Friday, August 31, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Good afternoon and welcome to the TARGETjobs News Roundup, the front line for news in the world of graduate recruitment. We’re getting ready for the start of term here, and a couple of our big annual events are getting set in motion again – including the Undergraduate of the Year competition.
But before we get to that there is plenty of news from the specific sectors. Not least of which are the worlds of finance and investment. Graduate recruitment in these sectors has suffered a lot because of recent developments, but is definitely starting to pick up again.

  • Firstly, changes at RBS mean that it will be renaming its graduate schemes. Would-be recruits who have done their research could be thrown by this development, but rest assured, most schemes will be largely the same.
  • According to Jon Terry, a partner at PwC, investment starting salaries have risen by 5% in the last year. Ironically, the current public perception of investment banking may have led to banks increasing wages in order to attract quality applicants.
There have been developments in other sectors as well though – particularly in construction, property and law:
  • First up, there is a new scheme called ‘Open Doors’ which is designed to give members of the public access to construction sites. Projects around the UK will be participating, and it could definitely be something to bring up at your construction interview.
  • There is also some sage advice for the would-be property professionals among you. The application process for property grad schemes is typically open between early September and the end of December. But there are a few things you may need to know.
  • If you want to become a barrister Saima Younis of Queen Elizabeth Building (QEB) has some wise words for you. For example, she advises you to explore all the options available to you before you commit yourself.
But if you’re looking for careers outside of these areas, we have more for you:
  • First up, pre-entry is now open for the Undergraduate of the Year 2013 awards. Find out more from or through the twitter feed:
  • For those of you who are about to start your third year, we’ve got some strong advice: If you haven’t started your job hunt yet, then you really need to. The smart job hunters will not wait until after they’ve finished uni.
  • And finally we have our usual collection of all the graduate job deadlines that are closing in the following week. There are vacancies in everything from IT and engineering, to sales, law and finance. 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 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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

London: the be-all and end-all of graduate careers?

Our editorial intern, Laura is back with yet another insightful blog.

I’ve recently graduated from a university that is heavily dominated by people from the south or aiming for careers in the City, and moving to London after graduation seemed to be number one thing on most people’s priority list. Partly because of the kinds of financial careers or grad schemes they were aiming for or partly just down to the fact that they came from the south anyway. Honestly though, I’ve never really wanted to move to London and I’m not sure whether that makes me weird or just normal compared to the high proportion of wannabe investment bankers at my university.

I come from the North West and until I went to university London had never really been on my radar. I’d been there a fair few times and had visited the odd family friend or cousin who’d moved there for career reasons, but I’d never desperately wanted to move there. The closer I got to my graduation, however, the more I felt like I would eventually have to move there.

Speaking to a friend from the Midlands a while ago, I discovered that I wasn’t alone and that there is a whole underground movement of graduates who feel propelled towards London purely because they feel like ‘that’s where all the jobs are’ and that they have to go there to have a successful career. I’m not going to lie, I still feel like that sometimes, but I’m beginning to realise that I’m wrong.  

Two months into my post-uni life I’ve already discovered that Oxford is a great alternative to London. For one thing, it’s a university town, which means that there are loads of young people around and what’s more, it’s not that far from London if I do ever want to go there and spend a weekend being a ‘young professional’ in the city. Like I said, I don’t hate the place, I just don’t particularly want to be there all the time.

If you do want to live somewhere in the UK that’s not the south of England, my advice is to choose your industry carefully. It’s definitely easier if you’ve chosen a career like medicine where you’ll be needed everywhere but when the rest of us are choosing our career paths it’s important to know that certain industries are based in certain places. Oxford, for example, is one of the main centres for publishing, and most investment banking takes place in London. It’s a sad fact that career success in certain industries can depend on how prepared you are to move away but what no-one ever tells you is that not all of the UK’s graduate opportunities are in London. Manchester and Birmingham, for example, are two of the largest financial centres in the UK and that plenty of grad schemes are also located in Newcastle, Leeds, Edinburgh, and all over the UK. What’s more, pretty much every company everywhere will have a finance department, an HR department and a sales or marketing department, which means that people who choose these career paths could pretty much work anywhere too.

What I’m trying to say is that London and the south of England are not our only options when it comes to careers and that no-one’s career success depends on whether they move to London. London can be a great place to spend your twenties but if the City’s not for you, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great career and fun life as a graduate somewhere else. You just need to focus your job search on places where you know the jobs are. 

Thank you Laura. On that note why not have a a look at our city guides to see what industries and graduate careers are available in the top UK cities.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

GUEST BLOG: Management Undergraduate of the Year winner

Grace Gimson, this year's Management Undergraduate of the Year, sponsored by Enterprise-rent- a-car, tells us her experience about winning the awards and offers up some very useful tips. 

How would you like to be named Undergraduate of the Year in the UK under your discipline?! The thought briefly crossed my mind after I’d sent off my initial application…But it wasn’t until my name was announced by Michael Portillo at the finalist’s awards afternoon that I realised the ‘Management Undergraduate of the Year’ title could become mine!

I actually applied to Target Jobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards with the intention of keeping practiced with application processes while on my year in industry (part of my university degree) at Microsoft. I knew all too well that before I knew it I’d be in my final year trying to secure a graduate position, so a chance to get a bit of extra application experience was worth taking. The ‘Management’ award category was sponsored by Enterprise Rent a Car, so Enterprise carried out the majority of the application process. Here’s a breakdown of what I had to do (it doesn’t seem like this much work when you’re doing it I promise :(

  • Online application using short essay answers specific to your award.
  • Three online psychometric test - by SHL, you can practice on their website.
  • A telephone interview with Enterprise.
  • The assessment centre with other candidates, involving both group and individual assessment over a morning or afternoon session.

Hopefully you will make it through all of these with no problems, and maybe even enjoy it  :O, I had a great time at my assessment centre! If you’re a little new to application processes like this, then have a look at a few tips I wrote in a blog post last year. If you make it through to the top few, then you’ll be sent to London for the awards afternoon along with all of the other finalists. If you win the award then aside from an amazing feeling of pride while collecting your trophy on the stage, you will be awarded a prize- in my case a 10 week paid placement working with Enterprise, including a week in the USA!

So, why should you think about applying? Well, if not just for the application experience, then to boost your confidence (every part of the application process you get through is an achievement), to learn more about the industry/company you may want to go into (find out what they look for in applicants, and hopefully see their offices at the assessment centre), meet other like-minded people (the awards afternoon included 10 finalists for each award, and it was a chance to network with the other students as well as recruiters), and of course you may win!

The calibre of applicants who made it through to the awards seemed incredibly high, but don’t let that put you off. I never entered thinking I may have a chance of winning…so it may just take entering the Undergraduate of the Year Awards to help prove to yourself how well you can do!

I'm here to answer any questions about my experience of the awards, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @gracegimson or Linkedin. It may help you to see a rundown of last year's winners in all categories too. Good luck!

Grace Gimson.

Thank you Grace. Don't forget pre-registrations for the awards are now open, and if you pre-register you will not only be the first to know when the awards applications are fully open you will also be entered into a prize draw to win £25 worth of itunes gift vouchers - what are you waiting for. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

TARGETjobs graduate news roundup

Hello, good afternoon and welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup. We’re counting down to the bank holiday weekend here, and we hope you’re looking forward to it too. To celebrate we’re giving you loads of reading material. It could mean the difference between job and not-job.

This week it is the legal sector that is leading the news. There have been developments at both ends of the university process. But there have also been changes in other sectors as well. Retail, property, accountancy, consultancy and IT have all generated interesting news:

However, if law isn’t your area of interest, there is plenty going on in the other sectors:
But there are also important goings on which are not attached to any particular sector:
  • For those of you about to start your final year it’s now more important than ever to try your hardest. According to research from the Consumer Business Index and Pearson, degree class is one of most important factors when employers hire graduates.
  • We’ve also had a bit of a tongue-in-cheek look at five things you shouldn’t do on work experience. It would be hard to mess up badly enough to do all five, but you might just be making one of these mistakes.  
  • And then there is the usual roundup of graduate job deadlines. As with the last two weeks, there are plenty of jobs in IT. This week though, they are joined by vacancies in engineering, retail, finance and human resources. 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, August 23, 2012

Meet the TARGETcourse bursary competition winners

After seven months of applications, optimistic checking of email inboxes, whittling down and short listing, the TARGETcourses bursary competition has finally announced its winners.

The competition, which ran for seven months and closed in May, has recently given six individuals pursuing postgraduate study £2,000 towards their tuition fees. From a variety of degree disciplines, our winners are now telling us what this means to them and how they are putting the bursary to good use.

Here they are:

Stephanie Loria who applied to study an MA in art business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art said “The bursary I received from TARGETcourses has made an immense impact on my ability to pay for school. I now have enough money from my own savings over the past year to comfortably pay for room and board because of the assistance I received with my tuition.”

Lalitha Bhagavatheeswaran is going to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to study for an MSc in public health. She said: “It has been fairly difficult to secure bursaries and grants. Although I am getting a student loan from the Canadian government and a bank loan to complete my studies, these do come with interest payments. I have applied to numerous other scholarship opportunities, but competition has been high. There are many qualified students who also demonstrate financial need from all over the world, who may not even have the opportunity to obtain student loans.”

Thomas Crellen was delighted to have won the TARGETcourses bursary competition and said that living and studying in London for a year cost a lot, but with such a grant the pressure of this was significantly eased. When we asked him about how hard it was to secure funding and whether he had secured any other form of financing for his studies, he told us: “I have not currently received any other sources of funding, and so will make up the majority of the course fees through a bank loan. It seems as though the government has not really given much consideration to how postgraduates will be funded, other than through accumulating more debt.” Thomas goes on to study for an MSc in medical parasitology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Hannah Wright said that “This extremely generous TARGETcourses bursary will make a very significant difference to my ability to fully commit my time and focus to my postgraduate studies. The direct support with tuition fees will also enable a greater ability to make choices and take advantage of any opportunities for learning and development. I believe that these benefits will remain clear even once I have finished the course, as being able to make the most of my postgraduate studies will facilitate the greatest chance to discover and pursue an exciting and rewarding career.” Hannah is going to study an MSc in sustainable agriculture at Lancaster University.

Hannah Smith won a TARGETcourses bursary to study at Swansea University for an MSc in abnormal and clinical psychology. She said: “Winning the target bursary competition has really made a big difference to my plans for my postgraduate course. I would have had to have completed my chosen course part time if I had not won the competition as I would not have been able to afford the tuition fees for one whole year. I am also able to now continue my voluntary work that I have been doing within the NHS alongside my postgraduate course as I have won the bursary competition. It has really changed my academic life and made postgraduate studies a lot less stressful.

We at TARGETcourses hope that this years’ bursary winners go on to have successful careers and wish them the best in their studies.

If you are looking for postgraduate funding then you will be glad to hear that TARGETcourses will be running another bursary competition this September. For your chance to win a £2,000 bursary to study a UK postgraduate course make sure you keep in touch and visit the site to find out when the new bursary competition opens.

Alternatively you can stay in touch with TARGETcourses through their Facebook and Twitter pages, where you will also receive latest news in the higher education sector. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Preventing being pigeonholed

This week Alex has been thinking about what to do should your career aspirations change.

I’ve been at TARGETjobs Towers for nearly three months now and I’ve found myself to be in a dilemma. It’s not the commute, the early mornings or the routine that bother me, or the lack of ‘student mobility’. I’m wondering whether I know what it is I want to do. Call it a mid-life crisis for a 20-year old if you will.

On my first day, I had an idea that I was going to gain a valuable insight into the way magazine editorial works. This, I have come to realise, was a rather naïve assumption. Not only would I be experiencing the publishing industry from a grassroots level up, I would be thrown into a world that dipped its feet into multiple industries on a daily basis.

Being delegated tasks by editors who are responsible for fields as diverse as engineering, law and management consultancy, you can imagine that my knowledge of these different career paths increased significantly during the first few weeks of my tenure. My youthful, journalistic mind was intrigued and weirdly, I flirted with the idea that I could transfer into one of these industries.

Funnily enough, and for me it really is funny, the industry I most came to be enticed by was finance (SIGH). Up until this point in my career, I have not had the slightest inclination to pursue a life in financial services, but now I would be lying if it wasn’t a consideration I was making.

But I love writing – something that I am not prepared to give up. So on to my dilemma. How do I keep writing whilst also indulging my fancy for finance? I have lost many (one) nights’ sleep to this question. The answer, by the way, is pretty simple and, coincidently, it gets into our office every morning at about 10:00am. This came in the form of a hot off the press Financial Times. Cue an Olympic closing ceremony light bulb hat – Eureka.

It’s a pause to kick myself moment, how something so obvious could be overlooked. Why have I never thought of specialising in the way that I write? Yes, there is the traditional print media, those that get circulated every day to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of readers, but the number of specialist newspapers and publications is staggering. It didn’t take long to realise the plethora of opportunity that lay just outside my clammy reach.

I’ve realised that I shouldn’t be so rigid in my thinking. Yes, I know what career I want, but things may change depending on what you’re exposed to – in this respect TARGETjobs has been a rebirth for my career aspirations. I’ve allowed a wide variety of career paths to fall into my lap, ones that I had previously never considered or knew of. Journalistic curiosity flowing, I’m ready to go out and hunt one out.

But not now, it’s raining.

Friday, August 17, 2012

TARGETjobs News round up

Hello TARGETjobbers,  it’s time for the news roundup :)

Our editor Ross is unfortunately poorly today so it’ s up to me, Jackie, to keep you updated with the latest graduate recruitment news this week. Bear with me as I try my best to make him proud.
It has been a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to news this week, however it was the construction, property and engineering industries, as well as law that were making the most noise. So let’s start with that:

In other areas
We also reported on the National Union of Students survey which revealed amongst other things that:

·         Three quarters of new students worry about jobs after university. Although unemployment among graduates is still lower than for those without a degree, the worry is still there. Our response: There is plenty of advice on our careers pages that will help you make the most out of your degree and extra-curricular activities to help you stand out from the competition.

·         For those that have graduated, Ross has written a great article on mistakes to avoid when you accept a graduate job offer. You may think you have it all in the bag but follow these simple steps to make sure you don’t lose it at the last hurdle.

·         Lastly, check out the latest jobs here.Good luck to all those applying. 

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, August 16, 2012

A day in the life of a TARGETjobs editor

This spring, Loughborough student, Ali Materna was at TARGETjobs HQ (GTI Media) for a work shadowing opportunity, here she explains what she gained from it .

Every university student knows the importance of work experience. It is constantly being drilled into us that experience is vital when it comes to getting a job in that big, real world. So, when I received yet another bulk email from my university, my finger was automatically hovering above the delete button; however, this email was slightly different. We were being offered the chance to participate in ‘work shadow’ days in a myriad of career areas. With the realisation that I could actually gain some coveted experience in an area I wanted to pursue a career in, this was an opportunity I could not resist.

I applied for three different placements all in the field of public relations and the media in the hope of achieving any one of them. I was later told I was successful with one of my applications and on the 20th April dragged myself from my bed at an hour rarely seen by students and, along with two others, drove the two-hour drive to meet the GTI Media editorial team in Oxford.

I was unsure what to expect as I knew little about GTI Media and what they did, however, we were warmly greeted by the friendly staff and ushered to a meeting room where we were informed about the day awaiting us. The day had been organised with great precision, and this added to it’s overall success as previous experience I have done has never been so meticulously organised. This made me feel a great deal more comfortable and not as though I was an inconvenience to anyone. The three of us were given desks and our first task of the day: to research the work experience and placement opportunities offered by the BBC. I felt quietly important sitting at my desk, clicking away at the keyboard and noting down prominent points.

When lunchtime arrived, the three of us were taken to the staff-dining hall, a slow amble only two minutes from our building. Over fish and chips we discussed possible career paths and had the opportunity to chat to the GTI employees about what made them choose GTI media and a career in editing. Furthermore, we were able to pick their brains about everything to do with CVs and covering letters as they see heaps of these on a regular basis. I sat consumed by helpful tips, scribbling their words of wisdom down in my head, intensely hoping I remembered their valuable words! CVs and covering letters are the two things every potential employer wants to see; whilst they may appear a doddle, it is very easy and very common for many people to get them wrong.

Following a lengthy lunch, we dragged our full stomach’s back to the office and were given our next task: to write a blog for TARGETjobs documenting student life. I chose to write on the importance of extra-curricular activities whilst at University. Despite being a second year English student, I was suddenly overcome with a realisation that I was writing for editors whose jobs were to pick out every spelling and grammar error under the sun. I found myself spell-checking generic words such as ‘want’, just in case I had got it wrong! Six hundred words later and it was time to hand them over. I thoroughly enjoyed this task; we had the chance to let loose and write about whatever we wanted in our own style. This task was different to others I had partaken in at other work experience opportunities I had done, as in this case, we felt as though we were doing something beneficial to the company and ourselves. If I had not written that blog, I may not have been writing this for you today!

As the day drew to a close, our final task was to look at both the 2012 and 2013 issues of the TARGETjobs directory and voice our opinions on the layout and order of the articles. We whisked ourselves from our desks to the kitchen area that was scattered with tables and sat together to discuss our ideas. Being able to have our say in the new edition was an amazing opportunity as we felt as though we were doing something beneficial (and therefore felt quite important!) Our ideas were all taken into consideration and, over a box of Maltesers, we concluded our day at GTI media, fresh with knowledge in editing, writing, analysing, CVs and how it feels to venture into the real world of a nine to five job!

This work shadowing opportunity with GTI Media has been one I won’t soon forget. Whilst we completed jobs that were of assistance to the company, more importantly, we were given the chance to show off our skills and decide whether a job in editing and the media was for us. The chance offered to us to contribute to this blog is just one of the great things I personally got out of the day and it’s safe to say that a career in the media is firmly set in my sights now.

Ali Materna

If you want to find out more about work experience, visit our work experience search, and if you need advice on CVs and other vital application documents please do visit our careers advice pages

Monday, August 13, 2012

Just say yes: applying for work experience, the dreaded rejection and silver linings

Emma Williams, regular TARGETjobs blogger is back yet another insightful blog.

Sending out cover letters, query letters and endless CVs with a barren inbox of responses can be dismaying; and believe me, the rejection emails offer a breather of relief sometimes. Relief that you have actually been acknowledged, rather than dismissed, laughed at or deleted from their inbox or ‘in’ tray. But as an undergraduate, it sadly is process that you get accustomed to. With constant reminders that not even a 2:1 result is enough to guarantee a place on a graduate scheme, work placements and stint of work experience in every field are rife with competition amongst conscientious students.

I wouldn’t count myself as an overly-ambitious student or an outright competitive person, but I am one that worries about my prospects after graduating before I’ve even finished second year. Scouring the web for feasible sites offering media work placements, writing opportunities or anything remotely to do with fashion has been a task and a half, with many of my polite and borderline-desperate emails falling upon deaf, or most likely uninterested ears. Though I didn’t have responses from some attempts and applications, this didn’t quell my determination to get experience—any experience, really— that would be relevant and worthwhile for my CV.

I’m sure many students would agree how annoying and frustrating it can be to not hear back from an application or carefully compiled email that you sent to an employer you would crawl for a day’s work at, but I can vouch for such experiences where even when you do get a response, and it’s a dismaying ‘no’, it doesn’t always equate to the end of your correspondence from them.

I recently applied for a two-week placement for a media event placement, and though my long-winded and carefully thought-out answers were not what the corporation were looking for, my enthusiasm and determination was apparent through my application and they offered me a volunteering role at the event. Disappointment was overcome by sheer disbelief, and I jumped at the chance to volunteer, and it was one of the most rewarding “work” experiences I have had. I met a lot of good contacts, had the opportunity to prove myself doing a little of the work I would have done at the placement and had a great insight into a professional environment. An insight I never would have been able to experience if I hadn’t been given a chance, and as a result I have been added to the corporation’s pool of volunteer names to be notified of future events.

Impressing and presenting your willingness to partake in any opportunity as experience for your CV will get you somewhere; if not always, it will eventually. This experience proved me wrong that not every unsuccessful application or email is disregarded. If you really show the experience would be worthwhile for you as well as for them by how much you’d benefit from working hard and immersing yourself in that industry and environment, then you’ll make yourself memorable and a frontrunner in the choice of people for future endeavours.

 Whatever you do, just say yes: you won’t regret an experience you can learn or gain from!

A great post for Emma and I hope you join me in wishing her good luck in her future and in her third year at university. If this has inspired you to look for work experience visit our work experience pages:  

Friday, August 10, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello, good afternoon and welcome to the TARGETjobs weekly news roundup. Whether you’re hip-deep in your summer job, work experience, or Olympics coverage, you should take a few minutes to check up on developments in graduate recruitment.

This week we’ve had something of an engineering special. There have been surveys, government announcements, and business developments. All of this could have an impact on your prospects if you are going into this sector.

However, if you’re not interested in engineering, there have been some significant developments elsewhere. Property in particular has seen some exciting changes, but accountancy and consulting have also had major developments:
Even if you aren’t interested in those sectors, we still have some pertinent advice for you:
  • For those who have recently come back from an assessment centre or interview, we’ve got some advice on how to follow up. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wait for the employer to call you.
  • And as usual, we have our roundup of all the graduate vacancies closing soon. If you’re keen to work in the IT sector, this week’s vacancies will be particularly interesting to you. 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