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A hidden Finance career option – Paraplanning

Caspar Bartington (@diskrisk) has been in touch to alert us to a hidden career option in Finance, namely Paraplanning. Which should grab your attention as “hidden” usually means “we can’t find enough good people to do these jobs and/or enough applicants”. A shorter queue. Here’s what Caspar had to say about Paraplanning.

Paraplanning is a little-known part of the financial advice/financial planning/wealth management sector, which in itself is not tremendously well understood. Whereas financial planners are client-facing in their work, paraplanners are based in the back office and have a focus on financial market research and report writing. Paraplanning is a stepping-stone to becoming a client-facing financial planner; it gives a member of staff time to take professional qualifications needed to do the financial planning role and gain valuable experience of the financial advice process. Paraplanning is also a career in its own right, for those who prefer the technical, analytical aspect of a role over client interaction.

Caspar also provided us with case study of a graduate in a Paraplanning career, a trainee paraplanner who works at Para-Sols, a leading paraplanning business. Who incidentally are looking for graduates now.

p.s. you might just want to follow Caspar on Twitter. He always has some hidden gems.

 

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Crown Prosecution Service Legal Trainee Scheme

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have released details about their 2016 Legal Trainee Scheme. You can find the full details including instructions how to apply here: Crown Prosecution Service Legal Trainee Scheme application guide. But in a  nutshell here’s what’s on offer.

  • The CPS is offering legal trainee posts to start in November 2016. Pupillage or Period of Recognised Training (PRT) are available, with posts offered in order of merit to the top performing candidates regardless of discipline sought.
  • Candidates must have a minimum 2:2 undergraduate degree. This does not have to be in law. Candidates with a degree in a subject other than Law will also have needed to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or Common Professional Examination (CPE).
  • Candidates are also required to have successfully completed, or be due to complete, the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) or Legal Practice Course (LPC) to enable them to start with the CPS in November 2016.

According to the application guide the closing date for applications is the 12th of May 2016. If we can be of any assistance to you during the application process here in the Careers Service let us know.

Email: careers@city.ac.uk

Appointments: http://www.city.ac.uk/careers/for-students-and-recent-graduates/planning-your-career/book-an-appointment

Phone: 0207 0408093

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Think it’s too late to secure a grad scheme job for 2016? Think again.

We are fullThe myths relating to those elusive 2 year graduate schemes/programmes with typically large employers are many. One relates to timing and the whisper that if you haven’t got one by, say, January or February you’ve had it. They are all full. Come back next time. Sorry.

Three things tell more of the truth. Firstly each year many graduate scheme positions go unfilled. They really do. Over 25% of vacancies in some cases in some sectors. The affected companies will continue to look for suitable applicants to fill these gaps. Secondly if we look at a couple of sites that are very clear about application deadlines, Gradcracker and TARGETjobs, there are still vacancies being advertised with deadlines into April and May. Even beyond that.

Finally we get companies coming in to City to tell us! This week it was global IT firm CGI’s turn to bring good news in the form of around 16 brand new graduate positions on their Business Graduate Programme, specifically working within their Financial Services & Digital business unit. Basically the part of CGI that does work for big name finance companies amongst others. You’ll be the Service Delivery Managers supporting the delivery of a first class service to these clients. You don’t need a technical background but you do need a genuine interest in working in the technology sector. The roles have elements of both data analytics and project management as well as plenty of client contact. All degree backgrounds will be considered as well as a predicted 2:1 or above in your (first) degree and 240+ UCAS points. What’s equally as interesting is that they have a relatively short application process. One application form, a very short phone call, and an assessment centre. That’s it. They also still have technology and year long placements available as well. Read the full job advert here: Business Grad Advert 2016.

 

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Why knowing the current trends in the industries you want to work in can give you a competitive edge

commercial awarenessA frequently mentioned part of what employers want from you as a student or graduate candidate is your commercial awareness. You’ll find many definitions of what “commercial awareness” means and I’ll add another definition now. In a nutshell it’s “what’s going on right now” in the sector/company/environment. Knowing where to start to acquire this knowledge can be mesmerising (damn internet!) but here’s some ideas from the perspective of the IT sector:

  • Blog articles like this one entitled “25 big tech predictions for 2016” – some of the info is particular to the United States but the points on internet connected cars, the oil and gas industry using the Internet of Things to increase revenues and small businesses greatly increasing their use of payment apps caught my attention.
  • Major professional services businesses like Deloitte often produce annual summaries of what they see as major trends in particular sectors. You can read their 2016 predictions for the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications (TMT) sectors here. You know they are worth reading as these professional services companies get their information from clients that are major players in this sector means this information can be read with a good degree of trust.
  • Gartner is an American marketing, market research and advisory firm providing information technology insights targeted at CIOs and senior IT leaders in industries that include government agencies, high-tech and telecom enterprises, professional services firms, and technology investors. You can read about their “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016” here.

What’s the competitive edge for you as a job candidate? Firstly it will help you answer any questions you get in interview about whats currently happening in the sector. Secondly it could give you an idea of where to target your own job search. Growth areas more often than not need more people to work in them. And that can include placement students and soon to be graduates.

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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?

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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?

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A legal hidden job market right on your doorstep

If I told you that there was a hidden source of legal jobs that has provided the following numbers of vacancies in the last 12 months I’m sure you’d want to know about it:

  • 38 paralegal vacancies
  • 2 legal assistants vacancies
  • 2 pupillages
  • 3 training contracts
  • 5 vacation schemes
  • 16 other legal related vacancies

Where are they hidden? Our very own online vacancy board that you can find here. And why are they hidden? Well, one thing we do know is that a lot of companies that advertise their vacancies with us get frustrated at the lack of applications they then receive. Which is most probably because very few students look at this job board. Which is why you might just want to. If you are one of the few students looking out for these vacancies there is a high chance there will be a very short queue of applicants if you do choose to apply.

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Tech students: Do more = Be different = Get hired

Strange things are happening in the world of recruiting placement and graduate Computer Science students. It’s generally agreed that there aren’t enough Computer Science related students being produced by UK universities to meet the demand employers have to recruit them. So employers can’t get enough of you. On the other hand the largest number of unfilled grad scheme vacancies (11.8%) in 2013/2014 were with IT and telecommunications employers*. Why were 1 in 10 vacancies left unfilled? Employers aren’t lowering their standards and they want something more from you as a Computer Science student.

What’s that something more? Two things specifically.

Firstly they are still looking for that golden combination of tech ability and the ability to work with others and communicate well. The stereotype of a nerdy uncommunicative computer science student who only works on their own is a myth and employers know that but they still want reassurance. And more than just your examples of working together on group projects in university. Everyone has that opportunity. Instead look at other ways to demonstrate your collaboration and communication skills. Volunteering opportunities like CodeClub and paid roles in initiatives like FunTech.co.uk are opportunities to teach technology to kids and are excellent ways to make yourself stand out from all the other computer scientists and pick up one of those 1 in 10 empty vacancies.

Secondly they are looking for computer science students that live and breathe technology. That means doing more than your degree. Are you entering hackathons? Are you coding in open source communities like GitHub and online collaborative games design communities like GameSalad.com? All activities that, incidentally, help you develop your collaboration and communication skills as well!

If either of these don’t quite match your own tech career ambitions there’s always tech volunteering opportunities via do-it.org where you can search for opportunities to volunteer in your area under the headings of “IT”, “Technology” and “Web development”.

Do more = Be different = Get hired.

*Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) Winter Survey 2014

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The legal extra curricular activity that will genuinely make you stand out – the Model United Nations

Whether you’ve just started your LLB  or conversion GDL or are already a couple of years in to that LLB, you may have picked up the nagging suspicion that securing that 2:1 or 1st class Honours degree or distinction in your GDL is not going to be enough in today’s competitive legal recruitment market. And you’d be right. In fact you can read some articles here, here and here that directly address the issue of the role extra curricular activities (e.g. activities other than your course of study or work experience) can play in making you an attractive candidate to that Firm, Set of Chambers, in house Law function or Public Sector body.

It’s at this point I’d like to draw your attention to a one off opportunity that might fit neatly into your busy schedule and will allow you to demonstrate some of the essential skills required of a lawyer. It’s called the Model United Nations and there is one taking place in Reading from Friday through to Sunday, November 27th to 29th.

What is the Model United Nations? It’s an academic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about civics, current events, effective communication, globalization and multilateral diplomacy. In standard Model UN, students take on roles as diplomats and participate in a simulated session of an intergovernmental organization (IGO). Participants research a country, take on roles as diplomats, investigate international issues, debate, deliberate, consult, and then develop solutions to world problems. More recently, simulation of other deliberative bodies, such as the United States National Security Council, has been included in Model United Nations, even if they are completely unrelated to the UN or international affairs as a whole.

During a conference, participants must employ a variety of communication and critical thinking skills in order to represent the policies of their country. These skills can include public speaking, group communication, research, policy analysis, active listening, negotiating, conflict resolution, note taking, and technical writing.

Delegate Registration is open now.

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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