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CAREERS: WHAT NEXT?

First, let’s shatter a few myths.

  1. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU VISIT THE CAREERS CENTRE. There – I’ve said it.  Part of our role is to support you in starting from scratch, deciding between several options or even just going away and reflecting on what’s best for you.
  2. We won’t laugh, gasp or throw up our hands in horror if you come up with a careers idea that seems a little off the wall, up in the air or out of left field.  Believe me, we have heard it all before and we can offer practical advice on turning a dream, however elusive, into reality. Anything is possible – although modifications may be needed along the way….
  3. No pressure. You don’t necessarily have to choose a ‘career’, let alone the ‘correct’ career.   You merely need to get the next step in place, with perhaps a Plan B hovering in case it’s needed.   A career is organic, open to modification and transformation, not something that can be selected only once and is either right or wrong.
  4. Apropos the last point, we would reckon that today’s graduates would have at least three separate careers (not just jobs) during their working lives.  That gives you plenty of leeway to explore and experiment. Given the pace of change in the labour market, you might even end up doing a job that doesn’t even exist yet.

Graduation is exciting, but for many it’s also pretty daunting. Not knowing what happens next is alarming at best, intimidating at worst. So how can we, in Careers, help you at this turning point?Once any student graduates, they can use the careers service and its facilities, for free, for up to three years. That includes attending events such as careers fairs and employer presentations as well as obtaining in depth guidance, not to mention the nuts and bolts stuff such as CV checks or advice on applications and interviews.

We are based in the Drysdale Building, Northampton Square in Room E125.  Feel free to book an appointment via Careershub to see a consultant: careershub.city.uk. If you have any difficulty accessing Careershub, you can contact us via email: careers@city.ac.uk  or on 020 7 040 8093.  Yes, we are here throughout the summer, although not at weekends or before 9am /after 5pm.

We’re friendly, we’re knowledgeable and we’re keen to help.  What’s not to like?

We look forward to seeing you and working towards your future together.

Gill Sharp, Freelance Careers Consultant

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Guest blog: Working at a tech startup with an economics degree

Many UK university graduates struggle to find their first job after getting their degree. The competitive landscape makes it hard to stand out, especially if you aren’t from a target university. In many ways I think the system is flawed, but this post is not the place to talk about it. I will rather explain how widening my job search scope brought unexpected results.

As an economics student I was constantly pressured by my peers to do consulting or investment banking. However, I realised that it’s not all about these two choices, one never has to confine himself to such boundaries. There are a bunch of amazing opportunities out there which have nothing to do with consulting or investment banking. I would even argue that trying out something which is not “in your field” teaches you a lot about life.

After I got my economics degree in July I decided to apply for a program which supports startups in Hungary: Bridge Budapest. I was given a chance to learn how to build a business from Samebug, a tech startup which aims to change the way programmers solve errors in their code. In October I was put in charge of Customer Relations. Notice that this is very different from what I studied before. I had some sales experience from volunteering at AIESEC, a not for profit youth-driven leadership platform but nothing else. Speaking with programmers and building a product for them was completely new to me.

My first week was quite difficult as I had to get used to the terminology. On my very first day I was given a task to go through a list of speakers at an upcoming conference. As the founders of the company planned to attend the event, I was left with the task to choose the people worth talking to. I honestly had no idea what I was doing but asking questions from colleagues was very useful to get started. The week went by fast and my knowledge about the industry kept growing at a really high rate. Last week the conference ran its course and I managed to arrange meetings with a couple of speakers.

After a month I can still say that there’s a lot more to learn. However, I learnt as much to be able to devise strategies for going forward. I picked up ownership of a number of tasks and contributed to a lot more. This has made me appreciate how much responsibility I can take up since now I see how much impact certain actions can have.

Samebug is a startup, which has its pros and cons. There’s not much hierarchy so we have a friendly atmosphere where employers and employees work together at the same table. Whenever I have a question or need some input, I can ask anyone (including my boss) in my vicinity. This brings together the people at the organisation because we can see everyone working hard for the same goal and that’s very inspiring. We have regular meetings to plan ahead and talk through processes, everyone’s input matters. We usually have lunch together and there are teambuilding sessions as well (last time we went to an escape room and got out in time).

The downside is that there is a lot of uncertainty. To demonstrate this, let me give an example: on the second week we conducted a series of interviews, both with individuals and teams at companies, to understand behaviours and how we could build the right product. At the end of the week we sat down to talk through our learnings and the immediate learning was that the problem does exist, but the solution we are presenting does not apply yet. Developers are solving this issue somehow and it takes a lot more to “convince” them to change the behaviour. The meeting had a very negative tone and I went home with a really bad feeling. However, on Monday we came back, everyone had new ideas on how to proceed and address the learnings and we once again knew how to proceed.

At Samebug we always knew we will win if we are able to present a solution which is worthy for developers to change their behaviours. We continue to work on that harder than ever. The whole past month was like this: a roller coaster ride of emotions.

At the beginning I wrote that an experience like this teaches you a lot about life. I still uphold this statement. Life is sometimes unfair and difficult, but you alone are responsible for how you react to it. You can have a negative conversation after some talks about how what you are doing is useless but ultimately, it’s up to you to choose whether you’ll be reactive or proactive. We chose to be proactive and changed our assumptions of our product. Was it a good idea? No one knows for sure, however, at least we did something about it.

Written by Istvan Erdo, BSc Economics Graduate

 

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7 Work Tips Nobody Tells New Graduates 

No matter how many supermarket shelves you stacked in your summer holidays, nothing quite prepares you for leaving behind your comfortable university life and being thrown into the world of work full-time.

Sure, you’ll figure it out eventually, but at first the whole thing can be scary, disorientating, and really, really confusing. To help you out, here are the seven things that all workers wish they’d known as new graduates:

 

  1. The Most Important Thing About a Company is Its Culture

You are going to spend 1/3 of your entire life at work. Consider that you’ll be asleep for another third of your time and you’ll quickly realise that unhappy workplace = unhappy life. Whether a company is a household name, offers a certain job title or pays a certain salary is ultimately not as important as finding somewhere you fit in.
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Guest Blog Post: “Working at a Startup: a recent graduate’s perspective” by Sarah Bourke

CarWow Founders

CarWow Founders

The startup scene is booming at the moment. Companies like Facebook and Google have glamorised startup culture and these days, the “next big company” is nearly always a startup. Most people think startups are full of hip twenty-somethings lounging around colourful, gimmicky offices, playing table tennis, writing code, and discussing techy-sounding marketing terms. Admittedly this is a pretty accurate picture of what a startup actually looks like, but there’s a lot more involved if you want to succeed at a startup.

For recent graduates, working in a startup can be a bit of a rude awakening – no one will hold your hand or micro-manage you and, if you’re not willing to put in the work, you might well fail.

I work for carwow, a rapidly-growing startup based in London. In the six months since I started, we’ve grown from a team of seven to 19 and seen a 150% increase in revenue. We’re still very much in the startup phase, though, which means rapid growth and facing new challenges daily. Things move at a frenetic, dizzying pace and everyone is expected to pitch in to meet deadlines. To succeed at a startup, you’ll need to be proactive, able to work independently, and willing to be a jack-of-all-trades. Work ethic is valued over years of experience and innovative solutions over traditional fixes. You’ll learn new skills daily, on the fly, and have to learn to adapt constantly.

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Guest blog post: Nationwide’s Women in Business

Kate1Kate Watson is currently Head of Group Digital Design at Nationwide. She joined Nationwide in 2000 as a Generalist on the Nationwide Management Development Programme. Read her story and her top tips:

“I left Birmingham University in 2000 with a BA in English. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I left university – I had half an idea about working in Marketing, but I was also interested in the flexibility of a more generalist graduate scheme.

I spotted the advert for the Nationwide Management Development Programme in the university careers centre and decided to apply. I’ve always had savings accounts with Nationwide and liked what they stood for as a company so, although I wasn’t sure about a career in financial services (numbers aren’t really my strong point!) I thought I’d give it a go.

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Guest blog post: Scarlett @BubbleJobs with “5 Things I’ve Learnt At My First Graduate Job”

10559772_10204335389649953_2804476768374714311_n Author Bio: Scarlett Wilson is a Keele University graduate and is currently working as a Digital Marketing Executive for Bubble Jobs – a niche digital jobs board that specialises in advertising digital, ecommerce, media and marketing jobs from the UK’s top brands. Follow her on Twitter: @Scarlett278 or find out more about BubbleJobs at http://www.bubble-jobs.co.uk/ 

“After recently graduating from Keele uni I’m all too familiar with the job search process and the ups and downs that come with it. So when I finally managed to bag myself a job as a Digital Marketing Executive at Bubble Jobs I was over the moon.

The only problem was that the nerves started kicking in pretty quickly – I found myself trying to judge whether I’d do amazingly and everyone would love me or I’d fail miserably. I think these feelings are completely normal though – you’re leaping into the unknown so you’re bound to feel a bit wobbly about the whole situation.

To help you feel better I thought I’d tell you about the five things I’ve learnt from my first graduate job to try and put your poor mind at rest!

1)      Don’t Panic On Your First Day

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Graduated, now what?

The-Next-Step-College-GraduateExams are now a distant memory and you have probably returned all the books to the library by now leaving you with just a few journal articles on your night stand to remind you of the sweet 3 years (or maybe more) that have gone by faster than you had ever thought they would. The memories of sitting through never-ending lectures or seminars that resembled the Great Inquisition will slowly fade away and the sense of reality will kick in before you know it.

So here are my 7 tips on how you can get over the nostalgia and jump on the job market saddle ASAP:

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