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Top Tips for Career Success

Contents Introduction

10. Gateway

1. Plan your personal development

11. Do a work placement

2. ePortfolio

12. Get a mentor

3. Plymouth Award

13. Add to your qualifications

4. Get a part-time/vacation job

14. Meet employers

5. Volunteer

15. Step into a graduate level job

6. Join clubs and societies

16. Get some careers advice

7. Become a course rep

17. Entrepreneur Support

8. Plug your skills gaps

18. Develop your network of contacts

9. Join SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise)

19. Find a graduate job online

This booklet is available in alternative formats on the Careers Service website and can also be downloaded as a PDF.  Visit

Introduction Today’s job market for graduates is highly competitive. With around half a million students graduating every year, employers have a lot of choice. When selecting, they will look at your qualification as a starting point and will then want evidence of the additional skills and experience you have to offer. At the University of Plymouth, we offer you a range of opportunities to help you make the most of your university experience. Taking up these opportunities will also help make you more employable. Work experience, participation in clubs and societies, voluntary work, your choice of dissertation, being a course representative - these are all things that can add value to your CV and help make you stand out from your peers. This year we are also offering a new opportunity for you to gain additional recognition for your extracurricular activities by launching the Plymouth Award. This award has the endorsement of many prestigious employers, both local and national, and we believe it will help you stand out in today’s crowded job market. This booklet aims to give you an overview of some of the ways of adding value to your University experience. We hope it helps you achieve your goals.

Marc Lintern Head of Employability

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Plan your personal development Benefits:

• there’s no time like the present to set yourself career and life goals and explore ways to make them a reality. This is what personal development planning is all about


> Ask your tutor, school office or faculty office for information on your PDP. > Visit > Get involved! Actively seek out opportunities that will help you to develop as a person for example, the ‘Learning through Volunteering’ module available through the Students’ Union. > Make a start on collating those pieces of evidence about your skills, competencies, attitudes and attributes from your academic and extracurricular lives. Do this on your own ePortfolio account.

6 7 8 9 6 10 7 8 • increase your confidence and independence • understand how you learn and in what settings you thrive.

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2 3 4 5 how? ePortfolio Benefits:

• you have all the evidence of your achievements in one secure, password protected, digital vault

> Simply go to to access your account. Use your standard UoP password at the prompt. > You can also access your account directly from the Portal. > There are plenty of help sheets embedded in the software (Click the “?” icon for help). > Look out for additional open-access help and training sessions advertised on the Portal.

7 8 9 106 • you can use the software to create any number of presentational portfolios and CVs, based on your evidence

• you can use a range of tools in ePortfolio, to help you reflect on your achievements, set out your career and personal goals, share them with your tutor, peers, or anyone else you choose • your ePortfolio account is accessible from anywhere in the world at any time. You can even access it from handheld devices such as PDAs, mobile phones etc. You can take your assets with you when you graduate and either migrate to a new ePortfolio account or start off a new CPD using the same assets.

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Plymouth Award Benefits:

• provides clear evidence by summarising your extra-curricular achievements • endorsed by the University and employers

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• reflects life-wide experiential learning from a range of activities • easily accessible to any student •

no fixed time limit, although you must be registered as a student at the start and throughout the time you take to complete the award.

how? > Go to plymouthawards for further details. > Visit Gateway and have a chat with the staff about the award. > Pick up the Plymouth Award handbook from locations around the campus. > Think about what you already do outside your formal learning and review whether they may count towards your Plymouth Award. > Look out for introductory sessions to the Award advertised across the campus, normally scheduled after 6.00pm for your convenience. > Look out for the Plymouth Award logo which alerts you to extra-curricular activities that count towards your Award.

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Get a part-time/vacation job Benefits:

• extra money • work experience

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• r oad test possible future jobs and work environments • build and expand your CV • networking

• opportunities for summer overseas travel • m  ost employers will not consider people without work experience.

how? > The Careers Service runs a Job Shop for part-time and vacation work. > Register with our free job service. Visit www.plymouth. and select ‘jobs’. > Dont forget to sign up for jobs by email so that the jobs come to you.

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As an international student, you may need advice on your visa status. Contact


Volunteer Benefits: • enhance your studies • a  ccess free training courses, gain qualifications and accreditation


• find the perfect activity and learn new skills • show commitment in a career that interests you (eg. volunteering for a local newspaper to display an interest in creative writing) • in certain sectors, voluntary experience is essential when applying for jobs • meet new people, have fun and give something back to society • do something completely different and challenging! From youth work to the environment, education to music, sporting activities to working with older people; the range of volunteering activities is only limited by your imagination. Once a term, every month, or an hour a week, the Volunteer Department in UPSU can find an opportunity to fit your requirements. 73% of employers would employ candidates who have volunteering experience over those who don’t. ‘Access to Volunteering’ is a booklet for disabled students, available from

how? > Visit and search for projects and activities, check out dates for events and training and download forms. > Join Volunteering in Plymouth (ViP) through the Students’ Union who run regular one-off projects. Visit > Join the Students’ Union Raising and Giving (RAG) Society and help raise money for local and national charities. > Visit and register with our online vacancy service. > Visit for other volunteering opportunities. > Ask the Students’ Union and Careers Service about opportunities for training, qualifications and awards through volunteering.

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6 7 8 9 10 Join clubs and societies Benefits:

• meet new people and have fun • demonstrate your commitment to an area and willingness to give up your free time for the benefit of others • enhance your CV by taking on official roles that develop your leadership, coaching, management and organisational skills • attend training courses and gain qualifications.

how? > Look for opportunities at and click on the club or society that interests you. > Visit for ideas on improving your employability by getting involved in sport and recreation. > For information about sports clubs, email > For information about societies, email

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Become a course rep/ Students’ Union Officer Benefits:

• represent the opinions of students on your course • have fun and make new friends • attend training events and develop skills in negotiation, time and meeting management, active listening and presenting information • have a say in how the University of Plymouth is run • add value to your CV and demonstrate your willingness to participate • there are currently more than 1,000 course reps helping to reshape courses and support students.

how? > Course reps are elected on each course at the start of the academic year. > The Students’ Union organises training. > Attend termly course committee meetings with students and staff. > Contact the Students’ Union for more information by emailing

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Plug your skills gaps Benefits:

• strengthen your basic skills such as interpersonal, literacy and numeracy • learn essential skills in critical thinking, analysis and evaluation, and in communicating and presenting your ideas successfully • sell yourself through CV writing, covering letters, application forms, psychometric tests and interview techniques • employers are increasingly looking for awareness of corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

how? The University offers a range of services to help develop your skills, such as: > Sum Up drop-in centre (based in the Library) for help in strengthening numeracy skills > Learning Development for tutorials, workshops and lectures on effective communication > for advice on how to market yourself effectively > English Language Centre for email advice and tutorials to help international students develop English language skills > Graduate School for a skills programme for postgraduate research students > Information & Learning Services through the library for advice on accessing and using information in your studies > computing drop-in sessions.

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Join SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) Benefits:

• make your CV stand out from the crowd • take your degree to the next level apply your knowledge to one of our many team projects • make an enormous social impact • gain real work and life experience • get noticed - you’ll have the opportunity to pitch your project solutions to some of the world’s top recruiters • become a leader - manage some of the biggest initiatives in the city • skills development - communication, teamwork, problem solving and much more • implement change • get exclusive access to Careers and Employability events. • competitions - you’ll have the opportunity to enter University, regional, national and global competitions! • meet new people - create a network of likeminded people • fun and exciting socialising and networking events.

About us: •

SIFE is an international non-profit organisation active in more than 1,500 universities in over 40 countries

SIFE University of Plymouth enables students from all years of study and disciplines to join a team and develop community and business projects to create economic and social opportunities for others

whatever project you engage in, you’ll receive support and guidance from our SIFE network of University and business advisors as you will be making a positive economical, social and environmental impact.

how? > Visit for more information about SIFE and some of the projects we will be embarking on this year. > Find us recruiting around campus in Welcome week and at the UPSU Sports & Societies Fair. > Drop us an email on

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Without doubt the most rewarding, exciting and “ valuable experience available to a university student. It’s truly amazing! ” “ SIFE is one of the most positive things I have ever done! ”



is our careers and employability centre and “ Gateway gateway to the University for information, advice and graduate recruitment activities. ” It is open to students, graduates, businesses, community groups, prospective students and members of the public. It is intended to be a gateway between the University and the city. We offer a welcoming and professional one-stop information and advice centre for all our intended users. In essence, we are a quick, accurate, approachable and visible information and signposting service for individuals and organisations. We are open all day from 8.45am – 5.00pm Monday to Thursday, and from 8.45am – 4.30pm on Fridays, both during term time and vacation, so please come and visit us to find out about all the help and support on offer.

12 13 14 15 16 Gateway is the University’s brand new Employability Centre situated centrally on the ground floor of the Roland Levinsky Building. Gateway offers careers information, opportunities and jobs, to all current students and recent graduates of the University of Plymouth. Gateway is also fully equipped with free Wi-Fi, BBC news on the LCD screens, jobs bulletins, graduate brochures and daily national and local newspapers. So, whether it’s CV advice, practice job interviews, part-time vacancies, meetings with employers or simply a pit stop between lectures, come in and see what we can do for you. Find us on

how? 16 11 12 13 14 15 1 2 3 4 5 Do a work placement we look for graduates who can bring more “ …to the table than pure academic achievement. Typically, the graduates that shine have work or life experience which differentiates them from other applicants.

Gaynor Sykes Graduate Resourcing Manager, Vodafone UK

Benefits: • puts theory into practice, improves your academic performance and provides ideas for your final year project • provides a ‘taster’ of your future career • networking – up to 60% of job vacancies are not advertised but filled internally or through) networking • possible final year sponsorship or a job offer. For many employers, a placement is part of their recruitment process • gives you confidence, self-discipline and responsibility. offer an invaluable learning experience “ Placements and the University is working towards accrediting placement learning. ” Professor Stephen Gomez Head of Work Based and Placement Learning

> Ask your faculty office about placement opportunities on your programme. > Visit placements > You may be entitled to a Disabled Student Allowance or support package during your placement – contact Disability ASSIST Services. Email

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The variety of work placements at the University of Plymouth is vast – it may be a compulsory precursor to professional practice after you graduate (eg teaching and education) or alternatively you may opt to gain commercial experience for two weeks up to one year, as is the case in disciplines such as business, arts, technology, psychology and science.

12 14 15 16 17 18 Get a mentor Benefits:

• clarify your career ideas • increase your understanding of a job role • receive advice on getting into a career • gain help with CVs and job hunting • feel more self-assured about starting a graduate job • confidently address issues around disability and disclosure. Aim of the Mentoring Programme The University of Plymouth Employer Mentoring Programme links students who have disabilities with professionals who offer support and an insight into a specific area of work. Feedback from 2009-10 participants mentoring programme enabled me to gain a “ The real-life insight into the industry I am interested in. I got help with improving my CV and received a lot of information on dealing with disabilities in the workplace.

Environmental Science student, stage one

how? > Go to careers/mentoring to find out more about the Mentoring Programme. Alternatively, contact the Careers Service on 01752 587456 or Disability Assist Services on 01752 587676.

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13 14 15 16 how? Add to your qualifications Benefits:

• students with a postgraduate qualification can significantly increase their chances of finding meaningful employment within the first six months of graduation

• specialist knowledge, research and vocational training can get you into your chosen career • professional development can enhance your CV.

> Contact the Careers Service for impartial advice on further study and training options > For graduate level jobs with opportunities for pursing further qualifications and development, visit enterprisesolutions > Disabled students can access a Disabled Student Allowance for postgraduate study. Contact the Disability ASSIST Service for more information. > Information on choosing a taught masters programme via full or part-time study is available at postgraduate > Visit to discover local adult learning opportunities.

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14 15 16 17 18 how? Meet employers Benefits:

• meet employers face-to-face to gain an insight into what an organisation is really looking for in an employee • find out which organisations are actively recruiting • gain advice and guidance on the application and interview process • meet employers from various sectors • gain a feel for what an organisation might be like to work for

• find out exactly what tasks a particular role might include •

showcase your skills and talents through a variety of employer-engaging competitions including FLUX and Hot Seat

> The Careers Service organises an extensive programme of employer events, including presentations, recruitment fairs and employer mock interviews. > Details of employer events are advertised at and and also in Gateway which is situated in the Roland Levinsky Building. > Enter FLUX, the annual business challenge and also Hot Seat, our student interview competition at careers/events

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15 16 17 18how? Step into a graduate – level job Benefits: • earn a graduate level salary • enhance your CV • apply skills learnt in your degree to the world of work • get a ‘foot in the door’ to potential future opportunities • a chance to apply skills learnt in your degree to the real world.

70% of graduates are offered a permanent position with their host company at the end of these Graduate Development Opportunities.

> Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) One of Europe’s leading graduate recruitment programmes, offering challenging employment and personal development opportunities for over 1,000 graduates throughout the UK. All graduates spend around 10% of their time in training and development, with a supporting budget and are offered the opportunity to undertake a Diploma in Management. > Visit or > Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP) A 6 -15 month paid placement working on a key project within a Cornwall-based business employing 250 or less employees. > Visit > Plymouth Graduate Internship Programme (PGIP) paid internships for 2008, 2009 and 2010 graduates with employers in Devon an Cornwall. Visit

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From my personal perspective the project has not only had a massive impact on developing my skills and knowlwdge as a designer, but also my ability to run and manage a very long and challenging project. I believe that without the overall support of the KTP system and structure, I would have required a number of additional years working in industry before I could successfully complete, (to the level that I have) such a detailed and demanding project.  

Charlie Fowler Former KTP Associate with Zoeftig Ltd and now Designs and Project Manager at Zoeftig

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Get some careers advice Benefits:

• help with deciding what to do with your future • impartial advice on your options

how? > 24 hour access to extensive information via the Careers Service website. > Information tailored to your subject. > Careers events both general and subject specific. > Register to receive jobs by email. > Visit or call in to Gateway in the Roland Levinsky Building, for a chat. > Make an appointment to talk to a careers adviser. > Email your questions to our on-line eguidance service at

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• access to a wide variety of jobs • help with marketing yourself to employers through CVs and application forms • skills training.

“ Many students using the

Careers Service have no idea what they’re going to do in the future – that’s what we’re here for, to help you decide.

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Entrepreneur support Social enterprise support opportunities: • professional advice on how to set up and run your own business • develop practical entrepreneurial and enterprise skills •

business start up pre-incubation space for businesses in the creative or science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects

• your chance to win both cash and in-kind business support for your business idea.

how? > Visit entreprisesolutions to find out what support services are available. > Enter the annual Business Ideas Challenge at > Visit Formation Zone, pre-incubation space for Creative businesses at > Visit Formation 2.0 pre-incubation space for businesses in the STEM subjects at > Test your business idea at a One Stop Idea Shop. Visit > Access the services, facilities and expertise of the University at enterprisesolutions

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the Business Ideas Challenge was a fantastic “ Winning confidence boost and is really going to help us take the business to the next stage. ” Mark Robbinson and Rupert Lorraine, winner of Business Ideas Challenge 2010

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Develop your network of contacts

> Visit to find out more at www.

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Benefits: • a monthly newsletter – Evolve • a yearly magazine with news on developments – Plymouth’s Progress • an alumni events calendar with informal networking events, sector-specific events aimed at keeping you up-to-date with topical issues in your field, international alumni groups which organise informal events across the globe • an online search facility to help you keep in touch with the University and find other Plymouth graduates.


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They say your university years are some of the best of your life – stay in touch with friends and the University through your Alumni Community.

19 20 21 22how?23 24 Find a graduate job online

> For customised job alerts delivered directly to your email, visit us online to register free > Register with our free graduate vacancy service > The Careers Service website also has details of job sites related to your subject; > For the latest KTP and internship vacancies visit > Visit Unlocking Cornish Potential for the latest Cornish graduate level jobs > Register with our free jobs service. Visit and select ‘Jobs’.

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Document Production 6 Document Production CentreCentre Production Centre 6 Document (01752 587260) (01752 587260) (01752 587260)


Fitness Centre 7 Fitness Centre Centre 7 Fitness (01752 588510) (01752 588510) (01752 588510)


Formation Formation Zone Zone 8 8 Formation Zone (01752 588954) (01752 588954) (01752 588954) Formation 2.0 2.0 9 Formation 2.0 9 Formation Business Start Up Space Business Business Start Start Up Up Space Space (0800 052 5600)5600) (0800 (0800 052 052 5600) Freshlings Nursery 10 Freshlings Nursery 10 Freshlings Nursery (01752 588550) (01752 588550) (01752 588550) Gateway 11 11 Gateway Gateway Employability Centre Employability Employability Centre Centre (01752 587456) (01752 (01752 587456) 587456) International Student International Student 12 12 International Advisory Service Student Advisory Service Advisory Service (01752 587740) (01752 (01752 587740) 587740) Library Enquiries Enquiries 13 Library Enquiries 13 Library (01752 588737) (01752 (01752 588737) 588737) Medical Centre Centre 14 Medical Centre 14 Medical (01752 222341) (01752 (01752 222341) 222341) Post Room 15 Room (01752 588430) 15 Post Post Room


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City Library

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(01752 588430) (01752 588430) (24-hour) 16 Security (24-hour) 16 (01752 233210) Security (24-hour) 16 Security (01752 233210) (01752 233210) Counselling 17 Student Counselling 17 (01752 587701) Student Counselling 17 Student (01752 587701) (01752 587701) 18 Student Funding Unit


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12 Radnor Hall


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Roland Levinsky

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City Museum & Art Gallery



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CCTV cameras in operation on the University campus. Images are monitored for the purpose of crime prevention and public safety. Further information contact 01752 233210

Railway Station

(01752 587680) 18 Funding 18 Student Student Funding Unit Unit (01752 587680) 19 Students’ Union Complex (01752 587680) (01752 588388) 19 19 Students’ Students’ Union Union Complex Complex (01752 (01752 588388) 588388)




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Contacts Alumni Association


Recreation Services

Careers Service

Graduate School


Counselling, Student

Information and Learning Services

Students’ Union

Disability ASSIST Service

Information Gateway Roland Levinsky Building

Sum Up – Numeracy Support

English Language Centre

International Advisory Service

Sustainable Futures, Centre for

Entrepreneurship Centre

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Unlocking Cornish Potential

Enterprise Solutions enterprisesolutions

Learning Development

Formation Zone

Placements & Work Experience


Plymouth Graduate Internship Programme

Funding, Student

Postgraduate Opportunities

Vacancies Volunteering

Contacts > Careers & Employability Service

Gateway Roland Levinsky Building University of Plymouth Drake Circus Plymouth PL4 8AA

Tel: +44 (0) 1752 587456 Fax: +44 (0) 1752 232354


Email: Web:

Plymouth University Careers Top Tips  
Plymouth University Careers Top Tips  

Whilst you are at university there are many opportunities for you to make the most of your time here, and at the same time make yourself mor...