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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  • Archive for the 'Careers Advice' Category

    Career Lessons from Love Island 2018

    By UCL Careers, on 24 July 2018

    Remember that time we changed your lives with the three key career messages we took from last year’s Love Island? Well, it was such a great idea, it brought us such a lot of professional respect, and it gave us such an excellent excuse to watch Love Island at work*, that we thought we’d do it again before this year’s show comes to an end:

    1) Show me the evidence
    If you transcribed all of Georgia’s Love Island communications, uploaded them into NVivo or Wordle, and created a word cloud, it would look something like the below: 


     

     

    But did that convince us she was loyal or honest, babe? No. In fact, rather the opposite. It was her actions – staying true while Josh was in Casa Amor, leaving the villa with Sam – that eventually won us over.

    Although some may not like to admit it, employers are no different to Love Island viewers. They need evidence to be convinced. So what can you do? Well, it’s wise to use employer language in applications. If your target employer has asked for leadership skills, explicitly tell them when you’re talking about leadership skills. It makes their job easier. But rather than simply declaring what a fantastic leader you are in your own opinion, why not provide examples of how you used your leadership skills, and what you achieved with them? This evidence-based approach will help you feel more comfortable promoting yourself, and the employer feel more comfortable believing you.

     

    2) Negative experiences can be valuable

     Laura, Laura, Laura. Our hearts have broken for you not once but twice. Should you regret your missteps? Should you lament moments spent with Wes and New Jack as wasted time? No! For through those relationships you learned what you do not want, and that allowed you to see what you do want – a mature carpenter and model who has kissed Britney Spears – more clearly.

    When I speak to students and graduates about their past internship or placement experiences, they often view them as useful only if they turned out to be exactly the right role, with the right employer, for them. Of course that’s a wonderful result, but it’s not the only useful one. There is value in all of your past experiences as long as you take the time to reflect and draw it out. What was it you didn’t enjoy about a role? The task? The colleagues? The environment? And which elements did you enjoy? Exploring these questions is crucial in getting to know yourself, and deciding what your next step will be.

     

    3) A little role play can help

    Oh hell, when surfer New Laura entered the house, Dr Alex made a real hash of the one relationship that seemed to be working for him. But he saved it by role playing a first meeting at a bar with Alexandra, and now they’re living happily ever after together**.

    Maybe a little role play can help you too. Interviews are a crucial part of an application process, but they’re a relatively unusual scenario many people have limited experience with, especially in the earlier stages of their careers. So when you have an interview coming up, we advise getting as much practice as possible. Set up mock interviews with your friends and family, especially those who have knowledge of interviews and/or the field you’re entering. And book a mock interview with one of our careers consultants, who can help you role play in a safe setting, and then provide feedback to improve your performance for the real thing.

    *If my boss is reading this then obviously I’m totally joking

    **Correct at time of writing.

     

    Written by Sophia Donaldson, UCL Careers

     

    Five Tutoring Tips For Recent Graduates

    By UCL Careers, on 17 July 2018

    Robert Lomax is a teacher and author. He writes about education at RSL Educational.

    Whatever job you dream of, there’s a fair chance that you’ll find yourself doing a few other things along the way.

    One of the most common “along the way” jobs, particularly in London, is private tuition. It’s something that I started doing when I was a postgrad, just to keep the wolf from my door.
    I enjoyed teaching so much that I’m still doing it now.

    I’ve always had fun during my time as a teacher, but there are a few things that I wish I’d known when I started: things which would have made my work less stressful and more successful, and which I only discovered through making mistakes.

    I add more detail to some of these ideas in this article.

    1. Never stop making mistakes

    The natural instinct for any teacher is to be terrified of mistakes: you think that you need to be infallible, or you will lose your students’ respect.

    This could not be more wrong.

    Once children realise that their teacher is just as able to make a fool of themselves as they are, they discover that there isn’t a great wall standing between their state of ignorance and your adult knowledge: a wall they will have to fling themselves against for years before smashing through.

    Instead, they learn that it is possible to be a successful adult and still get things wrong. This is a tremendous motivation.

    On the one hand, the belief that anything short of perfection is a kind of failure can make children feel like giving up.

    On the other hand, a more skilful, more interesting version of their own imperfection can seem like a thing worth aiming for.

    Of course, if you are going to make mistakes, at least make sure that you …

    2. Always show your thought process

    The greatest gift that a teacher can give a child is not their expertise. A book will be able to offer the same information, and Youtube probably does too.

    The most important thing you have to offer is your way of thinking.

    Let your students see your mind in action! Let them explore your thought patterns, challenge them and copy them.

    One of the very best ways to do this is to work alongside your student. Rather than setting them a task and reading the newspaper for ten minutes, do the same work as them, at the same time.

    When you compare your answers – perhaps even marking each other’s responses – they will be inspired by the things that you do better.

    What’s more, on the rare occasions when they do something more effectively than you, it will be as motivating as any other experience in their school career.

    3. Don’t promise results

    There are no “supertutors” – just teachers, some of them with a few more tricks than others, and some with a better instinct for relating to children. Nobody knows the magic key which can ensure a particular outcome for a child.

    Promise to do your best, but be honest: don’t offer guarantees. In the end, only your student has the power to achieve what they want to.

    4. Be prepared to walk away

    Sometimes you won’t be the best teacher for a student you’re working with. If you start to realise this, don’t panic and struggle against it. It happens to all tutors sometimes, however experienced they are.

    Tell the child’s parents, explaining things clearly. You might offer to help them through the transition to a new tutor. In almost every case, they will be grateful for your honesty.

    Very rarely, you will need to end your relationship with a client because they treat you poorly and make your life difficult. Don’t feel guilty about declining further work from them, and don’t feel trapped by a sense of obligation to their child. There are plenty more tutors out there.

    Whatever the reason, never let things drag on miserably. It’s no good for you or your student.

    5. Communicate!

    From the outset, talk to your clients! There are very few difficulties which can’t be managed well if you already have an effective pattern of communication.

    What’s more, parents are most likely to worry about their children’s education if they don’t know what’s going on.

    When you start working with a new family, send the parents frequent emails. Remind them what homework you have set. Perhaps send a weekly update, highlighting their child’s strengths and explaining where you are seeking improvement. If your student has done something especially good, let their parents know and encourage them to echo your own congratulations.

    After a few weeks, you’ll probably find that you can reduce your level of communication. When a client understands your approach and feels able to trust you, you will have the freedom to do your very best teaching.

    Robert Lomax is a teacher and author. He writes about education at RSL Educational

    Top Tips for Application Forms from Skills4Work Panellists

    By UCL Careers, on 11 May 2018

    Sally Brown – UCL Careers Advisor

    On the 3rd October, UCL Careers welcomed four speakers from different companies to speak to students about their application processes and to offer some ‘top tips’ about completing application forms. What was clear was that although every company has their own way of shortlisting candidates, some specific annoyances regarding poor applications were common to all recruiters.

    Online application forms

    All the panellists stated that their company asks you to fill in an online application form. They often ask for the same information that you will have on your CV – such as your academics and some personal details – but often in a format that suits the needs of the company. The representative from PwC was keen to highlight that due to the desire for social mobility, many companies (inc. PwC) do not ask for your work experience at this stage – understanding that some graduates may not have had the opportunity to undertake relevant or unpaid work experience/internships during their studies. So don’t worry if you feel your current work experience – such as bar work or retail – doesn’t directly relate to the industry you are applying to, they will be looking for a breadth of transferable skills they can build on.

    Top tips from the panellists:

    • Talk to people already doing the role you are interested in
    • Check whether it is the right ‘fit’ for you through researching the role and company thoroughly before applying.

    Online: Motivation and Competency questions

    Online questions regarding candidates’ motivation to apply to the company, their industry knowledge and basic common competencies (such as team-work) were common amongst the companies represented. It was also common that some candidates offered generalised responses that could be applied to any of their competitors.

    Top tips from the panellists:

    • Research! Research the role as well as the organisation.
    • Take your time – allow 1-2 weeks to fill in the in the application.
    • Research the industry to build up your commercial awareness – reflect upon how current issues may affect the company.
    • A ‘real human’ will read this – all the panellists agreed that their companies do not use software to filter candidates.

    Video Applications

    Yes the 21st century is here! Both the panellists from Unlocked and the Bank of England stated that they use video as part of the process. This is where you receive some written questions, get a few minutes to prepare your answer and then you are filmed saying your responses. These are reviewed later, as there is no one on the other side of the camera whilst you are speaking. The aim is to find out what you are like as a person and your communications skills.

    Top tips from the panellists:

    • Check what else is in view of the camera e.g. remove the picture of you and your friends at a Halloween party, lock up the cat etc.
    • Dress smartly
    • Find a quiet place, but not too quiet that you are inclined to whisper.
    • Try to look directly at the camera and not at the ‘thumbnail’ of you.
    • It is acceptable to jot down key points during the preparation time and refer to the paper during your answer – but avoid reading from the notes like a script.

    Online testing:

    Two of the panellists – from PwC and The Bank of England – stated that their company uses some online testing that may include numerical, inductive (sometimes called logical reasoning) or verbal reasoning tests, work style preference questionnaire, or a personality test.

    Top tips from the panellists:

    • Don’t lie or second guess yourself on the latter two – they are there to help the company work out a ‘best fit’ for you regarding departments.

    Five Top Tips for applications:

    1. Don’t copy and paste information off the website for your application.
    2. We know what we do – show us why it interests you and discuss how you would be a good asset.
    3. Take opportunities offered – reply to e-mails that offer you information, meetings or chats.
    4. Be specific to the firm you are applying to – show a genuine interest.
    5. Research! How can you show motivation about something you know little about?

     

    Asking for Reasonable Adjustments for a Health Condition or Disability

    By UCL Careers, on 9 May 2018

    Disclosing your health condition consists of two parts of a conversation: the disclosure itself and the request for support. Often, they take place at the same time, so it’s good to be prepared for a conversation regarding your needs. By ‘need,’ we mean what reasonable adjustments employers can make for you.

    In case you haven’t read previous blogs, reasonable adjustments are provided by employers to mitigate any barriers in employment you might face as a result of your health condition.

    What are reasonable adjustments? ACAS says, “Reasonable adjustments remove or minimise disadvantages experienced by disabled people. Employers must make reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled people are not disadvantaged in the workplace. They should also make sure policies and practices do not put disabled people at a disadvantage.” In simple terms, reasonable adjustments are put in place, so that you can perform the role just as effectively as anyone else.

    The word reasonable, as in ‘reasonable adjustments’ is interesting here, as what is reasonable in one environment, may be different in another.

    So, what can you to prepare yourself for this aspect of the conversation?

    What might you struggle with?

    Think about the research you’ve done into the role you are applying to. If there are aspects of the environment or of the role which may adversely impact your health, e.g. working long hours, then write this down.

    Reflect and research

    Prioritise each one – are there any issues that you are minor? Are there any that really trouble you?

    There are two factors here: what you will do to manage your condition at work, and what your employer can do to support you. Whilst the emphasis in this blog is more about the latter, how you manage yourself currently can also help you.

    For example, you may have observed facets of your condition that have affected your performance in your qualification, and consequently you have adapted the way that you work or sought support. Knowing what works or doesn’t work provides really useful knowledge to feed into the conversation. Sometimes, however, you need to be in the actual job and environment to know how you can manage your condition, which is when reaching out may be worthwhile.

    Against each of the areas of work you have written down that concern you, add a potential solution, using your experience as above, or researching what has helped others (see Resources section).

    How will I say it?

    Having prioritised your areas of concern, draw the employer’s attention to your main concerns, but offer one or two solutions for each. The conversation should be fluid and also positively reinforce your strengths, and what you love about the role. Emphasise how much more effective you’ll be with this support.

    Your research will help you stay in control of the conversation however as it is a conversation, the employer may have their own suggestions, using prior knowledge.

    Pre-empting questions or concerns

    It’s worth spending some time thinking about any questions the employer might have. They may be concerned about the cost involved in supporting you with specialist equipment but some reasonable adjustments, e.g. adjusting working hours, may be of very little cost. Remind them also of the Access to Work scheme, which may also provide funding for equipment.

    Some of your approach to this conversation is about confidence and attitude. Often, we feel guilty about asking for things before we’ve even started working and before the employer has seen what we are capable of. However, you are your best expert. The key is to reach a solution that means you will perform at your best, without compromising your health.

    At UCL Careers, we’re more than happy to talk through disclosure with you, whether you’re confused, have made up your mind or just want to do a simple role play! If you are an Undergraduate, please access UCL Careers Extra appointments; if you’re a postgraduate, feel free to book any UCL Careers one-to-one appointment and we’ll give you a steer.

    Article written by Careers Consultant, Carla King: carla.king@ucl.ac.uk

    Resources:

    Dyslexia related reasonable adjustments

    Advice and guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission

    Reasonable adjustments examples from the Equality and Human Rights Commission

    Advice from the UK Government

    Advice for employers

    Telling Future Employers about Non-Visible Health Conditions: The Disclosure Conversation

    By UCL Careers, on 6 May 2018

    Having the disclosure conversation can be nerve-wracking but if you’re prepared, you will have the extra confidence and control you need, ensuring the focus is on the impact and your needs.

    Before preparing, ask yourself the following:

    • Do I have to tell my employer? (see previous blog)
    • Why do I want to tell them? (is this out of obligation or will be helpful to you?)
    • How do I feel about telling them? (whatever emotional response this elicited is very normal)

    Having a plan

    Having a disclosure plan for the conversation helps you keep the things you want the employer to concentrate on. There is also a bit of reflection and research you can do to support your plan.

    When will I tell the employer?

    This could be at application stage, at interview, before a test, after the job offer is made, when you’re in the workplace. When you disclose is entirely dependent on how comfortable you feel disclosing at any of these stages. It may be worth listing pros and cons to help you decide the timing.

    Where will I tell them?

    Think about what the conversation might look like. Will you speak to someone on the phone or will you do this in person? If the conversation is not face-to-face, how might this change what you want to say? E.g. how much time will you have with them?

    What will they say?

    Pre-empt questions or concerns. Think about how you might deal with a reaction. Two big questions they will likely have are:

    • How will this affect your work?
    • What support will you need?

    How will they react?

    There are two things to remember here – they are human and may react in a way you didn’t expect, and also that you have had time to absorb this information for a while, however they might need time to take it all in. Equally, of course, they may not react at all and take the information in their stride.

    What will I say?

    As the mainstay of the conversation, keep it positive. Remind them of what you do really well and, concisely, tell them about how you currently manage your condition at university. Highlight areas of work that might impact your condition, then focus on what support you can both put into place to help you do your job the most effectively. Think about what your employer might do to help you – are there any physical changes to your desk? Is there something about your working pattern that might help? Think about ways of working you can bring from university or what you found helped you. You can make clear whether or not this would be open information or if you would like things kept private and confidential. Remember, this is not only about what you can do, but also that employers have a duty of care to take away barriers in the workplace that exist because of your condition. They do this by providing reasonable adjustments (more in the final blog).

    How will I say it?

    Keep the conversation flowing and factual. Focus only on aspects that are relevant to the role.

    How will I ask for support?

    Once the information part of the conversation is over, if you feel this is the right time, you can move on to your needs: things that will help you integrate and help you to do your job effectively. This is the research bit – once you’ve identified areas in which you’ll need support, do some research on the sorts of things others have found very useful.

    Use your resources

    At UCL Careers, we’re more than happy to talk through disclosure with you, whether you’re confused, have made up your mind or just want to do a simple role play! If you are an Undergraduate, please access UCL Careers Extra appointments; if you’re a postgraduate, feel free to book any UCL Careers one-to-one appointment and we’ll give you a steer.

    Article written by Careers Consultant, Carla King: carla.king@ucl.ac.uk

    Resources:

    Equality Act & Human Rights Commission Contact: 0808 800 0082

    Disability confident employers registered with the Department for Work and Pensions

    Workplace adjustments: Equality Law

    Deciding Whether to Disclose Your Non-Visible Health Condition to a Future Employer

    By UCL Careers, on 3 May 2018

    The thought of disclosing your health condition or disability to someone you don’t know can seem quite daunting. ‘Disclosure’ – the very word denotes secrecy, something official.

    Man looking at computer screen

    The Equality Act 2010 states that in order to be covered by the Act, a health condition must be long-term and substantial, and impact your daily activities. Because of this, the Act covers everything from a reading and learning difficulty to chronic and terminal illness. Generally, there is no legal obligation to disclose your condition to an employer, although there are a few exceptions to this rule.

    If you’re unsure whether your condition is covered, or whether you’re obliged to disclose, do some research (see the Resources section below): are you covered under the Act? Do you have to disclose for the role you’re going for? When do you disclose?

    Once you’re more informed about where you stand legally, you’re likely to still have some reservations as to what to do next, particularly if your condition may not be immediately obvious. In fact, you may be tempted not to say anything. The following may help you in your decision-making.

    If you’ve read this far, you’re probably concerned about the consequences of telling an employer about your condition. Essentially, you would be passing sensitive information to someone else. You won’t know how they’ll react, what they’ll do with this information or how they’ll perceive you. It’s completely natural to feel this way. Appreciating that there are employers that don’t deal with disability in the fairest of ways, we also know there are many that do. You’ll have to have some leap of faith in this scenario, however you also have something else on your side: the Equality Act.

    Employers have a duty of care to take away barriers in the workplace that exist because of your condition. They do this by providing reasonable adjustments (more in another blog). The Act kicks in from the moment you come into contact with the employer in a recruitment process right through to leaving a job. However, you won’t be covered unless you disclose.

    We’ll deal with reasonable adjustment in our final blog, however some reasonable adjustments don’t cost much and make the world of difference in helping you manage your condition in the workplace.

    You’re probably concerned about who the employer will tell. If they are a medium or large organisation, and depending on who you are disclosing to, they’re likely to have an HR Manager, who will likely be the first person they’ll inform. The senior manager may also be told. They tend to be the only exceptions. You have the right to ask for confidentiality. This means you can control the flow of information and can tell colleagues if you want to.

    Moreover, by telling the employer, you’re taking control of the information they receive about your condition and about the way this impacts you. If your condition worsened or your performance were affected and then you chose to disclose, a later disclosure may damage some of the trust you have worked so hard to build. Transparency with your managers may build trust and creating this partnership can be very enabling.

    Woman writing at desk

    It’s also natural to worry about how an employer will perceive you when they learn about your condition, particularly if you strongly feel that it does not have a bearing on your capability to do the job. The reality is that if you’ve been offered an interview or receive a job offer, the organisation deems you to have potential to, or already be capable, of performing the role.

    You may also have concerns about being treated differently because of your condition. Let’s turn this around slightly by using an example. If you are dyslexic and would perform effectively in a psychometric test by being given more time, then this would be crucial to your succeeding to the next stage of the recruitment process. In this case, it would be about removing obstacles to ensure you are on a level playing field with other candidates. So, it’s not about giving you an extra advantage; it’s actually about giving you the same opportunity as everyone else.

    If you’re apprehensive about particular aspects of doing the job, we’ll look at preparing the disclosure conversation in the next blog.

    I’d like to leave you with these questions, which I hope will help you hone your decision:

    • If you tell your employer about your condition, what is the worst that can happen? What will you gain/ lose? How would this affect you?
    • What would happen if you didn’t tell them? How would this affect you?
    • What is holding you back from telling them? What would make you feel more comfortable?

    Whatever your decision is right now, build in some flexibility as you may want to disclose in the future. At UCL Careers, we’re more than happy to talk through disclosure with you, whether you’re confused, have made up your mind or just want to do a simple role play! If you are an Undergraduate, please access UCL Careers Extra appointments; if you’re a postgraduate, feel free to book any UCL Careers one-to-one appointment and we’ll give you a steer.

    This is the part one of series of three articles regarding disclosure. The next two deal with the disclosure conversation and requesting reasonable adjustments.

    Article written by Careers Consultant, Carla King: carla.king@ucl.ac.uk

    Resources:

    Video on the benefits of disclosing

    Video on the Pros & Cons of disclosing

    Equality Act & Human Rights Commission Contact: 0808 800 0082

    Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) helpline Contact: 0300 123 1100

    Focus on Management 2018 is now open – APPLY NOW!

    By UCL Careers, on 13 April 2018

     

     

    Taking place on Tuesday 5th & Wednesday 6th June, this year’s Focus on Management course is now accepting applications.

    If you want to…

    • Tackle a variety of real-life business challenges through case studies
    • Gain commercial awareness from some of the top graduate employers
    • Network with various graduate employers and managers from their departments
    • Begin the transition from university student to working professional

    … then Focus on Management 2018 is the course for you!

    Focus on Management is a two-day course packed full of activities, which will give you an interactive and rewarding immersion into the world of business. Your team-working, problem-solving and presentation skills will be put to the test. You will work in teams, facilitated by a team manager, on business case studies from graduate employers.

    You will have the opportunity to meet and learn from different companies, including Amazon, the Civil Service and GSK. More organisations to be announced soon. Previous years have included PwC, P&G, Capco, Wellcome Trust, ICAEW and WaterAid.

    See what students said about the course on YouTube

    Go to http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/focus for more details and application instructions

    If you are interested in this course, you may also be interested in graduate opportunities available from our sponsor Amazon. In particular, their Leadership Development Programme is suitable for aspiring managers. Once you complete Pathways, all kinds of opportunities open up for you across the full Amazon ecosystem, including Retail, Kindle, AWS (web services), and more.

    Previous Pathway graduates are now:

    • Directors of Fulfillment Centers
    • Speciality businesses, such as Prime Now
    • Customer Service Directors
    • Senior Managers of Transportation Optimisation
    • General Managers

    But of course, as a global ever-evolving company they have numerous opportunities throughout Europe across their operations, corporate to technology business areas. See below chart for both graduate programmes and internships available in Europe.

    Working in the Charity sector: A few tips and insights

    By UCL Careers, on 11 April 2018


    The average person can spend up to 90,000 hours working during their lifetime. That is a lot!

    So it would certainly be “nice” if this was something we enjoyed and it had a social mission attached to it. Traditionally, this falls within the realms of charities/ NGOs/ non-profits. Commonly referred to as the “third sector” – the other two being the private sector and public (government) sector.

    However, ultimately, all sectors are serving society and communities in one-way or the other. With the advent of business models of social entrepreneurship the lines between sectors is getting blurry. Therefore deciding our role as a contributing member of society often gets more difficult. Below I share some tips on how to make this easier.

    What concerns me?
    The time spent at university is formative. We join societies, take various academic courses and can (hopefully) begin to see what is the difference we want to make in the world. Is it environmental?, Perhaps race-related issues? Or maybe, animal-welfare?,  Or a little bit of both. Studying geography during my undergraduate I began to see my main concern was the interaction of humans and nature and, more precisely, the role we play in shaping nature.

    Be part of the discussion
    A great way to transition from academic to the practical is by attending events and seminars. Maybe even engaging in debate and to see what is being said and challenging viewpoints. For me, joining Twitter (in 2010) was quite a game changer.  I was able to follow organisations and people around the globe and navigate my way around conflicting schools of thought. Particularly when it came to overseas work, environmental impact and efficiency (or lack of) within the charity sector.

    A few highly recommended accounts to follow would be:

    @whydev https://twitter.com/whydev?lang=en committed to getting aid and development work right
    @NPRGoatsandSoda  https://twitter.com/NPRGoatsandSoda Global Health and development blog
    @ThirdSector_Hub https://twitter.com/ThirdSector_Hub Information and think pieces about the UK Charity Sector
    @CharityClarity https://twitter.com/CharityClarity_ for information and think pieces about the UK Charity Sector

    Volunteer/ Freelance
    So you have attended seminars, actively followed and tweeted, maybe even engaged in an online discussion. What now? How to get some hands-on experience?  If the summer holidays are coming up- your best bet would be to volunteer.

    Yes, It can be a classic chicken and egg scenario (we need a better analogy for these vegan times). But you might feel your CV seems like it is lacking some experience, so who is going to take you on? Here is where approaching smaller charities directly will help. You can even start by volunteering at your local charity shop. Most of them are run 100% by volunteers.

    By approaching small charities you (1) ease their burden by committing a few months (2) can see a project to completion and build up your CV. What is imperative here is commitment. Small charities make up 82% of all voluntary organisations in the UK. However; they have few resources at hand and trustworthy, local individuals are invaluable to them.

    Here is a great report showing how small charities are more adaptable and instrumental in localised change. (access the report)

    After I completed my degree I volunteered and did a various freelance projects at a number of organisations. I picked up skills on: fundraising, donor-database management, filming and editing videos and lastly, writing impact reports.

    What am I good at? What now?
    Which brings me back to being a bit introspective- figuring out what you are good at? What did you enjoy most from the volunteering and actively pursing that.

    I realised two things (1) I wanted to do something within the NGO sector and (2) I wanted it to be related to what I had studied- primarily agriculture and climate change. However, I was also interested in NGO accountability and transparency. So I needed an organisation committed to this.

    I was warned this is quite niche and perhaps difficult in terms of professional mobility. However, to stick by my choices, I moved back to my parents’ home to save on rent and also did various retail jobs and paid freelance work to support me.  Through twitter I found an excellent book project to work on and in 2014 our book, Sustainable [R]evolutions was published by North Atlantic Books.

    Keeping yourself challenged?
    Since working at Green Shoots, my role has evolved. Besides working on an agriculture skills project, I now also manage a healthcare program in Myanmar. Working in charities, especially small charities, offers flexibility and we are able to stay challenged by taking on new things.

    That should be a relief if we are going to spend 90,000 hours working!

     

    Museums Forum

    By UCL Careers, on 1 March 2018


    Panellists

    Dr Danielle Thom – Curator of Making at the Museum of London (previously at V&A)

    Jack Ashby – Manager of the UCL Grant Museum of Zoology

    Stephanie O’Neill-Winbow – Family and Community Learning Officer at the London Transport Museum


    The Museums Forum was held on the 16th November, as part of the Museums and Cultural Heritage Week. The three speakers were working in various roles and at different stages of their career, and as such, there were a range of interesting ideas and views expressed.

    The panellists shared what they consider to be the most interesting and rewarding aspects of their role. Danielle, from the Museum of London, spoke about physically and emotional connecting with the past, like that time she held Michelangelo’s thumbprint. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, engaging the public seemed to be something enjoyed by all; helping someone or indeed whole families see what they see and so connect with the past.

    Stephanie shared some of the understanding she tries to impart to visitors. The London Transport Museum is not solely about transport. London has been shaped into the city it is today is because of transport. Hence, the museum is communicating the social history of London, contributing to one’s understanding of London’s development. But it’s not all about the past. Interestingly, for a museum of zoology, the Grant’s main aim is more contemporary than one may appreciate at first glance. As a university museum a primary role of the Grant Museum is to make UCL’s academic research relevant and enjoyable to the public, for example various art exhibitions interpreting current research.

    Whether past or contemporary, they also enjoy applying their creative skills as they adapt displays or create exhibitions for the public. Museums are reliant on visitors for their continued existence, and so there is an increasing need to be creative and develop new practices in their public engagement. This experimentation and subsequent learning can be very exciting. A word of warning from Danielle though; the work of a curator can be quite menial at times (crawling through cupboards, carting trolleys, etc.) so be prepared to get stuck in.

    It was suggested that the difference between those who get jobs in this area and those who don’t relates to understanding the reason why museums do the activities they do. Through some work experience one can easily learn how to write documentations, labels, school workshops, how to deliver family learning sessions etc, but an applicant needs to demonstrate an understanding of the reason and strategy behind the display or event. So when you are next visiting a museum think about why the museum chose to organise and communicate this material, and not another, in the way they did. Don’t be afraid to ask someone in the museum.

    There were further important messages around transitioning into a substantive position. Stephanie shared her challenges in securing permanent employment. While volunteering she demonstrated her determination and her ability, “if something needed to be done, I’d do it”, and so the organisation advised her to become a freelancer. There were no permanent positions but they could hire her for projects. This was not what she wanted, but she tried it out. She started out delivering school sessions, but after a time was running the whole family programme. She believes this ‘jump’ in level of role was solely down to going freelance. She believes it would have taken her years longer to get to the same level if she had of secured a permanent position from the beginning. From this experience, she was able to gain a part time role that led directly to a full-time permanent position. Danielle suggested that one should thread the fine line between being flexible and strategic. Don’t get so narrow in your specialism that you lose the ability to be a generalist. Don’t be too niche and so close opportunities off. Equally, if you don’t have a particular area of expertise think carefully about how you will position yourself. Perhaps this could be supplemented with by some experience communicating or educating the public in art, history, and so on. PhDs are not generally a prerequisite but can help (showing motivation and research skills), however you may end up working in an area outside of your topic of study. Danielle suggested that museums with more of an art focus, compared to social or scientific focus, tend to expect applicants to hold a PhD.

    Leicester museums job desk which is updated on a Thursday afternoons was highlighted as the best job site for this area of work.

     

    Working in the Arts Forum

    By UCL Careers, on 1 March 2018

     

    Panellists

    Victoria Hogg – Co-Founder, Duck Duck Goose Improv

    James Baskerville – Junior Specialist, Christie’s

    Jo Knox – Learning Assistant, Royal Academy of Arts

    Jenny Cooper – Freelance Arts Facilitator

    Daniel Slater – Head of International Collection Exhibitions, Tate

    Dr Marquard Smith – Programme Leader, MA Museums & Galleries in Education, Department of Culture, Communication & Media, UCL Institute of Education

    Bryan Cooney – Director of: Exhibitor/Marketing/Brand/Sponsorship/Guests, MCM London Comic Con 

    The Working in the Arts Forum was held on the 14th November as part of the Museums and Cultural Heritage week. Seven speakers from various different roles in the Arts came to give students an overview of how they started out in their field of work, how their work has progressed and general helpful tips of how to get in to the industry.

    The panellists discussed that it is advantageous to always make the most of all opportunities that you find come your way. The first job that you may find may be a volunteering role (an example) at a small local gallery once a week. Be flexible and open to the possibility of working a part time or internship job with a job that you find less interesting to pay the bills. This opportunity may lead in time to a full time position in an industry or employer that you are keen to work for. The panel also discussed that volunteering may prove problematic for students who financially are unable to volunteer full time to gain experience. Part time volunteering was suggested. It was also discussed that the first role found may not necessarily be a role that is a first choice, however it may get students in to the industry, gaining experience and meeting people who may in the future higher for roles that maybe of interest.

    All of the panellists agreed that networking was a great way to expand opportunities, be it online or networking face to face. Opportunities may present themselves at the time or through a connection that students have made by building relationships. Using tools such as social media. Twitter was discussed as good way of keeping up to date with events within companies.

    It was discussed that it is easy to become deflated, especially at the beginning as students may receive no responses to opportunities that they have applied for. Keeping up persistence and knowing that they may not be successful immediately in the beginning. Discussions were also given to knowing how crucial it is to know the sector. There is no excuse for not knowing this in 2017. The internet is a huge resource.

    The panel discussed the need to be proactive. If students are not sure about how to apply, finding out by contacting the place of interest. When applying think about using any transferable skills that may have been accumulated already, such as any work or volunteering, even if you think it is not relevant to the job that you are applying for. Skills will have been built throughout university such as, leading on projects, teamwork and communication skills.

    The panellists then discussed that some people are lucky, they know what they want to do. Many people are not sure. Learning is the key, learn what you like. If you are not sure what you like, try a variety of different options. Some of the panellists discussed that they did not know what they wanted to do after leaving university. It was discussed and advised that it is really advisable to think about what you are good at, what are your best skills? One panellist discussed that he had no plan when he left university and that he spent his first year of work doing everything for experience, working in galleries, internship, working manual labour.

    Closing thoughts were be strategic, try to plan, pursue what you love.  Finding out what you love and figuring out how to get money from it. Every job you do is a pathway, everything will help, be adaptable to situations. Thinking outside the box, thinking and talking about art and creative ideas even when you are not at work.