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7 Signs That You Should Consider a Career in Accountancy

Rachael Richardson-Bullock17 June 2021

Read time: 2 minutes

Written by Tom Bilby, Marketing Executive, The Accountancy Partnership

3 students sitting and talking in front of a whiteboard.

Right, let’s get this straight – being a successful accountant isn’t all about tricky mental maths and crunching numbers.  

Sure, numerical skills are an important part of the role, but there’s more to accountancy than working out percentages without the help of a calculator. 

Fear not though! Attending university means it’s likely you’ve already got an entire arsenal of tools under your belt that should certainly not be overlooked or undervalued.  

Here are 7 signs that a career in accountancy might just be your cup of tea:  

1. You’re strict about hitting deadlines

If ‘deadline-crusher’ is your (double-barrelled) middle name, you’re halfway there already. As an accountant, you’ll be dealing with tight deadlines on a regular basis. Organisation and the ability to prioritise whilst staying cool, calm and collected under pressure are all vital accountancy attributes.

2. You take an analytical approach to problems

When faced with a task or problem, an accountant needs to be able to switch into analytical mode in order to navigate an effective solution. This is something university students are well-practised in thanks to all that lateral thinking and research.

3. You know how to budget and save cash

Were you the envy of your peers for being able to budget your student loan down to the last penny every month? No? Either way, there are lessons there that you now have experience of, whether you’re a budgeting wonder or not. That skill will serve you well when it comes to offering clients advice on how to nurture their cash flow, spend wisely and cut costs efficiently.

4. You ain’t afraid of no test

Ongoing exams come hand-in-hand with a career in accounting but hey, as a (former) student, you must be well-versed in the world of studying and revision by now. If you don’t mind another few years of qualification-chasing, you’ll be just fine.

5. You have Dragon’s Den on series record

Although you might not want to own your own business, it does help to have an entrepreneurial streak, or at least an empathy for it. That way you’ll understand your clients and help them identify ways in which they can grow their own ventures.

6. No mistake flies under your radar

A major part of an accountant’s job is helping clients reduce the risk of errors across their accounts and bookkeeping. So, you’ll need a keen eye for errors and anomalies, and the ability to be proactive in putting them right.

7. You have an endless supply of patience

As an accountant, you’ll spend a fair amount of time communicating with clients about their financial situation and the status of their business. At times, this might be a high-pressure role as clients come to you with stress or worries about money.

Sometimes what is second nature to you can be quite complex to a non-accountant, so when having these conversations, you’ll need to be patient and willing to explain things multiple times if needs be.

You ready for it?

Do some, or all of these, sound just like you? If so, it might be time to start seriously considering hopping onto the very first rung of the accountancy career ladder!

Don’t worry if that ladder starts to wobble, there are plenty of resources and channels of support out there to help you keep your balance and carry-on ascending.

The Accountancy Partnership is an online accounting firm for small businesses. Learn more about our approach to changing the profile of modern accounting!

Share your Talents…with UCL Talent Bank

Joe O'Brien23 February 2021

Read time: 2 minutes

Written by Victoria Abbott, Recruitment & Selection Advisor at UCL Careers.

If you are looking for a job for when you graduate, or an internship for the summer break, try UCL Talent Bank.

UCL Talent Bank is a service run by UCL Careers which matches UCL candidates with opportunities sourced by the UCL Talent Bank team. The team actively source opportunities for UCL students and graduates, and then present applications to employers.

Anytime you submit an application via UCL Talent Bank and are unsuccessful in securing the role, one of our career professionals will provide you with tailored feedback on your application, helping you to develop your application skills and increase your chances of successfully securing a role in the future.

Typically, these opportunities are at Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and include internships, graduate roles, and part time jobs. Plus, all of the opportunities are exclusive to you as a UCL student or graduate, increasing your chances of successfully securing a role!

Keep reading for an exclusive interview with Nasima Bashar, Internships & Vacancies Officer at UCL Careers, who helps organise opportunities for UCL students via the UCL Talent Bank service.

This sounds like an amazing opportunity for students! Can you tell me a little bit more about the process and how students can apply?

Once we advertise the role on myUCLCareers, students can start their application, which typically involves uploading a tailored CV and cover letter. Once the deadline has passed, we review the applications and send the shortlisted candidates to the employer.

Students can apply for as many UCL Talent Bank opportunities as they like and all opportunities on myUCLCareers are paid in accordance with National Minimum Wage legislation.

The employer will then get in touch with any candidates whom they wish to follow up with, and progress to the next stage of the recruitment process.  If students are not invited for an interview, but were shortlisted, we ask the employer to provide feedback on the application and why they chose not to interview on that occasion.

If students are unsuccessful for a role, we can also provide individual and tailored feedback, specifying key areas that can be worked on to ensure improvements ready for the next application.

So how are UCL Talent Bank opportunities sourced compared to other roles that students may find for themselves?

We will actively source opportunities for UCL students and graduates, and present applications to employers on every occasion we possibly can, to ensure students have the best opportunities available to them.

We look for roles that will be of benefit to UCL students in terms of the skill set, support, and general wealth of experience that can be gained from working at each organisation. There are dedicated members of the UCL Careers team who seek roles for specific student groups, including engineering students, PhD and research students, and opportunities which are appropriate for all student levels across all academic disciplines.

It is a great pleasure to source opportunities where students go on to thrive in their roles and really enjoy working within a supportive and engaging workplace.

Fantastic! Are there any additional advantages to be gained from engaging with the UCL Talent Bank service?

A UCL Talent Bank opportunity is typically exclusive to UCL students, but this is not the only benefit of the service. When sourcing an opportunity, we make sure there is a good amount of support in place for our students who successfully secure the role, whether that be a supervisor or mentor who oversees the student.

We also ensure there are specific objectives and outcomes which the student can work towards throughout their time at the organisation and really try to ensure there are real benefits and tangible skills the students will gain from the opportunity.

Employers are very interested in recruiting the best talent, and UCL is the best place to do so. We have over 40,000 students within the University made up of undergraduates, postgraduates and research students and employers are fully aware we have plenty of bright students who meet their organisational needs!

Many UCL students and graduates have benefited from the scheme, which began in 2015. Sarah, UCL BSc Economics alumni, had this to say about the service:

“UCL Talent Bank is a quick and easy way to find fantastic opportunities with SMEs. As a recent graduate I found many relevant, interesting opportunities and the first one I applied for, I got! The job I have now has fast tracked my career and I’ve even started a professional qualification.” 

To begin your UCL Talent Bank search, just log-in to your myUCLCareers account and select UCL Managed Opportunities Scheme list, UCL Talent Bank to view all available opportunities.

 

 

 

5 things to gain from International Development Week

Joe O'Brien18 January 2021

Read time: 3 minutes

Written by Glyn Jones, Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

UCL Careers will be running a series of online events between 1 – 4 February focusing on careers within International Development. The week will kick off with an introductory session, followed by panel discussions throughout the week, giving you the opportunity to hear from professionals working in the industry. These panel events are an excellent opportunity to hear about new career pathways, as well as giving you the opportunity to gain sector insights from people working in the industry.

Below we’ve highlighted 5 things that you will gain from attending events run during the International Development Themed Week.

  1. An introduction to International Development

Throughout the themed week you’ll learn about what working in International Development means and find out what opportunities there are for graduates.

On Monday 1 February, the week will start with an introductory session run by a UCL Careers Consultant. This will provide an overview of International Development as a work sector, and offer advice on how to get the most out of the week. Registration for this talk is now open and bookings can be made through the event page.

  1. Hear from UCL Alumni working in the industry

When thinking about your own career prospects, it can often be beneficial to hear from others and see what pathway they have undertaken. By hearing from UCL Alumni you’ll be getting insights from those who have been in the same position as you and have the opportunity to gain any tips that they may share from their own experiences.

We have numerous UCL Alumni joining us throughout the week, and on Thursday 4 February we have our ‘Connecting with UCL Alumni’ event, which will focus solely on UCL Alumni. To find out more about the event take a look at the event page.

  1. Learn about different career pathways

Our events will offer insights into the range of careers and employers who work in the sector. As well as hearing these first-hand accounts, we will have a session focusing on the different career pathways within the sector. This event will enable attendees to hear about the variety of routes available to graduates, whether these are specific programmes associated with International Development, graduate vacancies or alternative career pathways that can lead to working in the industry.

For further information about our ‘Pathways into International Development’ event, take a look at the event page.

  1. Learn about how the sector has been impacted by Covid 19

Throughout all the events we’ll hear about how the pandemic has changed the work of our panellists and the sector as a whole. Given the huge impact of Covid 19, we’ll also have a dedicated session that will look into how the sector has had to adapt as a result.

Our event on Tuesday 2nd February focuses on International Economic Development and the impact of Covid-19 on the sector. For more information on the event, visit the event page.

  1. Grow your professional network

Throughout our events, you’ll have the opportunity to put your own questions to the experts. Furthermore, for some panellists we will set up individual rooms for speakers at the end of the session, giving you the opportunity to speak directly with panellists. Not only are these opportunities a unique way to learn first-hand about what working in International Development is really like, but you’ll also have the chance to grow your professional network.

For full details of all event hosted throughout the week and how to register for events, please visit the International Development Themed Week webpage.

Ensuring your Digital Footprint Leaves a Good Impression

Joe O'Brien29 May 2020

Read time: 5 minutes

Written by Lee Pike, Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

If a prospective employer is checking you online, think about what they might find.  Have you ever been embarrassed by a social media post you wrote or regretted a photo you were tagged in? The good news is you can, and should, control what recruiters see.

There are approximately 45 million users of social media in the UK in 2020, which equates to approximately two thirds of the population.  Regularly engaging with others is generally seen as positive by employers. It shows you’re tech savvy but also gives prospective employers a more rounded picture of who you are.

With increased recruitment costs averaging £3,400 per person, many prospective employers are using social media to proactively undertake targeted recruitment, predominantly using LinkedIn.  But scarily, many employers are also using someone’s online presence to vet prospective candidates (as well as existing employees!).  Therefore, it’s important to ensure your digital footprint leaves a lasting positive impression.

Thankfully, what you project online is within your control and the way to do this is relatively straight-forward – it’s just realising it’s necessary in the first place. Once you start to manage your digital self, you can make sure that you are presenting a professional but also personal persona.

Steps to managing your online presence

  1. Search for yourself.

The simplest way to start is to use a search engine on yourself (and if you don’t see anything, try searching ‘name + UCL’).  It’s important to not only look at the initial page/subsequent pages of results, but also at the images and videos.

Does what you find worry you?  Put yourself into the shoes of a recruiter – does it worry you now?  Is there anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see?!

Conversely, you may prefer not to have an online presence or your search has zero results. Think to yourself – what might a recruiter think if they see no online presence?  Could it be interpreted to mean you have something to hide? As such, is having no online presence a positive thing?  How might you have an online presence that is positive for a recruiter to see?

Understanding what others can (or cannot) see about you means managing your professional and personal presence is made easier.

If you see something you don’t like or is no longer true for you, can you remove it?  If you see something which someone else posted, ask them to take it down (or contact the owner/administrator if they don’t).

  1. Limit who can see what.

An easy way to limit what others can see is to check your privacy settings. You might decide to limit your ‘fun’ online media so only friends, connections or approved followers can see it, making it invisible to the general public.  Anything negative should be made private (or better deleted).

You might be connected to, and hence associated with, something that is sending out negative or unprofessional points of view.  Remember you can leave certain people/organisations/groups and remove any followers you feel might be detrimental to your online persona.

Untag yourself from photos and avoid any bad language, ill-advised comments or jokes.  Remember, there is no distinction between what you say in real life and what is said online.

  1. Create a positive digital impression.

The great thing is, you can control what people see and there are many ways to do this.  Here is just selection you can try:

  • As it says on their website, ‘LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet.’ Don’t miss out. Use LinkedIn for your professional online presence.
  • Use a professional looking head & shoulders profile picture – people with a profile pic on LinkedIn are 14 times more likely to get clicked on.
  • Be selective about who you follow. Think about that positive message you want to convey and remember, this is a professional network platform, not a social network platform, so don’t simply follow friends.
  • You can try creating an online portfolio such as starting a blog, creating your own website, or design an infographic about your interests and experiences. These can demonstrate your digital and content producing skills.
  • Engage positively in discussions, forums and debates. By taking part you’re expanding your presence and making others more aware of you. You’re also leaving behind positive digital footprint impressions.

Next steps

Why not set aside some time within the next week or so to start this process.  Search for yourself and see what you do (or do not) find.  Think about the results in terms of a recruiter and think – does this represent me in a good way? If not, what actions do I need to take to improve things?

Remember – you are in control of your own online presence. You only have one attempt at making a good first impression – make it count!

Why Startups can be a Perfect Place for Graduates

Joe O'Brien16 January 2020

Written by Theo Margolius, BSc Economics UCL 2015 & Co-founder of Otta

I didn’t discover how great it was to work for a startup until I moved to work for Nested after 2 years at an investment bank. In this post I explain why you should be considering startups for your first full time job, even though you may have mostly had exposure to large corporates in your research so far.

When I went to a careers event at university in 2014, most companies on the attendee list were established brands with well over 1,000 employees. This makes sense, as universities want to help get all of their students a job and big companies hire the most people. At the same time, large corporations have the time and resources to dedicate to these events (while fast-growing startups are focused on building their company and product). However, just because these firms are the ones you hear the most from, it doesn’t mean they’re the only option.

While graduate schemes at big companies can be good, I strongly believe that going to work for a startup straight out of university can be a great move for lots of people. Here’s why:

  • The growth opportunity is huge compared to corporates. Large corporates are complex machines that need individuals to do very specific jobs for them to function properly. At startups, your role may change and you’re likely to get involved in a wide range of tasks. This gives you more opportunity to learn, explore different parts of the business and develop your skills. At Nested, I saw the company triple in size and moved roles twice within the first 15 months across operations, finance and strategy. Everyone at the company had a good amount of exposure to the CEO, which is unheard of at big corporates
  • You can experience a fresh approach to culture and ways of working. While big corporates are trying to modernise their culture to make themselves more appealing to the next generation of workers, they simply can’t make that shift overnight. At startups you can experience a more flexible approach to work that might suit you better (like working from home on some days)
  • The pay is not always low. There’s a common misconception that jobs at startups are low paid. While it’s true that your pay is unlikely to reach the levels it would at investment banks or consultancies, great startups pay competitively to attract the best talent. While you need to make sure your salary is high enough so that you’re comfortable, I’d argue that the start of your career is not the time to focus on salary and you should be focused on learning as much as you can. As an extra perk, a lot of startups give their employees stock options in the business, which allows you to share in the upside if the company is a success.
  • Our generation wants to be mission driven. You’re more likely to find pleasure from work where you’re having an impact on something that matters to you. You have a lot more chance of finding meaningful work at a startup where you believe in the mission. For example, Flux are trying to get rid of paper receipts and Koru Kids are reinventing childcare options for busy parents
  • There’s no better way to see how to run a business. Joining a small and fast growing company gives you a significantly better overview of how the whole business works and what makes it successful. If you’re thinking of starting your own business early in your career then why not learn how it’s done sooner rather than later?
  • You don’t have to battle with the academic recruiting cycle. Big corporations typically hire for their graduate schemes at the same time of the year, with work on most schemes starting in August/September after you graduate earlier in the summer. On the other hand, startups hire when they need people. This could give you the flexibility to take time off and travel after university then interview with startups when you get back and start shortly afterwards
  • You won’t close doors. It’s unrealistic to expect to find your perfect job from day 1, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to. Your first job should enable you to learn as much as possible, and if it doesn’t quite work out, you’ll still be able to join a graduate scheme in a year’s time

If these points resonate with you then you should consider launching your career at a startup rather than taking the traditional graduate scheme route. It’s worth noting that choosing the right startup is more of a skill than choosing the right graduate scheme, so it’s important to do your research and get to know the company you’re considering working for more deeply.

At Otta, we’re rebuilding job search. Our product is the smartest way to search for entry-level jobs at startups in London. Find your next role at a fast-growing company by visiting our website. If you want to know more, feel free to email me using theo@otta.co

UCL Careers Fairs 2019: Engineering & Built Environment Fair

skye.aitken14 October 2019

Considering a career in Engineering?

The UCL Careers Engineering & Built Environment Fair features some of the top employers from the fields of chemical, civil and environmental, electronic and electrical, and mechanical engineering, as well as construction and the built environment.

An Employer speaking to a student at the fair

Employers will be hiring for permanent graduate positions as well as internships and placements so this fair is mainly aimed at final year and penultimate year Engineering, Bartlett or related students.

All students are welcome to attend in order to research companies, but there may not be suitable structured programmes on offer.

When: Monday 21 October 2019 | 5:30pm – 8pm

Where: North and South Cloisters, Wilkins Building

Some employers attending include:

·      Mott Macdonald

·      RAF

·      GSK

·      Atkins

·      Bouygues UK

·      Eurostar

·      Berkley Group

·      Ministry of Defence

Plus many more!

For a full list of employers attending the fair, visit:

Engineering & Built Environment Fair

You do not need to book to attend our Careers Fairs, but you must bring valid UCL ID to gain entry.

For more information on about the fair and how to prepare, visit: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/about/events/careers-fairs

How To Plan Your Graduate Job Hunt | CareersLab

skye.aitken14 October 2019

It’s that time again – we’re kickstarting our week with another episode of CareersLab with Careers Consultant, Raj Sidhu.

Are you wondering how to structure and organise your year to maximise your chances of getting that dream graduate role?

Then watch this video to learn:

  • The right things to do and when
  •  How to research, plan and apply to roles with confidence

We’re be posting a CareersLab video every week on the UCL Careers YouTube channel and right here on the UCL Careers blog.

If you’re a UCL student or recent graduate and you have a question you’d like Raj to answer in a future CareersLab video then please email us at careers.marketing@ucl.ac.uk.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and the UCL Careers Newsletter so you never miss an episode.

Applying to GSK’s graduate scheme in 2019/20? | CareersLab

skye.aitken8 October 2019

This week, Careers Consultant, Raj Sidhu, takes CareersLab on the road! Watch his journey to GSK’s headquarters to learn more about their graduate opportunities.

Want insider tips from GSK’s graduate recruitment team, that could help you with every graduate scheme application you make?
Then watch this video to learn:
  • The best time to send graduate scheme applications
  • What the recruitment process for a graduate scheme looks like
  • Insights into GSK’s graduate scheme

We’re be posting a CareersLab video every week on the UCL Careers YouTube channel and right here on the UCL Careers blog.

If you’re a UCL student or recent graduate and you have a question you’d like Raj to answer in a future CareersLab video then please email as at careers.marketing@ucl.ac.uk.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and the UCL Careers Newsletter so you never miss an episode.

Sustainability Fortnight: Careers in Energy

UCL Careers15 March 2019

Careers in Energy Panellists

The 18th February saw Sustainability Fortnight kick off with a panel event exploring careers in the energy sector. Our panellists were:

We heard from each panellist about their career path and the decisions that led them to their current roles – to hear their stories, you can read their biographies and view the event recording.

The speakers had plenty of advice for current students – and what you can do now to shape your own career.

Networking

Every single member of the panel cited the importance of networking, and several mentioned the connections they built by attending events such as this one. University career events bring professionals straight to your doorstep and make it easier than ever to engage with people in the industry. You can always reach out to them for a coffee or a phone call in the future, as many of them are happy to help and to give their advice. And don’t forget LinkedIn! Sara from XCO2, who also lectures at the University of Suffolk, reminded everyone to make sure your profile is up to date and filled out, and to use it to make connections with new contacts, as well as keeping up with old one. She estimated that 75% of her job roles came from ex-colleagues and references, so make sure you keep contact open with your professors and colleagues as you move between organisations. Charlotte, from the Renewables Consulting Group, added how useful your university’s alumni network can be. You can join UCL alumni network and find access to thousands of past students, many of whom are now offering mentorship opportunities.

Keep your goals in mind

“Follow your values”, recommended Ben, from Azuri Technologies. “Create your own mental checklist of what you want and stick to it when you’re job hunting. Keep a shortlist of the companies you’re interested in rather than jobs”. He went on to urge the importance of focusing matching your values to the organisations you’re applying to, and suggested signing up to their job feeds or newsletters, as well as attending their events.  Fiona suggested starting with research into how many types of companies there are in the energy sector, and to look at the Energy Institute and similar organisations – they often have student groups and networking events.

Sara pointed out that “Your first job might not be the one you want, but keep your ideas guiding you. Learn from each role.” She and Fiona both emphasised the importance of keeping an open mind, both about the type of company and the type of role you might be interested in. All of the panellists encouraged the benefits of “portfolio careers” and experimenting – particularly in a field as dynamic and changing as the energy sector.

Focus on your own development

“Soft skills are important”, Charlotte advised – practice your public speaking and writing skills.

Ben offered some pointers on the importance of feedback – “Feedback is golden. Ask your peers for feedback when working on group projects. Don’t take it to heart but try and develop from it.”

As always, don’t forget to tailor your cover letters! Jean-Paul, from Zenobe Energy, acknowledged that having to write them can of course be horrible – so don’t waste your efforts, and make sure they are tailored to the job and the skills.

Stay resilient

“Don’t be let down by rejection”, advised Jean-Paul. He also encouraged students to continue to go to events and to keep talking to people – you never know what will lead to an opportunity. Fiona echoed this: “Don’t take rejection personally, sometimes it’s just about timing.” Sometimes re-applying to an organisation later on might yield a very different outcome.

Want to learn more? You can find event recordings and resources from previous Themed Weeks on our website.

Sustainability Fortnight: Careers in Construction

UCL Careers15 March 2019

Careers in Construction Panellists

The 26th of February saw our panel discussion for Sustainability Fortnight exploring careers in the Construction sector. Our panellists were:

  • Julia Barrett, Director of Sustainability at Wilmot Dixon
  • Ali Ashpitel, Assistant Sustainability Manager at Mace
  • Jon Foster, Associate Technical Specialist at Atkins
  • Anastasios Skitzis, Sustainability Manager: Construction at Lendlease
  • Nerissa Webb, Environment and Sustainability Manager at Balfour Beatty

We heard from each panellist about their career path and the decisions that led them to their current roles – to hear their stories, you can read their biographies and view the event recording.

The speakers shared their wealth of experience and had plenty of advice for current students about what you can do now to get your career on track.

Values

Julia spoke of the importance of knowing your values as this is crucial to researching what type of company you may decide to work for and their values. Julia then spoke of great work opportunities for young and old at Wilmot Dixon. Knowing your values and what you believe in is a good first step. Jon agreed with this and suggested that students spend time researching various types of companies to see which ones fit best. Make use of all possibilities and any connections that you may have. Anastasios added that it is important to be honest and care about what you are doing as this will come across in any interview.

Julia loves working within the community and likes the thought of leaving legacy. Businesses may compete, but companies work together as they believe in sustainability. This sector attracts people who want to do the right thing. Julia is an advocate of change and informed students that 95% of decisions are made automatically and this provides a big challenge when trying to implement sustainability.

Learn soft skills, show you have other skills as well

Julia spoke about being resilient and discussed the fact that students may have knock backs when going through the interview process. Growing soft skills such communication and adding experience through volunteering will help. Knowing yourself and your passion will make you stand out. Ali strongly recommended making use of your time outside studying by researching what types of companies that you may want to work for and networking at events and or social media such as LinkedIn.

Ali reported that her job as assistant sustainability manager for MACE has been very varied and interesting. Making sure that students have or work on good communication skills is key as client management is a transferable skill that many students may find themselves needing.

Nerissa spoke about her job being very rewarding and challenging. Working with clients the communication can be challenging but that it is very rewarding seeing the finished product.

Opportunities

Julia spoke about the field of construction are struggling to recruit at this time, suggested that students visit the website and do some research to see if Wilmot Dixon is of interest.

Julia also suggested Future Build. This is a big conference running for three days at Excel in London. There are free workshops, product management and sustainability. A good opportunity to do some research.

Jon spoke about the need to seize all opportunities presented, you never know what opportunities may present themselves.

The panel agreed that networking using social media such as LinkedIn has opened up many doors for students, many opportunities.

Want to learn more? You can find event recordings and resources from previous Themed Weeks on our website.