Guest Blog Post: The benefits of a mock interview

In this post, Nursing Graduate Olanike Akinde talks about the benefits of having a mock interview:interview in progress

“The funny thing regarding interviews is that the saying ‘by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’ actually sings true.

Myself, a postgraduate diploma student in child nursing knew the importance of this saying from my previous career in Accounting hence why I used the services of the Careers Service at City. Continue Reading


The ‘poshness’ test

Earlier in the summer new research from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty commission caused controversy with its ruminations on the proportion of private school educated students finding their way into the “top of the society”. Chiefly by looking at the percentage who find their way into the top echelons of their career sector. That includes looking at job roles like court judges. Whilst there’s nothing the UK likes better than reflecting on class divide in its society, how diverse really is the legal profession in the UK?

What might surprise you is that on both the solicitor and barrister side both the The Bar Standards Board and Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) have been actively tracking and reporting this information. The Bar Standards Board does so in its yearly “Bar Barometer” report. The SRA goes a step further and in 2011 announced that all firms regulated by the SRA would be required yearly to collect, report and publish workforce diversity data about the diversity make-up of their workforce. When it comes to publishing the data they can choose when during that 12 months and they aren’t required to report sexual orientation, and religion or belief. But all else is there to see.

Would this information influence your shortlist of Firms/Chambers?


Assessment Centres in health professions

Assessment Centres have been used for some time in graduate recruitment. It makes sense: candidates are invited to take part in group exercises and discussions that are relevant for the job, and recruiters look out for the skills on their wish list by observing the candidates in action.

In the last few years, Assessment Centres have transcended the areas of business, finance, etc and started to be more common in recruitment for health-related professions. Continue Reading


Develop your commercial awareness with Bloomberg Market Concepts

Did you know that we have Bloomberg terminal available for student use in the Library?  You can sign up to take an introduction to Bloombert workshop run by our librarians: http://libcal.city.ac.uk/event/2209890.

You can also take the Bloomberg Market Concepts course for free on the terminals using our BMC code.

What is Bloomberg Market Concepts?

Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC) is a 8-hour, self-paced e-learning course that provides an interactive introduction to the financial markets. BMC consists of 4 modules – Economics, Currencies, Fixed Income and Equities – woven together from Bloomberg data, news, analytics and television. The course is available online through the Bloomberg Institute website.

Why should you take it?

  • Complement your university modules with practical market knowledge
  • Become familiar with the Bloomberg Professional Service
  • Learn what moves markets and drives valuations
  • Receive a certificate of completion
  • Enhance your CV for employers
  • Demonstrate motivation and drive to learn outside your course module

Find out more about the course and Bloomberg at www.bloomberginsitute.com.



The tricky “Why do you want to work for us?” application question

Chances are that as a student applying for work experience or graduate jobs you’ll encounter the question “Why do you want to work for us?”. Very likely at interview but also at the earlier application stage. It’ll either be a question asked directly on an online application form or it’s certainly one of three areas you should cover in a cover letter**. Yes, even at this stage they want some reassurance you have thought this through and have something unique and personal to say about this. Not always easy when on the face of it a lot of organisations in similar sectors can appear to look very much the same. We’ve put this video together to help you figure what things you could talk about in answering this question. We’re sure you’ll find it useful. Enjoy.

**p.s. the two other areas? 1. Why you (relevant skills and experience)? and 2. Why this career choice/sector?


Why don’t students come for Careers advice?

A new survey from Unite Students, the accommodation provider, looked at students’ attitudes and perceptions of employability and their ability to get the jobs they want after they finish their studies.  Asked about using Careers services at their university, a majority of students said they’d trust their Careers Services’s advice on choosing a career, job applications and employability over that of their family or the internet.  Great news!

But, only 40% of undergraduate students said they had actually used their Careers Service.  We’re here to give advice, and it seems like students value our advice.  So why aren’t they coming in?

Let’s look at some of the reasons why students are reluctant to come in to Careers.

The most often repeated reason for not using the careers service is the somewhat paradoxical “I am not yet sure what career I want,” cited by 35% of Undergraduates.

We can help with that!  Careers Consultants don’t just do cv reviews and mock interviews.  You can also talk to them about your career options, your goals, your worries – if you don’t know what you can do with your degree, or if you’ve decided that maybe you want to take a different path than you had previously thought, they can help you think through your options and come up with a plan.

More than a quarter (26%) say they don’t know where to goor what services are on offer, while 18% say they “don’t feel confident enough to use the service.”

We’re pretty nice in the Careers Service.  You don’t have to be confident and you don’t have to know what you want.  If you feel that you’re not even ready to talk to a Careers Consultant, why not just stop in and have a quick chat with us on the information desk?  We can direct you to some resources so you can get started, and then you can book an appointment with a Consultant when you’re ready.

Where intention meets action most closely is careers advice via the internet. About half of Undergraduates (49%) would like to use internet advice, while 43% have done so.

Some good news! We have a huge amount of resources online, and we add to them every day.  We hope you’re using them as much as the students surveyed are.

Although university careers and employability services are widely used, there are still those who believe it’s “not for students like them”. The average is 7.8%.

This belief is more likely in groups which other studies have shown may be at risk of wider feelings of marginalisation in relation to their student experience.
Those significantly above the average include:

International: 17.1%
Part time: 18.9%
Black: 17.9%
Care leavers: 15.2%
Gay/lesbian: 17%

We’re here for everyone! If you’re an international student, we can talk to you about getting a job in the UK or going home.  We have special resources for care leavers, links to scholarships for BME students, even directories of companies that make a point of being LGBT friendly.

If you’re concerned that you don’t know what you want to do, or you’re not sure where to look for resources, come see us at the information desk or book an appointment with a Careers Consultant.  We can help!


Finding work experience for Psychology and Sociology students

Psychology and Sociology, Criminiology and Media degrees can lead to a huge range of possible career paths.  If you’re not sure of what you want to do, this can make your career decisions quite daunting.  Getting work and volunteer experience in these fields can help you make connections with potential employers, gain relevant experience for your CV, develop your skills in the field, and also help you decide what areas you’re really interested in working in.

Some of the possibilities with a Psychology or Sociology degree include working with children in schools, working with the elderly, working for charities that support different social issues, working with people in the criminal justice system, working for a government agency or policy research organisation, and much more.  Many of these types of organisations offer volunteer opportunities, internships, work experience programmes or part-time jobs.  We’ve put together a list of places where you can start looking for experience while you’re studying and that might give you ideas of where to apply as you come to the end of your course.

Check out our guides for Psychology students and Sociology, Criminology and Media students and start applying now.


Get the commercial awareness that you need!

In a survey called “Skills for graduates in the 21st Century” by AGR (The Association of Graduate Recruiters) commercial awareness came out top as the skill most lacking in graduates.  Their survey focused on leading graduate firms and 67% of the recruiters responded that this skill was lacking  in a worrying 67% of UK  graduates.

What is it exactly?

One way commercial awareness could be defined is having an interest in business, together with an understanding of the environment in which it operates. This includes its customers, suppliers and competitors. It also includes an understanding of commercial realities, such as efficiency, cost-effectiveness and customer care. Cass students are well-placed to understand this, but students in other schools also need to understand commercial awareness in relation to careers in health, teaching, the public sector, journalism,  the charity sector, etc.

What questions do  employers ask to test your commercial awareness?

  • What particularly interests you about our organization? or What do you know about our organization?
  • What do you regard as our unique selling point or What makes us stand out, in your view?
  • Name some of our clients
  • Name some of our competitors (and possibly some of the differences between us?)
  • What tasks do you think you will be doing on a daily basis in this role?
  • Tell me about a business news article that interested you recently. Say why, what your learned and its implications for the organization if appropriate
  • What are some of the issues impacting on our sector at the moment?
  • Where do you see yourself in 2 and 5 years time?
  • What was our share price this morning? What market share do we have?

How can I improve my commercial awareness? Continue Reading