Thursday, April 21, 2016

'Thanks to this event I have the job of my dreams with a company I love'.

Georgia - ThoughtWorks, I got the job! 

I first attended the ITs not just for the boys event in March 2015 and to be honest I hadn’t heard of many of the companies before I signed up. I researched the companies when I was looking for which ones I wanted to complete the sessions with when I came across ThoughtWorks. I could see from the website and social media that it was a fun and young company, so I thought I’d take a chance and put them as my first choice for the sessions. My god I’m glad I did!

When I got to the event I was greeted with a lovely atmosphere from everyone, companies and attendees alike, and I immediately knew that no matter what the outcome, this was going to be a good day. When it came to the group activity session this was a perfect opportunity to show the companies there what I could do as a potential employee but in a fun, stress-free environment. There was no pressure and the other girls were really friendly and open to ideas for the task. I knew at this point that I wanted to work for ThoughtWorks so I used this task as an opportunity to show how well I could work in a group, and how I could communicate my ideas, at the end of the day if it didn’t work I didn’t lose anything, but thankfully everything went smoothly for me and my group. After the presentation of your group task you have the chance to network with the companies and get some contact details, this was the best part of the event for me.

In normal careers fairs there is always a rushed feeling. It sometimes comes across that companies want to tell as many students as possible about the opportunities without getting into too much detail with any one student, while this is understandable, I prefer to get a feel of the company by talking properly to the recruiters, and this event was a perfect opportunity for this. I got an email address for the graduate recruiter at ThoughtWorks and the leader of our group task also passed my details on to her (anything is good that makes you stand out from the crowd!). From then on I emailed the graduate recruiter to keep my name in the air while I continued my studies and I actually based my dissertation around the company development process to make me stand out a little bit more.  When it came down to actually applying for the position I felt so much more relaxed as I had already built up a relationship with her, and it allowed me to focus on why I wanted to work for them and the tasks I was being given. Two weeks after I began the process I got the call to say I was in, I was ecstatic!

To think it all came from one (free!) event where I just thought ‘oh what the hell!’ and I have secured a graduate job in a fantastic company.

So, if you’re on the fence about going, go! What do you have to lose? More importantly think of what you can gain! Thanks to this event I have the job of my dreams with a company I love and it was honestly only possible because of this event and the TARGETjobs team. So finally, Good luck, enjoy, and just go for it!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Success story from City Law for Ethnic Minorities! Read how it helped Alex land his dream job at Baker & McKenzie!

Alex attended City Law for Ethnic Minorities in June 2012, find out how the event helped him land his dream job at Baker & McKenzie!

This event was brought to my attention by a lecturer during my first year at University. Some of my course mates and I applied and we were very pleased to have been successful.

Day 1
Following a brief introduction, we were split into small groups and we were immediately given a series of intense, interactive and challenging tasks. These tasks were led by members from graduate recruitment teams of various City Law firms and included advice about applications and interviews.  This was an invaluable opportunity, as it was these same people that would be reading and assessing our vacation scheme and training contract applications in the near future.

Once the skills sessions were over, we were given half an hour to network with trainees and graduate recruitment staff from a array of law firms. This opportunity proved to be incredibly important to me as it was then that I had my first interaction with my future employer, Baker & McKenzie. This opportunity enabled me to develop meaningful relationships within the Firm and when it came to applying for a vacation scheme with them, I felt that I had a genuine understanding of their culture and values. Moreover, the trainees that I met on the day provided me with help and support, where they could, throughout the application process. 

Day 2
On the second day, we were separated into small groups and taken to different law firms. My group were taken to Reed Smith's offices, where we were given presentations by a trainee, an associate and a partner. They discussed the Firm's values, their work and how to be commercially aware. Later, we were given a group exercise based on the London 2012 Olympics. This experience proved to be very beneficial, as it was similar to group exercises that I was required to do during vacation scheme assessment days. 

Following this session, we were taken to Wragge & Co's offices (now known as Gowling WLG), where we were given a talk on due diligence. After this we undertook a research task and we were asked to present our findings to a panel comprising of members of the firm. Again, this experience mirrored assessment day tasks. I believe that it was extremely beneficial to me to be able to practice these skills in a controlled and less pressured environment. 

Finally, we were taken to Mayer Brown's offices where we were given a Q&A panel session with partners from City law firms. 

Fast-forward 1 year
Applying the advice that I was given at the City Law for Ethnic Minorities event, I was successful in obtaining a place on Baker & McKenzie's summer vacation scheme.

Fast forward 2 months - (1/9/2013)
Following my vacation scheme with Baker & McKenzie, I was offered a training contract with the Firm to start in September 2015! 

I believe that my experiences at the City Law for Ethnic Minorities event were instrumental to beginning my legal career and I would strongly recommend applying!

To find out more about the next event, visit the website HERE!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Chris tells us how attending Explore Sky helped secure his graduate scheme!

Explore Sky

Attending Explore Sky in September 2015, for students keen on Software Engineering and Technology, wasn’t just an enjoyable day out - it secured me a great graduate job that will be the first step in my technology career.
When applying for graduate schemes, it’s one thing to go to careers fairs, where you can have a nice chat with current graduates and fill your bag with brochures and free pens. Certainly, I would have felt lost without the broad overview - and would probably have spent a lot more on pens. Checking websites is good too, where you can pick up a little on their ethos.

But another thing entirely would be going to headquarters for a good look around, asking questions to directors, getting a feel for the company culture, getting the low-down on the application process (with very handy tips), and working with current employees in a hands-on afternoon group session. And this is exactly what Explore Sky is all about.

While still quite engineering-focused, Sky is in the middle of a huge transition into ground-breaking technology. Indeed, the first thing I thought when I walked onto campus - not office block, campus - was, “isn’t this a little more ‘Google’ than ‘BT Tower’?”. With onsite restaurants, a cycle shop, gym and many cafes, it’s immediately clear that this is a good place to work. (I got to try one of the coffees after ignoring my map and ending up in the wrong place, where I got offered one for free. No regrets.) It’s also worth mentioning that while the dress code for this event was smart-business, Sky employees tend to wear casual clothes to work, which helps create a very pleasant atmosphere.

On the day of Explore Sky the first place we entered was the sparkling-new award-winning Believe in Better building, with its huge, colourful, open atrium. (Incidentally, this is where the assessment centre was held when I came back - it’s certainly easier on the nerves when you’re in a familiar place.) Once there we were led into our room for the morning, where we were welcomed by the very friendly recruitment team and given a few presentations, along with ample opportunity to ask questions. It’s hard to imagine a better way to get ahead of the game than asking business questions to directors, getting the low-down on the application process from recruiters, and networking with current employees over a free lunch - and this all happened in the same morning.

The afternoon was made up of campus tours and a group challenge, the nature of which was kept as a secret, but it was a lot of fun and even had prizes at the end. The tour is quite remarkable too: you’ll see how Sky fits developers, restaurants, studios and much more all onto one campus. You may even catch a few celebrities - but try to stay professional!

All in all, the experience was instrumental in getting me the knowledge - and enthusiasm - to succeed in Sky’s graduate scheme recruitment process, and I’d certainly recommend it to anyone interested in a career in technology.

Good luck with your applications!

If you're interested in a career in technology at Sky pre-register here to be the first to find out about our next event

Friday, April 8, 2016

Hear from Dale about how attending our Explore Sky event helped him secure a role on Sky's Software Engineering Academy!

My journey into Sky’s Software Engineering Academy

It all started when I received an email from my university promoting Explore Sky – a tech insight day, hosted by Sky at their headquarters in Osterley. An application process was required just for attending, which included a telephone interview. Initially, I thought this was rather strange just for attending an event, but I later realized that this was very helpful – more on this later!

Prior to attending the event, I imagined Sky being a huge corporate company, where everyone wears a suit and spends all day at their desk. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As soon as I walked on campus, I immediately picked up on a startup-like culture. The buildings were stunning, with some of them even having their own colour themes, like NOW TV.

The event started with a welcome talk from both TARGETjobs Events and Sky – we were given the plan for the day. Next, Colin McQuade, a director at Sky, gave a talk about what it’s like working at Sky. I was intrigued to learn that the technology used within each development team for a Sky service is not limited to a select few – instead, it comes down to what is best suited for purpose.

After networking, we were split up into the areas we were interested in – for me, this was Software Engineering. Conrad Langworthy, Head of Software Engineering Academy, spoke about the Software Engineering Academy in more detail, as well as bringing along some of the current graduates to give us an insight of how the Academy is from their perspective.

Finally, we all got back together and took part in a hackathon. Split up into around 5 teams, we were tasked to design a Sky branded mobile app, aimed at showcasing TV content. Each team had a scrum master, designers, developers and testers. Working together was great, and gave a real insight into what it would be like working there. To simulate working conditions, small groups of people were taken away from the team for a tour around the campus. The hackathon finished with presentations, showing what we managed to achieve.

By the time the event finished, I had fallen in love with Sky. I really wanted to get involved. I started filling out my application a few days later, and realized most of the questions that were being asked were similar in some way to what were asked in the application to attend Explore Sky, and all of the application tips discussed at the event really helped to give me confidence in my answers.

I heard back shortly after confirming that I had reached the next stage, which is an unattended coding test. The test involved writing a piece of software to solve a given problem. It’s designed to be challenging, but at the same time being relaxed. Instead of being pressured into solving the problem within a few hours, the test is given over a few days. I submitted my solution feeling quite confident that I had managed to solve the problem.

Next, I heard back saying I had reached the next stage – a telephone interview. The interview was very relaxed, and followed a similar structure to that of the interview conducted by TARGETjobs Events – do you see a pattern emerging here? The interview lasted roughly 30 minutes and I finished feeling confident, but still wondered if I had answered the questions the best I could.

Fortunately, I received an email saying I got through to the final stage, an assessment centre. The name definitely sounds worse than it is! The day was so relaxed – it even took place in the same room I was in at the Explore Sky event, so I was comfortable.

The following week, I received the good news that I had been accepted into the Academy. I start in June, and I can’t wait!

For anyone thinking of joining the Academy, here are my top 5 tips:

1.      I highly suggest that you attend Explore Sky! I honestly believe that I got into the Academy because of all the hints and tips that I was given throughout the event. Especially the application process of the event, it made me feel much more confident when applying for the Academy.
2.      While studying, volunteer at a startup. I spent a few hours a week helping a new tech company get their software up and running. You will gain so much experience of what it’s like writing software for the real world, and you’ll also have something great to put on your CV. For me, it also gave me something to talk about in my application process.
3.      Make sure you know some background on Sky – the more, the better. Find out about what Sky are planning on doing in the future, it will give you great topics of conversation when it comes to speaking with recruiters.
4.      Don’t be shy – both at the Explore Sky event and on the assessment centre. Everyone there is in the same position as you, has the same interests and are there to network. If you get the chance to speak with current graduates at Sky, do it! It’s great to talk to someone who has been through the same journey you are about to go through.
5.      Finally, just be yourself. If you have an interest in technology, you will love Sky. The Explore Sky event and even the assessment centre are both packed full of fun activities that a lover of tech will enjoy.

If you're interested in a career in technology at Sky pre-register here to be the first to find out about our next event

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ruth tells us how attending IT's not just for the boys! helped her secure her role with IBM!

I attended the ‘IT’s not just for the Boys’ event in November 2014. I wasn’t very sure where I was going post degree; I liked the idea of doing a graduate scheme but wasn’t sure if I’d suit them or who to apply for! So when I received an invitation to apply e-mail from Target Jobs I thought it sounded the ideal networking event for me. Since the event I applied and was accepted onto the two year IBM Consulting by Degrees Graduate Scheme and started in July 2015 as a Technical Consultant!

IT’S Not Just for the Boys Event
There was an application process consisting of a form and phone interview when I applied for the Bloomberg London event. I was super pleased to hear I’d secured a place giving all the big employer names who were attending, such as; Bloomberg, IBM, Deloitte, HP and ThoughtWorks.  The event itself was held at Bloomberg HQ in London which is an amazing building! We were all given had a chance to network with each other before going into the event and the mix of degree backgrounds was really interesting.

The event comprised of several talks from high profile women in the tech world who spoke about their journeys and achievements. It was surprising how many career changes they’d had and how many had only moved into technology careers later on!  There were also team challenges where we got to work with each other and representatives from the attending companies. These challenges includes such things as coming up with a new technical venture for a telecom company and were a great chance to work with new people and ideas whilst getting feedback from the company reps.

The day was finally wrapped up with refreshments and the chance to network with the company reps. I had come to the event most keen to speak to the IBM reps so made my way over there! The IBM reps were really friendly and encouraging and after a short chat convinced me that I stood a good chance with applying to their grad scheme!

IBM Application
I applied for 5 grad schemes, but IBM was the one I really wanted. The first step was a CV check to ensure you met the minimum 2.1 degree. From there I was given the IPAT test to take – a numeracy and logic exam which had me mildly terrified since I hadn’t touched mathematics properly for a few years! However, my revision paid off and I passed the IPAT and was through to the full CV check stage. Shortly after this I received an invitation to an assessment centre in Southbank!

I heard the next day that I’d passed the assessment centre but still didn’t have a job as my CV now needed to undergo a business review. Luckily I only had to wait three weeks to be called up and offered a position starting at IBM Southbank in July as a technical consultant!

Working at IBM
I’ve really enjoyed my time so far working for IBM. I started with an intake of 23 graduates and underwent a month of training down in Hursley before embarking on client projects. Since joining I’ve worked in Edinburgh and London and had the chance to work with some big clients and have also been lucky enough to be sent to Copenhagen and Amsterdam for training which was awesome!

I also now write for IBM as part of an international Graduate Blog, so feel free to have a look to get an insight into the scheme!

Technical Consultant @ IBM

My CbD grad Group
 Amsterdam Training
 Exploring Copenhagen

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