UCL Careers
  • Welcome

    The UCL Careers team use this Blog to share their ‘news and views’ about careers with you. You will find snippets about a whole range of career related issues, news from recruiters and links to interesting articles in the media.

    If you are a researcher, we a specific blog for you.

    We hope you enjoy reading the Blog and will be inspired to tell us your views.

    If you want to suggest things that students and graduates might find helpful, please let us know – we want to hear from you.

    Karen Barnard – Director, UCL Careers

    UCL Careers is part of The Careers Group, University of London

    Accurate at the time of publication
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    Working in the Arts; what is considered the ‘arts’?

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 14 November 2017

    Picture2

    The ‘arts’ sector includes job opportunities in a wide range of areas including:
    – Architecture
    -Museums, galleries and libraries
    -Fashion
    -Music, performing and visual arts
    -Film, TV and Radio

    Employment in the arts industry – according to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) – is growing at more than four times than the overall UK workforce. This includes those in both the creative and support roles (such as administration, finance and IT) and the UK is currently employing nearly two million people in this sector.

    What do I need to work in the arts?
    – Either a practise talent or skill or have the passion and interest for the area you wish to work in.
    – You may have to be prepared to work freelance, as self-employed or on short-term contracts

    Further information can be found on the Prospects website

    What sort of ‘creative’ roles are there available?
    Actor, Designer, Animator, Curators, artist, architect, art director, choreographer, photographer, film/theatre director, cinematographer, audio describer, composer, writer, creative director, editor, costume designer, digital imager, painter, prop maker, drapes master, foley artist, set builder, illustrator, model maker, lighting/sound designer, graphic designer, marketing, radio presenter, scenic artist, stand-up comic, storyboard artist…

    …to name but a few but for a further list please do visit http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles/p1

    Do I need to have a ‘creative’ degree to work in the arts?
    No. The arts sector may be creative, but they still need all the roles and departments that you might find in even the corporate world such as IT, finance, HR and legal.

    Picture5 copy

     

    So if you are studying computer science but have a personal interest in film– perhaps you can combine your degree with your passions and decide on a career in the arts by becoming a visual effects editor? Or, why not use your transferable skills for something like these:

    Broadcast engineering, stage manager, fundraiser, agent, programmer, effects technical director, render wrangler, location manager, casting director, event manager, library assistant, producer, radio traffic manager, researcher and many many more…
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    You can find out more about working in the arts from the panel discussion on

    Tuesday 14 November: Working in the Arts Forum (as part of the Museums and Cultural Heritage Themed Week)

    Bookings through My UCL Careers

     

     

    Would you like to work in a museum?

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 14 November 2017

    Picture1

    Danielle Thom – Curator of Making at the Museum of London

    It was never my original plan to be a curator. As an undergraduate at Oxford University, I’d spent much of my history degree faffing around with journalism internships and trying to make it in magazines. As it turned out, I was a terrible journalist, and thus spent my first year post-graduation trying to stay afloat in the Sea of What Do I Do Now. I signed up for an MPhil, trying to recapture the bits of university that had appealed to me – research, 18th century history, material culture – and was persuaded to switch to History of Art for the visual training it would offer. Lacking savings, a scholarship, or family funds, I spent the rest of the year working in a cold-calling office, saving up the commission I earned to pay my way through an MPhil.

    My master’s degree, at the University of Birmingham, was invaluable for several reasons. It allowed me the opportunity to confirm, once and for all, where my interests lay. It gave me the chance to do in-depth research, at a level beyond that expected of undergraduates. And, crucially, there was an element of work experience embedded in the programme, which allowed me to work on a small exhibition in a voluntary capacity, co-curating a display of prints at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. At the end of the year, that experience turned out to be vital in getting me my next job, as a junior Curator with the National Army Museum, in Chelsea. I had wanted to stay on and do a PhD, but – again – funds were lacking. I figured that working in a museum was the best thing to do, and this job allowed me to live at home with my parents, save up money, and gain additional, important, experience in the field.

    And that’s how I ended up at UCL, in part because my PhD supervisor there, Tom Gretton, was recommended to me by my MPhil tutor; and in part because I still needed to live at home to make ends meet. I worked part-time retail for the first year, squeezing in shifts around time in the library and archives. This isn’t intended to be a tale of woe – I’ve been extremely lucky – but it’s important to realise that the entry route into museum careers isn’t always plain sailing for those who lack economic and other forms of privilege. Finally, however, I managed to secure AHRC funding, which covered me for the remaining two years of the programme, and freed up my time so that I could take on additional volunteering, one afternoon per week.

    Six months after finishing my doctoral thesis, in 18th century British print culture, I managed to secure a job on the Assistant Curator Development Programme at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was a bit of a culture shock, fresh from a PhD, full of self-importance and used to autonomous research – to suddenly be responsible for fairly mundane, even menial tasks, such as counting dead beetles (for pest control purposes) and shunting objects around on trollies – but it was as essential a part of my education as the PhD had been. I was assigned to the Sculpture department, which wasn’t then my area of expertise, but I figured that it was an opportunity to develop a new body of knowledge, and took advantage of the resources available to me. I’ve been working on a book manuscript, about an 18th century British sculptor, and was able to do a month-long curatorial fellowship at Yale University while researching that. I co-curated a pavilion at the Venice Biennale, as well as curating several smaller displays, and travelled all over Europe and the US as a courier for artworks. I also applied to, and was accepted for, the New Generation Thinker scheme, which is run jointly between the AHRC and BBC Radio 3, giving me the opportunity to make radio documentaries and appearances. I took advantage of every opportunity presented to me, although not all of those were easy projects, and sought things out rather than waiting for them to come looking for me. I’ve learned that in the museum world you can’t be shy about singing your own praises, as odd and obnoxious as it may feel to do so, because it’s rare that someone else will do it for you.

    The assorted experiences which I’d gathered while working at the V&A enabled me to get my current job, as Curator of Making at the Museum of London. I’ve been in post for the last six months, and here I’m responsible for the historic decorative arts collections (such as jewellery, ceramics and sculpture), and also for developing collections and displays that reflect contemporary making in London today. I’m involved in the exciting redevelopment of the Museum of London, which is building an entire new museum at West Smithfield. I’m also still (!) working on my book manuscript, and occasionally make an appearance on the radio, continuing my 18th century researches while forming new networks in a less familiar field.

    Interested in working in the Cultural Heritage sector?

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 14 November 2017

    Read some thoughts below about getting into the sector. 

    Cultural Heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values (ICOMOS, 2002). Cultural Heritage is often expressed as either Intangible (such as traditions and language), or Tangible (such as buildings, works of art, and artefacts), and Natural (including culturally significant landscapes, and biodiversity). Perhaps unsurprisingly then, there are a variety of career options within this vital sector.

    How do you want to engage with cultural heritage; the maintenance, protection, promotion, teaching or communication of it, selling it, researching it, writing about it, creating products related to it, or organising events associated with it?

    Freya Stannard of Arts Council England shares her thoughts of getting into this fascinating sector:
    Working in the arts, culture and heritage sector is rewarding but can be tough. Jobs in this world are incredibly popular but more wide-ranging than you might expect. If you have already decided what path you want to take, e.g. curator of contemporary art or paintings conservator, it is much easier to focus and gain relevant experience to start you on this road. You may not have decided however and that is fine as I guarantee there are interesting roles out there that you may not yet know exist. If this is the case, make sure you continue your development by being proactive and making the most out of any opportunities that come your way.

    After taking the Masters in Cultural Heritage Studies, I did not expect, or plan to be, the Manager of the Acceptance in Lieu and Cultural Gifts Schemes at Arts Council England two years later. A lot of people now have Masters in the sector and it is therefore important to show employers something different. For example, whilst I was in an admin role at Tate, I took advantage of the development budget and did a Diploma in Art Profession Law and Ethics at the Institute of Art and Law outside of work hours. Taking on something in your own time, which shows your interest and dynamism, is something I certainly look for when recruiting.

     It is also worth thinking about the sector and responding to its issues in your own experiences. This shows you have a wider breadth of perspective and are therefore more desirable and employable. For example, since funding for arts and culture has declined from central government as well as local authorities, organisations have had to be enterprising and imaginative in their ways of making up the shortfall. Although I work at the Arts Council, I do not work on funding and I looked to gain my own experience elsewhere. I have been able to combine this with a personal interest in helping the local elder community in my borough and for nearly a year now, I have been a fundraising committee member for Link Age Southwark. I was able to do this by attending volunteer training and talking to one of the trustees. It is worth noting that gaining this relatable experience in a slightly different sector provides another perspective which will add to your unique skills.

    The key is to get out there and meet people. This will lead to more opportunities, experiences and knowledge of the sector which in turn will help develop and shape your career, often in ways you may not be able to predict!


    The following panelists were present at the Cultural Heritage Forum on Monday 13th November. If you missed this event, the audio will soon be available for you to listen back upon.

    Dr Jane Sidell. The Inspector of Ancient Monuments for London is a role that dates back to the 1800s, Today, Jane is the archaeologist with that incredible responsibility of protecting London’s most iconic sites. Follow this link to a short blog where Jane talks through some of her favourite objects and artefacts.

    Freya Stannard, Manager of the Acceptance in Lieu and Cultural Gifts Schemes at Arts Council England. In recent years Freya has been developing her knowledge of the legal and ethical issues around ownership of art. She is currently increasing her understanding of the global art market at Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

    Ruth Dewhirst, Education Assistant in the Charles Dickens Museum. A recent MA Museums and Galleries in Education graduate, Ruth supports the museum’s efforts in preserving and communicating Dicken’s cultural significance.

    Nick Bishop, Senior Heritage Consultant at Planning Consultancy Lichfields.  Nick provides heritage advice on alterations to listed buildings, and development within the settings of conservation areas, scheduled monuments and Registered Parks and Gardens.

     

     

    Museums & Cultural Heritage Week 2017

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 7 November 2017

    MUSEUMS

    Thinking of considering a career in Arts, Museums or Cultural Heritage? Wondering where to start? Looking for inspiration? Then this is the week for you! A showcase of fantastic events are happening at UCL in November if you are considering a career in Arts, Museums or Cultural Heritage industry. This is your chance to come and meet professionals working in various roles within these sectors.

    The following events are open to students and recent graduates from all degree disciplines and all of the events below are now bookable through your ‘My UCL Careers’ account.

    See also http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/getinto/museumsandculturalheritage


    Cultural Heritage Forum
    Monday 13th November 2017 at 5:30pm – 7pm

    Come to a panel discussion with cultural heritage professionals, to hear about their roles and career path and to gain tips on how to get into the sector. The panel will be followed by Q&A session and informal networking. You will hear about experiences working in Historic England, Arts Council England, Charles Dickens Museum, and English Heritage.

    The panellists include:

    • Dr Jane Sidell – Inspector of Ancient Monuments for London (Follow this link to a short blog where Jane talks through some of her favourite objects and artefacts.)
    • Freya Stannard – Manager of the Acceptance in Lieu and Cultural Gifts Schemes at the Arts Council England
    • Ruth Dewhirst – Education Assistant in the Charles Dickens Museum
    • Nick Bishop – Senior Heritage Consultant at Planning Consultancy Lichfields

    Working in the Arts
    Tuesday 14th November 2017 at 5:30pm – 7pm

    In this panel event you will have the chance to hear from professionals currently working in managerial, creative and organisational roles within a variety of arts settings. The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A and informal networking. Organisations represented include: Tate, Christie’s, London Comic Con and Royal Academy of Arts.

    The panellists include:


    Museums Forum
    Thursday 16th November 2017 at 6:00pm – 7:30pm

    Come and meet professionals working in the museum sector to hear about their job roles and what excites them about working in this sector. There will be a panel discussion, Q&A session, and a chance for informal networking after. Museums represented are: UCL Grant Museum of Zoology, Museum of London and London Transport Museum.

    The panellists include:

    If you are wondering about specific degree requirements for working in museums, you might find useful this blog from one of our panellists.


    The above events are on a first come, first served basis so please book early to guarantee a place. Events are bookable through ‘My UCL Careers’ (under Events).

     

     

    Going once, going twice…hired!

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 30 October 2017

    By Sally Brown, UCL Careers

    auctioneer

    If you are looking for a career in a place that is likely to be alive longer than you, then Sothebys – the global art business that has been banging its hammer down on collections since 1744, might be one for you to consider. Alongside over 70 categories of art on sale, Sotheby’s are now also branching out into ‘luxury’ items as well, such as fine wine and cars. They are very keen to ensure they are a 21st century business, so are always looking for fresh talent with new ideas.

    hanging picturesSpecialisms (e.g. Modern & Post-War British art, Chinese art, European Ceramics) count for only a 3rd of Sotheby’s business. So they are keen to welcome graduates who have more of a business head as well as a genuine interest in art. Sotheby’s is an auction house after all, so you need to have good commercial acumen in order to be able to win clients from competitors. If your interests lie purely in the academics of art, then perhaps an art gallery or a museum pathway might be more appropriate.

     

    Top tips:

    • Get some work experience – any work experience. They want to see evidence of transferable skills so it’s fine to have just been the tea-making, photocopying dogsbody called ‘hey you’, as long as you can explain what you learnt from the experience and how you dealt with different situations.
    • Show your enthusiasm for the art world – even if just in a business sense.
    • Show your interest in a particular area or department. Be clear about why it interests you.
    • Go to an auction! Try to go to the afternoon ones as they are less busy and open to the public; some evening auctions are ticketed only. Don’t worry about keeping completely still with your hands in your pockets– the auctioneer will know that you are not bidding!
    • Visit an exhibition and see the items on sale.
    • Try the lobster club sandwich in the restaurant for the bargain price of £26.50- we’ve been told it is rather good!

     

    What’s on offer?   

    Internships: This three month experience is open to 2nd years and above. You will be placed in a particular department, so be sure to research your areas of interest before applying – as it asks you on the application form to rank your preferences. They have less placements in the summer – as business is quieter – so competition is fiercer! They receive 800-1500 applications over the year with 80 places available.

    • Graduate training programme: Trainees will complete 12 months of rotations across a variety of departments as well as regular lectures, workshops and museum visits with senior executives whilst working on projects with fellow trainees. On completion, selected trainees will be offered permanent positions. Usually around 450 applications are made with about seven places available.
    • Floating programme: a group of 12 graduates will work as in-house ‘temps’ and placed in a variety of departments, of varying lengths of time, over one year. For example, if a department has an auction coming up and need an extra pair of hands, you might be asked to spend a few days with them. You will be encouraged to apply for permanent roles as positions become available. You are only eligible to stay in this programme for up to 12 months.

     

     

     

    UCL Careers in Government and Policy Themed Week – Coming Soon!

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 10 October 2017

    Gov copy

     

    In a couple of weeks time we see the start of UCL Careers Government & Policy Themed Week. You will fine below a run through of the range of events organised to inspire and engage those who are interested in a career within the public sector, as well as those who are yet undecided. This is your chance to meet with organisations in this sector – to hear from and network with a range of guests from recent graduates to senior officials.

    The following events are open to students and recent graduates from all degree disciplines and all of the events below are now bookable through your ‘My UCL Careers’ account.

    Industry Spotlight Talk: Working in policy – what are my options?
    Monday 23rd October – 13.00-14.00
    Interested in discovering more about the Policy sector? Come along to hear Bryony Wills, Career Consultant at UCL Careers, explain more about the career paths open to new graduates. This event includes a Q&A opportunity.

    Panel Discussion: Influencing policy
    Monday 23rd October – 17.30-19.30
    Hear from representatives of some of the leading shapers
    of public policy. This event will include Q&A and a networking opportunity.

    Confirmed speakers include Chatham House, Conciliation Resources, UNITE, Office of National Statistics, and New Local Government Network.

    Panel Discussion: Careers at the heart of government
    Tuesday 24th October – 18.00-20.00
    Hear from speakers working at the heart of government.
    Speakers from HM Treasury, Department for Transport, Government Legal Services, Department of Education and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will talk about their careers to date. This event will include Q&A and a networking opportunity.

    Workshop: Civil service group exercise
    Wednesday 25th October – 14.15-16.00
    If you expect to attend an employer’s assessment centre this year, for either Fast Track Civil Service or any other job or internship, then come along to practice the group exercise with staff from the Civil Service. The session will include feedback on how you have performed. Booking is essential for this workshop as spaces are limited.

    Panel Discussion: Careers in the public sector
    Thursday 26th October – 12.30-14.00
    Meet representatives from a range of public sector employers about jobs and graduate schemes open to enthusiastic candidates. This event is in the format of a panel and Q&A on their roles. Confirmed speakers include Police Now, Frontline and Regeneration at London Borough of Lambeth.

    ***

    The above events are on a first come, first served basis so please book early to guarantee a place. Events are bookable through ‘My UCL Careers’.

    We look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible for Government  Policy Week. In the meantime, check out resources on Careers Tagged by searching terms such as ‘politics’, ‘government’, ‘lobbying’, ‘civil service’ and so on.

     

    “TEXT!!” What can Love Island teach us about careers?

    By S Donaldson, on 17 July 2017

    Love-Island-logo

    I assume you’re watching Love Island, right? It seems we all are. And if you’re not, you’ve only missed ~40 episodes. Cancel all plans and you’ll be caught up in no time. It’ll be well worth it. Much like David Attenborough’s Planet Earth, Love Island offers new perspectives on our world, a window through which we may behold truths hitherto unknown. Obviously I’ve learned everything I know about love from the show. Most people have. But Love Island also offers wise teachings on careers. In case fans of the show have missed them, and for non-fans without 40 hours to spare, I’ve summarised Love Island’s three key career lessons below:

    1) Don’t judge a career by its cover

    I don’t mind admitting that even I, one of Love Island’s biggest fans, was at first somewhat sceptical, or even scathing, about the show. I viewed myself as above it. But how wrong I was. It took merely one episode to have me truly hooked.

    I’d stereotyped the show and the kinds of people who watch it. And it’s easy to do just the same thing with careers. What images come to mind when you think of an accountant? A psychologist? A social worker? A librarian? And what information are those images based on? Sometimes we can be very dismissive of, or incredibly attracted to, certain career paths due to commonly-held stereotypes. And if we don’t delve beneath the stereotype, we risk making ill-informed career choices. Websites like https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles give you impartial information about a whole host of job roles, so it’s a great place to check that your initial impressions are correct. We also recommend talking to people in the roles you’re interested in, and testing jobs out whenever you can. You may just find a hidden Love Island-esque gem!

    2) First choices don’t have to be final choices

    Where would Olivia (and we the viewers) be if she’d stuck with her first Love Island coupling? Cast your mind back to episode 1 and you’ll remember she was first paired with Marcel. But he wasn’t her type on paper, so she moved on to Sam, who also wasn’t her type on paper. Then she was off to Chris, who also appeared not to be her type on paper. Then she tried out Mike, who was totally her type on paper. But despite being her type on paper, she actually wasn’t too keen on him (see point 1 above), so she’s (currently) back with Chris and seemingly very happy.

    Imagine if in episode 1 Olivia had felt her first choice would have to be her final choice, that she and Marcel would have to get married and be together forever. It could have left her paralysed by indecision. Well that’s how many students feel about career decisions. They worry so much about getting it ‘wrong’ that they find it difficult to engage with career thinking at all. But worry not. Studies like this, this and this tell us that changing careers, sometimes multiple times, is pretty normal. So chill. Take some of the pressure off. Career thinking is an ongoing process. You’re not necessarily making the choice about what to do forever, just what to do next. The experiences you have in every role, and the ways you change and grow over time, will inform where you go from there.

    3) Be aware of your online presence

    It’s hard not to feel a bit sorry for Jonny. He became the show’s villain after doing what plenty of other contestants do, dumping one person for another. But when that dumpee is the nation’s sweetheart Camilla, you’re bound to be a little unpopular. This unpopularity wasn’t helped by Jonny’s social media profiles, which he’s now deleted, and has admitted portrayed him as being something he wasn’t.

    So obviously if you’re thinking of entering next year’s Love Island you should do a thorough social media audit. But what if you’re applying for a job? A 2013 survey of recruiters showed 92%, 35%, and 18% used LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, respectively, to vet candidates before interview, and 42% had reconsidered a candidate based on what they found on their social networking profiles. Unsurprisingly, profanity and references to guns and drugs were viewed pretty unfavourably by recruiters. But so were photos of alcohol consumption, and spelling and grammar mistakes, rather common features in social media profiles. So be sure to regularly evaluate your privacy settings to ensure you’re happy with what recruiters might find!

    The 7 R’s of Success for Newly Qualified Teachers

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 27 June 2017

    One student rises her hand and asks question

    Hi, I’m Anna and I’m one of the Career Consultants working with students at the UCL Institute of Education. I know a lot of you will be coming to the end of your teacher training, and I imagine you’re probably having mixed feelings right now…

    On the one hand – PHEW! And a big virtual high-five to you for making it through one of the toughest professional training programmes out there. Whether you took the School Direct Route, a PGCE or have been with Teach First or any other route, I can hazard a guess that you’re emerging out of a year that’s been challenging, eye-opening, rewarding and like a big old emotional rollercoaster ride.

    You’re probably looking forward to a well-deserved Summer break – and this should be your top priority (see the first point below) – but there’s probably also part of you that’s already looking ahead to what’s in store from September and wondering how you’re going to make the most of your NQT year.

    Well, to help you out, I’ve put together seven top tips to ensure that you don’t just survive but THRIVE in your first year as a fully-fledged new teacher. This isn’t a definitive list but it should give a few pointers over the key things to consider…

    1. Rest – You’re probably sick of hearing it by now, but this year IS going to be hard work – maybe even harder than the year you’ve just had, and looking after yourself is going to be absolutely KEY to success. It may sound obvious now, but self-care is often the first thing to go out of the window when the responsibilities mount up. Whatever you do, make sure you schedule in time for non-work activities and whatever relaxes you, whether it’s time with friends or walks in the country. And get as much sleep as you can – we’re far more effective when we’re well-rested so staying up late to catch up on work might be a false-economy.
    2. Reach out – You don’t have to do it alone. Don’t be afraid to draw on more experienced colleagues for support and ideas. People love to help so give them the opportunity to feel like a wise old sage with you newbies! This is also an opportunity to network and build relationships with colleagues, so be a familiar face in the staffroom, and be curious about others work (be sure to judge how busy they look and perhaps ask when it would be convenient to talk – you could even offer to buy them a coffee in return!) Remember too that you have access to UCL Careers for up to two years after you graduate, so if you want coaching on anything related to your career, do book in to see one of us via the UCL Careers Graduates
    3. Reflect – You will probably be heavily observed during you NQT year, but rather seeing this as a threat, try to see observations as genuine learning opportunities. It can be good to employ a growth mindset – in the same way that you might congratulate a child on their effort rather than their natural achievement, you could appreciate your own attempts to learn and grow rather than berating yourself from not being perfect from the outset.
    4. Resilience – You could say this is the most important teaching skill and it links to the point above about not being a perfectionist. In any career, there will be challenges and setbacks – what’s important is how you bounce back and learn from them without being consumed with self-criticism – remember that it’s all part of the journey! One way to develop resilience is through mindfulness practice, which helps to regulate our emotions and stay calm. UCL Student Psychological Services offers a free programme called the 10 Minute Mind where daily mindfulness practices are sent to your inbox or, if you no longer have a UCL log-in, you could try the app Headspace.
    5. Responsibility – This one needs to be handled with care – what you DON’T want to do is overstretch yourself in your first year and agree to every opportunity put on the table (new teachers can even be promoted to a head of their subject within the first year or two due to staff shortages!) However, it CAN be good to look for opportunities to take on extra duties that will help you grow in areas of interest (e.g. sports, SEN, drama activities, management) and gain extra skills that could come in handy in the future.
    6. Research – Every year, thousands of people become qualified as teachers, and so the internet is full of handy tips about how to prepare for your NQT year, including things like checklists for all the things you need to get done when you start and countless forums like the TES New Teachers You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, so learn from the experiences of others who have been through the NQT year and lived to tell the tale!

     And last but not least…

    1. Remember why you’re doing this! I’d imagine it wasn’t JUST for the long holidays, was it? It’s important to keep sight of the bigger picture, so when you’re swamped in marking and feeling overwhelmed, put the pen down, go for a walk and reflect on why you were motivated to become a teacher in the first place and the impact you wanted to make. And above all, remember that it WILL get easier. Teaching may be hard work, but it’s also one of the most rewarding jobs out there, so it will be worth it in the long run.

    Good luck and have a wonderfully relaxing Summer holiday!

     

    Overcoming misconceptions about the fast stream and civil service – a UCL students insight

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 19 June 2017

    Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.05.57
    UCL masters student Georgina Evison

     

    Throughout my undergraduate degree the Civil Service Fast Stream was no more than a blip in my peripheral vision. I vaguely heard friends mention that they were applying – a couple even said it was their dream post-uni job – but it never particularly piqued my interest and so I never enquired exactly what it was.

    This was out of the idea that I didn’t want to go into politics – an idea that I now understand represents a distorted view of what the Civil Service actually is.

    During one of the first weeks of my Masters degree, when I saw the Civil Service Fast Stream representatives on the UCL campus, it would be dishonest of me to pretend I walked over to them for any other reason than they were giving out free coffees.

    About to go to work and feeling a bit sleepy, I thought I’d have a quick chat and be on my way; the thought that I might actually end up quite interested in something new didn’t cross my mind. The two women I spoke to explained about the various schemes and I began to understand the breadth of opportunities available within the Civil Service Fast Stream.

    Before this, I had for some reason imagined that the Civil Service Fast Stream would essentially involve lots of admin and one single path for graduates. After a few minutes and lots of questions, I filled out a survey asking how likely I had been to apply to the Civil Service Fast Stream prior to speaking to the representatives (not at all likely) and now (somewhat likely!) and continued on my way to work – coffee in hand.

    I admittedly then forget about our conversation for a couple of days, at which point I discovered I had missed the deadline to complete the initial stage of the application.

    Mildly disappointed, but with the thought of applying next year in mind, I didn’t give the Civil Service a great deal of thought until I received an email mid-January. I had completely forgotten that in filling out the survey I would be entered into a competition to shadow a senior civil servant for a day – the detail hardly registered in my mind given my minute chances of winning.

    As a Human Rights Law Masters student, the opportunity to shadow a civil servant in DFID (Development for International Development) was basically a dream prize, and when I looked up the bio of Ellen Wratten – who I would be shadowing – I looked on in awe at the list of accomplishments.

    To be honest, I was a bit surprised that someone who had done so many cool things worked for the Civil Service. The day itself was an eye-opening experience to the realities of working not only in DFID, but for the Civil Service generally.

    I arrived at 22 Whitehall and was given a quick tour before attending an event to celebrate and share the accomplishments of four different global development think tanks. The event was opened by MP James Wharton who gave a short speech about the various global development challenges that DFID is engaging with in order to try and positively impact on the lives of some of the poorest people in the world, in line with DFID’s goal to “leave no one behind”.

    Everyone that I was introduced to seemed to do something different, and they all had a few encouraging words for me when I explained about my own career aspirations. Having the opportunity to talk to Ellen afterwards made me see that despite the image of government that we see in the media – politicians standing up and giving speeches – it’s really the hundreds of civil servants working hard behind the scenes that are responsible for many changes.

    I also realised that there isn’t a “type” of person that works in the Civil Service, something which a few of the people I spoke to alluded to as becoming increasingly important. The range of educational and employment backgrounds from which civil servants have come from is remarkable and definitely changed my perception of both the type of work that civil servants do, and the type of people who apply.

    I’m grateful that I had this opportunity because otherwise the Civil Service Fast Stream would have remained a bit of a mystery to me, when in fact it’s something that I will enthusiastically apply to now. I would encourage anyone who was like me to just have a look and learn a bit more about the Civil Service Fast Stream because it’s easy to discount it as “not for you” when in fact there’s probably an opportunity to interest everyone.

    __

    Profile – Georgina Evison

    Georgina is studying a Masters in Law, specialising in Human Rights law at UCL. From 2012-15 she studied law at the University of Bristol. In the year between her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees she did an internship with an NGO in Nepal for 4 months and then moved to Paris to work as an au pair and English tutor and improve her French. Georgina grew up in Sheffield but moved to Toronto when she was 11, and moved back to the UK for university. She is interested in human rights law issues – particularly relating to privacy and security law, freedom of religion, and children’s rights. Outside of academics, she likes reading, languages, running, and cooking. Upon finishing her Masters she’d will be working for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse as a paralegal.

    The Five Most Useful Things I Learnt at GCEP

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 23 May 2017

    moodle graphic

    Written by Tiba Fazeli; (UCL Alumni) M.A in Transnational Studies

    1. Take the time to properly research your company or organisation.
      • Of course, the website is a great place to start, but don’t limit yourself there. As a minimum, you should spend some time familiarising yourself with the website, but you should also look for information in news articles (using Google News), on LinkedIn or through alternative sources. This way, you can get an insight into their latest developments, like whether they’ve made any major recent structural changes, as well as get to know more about the people they work with (e.g., clients, suppliers, donors, etc.). Not only could this information potentially give your application and/or interview that extra edge, but it will also force you engage with and thoroughly understand the company’s or organisation’s values, ultimately helping you to decide whether they fall in line with yours.
    1. Cater BOTH your CV and cover letter to the role and organisation.
      • Before attending GCEP, I knew this was a given for the cover letter, but I never really considered updating the content of my CV to cater to a specific role. To be frank, I thought it was both time consuming and unnecessary. However, I learned that a few minor alterations and amendments can actually go a long way. Employers and recruiters might have to read through hundreds—if not, thousands—of CVs when they advertise a role. If you can clearly identify why you’re perfect for the job, rather than expect them to work it out based on your background and experiences, then you’re a step ahead of the guy who sent out 30 generic copies of his CV. And yes, that might mean eliminating a few details from your past that are perhaps admirable, but irrelevant to the role.
      • Of course, whilst your CV should generally point out your skills in a concise, easy-to-read format, you can use your cover letter to highlight anything on your CV that you think deserves greater attention. This is also your opportunity to demonstrate your passion and personality to the employer…though ideally, not at expense of your professionalism. If you stick to a clear structure outlining why me, why the role and why the organisation (in whichever order works best for you), then again, you’re doing the guesswork for the employer and providing them with yet another reason to hire you.
    1. There’s nothing wrong with a two-page CV, but your cover letter should always be one page.
      • For years, the question of whether a CV should be one or two pages left me both anxious and bewildered. When I finished university in 2008, the answer was one…well, two was passable, but one was better. Based on this advice, I spent ages struggling to include the important, yet diverse and plentiful details of my background, whilst choosing a large enough font size so that the person who read my CV wouldn’t have to use a magnifying glass. In the time that has passed since then, I think employers, recruiters and, generally, the world at large have come to realise that people are diversifying. They’re getting their Bachelor’s degree in Literature and their Master’s in Biology. They’ve worked as a server at a restaurant, as well as a digital marketing assistant. They have multi-faceted skill sets, and frankly, one page just isn’t enough to demonstrate everything they bring to the table. These changes in the professional world mean that not only is a two-page CV now acceptable, but it’s actually becoming the norm. At the same time, it’s important not to fill two pages with unnecessary information, just for the sake of filling two pages. As I mentioned in the last tip, all the information presented should be relevant to the role, and if possible, to the organisation.
      • On the other hand, a cover letter should never be more than one page. If you’ve gone onto the second page, then you know you’ll either have to edit the body of the letter, or alternatively, go for a smaller font size—10 at the very But really, you should try making the letter more concise and punchy, before forcing the reader get out his/her bifocals.
    1. LinkedIn isn’t just professional Facebook. You can and should use it to meet people in your desired sector, company or organisation.
      • One of the best tips I picked up at GCEP was to make good use of LinkedIn to network with individuals in my desired sector, company or organisation. Sure, you can use LinkedIn to gain access to information about the people who work at a particular company or organisation, including their backgrounds and potentially some of their published work. But you can also use it to engage directly with someone who works in your desired sector or organisation—or even better—with someone who is currently working in the role or a similar role to which you’re applying. In my personal experience, I reached out to someone who worked in the same role I was applying to, but in a different department at the organisation. I offered to buy him a coffee in exchange for an honest chat about the work of his organisation and his experiences there. Meeting him in person and speaking with him for what was supposed to be 30 minutes, but ended up being an hour and a half, lent the organisation a human quality and offered me an insight into the social culture. After this conversation, I knew that I wouldn’t have any trouble fitting in with the rest of the staff, as it seemed they had similar backgrounds and values to mine. This really put me at ease during my interview, and in the end, generated a very positive outcome (i.e., the job!). If you manage to meet with the person before you submit your CV and cover letter, then you can even mention what you took away from the conversation in your job application.
    1. It’s important to be professional, but it’s more important to be genuine.
      • Believe it or not, it’s not that hard to tell the difference between someone who is discussing something he/she is genuinely passionate about, versus someone who is pretending to be passionate about something because they think they have to. In other words, are you really passionate about finance, or have you ventured in this direction for the money? It’s not that the latter is equivalent to a cardinal sin. It’s simply that people exude more charisma and confidence when they talk about something in which they truly believe. And this can go both ways… You may not be enthralled by the financial analyst role, but perhaps, you’re really interested in the organisation or sector. You can highlight your ability to accomplish the logistical tasks at hand, while you emphasise your passion for the content. Alternatively, if you’re lacking a little on the skills and experience side but you love the company’s or organisation’s work, then you can focus on that during your interactions with the employer. At the end of the day, when it comes to considering your next role, where—let’s face it—you’ll be spending the majority of your waking hours for the foreseeable future, it’s important to be honest—not only with the employer, but also with yourself.