Friday, July 27, 2012

TARGETjobs News Roundup

Good afternoon and welcome to the TARGETjobs graduate jobs news roundup. We’re looking forward to the opening ceremony tonight, but if you want to avoid it all then we have just what you’re looking for. Get a head start on your graduate job hunt while your rivals are still in the blocks with our news and advice.

Leading the news this week is the built environment, with interesting developments in construction and civil engineering.

While the built environment has been leading the way, there have been developments in other sectors as well. This is particularly true for anyone looking for careers in law, but banking and retail job-seekers should also take a look:
And if none of those sectors interest you, we still have a couple of things which might interest you:
  • As usual we have the deadline roundup of all the graduate jobs closing next week. In particular it is the final countdown for solicitors’ training contract applications. They have until Tuesday 31 July to get applications in. Check out the latest jobs here.
  • And, following on from our interviews advice last week we have a tip on the kind of questions to ask. The right question can really make you stand out in an employer’s eyes, but you have to make sure it is relevant.
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, July 25, 2012

£27,000 is a lot to spend on a hangover

We've got another post from our intern Alex. Here he is going to tackle the complex issue of getting waaaaaasted.

I heard a person say that they’d fail a year of university so that they had one more year to go drinking all the time (Excuse me?). Yes, some view the university experience in a significantly different way to others. I’m not shedding light on any institution in particular, but I am commenting on the people.

With university fees now rising to an eye-watering/ soul-destroying £9,000 (yes I sound like your overbearing parent), it is more crucial than ever to graduate your course with a good class of degree. So does this mean that we should all pack away our DIY hooch (alcohol) kits replacing them with 'Writing a Dissertation for Dummies' (yes it exists, ironically)? In short, No.

It’s alright to go out and enjoy yourself, just do it in moderation (I’m really plugging the parental view this time around).

Personally, I will see myself as having wasted three, very valuable, years of my life if at the end of my degree I walk away with anything less than a 2.1. We all like to think we’re capable of achieving a first, but I would like this to being a bit like the childhood idea of being a fireman when you grow up. There comes a point when you’ve got to be realistic (and hang up those Velcro fireman’s trousers to boot). But then again, I would also consider myself wasting the university experience if I stayed locked inside my slowly decaying student house all the time.

Good ol’ time management is often the key for me. I don’t particularly venture (stumble) into town the night before a morning lecture. Instead, I would rather go out on a night where I am not required to be a functioning member of society the next day. I realise that this occasionally leads to going out at times that don’t correspond to others, but in fairness, it’s easier than getting the urge to vomit every time the lecturer mentions how ‘groups of men, circulate women among themselves, according to a rule known as the incest taboo.’

As the title of this post suggests, with all these expensive tuition fees, you are looking at investing a lot of money to stay in bed, developing an unhealthily high tolerance to paracetamol. Plus, despite popular belief, it is actually less humiliating when you socialise in and around lectures. You may think that girl was impressed last night when you opened that bottle with your teeth, but come the next day when your eyes are bloodshot she doesn’t give you a second look as you pass her on the way to the dentist for a missing molar.

I know for a fact that going out on ‘alternative’ (not the buttoned up, skinny jeans wearing type) night yields some great experiences. Where I’m at university, some of the best nights out have been on a Thursday. Tuesdays are also great. But then again maybe it’s because I can go out safe in the knowledge that I’m not going to throw up on my copy of Ulysses the next day – though I would hazard a guess that some people have.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A message from the other side… of university life

Meet Laura, our third editorial intern. 

Hi, I’m Laura, the newest editorial intern at TARGETjobs and a recent graduate who has just reluctantly entered ‘the real world.’

Two weeks into my ‘real life’ I am here to tell you undergraduates that life on the other side of university is not actually that bad. In fact, it’s actually quite good.

A few weeks ago I was pretty daunted by the prospect of leaving university and no longer having another year of education as my safety net. Yet the more I came to think of it, the more I felt ready to leave education and try something new. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of university. But by the end of four years I felt more than ready for a new challenge and a life that didn’t revolve around essay deadlines and exams. On that note, a week after getting my exam results I moved to Oxford to start an internship at TARGETjobs.

I’ve been working here as an editorial intern for a week now and although the 9-5 day and hour-long commute is hard work, I am determined to make sure that the end of university is not an anti-climax. I’ve already started to learn loads of new skills, meet loads of new people and discover all that Oxford has to offer. Before I left uni I imagined graduation to be this huge, life-changing moment where everything you’ve ever known suddenly changes. But really, it’s not like that at all. Working in a fairly big company and moving to a new city means that there are other graduates around and although it’s not quite the same as freshers’ week, we graduates are once again ‘all in the same boat.’ So let’s tackle the start of our post-uni lives with the same attitude that we tackled the start of university with and we’ll all be fine. Honest. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

TARGETjobs News Roundup

Hello and welcome to this week's graduate recruitment news roundup. This week has been a relatively quiet one across all industries, however two sectors have been making a lot of noise, dominating the headlines. These industries are construction and engineering industry. 
So if you are interested in starting a career in either of these get ready for some great news and make sure you read on so that you are well informed on the latest updates. If however you are not interested in either of these industries don't worry there is still more career advice for you, as well as our usual graduate jobs deadline roundup. 

There have also been significant goings on in the property industry and some great news for all:
But, of course, it isn’t all about the sectors. If these don’t apply to you here is some great career advice that applies to all:

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

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Meet Nikki our temp marketing assistant

It's time for Nikki to pop on board our TARGETjobs blogger. Please join me in welcoming here. I hope you enjoy her first blog.

Hey there! I’m Nikki and I’ve just graduated with a 2.1 in business and marketing from the glorious Swansea Uni. I have been working at TARGETjobs for one week now as a marketing assistant and will be here for 8 weeks. Previous to this job I have been doing what I feel the majority of my fellow unorganised and jobless graduates have been doing, which is essentially nothing. Slowly rising from bed around midday to make lunch only to accidently nap on the sofa to the distant grunts of Wimbledon on the TV. I spent the majority of my time awake sifting through job vacancies and applying for jobs which gave me some form of excitement. This lead to rejection after rejection with small snippets of hope brought on by the odd interview invitation.

Many of my job applications were centred in the place we all love and hate at the same time, London. For me, having grown up in a small farmer town in Somerset, London was a place of hell and unknown, but endless opportunities and excitement. However my ventures brought experiences which made me want to scamper back to Swansea.

The last time I went to London I was blissfully unaware to the fact that obtaining a seat on an 8am train to London Waterloo is on par with the likelihood in possessing an Olympic ticket to the Men’s 100m final. Consequently my unwise and inexperienced self spent the hour long journey forming delightfully painful blisters in my new gorgeous yet un-thought through shoes.

Toddling onto my 3rd tube change in what by this point I can only describe as agonising pain in the souls of my feet I decided the underground had matched up to my previous experiences of being unsettling, baffling and just plain smelly. However the tube itself is an absolute cupcake in comparison to a few of the passengers on it. I did not relish the fact that a stranger felt it an appropriate thing to place their arm on the seat behind me to then slowly move it down to rest on my shoulder. Combined with an interview in no more than 8 minutes time, nerves like I don’t know what and an already inappropriate amount of sweat under my full black suit, this ‘closeness’ from a complete stranger was less than appreciated. I felt my reactions were somewhat lacking and instead of doing what most normal people would do and politely asking the gentlemen to remove his arm I simply sat there quietly praying for the next tube stop to be his.

After having spent the previous day solidly in preparation for my ‘dream job’, following the instructions to be up to speed with the company’s ten websites, my next endeavour involved the interview. Having spent over £40 on travel into London, a 2 hour commute each way and a slight jog down their offices, its perhaps a slight understatement to say I felt a little dismay for it to all combinate in an interview beginning at 10am and ending at 10.03am, to which they ended the interview pretty much offering me the unpaid, futile and rather dull job. I put this down to a steep learning curve and began to realise unlike most who love and hate London, I simply hate it.  

After that I began searching for a job that involved me and my car for transport. Then came an opportunity at TARGETjobs, the job responsibilities sounded exciting and challenging, the location in south Oxfordshire was perfect and when the unexpected email arrived inviting me to join the team, needless to say I was more than excited. After only being here a few days I’ve already settled in well to the relaxed, friendly yet hardworking team here and it’s undoubtedly a safe statement to say I’m very much going to enjoy working here this summer.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sense of Style

Ross pays his fortnightly visit, this time looking at the significance of writing style in editorial. 

My decreed blogging objective is to give readers an insight into life at TARGETjobs. Although this establishes some parameters i.e. subject matter (for example, I wouldn’t be allowed to write exclusively about my favourite bridges in Sweden), it does supply some freedom: I may mention the ├śresund Bridge, but I should do so in the context of my life as an intern at TARGETjobs; I don’t need to be too specific, as my remit is pretty broad; and I have relative liberty when it comes to writing style. It is this final element that I wish to discuss.

Writing style is something that’s pretty important in editorial and has been highlighted throughout my six weeks at TARGETjobs. In my application for this position, I linked a piece from my personal blog, which turned out to be quite a successful move as despite my lack of journalism degree / experience, I showed that I could write fairly legibly. In tapping out a blog I demonstrated a degree of writing ability (surely the least anyone could hope for after years at university, unless of course the degree focus was sandcastle deconstruction) alongside a modicum of commitment to the pen.

It was emphasised however that my writing style was slightly academic and would require some adaptation for TARGETjobs purposes: the tone throughout our (yes, I am now a man - or balding boy - of the company) publications is intended to be balanced, supportive advice; an online news piece requires shorter, snappier sentences; and a blog entry can adopt a chattier, ‘informal-er’ (though perhaps not that informal)  tone, but with no outright disregard for professionalism.  

Throughout TARGETjobs publications emphasis is placed on ‘plain English’. This doesn’t mean that word choice and sentence structure are simplified in order to ‘dumb down’, merely that a message should be communicated in the clearest and most concise way possible without detracting from the meaning.

I was initially quite apprehensive when it was intimated that I’d need to consistently alter my writing style: ‘what if I end up writing in a mundane, formulaic manner instead of writing poncey nonsense?’ I thought. I discarded this notion and became quite excited to think that as an aspiring writer (well, this week) I could have a few writing hats as opposed to just a top hat. I was also reassured by the advice that, although writing styles can differ, it is possible to maintain a ‘voice’ across the board; this is quite encouraging, particularly if you love the sound of your own voice…

On that note, here is a link to my personal blog:

Friday, July 13, 2012

TARGETjobs News roundup

It’s that time of the week again, where we tell you all the latest graduate recruitment news and developments. This week Ross has been on holiday so I (Jackie) have been charged with writing the weekly round-up. I hope I make him proud.

This week there were lots of sectors grabbing the headlines, the automotive industry, consulting, law and IT.

However, before we get started on that we also have some more internal news and I would like to welcome our flurry of interns that have entered the building this week. 

We also want to welcome two of them on board to our blog. Our new temp marketing assistant, Nicola Mooney and our third editorial intern Laura Maclean. Like Ross and Alex, they will be writing regular blogs to write about what they are getting up to, as well as sharing some advice on how they are making a start in their career.

Now that those announcements have been made let’s get started with our sector news.

·         In the automotive industry there have been two big developments. Firstly, BMW Group announced earlier this week that it will be investing an extra £250m in its Mini manufacturing arm. This is to boost the car industry. Perhaps, this could be a good place to apply for your graduate job?

·        On top of that Bentley announced some more positive news by reporting a growth of 32% in sales worldwide. Another company to consider when applying for your jobs and work experience.

·         More good news came from the strategy consulting firm, Simon-Kucher & Partners which is expecting another record year in revenuesand planning to increase its workforce by the end of the year.

·        In more sombre news although the IT sector isexpecting record growth for IT vacancies, findings by the HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) indicate that six months after graduating, graduates with a computer science degree were the least likely among all degree subjects to be in employment.  This may increase the importance of having work experience on your CV when proving your worth to prospective employers.

·         Next in line is law, where unfortunately firm vacancies are set to drop, according to the latest survey from the Associationof Graduate Recruiters. However, salaries still remain higher than average. This will make the field more competitive, so make sure you get yourself prepared as much as you can. We can help with our law twitter feed and law webpages.

·        And lastly, there is good news for the construction industry where big construction companies arepredicting a 3.2% rise in starting salary.

If none of those sectors are of interest to we also explained how best to answer a very tricky interview question: what motivates you?

We also announced
which graduate recruiters are at the top of their game; perhaps there are some you may be interested in applying to.

Finishing off with some good news from the HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency), who announced that more than nine in ten 2011 graduates are in work six months after graduation

And if that wasn’t enough as always check out the latest jobs here. 

That’s it for this week. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

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

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pestering People

Our editorial intern, Alex Ward is back with his first blog post. This is a great insight into how to potentially get your foot in the door in the publishing/media industry. 

As promised in the introductory blog, I’m going to give you some tips about getting work experience.

First of all, a bit about what I’ve done. As an aspiring journalist I’ve been applying all over the place to try and get that ever coveted experience at a newspaper. The hope is that my CV will be that much more impressive when it comes to employment. The thing is with no contacts and no way in, I’ve had to develop my own (rather blunt) method of getting my foot in the door. It seems to work – in the past twelve months I’ve added two local newspapers and a national one to the ol’ cv, with another national to come in September.

So what, I hear you ask, is my secret? At this point I’m being a bit self-indulgent – there is no secret, it comes down to making a general nuisance of myself.

Everybody will be familiar with the ‘contact us’ and ‘careers’ links on employer websites. I find that these are, generally, the gateway to an email inbox that is, in my opinion, a metaphorical paper shredder. My covering letter and CV are destined to sit around unread.

The solution to this is a good old fashioned chat. Fully utilizing (scrolling down) the ‘contact us’ section, my move is to call up the general switchboard of the newspaper I want and ask for somebody who manages work experience. In this manner, I have become very familiar with different companies’ hold tones. The Mail on Sunday has a particularly jazzy one.

Once through to a particular individual, I make my case. At a thousand words a minute, I’m fully aware that I’m probably wasting somebody’s time, so I make it quick. The response can be varied. I received an extremely brisk and patronizing response from one lady in particular who told me to go to my local paper. My riposte was equally as swift, noting that I had already completed two placements at local papers and was looking for something else. Her tone immediately changes. ‘Send us your CV,’ she says.

Within two days I had an offer of a placement, with the initially condescending woman, praising the commitment I had to my career.

I’ve learnt from my experiences that you cannot beat talking to somebody. It is a lot harder to decline somebody over the phone, than it is to press delete, or send back an automated email response thanking somebody for their interest.

Contacts are great. If you have them, it’s silly not to use them. If you don’t have them, it really isn’t a big issue. Start at the bottom, local newspapers a week at a time and, using my method you can move on to bigger things. If you genuinely have a passion for what you want to do, then making that call isn’t going to scare you too much.

The worst they can say is no.

Like what you've read? Why not follow Alex on Twitter for more of (hopefully insightful) tweets. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello and welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup. There have been some big things going on at TJ Towers this week; we’re developing more ways to broadcast the latest events in the world of graduate jobs.

The news from the recruitment sectors has been relatively quiet this week, but we have more than made up with this with some big announcements of our own – more on this later. For now we’ve got some interesting stories from the worlds of IT and engineering, accountancy and law:

There is also big news for anyone on Twitter. Last week we announced the arrival of our brand new @TjobsMarketing feed for anyone interested in jobs in marketing and the media. This week we are proud to announce the arrival of a batch of others:

But if those sectors don’t interest you then keep reading, we’ve got more sectors to add next week, and plenty more news from across the range of graduate employers:
  • In some mixed news from the AGR we’ve found out that starting salaries for graduates will rise by 6% over the next year. However, the overall number of vacancies will decrease by 0.6%.
  • We also had some advice for you about how to submit your job application. This also included an extended metaphor about the ways in which getting a graduate job is a lot like getting a partner. Tweet us if you can think of any more.
  • And finally it’s time for the deadline roundup. It’s a relatively quiet week this week, but that only means you’ll have more time to put together the perfect application. Look at our recent series on common application pitfalls to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes. 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

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Settling in at TARGETjobs

After their introduction post last week, Ross is back with his first individual post letting you all know what it is really like to work at TARGETjobs HQ. 

After three weeks at TARGETjobs, I’m sufficiently settled to reflect on how I’m enjoying my time with the company. I can honestly say that it’s the worst thing I’ve ever done. Everyone’s awful. Mum, can I come home now?

Kidding on. I’m really happy in the office: there is wonderful flexibility when it comes to fetching a hot drink. In saying this, I don’t mean to suggest that TARGETjobs is an absolute free-for-all where employees race around choking back free tea, determined to take advantage of an abundant commodity. Instead, I hope to convey an image of freedom within a bright, shiny building in the middle of a calm yet modern business park in rural Oxfordshire. In a corporate world of stress, restrictive suits and closely-monitored workers, TARGETjobs is a relatively relaxed working environment, which must have a positive impact on staff morale.

The first week or so largely involved being trained in different aspects of editorial, such as copy writing, proof reading, commissioning and writing in plain English (which will be ‘helpful’ in this job, as opposed to ‘beneficial’ or ‘advantageous’) as well as on a content management system (something that is increasingly important in the digital age).

After that, my main priority was compiling 150 company blurbs for The Guardian UK 300 list of the most popular graduate employers. It took me quite a while to complete this task and finalising the piece on the last company was pretty satisfying. I was buoyed to think that my efforts would contribute to a widely-circulated publication and was content to be allowed to sit in my job and write things in a pleasant environment.

I must admit, though, that there was eventually a level of tedium attached to constructing these pieces, for example ‘Friend, Mate, Chum & Pal LLP is an international law firm, with offices in London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Abu Dhabi and Crowmarsh Gifford. It recruits around 15 trainees each year from both law and non-law academic backgrounds.’ This structure was used many times throughout the blurb compilation process.

Writing for this publication enhanced my knowledge of the graduate opportunities available in a number of different sectors; it also helped me to clarify which careers would possibly be slightly more difficult to launch, one such example being: barrister specialising in commercial law. My research into pupillages available in different chambers led to my perusing the academic backgrounds of the latest recruits, most of whose qualifications absolutely blew me away. Although I should perhaps refrain from supplying disincentives to aspiring barristers at top commercial sets, entry into these chambers seems as competitive as a fight between well-matched armoured bears.

When I finished writing the blurbs I wrote a news article about the results of a survey on popular solicitors’ firms. It went on the website a couple of days later and looking at it made me feel a bit lovely.

Next day, when explaining to my friend what I’d been doing at work, he said, ‘Here…that sounds really good.’ I felt that this was a fair appraisal.    

Ross will be back in two weeks time, but if you can't wait that long until your next insight into working at TARGETjobs HQ Alex will be posting next week about what he has been getting up to and what he is learning. And if you want to keep up-to-date with our latest posting why not following us on Twitter @targetjobsuk 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How I won the TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year in Low Carbon Technology (Part two)

Declan Bryans is back with more about his journey from TARGETjobs Low Carbon undergraduate of the year applicant to Low CarbonUndergraduate of the year winner. This week he discusses his arrival at the award ceremony having found out that he was short-listed and finally winning the award. 

Upon arrival at the award ceremony, the place was massive and the building was beautiful. After registering we were all escorted upstairs to a glorious reception which even had their own miniature orchestra playing, very suave indeed. Once I had met up with all the other finalists and EDF Energy representatives we were shown our seats for the lunch. The whole afternoon was wonderful, and an excellent way to celebrate my 21st to boot. After a delicious lunch the point of the afternoon came where the award winners were announced and you could practically feel the mixed emotions in the air from excitement to fear. I’ll be the first to admit that doubts started crawling into my mind and the fact our award was one of the later ones to be announced the doubts kept building up.

Eventually, the moment came, the next 20 to 30 minutes felt like a couple of seconds, my name was called out as the winner, I was then up on stage accepting the award, getting pictures taken to giving a journalist a note of how I felt; the journalist was really good as she managed to translate my exasperations to legible English. The next few days after that became a blur. My university was ecstatic that I had won and I have received multiple emails congratulating me on that fact. It felt good. I was soon up on the website as one of the success stories I have read when I was in first year, feeling determined to replicate that success in the story I had just read and now I have.

I am extremely excited to be working with EDF Energy and I will continue to blog about my experiences with them throughout the summer. I have been asked to give advice or tips to anyone looking to enter this competition and I have this to say. Just do it! It’s worth a try and give it your all, if you’re not successful it’s an experience and there is always next year. Thanks for taking time to read my blog, I promise I will practise and get better for the next blogs to come!

Congratulations to all the award winners and finalists for the Undergraduate of the Year awards 2012.

If you feel that you have what it takes to be 2013's Undergraduate of the year in your sector category, why not pre-register your interest here.