Friday, March 30, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of the TARGETjobs news roundup. This is the place where we give you the low-down on everything that has been happening in the world of graduate recruitment, condensed into a single sitting broadcast.

As usual we are kicking things off with a look at what has been happening in the sectors. Leading the way this week is the law sector, with a pair of noteworthy stories:

But if the legal sector isn’t you cup of Earl Grey, don’t panic, there’s still a lot going on in the other sectors:
  • For example, we gave you the nod about government reforms to the construction sector. The planning reforms should be a big boost to that sector, and knowing the details could be a big boost to your commercial awareness.
  • We’re also offering another £100 worth of Amazon vouchers as a prize to one person who completes the TARGETjobs Finance student survey. This information is vital in helping us provide you with the information you need to get ahead.
But of course, there’s plenty more if these aren’t the sectors that interest you:
  • For example, there has been a lot of talk about employers asking for Facebook passwords. We asked you ‘Would you trade your privacy for a graduate job?’ You had some interesting things to say.
  • We also brought you the next instalment in our series on the skills and competencies you need to get a graduate job. This week we looked at time management. This is all about being able to deal with a heavy workload without getting flustered.
  • Finally, we brought you our regular batch of graduate jobs with deadlines coming up in the next week. If you’re interested in careers in engineering or accountancy then there are some particular treats for you. But even if you aren’t it is worth taking a look. Check out the latest jobs here.
That was this week’s news, but if you want something to look forward to next week, then keep your eyes peeled for our Easter Egg hunt. It will be happening from Monday 2 April, until Thursday 5 April on both TARGETjobs and TARGETcourses. Free chocolate involved!

To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!

 TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - how to turn your idea into a reality

James Eder, co-founder of The Beans Group talks about the hardest part of setting up a business - turning an idea into reality

There are lots of challenges involved in setting up a business. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it! But one of the most difficult things is getting started. So you have an idea. Now what?

There tends to be a fear of ‘giving things a shot’. With the current climate you could ask ‘is there more risk in working for someone where you could be laid off at any stage or setting up on your own and being in charge of your own destiny, knowing if it doesn't work you’ve had a crack?’

Of course then there’s the old idea that any business set up in a recession is the best kind - lean and healthy - a viable model long term, because anything weaker couldn’t have flourished in such conditions.

A favourite quote of mine which relates to the above is this:
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision
with action can change the world.” Joel A. Barker

Here are my 3 Key Tips to making your own business happen

1) Start. Firstly just start - there are always challenges but there are always opportunities too.
Belief, tenacity, passion and drive are qualities that significantly improve the possibility of
entrepreneurial success. If you have an idea, take a leap of faith. I like to compare the experience to when I went sky diving in New Zealand, once you jump things happen at a pace you can’t believe.

2) Don't take no for an answer. When you're growing up and you want something as a child just because your parents say no your natural instinct is to ask again and keep asking. As we get
older we tend to forget how persistent we once were! When we set up in 2005, we were looking for an initial start-up loan to get our idea off the ground and had been rejected by a number of high-street banks. So we explored other opportunities and in the end received a low interest loan from The Prince’s Trust which was key in launching the business.

3) When you’re bootstrapped, be creative. We started with no money. As we grew without funding we needed to be dynamic, resourceful and efficient with the money we did - or rather didn’t - have. Take advantage of the many cheap or free business tools that are available. These resources can often be the difference between success and failure for any bootstrapped business and have shaped the way in which we work. I could not be without: is a contact management system that revolutionised the business. It tracks people and conversations and is invaluable for building relationships.
KashFlow (, an easy to understand online accounting system for UK small businesses and ensures we are on top of our finances.
Google Apps For Business ( and Dropbox ( - rather than using expensive software, all our staff use Google Apps. All work is stored in the cloud, meaning we can collaborate and work anywhere - this can even remove the need for an office.

Of course, no success story comes without a lot of hard work behind it. So be prepared to work, take responsibility and most importantly enjoy it!

See for more. If you have any questions or want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter @jameseder or find me on LinkedIn: You can follow us on Twitter @studentbeans. We’re always looking for great talent to join the team, so check our our jobs board.

Friday, March 23, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Afternoon, how’s it going? We’re alright, you alright? It’s been a good week here at TARGETjobs HQ, and we have plenty to tell you about. This is the TARGETjobs news roundup; it happens every week right here. If you want to know what’s going on in the world of graduate recruitment, this is where to find out.

As ever we’ll start by looking at the sectors. We've got everything from chemicals to law here, but Engineering is leading the way with some very interesting stories for anyone who wants to get a job in that sector:

  • Kicking things off with some good news, MG Motor is announcing a brand new graduate scheme. It will take ten recruits two years to complete, and will help them work towards chartered status.
  • But if you’re thinking of applying to work for a classic car company, be careful around Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce plc is a completely separate entity from Rolls-Royce Motor cars, and they aren’t best pleased when potential recruits confuse them.
  • In a late entry we're also telling you all about the engineering graduates schemes that haven't closed yet. Obviously these may close when they have enough applicants so don't dawdle. But equally, make sure you read our article on dodgy applications for TARGETjobs positions before you copy+paste any old thing.
Of course, it isn’t all about engineering this week. There are plenty of interesting developments happening in a whole load of other sectors as well:
If you’re not interested in those sectors, there’s still plenty for you to see and do. Some of it should be required reading and the rest will be a massive help:

  • Rounding off the first 5 of our top 10 skills and competencies, we told you all about leadership and team management, and how you can go about getting them.
  • We also dished the dirt on dodgy applications for TARGETjobs graduate positions. A lot of graduate employers have the same gripes, but not all of them have an outlet to tell you off for your mistakes. If you haven’t been getting interest, this may be why.
  • Finally, we ran you through the roundup of this week’s graduate job deadlines. There are plenty of positions in there, with everything from tobacco to technology. Do you want a job? You do? Then this is what you’ve been waiting for. Check out the latest jobs here.
To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!

TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of  graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Importance of being Earnest

Read Della Massey's post on what she thinks is important when applying for graduate placements.

So, there I am, trotting into my first ‘Skills for Placement Search’ seminar, armed with my pen and paper: ready to take on advice from my Business tutors on how I, THE most employable student ever was going to make myself look even more attractive to bosses than I already was. I hadn’t actually applied for any placements yet, but there was no need to rush. As soon as I handed out my CV I would have them all queuing up to employ me!

After a couple of weeks of doing this I decided it was time to unleash my shining applications onto those unsuspecting employers. So I sat in front of my computer for two days, writing the sterling words that I knew would win me a spot on the highly prestigious, and sought after, investment banking placement scheme. My glowing application was finally ready to wow the whole of the bank... I could already hear the sounds of applause I would have as I walked through the building for my inevitable interview. Submit. “Thank you for your application. Please follow this link to reach our numerical and logical reasoning tests”. Tests? I don’t need any tests!! But to apply, I had to complete them. So I started the 18 minutes and finished in 6. Brilliant. Now I just have to sit back and wait for the calls to roll in. The first e-mail I received came back to me within minutes: I had obviously underestimated how amazing I was!!

But that e-mail wasn’t amazing. Obviously, I wasn’t quite as ignorant as I have portrayed, but it still hit me pretty hard when I got my first rejection e-mail. I remember the thing that upset me the most was that because I hadn’t scored highly enough in the tests they hadn’t even read my application; though already I was deemed unsuitable. The whole experience of my first, almost automatic rejection really brought me back down to earth with a thud. Though I must have landed on a trampoline or something as I decided I would try my best and spend another two days applying for another bank, which I would almost certainly be rejected from as I didn’t have the knowledge to complete their tests. And rejected I was! I just remember being so distraught, as my mind for a long time had been set on doing this sort of placement - I even had an image of how my life would be from there on! I just found it insulting that I had been told by an automated e-mail that I wasn’t good enough for something I had planned so well in my head.

For a long time I went quiet on the placement search: trying to re-evaluate what I wanted to do as for me, placements are for getting vital experience in an industry that I would like to pursue a career in. I found that really studying my skills and strengths allowed me to choose a sector that I know I will enjoy working in, rather than shaping myself to conform to some good idea I had three years ago.

In doing this, I decided a career in PR (Public Relations) or HR would be best suited to me.  So in light of this, I applied for several roles which would be doing things I was far more suited to, and actually have since managed to secure a 2nd interview for a job that I would be really enthusiastic to work in. And the best part is that I didn’t have to pretend or talk myself up to make me look employable to them – just goes to show the importance of being yourself.

Overall, my experience through this has shown me that no matter how many times someone tells you to “keep going” and “don’t let rejection get you down”, it doesn’t really mean anything until it happens to you. And when it does, I think it’s really important to stay positive and ensure that you are happy in yourself with the decisions you are making, otherwise employers will see right through the bravado and realise that your heart is not in it. Obviously, you may have not made my mistake and have already chosen something which suits your skills best; though I think that my position highlights the importance of being sure in yourself to help you handle the rejection that you may find along the way: giving you the ability to know whether a placement is right for you. I could have handled my situation much better than I did – and I hope that I have given useful information to other students about how to (or how not to!!) handle the first stages of your placement search.

Find Della on Twitter: @DellaMassey

TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of graduate jobs, internships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with me at 

Friday, March 16, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of the TARGETjobs news roundup. We’re back once again to take you through the highs and lows of the week in graduate recruitment.

It is all about accountancy and financial services this week. They’ve got a celebrity endorsement in the shape of Kevin Spacey and there’s also the chance to win a trip to exotic Sri Lanka. If this is your sector then this is the only place you need to be right now.
  • First up we gave you the lowdown on which financial services jobs are attracting the biggest pay packets. While this may not give the most accurate picture on what graduate starting salaries will be like, it certainly gives you something to aim for.
  • If you fancy becoming a chartered management accountant then we might have just the thing for you. CIMA and Barclays are giving teams from around the world the chance to go to Sri Lanka to present their findings from a case study. The deadline for entries is March 23.
  • In a spot of corporate social responsibility, accountancy firm PwC has teamed up with Kevin Spacey and the Old Vic theatre to create the PwC “Under 25s Club”. They are giving away 100 £12 tickets for shows at the Old Vic.
However, the news wasn’t only about financial services and accountancy. This week there were also some interesting developments in property and engineering as well:
But if those sectors aren’t for you then there is still plenty more. We’re telling you all the good news, all the bad, and what to do to make it all better:
  • The NUS organised a walkout  for Wednesday 14 March. While it was billed as the largest student protest since the demonstrations in winter 2010, it didn’t generate as much publicity. Their plan to lobby parliament on April 18 may have a greater impact.
  • In addition the Soxedo University Lifestyle Survey found that more than half of students are worried about finding a job when they graduate. It also suggested that a quarter of them would not have gone to university if they had had to pay the proposed £9000 fees.
  • However, if you are worried about your employability, then you could do far worse than follow our series on the top 10 skills and competencies you need. This week we looked at communication skills, something which nearly a fifth of employers are not currently satisfied with.
  • Finally we gave you the lowdown on the graduate deadlines coming up over the next week. Retail, media and engineering jobs feature heavily, but there is something for everyone. Check out the latest jobs here.
To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!

TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of  graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Keep plugging and eventually things will click into place

Hi, my name is Simon and I’m a second year media arts student at St. Mary’s University College in Twickenham. I was lucky enough to be asked to write this blog, sharing some of my experiences of internships, work experience and the trials and tribulations of being a student. On looking through the other featured blogs, it would appear I am the baby of the group as I’m still at University so hopefully I’ll be able to bring something a little different to the party for those of you that are in a similar position to myself. 

For a long time now, I have known I wanted to be involved in the media in some way, shape or form. Apart from a brief stint as a seven-year-old when I wanted to be a Commonwealth swimmer (I knew my limitations) but, I digress. A number of my relatives have been involved in TV, Journalism and Photography and it always seemed like quite an exciting career choice, listening to their stories of working with celebrities on a daily basis and being responsible for the creation of things that were available for the world to see. 

As they say, in the media industry, it is not what you know, but who you know and I personally think this is true. It is all well and good being fantastic at video editing or an excellent photographer, if you don’t have the contacts once you have finished university, it is going to be difficult. That should be the first step; get yourself a presence online.  I am still fairly new to the blogging game but have been using Twitter and Facebook for some time. I have been considering going into journalism, specifically music journalism and I’m a budding review writer. So instead of letting my reviews clog up my hard drive, I decided to let them run free in the big wide world for all to see. This may seem daunting and you may be conscious of people judging you, but from experience, it really isn’t worth worrying over. My reviews may not be ready to grace the pages of NME magazine, but people are reading them from all over the world - and that is the most important thing.

Most of the jobs I’ve been involved with have been in retail, just something to fund my gig habit and a student lifestyle of super noodles and beans. I am currently working as a security steward at Twickenham Rugby Stadium and although it means free pitch-side rugby, it doesn’t sound like the best stepping stone for a career in media. However, I feel all experience is good experience and even if there is one, tiny thing that you can take from a job like this, then you’re doing beneficial with your time. 

Recently, I’ve decided that music journalism may not be the best route for me. I have been looking at heading down a more PR/Marketing-related path and in this field, work experience is even more valuable. So, naturally, I’ve been sending out email after email, begging various PR and Marketing houses to let me make tea for them on a work experience placement. My search is going well, with a number of companies replying in a positive manner so fingers crossed, I’ll be getting some hands-on experience in the near future. I think it’s important not to become disheartened if you are rejected. It can be very demoralising if you feel you are put down at the first hurdle, but there is no substitute for being hard-working and committed. So keep plugging away and eventually, things will click into place. 

And that is just about it. Determination and a pro-active, can-do attitude are key in my opinion; it’s crucial that you throw yourself into every opportunity, offer and experience available as you never know when you might find the missing piece of your puzzle. 

If you have any questions at all, get in touch via Twitter : @simonjeleggett  or through my blog.

Friday, March 9, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello and welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup where we’ll be telling you all the graduate careers news from the week. If you’re looking for a job, or wondering why you haven’t got one yet, this is the place for you.

It has been a quiet week for the sector news this week, with only the construction, finance and law sectors dishing the dirt. However, we have more than made up for this with a whole pile of other career tips and other news pieces for your browsing pleasure.

However, it isn’t all about the financial sectors this week. There’s plenty going on in law and construction as well:

There was a lot going on this week in the world of graduate jobs, and plenty of it will be relevant even if you’re not looking to work in finance, construction or law. For example:

To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!

TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of  graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with me at

Monday, March 5, 2012

Standing out in the crowd

Read Helen Simpson's post on how she is choosing to stand out from the crowd and get her first graduate job. Hope you also all join me in wishing her luck for her interview this week!:

I am currently studying a BA (Hons) in Public Relations with Marketing at Leeds Metropolitan University and am in the process of searching for my first graduate position. Many of the graduate schemes have closed already and employers have been advertising positions since the start of the year (and even earlier). With the heavy work load of final year assignments weighing on your mind, as well as the time-consuming dissertation, its important students don’t miss out on great career opportunities.

I hadn’t appreciated until now how long it can take to apply for a job – searching for job vacancies, researching the company, tailoring your CV to focus on the skills which are most applicable for that particular position and writing a covering letter – it can take hours to apply for one job alone. If you haven’t already, make sure you sign up to receive email updates from Target Jobs – it makes the searching for vacancies much easier.

However, no matter how much work you have, don’t postpone the job search – it might end up being too late. Local papers seem to be advertising fewer jobs each week (I’ve taken to craftily peaking at the job page in the supermarket to determine whether it’s even worthy of a purchase). According to the Independent, employers received an average of 83 CVs for every graduate job vacancy last year. There are far more graduates looking for employment than there are job vacancies and at a time like this, it’s essential to stand out in the crowd.

I’m very fortunate to be graduating with a wide range of work experience on my CV. Throughout my course, I have been required to gain voluntary work experience and collect portfolio items to demonstrate how I have been acquiring and developing a range of public relations and marketing skills as my course has progressed. This focus on gaining professional experience is something I think all university courses should encourage – it has meant that now that I come to search for employment, I have a solid understanding of public relations in practice, in both agencies and in-house organisations, and I’m able to demonstrate my skills in areas such as media relations, digital public relations, events management, writing for a variety of audiences, copy writing and many other skills essential in my chosen profession.

I also chose to undertake a placement year as part of my degree (something strongly encouraged by my university) and am really glad I did. Now that I’m beginning to apply for jobs, I am finding that nearly all vacancies are looking for applicants with experience. Graduates are expected to have an understanding of the subject in practice and have skills which will enable them to make a direct contribution to the organisation. At my placement organisation, I was given lots of responsibility and challenged to take on new tasks and projects – as a result, I returned to university with much more confidence, improved presentation and public speaking skills and the ability to think strategically and forward plan. This is something which I have been able to apply to university learning and has reflected in the grades I have achieved so far in final year assignments.

If you are considering whether or not to take a placement year, I wholly recommend it. Not only does it give you an advantage on other applicants with less experience, it is an excellent environment in which to learn. As a student on placement, you’ll be gaining experience in an environment where you aren’t thrown into the deep end (straight away anyway), where you are supervised in the organisation and given support from your university, and as a student, learning new skills, it is expected that you may make a mistake or two initially (only once mind). I also found that it helped me to determine what aspects of public relations interest me the most and where my strengths lie so that now I am job hunting, I can apply to the positions which are most suited to me and my skills.

But it’s not only about gaining these skills and strengths, it’s about selling them – you only have one covering letter, one CV, one opportunity to really stand out from other applicants. If you’re selected for an interview, you only have that one moment to shine. So, think about the experiences you’ve had which will be directly applicable to the responsibilities of the role you’ve applied for, not only from work placements but in university and other areas of life (it could be an extracurricular activity) and sell yourself with confidence.

I have my first interview next week so wish me luck.

Find Helen on Twitter: @helensimpsonpr or read her blog:

TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of graduate jobs, internships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with me at 

Friday, March 2, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Ladies and gentlemen; boys and girls; grads, undergrads and postgrads; welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup. This is the news that puts the ‘art’ into ‘smart’, the ‘ledge’ into ‘knowledgeable’ and the graduates into jobs. Boom.

We’re all about engineering this week, with a pair of positive developments for those of you looking to move into this sector. Building on more good news released a fortnight ago it seems like it's a good time to be an engineer. If this is your field then you'd do well to capitalise on events.

However, it wasn’t all about engineering this week, as there were significant developments from the consulting, IT and law sectors.
  • If you thought Scottish Power’s 300 new jobs were impressive, you should check out the Boston Consulting Group. They have increased their staff by 17% this year. They now have around 5,600 employees, which means nearly 1,000 new employees – nice!
  • According to Haybrook IT Resourcing, IT grads have unrealistic expectations of how high their salaries will be. They suggested that graduates currently expect starting salaries of around £25,000, when in fact they are more likely to be closer to £18,000. Quick tip: be realistic and undercut delusional classmates.
  • On the advice front we have some useful tips for anyone looking to join the legal sector. Find out how important communication skills are if you want to become a solicitor or a barrister.
Of course, the developments haven’t all been in those sectors, and there is plenty of general advice for those of you who need it:
To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!

TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of 
graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with me at

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why did you choose to go to university?

Read Catherine's post on why and the benefits she sees in going to university.  

The world works in strange, cyclical movements.  Progression is made, only to find yourself back where you started.  And no, I’m not talking about the Earth’s orbit.

Remembering your first day at school is a fond memory.  It’s one that you often share with your parents while looking at an old picture of you in your little school uniform, everyone cooing and going gooey-eyed at this momentous occasion.  This is perfectly normal; I for one look adorable in my first-day-at-school-photo.  

However, what’s remembered less is the absolutely terrifying turn in your stomach when you walk through those school gates and realise that you are the smallest child BY FAR in the playground.  The same happens on your first day at high school, except that that first day is made slightly worse once you realise that your perfect uniform clearly singles you out for a few weeks of torment. 

I’m guessing you can see the pattern emerging.  University is yet another step into unknown territory and, once more, you are at the bottom of the pecking order.  As a history student looking for law work experience, it’s always frustrating when all the vacation schemes are for second or third years.  What’s even worse is that university was meant to be responsibility-free; we weren’t supposed to worry about real life and adulthood until after the fun filled, crazy years

So here we are, stuck in this pretty annoying cycle, and it all starts to seem a bit worthless. Often I can hear the grumblings of my flatmates – “What is the point of working all through university just to be told that your chances of getting a good job are slim?”  Debt, a long hard slog and demeaning prospects are never a good motivator

For me, university was never a question.  In that respect my decision was already made, and I never had to focus on the debates surrounding the benefits of a degree.  However, since starting at the University of Liverpool, I’ve realised the real plus points to being here.  Not only am I surrounded by people who have chosen to continue education and are willingly learning alongside me, but as a student I am being constantly encouraged to explore my future options and choices.  University has made me want to succeed and has shown me that I have so many different paths that I could take.  Having a degree is, of course, an integral part of my three year course, but so is learning to leave behind the seemingly never ending cycle that we feel stuck in.  I’m currently circling a massive roundabout, except I know now that I can get off it by more than one exit.  

Find her on Twitter @CatBatch