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What career skills were you shouting about in 2015?

uczjsdd6 January 2016

Are you sick of 2015 countdown lists yet? No? Good, because here’s another one.

Have you heard of Coursera? It’s great. It allows you to take free online courses in pretty much anything, and those courses are taught by university experts. In fact, UCL careers consultants helped deliver a course in Employability Skills in 2014 and 2015.

And now the good people at Coursera have put together a handy list of 2015’s most coveted career skills. When you complete a course you receive a certificate, and get the option of posting said certificate to your LinkedIn profile. By assessing courses with the most certificates posted to LinkedIn, Coursera have worked out the top 10 skills people most wanted to show off to recruiters last year. It’s a nice measure of what’s hot with employers right now, with ‘digital marketing’ coming out on top, and ‘data science’ featuring heavily in the top 10. Check out the full list here.

And to be notified when the employability skills course runs again, visit the course page and add it to your wish list.

6 networking tips that work for me

uczjsdd6 November 2015

network 2 Image from Andy Lamb

Networking is important. It just is. But it can also be painful.

The below networking tips have helped me, so hopefully they’ll also help people who are a bit like me. But are you like me? Do you feel social awkwardness acutely and do everything in your power to avoid it? Do you enjoy spending time with humans, but also hate meeting new ones? Do you cringe at the thought of entering a room packed with strangers, with the aim of ‘selling yourself’? If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the above, these tips could ease your pain:

1) Have a purpose

Have a reason for being somewhere that isn’t simply ‘networking’. There’s nothing I find more excruciatingly awkward than milling about with a glass of wine surrounded by people I don’t know. I just end up leaving early. But if I’m actually doing something, then I find it much easier to talk to strangers, get to know people, and pick up useful contacts.

You could see this as a ‘planned happenstance’ approach to networking – put yourself out there, get involved with things, and the networking is likely to just happen without you really noticing. For me, this has meant signing up for a course where I’d meet people in a certain sector, or volunteering at relevant events. Sometimes these events have included one of those dreaded ‘networking sessions’, which always feel far less awkward if I’ve been part of the team organising them.

2) Latch on to a good networker

Like it or not, it’s not always possible to ‘have a purpose’. Sometimes attending actual networking events is part of life. And it can yield results. I find networking events more productive and less terrible if I attend with a natural-born networker. The intense schmoozing might make you feel uncomfortable at times, but the good networker will ensure they (and, because you are together, also you) talk to lots of key people, and their social skills should make the whole affair less awkward for everyone.

3) Don’t bring the whole gang

While attending a networking session or signing up for a course with one other person (hopefully a fantastic networker – see tip 2) can give you the confidence to talk to new people, bringing a big group along is likely to be counterproductive. Enjoying complimentary drinks with friends at conferences or networking sessions is fabulous in its own way, but you probably won’t get much networking done!

4) Be curious

Networking events can inflict a pressure to be interesting. But it’s better (and easier) to concentrate on being interested. Sure, you should try to swot up on relevant topics and issues to do with your particular sector/company of interest, and it’s sensible to have a short elevator pitch about yourself prepared. But in reality, most people quite like to talk about themselves, and they like people who let them do it. So if you ask lots of questions and seem genuinely engaged you’re likely to build rapport, and in turn networks.

5) Don’t expect too much

Network 3Image from Sean MacEntee

…or at least not too much too soon. Networking is great for your career. But if you go into each networking event expecting a promotion, you’ll be often disappointed. And if you harass everyone you meet for a job, you’ll be often avoided.

Asking questions people can easily answer (a la tip 4) is a good start. If you come away from an event having learned about someone’s career path or what it’s like to work in a particular company, then you’ve acquired valuable knowledge for your career thinking and applications. And remember networking can be a long game. Although it might not be immediately obvious how someone can help you (or how you might help them!), building your networks is likely to pay off in the end.

6) Follow up

When you meet someone at an event try to follow the link up within a week. I have a friend who likes to send a small gift to new contacts. Although it works wonderfully well for her (it’s how she and I became friends), most people can’t pull it off without seeming creepy, so a brief email or LinkedIn request should suffice. It can be nice to remind them of the conversation you had, and perhaps even send them a link to something they might find interesting. This keeps the contact warm, increasing the chances they’ll remember and think well of you, and decreasing the chances you’ll feel awkward when you contact them in the future.

Originally published on The Careers Group’s Get Hired blog.

Employability skills training and employer led events for UCL researchers

uczjvwa30 September 2015

UCL_CareersWeekEmployer-Led Careers Skills Workshops

Are you interested in brushing up on key employability skills and meeting/networking with employers who are keen to engage with researchers?

For both academic and non-academic careers, these workshops help you identify and develop core competencies which are vital for you to compete in the job market by demonstrating the transferable nature of the research skills you have acquired.

Day/Date Time Title Employer
Thurs 15th Oct 2:00pm – 4:00pm Introduction to Negotiation Skills Capco
Wed 21st Oct 5:30pm – 7:30pm Case Study Interviews Oliver Wyman
Wed 28th Oct 5:30pm – 7:30pm Networking skills Civil Service Fast Stream
Thurs 19th Nov 2:00pm – 4:00 pm Group Exercises and Assessment Centres PwC
Thurs 26th Nov 5:30pm – 7:30pm Interview technique Ark Schools

 

To find out more about the programme please go to: http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/course-details.pht?course_ID=928

Research students book a place here: http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/course-details.pht?course_ID=928

Research staff book a place here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/signupform/

 

Careers in Technology: Employer Forum for PhDs and Researchers

Thursday 29th October 2015 5:30pm to 7:30pm

The aim of this event is to help PhD students and other researchers with their career planning by providing an opportunity to question, to hear from and network with employers that come from a variety of roles within the IT & Technology sector, who are PhD holders themselves. The panel of speakers will give tips on how research students can use their qualifications and experiences to enter this field as well as information about their sector.

Panel of speakers will be:

Dr Salvatore Scellato  – Senior Software Engineer, Google

Dr David Houseman – Quantitative Analyst, G-Research

Dr Paul Loustalan – Patent Attorney, Reddie & Grose LLP

Dr Peter Johnson – Research Scientist, Schlumberger

Dr Nadia Frost  – Senior Solutions Analyst (Business Analysis), Thomson Reuters

To find out more about the programme please go to: http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/course-details.pht?course_ID=2193

Research students book a place here: http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/course-details.pht?course_ID=2193

Research staff book a place here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/signupform/

 

Find out about the specialist careers support provided by UCL Careers for researchers here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/specialistsupport/researchers

 

 

Employer led skills workshops for researchers open for booking

uczjvwa13 January 2015

UCL_CareersWeekThese workshops will introduce you to the employability skills that are required in today’s workplace and provide opportunities for you to develop and practice these skills. They will also demonstrate the transferable nature of the research skills you have acquired during your PhD, from an employer’s perspective. In the process you will gain a better understanding of the UK labour market, meet and network with potential employers and find out about career paths in a range of sectors. For more information about the range of workshops available please follow this link: http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/course-details.pht?course_ID=928

Upcoming workshop:

Group Exercises and Assessment Centres with Teach First

20th January 2015 from 14:00 to 16:00

Do you want the opportunity to understand more about how to demonstrate key employability skills such as teamwork, communication and organisational skills to an employer? Employers value these skills and they often use assessment centres in order to assess them. However, Assessment Centres are the point where candidates often slip up in the recruitment process. This workshop will give you the chance to try some exercises and help you to navigate the tricky points of demonstrating your skills in an assessed exercise.

Learning Outcomes

• Deepen your understanding of the behaviours that employers typically look for throughout the recruitment process and, in particular, within assessment centres
• Understand why assessment centres are used by employers in their recruitment processes
• Develop familiarity with exercises and tests that may be used during an assessment centre to maximise your performance on the day, particularly regarding group assessment exercises
• Gain the tools to evaluate your readiness for an assessment centre and those areas where you need to further develop your skills

Research Students book here

Research Staff book here