Archive for April, 2011

Easter is fast approaching – what is there still to do?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Here we are, nearly ready to break for Easter. Looking back, are you thinking:

(a) Why can’t I go outside in the spring sunshine and eat ice cream in Botanic?

(b) What happened to the last three months – how is it April already?”

(c) Will I ever get that graduate job or postgrad course?

You also might be thinking: so many things to do, so little time; and chances are you didn’t get to do everything you wanted this semester. But there’s still time to get organised. The key questions to ask yourself are: how far have I got with my plans AND what is there left to do?

How far have I got?

Be honest with yourself: did you have a plan for making applications or what interviews you were hoping to get? Did you end up putting things aside until it was too late? Are you sitting pretty, chewing a proverbial cigar like Hannibal from the A-Team saying, “I love it when a plan comes together”? Or do you feel like Wile E. Coyote watching those opportunities speed past you in a blur like the Road Runner (beep-beep)? Like the local Northern Irishism says, “You Know Yourself” if you’ve made the best use of your time.

What is there still to do?

I touched on the theme of finding jobs in difficult economic times in March and it’s still the case that there are graduate jobs, work experience opportunities and postgraduate courses to be had. Have a look at the Vacancies section of the Queen’s Careers website – there are currently 192 graduate jobs advertised, plus 55 work experience opportunities and 24 postgraduate study with funding options. There is even evidence that some firms in Northern Ireland are expanding. Although it’s a little way off, the NI Recruitment Fair will be worth going to on Tuesday 14 June at Queen’s. You can keep an eye on the latest details, such as which companies and organisations will be attending, at the careers website.

You can still meet with a Careers Adviser through the one-to-one drop in sessions to discuss your next steps, or book an appointment with your subject-specific Careers Adviser Duty Advisers, guidance interviews, or even e-guidance. The best advice is to speak to the Careers Advisers so you can get all the information you need on what to do next.

It really is never too late to make a new plan and, like Hannibal, see it come together.

Making the Most of the Easter Break

Monday, April 11th, 2011

It’s almost time to crack open those chocolaty Easter eggs and kick back for a few weeks – or is it? Well, there is plenty to be getting on with over the break, such as spending time with family and friends, but use your time well. Here are two tips for getting the most out of the break:


1) Work backwards from application deadlines/exams.


It’s a good idea to count out how many days you have before any applications you’re making are due. If you’re not sure how long the application will take, spend a couple of hours working on it and you’ll quickly understand. Plan how much time you need to commit to finishing your job applications, interview preparation, your degree work and revision. Putting the dates on a big monthly calendar can help. Try this easy Word Calendar Maker. Five quick clicks and you’ve got a whole month set out.


2) Treat yourself too


It’s always good to plan out your rewards – organize a trip away or a party with friends, a night out, whatever, and have something as a reward after all your hard work. On the days you do work late, have a break in between; perhaps enjoy a nicer lunch than usual. This can help to motivate you when others might be taking time off (I have a particular weakness for a Boojum chicken fajita!)


It’s always difficult making a plan, but remember that Careers, Employability and Skills are there to help. Feel free to visit for one-to-one support eg help with your career plans, checking applications/CVs, advice on interviews etc One to One Sessions (bear in mind though that the University, including the Student Guidance Centre, will be closed Friday 22 April-Monday 2 May inclusive). Stay focussed and enjoy the break!


This is the last blog until May – in the meantime enjoy the break and I’ll leave you with my favorite inspirational quote from the film “Catch Me If You Can”, as given by Christopher Walken:

“Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream.

The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned.

The second mouse, wouldn’t quit.

He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out.

Gentlemen, as of this moment, I am that second mouse.”

That may or may not be true for you, Careers Employability and Skills Blog readers, but I encourage you to all be that second mouse, it’s the only way to get that graduate job. Happy Easter!