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OCTOBER | 2006
Contents On the cover
lead STORY 06 How to get a job you love For the past eight years, Real World has been talking to graduates, career experts and entrepreneurs. And each one of them has something to share. Here we’ve distilled their pearls of wisdom into eight essential tips for a painless job hunt. z
UPFRONT 05 Editor’s letter
brainfood 10 Finding the hidden job market If up to 80% of jobs available to graduates go unadvertised, then how are you supposed to find them? Real World investigates. 12 Things you should know: Do you give good Google? Plus CV Booster: Travel with your degree. 13 O ne Big Question: we have the answers. Plus, good pay and plenty of time off – could you be a firefighter? 15 R easons to visit your careers service: Queen Mary’s graduate Zara Rabinowicz finds that there is more to her careers service than she’d previously thought.
RW FEATURES 16 What shall I do with my life? Don’t know what you want to do when you leave uni? You’re not alone, read on for reassurance and sound advice. 22 Law of the jungle It’s a sought-after career, but sexy as it sounds, ‘Law’ is a demanding vocation and getting in can be the hardest part. Here’s how to do it. z 28 C areers with a conscience Do you have to abandon your values when you enter the world of work? Do you have to work for a charity to do good deeds? Not any longer, as Sophie Kimber discovers. z 32 P ublic good Would you like to make a contribution to your community and have a say in how the services we use everyday are run? Then you need to know about jobs in the public sector, says Navtej Johal. 38 G et the edge in IT Are career prospects for graduates in IT looking up? Kate Hilpern sorts fact from fiction. z
in the next issue >> How to get great at interviews Time to ‘Engineer your Career’ with our special engineering feature. And working in the media!
For all the latest vacancies and employers currently hiring graduates turn to this invaluable guide of jobs in this issue and online. z
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elcome to Real World! This month, we are pleased to bring you not only a jam-packed magazine, but also a new-look website. Hopefully, together they will
provide everything you need to know to get your dream job after university. Over the next 12 months, we’re going to give you more useful, interesting, no-bull
careers advice, opinions and features than any other careers magazine or website out there. Whether you want to join a fast-track scheme at a big graduate employer, work for a small enterprise, see the world, study some more, or run a business from your bedroom – we’re going to be here for you. Our editorial policy means that we write the case studies in the magazine – not the employers. So you really get to hear what it’s really like in the Real World. So, once you’ve read the mag, why not head to our new-look website at www.realworldmagazine.com for even more real-life interviews with graduates who’ve gone into the world of work. It’s also on the website that you’ll find our excellent online CV clinic, where we show you how to construct a resumé that will really stand out from the crowd. But that’s not the only way we can help you. If you like what you read, why not sign up with us, so we can email you all the jobs that are right for you. Plus, you’ll receive details of the latest competitions and up-to-date careers advice. In this issue, our big focus is on careers in IT – a sector that’s crying out for good graduates. We also take a closer look at careers in law, the public and charity sectors. For those of you who are still unsure what career path you intend to go down – don’t worry – simply turn to our feature: “What shall I do with my life?” We’ll help you combat career confusion and help you to begin to take control of your future. Last of all, we’d like to say a big thank you to our departing editor, Zoë Roberts, who was responsible for putting together the bulk of this issue. And don’t forget that we love to hear from you, so if you have any comments or career questions, please drop me a line. Catherine, editor email@example.com
Navtej has just completed the first year of an English Literature degree at the University of Warwick. He’s been busy racking up work experience, not least during a busy week with Real World where he investigated whether working in the public sector is all it’s cracked up to be.
Peter had the unusual experience of writing about himself in the third person for the Real World’s CV Clinic – which you’ll find exclusively in the digital issue of this magazine (www.realworldmagazine.com). He’s about to enter his second year of Philosophy at Warwick university and hopes his new CV will help him gain some great work experience.
u o Y b o J a t e How to g
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after uni b jo a u yo d n la ill ings that w Success! The eight th m which indmillsprogramme.co
ource www.w ve invaluable online res lise what skills they ha help graduates rea to you is available free fine arly you de to do. “The more cle and what they want icker the future will qu the e, tur career pic goals and your ideal easy life, you’ll end up s. “If you only want an come to you,” he say to take control of point is that you need e in a job you hate. The ople spend more tim e else will. Most pe uld your career – no on sho aim ur Yo r. caree ek holiday than their t planning their two-we tivates you – and ge mo t tha ce pla a in to find your passion be Plan Your Career ), job (a ct du pro out your desired end paid to do it.” Instead of thinking ab erm. People tend g-t lon nt wa lly rea you at wh t ou ab k thin ir career very quickly, h to a decision about the Do Your Researc to be asked to come rching Britain’s t what drives them; ou rk wo y apart? When resea an to e mp ctiv co a du s pro set re at mo Wh ch mu search it’s but the subject areas of s, of the Corporate Re ting; beginning with ployers, Martin William res em inte top find y the hottest at wh eria to determine the k you know what you ory. Even if you thin used the following crit hist n, l na atio nd atio uc Fou back ed in ing ir rk lud the So, you want to wo e of the business, inc allenge is to be sure. to work for: the natur ies an mp co mber /nu do ce it want to do – the ch And what area of /financial performan d what is marketing? rkets, company size ma , und e/ gro itud att int e marketing? Why? An po ssiv more you can pin and benefits/progre And for whom? The ployees; remuneration d em an of nt on me you want to work in? mm op co “The most tion/training, devel er you will get there. rtunities for promo po ked op loo o ate als your target; the quick du He t. gra en e ,” says on osphere and environm s is lack of motivation education/working atm flaw among graduate rish there and who nt to work for wa y the y wh t ou of people would flou ab ’t thought ir values – what types the kes recruiter. “They haven ma at life balance and rk/ wh of wo rt portunities including Motivation is key: pa . op l tion ua isa eq an t; no org r uld as ula wo this partic organisation such really love what vironment is that you individuals within the en for job es a niti in l rtu ssfu po ne ce op “O you suc overseas transfer. a candidate in applic ment, training and get that sense from ge promotion, develop you do – if you don’t ividuals get to mana ind ” s to what extent did wa then what’s the point? ion ws, est rvie qu d inte ere key or nsid ns atio co-founder of the s Martin. “We also co ter Hawkins is the reers, and how?” say ca n ow ir the Career expert Dr Pe an ol. He has founded yment Unit in Liverpo Graduate Into Emplo
en talking to Real World has be or eight years now, urs who have ne pre tre erts and en graduates, career exp ch of them ea d An e. a job they lov made their way into y’d do differently re, not least what the has something to sha of distilled these pearls e again. Here we’ve if they had their tim t. inless job hun essential tips for a pa wisdom into the eight
10, nt to be five, or even es the company wa you the future: where do lp he l which wil se are all questions years from now?” The organisation and this for rk wo to you want t. decide first, whether n to make it stand ou n tailor your applicatio ally second, how you ca usu h ac pro ens” ap and see what happ The “I’ll just send it off must tailor your CV to you , tive ec eff To be ends with a rejection. t just a list of what you . And again, a CV isn’ each job applied for they are great teamduates will say that have done. Many gra a huge set of claims g motivated – makin players and are highly
service. “Graduates University careers director of Sheffield ce. They should be king in the wrong pla k looking here are loo they should also see ive approach. And d tise trying the speculat ver ad are s ate jobs for new gradu advice on where the y bulletin.” For rs Service’s vacanc ree Ca perhaps on their iversities in the un er oth with a number of example, Sheffield, job board for graduate duate Link, an online area, has set up Gra more on finding the ire and Humber. For vacancies in Yorksh lowdown. n to page 10 for the hidden job market tur
rience?’, the wrong pe ex rk o w y n a u when asked ‘have yo nly worked in the union bar…’ o answer is ‘well, i’ve
the ct to communicate nce... or they negle Think with very little evide e. nc erie exp rk wo gs in their studies or most interesting thin looking for, and focus e each employer is nc about what experie . For more CV advice, rather than the duties on the skills you used, our CV Clinic rldmagazine.com for head to www.realwo
job ad Think beyond the so exclusively s aren’t advertised; The majority of job d move. “The d vacancies is a ba applying for advertise ge amounts hu h ople wit of vacancies for pe national press is full Steve Fish, s say ,” based in a large city of experience, usually
ge of Employers Learn the Langua have done and all the things that you You have to convert a language have undertake into responsibilities that you have more examples ognise. You probably that employers will rec ersell what they’ve duates frequently und than you realise. Gra ociation of Graduate Carl Gilleard of the Ass ’ done, according to y work experience? ed ‘Have you had an he Recruiters. “When ask r,’” ba on uni the in d ell, I have only worke rk the wrong answer is ‘W experience, any wo rk wo r you lue va er und t no o “D s. the say you did purely for unts and even jobs e experience! It all co transferred to a wid be in skills that can money help you ga
range of working en vironments. Successfu lly pacifying a drunke student who is dema n ‘Well, why did you ap nding a last pint, five ply for us then?’ It wa minutes after closing s downhill from there. time, is quite an achie I was dead in the wa vement.” Try to quan ter but still had to drag tify wh at you’ve done. on for the full hour.” Rather than saying “I Although it’s never cle helped out at my loc ar what will happen du al school,” break do ring the interview, what you did. “I held wn inte nsive preparation wil hour-long reading ses l set a candidate on sions with 32 children the under the age of sev best possible foo ting for success. Go en every morning.” od preparation is als And don’t ramble on o the Careers advisers sug be st thing to . qu ell interview nerves. gest breaking down your answer into thr chunks. About 15 pe ee r cent of that should be the situation or problem. The majori Get Experience ty (about 70 per ce nt) exp laining how you solved or dealt with Sta rt thinking about life aft the situation, and wh er uni as soon as you at skills you used to that and how you can, advises do Jes sic a Jarvis, an adviso evaluated it (comm r for the Chartered unication, creativity, leadership). The fina Institute of Personnel and Devel l 15 per cent should opment. “It’s really explain the outcome worthwhile graduate . spending time thinkin s g about what they wa nt to do and summe Understand What ho lida r ys are an ide al opportunity to get Confidence Really relevant work experie Means Showing self-awaren or a placement in an nce ess and being able area that they are inte to articulate and rested in,” she says. sell your abilities to an “Find out what gradu employer, not in a bo ates are doing a co uple of years ahead astful way but by giving evidence of you of . Just don’t expect the what you have done university to hand it to is a key skill, accordin you on a plate.” to Carl Gilleard. He say g Fiona Christie, a ca s this is the “X-factor ree r consultant at Ma ” that employers loo nchester University k Careers Service has seen a lot of students trying to decide what
at what other time in so many opportun your life will you be surrounded by ities for learning a nd development? for. “It’s a
cocktail of motivation , enthusiasm, commitm ent, passion and self efficacy,” he says. Self-efficacy, de spite sounding like a disease, is actually an individual’s estimate or personal judgmen of his or her own ability t to succeed, says Gillea rd. “In a way, it boils down to self-esteem . If you believe in you rself then there’s a higher chance that others might also be lieve in you.” But confidence, it see ms, is an acquired rat her than God-given attribute. Psychologis t Julie Unite agrees. “W hen people visit us for interview workshops I get them to list five stre ngths and undernea to write five examp th les of where they’ve ac tually demonstrated that. So it’s not just talk , it’s backed up with examples, drawing on the experiences you ’ve had at university , such as positions of responsibility or group tasks. The same goes for weaknesses: you need to list what you ’ve had struggles wit h in the past and be able to openly admit to tho se and be able to pu t this in a positive light, so you can say ‘This is how I’ve learned fro m the experience.’”
Don’t wing it at Int erviews We all get the basic s, i.e. check the addre ss, arrive early but not too early, do n’t swear or bad mo uth the employer etc. But what makes an interview go really pear shaped? “The biggest reason that things go wrong are that graduates decide that they ca n wing an interview bu t you usually can’t,” says Jenny Goddard , careers adviser at Wa rwick University careers service. “Sh eer enthusiasm alone is no t enough to get you through an inte rview. This is the big ge st thin g that students always say they’ve learned with hindsigh t bu t by then it’s too late.” Lucy, now a sen ior recruiter, remembe rs be ing ca ught out at the very start of the interview. “I’d gone for the inte rvie w having done very little prepa ration. The recruiter asked me what I kne about the organisation w , which was an IT co nsultancy. I told them ‘Well I was reading you r webpage yesterda y but I don’t know a lot’ expecting them to tell me about thems elves. But they replied
to do. “Students ha ve to do research and be prepared volunteer and netwo to rk,” suggests Fiona. “If you want to work as tree surgeon, then ge a t some work experie nce and talk to tree surgeons. Are you pre pared to get on the internet or pick up the phone to find out ab out the job? This is som etimes a test of how committed you are to that choice.” Volunteering is a gre at way to road test a career. Head online to websites www.time bank.org.uk or www.d o-it.org.uk to check out opportunities.
Enjoy Yourself It can all seem very sca ry. While employers are busily telling you how competitive the job market is an d how few skills graduates actually ha ve, your debts are mo unting and the need to prove yourself in some way is a const an t pressure. But ignore the noise. This is an exciting time of life , say many graduates looking back at their time at university. “Just don’t look ba ck and say “I wish I’d done that”,” say James Bonsor, 24, wh s o graduated in Maths from Trinity College Cambridge in 2002. He is now associate consultant for the PW Strategy Group. “Un C i is an amazing oppo rtunity and you should really think about ho w you can get the mo st out of it.” David Bell, 22, gradu ated from Newcast le University in 2005 with a degree in Zoo logy and is working ha rd to establish a caree in conservation. He ad r vises: “If you don’t kno w what you want to does when you gra duate then try to kee p busy. Use your tim don’t just sit around e: and wait for someth ing to come along. Try to get experience in an ything that you want now while you are at uni – once you are in a career it is much ha rder to break free.” At what other time in your life will you be surrounded by so many opportunities for learning and devel op me nt? Whether it’s clubs, societies, lectur es or meeting new pe op le the resources are all around you. Yo u’ve just got to use the m. n
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NEWS y VIEWS y ADVICE y STRATEGIES
If up to 80% of jobs that are available to graduates go unadvertised, how are you supposed to find them? Zara Rabinowicz investigates
re you scanning the job sites and failing to find anything to inspire you? That’s because you’re only viewing a fraction of the job market. Many employers fill their job vacancies by methods other than national advertisements. Using referrals or word of mouth and hiring speculative applicants or former interns are common practice. According to Warwick University careers service, this can mean that up to 80% of jobs can go unadvertised. To find them you are going to have to be proactive:
1. Use your resources Think about what you have at your disposal and utilise it. Visit your university careers office and scan through the literature and contacts
they have. Check out your alumni sector for past students and see if any of them are now working in a field that interests you. Most will be more than happy to give advice and could provide you with valuable insider tips in your chosen field. Go through your address book, and your parents’, and your friends’. Does anyone know anyone with experience in your chosen sector? Collect business cards and follow them up with a brief call or email – these contacts may provide you with the information you need to get your foot on the ladder. It’s surprising how many more vacancies are suddenly ‘available’ with a little bit of networking.
2. Get yourself seen It’s not only who you know, it’s who knows you. Make yourself more high profile by sending out speculative applications. Smarten up that CV and start tailoring it to individual companies, as mass-produced photocopies show a lazy streak. Call up the company you are interested in and ask who is in charge of
recruitment. You will get a name to address your letter to – and it’s the personal touches that show initiative and thoughtfulness. When applying for jobs that aren’t advertised you have to be organised. Research the company first and try to pick up information about the types of work it undertakes. That will help you to be clear about the type of work you are seeking – and whether it’s temporary, long term or voluntary. It’s also important to make sure you tailor your skills carefully to each company. And make sure to follow up you application within two weeks, whether by phone or letter. If the company doesn’t have any jobs or work experience available, consider asking if someone could spare the time for a informational interview (see below). And remember to keep a record of where you have applied to and what response you have received – this will help you to assess the feedback you receive from companies
3. Don’t ask for a job A trick of the trade is to call up and ask for an ‘Informational Interview’, as this is a great way of sussing out the pros and cons of different companies, with an avenue in for possible
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kick-started my career “ “Ithrough temping ” Temporary work doesn’t have to be a dead end, indeed it can be one of the best ways to find your way into a great company and great job. Just like Bryony Hewer, English and History BA, who graduated from Queen Mary University earlier this year without a clue what to do. She’s now working as a human resources administrator for fashion shoewear company Dune earning £17,500 a year (plus a serious discount on her footwear).
How did you find you current position? “I was temping for about a month and a half at the Dune headquarters. I got on well with staff there and when the role came up as a permanent position they offered me the job full time, with increased responsibility.” vacancies. Instead of phoning up someone and saying ‘give me a job!’ you’re asking employers for a few minutes of their time so they can talk about their jobs, their industry and opportunities. It sounds intimidating but in most cases if you get into a conversation with the mentality of ‘Hey, I want to know all about you’ – people are flattered. Don’t forget though, these interviews should be prepared for with the same care and research as you would for a conventional interview. When you get the interview, ask what it’s like to work in their industry; ask how you break into the field; do they know anyone else you can talk to; or even ask for a bit of job shadowing or work experience. The approach is that even if this person doesn’t have exactly what you need (ie a job), they may know a lot about the market and the sector, which can be extremely useful. Be sure to be enthusiastic and charming – whatever result you achieve can be filed under experience.
4.Get some experience Working long hours may not be very glamorous, but when listed on your CV it becomes an incredible asset. Not only do you gain in-office experience, hopefully you will
also gain a greater understanding of the parameters of your proposed career choice – an invaluable lesson. Many of the ‘hidden jobs’ also surface in the work environment, where work-experience candidates are often recruited onto further paid positions. Larger companies will have work-experience schemes already in place, but it is worth contacting smaller branches, because there may be greater responsibility allocated there. Placements can also be found by contacting companies you are interested in, or through your university/careers office.
5. If at first you don’t succeed.. Try and try again! It is a competitive world out there and if you don’t handle rejection well then it pays even more to put a lot of effort into preparation. But don’t take it personally when you are turned down – simply use it as a spur to motivate you along the path to career fulfilment. With a creative proactive approach to jobs, you will find availability in niches you never expected. And remember, as self-made millionaire Harold S. Geneen once said, “In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later.”
What approaches did you take to get employed? “After I graduated, I spent two weeks going around recruitment agencies, reading the vacancies sections in newspapers and filling out online applications. It was intensive – I was doing it day and night. In the end, I was asked to eight external interviews.”
What skills are imperative in your line of work? “Excellent customer services, being organised and taking a lot of phone calls. Good communication skills are vital too, particularly when you are explaining company procedures to someone. Plus, excellent time keeping. An interest in the fashion industry and all that surrounds it helps too. One perk of the job is a 50% discount on all Dune products, which means I get a lot of new shoes!”
What tips would you offer students looking for work? “Look all the time for opportunities so you can maximise your chances. Don’t sell yourself short, be confident and give examples from your past where you can demonstrate why you would be good for the job.”
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BF BRAINFOOD DETECTIVE WORK
Thingsyoushouldknow Do you give good Google? This is a question job-seeking graduates should be asking themselves
It broadens the mind… and the CV. You never know, you might even get $20,000 in free tuition If you’ve turned on the TV, read a newspaper or surfed the internet at any point in the past five years you’ll surely be aware that the world has got a whole lot smaller and if you want to work in the ‘global village’, international experience could be a great advantage. A good way to gain this is by taking advantage of the benefits available at your university. Many courses offer a year or term abroad – a chance to experience a new culture, learn a language and show resourcefulness and independence to prospective employers. All of which will place you in a ‘one to watch’ spot. A good starting point is your careers service which should be able to suggest possible options. Also grill your lecturers about possible opportunities. One scheme is run by Erasmus, which covers Europe, Bulgaria, Turkey and Iceland, with many more countries lined up to join. The website www.erasmus.ac.uk recom mends this programme as candidates will gain maturity, “You will have acquired life skills which cannot be taught and which may take others significantly longer to acquire,” it says. For those wishing to travel further afield, the Education Abroad Programme offers places in America, and Australia (www.eap.ucop.edu/ reciprocity/default.htm). Ian Thomas, an Eng lish graduate from Queen Mary University, spent his second year abroad at UC Berkeley, California. “It was the best time of my life. I met so many people and learned a lot about the international markets. When I graduated I think it was this experience on my CV which led to me getting a highly desirable graduate role. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, it is an opportunity not to be missed. The EAP subsidised all my fees so I got $20,000 of American tuition for free!” Another summer scheme is run by Bunac. It offers a range of working holidays including a summer-camp counselling programme in the USA, plus flexible work and travel programmes to Canada, Australia and New Zealand and volunteering placements (www.bunac.org). You could also think about teaching English abroad in one of your holidays. It can be a great eye opener. Zara Rabinowicz
ith increasing numbers of
unsuitable. I knew the source so I managed
graduates posting online profiles and blogs recruiters are finding
to get the picture off the web, but it could
the internet a great way of checking out prospective candidates. Facebook, the online social network, which recently launched in the US has already damaged the career prospects of many graduates. Universities and local authorities have used it to unearth misdemeanours by students on campuses across the US. Underage drinkers have been fined or arrested, pranksters investigated by the FBI and students expelled. An ExecuNet survey showed that 77% of employers in America use the internet to check-up on candidates and 36% have eliminated candidates as a consequence. But the problem affects students in Britain as well, particularly when it reveals creative writing on CVs and application letters. Terry Jones, a careers adviser for King’s College, said: “Each year major companies
very easily have cost me my internship if I hadn’t checked – and I’d never known the reason for my rejection.” Elisabeth thinks it’s common sense to check your profile on the internet: “If I were to hire somebody, I’d check the person first. Maybe it’s not fair, but it’s so accessible it’s become reality.” Googling a potential employee is a wellestablished practice as Rob Vance, editor of Oxford University’s student newspaper explained to Real World: “The Oxford Student gets regular requests from graduates to remove articles from our website – if an employer puts a name into a Google search then any article about that individual’s wild or scandalous behaviour as a student comes top of the list.” Tien Nguyen, a graduate at the University of California, has set up a website dedicated to the problem students face. Tien could not understand why he was seldom invited to interviews after applying
the first hit on google was a fashion “shoot with a nude, but tasteful, picture that employers might find unsuitable ”
are known to withdraw offers from candidates who make claims in their application which turn out to, on investigation, be untrue.” Elisabeth Gilje, a 27 year-old History and Journalism student from City University in London and former fashion model, managed to avoid a similar fate when she applied for an editorial internship at Tango magazine in New York: “I Googled myself to see what came up as I knew it’s common procedure in the States. “The first hit on Google was an old fashion shoot with a nude, but tasteful, picture that some employers might find
for numerous jobs after he graduated. After six months of not hearing anything a friend suggested that Tien Google himself and the results listed a satirical article entitled ‘Lying Your Way To The Top’. He asked for the article to be removed and within a week was invited for two interviews. It may be unethical for a future employer to access personal information about you but they aren’t breaking the law. Careers services are advising students not to put anything on the web “that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to know.” It clearly pays to think twice before you post photos on the web from last night’s party!
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WORDS OF WISDOM
OneBigQuestion I’m going to graduate with a degree in French later this year and I’m unsure which jobs I should be considering. I want something where I can use my language skills on a day-to-day basis. Can you suggest anything?
JOBS YOU NEVER THOUGHT OF...
Marie, UCL As a language grad, the range of possibilities open to you are huge so don’t limit yourself. More than 90% of careers where languages are used are within non-linguistic professions. According to a recent survey by Ciao! ¡Hola! Reed, employers may pay 8% more for jobs that require someone with a second language. And many of the UK’s international organisations are crying out for graduates with language skills. For inspiration, head first to www. languageswork.org.uk which is a great resource run by CILT, the National Centre for Languages. This organisation also runs www.blis.org.uk which is a dedicated jobsite specifically for people with language skills. The obvious option is working as a translator or an interpreter. But there are many opportunities in publishing and journalism for graduates with languages. News bureaux, like Reuters, Bloomberg and Associated Press are particularly keen on multi-lingual graduates. The travel industry can also offer some great options, particularly if you are keen to travel yourself. However, it’s really important to remember one key thing: while your language skills can open many doors for you they should not be your only selling point. You need to show a range of skills relevant to the employer you are applying for, including soft skills such as great communication, commercial awareness and the ability to think for yourself.
BO GIVOK AWA EY! HOW TO GET A JOB YOU’LL LOVE
THE ETHICAL CAREERS GUIDE
McGraw-Hill, £12.99 A practical guide to unlocking your talents and finding your ideal career. Real World has 5 copies of the brand new 2007/8 expanded edition of the UK’s best-selling careers guide by career guru John Lees. www.johnleescareers.com and www.jobyoulove.co.uk
Real World has 5 copies of the brand new issue of the Ethical Careers Guide 2006/7. The book is a comprehensive guide to working in careers with a conscience. Author Gideon Burrows has assembled a range of profiles, advice and information of people doing ethical jobs. www.ethicalcareers.org
Email catherine@ realworldmagazine.com to request a copy. It’s first come, first served!
Fire fighting “Straight out of university, I’m finding graduate jobs harder to get than previously expected, and feel slightly resentful towards my high school that always gave me the impression that if you have a degree you can have any job you like. Instead, everywhere wants experience and communication skills, and proof of your efforts in your proposed field of work. Naturally, I have spent the past three years either drinking or studying. Argh! “Even the vaguely interesting jobs I’ve found start at minimum wage, and I have loans to repay and a life to get started. However, I find an interesting recruitment advert in Cosmopolitan. It is recruiting women to enter the heady world of poles, uniforms and a perpetual sense of danger. “No, it’s not a shady lap-dancing club, it’s the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) seeking to recruit more women to its ranks. It lists the various ways women can make an impact in the fire service – from active fire fighting to administrative roles. And the starting salary is a tempting £24,986. (with London weighting allowance) “I attend the women’s open day and 30 other women join me there, all ages and sizes, from a sweet lil’ thing who’s only 17 to a muscular woman who doesn’t look her 48 years. In the briefing room, having passed with flying colours, I start chatting to the female fire-fighters. They have a lot to share, including the desirable fact that the working life is four days on, four days off. I’d have plenty of time to spend working on my personal stuff, plus investigate any alternative career options (though I won’t tell them that). Sounds pretty good so far. It’s two night shifts and two day shifts, which mean I’d be able to sleep in (I still have that student mentality) and the work would be fairly active so I wouldn’t get bored. We are also expected to exercise an hour a day in the specialist on-site gym – I’d be paid to stay in shape. Bonus! “The majority of fire fighters are male, with only around 4% females in the force, but from what I gather it’s mostly due to women not realising that they can join. I send off my application. A few weeks later I get a letter – could I please come in for the written tests? And so it begins.” Zara Rabinowicz
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Reasons to visit your Careers Service
Queen Mary’s graduate Zara Rabinowicz discovers that there is more to her careers service than she’d previously thought.
or too long, the careers service as been unfairly labelled as
bank of high-tech computers all connected to the internet. Sink
stuffy and staid, with students using alternate sources to find their jobs, little knowing the huge resource they are
into an oversized comfy leather sofa and you can scan through the latest magazines and newspapers for anything relevant.
squandering. Gone are the ugly chairs and useless files, today
Printing is free if you fancy banging out some CVs, or perhaps you
careers offices are bright user-friendly places. Enter the Queen Mary Careers Office and you are greeted by
might go to one of the regular CV clinics held there to update your profile. In fact, there are tons of reasons why you should visit
a friendly receptionist, offered free coffee and presented with a
your careers service as soon as possible:
Yes, this is the 21st century and times have changed. Many careers offices are now online as well. Manchester University is a prime example with a renovated website showcasing up to 20,000 jobs at any one point, including coveted TV internships. Yet one student there still says, “I don’t bother going to my careers service because I am not a graduate.” All the more reason to go now, whether it is to bolster your CV, or just get some paid summer work! The vacancies span the country – so if you are a student who lives elsewhere you will still be able to find a job in your residential area. You can subscribe to email bulletins or even get updates by text.
To Solve Career Confusion
Your perception of what makes you happy may have changed, or the degree subject you are studying may not be as fulfilling as previously hoped. Through the careers service get advice on changing direction, and how to start this task by applying for new training and qualifications. You can explore new market sectors through voluntary work, and the Careers department will give you tips on how to express to future employers how your previous training is of benefit to your new line of work.
To Get Placements
It cannot be stressed highly enough how valuable work experience is in the professional field – and who better than the careers service contact-wise to find what you are looking for? They can help with covering letters, applications, or even make a personal recommendation to people they know – it’s the kind of service you would not get from a recruitment or temping agency. They are looking out for your interests remember – it is not a profit-making venture, so they want the best for you. The careers office has access to all the alumni records, so could put you in touch with a fellow graduate who has succeeded in their field.
For Free CV sessions
You’ll be able to find advice on putting your CV together and learn how to tailor it to each application. Far better that the careers advisers point out how rubbish your CV is than the employers! The same goes for application letters and forms…
To boost Interview skills
Nervous about getting into the job market? The careers services hold regular interview-skills open days as well as a variety of psychometric testing – the type you might be surprised with at work. Rather than pay expensive prices to practise them online, take them for free at the careers office, with detailed feedback of your results offered! You can also book yourself in for mock interviews, or just study interview technique in their numerous books.
One-to-One Career Planning
Arrange a one-to-one session. This service can offer you awareness of what is available, and help you to start thinking about how you can develop a structured plan to reach your goals. Nowadays, goals are not ends in themselves and the need to constantly re-skill yourself and look for opportunities through networking and other means is very important. The benefits of a clear career plan are that you know where you want to go, how you can get there and who can help you to do this. The careers service aims to do just this.
For Employer Presentations
“In addition to organising local employer talks and recruitment fairs your careers service will be able to tell you about all the events happening nationally, including specialised fairs such as working for the media or working abroad,” says Laura Dean, career development tutor at Leeds Metropolitan University.
Not just for Students
Alumni are often welcome to use this resource as well, with the majority of universities having a five-year window where you are still able to enjoy the same student benefits as the current crop of wouldbe graduates. So use the facilities to get trained up on computers or enhance your resume with extra skills – all partaken at your old university. The nostalgia itself should be enough to get you coming back!
For their website
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RealWorld Online If you like the magazine, you’ll love our NEW EMAIL ALERT. It’s a brilliant way to keep up-to-date with all the latest news and career advice from experts. Every fortnight, we will send you details of recent jobs and give you the low-down on getting the career of your dreams. To REGISTER log on to our website www.realworldmagazine.com
We have re-launched our online content and there are now 5 reasons to visit our new-look website – www.realworldmagazine.com:
By registering with the Real World website you’ll get access to our digital edition. It includes all the features in the print magazine, plus exclusive content. This month, only on the online edition, is our latest CV clinic. Register now to see a student get a complete makeover of his resumé.
The website also includes articles centred around 18 different career sectors – so no matter which career path you are thinking of, there will be something of interest for you. Each sector is broken down into four divisions: case studies, employers, advice and – most important of all – jobs. Using the casestudy section, you can search through the Real World archives to get honest views on working life.
One of the main features of the website is the job-search function. At the touch of a button you can find out
which employers are recruiting in areas you are interested in. All you need to do is enter a location and sector type; then voilà you will get a list of vacancies to match your requirements.
If you are thinking of spending another year as a student, then turn to the postgraduate section of the site. There you’ll find case studies from a host of recent graduates who chose to study at postgraduate level. We’ll also give you some pointers on how to fund your extra study.
New this month is the DIGITAL EDITION of the magazine. In addition to all the fab features in the print edition, you’ll also get access to our superb CV clinic. All you need to do to access it is to REGISTER at www.realworldmagazine.com
When you register with us we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest jobs through our regular email alert. Not only that, we’ll also send you details of our book giveaways and great competitions, including our annual Graduate of the Year competition.
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What shall I do with my life?
no idea what you’re going to do with your life? don’t worry, You’re not alone… read on for reassurance and sound advice on sorting your head out
t’s true that a significant proportion of finalists haven’t
Don’t let fear of the unknown push you into a state of paralysis
made up their minds by their final year. Some, because
or denial, warns Brian Staines, careers adviser at the University of
they haven’t thought about it, others because they have and are still confused. It can be a nerve-wrack-
Bristol. “The worst thing you can do is get into a state of inertia where you are so afraid of making the wrong choice you don’t
ing time and panic can set in, so it’s important to real-
make any choice at all,” he says. “This isn’t a one-off life or death
ise you’re not a freak. Lots of people are in the same boat, and being obsessive can be counter-productive,” says Carl Gilleard,
decision, it’s a decision that will move you forward. You can always change later but make it a choice based on solid research.”
chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR). But if you really want to find a job you love you will need to set aside time to think about what you want to do. The good news is
Nick Isbister, co-author of career book Who Do You Think You Are? believes that the ground rules on finding what you want to do have changed but we’ve still to catch up. “The reality is that
that the more time you spend thinking about it the more likely you are to find a job you enjoy, experts say. According to leadership development
the emphasis in employment until recent years has been on skills rather than motivation. The implication is that we will tend to enjoy a job that we have
organisation Common Purpose, half of workers between 25-35 say they are not fulfilled in their current jobs. The main reason
you’ll know when you find it, so keep looking. don’t settle
the skills to do.” But he argues “Our personal motivation is a much more complex matter than just finding a good skills fit.”
for this discontent, the research found, is that workers are struggling to combine the demands of their job with their wider life ambitions. It’s being called the quarter-life crisis and an increasing number of 20-somethings are waking up
This means considering some personal questions (see next page). If you get stuck thinking about what you like, start with what you don’t like, suggests Carl Gilleard. “Some of this you will only realise when you are in the job so be realistic –
in the wrong career two years after graduation. More often than not, it’s down to a simple lack of planning. “Most people spend more time planning a car purchase or an
you won’t necessarily find your ideal job immediately,” he says. Research by the government last year suggested that it can take graduates anything up to four years after graduation to find
annual holiday than they do thinking about their career,” writes John Lees, author of the bestseller, How to Get a Job You Love. “How do people choose the work they do? For many, work
their way into a job with high levels of job satisfaction, good pay and prospects. This is daunting but careers consultant Roger Steare advises: “From a maturity point of view, people don’t really
chooses them. Careers are often formed by the first job that happens to come along after graduation. It’s staggering how many people drift from one job to another with no clear idea.” So why do so few people actually try to find out what they really want to do? Well, there are three main reasons, according to The Career Adventurer’s Fieldbook by Stephen Coomber, Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove. “First, most people don’t know what they want to do... they either take the path that is laid before them, or follow the received wisdom of those around them. Second, those who do have an inkling of their true vocation don’t know how to go about making it a reality. The third reason is fear of failure.” No one can make this decision for you, says Carl at the AGR. “You’ll always have the graduate that wants someone else to make the decision for them, but unfortunately that kind of direction isn’t available at your careers service,” he says. “It is your life and ultimately you have to come up with a decision.”
get into an adult frame of mind until their mid- to late-twenties. So it’s actually quite natural to feel unsure. Don’t burn your bridges too early. Look for organisations that give you as broad a range of learning experience as possible to help you find your niche.” Steve Jobs is the chief executive (CEO) of Apple, makers of funky hardware like the iPod. Despite founding the company at 21, and becoming a multi-millionaire by the age of 30, he still managed to get himself sacked and went through a serious career crisis. Never one to stay down long he spent the time doing some soul searching, only to be rehired as CEO of the company. His words to the graduates of 2005 at Californian university Stanford were straight to the point: “You’ve got to find what you love. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. So keep looking. Don’t settle.”
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FEATURE | WHAT SHALL I DO?
HOW TO COMBAT CAREER CONFUSION Careers author John Lees shows you how to begin to make sense of bewildering career choices. How do people choose the work they do? For many, work chooses them. Careers are often formed by the first job that happens to come along after graduation. If you add up the years that go into your final qualifications, it’s staggering how little attention many people give to the question, ‘What kind of work would really suit me?’ Some careers services offer you computerised tests. But where the test generates a list of likely occupations, take care. Your perfect job may not be listed because of the way it is coded. Fields of work are complex and varied – for example, an accountant in the shipping industry will perform a very different job to an accountant working for the National Trust. Job titles are often too broad. Starting with a list of possibles is fine, but make sure you really explore what the jobs are about.
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FEATURE | WHAT SHALL I DO?
#1 RETHINK YOUR EDUCATION Look at the subjects you have just studied. What would you like to know more about? What skills have you developed while studying? Now look at all the topics that you have chosen to read or think about in your own time.
NEVER ACCEPT THE VIEW OF A CAREER GIVEN ON TELEVISION
#2 TRANSLATE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS
Don’t undersell your qualification, but sell it in a language that a buyer understands. Few recruiters really understand the alphabet soup of qualifications, so never assume that an employer will be aware of what you have studied. Translate what you have done into language an interviewer can relate to. Talk about the relevance of the subject to the workplace and the skills you have acquired (especially team-working or communication skills).
#3 OBSERVE YOUR WORKING STYLE The way you work will have a strong influence on your likely career. Do you draw your energy from other people or from private reflection? How do you operate in a group – what role do you naturally take up? Which skills do you exercise if you have a free choice? Seek out jobs that provide a good match to the way you are in work.
#4 ANALYSE YOUR WORK EXPERIENCE Many graduates make light of temporary or seasonal jobs, but they provide a huge source of evidence to employers. Your work experience is also a good testing ground for discovering your likely career. Examine every experience of work you have achieved to date. What has motivated you or excited you? What kind of work gives you a buzz?
#5 THINK RESEARCH BEFORE JOB SEARCH Conduct an audit: what do you actually know about work? How can you find out more? Who can you talk to? Never accept the one-dimensional view of a career given in textbooks, websites or – even worse – TV. Dramas and documentaries all give you an edited view of a job; you need to know what it ‘s really like.
#6 UTILISE OTHER PEOPLE’S CONTACTS Don’t miss out on key contacts who can introduce you to real people in real jobs. University staff often have business contacts or can put you in touch with past students. Talk to anyone who can help: parents of your friends, past employers, friends who are already working. Learn how to conduct informational interviews: short, focused discussions that give you the inside story on other people’s careers.
#7 HAVE A LEARNING AGENDA Just because you’re entering the field of work doesn’t mean that you will stop learning. Decide what you would like to learn from the first year in a job. Think broadly – skills, know-how, experience of organisations and work sectors. Decide how you would like your CV to read in two years’ time. Also, take advantage of any opportunities that come along for shortterm or even voluntary work placements. At this stage, virtually all work experience is useful as long. But ensure you learn and move on. Short-term assignments are a great way of finding out the pros and cons of a potential career.
#8 BEGIN TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CAREER www.jobyoulove.co.uk Career strategist John Lees is a regular Real World contributor and best-selling author of How to Get a Job You’ll Love, McGraw-Hill, £12.99.
Many people take ‘fill-in’ jobs after graduation. The danger is that these can quickly lead you to believe they are a good example of what life is like in the working world. ‘Fill-in’ jobs can quickly become permanent posts unless you keep your goals in mind. In your first few years of work you will quickly discover that there is only one person taking responsibility for your career: you. Learn how to choose well, and how to move on positively if you don’t.
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RS OW YE N O G PL TIN EMRUI C RE
+ mORE JOBS + ADVICE +
list of advertisers Autumn Careers Fair AWE Bloomberg Careers Group Careers Fair Chartered Institute of Marketing Co Operative Group College of Law DLA Piper Dresdner Kleinwort Fidelity Investments John Lewis Partnership Lloyds TSB Manchester University Careers Fair
09 49 04 30 09 30 24 21 42 44 50 46 50
M&G Investments 40 Northern Ireland Civil Service 34 Olswang 24 Orrick 51 Osborne Clarke 21 Proctor & Gamble 54 PricewaterhouseCoopers 02 Schlumberger 54 Simmons & Simmons 26 Staffordshire University Law School 20 UBS 48 University of Leicester Careers Fair 50
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Legal Practice Course at Staffordshire University
The Legal Practice Course (LPC) at Staffordshire University is one of the highest rated courses in the country holding an “Excellent” Law Society rating. In addition to the full-time course, the University offers students a flexible option with part-time day and evening courses which span a two year period. The course offers a broad range of electives which prepare students intending to work in either commercial practice or smaller High Street practice. Uniquely, Staffordshire LPC students also have the opportunity to study for the LLM in Legal Practice, which informs and supports the main LPC programme. The course team provides a supportive, friendly and approachable teaching environment and a strong system of pastoral care. The LPC teaching staff are all either qualified Solicitors or Barristers. We also have a well established and forward thinking careers unit. Students have the opportunity to participate in the Street Law Programme and a highly regarded mentoring scheme with local Solicitors, geared towards supporting LPC students and their needs.
Please contact: Julie Gingell, Helen Fox or Gill Goodwin Staffordshire University Law School Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 2DF t: 01782 294452/294478 e: email@example.com www.staffs.ac.uk
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Regulated by the Law Society. DLA Piper UK LLP and DLA Piper Scotland LLP are part of DLA Piper, a global legal services organisation, the members of which are separate and distinct legal entities. For further information please refer to www.dlapiper.com/structure A list of offices can be found at www.dlapiper.com UK switchboard +44 (0) 8700 111 111
OF THE JUNGLE
IT’S ONE OF THE MOST SOUGHT-AFTER CAREERS. BUT AS SEXY AS IT SOUNDS, ‘LAW’ REMAINS A DEMANDING VOCATION. AND GETTING IN CAN BE THE HARDEST PART. READ ON FOR THE REAL WORLD GUIDE. PHOTOGRAPHS BY YANG OU
aw is a broad church, encompassing everything from corporate firms to small regional partnerships and barristers’ chambers. It can be an incredibly diverse field, with opportunities for inter-
The bottom line is, for the law industry, high academic achievement is essential, and some amount of work experience for both law and non-law students is almost equally as valuable. If there’s no substitute for academics, then why bother with
national postings to work in almost every sort of area – media and entertainment law to intellectual property and employment law, not to men-
work experience, you may ask. Consider the following: many big law firms, receive more than 2,000 applications for trainee contracts and bar pupillages and take on average about 100
tion qualifying as a barrister. While the most popular options for high-flyers are to become either a solicitor or a barrister, there are plenty of opportunities in legal support where you can work,
trainees each year. An internship will help you stand out because firms also want ‘well-rounded’ individuals. However, it’s a hard fact that there is more demand than
for example, as a legal executive or barrister’s clerk. Plus, those who don’t have a law degree can catch up with those that do by taking a one-year conversion course, at the end of which you’ll take a Common Professional Examination (CPE). But wherever your dream career lies, you’ll need to be determined. Unlike finance, where you are recruited and put through professional exams by your employer, the structure of law is that you have to do much of your training beforehand. Big City firms do sponsor a number of people, but most people have to fund it themselves. And even having forked out a small fortune, you can’t be sure you’ll get a training contract or for barristers, a pupillage. As the College of Law stresses, it is essential to, “spend time obtaining relevant work experience wherever possible and carry out as much research as you can.” If you want to change the world through law, the research begins here.
supply of work experience opportunities with top-notch law firms and barristers’ chambers. In fact, there is more competition for work experience posts than for a trainee position. If an internship is out of your reach then consider other areas where you can gain ‘life experience’. While, traditionally, many law students apply for the traineeships in the second year of university, taking a gap year before or after their Legal Practice Course (LPC) is now more widely encouraged by employers. As Kofi Owusu-Bempah, who started as a trainee solicitor at Linklaters, points out. “I’d graduated, I took some time out to go travelling and get some work experience. I think the gap year helped me get my training contract later on because I had an extra dimension to my application.” All this adds up to the need to be highly committed. It is not for the faint-hearted, but if you are dedicated and have what it takes to make it, the rewards are huge.
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FEATURE | LAW | CASE STUDY
NAME: KATHRYN STARKS STUDY: LAW, BRISTOL UNIVERSITY LEGAL PRACTICE COURSE, NOTTINGHAM WORK: TRAINEE SOLICITOR AT DENTON WILDE SAPTE HOW DID YOU GET INTO YOUR CURRENT CAREER PATH?
In my second year of university I applied to all the ‘magic-circle’ law firms but didn’t manage to secure a training contract. I decided to plan a year out after university and narrow the field of firms that I’d apply to. I was drawn to Denton Wilde Sapte by the wide variety of work on offer. I secured a placement with them for the summer after I graduated from university and by the end of that placement I was offered a training contract. I went ahead with my year out and travelled to Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji before starting my LPC. I’m now going into my second year and am currently working in asset finance, having spent my first year working in the property division.
I TARGETED EIGHT FIRMS AND RESEARCHED THEM SO WELL THAT DURING THE APPLICATION PROCESS I COULD ILLUSTRATE MY IDEAS AND SKILLS WITH DIRECT REFERENCE TO THEIR FIRM.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB? It’s a great firm to work for. I work hard but reasonable hours (I’m usually out of the door by 6:30 or 7pm) with a good level of responsibility. I enjoy the research elements and the intellectual challenge. I also really enjoy the client interaction and meeting people as well.
MOST CHALLENGING PART OF THE JOB? I’d say the pressure is challenging. If you aren’t used to it is a big leap between being a student to being a trainee where even minor decisions can have significant repurcussions if you haven’t researched them or spoken to someone about them.
ADVICE TO OTHER STUDENTS? The broad-brush approach to applying for traineeships doesn’t work. If you apply to lots of firms and try to mould the answers from one application to the other then you won’t have enough depth to your answer to attract the recruiter. In my third year, when I applied for the second time around, I targeted eight firms and researched them so well that during the application process I could illustrate my ideas and skills with direct reference to their firm. And of course getting a vacation scheme is also really useful.
CITY VACATION SCHEMES There are three key reasons that a vacation scheme with a City firm is important: first it will give you valuable hands-on experience; second, it’s a chance for you to get an idea of whether the City suits you; finally, if all goes according to plan it will put you head and shoulders above other candidates when it comes to applying. In some big firms between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of the summer placement students go on to be offered a full-time job. But getting onto a scheme can be more competitive than actually applying for a job itself. Research is crucial, you need to get to know the firm inside out. I’d also stress the need to keep applications as focused as possible.
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DISPUTE RESOLUTION? Sometimes it pays to re-examine the obvious. More lawyers have found a perfect route to practice through The College of Law than with anyone else.
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We are the provider of choice to the largest and most diverse student community of any postgraduate legal training provider, and we are now able to grant law degrees to students who successfully study both their GDL and LPC or BVC with us.
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FEATURE | LAW | CASE STUDY
NAME: LOUISE GILBEY STUDY: BA FILM, SHEFFIELD HALLAM WORK: PARALEGAL (LEGAL EXECUTIVE ON QUALIFICATION) CAMERON MCKENNA
HOW DID YOU GET INTO YOUR CURRENT CAREER PATH? After graduating in 1999 I found it very difficult to find a job in film. After moving back home I decided that a career in law might suit me instead. I’d done A-Level Law and found it really useful. I applied to work at a local solicitors just to get my foot in the door and then started to work my way up from there. The firm supported me when I wanted to train as a legal executive and released me for a day a week to attend college. Later I moved to London and found work with a small firm who paid for the last three years of my course. When you complete the exams have a two-year period where you have to remain in practice – a bit like a training contract for a trainee solicitor. I recently began work as a paralegal with Cameron McKenna, working in real estate doing conveyancing. I’ll qualify as a legal executive next year.
I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO SPEAK TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE DONE THE COURSE – IT’S INTENSIVE, TRICKY AND HAS PLENTY OF EXAMS. IT’S ALSO QUITE A COMMITMENT AS IT CAN TAKE BETWEEN FOUR AND SIX YEARS
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB? I enjoy having my own case load and my own clients. And while I enjoy working independently, I also get the chance to work with other people closely. The work-life balance here is very good and there’s a nice social network too.
MOST CHALLENGING PART OF THE JOB? You need to be very analytical and be able to pay attention to detail. Although one criticism of conveyancing is that it can be repetitive there are plenty of differences to be aware of and you do have to stay on top of them.
ADVICE TO OTHER STUDENTS? I think it’s important to speak to people who have done the course – it’s intensive, tricky and has plenty of exams. It’s also quite a commitment as it can take between four and six years. My experience is that law firms are supportive of legal execs, but you have to keep persevering.
TRAINING AS A LEGAL EXEC Legal executives are qualified lawyers specialising a particular area of law who have passed a qualification to the same level as that required of solicitors. They have to have at least five years’ experience of working under the supervision of a solicitor. Their day-to-day work is similar to that of a solicitor such as handling the legal aspects of property transfers, advising clients accused of crimes and assisting in the formation of a company. Most people study while they are working – by day release, evening classes or by taking a homestudy correspondence course – combining study and examination with practical experience. The examinations are in two parts, with each part usually taking two years to complete. The total cost of completing the training is currently about £3,162, spread over four years.
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FEATURE | LAW | CASE STUDY
NAME: HARRY SNOOKS STUDY: BA POLITICS, DURHAM UNIVERSITY. COMMON PROFESSIONAL EXAMINATION/ GRADUATE DIPLOMA IN LAW, CITY UNIVERSITY BAR VOCATIONAL COURSE, INNS OF COURT SCHOOL OF LAW, CITY UNIVERSITY WORK: PUPILLAGE WITH CHAMBERS HOW DID YOU GET INTO YOUR CURRENT CAREER PATH? I had ideas from school age that I might want to go into law but what really made me sure was the minipupillages that I took in my year out after university. I did three placements and got a much more informed sense of where I wanted to work. I also worked as an assistant to a politician during my year out. Then I applied to study the CPE/Graduate diploma in law which is a one year full-time programme for non-law graduates who wish to start training for a career at the Bar or as a solicitor. This conversion course does take over your life but the lecturers inspire huge enthusiasm. I then went straight onto do the Bar vocational course, which takes a year. I’ve now managed to secure a place with criminal chambers for my pupillage and started in September. The pupillage is similar to the training contract for a solicitor and is the final step in my training.
IT’S BEEN A LONG, HARD STRUGGLE TO OBTAIN A PUPILLAGE. OUT OF THE 30 APPLICATIONS ONLY ABOUT A QUARTER OFFERED ME AN INTERVIEW. I HAD TO PICK MYSELF UP TIME AFTER TIME. I HAD TO BE PATIENT, PERSISTENT AND POSITIVE. I ALSO KEPT TRYING TO LEARN BY ASKING FOR FEEDBACK
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT TRAINING TO BE A BARRISTER? The feeling that you will be in a job which influences real people’s lives. I’m looking forward to employing the skills I have learned over the past few years. The job involves a lot of human contact and I’ll be meeting people I wouldn’t normally be in touch with. And as I’m going into the area of criminal law it will be very heavy on the court work, which I enjoy.
MOST CHALLENGING PART OF TRAINING? It’s been a long hard struggle to secure a pupillage. Out of about 30 applications only about a quarter offered me an interview. I had to pick myself up time after time after rejections. I had to be patient, persistent and positive and keep trying to learn by asking for feedback. In my future career, I anticipate the most challenging part will be the feeling that you’ve let a client down if you lose the case.
ADVICE TO OTHER STUDENTS? Don’t go into this with your eyes shut; get as many mini-pupillages as you can. It’s not always easy to get a feel of chambers, so unless you’ve done a minipupillage at one you’ll rarely know what they are like.
MINI PUPILLAGES The Bar Council recommends that students start pursuing mini-pupillages as early as possible. These placements usually last two weeks and are obtained by contacting chambers directly. They aren’t mandatory but they do help you understand the environment that barristers work in and the work they do. Other ways of obtaining this experience include marshalling, where students shadow a high court judge for a week. These posts are obtained by applying directly to the courts.
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And she isn’t the only one getting a buzz out of working for a company that tries to focus on more than just profit and loss. Two-thirds of consumers
boycott companies they don’t agree with and graduates are starting the same trend with their careers choices. Gideon Burrows, author of Just Work: The Ethical Careers Guide, thinks the number of graduates becoming ethically aware has risen because of an increase in communications and the internet, which make it much easier to see what organisations are up to. We now have unprecedented access to information whether it’s online blogs by employees or simply being able to view online the effects of an organisation’s latest exploits in Nigeria. “We can directly see our own impact on the rest of the world, from what we buy to how we invest our money and with our careers,” he says.“We can see the direct effect we have and the choices we make are evermore stark, whereas five or 10 years ago it was harder to get that kind of information and that’s why interest in ethical careers has grown so hugely recently.” But should ‘green’ graduates be wary of big businesses boasting about their corporate social responsibility (CSR)? “The key question we get asked is ‘how do you know if a company really does what it says it does?’” says Gideon. “I think some companies are very honest but there are some companies where it’s all PR and they make great stock of their social and green credentials when it’s nonsense.” He advises using online resources to check whether the company really has the facts to back the talk. “Any company can say we do great environmental work but unless they are measuring their performance in terms of carbon footprint, employee rate, human rights in the countries in which they work there’s no reason to believe that it’s anything more than a PR strategy.” Another commitment many big organisations are making is to give employees days off to volunteer in community projects and to give grants for personal development. Gideon advises graduates to take everything into con sideration when job-hunting: “Go and work for a company with your eyes open and having researched all the options,” he says. But even the Co-operative Group, which has won numerous international awards for its green policies, has difficulties in being completely ethical. Rebecca explains that the Co-operative Group is set up for its members of the public who are affiliated to the organisation and they decide on what is and isn’t sold in the retail shops. “There was a lot of debate about the selling of cigarettes but ultimately our members decided that they still wanted to sell them and so we do,” she said. But on the other hand the Co-operative Group is establishing Fair Trade standards for orange juice, sugar and wine, own a world-class recycling centre and is the biggest consumer of green energy in Europe. Rebecca thinks that having a career with a conscience is an individual choice related to whether you are the type of person who gains fulfilment through that aspect of the organisation you work for. “I love the fact that at the end of the day, we’re not making money for fat cats or to line the pockets of rich shareholders,” she says. “And I love the fact that I can be proud of who I work for.”
programme manager for the Co-operative Group.
Increasing numbers of graduates are looking for ethical employers. But what does that really mean and can you have a green career within big business? Sophie Kimber investigates
difference to society and that makes me feel really good,” says Rebecca Fielding, group graduate
Careers with a
work for an organisation that’s trying to make a
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FEATURE | ETHICAL CAREERS | OVERVIEW
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altogether more diverse Graduate Development Programme Why join one business when you can join a whole
mix of them? We're a food retailer, a travel provider,
a pharmacist, a funeral director and more. But the real
difference lies not just in what we do; it’s what we are. A Co-operative. It’s an altogether different business model. Are you different like us? www.altogetherdifferent.com
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FEATURE | ETHICAL CAREERS | CASE STUDIES
Simon Reid, 24, graduated from the University of Manchester with a 2:1 in Biology. He went on to study a postgraduate degree in environment and development at the Institute for Development Policy in Manchester. He now works as an environmental engagement officer for charity Earthwatch, (www.earthwatch.org) which helps people understand their surroundings better. What motivated you to chooses this career? I lived in Pakistan and India during my middle and high school years. In some of the cities like Delhi there was poverty everywhere and the environment was really suffering. We lived in New Delhi, it’s a fantastic city but there’s a great deal of poverty and the river running through the city is completely polluted. I saw the link between people, poverty, environmental degradation and how interconnected they are. You need to educate people to understand their environment.
How did past experiences help you? Next to my school in India was a slum area and once a week we’d get the children into the school, teach them computer programmes or just play cricket with them. Then, in Manchester, I was involved with a group called Student Action and we went out once or twice a week to a bridge where homeless people used to convene. We’d feed them and try to find out where they were staying or if they were sleeping rough. We were there to provide them with support. All these experiences helped me learn how to speak, work and listen to all sorts of people.
Becca Leed, 24, graduated from the University of York with 2:1 in English Literature and Philosophy unsure of a direction for her career. She now works for a Community Links project, We Are What We Do (www.wearewhatwedo.org). it is a charity that aims to inspire people to use their everyday actions to change the world. What motivated you to choose this career? I left university and didn’t know what I wanted to do. I said I wanted my job to make a difference and that didn’t have to be about saving the world, or being on the front line but a cause or issue that I cared about. I was attracted to We Are What We Do as it wasn’t a typical charity job, it has a creative element and was different.
What does your job role involve? I try to engage the public, businesses and other parties with environmental causes. Earthwatch has 130 different research expeditions where volunteers learn about the environment. One day I could be arranging for members of a big corporation to be getting involved with research projects like studying climate change or forest canopies – and on other days go to schools and teach children about growing cocoa in Ghana or frogs in Australia. Having scientific knowledge helps when you’re talking about problems like climate change and human-animal conflict, it helps me communicate the message more clearly.
How important was it for you to have an ethical career? When I was applying for jobs out of university it was very important for me. I think it attracts people of a similar mindset and it’s been very easy to fit in at Earthwatch because everyone’s working towards one common goal. I think it’s also very important for people who are interested in the environment and seeing organisations work ethically to get involved for working with the less-ethical organisations. If big companies want to keep attracting young people like myself who want work for an ethically minded company then they’re going to have to get involved with CSR and improving their environment, otherwise they’re not going to be attracting some of the best graduates coming out of university.
i saw the link between people, poverty and environment
How did past experiences help you?
I decided to do some temping for a while in the not-for-profit sector – mainly charities – just to get some experience and see what interested me. While I was temping for different organisations it gave me an insight into different types of charities but the jobs I did weren’t the ones I wanted to end up doing. I didn’t find a charity I particularly wanted to work for during my temping. When I was at university, I volunteered in a homeless centre in my second year. I haven’t done a lot although it’s something I’m interested in. I did volunteering days last year for the Year of the Volunteer.
What does your job role involve? We are a very small team, only three full-timers including myself. We have our individual responsibilities but equally as it’s such a small team, you end up doing a bit of everything, which is really nice. My job at the moment involves helping to keep the office running smoothly as well as helping with PR and the international development. I do general things like answering the phones, email enquiries and deal with individual projects.
How important was it for you to have an ethical career? When they left university, half of my friends were like me. We didn’t know what we wanted to do but we wanted to do something that we at least cared about. It wasn’t all about being ethical but that about doing something you have a passion for. We Are What We Do is honest about its ethical record and, like our book says, everything we possibly can do, we do.
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Photograph: Ferran Traite / phototrolley.com
hich is better for graduates to work in: the public sector or the private sector? The answer is neither. While some graduates find their heart’s desire in
the private sector, others would never dream of applying for a job outside the public sector. What the two sectors are, above all, is different – whether it’s pay levels or ethos. In order to make an informed decision about what suits you you’ll need to know what’s what. So, read on for the seven things you should know about working in the public sector.
Job Satisfaction “It’s about making a difference more than
trying to make a profit – it’s an opportunity to influence people’s lives,” says Vivienne Man, graduate recruiter at the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Sally Sanders, a graduate from Exeter University who is currently on the National Graduate Development Programme, agrees. “The people you work with tend to be really interested and committed to what they’re doing. People are driven more by the sector they’re working in than ambition or money.”
Are you the kind of person who community and have a say in Then you’ll want to think about
Money Matters In July, Chancellor Gordon Brown
announced that public sector pay rises would be capped at approximately 2 per cent for the foreseeable future, as part of a drive to slow public-sector spending and improve efficiency. “It may deter graduates from the public sector,” admits Judith McIntyre, careers advisor at Brunel University. You’ll also find that budgets are tighter in the public sector – so no massive expense accounts. As Vivienne Man concedes, “the public sector rarely pays well, but there are other benefits.”
You can Work Anywhere. Accountancy,
education, engineering, IT, management, media and many other occupations are available in the public sector. Vivienne confirms that “there are a wide variety of jobs available, but people don’t realise these things until they’ve done the research. And the jobs tend to be spread much more around the country. In part that’s the nature of the public sector, but there’s also been a drive to move jobs, including central government jobs, out of London.
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FEATURE | PUBLIC SECTOR | OVERVIEW
would like to make a contribution to your how the services we use everyday are run? working in the public sector says Navtej Johal
It’s Changing Rapidly “There are a lot of
changes happening in the public sector at the moment and when people are used to working a certain way and that suddenly changes then they can start to feel stressed or unhappy,” warns Judith at Brunel. While these changes can offer great opportunities for graduates they also affect morale within the sector. It’s been calculated that one sickness absence in every three is due to stress in the public sector, according to the Health and Safety Executive.
You Can Make a Difference Frequently, a job in the
public sector allows you more responsibility at an earlier stage. For example, by working in government you could have the chance to shape policy and make decisions at the very top. The FSA’s Sally believes it’s important to be doing something you think is significant and affecting people. “Especially having a direct impact in the city where you live – there’s not many companies or organisations that you could work for where you could do that”.
Great Work-Life Balance Workers in the public
sector often find that their job offers them an excellent worklife balance. Judith McIntyre, careers advisor at Brunel University, says that “the public sector doesn’t have a longhours culture and it’s more open to a variety of work patterns than the private sector.” In addition to this, with other benefits on offer including job flexibility, career breaks and final-salary pension schemes, a career in the public sector can be extremely attractive.
It’s Committed to Diversity The public sector is
committed to recruiting a diverse workforce, which is representative of the community that it serves. Moreover, last year the Civil Service came second in The Times’ Top 100 Graduate Employers and don’t forget that teaching is one of the most sought-after careers for graduates in the Class of 2006. Read on to hear what graduates that are working in the public sector say about their jobs…
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Graduate Career Opportunities
Think about the Northern Ireland Civil Service, think about… • Shaping the future for people in Northern Ireland • Tackling headline issues like reshaping the education system or reform of public services • Working on complex challenges such as urban regeneration or investing in health initiatives • Advising government ministers on major issues at the moment. To find out more about the challenges we have to offer visit our website www.nicsrecruitment.gov.uk The Northern Ireland Civil Service is an equal opportunity employer.
think career, think...
FEATURE | PUBLIC SECTOR | case study
if there’s a problem, it’s my job to get in there, get to the bottom of it and recommend a course of action
Alasdair Hamilton, 25, is one of the fortunate ones, landing his dream job upon graduating from university. “Government touches almost every aspect of life and the idea of being a part of that and having an impact on someone’s life appealed to me. And it appealed far more than working to improve somebody else’s bottom-line did – or does today,” he says.
Case Studies Photographs: Yang Ou
He’s part of the team in charge of the Glasgow bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games for the Education Department of the Scottish Executive. “I’m lucky as I’m into sport and the politics surrounding the bidding process so I actually love this job,” he says. Alasdair graduated from the University of
Civil Service: background
Strathclyde in 2004 with a 2:2 in International Business and Modern Languages and started on the Fast-Stream programme the year after.
The Civil Service receives 12,000 applications a year for 300 places on its Fast-Stream programme. This allows for “top talent from universities to be brought in at the end of each academic year,” says Sue Nickson, deputy head of marketing. Specialist Fast-Stream programmes – Economist, Statistician, GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) and the new Technology in Business programme (for graduates with IT skills) – recruit a further 200 people. The programme is highly structured and fast-moving. Participants move every 12 to 18 months into a different career group – corporate services, operational delivery or policy delivery. Academic ability is important, minimum entry requirements is a 2:2 in any degree discipline, but the development of soft skills like constructive thinking, communicating with impact and driving for results matter more. “The whole application process is solely focused on assessing candidates through the Fast-Track competency framework,” says Sue, who explains that the trained assessors don’t have any background knowledge of candidates. “This makes for a very fair system for the applicants,” she says.
His first placement was spent working on bathing-water policy and ensuring EU direct ives were complied with. “Once you’ve passed the assessment board, you fill in a form asking where you’d like to work and that’s matched against the needs of the Civil Service. “I said I wanted to work in Scottish Affairs and had a particular interest in environment and was lucky enough to end up there but it doesn’t always work that way.” Alasdair spent a year working in his students’ union and thinks this helped him develop the skills needed to be successful during the selection process. Recruiters want to see candidates demonstrate versatility, decisiveness, the ability to think quickly and build productive relationships. “My year as a sabbatical officer gave me the chance to get some experience outside of study, and allowed me to demonstrate some of these skills. I think any opportunity you get to develop these soft skills is a real advantage and should be grabbed with both hands,” he says. “The job doesn’t need specific qualifications or experience although
many of the people on the programme have been involved with charities and volunteering, which helps because they’re looking for rounded people.” Within a week of starting his second placement Alasdair had to brief two min isters face-to-face with little background knowledge. “It was challenging,” he recalls. “It takes a lot of reading, although I had the support of a couple of staff members who’d been there a while.” It’s Alasdair’s job to resolve problems with the bid when they arise. “I’m in a co-ordination role so if it’s a general problem then it’s my job to get in there, get to the bottom of it, see what can be done to resolve it and if nec essary, present the options to ministers and recommend a course of action.” Alasdair thinks one of the greatest things about the Civil Service is the diversity of the jobs on offer: “This is particularly true of the Scottish Executive, where the range of devolved matters means that in the space of a few years you could be involved in planning huge investment in road networks, work in the Prison Service, be responsible for taking environmental-protection legislation through parliament, become a HR officer, or even to be working on a bid to host the next Com monwealth Games.” Sophie Kimber
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FEATURE | PUBLIC SECTOR | CASE STUDY
tional management job, managing 14 people at St Barts Hospital in London. “It was quite daunting, as I didn’t have any experience managing people before,” he says. “However it meant I learned loads in my first role.” He then moved on to work for East London and The City Mental Health trust. “took an HR adviser role focused on the Improving Working Lives initiative, which is an NHS scheme “I think my three-month placement in Australia has been one of
aimed at making the organisation a better place to work.” Then, after three months at a hospital in Gosford, Australia, redesigning
the highlights of my traineeship with the NHS,” reflects Andy
their induction programme, he returned for his final placement of
Williamson who works in recruitment at Guy’s Hospital in London. “That and seeing a baby being born by caesarean during my first
six months at Homerton Hospital in Hackney, London, focused on improving the diversity in recruitment.
week’s orientation, which was pretty amazing – I think I was more
Andy is now in his first non-trainee role working at Guy’s Hospital
proud than the father.” Being involved in a frontline
in London. He feels the scheme has been an
cause is what initially drew Andy
to work in the NHS. “It sounds corny but I really feel that the
But you do need to be able to cope with
work I’m doing is making a real
pressure, he says, both
difference and, because of the nature of the job, the work envi-
when you are studying for your CIPD while
ronment is generally very positive. There’s a good spirit and
working and when you are dealing with
NHS camaraderie,” he says. Like many others, Northumbria University student Andy gradu-
pace of hospital life. “There is quite a lot of red-tape as public
ated from his history degree without a clue what to do. After working in insurance for a cou-
money is being spent and people working in the frontline don’t
ple of years he went travelling and on his return in 2004 decided that he’d like to work in hu-
always understand why they have to go through certain pro-
man resources. He took a job as a personnel admin assistant to gain some background experience and began looking for organisations that would offer a traineeship and also put employees though the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Graduate Training Development qualification. Schemes: background That’s when he came across the newly launched The NHS offers a range of schemes to graduates which, combine early HR traineeship in the NHS. responsibility in real jobs with a “The NHS offered three professional or postgraduate different placements with qualification. Graduates can consider really good exposure to all the General Management Training areas of the organisation,” Scheme, which offers the opportunity to gain postgraduate qualifications in he says. “Each placement healthcare or general management; was HR related and you or the Finance Scheme, where could also take the trainees study for Professional chance to work in healthAccountancy qualifications or the care abroad, although Human Resources Management Scheme, where trainees can study the you need to set that Chartered Institute of Personnel and placement up yourself.” Development (CIPD) qualifications. After an eight-week orientation programme, For more information visit his first placement of six www.bringingleadershiptolife.nhs.uk or www.nhs.uk/careers months was an opera-
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cedures,” he says. “My job is to stay patient and help them but you do need to be resilient. This is par ticularly true at the moment, as the NHS suffers from financial problems and some people are unsure about their jobs.” But he believes that the NHS is a great place to work. “It’s built a strong foundation for my career and I’m doing something I really enjoy,” he says. “There are many misconceptions about working for the NHS but there is huge job satisfaction in working to support frontline staff like nurses and doctors.” Zoë Roberts
my job is to stay patient and help the people on the frontline. but you do need to be resilient
” 9/10/06 10:36:23
FEATURE | PUBLIC SECTOR | case study
“I could talk all day about my job,” laughs recently appointed senior prison officer, Rebecca Hayward. “When you say you’re a prison officer, everyone wants to know what your job is like.” Rebecca, 26, who graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2002 with a 2:1 in law, has been making a difference to people’s lives ever since she got involved in voluntary work with the long-term unemployed while studying for her degree. “A lot of the people I was working with had just come out of prison and were looking for accommodation and to get into employment. When I graduated I found a paid job doing the same kind of thing, so for the next three and a half years I worked in prisons as a civilian, oing resettlement work, accommodation work, getting employd ment for the prisoners – whatever their problems were, we would be there to try to resolve it”. Rebecca then decided that she wanted to have more of an impact and made her mind up to apply for a place on the Prison Service’s Intensive Development Scheme, where she would be trained to work as a prison officer and become an accredited operational manager in the Prison Service. She admits, “it’s not the most usual choice,” but she feels privileged to be in her position. “During my intake there were roughly 600 applicants to start with and they only took on 32”. However, to begin with, Rebecca wasn’t sure how people would take to a female graduate in the role of a prison officer when she The IDS: Background first started a year ago. “I was nervous about peoThis is a three-year scheme for ple’s reaction. At the prison I any graduate interested in a went to, the staff were expericareer in the Prison Service, at the end of which you will leave enced, predominantly male as an accredited operational and a bit older than me. But, if manager in the prison service at you get stuck in and do your junior-governor grade level. In job well, then they show you as your first year you complete full much respect and support as training as a prison officer and spend 12 months carrying out anyone else. Once they got to their full range of duties. You will know me it was fantastic”. then move on to become a Rebecca believes that it senior officer at a different prison takes a strong personality to be and in the final year you work as a prison officer. “One of the a trainee operational manager. The two main benefits of the most important things you need scheme are that it’s fast-track in the prison service is a sense of (you are able to move through humour. And good communithe ranks a lot quicker than you cation skills – they’re the key would if you just came into the ones,” she says. “The job can service) and that the graduates will receive an extensive amount sometimes take over your life, it of support from the staff around can be stressful. If something’s them, including extra training happened that day it can be a and advice. bit hard to switch off from it.” The role of a prison officer reFor more information www.hmprisonservice.gov.uk quires an extraordinary amount
of commitment: “It’s long shifts and there’s no heading off early or coming in a bit late – it’s a fixed shift pattern and we’re very driven by the core day in the prison, we have to fit around that,” she says.“The most challenging part is treating everyone as an individual and that goes for the staff you work with as well as the prisoners.” Rebecca’s advice to those graduates considering a career in the Prison Service is to experience it first-hand. “I would advise anyone thinking of working in the Prison Service to visit a prison.”
the best choice i ever made was to put on a uniform
And in Rebecca’s opinion, how does working in the public sector compare with the private sector? “If you’ve got friends from university who are doing jobs for private companies, they may earn a lot more money than you but I think that’s where the job satisfaction you receive will balance it out,” she says.“The best thing about it is the satisfaction that you get from solving problems and seeing the prisoners improve their behaviour. That’s the main thing – realising that you make a difference to people’s lives. The best choice I ever made was to put on a uniform and make a real difference in this way.” n Navtej Johal
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FEATURE | IT | OVERVIEW
e T h I t t n i e e G g T d E or f s ct e sp o pr r e re a ec r A
es at du a gr
he number of employers reporting IT skills shortages has gone up and the business consequences of the skills gap are worsening, according to new research by sector skills
body E-Skills. But while it’s bad news for employers, it’s good for promising graduates, who are more likely to have the pick of the crop when it comes to jobs. “Almost all companies are dependent on IT to some extent,” points out Howard Gerlis, chairman of the British Computer Society’s specialist group executive. He believes the greatest rewards of working in the sector are the sheer variety of roles, the pay and the potential to specialise. “Increasingly, there is also opportunity to set up on your own later down the line,” he adds. But graduates shouldn’t rest on their laurels, he cautions. “Most employers want experience, which isn’t always easy to get. There never seems to be the commitment there should be from employers in our sector when it comes to work experience.” He suggests focusing on gaining proof of your practical abilities – which complement the theory you learn at university – as early as possible. “For example, if you build websites or informally help
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ing k oo l lly a re
m ou s fro ng act a y y he f b hs rts t p ra so g to ern o ph Hilp te a ?K up
n io t fic e th
a small company out with their IT systems before you graduate, you’ll be able to both demonstrate your skills and at the same time show you’ve grasped every opportunity to gain some kind
environment where innovation is encouraged and rewarded.” Despite the geeky image of IT, Gary Argent, UK graduate recruitment manager at Logica CMG, points out that today’s
of experience.” For those keen to get on internship programmes, his advice is to apply early. The access-infrastructure provider Citrix is one of a growing number of companies that runs well-structured schemes, that feed its graduate recruitment programme. “This year, we took on 10 interns and I would have thought we’ll be able to hire at least 50 per cent of them,” says HR manager, Chris Prince. Beware that despite the current IT skills shortages, the assessment process for graduates is generally tough – both for internship and graduate-recruitment programmes. “We don’t just look for people on track to get a good degree, but also good A level results,” adds Prince. “In addition, we’re after stacks of enthusiasm.” Katy Fox, UK & Ireland marketing manager for attraction and recruitment at Shell International Limited, says that team-working skills are also important. “In return,” she says, “Shell offers a challenging career, working on a range of projects in an
graduates can expect to be in a customer-facing role earlier than ever in their career. “Many can also expect to act as a liaison between customers and technical teams overseas, as the offshoring of technical roles continues to be a trend among UK companies.” Argent believes graduate careers in IT are more exciting than ever. “You have the opportunity to work on systems that have a real impact on the outside world. For example, some of the things our graduates work on are text messaging and financial service systems that help people deal with their online bank account.” Chris Munday, a software development team leader at RM, says, “I run a development team of seven software developers who write a variety of software for schools and colleges, and that feels an incredibly worthwhile thing to be doing every day.” He adds that if you show your potential, the sky’s the limit in IT. “People progress quickly and it’s a very social environment.”
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Map out your future with M&G. We Promise: • To equip you with a wide range of skills and competencies • Responsibility early in your career • You will work alongside key individuals from day one • The opportunity to understand the business and make a real difference • A healthy work/life balance • A highly competitive salary and benefits package
Who is M&G?
M&G Graduate Schemes.
M&G is the third largest fund manager in the UK and the investment arm of the Prudential with approximately £150 billion under management. We are a City based company with a record of investment excellence and innovation stretching back over more than 75 years.
M&G have developed three different schemes, which one is right for you? Which one is right for you? Investment Trainee (Fixed Income)
that rewards high performance with financial incentives and increased opportunities. We’re flexible enough to accommodate the most ambitious of career aspirations, offering training that’s tailored to your personal needs with maximum exposure to a breadth of business areas. We go out of our way to attract, retain and develop a diverse pool of talent. We believe that by building the capability of employees from varied backgrounds, and helping them to reach their full potential, M&G is better placed to generate new ideas and products to keep us at the forefront of the industry.
M&G marks the spot.
A career with M&G can offer you a constant stream of fresh challenges, so you’ll always be stretching yourself and learning new skills. What’s more, you will be part of a culture
Investment Trainee (Equities)
If • • • • • • • • •
you are: A good communicator with strong interpersonal skills A cool head under pressure Able to demonstrate sound judgement and lateral thinking Confident to make or stand by a decision Able to influence others effectively A self-starter Keen to make a positive impact on our business Able to demonstrate a strong team ethic Enthusiastic for a career with M&G
You will hold a minimum 2:I or have an expectation thereof. You will possess between 280 (IS Scheme) and 340 (Investment Scheme) UCAS points at A’Level or equivalent and grades A or B in GCSE level Maths and English (scheme dependent).
This is the way forward. Email your CV and covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org For application details, please refer to our website at www.mandg.co.uk
FEATURE | IT | CASE STUDY
SYSTEMS/ BUSINESS ANALYST Name: Kit Tsui, 24 Degree/university: MEng in Information Systems Engineering from Imperial College London, 2004 Occupation: Technology Analyst, Deutsche Bank What do you do in your job? Currently, I work in a team that looks after what’s known as the enterprise systems – the big computer systems that work on a global basis. A particular project I’m working on is the management dashboard. This gives people in management, or anyone else, a snapshot of what the environment (that is, everything you need to run an application like the servers and network) is like at any one time. Examples of other things that our team gets involved in are system monitoring and database monitoring.
Motivation in applying? I like the problem-solving aspect of being an analyst in IT. I also enjoy the fact that it’s not a repetitive job because every day brings a new challenge. I chose to work in banking because banks have enough money and power to buy the latest and greatest technologies.
What did the application process involve? An online application form, followed by an interview with HR and some numerical tests. Once I got through that, I was invited to the final round. There were three technical interviews in the morning and group exercises and an interview in the afternoon.
What do you enjoy about your job? You’re never stuck on a particular project for too long and you get to solve different kinds of problems every day.
Most challenging part of the job? Probably that in a such a large organisation, you have to work with different people in different teams in different countries. Working on such a big scale is something I’ve never experienced before.
Worst part? Getting used to waking up early and coming into work from Monday to Friday has been tough. I don’t mind the hours. If you finish by 5pm, that’s when you leave. But the routine is far more strict than at university.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field: Apply for internships. They are by far the easiest way to get on a graduate-recruitment programme. It doesn’t matter if you don’t do one, but it really helps.
apply for internships as they are by far the easiest way to get on a graduaterecruitment programme
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kyoko The word is connected.
With 6,000 people around the world we thought it would be good to start a big conversation, where everyone can share thoughts, experiences and ideas. So we gave everyone the tools â€“ weblogs, podcasts, instant messaging, even our own Wiki workspace â€“ and let them get on with it. The results have been spectacular, for our people, our clients, our business. Is any other investment bank so inclusive, so connected? We doubt it.
Spread the word. www.dresdnerkleinwort.com/graduates Unexpected viewpoints. Radical thinking. Inspiration.
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FEATURE | IT | CASE STUDY
software engineer Name: Chris Clohosy, 23 Degree/university: MSc in Computer Science from University College London, 2005 Occupation: Software Engineer, M&G Investments What do you do in your job? I am involved in phasing out the old computer systems – ones that were made in an old computer language and am integrating them with the new systems. You could say our team is like the glue in between the systems and the people. I’m working on the design, implementation and testing of the integration.
Motivation in applying? I’ve wanted to be a software engineer ever since I started playing computer games. To me, it’s a bit like painting a picture. You build something up in a creative way, using various components. I saw an advert for this particular graduate scheme on the bulletin board at university. I knew M&G was owned by Prudential so I thought I’d give them a go. Once I read the literature I received upon applying, I realised it was a very good graduate scheme.
What did the application process involve? Once I’d applied, I got sent back some literature along with five or six questions to do with things like what challenges I’d faced in life. I was then invited in for the first round of interviews with someone from HR and someone from the information services department. I then had to do a couple of personality tests and finally, I was invited to an assessment centre.
What do you enjoy about your job? I enjoy working in a team, because you’re never confined to working on your own. I also like the fact that in this role, you get an overview of the whole company.
Most challenging part of the job? Things are always changing. You get new problems all the time and you have to think about how to solve them. Fortunately, I like that level of stimulation.
Worst part? I know it sounds cheesy, but I can’t think of a worst part. I enjoy everything about this job, even when a deadline is approaching.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field Don’t worry that everything you learn at university is about theory. I remember worrying whether it would really be on value in a practical setting. But it was.
it sounds cheesy but i can’t think of a worst part about this job
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FEATURE | IT | CASE STUDY
i’ve just had an email asking me to go to australia with work…
COMPUTER/IT CONSULTANT Name: Kate Mowat, 24 Degree/university: BSc in Computer Science at the University of Bristol, 2005 Occupation: Junior Consultant at CHP Consulting What do you do in your job? I’m working on a project. I gather the client’s requirements, then design and write programs, which become part of a software solution.
Motivation in applying? I’ve always been attracted to the challenge of IT consultancy. I’ve tried out some other careers through temping and they lacked challenge. I applied to CHP because the training was really good. The rewards are impressive too, with big budgets for staff entertainment. The travel opportunities also appealed. I’ve just had an email asking me to go to Australia with work.
What did the application process involve? I was contacted by the company as a result of putting my CV on a jobsite. The first stage involved a phone interview. I then had two further interviews – one to see how I’d fit in and one to see how I go about solving problems.
What do you enjoy about your job? The variety, although I’m doing a lot of programming at the moment, but I also get to interact with clients.
Most challenging part of the job? It’s a huge computer system and to be thrown into it with no experience of asset finance was a nightmare. But then again, nobody in the company knows all about the system.
Worst part? Being in such a male-dominated environment. At times you don’t feel you’re understood as a woman. Although CHP is doing more to encourage women into the company and there are increasing numbers being employed.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field Choose the companies you apply for carefully. A lot of people just go in for the big players like Accenture and overlook the smaller ones. But if you work at a smaller company you don’t feel like a small cog in a big wheel.
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We don’t take ourselves too seriously We take you very seriously Group IT Leadership Programme
You can have it all
We don’t believe in compromise at Lloyds TSB. Not when it comes to our Group IT Leadership Programme at any rate. So why not enjoy the best of both worlds? Because we already know who we are, we’re far more interested in getting the low down on you – right from the word go. Over the course of three years, we’ll probe, challenge, encourage and stretch the very brightest talent the country has to offer. It’s a great opportunity for IT, Computer Science or Engineering graduates, like you, to explore your talent for management and innovation right at the heart of our operation. What’s more, we’ll equip you with some serious skills while giving you serious breadth of exposure to our wider Group businesses. If you have – or are expecting to achieve – a 2.1 or above, you can expect a salary of between £25,000 and £28,450 plus a sign-on bonus of £5,000. Have it all at www.youcanatlloydstsb.com
FEATURE | IT | CASE STUDY
COMPUTER ANALYST Name: Ajay Shukla, 26 Degree/university: BSc in Computer Information Systems Design from Kingston University, 2003 Occupation: Technology Analyst at Bank of America What do you do in your job? I’m on a three-year rotational programme. I’m currently on the European helpdesk. On a dayto-day basis, I have people phoning or emailing me with problems, or they might have a request for new equipment or to help a new joiner at the bank. It’s my job to pass the issue onto the right team or to fix it at the first point of contact.
Motivation in applying? I’ve been interested in IT from a young age as I became familiar with big organisations like IBM and Microsoft, and people of my age grew up around home computing. As I got older, I realised that there would always be good opportunities for work within IT. I chose the banking industry because they are at the forefront of technology. The programme at Bank of America stood out because it was very well thought of and it gives you exposure in different technology groups.
shift work was tough, but by the end I’d learned so much it was worth it
What did the application process involve? There was a standard online application form, followed by a series of interviews with different business leaders. Throughout this process, there were several evaluations and assessments.
What do you enjoy about your job? You get good feedback and the training and support are excellent too. The travel opportunities are wonderful – I’ve already been to New York for training. There’s also good work-life balance.
Most challenging part of the job? It can be challenging adjusting to the different secondments, but the support you receive from team members and your manager is outstanding.
Worst part? I started one of my rotations having to do some shift work and I found that quite tough, but by the end, I’d learned so much it was worth it.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field There is a lot going on in banking and banking technology so I’d suggest really reading up the market. Apply early to the programmes and attend careers fairs where possible.
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With your potential, our future is in good hands. It starts with you. Who you are and where you come from are part of what makes you unique. This is why at UBS we value the diverse backgrounds of our employees. As a leading financial firm with over 140 nationalities, UBS believes that looking at things from another perspective is crucial to our success. And the best view could be through your eyes. Who you are is important. Together, we can realize who you want to be. It starts with you: www.ubs.com/graduates
ÂŠ UBS 2006. All rights reserved.
Graduate Opportunities From c.£20,000 Near Reading, Berkshire Business and Finance Chemical Engineering Chemistry Civil Engineering Computer Science Construction Electrical Engineering Electronic Engineering Environmental Manufacturing Materials Science Maths Mechanical Engineering Metallurgy Physics Production Engineering Safety Radiological Protection Structural Engineering Systems Engineering The fact that you’ve started reading this says something about the kind of person you are. Where other people say “I see”, you say “show me more”. Your thirst for knowledge takes you to places that other people don’t even know about. And the Atomic Weapons Establishment could be one of them. As the nation’s largest high-tech research, development and production facility, with sole responsibility for maintaining the UK’s nuclear deterrent, AWE is an organisation like no other. The sheer scale and complexity of our operations offers you immense challenge and variety in your career – and the support we provide for your development is second to none. Whether you’re embarking on a scientific, engineering or business career, we’ll equip you with all the tools you need to become an expert in your field: with everything from exposure to live projects to ongoing support for professional qualifications. To find out more and apply, visit www.awe.co.uk or call 0118 982 9009 for a brochure. AWE welcomes applications from women and men, regardless of disability, sexuality, racial or ethnic origin, age or responsibility for dependants. The normal contractual retirement age at AWE is 65. Successful candidates will be selected solely on their ability to carry out the duties of the post. Because of the nature of the work associated with these posts, they are subject to special nationality rules and are open only to British Citizens. All selected candidates will be required to undergo security clearance.
Atomic Weapons Establishment
From £23,000 per annum + excellent benefits including profit share IT underpins every aspect of the John Lewis Partnership. Our 63,000 permanent staff, 182 Waitrose supermarkets and 27 John Lewis department stores rely on a host of technology to stay at the forefront of the retail industry. Based in Bracknell or London, this is your chance to play a critical role at the heart of our business. You won’t need an IT-related degree to join us. As long as you combine technical aptitude with enthusiasm and potential, we’ll teach you everything you need to know – from programming and analysis to project management. So you’ll be a vital figure in our future and a Partner in the business. Being a Partner means having a say in how the business is run and sharing in our success. It also means taking personal responsibility for that success every day. And you can look forward to some great benefits too. Find out more at www.jlpitjobs.com The Partnership is committed to providing equal opportunities for all regardless of differences such as gender, ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, age, social background, religion and belief.
Wednesday 8 November 2006 • Over 90 international, national and local employers • Free entry to the largest careers fair in the East Midlands • Over 3000 students and graduates attend • Get your CV checked • Careers seminars
Walkers Stadium Leicester City Football Club Free coaches every 15 minutes from both universities
Don’t miss it! Organised by
Graduate Careers in IT with
Leicestershire Student and Graduate Fair 06
Without our systems, we’d completely
run out of steam.
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652849a Sclumber 297x210
We offer three distinct career paths. And countless ways to learn more, do more, and experience more than you ever thought possible. We give you the training, the support, and the opportunities to make an impact. The rest is up to you. Field Engineering: It will test you physically as well as mentally. As a Field Engineer, you will be onsite wherever our clients need you – whenever they need you. You’ll make decisions that have multimillion dollar impact. And you’ll push your stamina as well as your knowledge to the very limit.
Research, Development & Manufacturing: It’s your chance to share ideas, win patents, and make a real impact. You research the challenge. You invent the solution. That’s why Research, Development & Manufacturing is such a remarkable experience. And your creativity will help develop technology and equipment unlike anything anywhere in the world – the proprietary solutions that make Schlumberger the very best.
Petrotechnical: It’s where your expertise can help shape the future of energy. This is your chance to work hand in hand with our clients, providing the expertise that makes a difference. We’re talking about decisions that drive the future of energy for the planet. You’ll not only need to know the science behind the challenges, you’ll need to have the people skills to build long-term client relationships.
With $14.3 billion revenue, Schlumberger is the world’s leading provider of technology services to the oil and gas exploration and production industry.
Success without boundaries
w w w. s l b . c o m / c a r e e r s