X Close

UCL Careers

Home

Find Your Future

Menu

Archive for the 'Labour Market Intelligence' Category

Why Volunteering Online is Good for you

Joe O'Brien10 June 2020

Read time: 3 minutes

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

Volunteers’ Week 2020 took place last week (1 – 7 June), so it’s an opportune time to think about how you might offer your help, particularly in support of those affected by the current situation. As well as contributing to charities and those in need within your wider community, volunteering online is a great way to boost your employability skills and is an excellent source of experience should your summer plans be uncertain. Don’t forget that volunteering online could also improve your mental health and create a sense of social and personal wellbeing. The amount of time you dedicate is completely flexible, plus all you need is an internet connection!

Here’s our pick of the some of the top online volunteering opportunities available to you right now:

  1. Zooniverse

Zooniverse is an online platform that enables ‘people powered research.’ Whether you are looking for a career in data-analytics, research or communication; or more broadly across the sciences, humanities or more, the app allows participation in all kinds of research. This is a great opportunity to get involved in more niche sectors as well, with research projects as diverse as classifying galaxies, counting penguins or transcribing manuscripts. Volunteer your time with over 2,077,955 other registered volunteers around the world and add a unique experience to your CV.

  1. Amnesty Decoders

Amnesty Decoders volunteers help to research and expose human rights violations. All you need is to use your computer or smartphone to sift through images, information and documents to support those affected. Amnesty activists have helped defend hundreds of thousands of people at risk across the globe, and this experience will also boost your analytical, research and digital skills.

  1. Do It

Take a look at Do It, a voluntary community platform, with a variety of volunteering opportunities that can be completed from the safety of your own home, such as telephone befriending, where volunteers offer to make daily calls to vulnerable or isolated individuals during lockdown. As well as providing a valuable service, this is great for boosting your confidence and interpersonal skills.

  1. SPEAK – Be a Buddy

If you want to boost your language, translation and mentoring skills, then look no further than the SPEAK – Be a Buddy scheme. As well as learning more about other cultures around the world, you will effectively share your language skills, motivation and passion to assist others to learn a language. This is also a great way to make new friends and connections in these challenging times.

  1. Missing Maps

Missing Maps is a collaborative project to provide vital assistance with mapping areas where humanitarian organisations need to provide relief efforts and meet the needs of vulnerable people by providing disaster response activities. Volunteers work remotely to trace satellite imagery, so as well as increasing your geographical, problem solving, and attention to detail skills, you will be literally contributing to activities that save lives on the ground.

  1. Be My Eyes

Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers for visual assistance through a live video call. This could involve helping with reading instructions, navigating new surroundings or even reading a recipe. As well as providing a vital social connection, this voluntary scheme will boost your listening and verbal communication skills.

  1. The British Museum

The British Museum is just one example of museums, galleries and collections across the globe that are desperate for voluntary assistance, both in person and online. Opportunities vary according to the work of the department and their current needs, but this can be a great foothold into an area that is notoriously difficult to gain work experience in. Departmental volunteers can help online with cataloguing artefacts, retrospective evaluation of exhibitions and contributing to learning programmes.

  1. UNV Online

United Nations Volunteering (UNV) online programme is a vital resource supporting United Nations entities and their partners, and is particularly crucial in the current situation. A variety of volunteering projects are available, boosting your key transferable skills across writing and editing, translation, leadership, art and design, project development, technology and advocacy. All meetings and communication takes place online through Skype and email exchange, so there’s no excuse not to get involved.

  1. UCL Volunteering Service
    Students’ Union UCL’s Volunteering Service also have a guide for safe volunteering, featuring lots of opportunities for UCL students to get involved whilst observing social distancing requirements. The guide includes details of virtual volunteering and how to stay safe if you’re helping out in person.  If you’re looking for some inspiration, you can also read about the experiences of some UCL students who’ve been volunteering during the current situation.
  2. UCL Alumni Volunteer Now

UCL’s Volunteer Now has digital volunteering opportunities designed to help you stay connected, share knowledge and play an active role in supporting UCL’s global alumni community. With current opportunities within Professional Development, Social & Wellbeing and Alumni Online Community Support, you could gain great experience in a range of activities, from blog writing, running online community groups or even being a mentor.

Remember that extra-curricular activities and volunteering experiences are great ways to demonstrate your strengths and skills both in your CV or when answering competency questions at interview, so take some time now to think about how you can demonstrate your skills and experiences. Don’t forget to take the opportunity to book a virtual application advice appointment with the UCL Careers team if you would like some feedback or further assistance with your applications.

 

UCL Careers Employer Insights – June 2020

Joe O'Brien9 June 2020

Read time: 2 minutes

Written by Emily Oliphant, Recruitment & Selection Adviser at UCL Careers

A new survey from the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) and the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) took a snapshot of changes to hiring amongst 179 employers, who shared their insights during the period between 20th April and 4th May. As a group, representing a varied spread across sectors and regions, and even including some smaller employers (small-to-medium enterprises make up a major proportion of graduate destinations for UCL students and nearly 30% of the group surveyed had fewer than 250 employees), their insights show a useful development from our first Employer Insights blog in April 2020 following March research. This new data explores employers’ reactions from a time when the UK was beginning to have discussions about how and when lockdown might potentially come to an end— giving businesses a clearer idea about what sort of recruitment timeline they might be working with.

Where has lockdown had the biggest impact on employers and how?

The greatest impact of the UK lockdown, which began in mid-March, has been notably on small and medium sized employers (those with fewer than 250 employees, and less than 50 million Euro annual turnover). Half of them reported negative responses when asked about the overall impact of the pandemic, with 20% neutral and just 30% positive. Nearly half were most urgently concerned about the financial impact of the lockdown on their ability to survive as a business, and therefore heavily trending towards postponing all hiring plans, or even cancelling job offers, as priorities lie with protecting current staff. Concerns about business sustainability were particularly highlighted in responses from employers in the energy, engineering, and industry sector; the legal and professional services sector; and the retail and FMCG sectors.

What changes to recruitment and on-boarding are being made?

While changes to recruitment plans for all businesses are generally being driven by the financial impact on their business; large employers are also anxious about their ability to support new hires. Some have expressed concern and hesitation about on-boarding new starters and interns completely remotely, whilst they wish to ensure new starters are feel a sense of belonging and students have a meaningful learning experience. Adjustments range from increasing the amount of learning and development available online, to shortening the duration of their learning and development programmes or delaying them altogether.

What are employers plans for recruitment and inductions moving forward?

Despite some firms’ misgivings, adapting to online recruitment and inductions may become the new normal, and catalyse longer-term change into more flexible approaches and greater use of technology. We should expect a long-term move from employers to make greater use of technology in their recruitment processes. Indeed, more than 50% of larger firms actually reported positive reflections on the overall impact of the lockdown! For tips on how to master live and recorded video interviews be sure to check our CareersLab videos on 5 Expert Tips For Live Video Interviews and How to ace video interviews (recorded video interviews).

The shorter term picture is now quite clear – firms are reporting drops in recruitment numbers— not as big as initially feared, but still substantial – and internships and placement numbers are the hardest hit. However, graduate roles are seeing less of a negative impact than non-graduate roles such as apprenticeships. Looking forward to next year, it may be that many employers are still not in a position to plan too far ahead. 40% of surveyed employers still don’t know what their next intake’s numbers will look like, but longer-term changes to their processes of recruitment, and therefore how students should prepare for them, are likely here to stay.

Book an appointment

Do remember that we continue to offer one to one appointments online where you can speak with one of our career professionals to discuss your own personal circumstances.

UCL Careers will continue to keep you abreast of the latest findings in the graduate employment sector. Further blogs will follow summarising this information as well as other useful tips on how to manage your career thinking and planning during these challenging times.

UCL Careers Employer Insights – April 2020

Joe O'Brien22 April 2020

Written by Glyn Jones, Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

Have you been wondering how recent events may affect your career plans or employability in the future?

The global shutdown caused by Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the graduate labour market. As well as keeping in touch with professional organisations for labour market updates, UCL Careers have also been actively surveying recruiters and collecting labour market information to learn:

· What employers are predicting in relation to number of internships and graduate roles

· How the current situation is affecting their recruitment methods

· And what it means for those who were due to start a graduate role, internship or work this summer

Will opportunities such as internships and graduate roles still be advertised?

Offices being shut and consequently work being carried out remotely has resulted in many organisations rethinking their recruitment strategies.

Results from an initial survey conducted by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) showed that 27% of employers indicated they would be recruiting fewer entry-level graduate hires and 31% of those surveyed predicted less interns and placement students over the summer. This is disappointing news, which is also mirrored in the current general decrease in the number of vacancies (both internships and graduate level jobs) posted on job vacancy sites. However, it is worth noting that there seemed to be a substantial amount of uncertainty amongst the organisations surveyed. The ISE survey results stated that 28% of employers hiring for graduate roles, and 31% hiring interns and placement students, were still unsure as to what impact this would have on recruitment numbers.

The survey that UCL Careers carried out two weeks later painted a similar picture; 16% of graduate role employers and 31% of internship providers stated that they were still undecided on how their recruitment would look. Some organisations were already able to confirm that their roles would continue. This was more evident amongst those offering graduate roles (44%), whilst only 20% for those offering internship programmes were able to confirm this at the time. In addition, we saw from the survey results that 21% of graduate role employers would be pausing, freezing, or otherwise delaying their recruitment and this was the case for 15% of internship providers.

These results do demonstrate the uncertainty that we are currently seeing across the graduate employment market, both with major recruiters, as surveyed by the ISE and within small-to-medium enterprises as seen in the results of the UCL Careers survey, who make up a major proportion of graduate destinations for UCL students. However, with the indication that some organisations have already confirmed their intention to continue recruiting, as well as the willingness of businesses to adapt to the increase in online and remote working, it is worth noting that opportunities are still being advertised.

We’d encourage you to continue to monitor vacancy sites such as the myUCLCareers jobs board

Are organisations ready to conduct online recruitment?

Of those continuing with their recruitments processes, many seem ready and willing to adapt quickly. From the ISE survey results, we found that 60% of employers had already moved their assessment centres online and 71% had done the same with their interviews by the middle of March. These findings seemed to be echoed in the results of our survey, where 81% of employers were either already prepared to deliver online recruitment or training, or expect to be very soon.

These are reassuring signs that although there has been a shift for recruitment to take place online, the fundamental process and skills required from candidates remain the same.

For tips on how to master live and recorded video interviews be sure to check our CareersLab videos on 5 Expert Tips For Live Video Interviews and How to ace video interviews (recorded video interviews).

I already have a job offer, will it still be honoured?

As well as covering information relating to upcoming vacancies and recruitment, the surveys we looked at considered graduates who already hold an offer for future employment.

Our own survey results illustrated a relatively positive picture, with 68% of responses indicating that they are ready to offer training and inductions at the time of asking, or are expected to be in the near future. In addition, 54% were confident that new starters would be able to commence working remotely, with a further 16% still investigating whether this was possible at the time of asking. Only 7% of organisations stated that they would not be able to do this for some roles.

For those of you who may already have an offer that is due to start in the coming months, it seems that organisations are trying to adapt to conduct inductions online. We’ve seen that some organisations are eager to keep in touch with future new starters through newsletters and establishing online communities. If you have someone within the organisation with whom you could contact, you could reach out to them to seek re-assurance about your position, however it does seem that organisations are still working out these logistics for new starters and therefore they may not be able to offer clarity at this stage.

UCL Careers will continue to carry out research with our existing employers and will keep abreast of the latest findings in the graduate employment sector. Further blogs will follow summarising this information as well as other useful tips on how to manage your career thinking and planning during these challenging times.

Book an appointment

Do remember that we continue to offer one to one appointments online where you can speak with one of our career professionals to discuss your own personal circumstances.

*The main sources of information provided in this post come from an Institute of Student Employers (ISE), an independent not-for-profit association of UK employers who represent a high proportion of top graduate recruiters nationally. They conducted a survey 13th – 20th March, which received 124 responses from large employers who would be major graduate recruiters. UCL Careers carried out their own survey, reaching out to employers who had made use of our jobs board within the last calendar year. This survey was conducted 25th March – 1st April and received responses from 76 employers, the majority of whom were based in the UK. 66% of organisations surveyed were small to medium size enterprises (SMEs), offering the perspective of different employers to those surveyed in the ISE questionnaire.

What to Expect from Careers in Health Week 2020

Joe O'Brien29 January 2020

Written by Sarah Sirrell, Information & Research Officer at UCL Careers.

Are you looking for a career that makes a difference to people’s lives? From data to governance, or diagnosis to treatment, Careers in Health Week has got you covered.

You’ll be able to network with people who are working in a diverse range of health careers and hear their stories. We’ve got guests coming from a range of rewarding careers who are keen to share their experiences with you!

Health – The Bigger Picture, 6.00pm Monday 10 February

Would you like to learn more about the range of roles in health beyond health services and clinicians? Come to our panel event where you can hear from the experts themselves.

We have panelists from the Greater London Authority, RAFT, and The Health Policy Partnership who will talk about how they went from being a student to their current role and give you top tips along the way.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Health Careers Discovery Evening, 6.30pm Tuesday 11 February

Please join us at this networking evening where you will have the opportunity to connect with health professionals. Our guests will share their experiences and insights into different career options in this sector.

Confirmed health professionals come from: Aquarius Population Health, Blue Latitude Health, British Heart Foundation, Costello Medical, Galliard Healthcare, Health Sciences Academy, Integrated Medhealth Communication consultancy (IMC), Moorfields Eye Charity, and more!

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Patient Contact Roles Panel, 1.00pm Thursday 13 February

If you enjoy working with people and want to make a real impact to people’s lives, come and hear from and network with health professionals and those training to work directly with patients and clients in a health-focused role.

The panellists will include a Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Nutritionist, Highly Specialised Speech and Language Therapist, 4th Year Medical Student at UCL, and a Health and Wellbeing Practitioner.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Data and Diagnostics Panel, 5.30pm Thursday 13 February

Challenges to health and health systems are changing rapidly on a global scale and the ways in which health data and diagnostics are used to discover ways to prevent, treat and cure diseases is more important than ever. If you are interested in how data analytics and diagnostics are being used in the Health Sector then book onto this panel event where you will hear from professionals who are actively engaging in using data to improve our lives.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

All Health Week events are open to UCL students and recent graduates with an interest in the sector, regardless of your degree subject.

Did you want to explore things a bit further before the panels? Take a look at our online careers library for useful sector guides, job profiles and key job sites: https://ucl-careers-resources.targetconnect.net/search?query=health

7 Things We Learned at Media Week 2019

Joe O'Brien11 December 2019

Written by Rhiannon Williams, Global Internships Manager

Media Week took place at the end of November and we explored the diverse areas within this sector including advertising, broadcasting, publishing, PR, marketing, and journalism. We had a fantastic line-up of speakers across 5 events, including 14 alumni sharing their insights into life after UCL. So, what did we learn?

  1. Be open minded and don’t be afraid to try different things
    From working in a kitchen to doing internships in sectors such as finance, our panellists tried a range of things before embarking on a career in their industry. Being open minded when starting out is often valuable as it can lead to new opportunities that you may have not considered before.

    Perhaps consider the differences between working in an agency and working in house. In agency, you may have a broader variety of projects and there is potential for more rapid career progression, whereas in house you can understand the workings of one organisation in more detail and build relationships with senior stakeholders in the company. Assess which may work best for you and research job profiles for entry level roles like Press Assistant, Junior Account Executive, and Marketing Executive on websites such as Prospects to build an understanding of what is involved in the role.

  2. Take advantage of having London on your doorstep
    With some of the country’s biggest brands and creative agencies based in the capital, it’s a great time to source work experience whilst you are studying at UCL and benefit from the opportunities that many students in universities around the country may not have access to as easily.
  3. There is more competition than ever before in publishing
    Don’t be passive with opportunities as there will be someone else ready to make something of them if you don’t. Make your own luck and demonstrate your curiosity when applying for opportunities. Book-selling skills are incredibly attractive to publishers (working in a bookshop means you know what sells!) but remember that everyone else ‘loves books’ so don’t use this as your USP when writing your application.
  4. Use your network to get a foot in the door
    Networking plays a big part in this industry so think about your network and if there are any friends, family or acquaintances who may have a connection to or work in the industry. You can also try the UCL Alumni Community which offers the opportunity to connect with former students who are now working in a range of roles. Be sure to use LinkedIn as well which allows you to search for and connect with employers.
  5. Like most sectors, there are good and more challenging elements
    There are challenging sides to the industry, particularly at junior level. You may be required to take on a variety of tasks from sourcing props for a campaign shoot, carrying out basic administration duties, and compiling large databases of media and celebrity contacts for a campaign. Gaining experience will allow you to assess if the working environment is right for you.
  6. Follow, and prove, your passions
    Showing evidence of your passion for your chosen field, through work experience, self-driven projects, collaborative work and/ or research, will not only prove to yourself that it’s right for you but it will speak volumes to prospective recruiters / clients too.
  7. Be yourself
    Your uniqueness is a selling point. Develop your interpersonal skills – working in media means talking to all sorts of people so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You never know, the person you’re talking to might be the one to give you your next opportunity!

What next?

Top 5 Skills For Careers in the Arts

skye.aitken27 November 2019

Written by Rachel Garman, Careers Information and Research Officer at UCL Careers.

UCL Careers held an event about Careers in the Arts on 15th November 2019 as part of our Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Themed Week.

Our panelists were:

Joane Filipe: Exhibition Designer & Creative Producer at InterestingProjects

Chloe Godman: Gallery Manager at Open Gallery

Julia Padfield: Press & Publications Assistant at Shakespeare’s Globe

Anna Testar: Assistant Curator at Royal Academy of Arts

As part of a really interesting evening, these are some of the most useful skills to develop for your career in the Arts from our panelists’ perspective:

1. Be Proactive

It can be tricky to start a career in the arts, so be proactive in seeking out opportunities to gain experience or create your own. Start a blog, put on exhibitions of your or your friend’s work, volunteer at galleries and apply for internships – these are all great ways of building up your experience, and you’ll make connections at the same time. You don’t have to just work within the arts – you’ll gain transferable skills no matter what work you do and don’t be too concerned if your career isn’t linear, as you’ll be able to spin your experience and skills back to your arts work. Say yes to anything interesting that comes your way and take the time to work out what you’re good at.

2. Attention To Detail

You may be writing exhibition guides, arranging the logistics of an exhibition tour, communicating with the public through social media, licensing images, tracking invoices and payments to your business, or many other tasks you will be asked to complete in the course of your career – attention to detail is crucial in maintaining a high standard of work, especially in an industry that doesn’t have much money to spare on mistakes.

3. Organisation And Multitasking

Organisational skills are very useful to have in any sector, and the arts is no exception. You may need to juggle several projects (for example planning several future exhibitions) at the same time, prioritise conflicting deadlines, and keep a careful track of budgets, so the ability to multitask and being methodical prioritising your work will be crucial.

4. People Skills

Whether you work with customers and clients or colleagues, in sales or in a press office, as a curator or designer, you’ll need people skills to succeed. You might need to be persuasive to make a sale or negotiate a loan of an artwork for an exhibition, to be collaborative while working on a team project, or engaging while talking to a school group, but working effectively with others is key. You can also use your people skills to build up a network of useful contacts across the industry, which may prove invaluable in your next career move.

5. Passion

The arts is a competitive sector, so having a passion and knowledge of your subject may allow you to stand out next to another equally-qualified candidate – you don’t need to know everything about a topic, but showing enthusiasm at interview can certainly impress employers. Your enthusiasm may also help to create relationships with other professionals (they may remember you when a job becomes available), and can help sustain you through the frustrations of job hunting and through a career where high pay is rare. Indulge your passion by reading, going to exhibitions or the theatre, listening to music – the more you build connections between different artistic creations the broader your knowledge will be, which will only help your work. Conveying your enthusiasm to those consuming the arts can be the most rewarding part of your job.

If you’d like to explore more, blogs and resources from the Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Themed Week can be found on the UCL Careers website.

Insights Into: Working In Travel Journalism

skye.aitken27 November 2019

Written by guest writers, Sophie Dening and Katie Bowman.

A common thing people write under ‘hobbies and interest’ on a CV is ‘travel’. But have you ever thought about turning this interest into a career? Sally Brown, UCL Careers Consultant, talked to two UCL alumni who have done just that. 

Image of a woman taking a photo of some ruins in the sunshine

Sophie Dening, Editor and journalist

UCL graduate: BA French Language and Literature (1997)

Sophie is a self-employed editor and journalist – for publications such as Condé Nast Britain, Gourmet Traveller, the Evening Standard and the Daily Telegraph. She is also the acting production editor at Lonely Planet magazine.

How did you get your job?

I applied for my job as production editor at Lonely Planet magazine via a jobs site. I had been on extended maternity leave following a long period as a freelance food and travel writer. It took me six months of applying for jobs before I got one, and I had to accept a drop in my salary. 

What’s a typical day like?

I check emails and make sure I am up to date with where we’re at with all the pages of the magazine, as well as future issues and side projects, then divide my time between writing, editing and working in InDesign. I also manage another subeditor and a freelancer, and work on the flatplan and lead a weekly editorial meeting.

What do you enjoy about your role?

I enjoy working with words, I enjoy carrying out varied high-level administrative tasks, I appreciate working with a team and learning from them, and I enjoy regular hours and low stress.

What are the challenges?

Getting everything done in time, always – deadlines. Sheer volume of work.

How relevant is your degree to your current job?

Currently not particularly, more tangentially, in terms of working with texts. But as a freelancer I have worked as a translator for hotel brands, and worked extensively in Paris and France as a food and travel writer, where I have used my French language skills.

How has your role developed and what are your ambitions? My role here at Lonely Planet has been interesting as I have acted as a sort of workflow consultant as well as carrying out the usual tasks. It is a year-long contract covering someone else’s role. My ambition at present is to continue working for LP when I finish my contract, as a writer or project editor, and to find other regular freelance work that will fit in with my family commitments.

Any words of advice for someone wanting to get into this sector?

Try to get experience any which way you can: work on a student paper; write a blog; enter writing competitions, in order to populate your CV. And do try to enter a sector that will hold your interest for years to come; once you are established as any sort of specialist, it can be hard to move around within publishing. Advice for someone wanting specifically to become a production editor or chief sub in travel publishing? Get any subbing experience as you can and apply for junior subbing roles. You need to be really good at English, and be able to spot a spelling mistake – aka a typo, in the trade – at 20 paces. Read up on style (I recommend Butcher’s Copy-editing, Cambridge University Press). Travel writers and editors tend to be fairly well-travelled and may start to specialise (in terms of destinations) right from the start of their careers – rather than entering travel publishing in order to travel. You are bound to experience rejection in the publishing industry (don’t lose confidence – there are jobs out there!), and salaries have not gone up much recently. It can be tough being a freelancer, or advancing in a competitive sector. But it is an interesting industry, always changing, and full of great people and varied work.

Image of a woman walking through a field holding a camera

Katie Bowman, Features Editor, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine

UCL graduate: English (1999)

Katie has worked in her current role for nearly 17 years, she has also worked as a sub-editor for Condé Nast International and Marie Claire Australia.

So, what does a features editor for a travel magazine do?

The Sunday Times Travel magazine is different from newspapers – it is on sale in stores competing with magazines such as Vogue. It is mainstream, glossier and I suppose more ‘glamorous’ than a newspaper travel section. My role is varied, from looking at how to make the front cover enticing to deciding what goes into the rest of the 164 pages of the magazine. The features have to be both inspirational and also realistic to sell well – ensuring well-timed ‘big hitters’ such as New York or Paris. Locations such as these can be revisited year after year, compared to a newspaper who might focus on recent events across the world such as bombings or natural disasters.

What is your role like on an average day?

My actual day to day activities involve commissioning freelancers, going through ideas pitched by more junior members of staff and perhaps travelling myself.

With regards to travelling, if this is a major focus for you then you might consider working as a freelance writer/journalist instead. The main advantages are that you have control over your schedule, where you go and can work around your other commitments such as family. Working on a magazine ‘in-house’ often means you are getting involved with the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the publication rather than the actual travelling. As the dynamic of teams vary from magazine to magazine, then it is essential that you find this out before applying – as you might find an in-house role will only allow you to travel sporadically if at all. 

What do you enjoy about your role?

The change – I have been in this role for nearly 17 years, but the novelty still hasn’t worn off! This is because the world never stops feeling new – even a location that we have featured many times can change – such as a new restaurant or a new local event. Travelling is all I ever wanted to do – in fact, I would rather stay in travel (such as being a flight attendant) than journalism (such as working on a financial publication). I love planning trips, not just going on them! 

What are the challenges?

The pay really – you won’t make much money if you want to work in this industry! Just doing freelancing alone also probably won’t allow you to pay your rent/mortgage. Most freelancers do other roles – such as copy writing or editing – alongside their freelance work.

 How relevant was your degree to your current role?

My English degree is not directly relevant to my current role, but it was helpful in the past for me to secure internships. I was competing against people who were studying master’s degrees in journalism, so having the name ‘UCL’ was really helpful in getting opportunities.

Do you have any tips for current students wanting to get into this industry?

Do an internship with a well-known publication whilst you are living in cheaper student accommodation. We have interns who are forced to either spend a lot of money travelling into London or sleeping on friend’s floors in order to do the internship.

How would I find out about internship opportunities?

Our two-week programmes are always oversubscribed, but follow us on social media as we may have someone drop out – so we might ask for a replacement at short notice. Most internships are unadvertised, so choose a few publications and write a perky and engaging cover letter – remembering that you are not applying to a big corporate company, so don’t make it cold and impersonal: ensure you write to a named person rather than ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. In the letter, state clearly your availability – if you can only offer a couple of afternoons a week due to your course timetable that is fine.

What might make an application for an internship stand-out?

A clear level of maturity – so make sure your CV looks professional and highlights that skills that would make you useful in the workplace such as computer skills, languages and other office skills. Make the life of the person reading your application as easy as possible. If you already have a blog / website then write this on your application – it is useful for me to see your potential.

But the other important thing is to make the most out of the experience once you are there. Don’t have too high expectations of the internships – you won’t be writing big cover stories! You also might not always be doing the most exciting tasks – but grit your teeth and get on with it. Also, leaving early without a valid reason can give a really bad impression. Be proactive during the experience, approaching people with your ideas – ask them ‘What can I pitch?” or “Can I offer some ideas?”.

What would you look for when commissioning a freelancer?

Similar to other editors, I tend to work with freelancers I have worked with before – as I know I can trust that they will deliver. However, this does not mean I am not open to working with new people. Their initial pitch might be something I could use in a smaller story and I would be looking for something that is tailored to this magazine – which the freelancer has been clear about where it would ‘sit’. It is the responsibility of the freelancer to curate and build the stories – not to send the same pitch to 20 different magazines.

Any other tips for potential freelancers?

Be aware that you will receive very little feedback. But give the initial pitch the time it deserves and it will pay off in repeat commissions. After you have done an internship with a magazine, then offer to write for free ‘on spec’ pieces – this could be as simple as writing a piece about your recent holiday destination. You will then accumulate by-lines and build up a professional portfolio – you only need 2 or 3 well-known publication names – then pitch properly using your portfolio. It is not always enough just to have published in a university magazine – as they are not always well-edited. Having a well-known publication in your portfolio is invaluable.

My Global Internship: 8 steps to making a strong application

skye.aitken18 November 2019

Written by Rhiannon Williams, Global Internships Manager at UCL Careers.

Welcome to the third blog in the ‘My Global Internship’ series. You’ve heard about global mindset and how you can get started with your search for an international internship. Now it’s time to think about making some applications…

Student working at a desk in a sketchbook

Whether you’re applying for an internship in a company that’s around the corner, or on the other side of the world, general advice around how to construct a great CV, cover letter, and application is universal. You’ll want to prepare an application that highlights your skills, experience, and interests in order to convince an employer that you’re the best person for the role. Saying that, there is some additional preparation you can do if you are preparing an application for a global internship. 

  1. Research, research, research

Use a site like GoinGlobal (a service that UCL Careers subscribes to) to check the conventions in the country you’re applying to. You don’t need to follow every rule – not only do CVs and cover letters differ from country to country, but also job to job and industry to industry. However, you might discover some useful guidelines, such as countries where it is standard practice to include things like a photo or pre-written references.

If you are planning to undertake an internship in Europe, you could also check out Europass, an online tool that helps you prepare the necessary documents to highlight your skills and qualifications, including template CVs, cover letters and a language self-assessment tool.

  1. Get your numbers right

Including a telephone number? Remember to include the right international dialing code. Writing a date? Get the order of day, month and year right for the standard practice of the country you’re applying to a job in. These seemingly small differences show that you’ve done your homework and back up any claim you’ve made of showing attention to detail!

  1. Highlight your language skills

It’s not always a prerequisite of a role to have any additional language skills, although if it is, you should certainly mention how you meet that criteria. Be honest with your skills and include your level of fluency. If you claim to be fluent in a second language, a native speaker can easily check this at interview stage. Write your application in the same language as the job advert (unless it is explicitly stated to submit it in another language).

Student standing by a flag

  1. “Translating” your experience

Be aware that your qualifications, or even institution, may not be as well recognised in the country you are applying for an internship in. You can include the international equivalent to your degree (Scholera has a free conversion tool) and consider changing UCL to the local language (e.g. UCL is 伦敦大学学院in Chinese). You could mention that UCL is a world-leading university (top 10 according to the latest QS rankings) or include something specific about your department or course that makes it stand out internationally.

  1. Highlight your international experience

By applying for an internship outside of the UK and/or your home country, you should highlight your ability to work in a global context, adapt to a new environment and work with colleagues from different cultures. Highlight past experiences living abroad, language skills, working with peers from different nationalities and any examples of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and overcoming challenges. Remember to also address the other skills that are required for the role – you might be able to adapt to life in the country as easy as pie, but you’ve also got to show that you’re the right candidate for the role! UCL Careers has plenty of general advice and guidance to help you write excellent CVs and cover letters on the UCL Careers website as well as the following CareersLab videos.

  1. Declare your visa status

Whilst not a requirement, it can be useful when applying for an internship in a foreign country to make clear your visa status at application stage. There may be cases where it’s simply not possible for an employer to accept an international candidate, so you could either find out beforehand or outline the situation in your application. Note that your visa status is different to your nationality, which you don’t have to disclose on your CV.

  1. Get a helping hand

All job applications should be proofread and spell-checked but this is particularly critical if you’ve written it in another language. Even if it is in English, it might be worth getting someone who doesn’t know UCL or your degree subject to read it to see if they can easily follow what you have written in your application. You could even contact recruitment agencies in the country where you intend to work and ask their advice. 

  1. Applying speculatively

Not all internships are advertised and many students approach companies directly with the aim of securing an internship with that organisation. They may have found the company online or used their personal network to get contact details of an appropriate person. This is a really positive, proactive of finding opportunities and shows your eagerness to work for that company. If you go down this route, it is really important that you understand the culture before you send any emails. In some cultures, addressing the email or letter to ‘Dear Sir/Madam rather than a named contact can be seen as rude so try and find exactly who you want to approach.

Next steps

So it’s time to start making those applications! Remember you can have your application checked by a UCL Careers Consultant (in English!) before you send it off to an organisation. Next time we’ll be exploring video interviews, which are very common in the recruitment process when applying for internships overseas.

UCL Careers Themed Weeks 2019: Media Week

skye.aitken14 November 2019

Want to work in the media industry? Find out more at Media Week!

A lecture theatre full on students with panelists sitting on stageAre you thinking of working in the Media industry after your degree? Or is this simply a sector that you would like to explore further? We have put together a number events in the final week of November to enable you to take things further through a spotlight on this diverse and exciting sector.

Monday 25 November

The week kicks off  with an evening insight into Publishing, where people working in a range of roles from editing, agency and rights will take your questions. We are excited to have speakers from Bloomsbury Publishing, LBA Books, UCL Press, Rakuten Kobo and DK (Penguin Random House), working in a variety of roles.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Tuesday 26 November

We will take a look at what it’s like to work within Advertising, Marketing and PR. Professionals working in advertising agencies, consumer and corporate PR and marketing will be discussing their careers, the difference between the various areas and some of the exciting projects they have worked on. Panelists will also offer tips on how you can make your first steps into each of these areas.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Wednesday 27 November

We are delighted to have News Associates running a journalism workshop exclusively for UCL students and recent graduates. This is an interactive session aimed at those looking to pursue a career in UK based journalism.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Thursday 28 November

We finish the week on  with an incredibly exciting line-up focused on the Film, TV and Radio industries. Joining us will be BBC TV and radio presenters, a junior music manager and a film director. We expect this to be a popular event so don’t miss out!

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

 All the events are open to UCL students and recent graduates with an interest in the sector, regardless of your degree subject.

Did you want to explore things a bit further before the panels? Take a look at Prospects.ac.uk to see just how many roles there are within the Media industry. Prospects also breaks down the different roles within Advertising, Marketing & PR.

UCL Careers Themed Weeks: Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Week 2019

skye.aitken24 October 2019

Are you considering a career in Museums, Arts or Cultural Heritage? Then this is the week for you! Come and find out more about these sectors from professionals working in various roles within these sectors. All events are open to students and recent graduates from across UCL.

A speaker at a lectern speaking to a room full of studentsIf you haven’t attended events organised by UCL Careers before, we strongly recommend you read through our Themed Weeks page for information on what to expect, how to prepare and how to book.

Events can be extremely popular, so book early to avoid disappointment!

Watch event recordings on our Themed Week archive. These include complete panel discussions and in-depth interviews with experts.

Please note that photographs, video, sound and/or written submissions taken at our themed week events may be used in future printed and electronic UCL promotional material. Photographs/video will be stored electronically as well as in hard copy. 

Events open for booking on Monday 28 October 2019


Careers in Museums

Monday 11 November 2019: 6pm-7.30pm

Come and meet representatives from the museum sector to hear about their job roles and what excites them about working in this sector. There will be a panel discussion, Q&A session, and a chance for informal networking after.

Among the museums represented will be:

View event details and book your place


Working in the Arts

Tuesday 12 November 2019: 6pm-7.30pm

Thinking about working in the Arts? Come along to this panel event and have the chance to hear from professionals currently working in managerial, creative and organisational roles within a variety of arts settings. Speakers will discuss aspects of their experiences such as: what they enjoy about working in the arts, how they got into their current role and their ‘top tips’. The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A and informal networking.

Panellists work in organisations such as:

View event details and book your place


Careers in Cultural Heritage

Thursday 14 November 2019: 6pm-7.30pm

Interested in working in the diverse world of cultural heritage? Come to a panel discussion with cultural heritage professionals, to hear about their roles and career path and to gain tips on how to get into the sector. The panel will be followed by Q&A session and informal networking.

You will hear about experiences working in:

View event details and book your place