X Close

UCL Careers

Home

Find Your Future

Menu

Application tips for engineering students

ManpreetDhesi11 October 2014

The engineering sector is similar to most others and it highly competitive. We’ve popped together some tips to help with the application process.

Apply early

First and foremost if you want an engineering graduate job or internship then you better get applying. Deadlines for graduate schemes and internships are different from those at university and applying early could give you a huge advantage. Although many jobs have ‘open’ deadlines or closing deadlines around the end of the year, it pays to take action in September and October as deadlines don’t tell the full story.

Most employers assess applications as and when they are submitted. Many even hold assessment centres and make numerous job offers to early-bird candidates by the time the official closing date rolls round. This means that even though there are spaces left by the closing dates, there will be far more competition for fewer jobs.

Consider jobs or internships at small engineering companies

Don’t just look at big companies. By working for a smaller company you will often have more opportunities and responsibility than at a larger one. You’ll be amazed at the diverse range of smaller engineering consultancies that are able to offer graduates positions.

Non-engineering experience can boost your CV

  • If you can’t find work experience in engineering, try to find a role that enables you to develop and demonstrate key skills (leading teams, problem solving, negotiating, etc) which can then be transferred to engineering.
  • While at university, get involved with as much as you possibly can while still maintaining a 2.1 level of degree. If you can demonstrate core skills that your degree probably doesn’t give you, you will be more employable.

Be positive and passionate

  • Apply when you are in a positive state of mind.
  • Work on showing interest and passion. Create your own projects, follow your own processes, contribute to open source projects, etc.
  • Apply for jobs you have a passion for, and ignore how much they pay.
  • Your passion will show in your application/interview and you will be more likely to be successful.

Research the industry you most want to work in…

  • Do your homework into the particular sector you are interested in to give you an extra edge.

… but don’t get obsessed with an ‘ideal job’

Get feedback on unsuccessful applications

  • Seek feedback from employers, especially after an interview. I found the most effective method to be phoning people rather than emailing as emails can be easily ignored!

It’s not what you know…

  • Make use of any contacts you have already in jobs or the sector you want to work in. Networking is important: attending careers fairs and presentations are good starting points.

For more career advice, search for graduate jobs and internships in the engineering sector please visit TARGETjobs Engineering.

The UCL Careers Engineering fair on Monday 13th October is kindly sponsored by Targetjobs Engineering.

 

 

Ever wondered what types of exercises are used at assessement centres for engineering graduate jobs?

ManpreetDhesi9 October 2014

Psst…. We have the answers.

Assessment centres are used by most major recruiters as part of their selection process for their graduate engineering schemes. Although the content varies from company to company there are numerous common elements.

Most assessment centres are designed around companies’ core competencies – the skills they need the most in their graduate engineers. Technical ability will obviously be tested, but be prepared to show your soft skills. There’s no point designing a brilliant new product or system if you can’t communicate the concept to colleagues, for example, or convince them of its potential value to the business.

Typical activities:

  • Interviews: technical interviews, competency-based interviews or both
  • Group activities: these will often involve discussions and making decisions around a given business issue
  • Giving a presentation: you may be given the topic in advance and it may be something like discussing a technical project you have been previously involved in. Other employers give the topic on the day itself. This will often relate to the business and may involve candidates doing fact finding or decision making.
  • Tests: including psychometric tests, personality questionnaires, or test to check the basic understanding of engineering principles. Some employers also check candidates can extract relevant details from a large amount of information, and communicate the key points

The social side of assessment centres

Most assessment centres include opportunities to chat to recruiters or current employers. Use this chance to learn more about the business. Enthusiasm, interest in the company and good manners will go down well.

Dealing with assessment centres nerves

The more prepared you are the less nervous you will feel. Yan Zhou, a structural engineer and former Imperial College London student, talks about his preparation: ‘I collected information about the company and I tried to understand what kind of people the company was looking for. I also went to my careers service for advice and tips.’

Assessors will do their best to put you at your ease. Yan says, ‘In my technical interview, the engineers gave me clues when I was facing difficulties, which made it less stressful.’

Don’t start comparing yourself to other candidates. Employers are marking you against their selection criteria, not against other candidates. Keep the employer’s selection criteria in mind throughout the event.

Don’t shy away! However nervous you feel, remember that to succeed at an assessment centre you need to participate fully. If the assessors don’t see or hear anything from you, they can’t assess you. It is important to get your points across – but don’t be overbearing or rude.

You will have various opportunities to demonstrate your skills, so if you think you’ve not done so well on one activity, put it at the back of your mind and move on to the next task.

Finally, remember this is not just the employers assessing you; this is your chance to find out more about the organisation, and learn more about the values, structure and culture in the workplace.

For more career advice, search for graduate jobs and internships in the engineering sector please visit TARGETjobs Engineering

The UCL Careers Engineering fair on Monday 13th October is kindly sponsored by Targetjobs Engineering.

For the attention of logical thinkers!

ManpreetDhesi8 October 2014

Logical algorithms associated with science and developed in the effort to make sense of the world dominate your thinking patterns. You are studying fascinating ideas, structured theories and new ways to apply old ideas. There is an Engineering Fair on and you probably don’t really feel the pull to go and find out what is going on. The comfort of your course and academic work is too cosy for you.

The Engineering Fair is on because employers are looking for people like you. The world needs logical thinkers and problem solvers. They want to use your clear thinking to achieve results, your objective mind to highlight causes and effects, or utilise your lateral thinking to bring valuable perspectives to light.

The options for you are endless. You can work in technology, management, retail, law and financial professions.  In addition, many other specialist professions unrelated to your subject will be keen to harness your skills and train you. With so many choices, you have a challenge: which one to choose!

Like many other decisions you have to make, such as buying a mobile phone or finding a place to live, the more investment of time and grey cells that you spend researching, analysing, reading and checking things out the more informed you will be to choose the right career option for you. The Engineering Fair is the kind of opportunity that you can utilise depending on your time investment and preparation.

Make it your business to know their business and its relation to you.

So don’t just come browsing mindlessly.

  • Research the companies’ products, services and the overall industry.
  • Look into the roles the companies offer and consider/ predict the roles that they are going to need in the future.
  • Look at their industry and think of questions to ask to enrich your base knowledge.
  • For your career planning, think of roles that you might be interested in, and then identify why you are interested and what goals you are trying to fulfil.
  • Challenge yourself by asking difficult questions about how you will shape your future.
  • Make notes of your thoughts and reflect on which ones can be used for discussions at the Engineering Fair.

Use your talent to set targets to achieve at the fair in order to utilise this opportunity and draft a strategy to get the best out of the fair.

You will be surprised when you finish your studies; networking opportunities disappear and will not be so readily accessible. You may wish you had made the most of these opportunities!

The UCL Careers Engineering fair on Monday 13th October is kindly sponsored by Targetjobs Engineering.

 

 

UCL Engineering Fair is coming…

ManpreetDhesi7 October 2014

If you want to work for a great engineering company when you graduate or find out about internship opportunities, the UCL Engineering Fair 2014 is for you!

When: Monday 13th October 2014 5:30 – 8pm

Where: North and South Cloisters

The event will give you the chance to meet lots of employers that want to employ Engineering graduates. It will be a great opportunity to find out more about their companies, make contacts and see the breath of future career options.

Some employers include:

TARGETjobs (sponsor), AMEC, Centrica, Colas Rail, Fluor, Jaguar Land Rover, L’Oreal, Mot Macdonald, TFL, Thales and many more!

for more information: www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/fairs

Do I need to book to go to the Fair?
NO! Due to the size and duration of each Fair, visitors can come and go as they please while a Fair is on so booking is not necessary.

Please be aware however that the Fairs are very popular and entry to the exhibitor stands will be controlled to avoid overcrowding and entry to all Fairs is on a first come-first served basis. You may therefore be asked to queue on arrival and we thank you in advance for your patience. A valid UCL ID card (student, staff or GradClub member card) is required to gain entry into the Fair. If you don’t have valid UCL ID, you will not get in!

The UCL Engineering Fair 2014 is kindly sponsored by TARGETjobs Engineering

3 ways to find our more about Management Consultancy

ManpreetDhesi30 September 2014

The Management Consultancy fair is kicking off our autumn careers fair schedule this year on Wednesday 1  October.Management Consultancy Fair

If you’re thinking about coming to the fair, it’s a good idea to do your research on management consultancy beforehand so you can make the most of the opportunity to meet employers. These are three ways you can get informed and come prepared:

The Management Consultancy fair is kicking off our autumn careers fair schedule this year on Wednesday 1 October.

If you’re thinking about coming to the fair, it’s a good idea to do your research on management consultancy beforehand so you can make the most of the opportunity to meet employers. These are three ways you can get informed and come prepared:

  1. Search Careers Tagged, our online careers library

Careers Tagged is full of information to help you at every stage of career planning, from thinking about your options to creating great CVs and job applications. All resources are picked and checked by careers professionals. Search for ‘management consultancy’ for links to professional bodies, industry news sites, job vacancy sites, and more:

http://www.careerstagged.co.uk/resources/management%20consultancy/all/popular/1

  1. Check out the TARGETjobs guide to management consultancy

This is a really useful guide with insights into major management consultancy employers, what employers are looking for, and how to demonstrate your skills in applications and interviews. Come in to UCL Careers on the fourth floor of  Student Central (ULU building) to get a copy to take away (subject to availability), or the full guide is available online:

http://targetjobs.co.uk/career-sectors/management-consulting

  1. Research the job market on What Do London Graduates Do

What Do London Graduates Do is a website for information on what graduates from University of London colleges have gone on to do in the last 5 years. It can give you real life information on recent graduates working in management consultancy. Search by the job ‘management consultants’ on http://wlgd.thecareersgroup.co.uk/ to see how many graduates are working in management consultancy, the companies where they’ve found jobs, the salaries they’re earning, and how they got jobs: http://wlgd.thecareersgroup.co.uk/Details/JobTitle/24231

Looking at this can give you valuable insights into how to approach your job hunt. For example, you can see that 32% of graduates working in management consultancy found out about their jobs through personal contacts and networking, and 21% through previously working at the company. So networking and getting work experience are clearly important if you’re considering management consultancy. Coming to the Management Consultancy Fair is a great way to start networking and meeting employers.

The UCL Careers Management Consultancy Fair on Wednesday 1st October 2014 is kindly sponsored by Accenture

How to prepare for our Career Fairs…

ManpreetDhesi30 September 2014

Every year UCL Careers holds a number of Careers Fairs to help you talk to employers and find out first hand what they are looking for. You will get more out of the Careers Fair if you spend a little time preparing…

Be aware that there will be a mixture of all kind of employers from all kinds of sectors exhibiting each day and you might find an employer that you had never really considered before as being a front runner for you. To help you prepare effectively we’ve put some handy tips together to get you started:

Before the fair

We strongly encourage you to do some research on the exhibitors before the fair: www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/fairs

As well as reading the exhibitor profiles, click through to the organisation’s own website to find out more about them.

You can then decide which exhibitors you particularly want to talk to, and you will be able to ask more informed questions. Try to prepare some questions in advance and think about the main points that you would want an organisation to know about you – it can help you feel more confident.

At the fair

At the fair, each exhibiting organisation has a stand and their reps are there to answer your questions about what the organisation does, what jobs they offer to final year students and graduates, what internships/placements they provide to earlier year students, and any other opportunities that they offer.

Wherever possible, try to talk to someone on the stand instead of just picking up a brochure. Use the opportunity to ask your questions face-to-face.

If you are feeling a bit nervous about approaching your first choice organisation, it can be a good idea to visit some other stands first to practise your technique.

If you are given a business card, make a point soon afterwards of noting on it anything that it would be useful to remember. Have they suggested you email them with further questions? Did they give you advice on their recruitment process?

Even if you have a ‘hit list’ of exhibitors, consider other organisations at the fair that are less well known. They might be offering just what you are looking for.

Remember to bring your UCL ID or GradClub ID card as you won’t be able to enter the fair without this!

Other hints and tips

  • Remember that many of the opportunities are available to students of any discipline
  • Staff on the exhibitor stands are often relatively recent graduates who can tell you what it is really like to work in their organisation
  • If you want to have a CV ready to hand over, arrange an appointment at UCL Careers before the Careers Fair to ask for some CV feedback
  • The fair may be busy when you arrive – don’t be put off. People tend to congregate by the entrance, so head to another part of the fair where it will probably be quieter
  • Avoid walking round the fair with a group of friends. The exhibitor may not realise that you are interested in them, and you could miss out because your friend happens to be more talkative than you!
  • If you feel overwhelmed, and don’t know what to do or where to start, make sure you visit the UCL Careers for help.

For further information about the fairs, please visit: www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/fairs

Want to be a Management Consultant? Then start thinking like one!

ManpreetDhesi26 September 2014

Management Consultancy is a popular career choice for Management Consultancy Fairmany graduates and competition for places on graduate schemes is fierce.   A good degree (1st or 2.1) is a pre-requite together with a range of high level skills such as the ability to gather and analyse complex information, solve problems, think creatively, present information clearly and concisely and manage projects.  However, many graduates will meet these criteria, having developed these skills through a range of experience and activities – what can you do to stand out from other applicants?

Selectors will be looking not only at your ability to do the job but also your passion for wanting to do the job. So what sort of things can you do to demonstrate your commitment and enthusiasm for management consultancy?   Well, showing a genuine interest in business and the wider environment in which organisations are operating is essential. Just mentioning a couple of companies that you’re interested in will not impress – demonstrating that you’re already thinking like a management consultant will!       Think of organisations you’ve experienced yourself – maybe as a student, a consumer, an employee, a patient. Did you spot any inefficiencies or poor processes? What could be changed and how? What might be some of the barriers to change? Carry out a SWOT analysis on different organisations (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).  Starting to identify and work on your own mini case studies will be excellent preparation for the selection process which will include working on a business case where you will be expected to present recommendations based on your analysis of a range of information provided to you.

Preparation is key to success so:

Attend the Management Consultancy Fair. This event offers an excellent opportunity to research the industry, find out what differentiates consultancies, industry sectors they specialise in, clients they work with and to find information that’s important to you personally that might not be easily accessible on websites.

Analyse your skills and collect evidence to demonstrate how you have applied these skills. Search for ‘management consultancy’ here for links to professional bodies, industry news sites, job vacancy sites, and more

Make sure you have a clear understanding of what Management Consultancy is, what it involves and why you think you will be well suited to it.   Using the same link and searching for ‘management consultancy’ here you can gather a wide range of resources and tips to help you prepare for the selection process including links to practice case studies.

The UCL Careers Management Consultancy Fair on Wednesday 1st October 2014 is kindly sponsored by Accenture

Have you thought about targeting local SME businesses for your job search?

IrrumAli15 July 2014

So, you’ve decided the big corporate world is not for you.  You would much rather work for a smaller company – an SME, where you can make your mark, take on responsibility, get to understand the whole business not just a fraction of it, and potentially rise to the top.

The next stage is to work out what SMEs are out there and how to target them?

 One way might be to think about what is on your doorstep.  Students based in London have a plethora of businesses to target and the majority of them are SMEs.  According to the Federation of Small Businesses and Department for Business, Innovation & Skills there were 841,000 private sector businesses in London in 2013.

From data that we collect through the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey we can see that during the last 5 years after graduation 827 UCL students had graduate level roles in SMEs across London with 294 UCL students in businesses based near UCL in the WC1 area.Careers Fair

In just one year (2012/13) 395 UCL graduates had graduate level positions in SMEs throughout London six months after they graduated.  Of those students 35 were based just near UCL.

By targeting local businesses to UCL you can build up a relationship with an employer while you are still a student.  The employer is likely to know UCL, might be extra keen to engage with UCL students and could be willing to offer you the opportunity you have been looking for.

Once you have your target list of SMEs you will need to contact them to see what opportunities they might be willing to offer – you could ask if they have a summer internship scheme or you may find it more fruitful to ask if they would be able to have a short informal chat with you about the work they do, or perhaps could they offer work shadowing for a day or two.   As they will be local they may be more willing to offer you something and the hope is that the initial thread can ultimately lead, perhaps via one or two more interactions, to something more robust.

To source opportunities with SMES register with our shortlisting service UCL Talent Bank.

For UCL students wanting more help with sourcing SMEs in relevant sectors and locations, and for general guidance on approaching businesses speculatively book an appointment with one of our Careers Consultants.

Learn how to ‘Polish your Presence’ at Bloomberg HQ

IrrumAli3 July 2014

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

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

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

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

  • The Resilience Factor

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

  • Polished Elevator Pitch

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

  • Building your Reputation

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

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

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

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

Want to work for an SME? UCL Talent Bank can help!

IrrumAli30 June 2014

Small and Medium Sized Enterprises account for over half of employment in the UK. The advantages of working for them are numerous: you will find yourself in a varied working environment with fewer of the formalities of larger companies, have the opportunity to gain a higher and more immediate profile within the organisation, as well as developing a clear and tangible sense of the contribution you are making.

UCL Talent Bank is uniquely placed to help you into an SME. Relaunched in April 2014, it has built relationships with around 200 employers, many of which fit into the SME category. Since April, 200 UCL students and graduates, of 850 whIMG_9864o have made profiles, have made applications, with 80 shortlisted and 20 interviewed. UCL Talent Bank will work to match your skills and abilities with the specific requirements of organisations to give you the best possible advantage as you look to secure your ideal role.

UCL Talent Bank’s emphasis on SMEs means that it can give you the opportunity to find exactly the job you are looking for. As Nassim, who graduated from UCL this year with an MEng in Civil Engineering and has gone on to find work as a Business Intelligence Analyst at an SME put it: ‘I am extremely glad I managed to find the position…The role advertised was exactly the graduate position I wanted to do – I would even describe it as my dream job!’

This is the level of precision with which UCL Talent Bank can match you to a role.

Create your profile now.

Skip to toolbar