Guest blog post: Nicola and Nicky “A day in the life of a Gradcracker”

Hi, We’re Nicola Taylor and Nicky Manfield, University Liaison professionals at Gradcracker – the UK’s careers Gradcracker website for science, engineering and technology students.We have been in our roles for 1 year and 2 months (respectively) and we have written this blog for City students.

We encourage you to approach us at the Engineering, Science & Technology Fair on October 2014, if you want to find out more about how we can help you in your job search!

A typical working day for us

A large part of what we do is University engagement, phoning contacts at universities to talk about Gradcracker and our Toolkits and how we can get information that recruiters want you to know about, across to students effectively. General tasks throughout the day can range from answering student enquiries, arranging and participating in on campus events (such as City’s career fair), university liaison and keeping universities up to date with Gradcracker news, taking orders for our career booklet, the Toolkit. We work sociable hours, arrive at work at 8.50am and leave at 5pm.

The best part of our job

We really enjoy visiting universities across the UK and talking to students about Gradcracker and how we can help you with your job search within the science, engineering and technology industries.

We love hearing of success stories from the students who have landed a placement or graduate role through Gradcracker.

The biggest challenge of our job

Raising awareness of Gradcracker and that it’s the number 1 careers site for engineering and technology students in the UK. When we’re not engaging directly with students, we know that our great contacts in CityCareers and throughout the careers services at other universities will continue to give exposure to Gradcracker via other communication channels.

Why do we attend on campus careers events?

What better way is there to find talent, than by participating in careers events! We value meeting students face to face and getting the opportunity to tell them about how Gradcracker can help them in their search for that first employment opportunity and kick start their career. We represent over 160 employers in the industry, so we want to inform students that they can find these opportunities at Gradcracker.

How can YOU really impress us at a campus event?

Be prepared – do some research, dress smartly, and ask us some well thought through questions! Demonstrate that you are considering your potential career seriously.

The most common mistakes we see candidates making throughout the selection and recruitment process?

A poorly structured CV and mistakes to the application form. Students should take advantage of CityCareers and seek advice to even get the basics checked; such as spelling, grammatical errors and irrelevant information.

What attributes do recruiters look for in a student/graduate that are particularly suited to companies that we work with?

Our employers generally look for someone who can demonstrate suitable skills for their role, usually gained through work experience such as summer or yearlong work placements.



Graduate vacancies are up! But there’s a catch

The results of the Association of Graduate Recruiters‘ most recent survey of their members (typically the large employers with their large graduate scheme intakes) have been announced and there is good news to report. The report finds that those UK employers are reporting a 17% increase in the number of graduate vacancies this year compared to the previous graduate season. Positive news!

The perplexing additional news is that 23% of these employers still had unfilled vacancies at the end of the 2013 recruitment period. Anecdotally, graduate employers suggest this trend is continuing in 2014. It’s a sobering message. A growing graduate job market doesn’t mean the competition is any less fierce.

As Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the AGR, says Continue Reading


Guest blog post: Jaz Rabadia talking about A-levels

Jaz_SGost-49A-levels – they aren’t the ‘B’ all and end all…. 

I needed BBB in my A-levels to study Engineering at university. When opening my results envelope I knew it wasn’t going to be what I needed. In classes I was great at science, design technology and maths but for some reason I really struggled during my A-Level exams. There were so many of them, the questions were tough and the pressure of it all affected my performance.

I had some tough decisions to make, do I retake a year and go for the grades I knew I was capable of achieving? Should I change direction and pick subjects that weren’t so maths and science focussed? Or could I attempt to continue onto university knowing that my grades wouldn’t be up to scratch even though my knowledge was.

I decided to go with the latter and I got into City University, London through clearing on a BSc Engineering course. In order to upgrade to a BEng degree I would have to take on additional modules in the second year and show potential and improved results to progress.

Continue Reading


How to ace that group exercise at the assessment centre: Tips to perform well in exercises

Written by Jazmin Curzon, IBM UK Schools & Universities Attraction Co-ordinator

Untitled_1So you’ve completed the application form and online test and now you’ve been invited to the assessment centre.

The assessment centre is more than likely to contain group exercises, where you’ll be tested on your communication, problem solving and team work skills. These exercises are designed so the organisation can see how you react in an environment similar to the one you will be working in. The task, activities and problem solving scenarios may mimic workplace scenarios but be prepared for anything.

Continue Reading


Interested in a new Graduate Scheme for Social Work?

A two year  high powered graduate scheme, called Frontline has been launched to attract graduates of exceptional quality into Social Work. Like Teach First, after a brief (5 week)  a period of intensive training, you will be launched into the field, so will be placed in a Children and Families social work department, with a mentor, together with  other trainees.     The intensive programme means you qualify as a social worker within a year, gaining a postgraduate diploma after which you can progress to a Masters if you wish. A leadership development programme is integral to the course. Like all graduate training schemes, Frontline is paid employment. Entry requirements – A 2:1 is needed, together with 300 UCAS points.

For Teach First, plenty of experience of working with young people/leadership/teaching is expected, as well as evidence of extra curricular activities – so expectations may be similar with Frontline.The next round for applications will open in Autumn 2014.



Women students! Build your self-confidence with the Sprint London Programme for Female Undergrads and Postgrads!

wonder-woman1Do you often feel your voice is not heard and that others seem more confident?

Do you constantly kick yourself for not being more assertive?

Perhaps you  lack confidence in your own skills, with a poor sense of career direction?

The Sprint Programme is a fantastic opportunity for women undergraduates and postgraduates from all backgrounds, ages and stages in their lives and studies, regardless of their subject or career aspirations, to take hold of their personal development and achieve their ambitions. It is not too late to apply – with the deadline being this Sunday 6 July and you only need to submit a brief application – no more than 2500 characters, that’s characters, not words. About 30 lines will do or even less. That’s very little!

Across 4 action packed days, the programme covers a range of key development topics, with the aim help you to:

  • use your personal power and influence
  • identify your values, attitudes and direction
  • manage your time effectively Continue Reading

Government Legal Service opportunities (GLS) now open

GLS – Government Legal Service – applications now open

 Applications opened today  for 35 trainee solicitor and pupil barrister places and closes on 31 July. The GLS employs 2000 lawyers  (75% Solicitors and 25% barristers) who advise ministers and colleagues on the legality of proposed policy , create new legislation or represent the govt in high profile litigation cases.The role really suits people  with a keen interest in Politics. The work environment is supportive and collaborative. There are no long  hours and  flexible working hours are in place. Those who  draft  legislation as it goes through parliament feel a sense of uniqueness. Tips for applications: show a strong interest in politics, follow stories in the media and think how legal services can tie in, demonstrate why interested in public law + attend GLS open days. Few in the GLS have trained there, but move into the role later. Warning: competition is very severe. e.g. 3000 previously applied for 20 places.  http://www.gls.gov.uk/



Grad job outcomes – be wary of this article

Last week The Guardian published a sobering and interesting article based on research into recent graduates’ job destinations. I am, however, concerned about a possible misinterpretation. They say (and I quote),

almost three-quarters (79%) [of graduates] expect to be in a graduate-level job within six months. But government figures show that only around half (53%) of those who graduated within the past five years are in such jobs.

Asides from some questionable sub-editing (I’ve made my own corrections) I think the way this is written could lead to an incorrect conclusion being drawn. That 47% of all grad in the past five years are still in non graduate-level jobs. I think an incorrect Continue Reading