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Learn how to ‘Polish your Presence’ at Bloomberg HQ

ycrnf013 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!

ycrnf0130 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.

Reflections on Summer School 2014

ycrnf0126 June 2014

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

What did they do?

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

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

What did they build their confidence in?

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

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

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

Well done class of 2014!

What did students think IMG_0289of the Summer School?

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

“Enjoyable, interactive and applicable to real life.”

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

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

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

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

Want big responsibility in a fast-paced environment? The Charity sector could be a hidden gem!

UCL Careers29 October 2013

Katy Murray graduated with a First from UCL in 2013 with a degree in Ancient World Studies. She is currently interning at the Children’s Heart Federation and gives us her take on breaking into the Charity sector and how you can get big responsibility within a fast-paced environment…

I am a recent graduate, and I am working two jobs to fund an expensive habit; unpaid internships at small charities. It’s not always a glamorous life; I generally work a 6 day week, hibernating on Sundays. I am also occasionally still found in the queue for free curry at SOAS to save some pennies. On the other hand, last week, on the second day of my internship at the Children’s Heart Federation, I was greeted at our small Shoreditch office with “Do you want to come and do some lobbying at Parliament?”  Next thing I knew I was walking the halls of Westminster, having tea with an MP, looking out onto the Thames.

The experience I am getting at this charity is one I would quite frankly pay for. I am now second in command on a campaign which has recently featured on the One Show, Radio Four and BBC Breakfast. On my first day, I was knocking up press releases to be sent out to newspapers nationwide. Not only am I gaining skills that make me more employable, but I get the biggest buzz out of the working on a cause that I really think is valuable.

When I am not getting my fix at the charity, I work as an Applications Adviser at a major London University. The majority of students who come through the door want to work in banking and finance, management consultancy, and pharmaceutical companies; big business, big competition, big salary. There are numerous reasons why students decide to go down this route, but each candidate looks for something to give an edge to their application forms. One of these I have been seeing recently is students saying that they are drawn to the social responsibility initiative which some employers are promoting. Some banks, for example, give their employees time off the volunteer for their communities, which some students seem to find attractive. As a graduate looking to “break in” to the Charity/Not-For-Profit sector, a part of me always wants to ask (but doesn’t): why not work in a sector whose business is social responsibility? Why not seek opportunity in organisations whose “triple bottom line” has always been their bottom line?

One major reason is money. A recent TedTalk by activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta noted that a CEO of a Hunger charity can expect a salary of over $316,000  less  than a Stanford MBA (that’s nearly £200,000). Pallotta also observes “We have a visceral reaction to the idea that anyone would make very much money helping other people. Interesting that we don’t have a visceral reaction to the notion that people would make a lot of money not helping people.” Yet not a single student that I have spoken to has said to me “I want to work for X bank/consultancy firm because they pay more than the others.” Most of the students I see are ambitious, diligent and want to work in these sectors because they want a big career and big challenges, (perhaps as well as a big pay cheque).

Clearly, as someone who, for whatever reason, wants to be a full-time do-gooder, I struggle slightly to understand the will to work in the profit driven cultures of private sector corporations. What I do understand, however, is how it feels to do a job that I am passionate about, and that I get a genuine buzz out of. Therefore I completely respect the fact that there are people in the world, who get geeky at the thought of stocks and figures, risk analysis, and financial instruments. So if you are one of them then I wish you all the best. But if it is just that you’re looking for a job which is about meeting targets, assessing risk, problem solving and big responsibility in a fast-paced and challenging environment, and you want a career with meaning that gives back to your society and your community, then I can tell you the Charity/Not-For-Profit sector will tick every one of those boxes.

This blog post was orginially posted 29th October 2013.