. To be quite honest, I started my answer with "Good morning, my name is Damini Sharma…"

The telephone interview is short but to the point. There aren't many questions but the interviewer tries to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Make sure you have done some background research on the firms attending and the event itself so if any questions arise, you know how to answer them. Also, don't be afraid to re-arrange the interview if the timing isn't amazing.  I remember I was working at the time but the TARGETjobs Events staff were really helpful and we were able to arrange it to a time that suited the both of us. In fact, it served as a great opener when it came to the actual interview.

What was the best part of the event?

The best part of the event for me was the amount of networking opportunities available. Not just with the professionals but also with peers. Getting to know other students stories and sharing your own is a large part of learning how to improve your career prospects and gain exposure to new opportunities you were not previously aware of. It is important to remember that though it is a competitive field, not everyone is your competition and teamwork plays an important role in almost all careers to an extent.

Networking with the firms professionals was also a large part of this event. Learning about the ethos and values of a firm are best done by visiting a firm and talking to the employees.

What did I get out of it?
I learnt so much in these two days it was unbelievable.  Not just about the firms but also about the city and what it would take to live there.  It is so incredibly different to my hometown in the sense of the amount of people, the sites, the traffic and… the price of food. As a person who has never been to the heart of London, this was a very new experience for me.  Even with accommodation and a portion of my expenses reimbursed, I understood that London would be an expensive place to live.

As for the event itself, there were so many aspects addressed which you don't normally gain an insight into, for example, the skills sessions.  On the internet you can find so many articles and blogs on applications, but not many on the assessment days.  The skills sessions provided practice of group and individual presentations, case study exercises and teamwork sessions. These are all activities which could potentially be a part of the assessment day when applying to a Law firm.


What am I going to do now?

As a second year law student, it is an opportune time for me to apply for training contracts. Using the knowledge and connections I have gained from the event, I can now apply with more confidence as I now know what firms are looking for in my application and how to make my application stand out.

My advice to you.

1. Apply. This is a great opportunity to network with some amazing professionals and students and to consider whether you think that City Law is right for you.  It can also make your CV and applications stand out and give you a better competitive stance. There are only 85 positions allocated from hundreds of applications. 

2. LinkedIn is your best friend.  If you're not already on LinkedIn, get on it.  Many legal professionals now use LinkedIn as a network base. With so much networking at this event, the best way to keep in contact with everyone you meet is through LinkedIn. You can also showcase your strengths and achievements.

3. When we arrived, in the Introduction talk, Katy said "To make the most of this opportunity be prepared to participate, as the more you put in, the more you will gain from attending." This is so true and I would like to pass this advice onto you. Not just for this event, but for any event you attend. Don't be afraid to approach people, ask questions or get involved.

If you have any further questions about my personal experiences of the event, don’t hesitate to connect and mail me on LinkedIn.

Catching up with our UGOTY runner up, Andrew Wilson

Name: Andrew Wilson

University: Glasgow Caledonian University

Course: Environmental Management

Award: Low Carbon Energy

Being in my final year of my degree, I was constantly looking for opportunities to expand my personal development and boost my CV. So when I received an email from TARGETjobs about the UK Low Carbon Energy Undergraduate of the Year, it really captured my interest.

The process itself was testing to say the least, made even more difficult by the prospect of upcoming exams and coursework deadlines. However, after completing the various stages of the assessment including four online tests designed by SHL and a competency based interview with EDF Energy, I was happy to learn that I had made the final 10 for my category.

The final 10 were invited to the awards ceremony in Canary Wharf, London to hear who had won. This was a fantastic experience as I got to network with students, employers and professionals from across the country and hear of the fantastic things that they were doing. After an excellent 3 course meal, the winners were announced. Although I didn’t win, I am extremely proud to have got so far and to have had the opportunity to represent Glasgow Caledonian University as their sole finalist. When I entered I had no idea how far I would get, so to be a runner up in such a prestigious competition far surpassed my expectations.

After this, everything was a win-win. Not only had I gained experience by going through a challenging application process against some of the brightest undergraduates in the country, but I had something on my CV which intrigued many employers.

It is true that after the Undergraduate of the Year Awards I have been very busy, with numerous opportunities presenting themselves to me. Since mid-May I have been completing a United Nations Environment Programme internship with the Environmental Management Group and Sustainable United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. One of my main responsibilities in this role is to help deliver the climate neutral strategy, which this year needs to be completed a few months earlier in December to present before COP21 in Paris. The experience I have gained from the Undergraduate of the Year process without a doubt helped me to get through a tricky interview and ultimately secure this position.

I have also recently been offered a role with SPACE Canada as their CDF Coordinator in their upcoming space-based solar power project. Although I cannot reveal too much details about the project at this point in time, I can say that it concerns gathering solar power in space and beaming it back down to earth through microwave beams as a form of renewable energy. I have also been accepted to do a PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Strathclyde directly relating to my research in this. Again, I feel largely indebted to the Undergraduate of the Year process for giving me the confidence and skills necessary to achieve this.

I would strongly recommend applying for the Undergraduate of the Year Awards. Even now, I still feel a huge sense of accomplishment. When first applying, I didn’t think I stood much of a chance, but there I was in the middle of Canary Wharf and all because I took a couple of hours out of my day to apply for the award.

To anyone thinking of applying, what have you got to lose? In the worst case you end up with nothing less than you had before. And you might just surprise yourself! 

Apply for the 2016 Undergraduate of the Year awards now!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Catching up with Jessica: our Engineering Undergraduate of the Year


Applying

Starting my 2nd year at Cardiff University studying Integrated Engineering, I had to decide whether I should do a year in industry and what the benefits would be. I was looking at what was to offer when I came across the TARGETJobs' competition for ‘Engineering Undergrad of the Year Award’. Looking at the previous year’s winner, the prize looked amazing. Not only would the winner get a year placement with Eon, they would also win a trip for two to one of Eon's European projects, an invitation to the awards ceremony and a trophy. I’m interested in the energy sector so knowing Eon sponsored part of this interested me. This title seemed pretty immense but I thought I’d give it try.

Process

The process was quite straight forward. This process ranged from answering questions related to the energy sector to psychometric and logic tests, and submitting your CV. Don’t get put off by this; it was all in small chunks which made it easier. I suggest doing them as soon as you can but there is still time to do them last minute if you forget! If you’ve made the effort to apply you’d be silly not to go the last leg. 

Assessment Centre

I got a call from both TARGETjobs and an Eon representative; I was invited to come to the assessment centre along with 20 others for the day. Assessment days are always a bit daunting but this one was actually quite fun (as fun as they can be!); all the assessors there really just wanted to get the best out of you to see your full potential. I thought the assessment day went relatively well but now it was just a waiting game to hear back from them.

Awards Ceremony

The phone call I had been waiting for! I had been shortlisted to come to the awards ceremony. I was ecstatic. It was such an honour to get to the top 10, getting to this point was an achievement in itself. The competition was tough, I knew this the second I met all these energetic, intellectuals at the assessment centre.

The awards ceremony was held in East Wintergardens in London. It was such a vibrant day. I got the chance to meet the other candidates from across the different awards and the Eon representatives. It was a really good place to network. TARGETjobs pulled all the stops out with this, from the delicious food to Fiona Bruce!  Of course one of the most interesting things was meeting her; she gave a great talk to kick off the ceremony. As she read through the winners I started to get a little nervous, the ‘Engineering Undergraduate of the Year’ was one of the last to be called out. Then it was the time all of us at the table had been waiting for. When she called my name out I froze, I couldn’t believe it. Certainly a moment I will never forget.

Working for Eon

I have now started my placement. It wasn’t what I expected, as I didn’t really know what to expect! With regards to developing and gaining new skills this is a fantastic place to do so. I feel part of a team here. I’ve been here four weeks and loved every minute of it. On top of this I still have a trip planned to go to Germany to see one of Eon's projects.

Moving on/Advice

A female winning the ‘Engineering Undergraduate of the Year Award’ is a milestone in relation to us as a society moving forward in promoting STEM subjects to females and equal opportunities. I want to say a big thank you to TARGETjobs and Eon for supporting this; hopefully this will encourage girls to follow their dreams in subjects that are prevalently taken by boys. It is so important to have a mixed gender workforce!

Only advice I would give is to just go for it; do it for the placement, do it for the holiday, do it for the experience, the awards ceremony and for you. Through any part of the process you will only gain valuable skills to help you further in life. Apply now. What have you got to lose?

Apply for the 2016 Undergraduate of the Year awards now! 

Top tips for being a money-savvy student

Hi, I’m Amie, one of the editorial interns here at TARGETjobs. If you’re about to embark on your first year of university, you’d be forgiven for being worried about money. We’ve all heard the stories about students living off baked beans, and with tuition fees hitting £9000 a year it can often feel like a pretty expensive time to be student. 

I’ve just graduated, so I’ve been through this myself – but my advice is to not let financial worries ruin your time at uni. In no particular order, here are my top tips for being a money-savvy student!


1. Get a 16–25 Railcard.

You might think that you can’t wait to get away from your family now, but six weeks down the line you might want nothing more than a home cooked meal and to see your dog. If you haven’t already, start saving money on expensive train fares by getting a 16-25 railcard – it costs £30 a year and it’ll make those spontaneous trips home a bit easier on the pocket.

2. Buy pre-loved.

If you’ve just received your first reading list for uni you might be considering taking out another loan just to cover the cost of the books. Don’t panic! Charity shops are often a goldmine for unwanted textbooks, offloaded by students when they graduate. With a bit of hunting, you might just be able to pick up the books at a fraction of what you’d pay for them new.

3. Learn to cook.

As tempting as it might be, getting a takeaway every night is an expensive habit. If you’ve headed off to uni without ever having made yourself a meal before, it’s time to start learning some culinary skills. There are plenty of easy, cheap-to-make recipes available online – BBC Good Food have a great free selection, many of which are really simple – so there’s no excuse for not trying some new dishes. Don’t be afraid to embrace ‘value’ ranges either – for basic items they’re often just as good as name-brand and will save you enough money for the occasional treat (or takeaway, if you must).

4. Never going food shopping on an empty stomach…

…and stick to your shopping list. You definitely don’t need to indulge in every end-of-aisle buy-one-get-one-free offer, but that empty stomach will tell you otherwise. 

5. Embrace catch-up TV.

If you watch live TV at university – on your phone, laptop, tablet or a TV itself – you will need to pay £145.50 a year for a TV licence. However, using catch-up channels or streaming TV shows after they have aired is currently free of charge. Although there has been talk about introducing charges, this remains a great way to save money and enjoy your favourite shows for now. However, be warned – it might be advisable to stay off Facebook and Twitter to avoid spoilers…

6. Use student discount whenever you can.

Probably the best-known perk of student life is student discount. Plenty of establishments will accept your university ID, but you can also buy an NUS Extra card for £12 a year; which will enable you to get discounts on clothes, travel, eating out and plenty more. Websites such as Student Beans and Student Money Saver offer hundreds of discounts and deals and you can sign up to receive these offers over email. Unidays offers a range of online and in-store discounts if you sign into their website with your uni credentials. If you’re not sure if somewhere offers student discount, it doesn’t hurt to ask –you’d be surprised how many places do.

7. Shop around for your student bank account.

Most high-street banks offer perks alongside their student accounts. Some of the perks offered (depending on which bank you choose) include: free NUS Extra and 16-25 Railcards, Amazon giftcards and personalised debit cards. However, don’t be fooled into signing up for a bank account just for the freebies. A planned, interest-free overdraft is a common feature of student bank accounts, so do your research to find out which bank will offer you the best deal for your needs – and be aware of any hidden charges.

There are hundreds more tips and tricks for saving money as a student – many of which you will learn along the way! One of the best pieces of advice, however, is to stick to a budget. This might sound boring, but remember that your student loan has got to last and if you spend it all in the first month, it’ll feel like a long wait until the next instalment. Most importantly though, have a brilliant first year of uni – don’t let money woes get you down!

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

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The fresher checklist - 10 things you need to survive the first semester

So you got through your A-Levels or college, and you managed to get accepted on to your dream university course – things are feeling really great right now! If you are starting university soon and are leaving home for the first time, you are probably starting to wonder how on earth you are going to fit 18 years of your most prized possessions into your new tiny uni bedroom. Don’t fear, we have compiled our top 10 items you need to survive your first semester!

1. An alarm clock


Gone are the days when your parents were on hand to kick you out of bed and bring you a cup of tea of the morning. The baton has now officially passed to you to get yourself up and out the door, on time! An alarm clock will become your new best friend (or worst enemy). You don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with your lecturers and tutors by missing your classes!

2. A new pencil case (with all the trimmings)


I’m pretty sure that stationary was never at the top of your shopping list, but get to uni and everyone is whacking out the gel pen collections, piles of post-it notes and oh so many rainbows of highlighters! You will have to get really good at organising yourself if you want to keep on top of your workload – so get down to WHSmith and invest well in a really good stationary collection.

3. A pack of cards


You will learn more card games in your first two weeks of uni than in your whole life so far. Be prepared and bring a pack of cards with you. Your housemates will thank you for it, and you can get some practice in to avoid the loser drinks!

4. A dressing gown (or onesie) and slippers


For those far-too-often 3am fire alarms (yawn).

5. An easy-peasy recipe book


You don’t want to live off super noodles and chicken nuggets all year; it gets old. Get experimenting with some easy and cheap recipes; you might surprise yourself at your cooking skills!

6. Some ear plugs


Believe me, you won’t want to party every night…no, really! When you have that early start, group presentation and 5 hour library marathon tomorrow, and your flat have decided to start the sixth round of ring of fire, these will come in handy.

7. A classic fancy dress outfit


Monday you’re a pirate, Tuesday you’re Tom Cruise in Top Gun, Wednesday you’re head to toe in UV…by the weekend you might even become a rubix cube! The fancy dress will be endless. Get some staple fancy dress items early and avoid the dreaded Primark run to buy face paint and a blow up parrot two hours before you’re supposed to meet at the union for your first social.

8. One of those colour catchers (and 2 in 1 detergent)


You can put off doing your own washing for a couple of weeks, but the day of reckoning will come! Avoid turning all your whites bright pink with a pack of handy colour catchers. And don’t forget the 2 in 1 washing tablets.

9. Mum’s medicine box


Beware the dreaded fresher’s flu. Be prepared with a handy medical supply from home and avoid having to trek to the pharmacy when you are feeling really rough.  

10. A diary


You are going to be invited to lots of socials, nights out and university events in your first semester. You will also have to start juggling multiple deadlines for your course modules. Keep on track with all of the dates and deadlines with a good diary.

Good luck!