August: Endings and new beginnings in the Snapshot world

August. Not just the last Summer month of the year, but also the last month on the Scheme for our lovely Snapshotters.

As we approach the end of the programme, we looked back at the experiences we have had throughout the year: the challenges, the games, the new friends.

As a picture is worth a 1000 words (and our space here is limited), I want tell a short story of Snapshot “Class of 2013” in pictures:

It was all a bit awkward at first – so many unfamiliar faces …

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Temperatures rise as July is our hottest month yet!

Summer is upon us (finally!), and we have had a heated start to the month for our Snapshotters*!

Key words of the month: Snapshotters’ Challenges!

Unfamiliar with this phenomenon? Not to worry!

In a nutshell, our Snapshotters’ Challenges were designed to give a competitive edge to the Snapshot Scheme and allow the students to gain points for their commitment, enthusiasm, and overall engagement during the Scheme. These take form as sessions which challenge (hence the name!) our Snapshotters and help them develop and work on their employability skills. The person with the highest ranking will ultimately get a personalised reference from Gary, our Head of Careers – not too shabby, eh?


As part of our Snapshotters’ Challenge, the students on the Scheme attended some tailored sessions that aimed to develop their commercial awareness, presentation skills and interview skills, and that have given them exposure to a variety of selection tools used by employers in their recruitment.

Our final Challenge was a mock assessment centre, which was run in collaboration with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and FDM Group. Our guest employers were very impressed with the high calibre of students at City University London, and vowed to be back on campus in the next academic year for similar events!

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How would you like to be remembered?

In my previous blog I discussed the value of looking at things from the other person’s point of view, and in particular, how understanding what makes employers tick might help you when you are thinking about how to engage with them.

The assessment centre is a perfect example of engaging with an employer, and of course it tends to happen at a time when you want to make the best possible impression on the company that you hope will hire you.  So how can putting yourself in another person’s shoes help you to perform at your best on the day? Continue Reading


Make your voice heard at Assessment Centres

A few years back I was able to observe a group exercise taking place on a selection day for the Civil Service Fast Stream graduate programme.  The small group of applicants (all final year students from a variety of universities) were given a case study to discuss and an issue to resolve within a specified time, with assessors observing the applicants.  There was one female in the group.  I couldn’t see her from where I was sitting, and I couldn’t hear her either because she rarely contributed to the discussion, and when she did, her voice wasn’t loud enough.  That applicant did not impress the assessors as a result.

Now, I am not advocating that you shout if you find yourself in a group exercise during an assessment centre.  However, if you know you have a soft voice, whether you are male or female, think about how you can raise the volume just a bit.  Maybe practice this so that you find a level that you feel comfortable with, and that you know will be heard in a discussion without sounding too loud or too aggressive.  You could record yourself or try it out with friends and get their feedback.

Also review whether you make clear and positive contributions to group discussions, and work on this if you feel you need to develop this ability.    There are resources, like books, on effective team working and being assertive.  There is a useful, concise article from the University of Kent’s careers service here. This covers the different roles that team members might fulfill in a group discussion – and a questionnaire to help you identify the role that might suit you.

Don’t forget that we can help you prepare for group exercises and assessment centres, as well as other stages of job selection.  Check out the resources on our website, including a career guide covering the basics of assessment centres and a DVD.  Go to  www.city.ac.uk/careers – select Access Resources,  then Access the Careers Hub to reach the page with our Search Resources option.