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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!

Reflections on Summer School 2014

IrrumAli26 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

Q & A with CIMA Global Business Challenge 2014 UCL Finalists

IrrumAli18 June 2014

On Friday 13th June 2014, four UCL Students saw off 139 other university teams from across the UK to gain third place in the CIMA global business challenge UK final – a brilliant success in such a competitive competition. As well as this, the team (consisting of Menghui Wu, Lifeng Ye, Shihui Xu and Hanshuang Shen) also achieved the accolade of ‘Best Team Report’ out of all entrants. A fantastic and inspiring achievement, UCL Careers found out what made the team take part, the skills they’ve picked up both individually and as a team (and used to get so far!) as well as how valuable they thought being involved in a business competition is.

Could you tell us a little about what you are studying (and how this has helped you during the challenge)?

All four of us are full-year affiliate students here from the same base university, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. I [Shihui] study Banking and International Finance back in Shanghai and here I’m doing Economics. Lifeng does Finance as well while Hanshuang and Menghui do Accounting. We have a common business-related background but specialise in different aspects, which allows us to see a ‘case’ from different angles and to form a bigger picture together.

What inspired you to take on the challenge?

We’ve wanted to do something to sharpen our skills and add some valuable experiences to our CVs (it’s all been very practical!) and a business game seemed like the ideal opportunity. The challenge organiser, CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accounting) is a big organisation of good reputation in the industry and their challenge is always tough but rewarding. So we thought why not!

Tell us about what the challenge specifically involved and what you as a team have achieved.

In this challenge, we played the role of a consulting firm to help a client, which is facing several strategic of financial issues. It’s just like a case study, but with more dimensions. In the first round, we were asked to hand in a report and in the UK Final, we did a presentation as well.

What have you got out of the experience?

It’s a very good opportunity to get some idea about how to be a good consultant and how to think like a real business leader. We’ve all learnt to think logically, think broadly, and deliver ideas to customers in an authentic environment. It’s especially helpful to those who want to study CIMA. We also got to network with a lot of top professionals during the UK Final.

Any advice you’d give to students considering taking part?

First of all, form a reliable and diversified team to help develop ideas from different perspectives, and secondly, put yourself in the client’s shoes to see if your work delivers value to them. For the first round of the competition, the only assessment will be the report you hand in. So make sure it has a clear structure and neat layout.

 

Business challenges take place regularly and with UCL Careers you’ll find help and support throughout the competition so you can really make the most out of the experience.

If you’re feeling inspired, find out more about how to get involved: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/students/skills/competitions