X Close

UCL Careers

Home

Find Your Future

Menu

A big thank you from UCL Careers

Rachael Richardson-Bullock10 June 2021

Read time: 1 minute

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

My name is Victoria, and as another academic year draws to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months here at UCL Careers and to say a really big thank you to you, our students and graduates! It’s been an absolute pleasure to interact and engage with so many of you across a variety of virtual platforms, appointments and events this year. 

It’s definitely been a challenging time to say the least, but in an amazing commitment to career readiness, personal development and employability skills acquisition, you’ve attended a mammoth 5,806 application advice and short guidance appointments combined. Plus, these figures are reflective of the beginning of the lockdown period in the UK (March 2020), which is a further testament to your resilience, drive and determination. 

I would like to say a personal thank you to every student and graduate that I have engaged with this year, both in one-to-one appointments, interactive small group sessions and larger careers seminars. As someone living by myself during lockdown, you’ve all kept me company during our remote appointments this year, and it has been inspiring to see your applications, career plans and confidence developing across the ensuing months. 

I asked my fellow Recruitment & Selection Advice team members for their thoughts on the past 12 months too: 

Susanne: Over the last 15 months, it’s been great to be able to continue supporting students with their applications remotely through our 1:1 appointments on Teams, as well as continuing to run our small group sessions online. During our small group sessions, it has been encouraging to see students collaborating with their peers in this new environment, leaving sessions feeling more empowered to be resilient and continue moving forward with their applications.  

Erin: When I joined the UCL Careers team in April, I was amazed to see the strong engagement from students in 1:1 advice appointments and Career Essentials sessions. Operating in this virtual environment has proven the unwavering enthusiasm of all students, both when it comes to their continued drive to perform within group settings and on their applications.  

Don’t forget, UCL Careers is still here to support you across the summer months as well. Whether you’re exploring your options, writing applications or want support with preparing for live or recorded video interviews, our range of different appointment types will give you tailored one-to-one support. 

I’ll leave you today with one final reflection; we may all be experts now on digital platforms such as Zoom and MS Teams, but will we ever get used to the near-daily phrase “we can’t hear you; you’re still on mute?” 

Why interning at a start-up is an incredible learning experience

Rachael Richardson-Bullock9 June 2021

Read time: 3 minutes

Written by Elena Raimondi, UCL Alumni.

Introduction 

I graduated from UCL with an MPhil in Philosophy in March 2021. With a background in Philosophy, by the time I graduated I was eager to gain as much hands-on work experience as possible.  

I craved learning new skills and practical knowledge in a business environment and I figured that a start-up would be a great place to start. I joined TidyChoice as a Human Resources intern and it has proven to be an incredible learning experience. In this blog postI want to share my experience so that it may encourage more graduates to join start-ups. 

London start-ups 

I am sure that you have heard about the dynamic London start-up ecosystem, a universe of fast-growing companies born of a single brilliant idea and fueled by the cutting-edge work of small but close-knit teams. It is easy to get hooked on these companies’ vibrant culture and success stories, and so I did.  

My learning experience 

Within my first couple of weeks, I have become an integral part of the team. My colleagues rely on me for recruiting and onboarding new professionals, and my suggestions to improve our HR processes have already been implemented. It was always going to be a good learning opportunity, but I did not expect the learning curve to be this steep. I have learnt so much so fast, and there is still so much more to experience. 

Reasons to intern at a start-up 

Here are some of the reasons why interning at a start-up has been one of the most intense learning experiences of my life and why I would recommend it to any recent graduate. 

1.) Work directly with the founders and managers 

You learn directly from those who envisioned the company, created it, and have run it since its inception. The knowledge and know-how that is passed on to you comes from the people who have steered the business through good times and bad times and learning from that experience is invaluable. 

I collaborate closely with the Operations Manager at TidyChoice. I am supervised by the company’s co-founder and CEO and I meet weekly with the rest of the team, including a brilliant CTO, who co-founded and literally built our website. All of them know the business inside out and are the ideal people to learn from. 

2.) Gain insights into every aspect of the business 

Not only do you oversee the whole business function you are working in, but you also get to see how the whole start-up works organically. You will be able to peek into all aspects of the business and have the chance to easily collaborate with any of your colleagues when your areas overlap. This allows you to learn beyond your own function and job description. 

For instance, as a HR intern, I know everything that is going on in our recruiting and lead each of our candidates throughout the entire recruitment process, from the moment they first get in touch to their activation on our platform. In addition, I’ve also regularly learnt a lot about Operations, Marketing and Product Development because we regularly have team meetings where everyone explains how the business is going on their end.

3.) Learn to think critically 

Critical thinking is a great skill and at a start-up you are constantly encouraged to think about how we do things and what can be improved. That encouragement allows you to connect more deeply with your job, understand it better and learn to figure out problems on your own. 

I can discuss my suggestions to streamline our recruitment process with colleagues. I am encouraged  to suggest and implement improvements as part of my role. In this close-knit team where very little is set in stone, every new proposal is either quickly rejected or adopted, leaving room for new ideas. 

4.) Handle a lot of responsibility 

When the team is small, colleagues and customers will inevitably rely on you. Colleagues are there to support you, but it is up to you to own your role and help the business succeed. 

At TidyChoice I am responsible for recruiting and onboarding new professionals, so my performance immediately reflects on the success of the business. I have a material impact on the business and my colleagues count on me. 

5.) Learn hands on 

Autonomy, initiative and speed are truly valued in a rapid-growing company, so you will start doing your job on Day 1 and learn it as you go. Your colleagues will shadow you at first, but there is no bench time before diving into the job. It is a challenging environment and you can progress quickly. There is no limit to the level of responsibility you can take on. 

At TidyChoice, I was shadowing interviews as soon as I started the internship. I was conducting phone interviews on my second day (while being shadowed) and I learnt how to navigate our systems and carry out essential tasks in the first week. While I have a handbook that I can refer to, I mostly rely on my colleagues’ feedback to learn and improve at my job. 

6.) Variety will keep you engaged 

In this shapeshifting business, you learn more than one way to do your job. Processes are constantly evolving and improving, so by the time you have mastered a certain task, you need to be ready to master the next one. 

In my role, every day is different and I have a high level of autonomy over how I manage the work. Whilst my performance is assessed against deliverables, it is entirely up to me how I meet targets. 

7.) The potential for growth is exciting 

Being part of a fast-growing company means that you have the opportunity to develop new skills as your role evolves. If you are flexible, you have the opportunity to expand your knowledge beyond your current function. 

My current focus at TidyChoice is mostly on recruiting and onboarding, but the role is expanding to take on more HR functions. I also contribute to other business functions, such as marketing where I am asked to provide my input and opinion on new advertising campaigns.   

Conclusion 

For these reasons and more, interning in a start-up is an incredible learning experience and an exciting career move that I would encourage all graduates to consider. If you wish to acquire valuable skills and practical business knowledge when you are fresh out of university, you should definitely give it a go.

UCL Careers: Interview with an Alum – Isabel Scavetta and the ‘Career Pivot’

Rachael Richardson-Bullock2 June 2021

Read time: 5 minutes

Written by Isabel Scavetta, UCL Alumni.

Young woman student standing in front of the door of a UCL building

UCL alumni Isabel Scavetta (BA ESPS), recently featured in an article with the BBC about her changing career expectations and we couldn’t resist chatting to her more about her experiences. Our interview with Isabel is truly fascinating, covering her studies and time at UCL, beyond graduation and her multifaceted career journey so far. We really hope that you gain some career inspiration from reading our conversation.

1. Since graduating from UCL, you’ve spoken about a “complete career pivot” and being “grateful for having to re-evaluate”. Can you tell us more about your career journey so far?

I’m currently known for my work in the technology field, especially around improving its accessibility and diversity, which feels ironic given that I come from a non-technical background!

During my studies at UCL, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduating. I did a couple of internships, attended a variety of careers-focused events and studied in both London and Seville. Through that time, I learned that I loved creative problem solving, teamwork and building solutions with real-world impact. I graduated in the pandemic summer so decided there was no time like the present to challenge myself to pursue my interest in tech.

What makes technology stand out for me is how I’m engaged by learning more. Many other industries have a slower pace of change whereas, for me, tech has only become more interesting as my journey has progressed.

So, I started coding with Code First Girls, studied for and passed several Microsoft qualifications, participated in technology conferences and Hackathon challenges, and reached out to women in the industry. Before long, my hard work started to pay off and I was able to use this experience to start giving back to others, achieving a Fellowship at Code First Girls, advisory position at Microsoft on their TechHer Student initiative, and an internship in Rolls-Royce’s Data & AI Hub (R2 Data Labs).

2. As a UCL graduate, BA European Social & Political Studies (ESPS), you have commented that your degree helps you “every day to quickly understand new concepts, communicate clearly, and draw connections across diverse subject areas”. Could you expand on this thought? What other transferable skills have your UCL experiences given you?

People often say to me that I’ve made an amazing transition from my undergraduate studies, but I think there’s lots of complementary elements between them. The main skill that ESPS taught me was the ability to pick up new concepts and develop an in-depth understanding of them in a very short period of time. In one degree, you could study across 9 different humanities departments, and in our first year, we had an exam covering all of them! This is vital in industries such as consulting and technology because you’re constantly introduced to disparate subjects and you need to try and figure out ways in which they are similar to things you’ve seen before, and also what differentiates them.

I was an active student at UCL, as I was involved in several societies, mentorship programmes and sports clubs. Balancing my various commitments and part-time work alongside my studies helped me to become proactive and self-organised, which has been helpful in my career so far.

Also, as a London based student I got the chance to go to some really brilliant networking events over the years and these taught me a lot about presentation skills, strategy, communication and clarity which have helped in developing my personal online presence and a compelling story as to why I could be a great leader in technology.

3. You recently taught yourself coding, and volunteered at the online project, Class of 2020. How have extra-curricular activities and voluntary experiences aided your career journey?

My voluntary work and extracurricular activities were essential to making the transition into technology, and “bridging the gap” between my degree and my interest.

To begin, they showed I had an active interest in this field, which gave me a lot of content to talk about at interviews. Furthermore, they helped me to expand my technical knowledge, which wasn’t something that I had the opportunity to do during my time at UCL.

One of the silver linings of the pandemic was that so many organisations made their online learning resources accessible and free to use, which was the purpose of the Class of 2020 project. I’ve written an article where I’ve listed some of my personal favourites.

4. You’re now undertaking a remote internship in Artificial Intelligence at Rolls Royce. What does a normal working day look like for you?

My time is primarily spread across two parts of the AI Hub. I’m interested in business and strategy, so I don’t actually code in my day job!

Firstly, I’m working on an innovation project where we are designing a new capability that has potential to disrupt the industries that we operate in. Secondly, I work to implement agile methodology on an AI-based project, where I liaise with my cross-functional team to ensure that what we’re building runs to our business objectives.

Due to this there’s no such thing as a typical working day for me, but often I will be conducting interviews with experts in AI across the field, ensuring that our data scientists in the UK and abroad are working collaboratively, resolving any impediments my team may face and contributing to group synthesis and design thinking workshops.

5. You’ve spoken candidly about overcoming “decision fatigue.” If you could give a UCL student any advice when thinking about future career planning, what would that be?

Some really good advice I was given was to work backwards when you think of career choices. So, rather than choosing a job you think you want and seeing if it fits, think about what lifestyle and experiences fit you, then see what jobs align with that.

For example, do you prefer to work independently or collaboratively? Do you enjoy more analytical or qualitative work?

This is a useful frame of reference because it’s something that you can map your existing experiences to, no matter how much or how little work experience you have.

When I first started my job search, I actually sat down and wrote out a map of everything I knew about myself in terms of what I was good at and what I wanted to develop. This is helpful because it helps you take a more open-minded approach to job hunting. I applied for a really wide variety of roles – some in strategy, research, tech, healthcare – but the constant was that I knew that this was the kind of work I would find engaging. Sometimes that meant I was applying for very different roles and very different Industries!

6. Did you make use of the services/events UCL Careers offer during your time here?

I booked a one-on-one UCL careers appointment in my final year, which was useful because it allowed me to articulate to someone new what kind of careers I was interested in, and why I wanted to pursue them. I think that was a really good exercise to start thinking about my job hunt and also not to feel like it was such a solo mission. It depends on what you’re interested in, but I know that UCL Careers do sector-specific career weeks etc. that a lot of my course-mates in the Politics department enjoyed.

7. What is on your bookshelf right now?

The book I tell everyone to read is Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez, which is all about the implicit gender bias in data. It’s a harrowing but impactful read about the ways in which the systems we use can work against us, and a great first introduction to why an intersectional approach is necessary in technology (and other industries!) as we build for the future.

 

Don’t delay – there’s still time to apply for a UCL Connected Learning Internship

Rachael Richardson-Bullock17 May 2021

Read time: 2 minutes

Written by Eleanor King, UCL Student

Man sitting at a table resting his chin on his hands smiling.

Over 140 students working across 74 projects completed a UCL Connected Learning Internship during July and August 2020. Student feedback confirmed that these opportunities greatly improved key employability skills, including written and verbal communication, teamwork and collaboration, planning and organising, problem-solving, decision-making and even creativity. 

Don’t just take our word for it. Read below for an exclusive interview from Eleanor King, who completed her Connected Learning Internship at UCL in 2021. 

1.) What made you apply for a Connected Learning Internship, and how did you find out about it? 

I wanted to truly get involved with the UCL community – as a postgraduate new to UCL, during a time of great disconnection (the pandemic), I wanted to feel more like a part of the university. The UCL Careers Instagram page was where I first found out about the internships – I find the page very useful and I use the updates via the Instagram Stories to explore opportunities within UCL while studying. I was motivated to apply because of the skills that internships give you, and their value to employers. This internship in particular – Connected Learning for Accessibility and Inclusivity in Disaster Studies – appealed to me, as I am passionate about outreach, having previously worked as a student mentor as an undergraduate. 

 2.) Did you gain any particular skills or learn anything new during the internship? 

Absolutely – firstly, from a completely technical perspective, I learned how to use Adobe Acrobat in order to make PDF documents more accessible. This is something that will really help me, as I apply for jobs. I also improved my organisational skills, I was able to connect with new professionals, all of them in another department, and learn more about what entailed accessibility and inclusivity, which broadened my knowledge. I learned not only from the academic staff I was working with, but also fellow intern Fransesca Kurlansky, as we discussed our individual tasks together, and conducted a critical appraisal of a lecture created by one of our mentors, Virginie Le Masson. This internship reinforced my interest in outreach, and it further enhanced what must be considered when making content more inclusive, strengthening my grasp of intersectionality – something which will help me in my studies. 

3.) How will you apply this experience to your future career journey? 

The experience and skills I gained from this internship will be invaluable to my future career journey. It strengthened my ability to assess and scrutinise content, and I am more aware of factors to search for when looking at a document’s accessibility score and how inclusive it is, making me able to implement change in the workplace. It has also shown me that I am able to take up multiple roles simultaneously, as I am able to organise my time effectively, as I have displayed by balancing the internship with my university work. It has taught me to always say yes to new opportunities, as they will bring new skills and rewards – something that I will always apply as I embark on my future career journey. 

4.) What is inspiring you right now?  

My new move to London is inspiring me currently. I have just moved to London after studying from home, and the independence, new outlook and opportunities this has given me is inspiring me to work harder on my masters and job applications. Having started my masters under COVID-19 restrictions and not being able to meet new people in a new city was something that, when I applied, I couldn’t ever have imagined, nor wanted to imagine. However, I pushed myself to get involved with the opportunities that UCL offer to feel more connected with the university community. Having been able to write for a university magazine and complete an internship while under restrictions felt like a massive achievement, and it is my ability to now go to campus that is driving me to continue to leave my mark on the UCL community. 

Next steps: 

If Eleanor’s experience has inspired you, then take a look at the current Connected Learning Internship opportunities available to you.  All internships are fully funded and are available remote/online for up to 70 hours per role, to be undertaken between 12 July 2021 and 27 August 2021. 

Remember to submit your application online via myUCLCareers by 21 May 2021.

Sustainability Fortnight: Careers in Conservation, Ecology & Wildlife

UCL Careers15 March 2019

 

Careers in Conservation panel

The 20th of February saw our second panel discussion for Sustainability Fortnight exploring careers in Conservation, Ecology & Wildlife. 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.

Get involved

Gwen Buck, Policy Advisor at the Green Alliance, found her career after becoming interested in the politics around the environment and conservation. She found that involving herself in events and networking opportunities in the local area enabled her to find out about companies and career opportunities she might not have found otherwise.

“Make sure to ask people plenty of questions!” – Gwen Buck, Policy Advisor at Green Alliance

Clare Pugh, Senior Ecologist at Atkins, also recommended joining the Ecology Network as another way to broaden understanding of the industry and access contacts and career opportunities.  Both panellists were keen to point out that even though experience might not be in the form of a formal work placement any experience can still be greatly beneficial.

David Kirby, Associate Ecologist at WPS, finally added that “gaining any kind of experience is a good idea”.  This can be particularly useful in gaining practical experiences such as surveying and gaining a surveying license; these are necessities of the roles at his firm and can be gained whilst still a student.

Attitude

Jonathan Brauner, Logistics and Business Liaison at Wildlife for All, was keen to stress the importance of a positive attitude when working in this area.  “All of the staff at our organisation are voluntary” he stated.  “This means that it is vital that anyone looking to work with us has the right attitude, both in giving their time and their approach to the work”.  Gaining work experience in the industry can often be temporary, unpaid or physically exerting and therefore anyone looking to participate should be positive they are willing to take part and happy to do a range of tasks.

Persistence is key

Francesca Trotman is the Founder of charity Love The Oceans and was keen to point out that persistence has been a key trait which her career has benefitted from.  “I always knew what I wanted to do but setting up a charity which works in Mozambique has plenty of challenges”, she said, “but I’ve been told I won’t be able to do something 1,000 times and have always managed to do them so far”.  She also felt that being flexible is a real benefit, particularly due to the atypical types of opportunity that come up to someone looking to work in the industry.

Potential growth areas

The panel were asked about potential growth areas which students may see increased opportunity in for the near future. Clare discussed areas within her work in sustainability for large consultancies and pinpointed biodiversity net-gain (improving biodiversity rather than simply offsetting losses) as an area that is being increasingly promoted within her field.

David added that there are increases in the use of new technologies, for example in the collection and analysis of data, which is also growing and is an area which students should look to understand and develop new skills in.

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

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.

Where will you go this summer? Funding available for internships outside of the UK!

UCL Careers11 March 2019

Thinking of undertaking an internship outside of the UK this summer? Applications have opened for UCL’s Global Internships Bursary, which provides financial support for students who have sourced their own summer internship in 2019. Grants of £500 are available and can be used to offset costs associated with working overseas such as flights, visas, vaccinations and living costs.

Applications close on 28th April (23.59). Eligibility applies. See more details and how to apply.

Magali standing on the Brooklyn Bridge

Magali Medinger, intern at the United Nations in New York

Last year Magali Medinger travelled to New York to complete an internship at an NGO. She told us more about her experience…

“My global internship was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Although it was nerve-wracking at first and sometimes challenging, if you want to learn more about the world, other people and most importantly yourself, I highly recommend taking on an opportunity like this. Breaking out of your comfort zone is key for growing as a person, so pack your bags and off you go.”

Why did you choose to undertake an international internship?

My main criteria for an international internship was to be able to work at the UN. I did not choose the country per se, as there are only two permanent Missions of Luxembourg to the UN in the world, and the spot in New York was open. Yet the fact that the internship was international, and in a new country, made the experience much more valuable. Hard work and responsibility at the workplace, combined with the immersion into a new culture and city also made it unforgettable.

What did you do doing your internship?

My tasks were many and varied, including general assistance to the diplomatic agents of the mission: assistance in report writing of meetings, tracking the activities of the different bodies of the UN, and daily general and specialised press screening. Moreover, I participated and assisted speechwriting in side events like “Children and Sustainable Development” and “Safer Roads and Inclusive Transportation”, and attended a number of high-level plenary meetings.

How did you immerse yourself in the culture of a new country?

Before going to New York, I had never been to the United States, nor had I ever really travelled to a new continent by myself. I think one of the most important things is planning. In order to immerse yourself in the culture of a country, you need to understand it first. Of course, it is also key that you leave space for spontaneous and unplanned moments, but you need to make sure you know enough about the country so as not to miss out on great opportunities.

What was the most useful part of your internship?

The conversations I had and the speeches I was able to listen to. Getting a grip of how the UN works and most importantly how the people inside this huge international organisation think and act is only possible by witnessing and being a part of it.  

What were some of the challenges you faced during your internship?

Adapting to a new environment, new colleagues and a new job. It was a lot to take in at the beginning, but the people I met there were very caring and helped me overcome most challenges. Being on your own is not easy, but you get the chance to learn a lot about the world and yourself.

Do you have any tips for other students thinking of doing an internship overseas?

Be open to everything and don’t let your fear of the unknown stop you. Observe and listen carefully, adapt to your role. Connect with people and experience the city and culture.

UCL Careers Global Internships

Are Graduate Schemes Still Open?

UCL Careers11 January 2019

Which can I apply for? Are graduate schemes right for me?

If you haven’t applied to a graduate scheme already, you might be asking yourself some of these questions. There’s no need to worry. If you want to find a programme, there are still plenty currently taking applications. You might even decide that graduate schemes aren’t worth it. After all, one in six graduates leave their first employer within the first two years.

Which graduate schemes are still open?

Prospects

Many of these programmes are still taking applicants. Others take on graduates on a rolling basis. So who’s recruiting students? Prospects have put together a handy online tool where you can search open graduate schemes. Use their filter options to reveal graduate programmes which you can sort by industry and location.

So which employers are still looking for current students and recent graduates? Here’s a little taste of the ones that are still open, from a range of sectors.

Find out who’s still taking applications on the Prospects search tool.

Clearly employers are still searching for students to recruit, so do some research across the web and try and meet as many graduate recruiters as you can at our events.

Are graduate schemes right for me?

It is easy to feel pressured into applying for a graduate scheme – but these schemes are not your only choice. Most employers (including those who run graduate schemes), hire graduates on a continuous basis.

You only need to check the current vacancies on myUCLCareers to see this for yourself. You can search other major jobs boards, such as LinkedIn or Indeed, including the term “Graduate” and you will see plenty of graduate roles that aren’t part of a particular scheme.

This is particularly true for organisations who are not large enough to warrant a graduate scheme. This is why international organisations which hundreds of staff are much more likely to have schemes on offer. Working for a company like this might not suit your goals, so don’t be afraid to look elsewhere for graduate jobs. Read more about the difference between a graduate job and a graduate scheme on Gradtouch.

Further study is another popular choice, with 30% of UCL graduates in 2016 securing further study courses after six months.

Full-time work (49%), Part-time work (9%), Work and study (1%), Study (30%), Due to start work (1%), Unemployed (2%), Other (8%)

 

 

How can I improve my applications? (for all graduate jobs)

All graduate jobs, whether part of a graduate scheme or not, want you to demonstrate your motivation, desirable qualities, skills and experience.
One of the best ways to do this is through volunteering and work experience. By finding an internship or other work experience you will show your motivation to employers, gain useful real-world experience, and learn more about that particular role or sector.

You might realise that you don’t enjoy a particular sector as much as you expect. This means you can look for something different when you graduate. If you love the job, you’ll be able to demonstrate your awareness of the sector to future employers. It’s very common for people who do internships while they study to secure a job with the same employer when they graduate.

Have work or volunteering experience? Let graduate recruiters know what you learned using examples. Be sure to tell them how you can apply those lessons when working for them. It’s what you’re aiming to do after all!

In your final year or recently graduated?

It might be time to start looking at what’s available and applying.

Our careers consultants can help you review your CVs and applications in one-to-one advice sessions and mock interviews. These will give you the confidence you need to evidence your best qualities when applying.

Graduate schemes often use recruitment tools such as assessment centres and psychometric testing to filter applications. Although these can seem intimidating, the more you know about them, the less scary they become.

UCL Careers run a range of workshops, talks and employer-led events through the year. These include mock assessment centres, employer networking and application sessions. Any of these could help with your graduate job applications, so see the full events calendar and book your place.

Remember, UCL Careers is here to support you, no matter what stage your at in your career planning; whether you’re applying to graduate schemes or any other kind of work or further study. Find out more about what UCL Careers can offer you.

LGBTQ+ Careers – SOAS Careers Service Panel Discussion

uczjsdd21 May 2018

LGBTQ+ rainbow flagEarlier this month SOAS Careers Service ran a discussion panel on LGBTQ+ experiences in the workplace. Sitting on the panel were LGBTQ+ professionals employed in a range of sectors; we heard from two management consultants, an artist, a charity worker, a higher education professional, a digital marketer, and a jobseeker. Three of the panellists had past experience in teaching, one had spent time in recruitment. The panel kindly shared a variety of thought-provoking views and personal experiences. The main messages I took away were:

All parts of our identity can shape our career

Many of the speakers felt being a member of the LGBTQ+ community had influenced their career decisions. For some that meant being subconsciously drawn to open, inclusive, and innovative environments. For others, after experiencing workplaces that weren’t diversity-friendly, their move to open and inclusive work environments was far more deliberate. Some said although their gender/sexual identity hadn’t determined the sector they’d chosen, it did influence the companies they targeted within that sector, and the types of initiatives they became involved with at work e.g. LGBTQ+ groups, and equality and diversity recruitment initiatives.

Research was quoted showing LGBTQ+ people are more attracted to altruistic careers than heterosexual people, and the panel’s charity worker agreed their sexuality had influenced their choice; they felt they wanted to help society in part to prove their worth and overcome the stigma associated with being LGBTQ+.

The drag artist was pretty sure their LGBTQ+ identity may have influenced their career choice….and there are specific arts funds that as an LGBTQ+ person they can apply to for their work.

Some workplaces are more accepting than others Thumbs up featuring the LGBTQ+ rainbow flag.

A few speakers shared experiences of working in less tolerant workplaces and countries, and the negative impacts they had. There was a feeling shared by three panellists that in the workplace, just as in the rest of society, non-binary identities such as pansexuality, bisexuality, and gender fluidity are currently less well understood and accepted than some of the other LGBTQ+ identities. With this feeling came a call for people to make fewer assumptions about colleagues’ identities.

One speaker emphasised the importance of being out and proud in shaping less open workplaces to be more accepting. But if you’re concerned about joining an already diverse and open employer, each year Stonewall compiles a list of 100 organisations doing great work for LGBTQ+ acceptance, which is a good place to start. Here is 2018’s (huzzah for UCL at number 98). Also try speaking to people working in your target sectors and organisations. This sort of ‘informational interview’ can provide a better idea of whether a role and organisation is for you in every way, including the LGBTQ+ angle.

The drag artist worked in a pretty accepting environment…and they emphasised the difference between working in an accepting but predominately straight environment, and queer-run, queer-owned businesses which are leading the way in acceptance, and whose policies they hope will eventually be adopted by other employers.

The decision to be out at work is yours and yours alone

Although all speakers were generally “out”, the panel reflected a range of experiences of being open about their sexual and gender identity at work. One panellist had not been out when working in less tolerant countries, another has been closeted as a teacher, which is a decision they now regret. The benefits of being out at work were discussed: the fact that it encourages other people to be out and confident, that it encourages straight colleagues to be more aware and accepting, and that the energy it takes to hide a major part of yourself every day at work could be better spent on doing and enjoying your actual work.

After much deliberation, and asking tutors and family for advice, one panellist made a conscious decision to be out when working as a school teacher. They wanted to provide a proud LGBTQ+ role model to young people, which had been lacking when they were at school. Although it was terrifying at first, the projected confidence with which they were out led pupils to not see it as a big deal.

The drag artist was pretty comfortable being out at work…but in past 9-5 office environments thought their career wasn’t helped by the fact they were, in their words, “really queer”. So they assured the audience that no one person should feel they have to be out and leading the way, you have to do what’s right for you. The panel agreed it’s an individual decision people need to make for themselves, and that personal safety and comfort must be considered.

To hear more LGBTQ+ workplace experiences, check out Stonewall’s LGBT voices, which forms part of their mega helpful Starting Out Guide. UCL HR also have links to useful resources, including UCL’s LGBT+ Volunteering Fair. And for inspiration, check out The OUTstanding lists: LGBT leaders and allies today.