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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    Reflections on Summer School 2014

    By Irrum Ali, on 26 June 2014

    It’s over! UCL Careers has just finished running the two week Employability Summer School as part of the Global Citizenship programme. Taking place over two weeks, from 2 – 13 June, we saw over 70 penultimate and final-year students, from a whole range of different departments, go through the fortnight building upon their skills as well as improving their confidence in the job hunting process. With over 20 interactive events tackling a whole host of topics, it was an intense first-time experience for many – the days were jam-packed with information, guidance and plenty of opportunities to put it all in to practice.

    What did they do?

    Beginning with an ice-breaker to get things going, students kicked off the programme with a day looking at how to connect with employers – a session rounded off with an opportunity to chat with a UCL Alumni panel and network afterwIMG_9961ards. The following day’s workshops focused on CV and applications as well as interview techniques and ended with a chance to speak to start-up businesses at the Small Companies Big Jobs fair. The week was then split in to sessions full of tips on online job searching, psychometric testing, mock assessment centres, post-graduate study and international job hunting with plenty of 1-1 coaching interspersed. Throughout the week, mornings were spent with varied plenaries from Capco and Save the Children which were engaging and insightful.

    Week two followed a differed flavour with a group ‘job searching’ session and an opportunity to put everything they had learnt in to practice at the annual UCL Careers Jobs Market. The students then divided up over the next three days with some attending the case-study-centred ‘Focus on Management’ and others developing strengths-based skills at the ‘Marketing yourself as a Global Citizen’ strand. The last day was dedicated to action-planning and forward thinking as well as a chance to celebrate the past two weeks – rounding out a successful programme of workshops with an HEAR accreditation and a well-deserved lunch.

    What did they build their confidence in?

    On their first day, students took a ‘confidence measure’ which got them thinking about how they felt in regards to their personal situation. With a score of one to five, they marked their self-confidence in:

    • Connecting with employers
    • How to write a good CV
    • Filling out applications
    • How to succeed at interviews
    • How to find relevant jobs
    • Making decisions about their future careers choice

    They then filled this same indicator out on the last day and compared them both – the idea being that they’d hopefully see an improvement from their first day. It is safe to say that there was a huge improvement! Every one of these pointers saw the numbers rocket from a score of around 1-3 to a confidence-inspiring 4-5 by the final day. Proving the value of all they had picked up over the two weeks, students felt that going forward, they were more ready and able to approach the job search armed with the right information and resources, as well as the support of UCL Careers in the months and years ahead.

    Well done class of 2014!

    What did students think IMG_0289of the Summer School?

     “The best course I’ve done at UCL! It has increased my confidence in connecting with employers and finding job that suits my strengths and personality as well.”

    “Enjoyable, interactive and applicable to real life.”

    “Finally someone turned the lights on in a pitch black room!”

    “UCL Careers is a great asset to the university – use it!”

    Want to find out more about this unique opportunity to hone your employability skills? Visit: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/students/skills/summerschool

    Throughout the year we run many events aimed at supporting students and recent graduates in all parts of their job search. Find out more: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/students/skills/calendar

    Clemence Brunet, Assistant Brand Manager, Unilever : UCL Alumni Profile

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 24 April 2014

    “I studied Mandarin at Tsinghua University in Beijing during my gap year before moving to London to complete my Undergraduate degree in Statistics, Economics and Finance at University College London from 2009 to 2012. Having undertaken various marketing internships and having studied a bit of Marketing in my last year at UCL, I secured a place on the Unilever Future Leaders Programme with a focus in Marketing.

    Since joining Unilever in September 2012 I have spent 12 months as the Homecare Assistant Brand Manager in a local marketing role, constantly deepening my knowledge of Unilever brands and the people who use them, and using this level of insight to help develop products’ personalities and bring them to life in the eyes of consumers. I have worked on the launch of new products, looked at sponsorship opportunities for some Homecare brands and planned digital  and TV campaigns to raise awareness and engage with consumers.

    In October 2013, I moved to a global marketing role in Oral Care. This role is all about strategy, deciding where we want to bring the brand in 5 to 10 years and how we will do that. I work on innovations and advertising development at a Global level (working with France, China and Brazil). These roles have provided me with the opportunity to work with iconic brands, develop my leadership skills on a day to day basis, being responsible for key projects, and also experience working closely with colleagues in a number of business areas – from the Supply Chain to Sales and Research  & Development.”

    Unilever are taking part in UCL Careers’ Employability Summer School – a 2 week programme running between 2nd – 13th June. Who is Unilever? We make some of the world’s most loved brands: Dove, Lynx, PG Tips, Sure, Magnum, Persil and Hellmann’s, to name a few. 173,000 employees around the world work to bring them to life. They’re sold in 190 countries, and are used by two billion people daily. We have an impact on lives in so many different ways, from providing food and refreshment to cleaning clothes and washing hair.

    One year on from the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh – Company values matter!

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 23 April 2014

    It’s easy to dismiss the importance of company values; but Saturday, 26th April marked the first anniversary of the tragic Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh.  This led to the deaths of over 1,100 garment workers and serious injuries to many more.Rana Plaza - FT.com

    Modern supply chain management involving product outsourcing in overseas markets may mean cheap clothing on demand but when a company fails to audit its suppliers, the consequences are far more serious than a few pence on the price of a T-shirt or pair of jeans!

    And finding a job in today’s global marketplace doesn’t mean leaving your values behind.  Today’s top employers want graduates with the global mind-set who can demonstrate that acting as responsible global citizens means more than looking after a company’s PR image.

    UCL’s Global Citizenship Summer School has been designed to help you examine how your strengths and values match up to today’s global market.  With the involvement of organisations such as Save the Children and a unique programme making use of the latest tools to help you identify and articulate your strengths to employers.

    UCL Careers Employability Summer School is part of UCL’s Global Citizenship programme.  To REGISTER and find out more click here For more details of the other strands of UCL’s Global Citizenship programme, see: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/global-citizenship/programme

    UCL Alumna Profile: Christina Sparks, Primary Teacher with ARK Teacher Training

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 16 April 2014

     Christina graduated from UCL in 2011 with a degree in English. She is currently training to become a primary school teacher at Reach Academy with ARK Teacher Training. Here, Christina takes some time to talk about her experiences at UCL, how these have helped prepare her for her career, and how she is able to make a big difference with ARK Teacher Training.

    Christina Sparks photoAfter she graduated, Christina worked for a major global investment bank. Between her second and third years of study, she successfully completed an internship with the bank who offered her a job upon graduation. There, she worked as a Document Management Analyst, managing client relationships and contracts. Despite this being an interesting experience, Christina felt that there were other ways in which she’d like to be challenged, including making better use of her English skills.

    Throughout her time at UCL, Christina worked as a student ambassador taking part in school visits and showing students aged between 14 and 18 what life was like at university. It was this experience that first piqued an interest in teaching, especially when she discovered that some children have had a very different experience of education compared to hers. ‘I was always pushed, and we were told that we could be whatever we wanted to be’ she recalls, ‘but it seems that there are a lot of young people out there who aren’t getting that encouragement’.

    She left the bank after a year and joined Reach Academy as a teaching assistant, and this was where she discovered ARK Teacher Training. She had spoken to colleagues about becoming a teacher, and they mentioned ARK’s highly supportive programme. ‘The programme sounded great. It looked really tough, and it is, but the multi-layered support from ARK has been fantastic. I meet with my mentor (also a UCL alumnus) really frequently and get weekly training from ARK’s experts. The course is also academically very rigorous’.

    The rewards are also great: ‘I love teaching primary. There is more fun, more joy in the classroom. It’s an amazing experience when you teach a Year One child to read and they turn round and say “I can’t believe I’ve just read something!”’

    Looking back, Christina recalls UCL’s impact on the success of her teacher training year: ‘my time at UCL prepared me very well for teaching. The emphasis on self-reliance and self-motivation from UCL is vital to teaching and training with ARK, because there is a huge amount to get done and it is very much down to you to sort it. That said, I have had a huge amount of support from ARK, and the excellent mentoring arrangements they have feel similar to the relationships I had with my tutors at UCL.

    ‘My degree from UCL has also equipped me with some useful skills for the classroom and work more generally. We were always encouraged to be inquisitive, and this really helps when dealing with small children since quite often, if something is wrong, they can’t really explain what or why. My self-awareness and communication skills were also really improved by my time at UCL.’

    Christina’s main advice to current UCL students thinking about their careers is to do their research before applying for a role; ultimately it is something they will be doing every day and they should be motivated by the organisation’s mission and ethos. Equally, students should remember that if they outgrow a role, they will have plenty of transferable skills to take forward to a new job or even career, as Christina herself experienced!

    ARKTeacherTraining logoARK Schools is an education charity and one of the country’s top-performing academy operators. Its aim is to create outstanding schools that give every pupil, regardless of their background, the opportunity to go to university or pursue the career of their choice and they are taking part in UCL Careers’ Employability Summer School – a 2 week programme running between 2nd – 13th June.

    Why Employers Helping You with Your Employability Matters

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 10 April 2014

    The activities you will participate in at UCL’s Global Citizenship Summer School are divided between those led by our very own top-notch careers consultants, and guest employers from a variety of sectors. If you’ve attended any Skills4Work events before, you’ll be pretty familiar with why this employer involvement is such  a useful tool. If you haven’t, or you’re still a bit confused about what you’ll get out of this element of Summer School, read on.

    Say you’re a highly motivated student who knows exactly what firm they want to work for. For the sake of a good example, let’s presume you study finance and it’s your dream to work for Barclays. Would you pass up an opportunity to get a personal session with somebody who recruits graduates to work for Barclays, in a totally informal way, and receive feedback from them on your CV and your interview abilities? Of course not – it’s an excellent opportunity and you never know how far impressing the right person at the right time can take you.

    UCL Careers Speed Interviews

    The scenario described above is not, of course, applicable to everyone. Let’s look at another example – say you are serious about your studies and have a good idea of what you want to do, but only vaguely where you want to work. Why not take the totally free opportunity to meet a recruiter from the sector or sectors you’re interested in, who will give you extremely relevant feedback to prepare you for your applying within their industry.

    Who knows— you might even be surprised when you’re a student who just wants some professional feedback— anybody’s professional feedback—and you realise that your skills are quite well suited to an employer that you’d never considered before.

    At Summer School, you will have the opportunity to meet a variety of employers. At the alumni panel, UCL graduates who are now at places like BskyB and Deloitte (and many more!) will answer your questions and tell you about the skills they developed when they were in your position.  At the speed interviewing, you’ll answer competency questions under time pressure to a variety of employers who include Morgan Stanley, GlaxoSmithKline, and LBA Books. You can get your CV checked by employers such as Macfarlanes or Cisco. This is just a glimpse of the sectors and types of employers who will be present – think of the different helpful viewpoints you will be exposed to and the invaluable advice you will receive tailored to your employability.

    To register and find out more about the UCL Careers Employability Summer School as part of the Global Citizenship programme run by UCL, head on over to: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/global-citizenship/programme

    – Weronika Benning, Skills Administrator, UCL Careers

    What is the Global Citizenship Summer School Employability stream?

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 26 March 2014

    Ok, I know what some of you may be thinking. Two weeks? In early June?  What am I going to get out of this? What will be expected of me?  How does this beat spending time with friends, reflecting on the year, or just getting outside after exams?!?!

    If you’ve got your dream job or internship lined up for the summer, then the answer is pretty simple: it may not.  But if you’re wondering what to do next, don’t have any work lined up, and are feeling some dread about what’s to come after your time at UCL – chances are you’ll be feeling that way even if you do spend the first few weeks of June out in the park.

    So why don’t you put that time to good use?  Why not take part in workshops and projects, with a group of like-minded students, learning key skills to help you get a job or internship? If you can’t banish that dread, why not at least harness it to achieve something positive?

    BackgroundInternational Flags

    In today’s job market, getting a good result from UCL will work in your favour. However, a UCL degree alone will not land you the graduate job you want. These days, it is your experience, motivation, skills, and importantly, how you market all of these, which can make the difference between getting a job and having your CV being binned at the application stage.

    So, how will UCL’s Summer School Programme help you?

    Over two weeks, UCL Careers will help you explore and build your skills in various aspects of your career: from planning, to applying, to interviewing, to researching wider issues that will serve you well as you progress onwards from your first job.  Not only will you learn from each other, but you will gain priority access to over 40 employers who are looking to recruit students, now, for paid opportunities.  You will also get 1:1 time with these employers, as well as with a range of experienced careers consultants, giving you feedback and insight into how you are marketing yourself in the world of work.

    So, how will all of this unfold?

    Week One

    Summer School 2013

    In week one we will be breaking down the career essentials, looking at everything from how to plan your career, to how to put together a CV, to how to engage with employers effectively, to how to approach assessment centres.  Some of the key questions we will tackle will be:

    How can I….?:

    • make decisions around career choice?
    • personalise my CV to a specific employer?
    • really use LinkedIn to get jobs?
    • sound credible at interviews?
    • do well on online aptitude testing?
    • stand out from the crowd at assessment centres?
    • really connect with employers?

    We’ll approach these through workshops, team work, plenary speakers from a range of sectors – from the humanitarian field to banking and finance – intensive employer-led feedback, and debriefing sessions with careers consultants.  All of this will prepare you not just for putting this into practice in Week 2, but for your career journey long ahead.

    Week 2

    Jobs Market 2013Week Two will kick off with the Jobs Market, where you will get priority access (ie. first in the queue ahead of all other students) to over 40 employers who have immediate vacancies in 2014.  With the intensive preparation from week 1, you’ll be well placed to have meaningful conversations with them which will hopefully lead to a role for you.

    For the rest of the week, we’ll push you to dig deeper and really test your careers skills.  Working in teams, you will carry out a Labour Market Research project, where you will explore key themes of Global Citizenship,  such as ethics, how to market yourself in an increasingly transnational jobs market, and how to identify companies and sectors at the cutting edge of global workforce.  You will also apply the skills you’ve learned to a wider global picture, and then present back to a panel who will give you intensive feedback, helping build your presentation skills and confidence for when you have to do this in the real world.

    Finally, we’ll end the week with drinks and a chance to unwind before the weekend.

    Register now!

    If that’s not enough to grab your attention, you can also put this on your CV to show employers just how serious you are about your career, and why they should hire you.  Attendance in 70% of these sessions will count towards our HEAR.

    REGISTER NOW – TO SECURE YOUR PLACE YOU NEED TO BRING A £20 DEPOSIT TO UCL CAREERS, ULU Building, 4th Floor.

    Employability Summer School – What is it?

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 18 March 2014

    This week sees the launch of UCL Career’s Employability Summer School which is running as part if the UCL Global Citizenship programme. Between 2nd – 13th June, undergraduates who are either penultimate and finalists are eligible to attend.

    But what is global citizenship?And why is it important to be a global citizen?

    ‘A global citizen is someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices. Such a definition of global citizenship is based on two assumptions […]: (a) that there is such a thing as an emerging world community to which people can identify; and (b) that such a community has a nascent set of values and practices.’ (source: Open Democracy)

    Studying in the heart of London could not be a better way of experiencing a world community; and identifying with a world community is inline with the view of UCL as ‘London’s global university.’

    UCL Global Citizenship Programme

    UCL believe that as well as graduating with a great degree, students should also leave university with the core values of a Global Citizen. For this purpose, the UCL Global Citizenship programme has been established for undergraduate students. The core characteristics of a Global Citizen as set out by UCL are:

    • Creative and critical thinkers
    • Sensitive to cultural difference
    • Ambitious, yet idealistic
    • Highly employable and ready to embrace professional mobility
    • Entrepreneurs with the ability to motivate
    • Prepared to assume leadership roles

    There is a separate programme for first year undergraduates and penultimate and final year applications. The first year undergraduate programme is run centrally by UCL Global Citizenship and the penultimate and final year undergraduate programme has 3 strands one each being run by UCL VSU, UCL Advances and UCL Careers.

    The UCL Careers strand of the programme is focusing on employability. This is suitable for those students who are looking to build on their employment skills. The week will offer a series of events run by both UCL Careers Consultants and graduate employers. Participants will get the chance to build on the skills they need to get through the recruitment process and secure a job whilst looking at the issues facing organisations in today’s global society.

    Taking part in this innovative course will not only enhance your employability skills but will also help to equip you with the attributes needed to work in a global environment and a provide you with a greater understanding of what being a global citizen entails.

    UCL Global Citizenship ProgrammeRegistration for the Employability Summer School is open and places are filling up fast. Register through you ‘My Careers Service’ account and leave a £20 deposit to secure your place. Don’t miss out!

    *Registration for the Focus on Management course is also open. Register through ‘My Careers Service