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CAREER PLANNING GUIDE FOR UNDERGRADUATES
Steps to a successful career
Introduction and welcome Top Tips to help your career while at university What the Careers and Employability Service offers: information resources What the Careers and Employability Service offers: careers advice The University of Kent Careers Employability Award Employability Skills Skills map Choosing a career Postgraduate study Time out Employers and vacancies Networking and social media Making applications Example CV Psychometric tests Interviews Career planning timetable from Stage 1 onwards Career planning timetable for Stage 2 students Career planning timetable for finalists About the Careers and Employability Service
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Welcome to the Careers and Employability Service! Whatever the subject of your degree, and whatever stage of your studies you are at, we hope that this booklet will be useful in helping you to plan your future career and to make the most of your time at University. It aims to give an overview of the Careers and Employability Service (CES) – who we are, what we do and how we can help you prepare for your future – and to signpost you to useful information on career choice, job applications and the skills employers look for. You may already have definite career plans or, like many other students, have no idea what you want to do after University. Whatever your position, this booklet should be useful in helping you to make your next move.
In the space available, we can do no more than give a brief introduction to some of the most important issues, but our web and print information resources referred to throughout the booklet will help you to build on this and find out more. At any stage of your studies, and even after you have graduated, you can also discuss any questions or issues with one of the careers and employability advisers at Kent. Career planning is not something that should be left until your final year. It is a long-term process and everything that you are doing now – study, part-time work or extracurricular activities – will contribute to helping you make career decisions and successful applications. Students who begin to think about their career early and take advantage of the opportunities to find out about careers, gain
experience, and develop their employability skills are the ones most likely to succeed in a competitive job market. Do make use of the advice and information offered by the Careers and Employability Service and take advantage of all the opportunities which the University of Kent offers. Your time here is not only for developing your academic skills and knowledge but also the wider skills and interests that, whichever career path you choose, will benefit you in the longer term. With best wishes for the future Tim Reed Head of the Careers and Employability Service
TOP TIPS TO HELP YOUR CAREER WHILE AT UNIVERSITY Gain experience of work This is essential: many top graduate recruiters warn that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be able to demonstrate the skills and commercial awareness needed to apply successfully for their graduate training schemes. Even casual jobs such as retail, hospitality or customer service are of interest. Students can find part-time or temporary work in a wide range of areas through Jobshop, a free service run by Kent Union. www.kentunion.co.uk/employability /jobshop Students in a wide range of degree disciplines can spend a year in industry as part of their degree. There are many benefits to this, not least that students who have done a placement year are highly employable after they graduate. For further information see www.kent.ac.uk/employability/ working/students/year-inindustry.html
• Improve your IT skills. The University offers workshops or online learning to help you improve your skills and work towards an internationally recognised IT qualification, the European Computer Driving Licence. www.kent.ac.uk/ itservices/training/index.html • Free ‘Stand Out’ training sessions from Kent Union. These cover topics ranging from British Sign Language to event organising. www.kentunion.co.uk/ employability/stand-out/ • Kent Extra modules aim to broaden students’ horizons by offering free, non-credit-bearing learning opportunities. Previous courses have covered everything from photography to child protection. www.kent.ac.uk/extra
Get involved Student societies, sports, volunteering and other extracurricular activities will all help you to improve your employability skills and develop an impressive CV.
Learn outside your degree
Take the Careers Employability Award
Some of your options for doing this at Kent include: • Improve your language skills or learn a new language, either as part of your degree or as an extra-curricular course. www.kent.ac.uk/languages
This is an online extra-curricular module which helps you to reflect on your experience and skills and use them in your career planning and job applications. See page 5 for more details www.kent.ac.uk/ ces/student/careersmoodle.html
Record your experience and skills development Use the Kent Union Employability and Volunteering Toolkit www.kentunion.co.uk/eandv/ or MyFolio, the University’s online ePortfolio and Personal Development Planner http://myfolio.kent.ac.uk/myfolio to keep track of everything you have done and refer to it when making job applications. This will make your life much easier in final year and help you to make your applications more effective.
Collect Employability Points Students who take part in employability activities can gain reward points which can be exchanged for prizes ranging from Amazon vouchers to paid summer internships exclusively available through the Employability points scheme. www.kent.ac.uk/employabilitypoints For more tips on how the University of Kent can help you to develop your employability, see page 6 or www.kent.ac.uk/ces/staff/ Employability%20Skills.pdf
WHAT THE CAREERS AND EMPLOYABILITY SERVICE OFFERS: INFORMATION RESOURCES Our website www.kent.ac.uk/ces provides information about the facilities offered by the Careers and Employability Service plus links to employers, professional bodies, job vacancies and other careers websites. Some useful pages include: • Vacancy database – a continually-updated, searchable database of vacancies for finalyear students and recent graduates plus sandwich placements and vacation work www.kent.ac.uk/ces/vacancies. html
• Careers events – a varied programme of talks and workshops delivered by careers and employability advisers, employers and other professionals www.kent.ac.uk/ ces/events/index.html • Work experience – internships, part-time jobs,vacation work, volunteering, work-shadowing, etc. www.kent.ac.uk/ces/workexperience.html • Working in Kent – includes links to local employers www.kent.ac.uk/ careers/kentopps.htm • Alternatives – ethical careers, alternative work styles, time out and voluntary work www.kent.ac.uk/careers/ alternatives.htm • Postgraduate study – the options for further study and how to apply for it, including advice on funding www.kent.ac.uk/ces/postgradstudy.html
• Specialist advice for students with disabilities, ethnic minority students, international students, mature students, LGBT students and other special-interest groups www.kent.ac.uk/ces/student/ targetedinformation.html • Applications, interviews and aptitude tests including example CVs, practice interviews, and aptitude tests and much more Our leaflet, Careers Guidance Online outlines the content of our web pages in more detail – pick up a copy in the Careers and Employability Service or download it from www.kent.ac.uk/ces/staff/CGOnline 2014.pdf
Careers Resources Room Careers information is not just online! The Careers Resources Rooms, at Canterbury and Medway, have many books on popular careers (the media, advertising, tourism, medicine, psychology, etc), psychometric tests, working abroad and self-employment, and directories of employers and career areas. Come in at any time during our opening hours (see page 24 for details) to use our reference material. You can also pick up copies of graduate directories, information booklets and careers guides to take away.
WHAT THE CAREERS AND EMPLOYABILITY SERVICE OFFERS: CAREERS ADVICE ‘Drop-in’ advice Careers and employability advisers are available to help with quick queries at regular times – see page 24 for times on your campus. You don’t need to book an appointment for these sessions but may need to wait a little while if there are other people waiting ahead of you. A drop-in interview lasts about ten minutes. During this time you can get help with issues such as: • CVs, covering letters, application forms or personal statements. The adviser will read through your application and suggest any ways in which it could be improved. • Preparing for interviews. • Answers to brief questions about job hunting, assessment centres or psychometric tests • Introductory information on further study or funding • Advice on getting started in choosing a career and referral to further sources of information
Careers guidance interviews If you have a more complex query or problem – such as ‘I have no idea what I want to do!’ – then book in for a careers guidance interview. Here, you will have time to talk things over in more detail with the Careers Adviser for your subject. A careers interview typically lasts 30 or 40 minutes, although the length of time taken is up to you (up to a maximum of one hour). Interviews are confidential and impartial. You can book an appointment for a careers guidance interview in person or by phone. See www.kent.ac.uk/ces/advice.html or page 24 for contact details.
Advice by email This is normally only available for users who are unable to visit the Careers and Employability Service in person, such as students spending a year abroad or in industry as part of their degree or Kent graduates who have moved away from the local area. If you are a current student or recent graduate who would have difficulty in using the CES in person, contact us using the email form at www.kent.ac.uk/ ces/contact/index.html
THE UNIVERSITY OF KENT CAREERS EMPLOYABILITY AWARD This is open to all students at Kent at any stage of your studies. You gain the award by completing quizzes and assignments on Moodle, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. There is a wide choice of assignments, including: • How can I develop the skills employers want? • Getting a summer job • Sandwich placements • Choosing a career • Researching careers • Action planning • CVs and covering letters A few hours spent getting this will not only help you to improve your career planning and job-hunting skills and make the right career choices: it can transform your chances of getting a graduate job. On completion of the award, you will receive a certificate and 60 Employability Points.
“The award has made me feel a lot more confident when it comes to applications and interviews in the future and has also made me think about skills I have that I didn’t think I had before”
“It teaches you all the skills you require for every aspect of working life. It has a vast number of links, tips and webpages that are dedicated to specific topics of interest. There is no topic left untouched” “It has given me much more awareness of the application process for jobs and made me realise that there is a lot to learn from academic and extra-curricular activities as well as work experience”
“Before I took the award I was uncertain how working part time in a retail store would really benefit me, in terms of the skills I would learn for future employment. However the various exercises have shown me that I have learnt a lot of transferable skills from this role which will help me in my future career. Doing the exercises has not only given me a wealth of information, but also reassured me that there is a lot of further information and help available” “Before the course I had only a vague idea of my career path and opportunities. Now I am applying for summer internships, I know how to effectively sell my skills to a prospective employer and have a much more focused plan for my future” To find out more, and to register for the award, see www.kent.ac.uk/ ces/student/careersmoodle.html
EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS In a competitive job market, your academic achievement is just the starting point. Employers also look for graduates who can offer broader skills and abilities which are of value in the workplace. These are often of more importance than your degree subject. Employability skills have been defined as:
“A set of achievements, understandings and personal attributes that make individuals more likely to gain employment and to be successful in their chosen occupations”.
Employers look for a range of these skills in graduate applicants, many of which are common to a number of different career areas. They vary only slightly between different careers and employers and almost always include: • Interpersonal skills – how well do you communicate with people? Can you listen, persuade, advise and communicate your ideas clearly? Can you speak confidently in front of an audience? • Written communication skills – can you write clearly and concisely? Can you use the written word to communicate accurate information to a reader who may not have a specialist knowledge of the subject? • Self-motivation – how proactive are you? Can you work without supervision? Are you determined and enthusiastic?
• Analytical ability – can you analyse complex information and pick out the key issues? • Decision-making – can you make challenging decisions under pressure? • Team working – can you be part of a team working towards a common goal and not only play your part but support others? • Flexibility – can you handle the change and uncertainty of the modern workplace? Are you flexible about how, when and where you work? • Organisation, planning & prioritisation – can you manage your tasks and your time effectively, even under pressure? • Problem-solving and initiative – can you solve problems and overcome difficulties? Can you think creatively and laterally in order to come up with new ideas and solutions?
• Leadership ability – can you guide, direct and motivate others? • Resilience – can you cope with long hours, deadlines, early starts and pressure to perform or meet targets? • Commercial awareness & customer focus – do you understand the market in which your company operates? Are you able to work with clients to ensure their satisfaction? (With acknowledgement to the University of Bristol Careers Service) There are also the essential jobhunting skills: the ability to put yourself over effectively in writing (ie in your application) and in person (at interview) and to perform well in the various selection processes that employers use to assess your employability skills. As well as application forms and interviews, these processes include psychometric tests (usually to assess your verbal and numerical reasoning skills) and assessment centres. The Employability Advisers work with Academic Schools, other University departments and Kent Union to help students develop all these skills through their studies, extra-curricular activities and/or work experience and to present them to employers when making applications for internships, placements and graduate jobs.
For an overview of employability activities at the University, see www.kent.ac.uk/employability
“Businesses want graduates who not only add value but who have the skills to help to transform their organisation in the face of continuous and rapid economic and technological change. All graduates – whatever their degree discipline – need to be equipped with employability skills.” CBI
Developing Employability skills This list of skills may seem daunting at this stage, but your time at University offers many opportunities to develop these employability skills through your studies, work experience and extra-curricular activities. Your studies will develop your ANALYTICAL, COMMUNICATION (written and verbal) and RESEARCH skills. Part-time and vacation work give an excellent chance to improve your TEAMWORKING and PROBLEM-SOLVING skills and to develop RESILIENCE, COMMERCIAL AWARENESS and CUSTOMER FOCUS.
Involvement in sports and societies, or volunteering can help enhance your TEAMWORKING and LEADERSHIP skills and to use INITIATIVE and SELF-MOTIVATION. See www.kentunion.co.uk for opportunities at Kent. Finally, combining all these different activities will require you to be FLEXIBLE, MOTIVATED and to have good ORGANISATION and TIME MANAGEMENT skills. Our Employability Skills programme can help you to relate these skills to the opportunities open to you as a graduate and to demonstrate them successfully to employers. See our Events pages www.kent.ac.uk/ces/ events/index.html
Skills Map The ‘skills map’ on the next page sets out all the main employability skills in a way that shows their relationships to each other. You may wish to highlight any you feel you are good at and put a question mark against any you feel you need to develop. Does a pattern emerge?
Enthusiasm to make things happen and to achieve goals
Accepting Responsibility Attention to detail
Learning new skills as required Creativity
Professionalism managing your learning/performance Data handling
Time management IT Skills
Identifying/ evaluating options
Working to deadlines Prioritising © Copyright of the University of Kent.
Responding flexibly and positively to change
e Editing/ Summarising
Foreign Languages Reporting
Working on your own initiative
Telephone Skills Writing Presenting
Speaking Listening Skills
S MAP Co-operating Team-working
Giving/ accepting constructive criticism
sing & ning
Presenting a positive personal image Motivating others
Setting objectlves Action planning
Delegating Being assertive Persuading & influendng
CHOOSING A CAREER
This involves four key stages: • Self awareness • Opportunity awareness • Decision making • Taking action
Self awareness and opportunity awareness Self-awareness involves looking at your SKILLS, VALUES, INTERESTS and PERSONALITY and analysing where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Once you have done this, you can relate your skills, interests etc. to different career areas and begin to research your opportunities. There are two programs that can help you to do this: • My Prospects Career Planner www.prospects.ac.uk/myprospects _planner_login.htm is a powerful program to help you choose a career by helping you to identify your skills, motivations and interests. Based on your answers to the questions asked you will get a list of occupations that are good matches with your profile and an explanation of the reasons why. You can then find out more about these occupations including job descriptions, work conditions, entry requirements (including the skills required), salary, training and case studies.
• Target Careers Report http://targetjobs.co.uk/careersreport A career planning tool which aims to help you get started on your job hunt. You’ll work through some simple, interactive questionnaires that assess your career strengths, personality and abilities and, based on your responses, you’ll get a list of jobs that may suit you. These programs cannot tell you your perfect job! They simply take your responses and compare them with ratings for a variety of jobs to produce a list of possible matches. You will need to find out more about these jobs through research, networking, events and discussion with careers advisers. Our ‘What can I do with my degree?’ pages at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/ degreein.htm will give information on what past Kent graduates in your subject have gone on to do. Don’t forget, though, that many careers will be open to graduates in any degree subject, so your opportunities are very wide-ranging. ‘I want to work in...’ www.kent.ac.uk/ careers/workin.htm These pages give short introductions to over 100 popular graduate career areas, with links to sources of further information.
Making decisions and taking action Taking action can include DEVELOPING your skills, GAINING EXPERIENCE and RESEARCHING careers. This will help you to make decisions. An important part of making decisions is discussion with other people. Friends, family and academic advisers, as well as careers advisers, can all play a part here. Talking to people already working in your chosen career area will help you to decide if the career is really right for you, far better than by simply reading about it. See page 14 for advice on networking. Once you have reached your decision, you are ready to take action in another way: by finding out about employers and vacancy sources, applying for internships, jobs or further study and attending interviews and assessment centres. The CES can help you to do all of these effectively!
POSTGRADUATE STUDY Postgraduate study is a popular choice: almost 20% of 2014 graduates (over 30,000 students) continued into some form of further study, either full or part time. Students undertake postgraduate degrees for many reasons. You may hope to improve your career prospects or just to explore your subject further. If you are considering postgraduate study, there is a lot to think about. There is a huge range of postgraduate courses available, both in the UK and overseas. Before starting you should think about what you hope to gain from further study and whether it is the right option for you. Our Postgraduate study web pages www.kent.ac.uk/ces/postgradstudy.html will help you to do this and also provide information on further study.
They include the following sections: • What is postgraduate study? • Before you apply: questions to ask yourself and things to do • Information sources on postgraduate study in the UK • Funding and funding bodies • Applying for postgraduate study, including personal statements and references • Interviews for postgraduate study • Postgraduate study abroad Another useful site is www.prospects.ac.uk/postgraduate_ study.htm which includes a searchable database of postgraduate courses and detailed profiles of universities and departments. There are also pages on funding postgraduate study, Master’s degrees and PhD study, professional qualifications and teacher training.
The Careers and Employability Service holds reference copies of the Prospects Postgraduate Directory and of some university prospectuses. Copies of the Postgraduate Funding Guide are also available to take away. You can also find listings of careerrelated postgraduate courses, such as those in law, journalism, library and information studies, psychology and business in the links from our ‘I want to work in...’ pages www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin.htm We offer regular talks on postgraduate study – see the events calendar www.kent.ac.uk/ces/events/ index.html Planning and applying for postgraduate study takes time, so start before your final year if possible and look at all the options – including what you hope to go on to after completing your postgraduate degree.
TIME OUT Many students think of ‘taking a year out’ after they graduate, but, if you don’t plan ahead for this, you run the risk of spending a year stuck in an unchallenging job or series of jobs, gaining little in the way of skills, experience or satisfaction. The resources listed below will help you to avoid this trap but first, ask yourself a couple of questions:
Why do you want to take time out? • To earn some money to pay off your debts? • To travel? • To decide on a career? • To gain some relevant work experience? • A bit of all the above?
What can you do? Almost anything! but these are some of the most popular options: • join an organised project • find your own job or internship • travel independently, working as you go • follow a course to improve your skills or develop an interest
What will future employers think? “Most recruiters look favourably upon people who have taken gap years, if they are able to draw on their experiences and show an employer how they might make them more effective in the role they are applying for” Carl Gilleard Association of Graduate Recruiters
“When looking for jobs I found it very easy to handle the questions on employers’ application forms as I had gained so many skills from my gap year teaching English in China: teamworking, initiative, problem-solving and leadership to name just a few” A lot will depend on what you have done during a gap year and how you present it. If you have spent a year backpacking around the world, your applications should show how you planned and organised the trip; how you dealt with any problems you met along the way, how you funded it and what you learned from the experience, rather than just listing all the exotic countries you visited.
For further information and ideas, visit www.kent.ac.uk/careers/ alternatives.htm#TIME A number of organisations offering gap year opportunities visit the University to make presentations and answer questions, especially during the Employability Festival and at the Careers Fair. Find out more at www.kent.ac.uk/ces/events/ index.html Another way of using a ‘year out’ is to undertake an internship. These are not just for undergraduates: an increasing number of employers offer them to recent graduates. See the Graduate Internships tab at www.kent.ac.uk/ces/student/findajob. html?tab=find-employers
EMPLOYERS AND VACANCIES
Useful recruitment sites
Most of these can be searched by type of work, location and vacancy type (eg graduate job, internships or placement year) and include background information as well as vacancies.
www.insidecareers.co.uk Covers actuaries, accountants, IT, management consultancy, patent attorneys and tax advisors.
www.glassdoor.co.uk/index.htm Includes reviews and interview feedback.
www.gradjobs.co.uk Includes magazine and recruitment events.
The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers
www.top100graduateemployers.com As chosen by students.
www.gradcracker.com For technology and engineering students.
Rate My Placement
www.ratemyplacement.co.uk Internships and year-in-industry jobs and company reviews.
www.entrypark.com Employers across Europe. Links to these and other useful sites are at www.kent.ac.uk/ces/student/ findajob.html?tab=find-employers The sites above chiefly focus on large corporate and public sector recruiters. If you are interested in working locally (where there are few such recruiters), working in media or the arts, or working for a smaller employer, the following may help you:
Types of jobs
Best Companies Guide
www.prospects.ac.uk/types_of_jobs. htm Approximately 400 job profiles.
The Job Crowd
www.thejobcrowd.com Includes a feature on ‘Top companies to work for’.
www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin.htm Brief introductions to 100 popular career areas, with useful links.
Working in Kent
‘I want to work in...’
Working in small businesses
Creative Job Hunting
www.kent.ac.uk/ces/student/creative jobhunt.html The Careers and Employability Service’s vacancy database lists all vacancies for graduates sent to us directly by recruiters. It also includes placements, voluntary work, internships and gap year opportunities. You can search the database, save your favourite searches and receive email updates of vacancies that might interest you. To access this database go to http://kent.prospects.ac.uk/index.html
NETWORKING AND SOCIAL MEDIA
What is networking? Through networking, you can gain a first-hand insight into jobs and careers that will help you to ensure that you have made the right choice. It can also be used for actual job hunting, and the contacts that you make through networking to inform yourself about careers may also be helpful in finding work experience or graduate jobs. At its simplest, networking is just talking to people! Most people enjoy talking about their work and are usually happy to help others who are interested in that work. Events and presentations organised at the University, by the Careers and Employability Service, your Academic School, Kent Union or student societies, can be a good way to make contact with people – employers or Kent alumni – working in areas that interest you and to gather information from them.
You can also develop your networking contacts through KEWNET and social media: see the following pages for more information.
Who is in KEW-NET?
How can alumni help me through KEW-NET?
What is KEW-NET? KEW-NET is the University’s online mentoring/networking tool for Kent students and graduates to meet, support one another and help each other get ahead.
Why should I use KEW-NET? Reading careers information still often leaves the question, ‘Yes, but what is this job really like?’. The best way to find the answer to this is to talk to somebody actually doing the work that you are interested in – and, if that person has studied at Kent, so much the better.
A variety of Kent graduates, in all kinds of subjects and working in a whole range of career areas, in the UK and overseas.
Alumni may be able to help you by: • reviewing your CV • offering advice on getting into certain industries, based on their own experience • offering work experience or work shadowing This help is principally offered through the online system, but it may also be possible to get advice by phone or in person
When should I use KEW-NET? Not too early in your career planning! Alumni do not want you to spend their time with them asking simple questions that could have been answered by careers advisers or through careers websites. Do some preliminary research first: you will then be able to make much more productive use of your contacts.
How do I use KEW-NET? Find out more and register at www.kent.ac.uk/ces/student/ kew-net.html
Social media networking
Use social media actively
Social networking sites are not just for keeping in touch with friends and family: recruiters and students can also use it to recruit or search for jobs. You can use social media in many ways: for example, to develop a network of people in the career areas that interest you; to find jobs and work experience; to promote yourself and your skills or to research employers you’d like to work for. The following tips will help you to make the most of social media in your career planning.
Setting up a LinkedIn profile is just the beginning. The next step is to build your online professional network by adding connections. These could be from work experience, part-time work and volunteering as well as extracurricular activities. In addition, you can gather ‘endorsements’ from your connections: recommendations from tutors, previous employers and co-workers that validate the skills you can offer.
Set up a LinkedIn profile LinkedIn is a professional social networking site with over 380 million members worldwide. It focuses on work and achievements so is more widely used by recruiters to source candidates than Twitter and Facebook. A personal profile on LinkedIn works in the same way as an online CV, allowing you to showcase your career goals, education, experience, posts of responsibility and skills (often more comprehensively than can be managed in a traditional two-page CV). Keep it up-to-date as you add to your experience and achievements. There is a good example student LinkedIn profile, provided by the University of Manchester, at www.linkedin.com/in/samuelroutledge
Don’t let your online presence ruin your career search! The personal material on any social media site that employers might see should be professional in appearance and content. You may want to consider setting up separate Facebook and Twitter accounts to use for career-related networking and job searching: this will avoid people who you want to network with you on a professional level seeing inappropriate messages from your friends and prevent your job search from getting in the way of your social life! If your full name is distinctive, you may want to use a shortened version or nickname on your personal pages to prevent it being picked up by search engines.
Even so, you should use high-level privacy settings and Google yourself regularly (or use alerts to notify you of any changes): friends and family might have added new photos or information even if you haven’t. Keep safe: don’t give away any personal details such as address or phone number on your websites or online CVs – just your email address. This should be straightforward and professional: avoid anything ‘funny’ as employers may not share your sense of humour.
For more about networking and social media Creative Career Search booklet www.kent.ac.uk/ces/files/Creative_ Career_Search_2014.pdf
Using social media www.kent.ac.uk/ces/student/findajob. html?tab=using-social-media
MAKING APPLICATIONS Completing an application form, or composing a CV, is an essential part of getting a job, but one which most students find daunting. Summing up your life’s experiences on one page, or answering detailed questions about your skills and experience in 200 words, can seem an impossible task. Don’t worry – the Careers and Employability Service is here to help you! Start with Making Applications, a booklet written by careers advisers at Kent. Pick up a copy from the CES or download it from www.kent.ac.uk/ces/files/ MakingApplications2015.pdf There is much more information on our website, including:
www.kent.ac.uk/ces/student/ applications.html • How to successfully complete application forms; • Competency-based questions: the ones beginning ‘Give an example ...’ or ‘Describe a situation ...’ www.kent.ac.uk/ces/student/com petency.html • Typical questions • How to deal with difficult questions
CVs and covering letters • • • • •
What should a CV include? FAQs about CVs What makes a good CV? CV checklist Different formats of CV, with examples • Writing an effective covering letter
Other useful resources • There are 15 employer videos covering CVs, covering letters and application forms available at www.kent.ac.uk/ces/protected/ onlineresources.html • You can bring in your own CV or application form for feedback from an adviser at one of our drop-in sessions – see www.kent.ac.uk/ces/advice.html for times at your campus
We run regular talks and workshops on CVs and applications, sometimes with input from graduate recruiters. See our events pages at www.kent.ac.uk/ces/events/index.html An example CV can be found on the following page – this gives a basic idea of what to include, but the web pages and booklet mentioned above will give you many other ideas and examples.
6 Farthings Court, Park Wood, Canterbury, Kent CT2 8NP
Mobile: 07778 3514039
Email: [email protected]
Education and qualifications •
University of Kent 2014-2018 BSc (Hons.) Computer Science with a year in industry Modules include: • Object-Oriented Programming • Computer Systems • Human-Computer Interaction • Databases and the Web • Group work assignments, including developing a website to help student societies coordinate and publicise their events First-year grade: Merit (62%, equivalent to 2:1)
Manchester Community College 2012-2014 A levels: Mathematics B, Computing B, Physics C AS levels: Biology C, Chemistry D St. John’s Boys’ School, Manchester 2007-2012 8 GCSEs including Mathematics, English, Physics, Chemistry (all A) and French (B)
Work experience •
Visitor Information Centre, Canterbury Summer 2015 Assisting customers from all over the world with a wide variety of enquiries, working in the Bureau de Change, booking theatre and concert tickets. Manchester City Council Summer 2014 Accounts Assistant in City Treasurer’s office. Maintained records and handled customer enquiries using Excel and specialist accounting software. Costa Coffee, Canterbury Sept 2014 – present Part-time barista throughout the year, serving customers and cashing up.
• Knowledge of Linux and Windows 7. Programming skills in Java, VB.Net and Modula 3. Good knowledge of SQL and RDBMS. • Fluent Urdu and good level of spoken French. • Full, clean driving licence.
Interests • • • •
Secretary of the Kent Car Society, organising meetings and events; Play for the University football team; Organised a fun run in sixth-form which raised £350 for charity; Other interests include current affairs and reading sci-fi novels.
Available on request.
PSYCHOMETRIC TESTS These tests (also known as aptitude tests) are used by many large graduate recruiters as part of their selection process. You may come across them at the application stage (some employers will make you take one of these tests online before you can apply) or at interview. The tests are designed to measure your intellectual capabilities, particularly your logical and analytical reasoning abilities. The most commonly used tests assess verbal and numerical logical reasoning skills; some employers will also assess your diagrammatic reasoning skills, especially if you are applying for IT or engineering programmes.
Many students get very worried about taking these tests, especially the numeracy tests. However, practising in advance can help you to become more familiar with these tests and to realise that you don’t need to be a mathematician to perform adequately in them. For more information and practice tests, see the following: • Our Starting Points sheet on psychometric tests, available from the Careers Helpdesk; • Our Web pages on psychometric testing www.kent.ac.uk/ces/ student/assessmentaptitude.html, which include practice verbal, numerical and diagrammatic reasoning tests and links to many other sites where you can practise different types of test.
• The Careers and Employability Service offers a complete suite of practice tests for free online, covering numerical, verbal and logical reasoning. Register at www.graduatesfirst.com/cp/kent/l ogin.aspx using your Kent login The following books are available for reference in the Careers and Employability Service. Most include a number of practice tests as well as advice and tips on taking these tests. • Psychometric Tests for Graduates • How to Pass Graduate Psychometric Tests • Graduate Psychometric Test Workbook • How to Pass Professional Level Psychometric Tests • How to Pass Numeracy Tests • How to Pass Verbal Reasoning Tests • You’re Hired! Psychometric Tests • Advanced Numerical Reasoning Tests
INTERVIEWS Getting an interview is an achievement in itself. Only a small minority of applicants are selected for interview, so you have already made a positive impression to have got to this stage. Below you will find some advice, tips and resources to help you make the most of this opportunity.
The purpose of the interview Essentially, it is for the interviewer to see if you match the requirements of the job. These will naturally vary with different jobs but are likely to include: • Your personal qualities • How well you express yourself • Your motivation and enthusiasm It is also your chance to meet somebody from the organisation and assess them: are they offering what you want? There aren’t any right or wrong answers to interview questions: how you come across is as important as what you say.
Preparation for the interview This is the key to success: thorough preparation will help you to appear confident at interview (however nervous you feel inside!) and provide evidence of your motivation and enthusiasm by showing that you have taken the trouble to research the career area and the employer to which you are applying.
Useful sources of information and help • Careers and Employability Service web pages on interviews: www.kent.ac.uk/ces/student/ interviews.html. These include hints on the questions you might be asked, and how to handle them, questions you might ask the interviewer and advice on preparing for interview. We also have lots of videos where employers talk about how they interview and what they look for in interviewees www.kent.ac.uk/ces/ protected/onlineresources.html • The Careers and Employability Service booklet, Interview Skills, covers the same topics in a handy pocket-sized booklet. Pick up a copy from the CES building or download it from www.kent.ac.uk/ces/files/Interview Skills14.pdf
• Books available in the Careers Resources Room - Insider Guide to Successful Interviews - You’re Hired! CVs, Interview Answers and Psychometric Tests - The Ultimate Interview Book - How to Succeed at Interviews The CES runs regular talks and workshops, on interviews, sometimes with input from graduate recruiters. See our events pages www.kent.ac.uk/careers/casevents. htm for details If you have an interview coming up, ask if you can arrange a ‘mock interviews’ with a careers or employability adviser. Although this cannot reproduce the experience of a real-life interview exactly, we can help you practise some frequently asked general interview questions and also go through your application with you and suggest questions that you may expect to come up
CAREER PLANNING TIMETABLE FROM STAGE 1 ONWARDS Things to do to help your career It’s never too early to start planning your career – but many of the opportunities to get involved in University activities will help you to get a head start in your career while enjoying yourself at the same time! You can do all of the activities noted below at any time from your first year onward. • Gain experience of work This is essential: many top graduate recruiters warn that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be able to demonstrate the skills and commercial awareness needed to apply successfully for their graduate training schemes. Even casual jobs such as retail, hospitality or customer service are of interest. Students can find part-time or temporary work in a wide range of areas including IT, marketing, translation, web development, market research, hospitality, retail, education and care work, through Jobshop, a free service run by Kent Union. www.kentunion.co.uk/ employability/jobshop The Careers and Employability Service (CES) advertises year-inindustry placements, internships and vacation opportunities on our online database – click on Vacancies at www.kent.ac.uk/ces
• Bursary help If you have secured some unpaid work experience within the UK, you could be entitled to a bursary to contribute towards your travel expenses. For full details, terms and conditions, see www.kent.ac.uk/employability/wor king/students/bursary-andexpenses.html
• Take the Careers Employability Award This is an online extra-curricular module which helps you to reflect on your experience and skills and use them in your career planning and job applications. See page 5 for more details www.kent.ac.uk/ces/student/ careersmoodle.html
• Volunteer Kent Union has over 3000 volunteering roles, including sports and society committee posts and course, faculty or school reps which contribute to the Kent Student Certificate in Volunteering (KSCV). www.kentunion.co.uk/activities/ volunteering
• Get some training Free ‘Stand Out’ training sessions from Kent Union cover topics ranging from British Sign Language to event organising. www.kentunion.co.uk/ employability/stand-out/
• Join a society or sports team
• Become a course, school or faculty rep; a Student Ambassador; or a Peer Mentor
• Learn a language Improve your language skills or learn a new language, either as part of your degree or as an extra-curricular course. www.kent.ac.uk/languages • Improve your IT skills The University offers workshops or online learning to help you improve your skills and work towards an internationally recognised IT qualification, the European Computer Driving Licence. www.kent.ac.uk/ itservices/training/index.html
• Collect Employability Points Students who take part in employability activities can gain reward points which can be exchanged for prizes ranging from Amazon vouchers to paid summer internships. www.kent.ac.uk/employability points • Get advice from a past Kent graduate KEW-NET is an online mentoring/networking tool to help you contact Kent graduates who can offer you an insight into their area of work through email, informal discussion, work shadowing or work experience www.kent.ac.uk/ces/ student/kew-net.html
• Record your experience and skills development Use the Kent Union Employability and Volunteering Toolkit www.kentunion.co.uk/eandv/ or MyFolio, the University’s online ePortfolio and Personal Development Planner http://myfolio.kent.ac.uk/myfolio to keep track of everything you have done and refer to it when making job applications. For more about all the above opportunities see: • Employability Skills leaflet www.kent.ac.uk/ces/staff/ Employability%20Skills.pdf • Employability web pages www.kent.ac.uk/employability • Kent Union www.kentunion.co.uk/employability • Prepare a CV This will be useful for vacation work applications and can also be used as a basis for your final year job applications. • Set up a Linkedin Profile This is not just useful for job applications but also for networking. The earlier you set up your profile, the more opportunity you will have to build up contacts and endorsements – see page 15
• Find out about the careers open to you Almost half of graduate vacancies are open to graduates in any subject, so your choice of career is very wide! Choosing a career, though, involves more than just finding out what is possible for you to do – you also need to think about what you want from your career and your skills, abilities and interests. See page 10 for advice on how to do this.
• Use the Careers and Employability Service... If you want to talk over any issues which may affect your future plans – career choice, further study, year-in-industry placements, vacation work, changing course or leaving the University (permanently or temporarily) then come and see a careers adviser. We can help you directly or help you find other sources to give you the advice and information you need.
• First years: be aware of early opportunities and deadlines. If you are interested in a finance career, for example, many employers run ‘Spring Weeks’ – you need to apply for these during your first term at university! The big law firms too are increasingly running events for first year students. Participating in these events will give you a head start when it comes to applying for internships during your second year, so don’t miss these opportunities.
• … and use Employability Officers in your Academic School to find out about opportunities to gain experience related to your studies
• Take a creative approach Only a minority of big graduate recruiters offer these structured, formal vacation opportunities to first year students but smaller employers offer good possibilities of gaining relevant experience at this stage. Talk to a careers or employability adviser and use our Creative Job Hunting pages www.kent.ac.uk/ces/student/ creativejobhunt.html
GET STARTED EARLY – GET INVOLVED – GET AHEAD IN YOUR FUTURE CAREER
CAREER PLANNING TIMETABLE FOR STAGE 2 STUDENTS Your second year is a vital year for developing career plans and for testing them out through work experience to make sure that they are right for you. If you spend time on this now it will save you a lot of work during your final year! Early planning is particularly important for students spending a year in industry as part of their degree; law students and anybody interested in the finance sector. Employers in all of these sectors are likely to have early deadlines.
Autumn term • Attend careers talks and employer presentations. Watch out for special events during the Employability Festival in late October – early November including the Careers Fair • Register on our vacancy database to receive details of placements and summer internships. Watch out for early closing dates! • Pick up a directory of summer internship opportunities from Prospects, Target or Rate my Placement • Update your CV – you can ask an employability adviser to read it through and suggest any ways in which you might improve it;
• IAESTE www.iaeste.org.uk organises paid, course-related vacation experience and training abroad for students of science, engineering, technology and architecture: the closing date for this is normally in early December; • Start to apply for summer internships. Many employers, including banks, law firms and blue-chip companies will have closing dates in January for their summer internships and placements but early applicants have the best chances; • If you are interested in a career in the media, advertising, publishing, public relations, etc, start to build up experience. Getting involved in related student activities such as InQuire/The Medwire or CSRfm is a good way to do this. You won’t see many work experience opportunities in these sectors advertised, so you will need to take the initiative and approach employers – see our pages on the Creative Career Search www.kent.ac.uk/ces/student /creativejobhunt.html for help with this. • Hoping to spend a year abroad? Start to plan early – talk to staff in your Academic School and see www.kent.ac.uk/goabroad/ howtoapply.html
Spring term • Continue applying for internships, placements and summer jobs. Employers beginning to advertise this term include language schools and activity holiday organisers (good experience for anyone planning a teaching career) • The STEP programme www.step.org.uk/step_classic.aspx places students of science, technology and engineering into small and medium-sized businesses and community organisations for 8-week paid project-based placements.
Summer term • Concentrate on your exams, then continue to monitor vacancy sources and to apply for vacation jobs. Remember, any work experience can help you to demonstrate your skills to graduate employers. • Law students will need to apply for training contracts with many large firms of solicitors by the end of July: these firms recruit two years in advance Links to the organisations mentioned above can be found at www.kent.ac.uk/ces/workexperience.html
CAREER PLANNING TIMETABLE FOR FINALISTS September • Some of the big graduate recruiters will also start to take applications from this month onwards. However, don’t let yourself be rushed into applying: take time over your applications and make sure they are topquality • Get feedback on your CV and/or application forms from an adviser – see page 24
October • Attend careers talks and employer presentations • Start to check graduate vacancy databases regularly (see page 13): you can register to receive email updates of jobs that are relevant to your degree and your interests • UCAS teacher training applications open this month • UCAS closing date for medicine as second degree is normally October 15 (the closing date for other courses recruiting through UCAS is in January) • Employers with closing dates in October for their graduate schemes include Telefonica, McKinsey, Danone and AMV BBDO (advertising agency)
November • Start/continue applying for jobs and postgraduate study • Watch out for over 100 events during Employability Festival, including the Careers Fair
• Employers with closing dates in November for their graduate schemes include the Civil Service Fast Stream (at the beginning of the month), Goldman Sachs, Boston Consulting, the Bank of England, Mercedes Benz, Barclays, Microsoft, BP, Mars, Nestlé, M&C Saatchi and other advertising agencies, Airbus, and the Japanese Government’s JET programme (teaching English in Japan) • The UCAS “Apply 2” teacher training round opens on 9 November
December • Employers with closing dates in December for their graduate schemes include Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis (all at the beginning of the month); Morgan Stanley, BT, Jaguar Land Rover, Network Rail, L’Oréal, the NHS and Lloyds Banking Group • Non-law students interested in the legal profession should apply for law firms’ summer vacation schemes
January – April • Employers will continue to send details of vacancies for students graduating this year to the CES throughout the Spring Term, so keep checking the vacancy database • Apply for postgraduate funding from universities and Research Councils
May – June • Don’t panic during Spring vacation and the start of the Spring term, but concentrate on your final exams. This is a quiet time in graduate recruitment and there will still be plenty of graduate opportunities around in early summer • Register on our contact database to be sent vacancies and bulletins • Attend Summer Recruitment Fairs – see www.prospects.ac.uk/ events.htm to find dates and locations • Keep on applying. Smaller employers are likely to be actively recruiting graduates • Register with recruitment agencies – see www.kent.ac.uk/ careers/recruit.htm for advice on choosing and using agencies • The Careers and Employability Service is still open to you for help and advice after you graduate and we are open throughout the summer vacation All dates are based on recruitment in previous years and are subject to change – check the current situation with the relevant organisation.
ABOUT THE CAREERS AND EMPLOYABILITY SERVICE Canterbury Campus
The Careers and Employability Service building is at the corner of Keynes driveway (P6 on the campus map).
The Careers and Employability Service is located in Room G0-06 on the ground floor of the Gillingham Building (H2 on the campus map). T: 01634 202996 E: [email protected]
Natalie Basden and Amy Wiggins are the Careers Advisers with responsibility for students at the Partner Colleges. They are based at the Medway campus but can arrange to come and see you at the site where you are studying during both term time and vacation.
E: [email protected]
The Careers Resources Room (G0-06 Gillingham Building) is open from 09.00-21.00, Monday – Friday during term-time and 09.00-17.00, Monday – Friday during vacations.
Partner College students are also welcome to visit the Resources Rooms at either Medway or Canterbury (bring your student card).
T: 01227 823299 – Careers Helpdesk E: [email protected]
Opening hours: Monday 10.30-17.00 Tuesday – Friday 09.00-17.00 in both term-time and vacations The Careers Resources Room is staffed continually during term-time. During vacations, it remains open all day, but will not be staffed between 12.30 and 13.30.
Drop-in advice sessions A careers adviser is available to help with quick queries from 14.00-15.00, Monday to Friday, in the Careers Resources Roomduring term time. For details on drop-in services at the Historic Dockyard, see www.kent.ac.uk/ces/contact/index. html?tab=medway-campus
Drop-in advice sessions A careers or employability adviser is available to help with quick queries from 10.30-12.30 and from 14.0016.00 every weekday – see page 4 or www.kent.ac.uk/ces/advice.html for more details.
During vacations, careers appointments are still available and can be booked by email.
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The Careers and Employability Service University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7ND T: +44 (0)1227 823299 E: [email protected]
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