Archive for February, 2011

Postgraduate Study

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

This time of year we’re looking to the future – specifically what to do after graduation – and it’s very important to explore all your options and not rule anything out. Of course, not everyone is looking for a graduate job and postgraduate study can be an excellent way to improve your employability and give yourself time to formulate your career plans.  For an in-depth look at all aspects of study be sure to check out the  Careers, Employability and Skills guide to further study.

Benefits of postgraduate study include the opportunity to do a further course or research relevant to your field. In some cases your choice of course may even be a requirement for entry to your preferred area of work. There might even be increased links or networking opportunities, depending on what you study and where, which can help with future employment.

On the other hand, you need to ask yourself whether you would gain more from a graduate job or training programme, or even – especially where competition for jobs is high – through entering an organisation or business in another area of work and working your way into the job you want. Also, there are the inevitable financial costs – can you afford it? Many postgraduate programmes have significant tuition fees and securing funding (especially for taught programmes) is very competitive and limited.

Thinking about postgrad study abroad? The key message here is to start early (and start saving!) ideally in your second (or pre-final) year. It can take a long time to go through postgrad application cycles in other countries, never mind those for visas, accommodation, funding, travel etc. It’s essential to start researching now and apply even sooner.

If you’re unsure where to start, or how to proceed why not come to this session?

Thinking about Postgraduate Study?

3 – 5pm, Tuesday 1 March 2011,

International & Postgraduate Centre

The aim is to help you find out where to get appropriate information, how to go about making the right decisions for you and the chance to speak to current postgraduates about what they wish they’d known. You can sign up for this workshop by registering with the Events Calendar at

You can also use Careers Employability and Skills’ One to One services at the Student Guidance Centre to help you assess if postgraduate study is the right choice for you. Not all appointments have to be booked, so if you pop in Monday to Friday 9-5pm you can always have a chat with someone about your plans.

Recruitment to courses is happening now – Queen’s courses’ postgraduate application deadlines can be found on this link. If you’re looking at other universities check them out ASAP if you haven’t already done so. Don’t forget universities are now advertising funded PhD studentships- check out THE as well as Careers, Employability and Skills vacancy pages. Early applications are recommended, especially for PhD programmes as this will allow for your funding application to be considered. Selection can be very competitive so check that your academic work is at that high standard.

Do the research and make the right choice!

Meet Recruiters Face to Face, Not Application to Eyeball

Monday, February 14th, 2011

So you’re writing applications and CVs for graduate jobs and placements and you find yourself thinking how difficult it is to demonstrate your skills in written form. You don’t get to meet recruiters at the interview stage until you’ve come through the written applications and online written tests rounds, and you might also be thinking, “If only they could meet me first, I’m sure I would make a great first impression.”

Well, there’s several chances for you to do just that over the next few weeks. Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen’s have a range of events this semester designed for you to meet employers face-to-face and get the right information on some great options. These are your opportunity to create a good impression and develop your network – you never know where this might lead!

Below are details of 3 great upcoming events; watch this space for details of further ones or go to the Events Calendar at this website. Remember, the worst thing you can do is nothing. If you’re nervous or shy about approaching people you don’t know, don’t worry. You’ll be surprised how friendly the employer reps are – so why not just go along. The person who never made a mistake never made anything.

Computer Science Careers Awareness Event
12:002:00pm Wednesday, 16 Feb, 2011 at Wireless Technology Suite, 2nd Floor, Bernard Crossland Building

Aimed mainly at students doing, or with an interest in, Computing/IT and related areas, there will be a range of high-profile local and national companies at the event to raise awareness of both placement and graduate opportunities. Companies attending include: Asidua, Autonomy, Citi, Cybersource, Deloitte, Export Technologies, Fidessa, First Derivatives, Kainos, Larsen & Tubro Infotech, Liberty IT, NI Civil Service, Northgate, NYSE and SAP Research.

Environmental Careers Awareness Event
1:00 – 3:00pm Wednesday, 23 Feb, 2011 at Whitla Hall

This is an opportunity for students from Biosciences, GAP and Engineering to discover more about environmental careers and relevant employers. Organisations attending include: NI Environmental Agency, National Trust, Belfast City Council, NI Statistical Research Agency and Ulster Wildlife Trust

Eures Event
Wednesday, 2 Mar, 2011 at Lanyon Building, Rm 121

Interested in working in Spain, France or Germany? Come along to the Eures event to find out about the cost of living, accommodation costs, typical salaries, job opportunities, skill shortages and how to look for work in Europe.

There will be three separate talks:

Living and Working in Spain,1.30-2.30pm, Lanyon 121
Living and Working in France, 2.30-3.30pm, Lanyon 121
Living and Working in Germany, 1.30-2.30pm, Lanyon G9.

The benefits of work experience and extra-curricular activities

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Hey guys,

We’re back into the spring semester and it’s already in full swing – before you know it will be summer! As you’re filling in job, placement and internship applications or looking at your CV, you might think you’re lacking in experience outside your degree. Back in November I talked about some of the different ways you can get experience and the key message is still the one thing you can’t afford to do is do nothing.

Fortunately, The Work Experience Fair is on Wednesday Feb 9th from 11-3pm in the Whitla Hall and is a great way to find out what’s available. This is a great opportunity – especially for first and second (or pre-final) years – to talk to a range of employers who offer placements and internships as well as voluntary organisations and career/employability development programme providers, all under one roof. For a list of companies attending click here. Hope to see you at the Fair!

Recently, I had work experience at a London law firm and it was really eye-opening. Being sat a desk and drafting a resolution to be sent out to shareholders on a multi-million pound deal was a lot of responsibility, and that was only the first hour! There is no way you can appreciate a working environment until you work there. It’s also a great way to see what it’s like to work in another city, or even country. Work experience opportunities teach you so much in a very short amount of time.

Try to make time on Wednesday to call in to the Fair – it could be a life-changing experience.  Also, don’t forget the CES website has a list of current work experience vacancies – check here at least once a week to avoid missing out on great opportunities. But don’t think only glamorous internships with big companies count – getting involved in clubs and societies or staff-student initiatives in your School, or voluntary work can all make the difference to your university experience and your CV.

And finally…not forgetting final years and graduates: the RSM Tenon-EuroGraduate Programme offers 20-week work placements to recent graduates from any academic background in 5 European countries. Talk to them at the Work Experience Fair or register your interest by emailing