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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    Please read our Guest Blogger Policy

  • Insights from the ‘UCL Careers: Insights into Publishing’ event

    By UCL Careers, on 4 January 2019

    UCL Careers recently hosted a panel event around getting into publishing and understanding what a role in the industry involves. Here’s what our panellists had to say:

    Hannah Ray, Editorial Director at Macmillan Children’s Books

    ‘Editing means different things in different companies. My role as Editorial Director is around 30% creative and 70% business-focused – such as costing and selling strategies. Highlights include having the opportunity to work with both established authors and new talent. Challenges include working to deadlines when there are so many people involved – such as when people get sick and there are many people waiting for the book.’

     headshot of Hannah Ray
    headshot of Allie Collins

    Allie Collins, Editor at Bloomsbury Sport/Freelance Editor

    ‘When you work freelance, you have more control over your own time and projects. Conversely, working in-house means you get to see books through from start-to-finish. Sometimes a challenge as an editor is managing authors’ expectations – such as the design of the front cover –  so often you need to act as a mediator.’

    Tom Atkins, Freelance Proof-reader  

    As a freelance proof-reader you come in at the end and cast a slow lengthy glance over the proof pages – so you get to work with paper and pencil! It is great if you love spotting flaws – like spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes and any minor plot inconstancies. Working freelance can be lonely though, and you don’t have guaranteed work or a pension – not to mention that you have to do your own tax returns!’

    headshot of Tom Atkins
    headshot of Ella Kahn

    Ella Kahn, Literary Agent at Diamond Kahn and Woods

    As a literary agent you are at the beginning of the process – essentially a manager for authors. You may work with a range of publishing houses – both large and small. You often will meet editors for coffee and lunch to build up a picture of what they are currently looking for in a commission. It is both a sales and editorial role and you have a close relationship with the authors you represent – often being both a nanny and a lawyer for them. You might get over 50 submissions from authors a week, but only take on 1-2 people a year. Highlights include working with authors and championing them to get the recognition they deserve. Challenges are dealing with rejection – on both sides. You have to handle turning people down and getting turned down by publishers.’

    Top ten tips on getting into publishing

    1. Have passion: this is a very competitive industry. Everyone’s CV is impressive, so tailor your cover letter and light up when you talk about the industry in your interview. It is not enough to say ‘I love books’ and don’t have an overly romantic view of the industry – there is a lot of business to it such as profit and loss. So show you have negotiation skills and that you can use an Excel spreadsheet. Communication and relationship-building skills are also vital. Show transferable skills.
    2. Understand the importance of networks: start to meet people now, whether this is professionals or peers also pursuing this industry.
    3. Do your research: when applying to publishing houses, learn about the books they publish – look at things like Amazon rankings and understand the different genres.
    4. Ask insightful questions at interviews: good examples include “What is coming out soon?” “Which books are you most excited about publishing in the next year?”.
    5. Be aware of current trends: Know who the big authors in your genre of interest are.
    6. Consider taking a job in a department that is not your first choice: once your foot is in the door you might be able to change departments.
    7. Follow key people on Twitter: try searching hashtags such as: #askagent #askapublisher and #ukya
    8. Want to work freelance? you might want to start in-house as it is very rare editors will work with freelancers they don’t know. You can start doing freelance work on the side.
    9. An MA in publishing can be useful: it gives you a great overview of the different areas, but it is not a pre-requisite, as publishing is trying very hard to be inclusive. If you want to do a professional course, ensure it is an industry recognised one.
    10. Keep going! Be resilient and thick skinned – you will get interviews. Learn from interviews you fail at and ask for feedback and put it into practise.

    Want to learn more?


    Environment and Sustainability Week coming soon

    By Weronika Z Benning, on 1 February 2016

    If you’re passionate about the environment, UCL Careers’ Environment and Sustainability Week from 8th Feb is a must.

    Whether you’re looking for a volunteering position while you study, want to find out more about how to work in conservation and biodiversity, or are keen to develop your networking skills to break into this competitive sector, there’s an event for you. As well as the chance to meet a really diverse range of professionals, from Green Alliance to the National Geographic Wild, we’re also very fortunate to have Forum for the Future coming in to deliver a practical workshop on System Innovation, so you can get stuck in to solving some of the greatest sustainability challenges.

    For those of you who know you want a career that benefits the planet but aren’t yet quite sure what that might look like, our Green Careers Discovery Evening on Tuesday 9th February offers a lively and dynamic introduction to a whole range of different areas of work via group speed-networking. With organisations such as the Department for Energy and Climate Change, Mott Macdonald and Ofgem represented, this is a great chance to get to know people working in exciting environmental roles and hear their tips for how you can launch your career in the sector. We’re even offering a workshop on networking skills the day before to help you make the most of this valuable opportunity. And once you’re ready to apply, you’ll want to make sure your CV is up to scratch, so we’re putting on a workshop to help you see your CV through the eyes of the environmental sector employer.

    So what are you waiting for? Sign up and find your path to a fulfilling career in sustainability. Places are strictly limited so early booking is recommended.

    The SPRINT development programme for female students sponsored by RBS and Microsoft is back

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 21 May 2015

    SPRINT is a bespoke programme designed to support the professional development of women at the early stages of their career.

    Across 4 action packed days, you will learn how to:

    • Use your personal power
    • Use assertiveness positively
    • Build your image, networking skills & confidence
    • Enage with inspiring role models & industry professionals
    • Gain access to a network of mentors and peers to keep you on track to achieve your goals.

    dates: 15th, 16th, 18th June and 10th September 2015

    UCL graduate, Clemency Sherwood-Roberts (BA Anthropology, 2013) took part in the SPRINT Programme in July 2014. Read what she has to say about the benefits of the programme below. Find out more and apply via your MyUCLCareers account by 9am Thursday 28th May 2015.

    Why did you apply to the SPRINT programme?
    The SPRINT Programme stood apart from any previous career events I had attended whilst at university because it did not just focus on the classic topics of networking, CVs and matching skills to jobs. It also looked at personal and professional development through looking at being a woman entering the workplace, focussing on how to stand out and define yourself individually through the beginning stages of a career.

    What was your highlight from the programme?
    The Home Group. Before the course had even begun you were sat next to a group of like-minded young women who would support you and each other through the four days and beyond. Your own little network created immediately, so pick where you sit wisely!

    What did you gain from the programme?
    The largest gain I took away from the SPRINT Programme was a sense of perspective on who I am as a potential recruit. I was able to assess what I have achieved so far, what I can offer professionally and can utilise certain tools to effectively and successfully progress with this knowledge. I can revisit these tools over and over through the years, from basic prioritisation methods to dealing with different types of people who will cross my path.

    Why would you recommend it to other students?
    I did the SPRINT Programme having already spent a year in employment and it was still able to offer me so much. I struggle to see any reason why a female under/postgraduate wishing to progress into a corporate/commercial career should not do this programme. People pay hundreds in the work-force for training that matches the quality of SPRINT. On top of that, you also hear other women’s career stories. Each day there is the opportunity to learn from a mentor from one of the sponsoring companies. To have such insight and exposure whilst still an undergraduate, with so much opportunity still available to you, is truly invaluable.

    Find out more and apply via your MyUCLCareers account by 9am Thursday 28th May 2015.

    Focus on Management 2015 – APPLY NOW!

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 17 March 2015

    Do you….

    > Want to develop the vital skills you need to stand out in the workplace?

    > Want to learn how to handle a case study and gain commercial awareness?

    > Want to improve your understanding of management?


    Apply for UCL Careers’ Focus on Management 2015 course!


    This year GSK ,a leading global healthcare company, is sponsoring and contributing to the course. GSK actively recruit talented UCL students to help their business develop innovative products across pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer healthcare. Get your applications in by Wednesday 8th April 2015.


    What will I do during Focus on Management?

    Focus on Management is a 3 day course (10th – 12th June) 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 as you work in small groups to crack a range of business challenges.


    • Day 1 prepares you for the upcoming employer-led cases studies by focusing on management essentials, team work and skills you need to stand out in the workplace


    • Over Days 2 and 3 you work in teams, facilitated by a team manager, on business case studies from four major graduate employers. The team managers, from a variety of organisations, will trial different managerial styles over the two days giving you the chance to observe what is most effective.



    You will get plenty of opportunities across the three days to meet and learn from different companies. Last year included contributions from P&G, Capco, Civil Service, PwC, Wellcome Trust, ICAEW and WaterAid.


    See what last year’s students said about the course:

     How do I apply?


    For further information and to apply for a place, click http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/focus. The deadline is Wednesday 8th April 2015 11:59pm. We can only accept applications online; if a disability means you need the form in a different format please contact UCL Careers (careers@ucl.ac.uk).


    Demand for this course is high and we receive many more applications than there are places, so take care when completing the form.

    The Global Citizenship Employability Programme is open for bookings!

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 23 February 2015

    On Friday 20th February UCL’s Global Citizenship Programme launched, and undergraduates across UCL will be able to register to take part in one of the different programmes taking place from 1-12 June.

    What is Global Citizenship?

    Global Citizenship is UCL’s initiative to build students who can:

    • look beyond their individual and local interests and see the complexity of an interconnected world
    • understand the nature of the challenges that face that world
    • are aware of their social, ethical and political responsibilities
    • are ready to display leadership and work together to change the world for the better
    • are able to solve problems through innovation and entrepreneurship
    • prosper in a global jobs market that values the skills UCL provides

    It’s made up of 7 different strands to choose from: 4 targeted at first years and 3 more open to 2nd years, penultimates and finalists. The Global Citizenship Employability Programme (GCE), run by UCL Careers, is one of these latter strands – so if you are thinking about what your future may hold beyond UCL, read on!

    What will you gain on the GCE programme?

    UCL Careers Global Citizenship Employability Programme is an exciting and very hands-on 2 weeks. This programme is ideal for students who are interested in having a fulfilling and rewarding career, and who want to prosper in a global jobs market. In many ways the GCE programme is an ‘employability crash course’.

    During the programme, you will take part in interactive workshops helping you to build an effective CV, perform well at interviews and assessment centres, build your network, search successfully for jobs and understand the graduate labour market. Importantly, the programme begins with a full-day dedicated to helping you discover, and articulate, your strengths, which you can then use to help develop your career.

    What else does it involve?

    Programme highlights include:

    • fast-paced speed interviews with a range of employers, arming you with tips from professionals across different industries
    • priority access to more employers at our Jobs Market, most of whom will have live vacancies they want filled!
    • Employer 1:1 coaching on your CV
    • Support to develop a personal action plan that you can take with you, helping you identify key steps you need to take to enter and prosper in a global job market.

    What did people say last year?

    Don’t just take our word for it – check out our video and hear from attendees at last year’s programme and come along to our information session held Friday 27th February in Archaeology LT G06 at 1pm for more information, and to hear some case studies of students who succeeded from last year’s programme. And most of all, be sure to register and come to UCL Careers to pay your £20 deposit to secure your place!UCL Careers Global Citizenship Employability Programme 2015

    Environment week 2015 round up

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 20 February 2015

    This post looks at the events organised by UCL Careers during our Environment Careers Themed Week. If you didn’t manage to attend these sessions, we’ve captured some of the key points we took away to report to you. Our previous blog post also features some tips for getting into the environment and sustainability sector from the UCL Institute of Sustainability.

    The Effective Networking workshop – or ‘Connecting with people who want to talk to you’.

    Right from the first icebreaker, the UCL Careers seminar room was humming with energy and chatter as students threw themselves into task of mandatory mingling. Asked to discuss the benefits and potential barriers to networking, it was clear that while everyone agreed that it was a good way to make inroads into a sector such as the Environment, the idea makes most people weak at the knees.

    Imagining rocking up to a formal networking event, clasping a handful of business cards in sweaty hands, and having to deliver a perfect elevator pitch to a room full of disinterested senior people who have far more important things to do than talk to you, it’s not surprising most people shy away from networking.

    Despite these fears there are many reasons someone at a networking event might want to meet you (finding talent or just getting a chance to talk about themselves for example) – it’s all about asking simple, open questions about their work lives that get them talking.

    The message from this workshop, delivered by Dave Carter of UCL Careers, was that networking doesn’t have to be daunting. Given the number of people who hung around after this workshop chatting, it seems networking can even be fun!

    The Writing a CV for the environment sector workshop

    “If you want to catch a fish, you have to think like a fish”.

    This was the ethos behind the workshop, which gave students an opportunity to see through the eyes of a recruiter when scanning and scoring CVs for a researcher role in the environment sector.

    Under tight time-restraints and with a pile of CVs to sift through, it was very quickly clear what makes a CV stand out, or fall out for a recruiter’s pile:

    Tricks such as using plenty of bullet points, highlighting key skills from the person specification and putting the important information at the top were a winner; while long, wordy paragraphs and irregular formatting were very much considered turn-offs when you had a lot to sift through.

    Finally, it is important to tailor your CV to every job application. Unfortunately, no CV is one-size-fits all!

    The Sustainability Leadership workshop

    Participants at this revolutionary session were thrown straight into the deep end when their first task in groups was to share their burdens and take them out of their metaphorical rucksacks. This involved each participant listening to their peers in turn with respect and patience. Greta Rossi, co-founder of Ākāśa Innovation took our potential future leaders in sustainability on a journey, introducing tools to help them harness their leadership ability. By the end of the session, each group of students had connected with each other in a meaningful way.

    The Case Study: The London Olympics – The Green Games

    Richard Jackson, Head of Sustainability at UCL shared his tips for ensuring that sustainable initiatives run throughout an enormous event such as the London 2012 Olympic Games.

    1. Have clear strategic objectives: these must be in place right at the beginning and you must stick to them – even if plan A does not work – you must ignite plan B in order to meet those green objectives. If a material does not function as planned – can you produce one that does? When your site is audited – you will need to be able to say that you have delivered your objectives.
    2. Get your people energised and inspired about the initiative. A prize as simple to produce as a pin badge for excellent engagement really encourages participation – especially if you have only produced a limited number!
    3. Know your supply chain – every step of the way – be credible
    4. An international event such as the Olympic Games is not the place to TEST innovative energy-saving ideas. Can you factor these tests into a trial part of the site beforehand?

    To find our more information about Sustainability Careers, head on over to Careers Tagged.

    Learn how to ‘Polish your Presence’ at Bloomberg HQ

    By Irrum Ali, on 3 July 2014

    As well as perfecting your CV and interview technique, the next step is to ‘Polish you Presence’ by making sure you’re creating the very best first impression when meeting employers or even after you’ve landed your first job. UCL Careers run events, in conjunction with top employers, which can really take your ‘personal brand’ to the next level. I went along to one of these events to learn more.

    On Friday 30th May, more than 30 UCL students had the opportunity to learn and practice why and how creating a lasting impact is important with a productive morning at Bloomberg Headquarters. The event was a dynamic and interactive mix of sessions, presentations as well as a networking event with real Bloomberg recruiters – an opportunity that proved invaluable to all students whether they were job searching or not.IMG_5461b

    Hosted at Bloomberg’s prestigious and impressive offices in Moorgate, the chance to be in a real-life fast-paced business environment allowed us to get in a professional frame of mind and make the most out of the event. It was a great opportunity to get a glimpse in to corporate life and a flavour of what a large company like Bloomberg has to offer (including plenty of free snacks and coffee as well as a delicious lunch!).

    The morning kicked off with an opportunity to get to know fellow students with an ice-breaker to set the tone for the sessions to come – a few questions about ourselves, job searching and meeting employers to which we all held up coloured cards as our answers. Feeling more relaxed and knowing more about why other students were here, we jumped in to the information-packed three 30 minute sessions presented by Clare Williams, Head of Leadership, Learning and Organisational Development:

    • The Resilience Factor

    The first session focused on the abstract side of job searching and working life; dealing with difficulties is an aspect which many can be unprepared for. We were given tips and tools on how to deal with negativity, anxiety and reacting to adverse circumstances which will prove useful in the future, whether in a job rejection scenario or a tough working situation. Encouraged to think about our reactions to situations, we got under the skin of how we could rewire our beliefs to make ourselves tougher and more resilient.

    • Polished Elevator Pitch

    How do you tell an employer, in thirty seconds, what you’re all about? What you’re good at and what you can offer? We were helped to create our own pitch, with useful pointers and examples of how to ideally sell ourselves to anyone. We even got the chance to trial it out with other students before the lunch networking event and get useful feedback. This was really worthwhile as I created a pitch to use whenever I get the opportunity to speak with employers.

    • Building your Reputation

    The last session tied the above together and described what it means to build a reputation as a good candidate throughout your career. We developed a personal mission statement – something I had never considered – which highlighted strengths, skills and values important to remember throughout my career and useful to put in practice day-to-day. This would be the foundation of our ‘personal brand’ – being authentic to ourselves but conforming to the company or industry we are in.

    After a review of all thIMG_7728ree sessions, we were briefed about using our newly created pitches in the up-coming networking lunch with a small presentation by the HR Manager on how to connect successfully with employers.

    The final hour was a chance to put the morning in practice and chat to a range of Bloomberg employees, from a range of departments, about their job role, their way in and general career tips. It didn’t matter what we were interested in or applying to – it was all useful and relevant! Networking alongside other students, I had the chance to speak to some very engaging, knowledgeable and helpful people and successfully left with a business card!

    Interested in attending? YOU CAN JOIN TOO! Events are free and open to all UCL students and graduates. Take the step to sign up to UCLAlert! and find out about fantastic opportunities, like this, first!

    Summer School 2014: Successful Ways to Job Hunt

    By Irrum Ali, on 20 June 2014

    UCL Careers Employability Summer School ended on Friday 13th June with the chance to celebrate (of course!) and to reflect on an exciting and intense two weeks of events. Over 70 students had the opportunity to take part in a range of interactive sessions, workshops and talks with employers, Careers Consultants and Alumni to really give themselves the competitive edge in today’s global job market.

    All students took part in the crucial component ‘Successful Job Hunting’ which, after a week of tackling practical parts of the process including CVs, applications and interviews, was a great way to hone all they had learnt thus far. Led by four UCL Careers Consultants, it was an opportunity to explore the broad range of job hunting strategies and learn from tackling case studies in an environment where students were encouraged to talk with each other and share ideas.

    What did they learn?Students at UCl Careers Employability Summer School

    • Tips on where to look for jobs and how to go about beginning their job hunt

    From online jobs boards to the hidden jobs market, students leant about the novel and creative places to find jobs and openings. From social media to speculative applications, they then weighed up the pros and cons of each and how accessible they were. In understanding the value of each job search-type they were then able to make an evaluation as to its relevance to them.

    • How to develop a personalised action plan for their own job search

    Through looking at other case studies, it is easier to formulate suggestions about strategy and develop starting points as well as a potential plan of attack. Students also looked at timescales and goals – to really get focused, the importance of a thorough plan, including contingencies, was stressed throughout the interactive exercises.

    • An ability to think in creative ways and try alternative strategies

    The opportunity to discuss thoughts and bounce around ideas with Careers Consultants and other job seekers proved invaluable, with many students suggesting techniques which may have been missed or not considered by others. An almost informal informational interviewing session then took place, it allowed students to reflect on their job hunting strategies and consider what might work and what might need revising if proved unsuccessful.


    Students had an opportunity to continuously discuss ideas and present to other members of their groups for useful feedback. A vital part of any job seekers job search is to talk though ideas – not only does it keep up morale but it gives fresh perspective to previous strategies, especially if it’s not quite as fruitful as hoped. The goal of obtaining a job is rarely as easy or as straight-forward as it seems – there will often be hurdles along the way but with some careful planning as well as consistent and meaningful searching, it can happen.

    Top tips from UCL Careers Consultants:Students at UCL Employability Summer School

    • Do your research
    • Treat job hunting as a job in itself
    • Plan (and have a back-up plan)
    • Network
    • Volunteer or take courses
    • Create a good work/life balance


    And remember: planning, positivity, persistence

    Find out more about the range of events UCL Careers runs throughout the year here: www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events

    Current student or recent graduate? Book in for some one-to-one advice and guidance with a Careers Consultant: www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/students/advice

    Q & A with CIMA Global Business Challenge 2014 UCL Finalists

    By Irrum Ali, on 18 June 2014

    On Friday 13th June 2014, four UCL Students saw off 139 other university teams from across the UK to gain third place in the CIMA global business challenge UK final – a brilliant success in such a competitive competition. As well as this, the team (consisting of Menghui Wu, Lifeng Ye, Shihui Xu and Hanshuang Shen) also achieved the accolade of ‘Best Team Report’ out of all entrants. A fantastic and inspiring achievement, UCL Careers found out what made the team take part, the skills they’ve picked up both individually and as a team (and used to get so far!) as well as how valuable they thought being involved in a business competition is.

    Could you tell us a little about what you are studying (and how this has helped you during the challenge)?

    All four of us are full-year affiliate students here from the same base university, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. I [Shihui] study Banking and International Finance back in Shanghai and here I’m doing Economics. Lifeng does Finance as well while Hanshuang and Menghui do Accounting. We have a common business-related background but specialise in different aspects, which allows us to see a ‘case’ from different angles and to form a bigger picture together.

    What inspired you to take on the challenge?

    We’ve wanted to do something to sharpen our skills and add some valuable experiences to our CVs (it’s all been very practical!) and a business game seemed like the ideal opportunity. The challenge organiser, CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accounting) is a big organisation of good reputation in the industry and their challenge is always tough but rewarding. So we thought why not!

    Tell us about what the challenge specifically involved and what you as a team have achieved.

    In this challenge, we played the role of a consulting firm to help a client, which is facing several strategic of financial issues. It’s just like a case study, but with more dimensions. In the first round, we were asked to hand in a report and in the UK Final, we did a presentation as well.

    What have you got out of the experience?

    It’s a very good opportunity to get some idea about how to be a good consultant and how to think like a real business leader. We’ve all learnt to think logically, think broadly, and deliver ideas to customers in an authentic environment. It’s especially helpful to those who want to study CIMA. We also got to network with a lot of top professionals during the UK Final.

    Any advice you’d give to students considering taking part?

    First of all, form a reliable and diversified team to help develop ideas from different perspectives, and secondly, put yourself in the client’s shoes to see if your work delivers value to them. For the first round of the competition, the only assessment will be the report you hand in. So make sure it has a clear structure and neat layout.


    Business challenges take place regularly and with UCL Careers you’ll find help and support throughout the competition so you can really make the most out of the experience.

    If you’re feeling inspired, find out more about how to get involved: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/students/skills/competitions


    Come and meet over 40 employers at UCL’s Jobs Market – Monday 9th June

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 3 June 2014

    If you are looking for a graduate job now, or want to get an internship or some work experience this summer, come and meet over 40 employers with jobs, internships and training opportunities who are hiring now!

    We have large employers offering places on their graduate schemes, as well as smaller organisations looking to grow their workforce with graduates and interns. Here are just some of the amazing roles and organisations you will find at Jobs Market:

    • Arcadia Group with opportunities in Finance, Merchandising, Digital and Buying
    • Bartonia Care who combine an entrepreneurial culture with roles in adult social care
    • Capco with places on their associate talent programme in financial consulting
    • Colas Rail with both engineering and fast track management roles
    • KweekWeek with tech start up roles
    • IMS Consulting Group with life science and healthcare consulting roles
    • News Associates with places on their fast track journalism courses
    • PwC with last minute places on their graduate programmes
    • Teach First with places on their teaching leadership programme
    • Willis with graduate roles in insurance and reinsurance

    If you’re looking for graduate level work or experience now, you will find opportunities to suit you at Jobs Market.

    When: Monday 9th June, 2:30 – 4:30pm

    Where: 3rd Floor, ULU Building

    Beat the queues on the day by confirming your attendance now at www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/summerevents