That Certain Something…

February 6th, 2012 by Laura Schmah

Hey everyone, today’s blog is all about participating in extra-curricular activities so as to give yourself that ‘certain something’ in order to catch the eye of potential future employers. The idea is quite simple. If you were an employer looking at 100+ graduate CVs and job applications, what would you be looking for? What sort of things in an application would make you definitely remember an applicant?

At the moment PwC in Northern Ireland are recruiting for their Technology Consulting graduate programme. They tell us:

PwC in Northern Ireland is an integral and important part of our UK Consulting business.  We’ve established a Technology Centre of Excellence that will deliver specific business solutions for our global clients and we have outstanding opportunities for graduates. To find out more and apply now go to  http://www.pwc.com/uk/en/careers/student/index.jhtml

The closing date for the above opportunities is Friday 24 February, so don’t delay applying if interested. The thing is – what are you going to say in your application about your skills and experience to get their attention?

Of course, developing employability skills isn’t the only reason for getting involved in extra-curricular activities. The other side is that gaining experience outside your studies can help you to find out what you’re interested in and passionate about. It’ll also give you confidence in working environments beyond University and will enable you to put what you’ve learnt during your studies into practice. Oh, and it might be fun as well!

Work experience

One of the most straightforward ways to get your foot in the door of your future career is to get some work experience in an area or company of your interest. Even if you’ve no idea what you want to do later on, work experience can help you find out and give you a whole load of transferable skills. There are many ways to get work experience, from year-long and summer placements, to part-time work or voluntary positions.

If that sounds of interest to you, be sure to come along to the Queen’s Work Experience Fair on Wednesday 8th February, in the Whitla Hall from 11am to 3pm. There you’ll find information about loads of opportunities to choose from.

Clubs and Societies

In addition to work experience, being involved in and around Queen’s in clubs, societies and student committees is valuable experience, and will give you a great opportunity to develop those transferable teamwork and leadership skills. It also shows potential employers that you’re an engaged and rounded person. So, if the recent Refreshers’ Fair gave you some ideas, now’s definitely the time to follow them up.

Workshops

Don’t forget to keep up-to-date with the Careers Service’s workshops and training opportunities to improve your skills and employability. There are a number of Skills for Success workshops coming up:

Time Management, delivered by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thursday 9th February, 4-6pm, Conference Room 1, Student Guidance Centre

Assessment Centres/Group Behaviour, delivered by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Thursday 16th February, 4-6pm, Conference Room 1, Student Guidance Centre

Interview Skills, delivered by Citi, Tuesday 21st February, 4-6pm, Conference Room 1, Student Guidance Centre

Sign up at www.qub.ac.uk/careers Events Calendar

DegreePlus Award

And finally remember you can easily get any extra-curricular activities accredited through DegreePlus. Why not go along to one of the upcoming DegreePlus introduction sessions. There you’ll be able to register as well as find out all about how it works. These are held regularly with the next one on:

Thursday 9th February, 1-2pm, in Conference Room 1, Student Guidance Centre

Right, so I’ll look forward to seeing all of you at the Work Experience Fair on the 8th where I hope we’ll all be much inspired. Join me again next week ….

 

Start the New Year with new ideas!

January 28th, 2012 by Laura Schmah

Hi everyone,

Welcome back! I hope you really enjoyed your Christmas break and that the last few weeks of stressing about exam have not used up all your energy. My last exam has just finished and to be honest, I feel ready for my next holiday! ;-)

Right, so this week lectures start again – why not grab a few moments now to do some thinking about your future beyond university and maybe put together some plans about what to work on over the course of this semester. Don’t forget, the best place to start is by keeping an eye on the Careers website for job vacancies, events, information sessions and a whole lot more.

If you’re like me in your second year, the semester ahead will be an important stepping stone. You don’t have to worry yet about job applications and such, but you really are in a good place to think about a few things, such as:

What do you like most within your field of study?

How can you specialise more in that direction?

In what businesses or professions could you work with these skills?

What about looking for part-time work, a work placement or a summer job in a relevant company?

What kind of skills would make you particularly employable there?

What does Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen’s offer that would improve these skills?

To help you get moving on these questions, penultimate year undergrads will soon get an e-shot from Careers on events of particular interest to students in their school – look out for this. Otherwise, I hope you’ll stay with me over the course of this semester to keep up-to-date with all the career opportunities.

The next topic will be a look at volunteering and extra-curricular activity to build skills/experience.

Reflecting back on the semester … looking forward to 2012

November 28th, 2011 by Laura Schmah

Hi everybody, the teaching period for this semester is nearly over, so this is a good moment to look back on the last three months and reflect on all you’ve accomplished (or not…)

Some of you might have fulfilled all your plans and achieved what you set out to do. Some of you might not have got around to making any plans in the first place. I felt particularly enthusiastic and motivated at the start of the semester, thinking about all the things I wanted to do, from improving my CV to getting some work experience. But university life always tends to go fast – time passed by quickly, and between studying and friends, career issues got somehow put on the back burner. (Memo to self: must look at careers next semester!) Still, no matter what category you consider yourself to be in, there are some things that are worth taking a moment to think about.

Have you managed your time effectively between studying, career planning, part-time work and free time? If you find all this hard to juggle why not take a look at some of these useful time management tips? Making time for careers and improving your employability is important, no matter what stage you’re at, otherwise you could arrive at the end of your studies with no idea what to do next. If you are a Level 2 student, now is a good time to start to discuss your reflections and plans for career development during Level 2/3 with your Personal Tutor. Don’t forget the key message is always ‘the one thing you can’t afford to do is do nothing’.

How are your applications going? Do you still need help? If so, it’s worth going over your application with a Career Adviser.

If you’re still in the mood to do something before the Christmas break, there’s still more time than you think. The Lunchtime Career workshops will continue to the end of the semester:

Interview Skills 1st, 7th and 13th December

CVs 30th November, 6th and 12th December

Applications 29th November, 5th and 15th December

Attitude tests 28th November, 8th and 14th December

There are also various employer and programme presentations, such as the Infosys presentation aimed at engineering and computer science students at 5-6pm, Monday 28th November 2011 or the Washington Ireland Programme information session for all years, all disciplines at 5.30-6.30pm, Tuesday 6 December. To find out more about these and many others just visit the Events Calendar at the Careers website for more information.

And if you’re just starting off, I especially recommend the Careers for the Clueless course, which is due to take place Friday 9th December, 9am to 6pm in the Student Guidance Centre. There is a fee of ₤20 but its well worth it, as it includes refreshments alongside many tips that’ll leave you feeling a whole lot more reassured going into your Christmas break.

And, of course there are lots of career opportunities, activities and events waiting for you next semester, such as:

Work Experience Fair on Wednesday 8 February 2012 in the Whitla hall

Insight into Management course Monday 2 – Wednesday 4 April 2012

More Careers for the Clueless courses – details to be confirmed

Why not also give more thought to internationalising your time at Queen’s through work or study overseas. Check out Add an International Dimension to Your Queen’s Experience

I’ll be back at the start of next semester to keep you up to date with all the things Careers. So, join me again to make sure you don’t miss out on anything! Until then I wish you a very relaxing Christmas break and a Happy New Year – hopefully without too much work. Have a good one!

Postgraduate studies: a real alternative?

November 21st, 2011 by Laura Schmah

Hi everybody, throughout this semester we’ve been thinking about what to do after completing your degree at Queen’s. So far we’ve considered graduate jobs, work experience and internationalising your Queen’s experience. Today we’re going to fill in the final piece of the jigsaw and take a look at postgraduate studies.

What exactly does postgraduate study involve?

The usual options are a postgraduate diploma, a taught Masters or a PhD, which is research based. Postgraduate diplomas (or certificates) are often to prepare you for entry into a particular career and can take one or two years – normally one if it’s a full-time course.

A taught Masters is a one or two year course and can be in a related or possibly different subject from your first degree. It also normally involves a longer piece of research. In some cases a postgraduate diploma or a Masters may both be available in the same subject – they are much the same regarding the taught aspect of the course; the main difference is in the research aspect. You’ll normally need a 2.1 to get a place on a Masters but a 2.2 may get you on a diploma.

If you opt to go down the PhD road you’ll be taking on a minimum of three years independent research in an area related to your previous studies. You may need to do a Masters first, but in some cases, such as in the Sciences, you may be able to go straight to a PhD. Again, a 2.1 or above is required. PhDs are very different to first degrees or Masters and in terms of your hours it’s not unlike being in a job.

What will it mean for your future?

For some career paths you might need a specific qualification, such as a PGCE for teaching; in other cases, doing further studies may give you some advantage when applying for certain jobs, or may be useful further down the line in your career. So, if you’ve an idea about what job you might want to do in the future, do some research into which course or type of postgraduate study would be most useful.

In some circumstances postgraduate studies might not be the best way to get into your chosen career path, and doing a course might not actually give you much extra. Don’t assume that in all cases doing postgraduate study will improve your career prospects – it may, but then again, it may not. If that’s the case it might be worth considering direct entry to graduate employment.

If you’re feeling unsure about whether postgraduate studies will be useful in your particular case, yup, that’s right…you can always make an appointment with a career advisor to talk through your options!

Home or away?

Of course, check out postgraduate study possibilities at Queen’s; but do consider other universities as well. Is there a university with a particularly good reputation for the course you want to do, or where employment outcomes for its graduates are particularly good? Maybe you always wanted to go somewhere else to see what it’s like (whether it’s in the UK/Ireland, or further afield) or you might be thinking of going to live and work in a different country later on. Useful websites are Graduate Prospects www.prospects.ac.uk (both the postgraduate course search and the country profiles) and Postgradireland www.postgradireland.com and, as always, there’s a ton of information on the Careers website.

How to pay for it all?

Right, so that’s all well and good – but is there any funding? Well, the answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’: there are funding opportunities out there for you but they’re often fiercely competitive. For Masters courses funding is very limited and many students fund themselves (or should that be their parents??). For PhDs the situation is a little better. The ‘Money Matters’ link in the Postgraduate Students section of the QUB website has more info on this.

But don’t let all this stop you taking a chance and having a go! If you can, squeeze some online research into your timetable so that you don’t miss any deadlines for funding opportunities. If you’re thinking about applying for funding to study abroad, start digging around for the relevant information even earlier (ideally in your pre-final year). If you really can’t afford to fund your studies all is not lost – you could consider doing it part-time in combination with a part-time job; you could take time out to save up or it might even be possible to take up postgraduate study through your employer when in a graduate job.

So what are you thinking – tempted?

Right, that’s a wrap for this week. Next week’s blog will sum up the things we’ve talked about this semester and – before we all head towards our well-deserved Christmas break – give you an idea about what’s awaiting you next term, See you around!

Internationalise your Queen’s Experience

November 15th, 2011 by Laura Schmah

Hello everybody, I find today’s topic particularly exciting, because I myself have ‘internationalised my university experience’ by coming to study here in Belfast from abroad – it’s certainly one of the best ideas I’ve ever had! So, if you’re interested in the opportunity to work or study outside the UK or Ireland you shouldn’t pass it up, and if you want to know how you could do this – well, you’re in just the right place.

For a start don’t forget the Build an International Dimension to your Degree event this week – it’s from 12.00-2.00pm Wednesday 16th in the Great Hall, and will be a great way to sample some of the opportunities on offer.

Going to a different country and exploring the world is always an exciting experience. It gives you the chance to get to know new cultures, globalise your outlook and perspective and, of course, have fun meeting new people from all around the world. It can also be done as part of your degree. Over 600 Queen’s students do just that every year, and as a Queen’s student you have some especially exciting opportunities for studying or working abroad. How come? Well, Queen’s has well-established connections with universities and other organisations in, for example, North America, Europe and Asia.

So let’s look at just some of the opportunities you have to go abroad:

A great starting point is the Add an International Dimension to Your Degree section of the Careers website. This has information on a range of both study and work programmes such as:

The Erasmus Programme which offers you an opportunity to study in one of 31 European countries for either a semester or a full academic year. And don’t worry if languages weren’t your strongest subject at school, there are plenty of European universities that offer courses in English. Check out the details in the link from the Careers website above, or talk to the Erasmus Co-ordinator in your School.

If Europe isn’t quite far enough away to satisfy your wanderlust then there is also the Washington Ireland Program – this is open to students across Ireland and involves a summer internship in Washington DC in US government, media, business and non-profit organisations as well as pre-and post-departure practical service back home. Last year 4 Queen’s students took part in this prestigious programme – this year, why not be one of them? The application form is available from today and the deadline is 7 February 2012.

And if you looking to go to the USA there’s the Study USA programme which enables you to study business-related subjects for 1 year in a US university. Look out for the information sessions being run over the next few weeks (see the Career’s website’s Events Calendar). The closing date is 5 December.

You could study at an overseas university as Queen’s has formal agreements with universities in Australia and Canada. Additionally, the UK government offers the Study China and Study India programmes, where you can study in China or India over the summer for at least 3 weeks and gain insights into their languages and culture.

And if you’re studying a science, engineering or technology subject why not look at IAESTE? This programme involves a paid summer work placement abroad and there are around 80 countries to choose from.

Okay, so this is really just scratching the surface – there are a huge number of opportunities out there and I’m absolutely certain there’ll be something there that’s perfect for you. As ever, if you feel the need for further advice, don’t forget: you can always chat about the options with a Career Adviser.

I really hope this has got you thinking a bit about just what you might make out of your time at Queen’s. If you do apply for an experience abroad, I wish you the very best of luck!! Next week we’ll return to thinking about what to do after your studies; in particular, postgraduate study, so if you don’t really fancy getting into the work life straight away you should tune in – I’ll look forward to your company then.

Work experience – it’s never too late!

November 7th, 2011 by Laura Schmah

Hi everybody, I hope you enjoyed your Halloween parties last week and are now well and truly recovered and ready to make a fresh start with today’s topic – work experience.

The idea is quite straightforward: when you’re not too sure what your dream job involves, or you’re a bit at sea about what sort of job you would like to do, why not just give it a go? In certain areas relevant work experience is required, or is a big advantage; in many others though a variety of work experience can be a big help in getting that first graduate job, or even a place on that postgraduate course.

Of course, there are different ways to gain work experience. You could, for instance, keep a look out for summer internships and work for a company full time for two to three months. These are mostly for students in their pre-final year; some are paid, others are not – it depends hugely on the field you are interested in. What’s good about these short but intense placements is that you can complete them in the summer holidays during your studies. And as it’s during the holidays, you could even combine work experience and travelling by taking on an internship abroad!

There are also 1 year placements, again mostly for penultimate year students. Many are for students doing vocational degrees, but not all, and it might be possible to take a break from your degree, do a 1 year placement, then return for your final year.

The thing to remember, whether you do a summer or 1 year placement, is that more and more of the top companies are recruiting their graduates from those who’ve done a placement with them. But even if you don’t do an internship with a big firm work experience of some kind will be a great addition to your CV as well as developing your confidence and useful skills for the workplace.

You can also gain work experience by looking for part-time opportunities while you are studying, either by taking on a paid student job or a voluntary position. The advantage of this, of course, is that you’d be engaged in your work over a longer period of time and could benefit from the diverse experiences on offer. Dealing with that while studying can be stressful, but then your future employer will see you’re good at managing your time and can juggle different tasks at the same time. Having said that, don’t take on too much, especially if this is your final year and you’re working hard to prepare for exams and getting your assessments just right.

Here’s three suggestions for checking out work experience opportunities:

  1. Look at the database of work experience opportunities on the Careers Website – do this once or twice a week as it’s updated regularly
  1. If you’re not seeing the right opportunities for you there, don’t give up – why not try to develop your own placement? You can look online and make contact with particular companies in areas of work in which you’re interested
  1. Use Careers events and oncampus employer presentations to get ideas – these are advertised at Careers’ online Events Calendar.

For example, if you’re interested in international experience, why not make a date to attend the event below? It’s a great chance to talk to a number of organisations offering work and study experience outside Northern Ireland:

Build an International Dimension to your Degree

12.00-2.00pm Wednesday 16 November

Great Hall

 

Okay, so that’s me for today. If you’re tempted by the idea of gaining work experience abroad, or you’re interested in studying in a different country, then be sure to join me for next week’s blog where I’ll talk more about internationalising your Queen’s experience…

Why take part in Student Competitions?

October 30th, 2011 by Laura Schmah

Hey, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the Career Fairs last week and walked out of the Whitla Hall with loads of information, advice, ideas as well as free pens and other goodies!

Maybe you got a sense of what employers you are interested in? If so, the next step is to get them interested in you. At the Career Fairs I talked to recruiters about the sorts of things they want from graduates. Responses varied, but a number of key things came up time and again.

Sorcha McGinn from First Derivatives spoke for many employers when she said:

For us it is essential that you know the job you are applying for, our company and the business environment in general. So definitely do your research.”

In terms of what recruiters expect to see from applicants, Doug Stewart from Accenture offered the following:

We get lots and lots of applications every year, so we’re not at the Career Fairs to get more, but to get through to the right people. Key competences, such as teamwork and leadership are essential to us. If applicants can link their past experience to these competences, that is what we want.”

Also – not to be underestimated – is how you come across. Migue Cabaccero Pinto from Microsoft Ireland said:

First thing, try not to be nervous. Often we meet people with great skills but they lack confidence.”

All the more reason to sign up for one of our Skills for Success or Lunchtime CV, Applications, Interview Skills and Aptitude Test Workshops (check www.qub.ac.uk/careers > Events Calendar for details – and even if it says ‘fully booked’ come along anyway in case there is a free place on the day).

Anyway, after the Careers Fairs I kept thinking, yes, maybe I have all those competences – but how do I show that I have them? What experiences can I link these competences to (as Doug from Accenture puts it)? One possible answer – Student Competitions!

So, what are the advantages of taking part in a Student Competition? Firstly, there are always prizes waiting, whether it’s cash for your next holiday, or maybe even an internship. Secondly, it looks impressive on your CV and will make you stand out from the crowd. It’ll also help you gain invaluable teamwork, leadership skills, commercial awareness and the ability to think innovatively – exactly the kinds of things your future employers will be looking for when they’re reading through your job application. So even if you don’t win, you can’t really lose.

Are you convinced yet? Excellent! So what’s out there then? A great starting point is here at the Careers website www.qub.ac.uk/careers > Students and Graduates > Improve Your Employability > Competitions where you’ll find lots of examples such as:

New York City’s Next Idea 2011-12 competition, where you can win a trip to New York and a hefty cash prize!

Universities’ Brightest Business Brain where you can win a £1000 prize competing against students from other top UK universities; you don’t even need to be studying a business related degree.

Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Award 2012 which promises an internship within the company and the chance to develop leadership skills during an all expenses paid trip to New York.

That’s just to name a few. For a heap of other competitions, or for more information on those mentioned above, make sure to check out the Careers website on a regular basis, as well as the Students’ Union site.

Next week’s blog will be about how to gain insights into graduate work (or work experience in general) before or during your final year. So be sure to join me again then!

Application deadlines: how to avoid missing them

October 26th, 2011 by Laura Schmah

Hello everyone, good to have you back. I bet some of you looked at this week’s topic and thought: job deadlines – what… now? If you’re a final year student maybe you’re thinking about applying for jobs after Christmas, or after final exams in the summer – I know I would. But as with many things, the advice is actually the earlier you apply the better. If you’re looking for graduate jobs or postgraduate courses you might end up missing valuable employment opportunities, or vital closing dates and deadlines, and putting yourself under real time (or even financial) pressure when you finish your degree. You may also run the risk of having to take a non-graduate job far below what you’d originally hoped for.

Now is the time to avoid that.

If you’ve already got an idea about where you’re going job or course-wise, why not do something about it today rather than tomorrow, and take the time to check out what’s available and when you need to apply.

For example, the deadline for the Queen’s Initial Teacher Education (PGCE) programme, to start September 2012 is 1st November this year. For many job vacancies with top companies applications have to be in early – in some cases the end of this week. In other words – really early! But don’t despair and think you’ve missed out on everything, there’s still time to get a graduate job.

I don’t want to preach to the converted here by telling you guys how to best manage your time, so let me just offer a few tips:

Check closing dates and what’s involved

Even when the closing date looks far off, have a look at what exactly the application will involve, otherwise you might get yourself into trouble. Like a friend of mine who was applying for a job online, spent days writing the perfect cover letter, only to then find out – crucially only one day before the deadline – that he needed to have two references submitted on his behalf. As you might guess, he didn’t end up applying. Only once you know exactly what you need will you really know how much time the application will take.

Give yourself enough time

Remember to pencil in enough time for researching the details of the job vacancy, selection criteria, the employer and so on. You might also think about taking some extra time for your very first application, because it’ll probably take you a while to get into the swing of it. Also, don’t forget the Careers lunchtime workshops on applications, CVs, interviews and aptitude tests. You can also talk to a Careers Adviser about specific applications using the drop in service at the SGC.

Don’t wait until the deadline

Think of the deadline as the very last opportunity to submit your application. It’s good to take your time and read over your application a few times. In Northern Ireland, applications for vacancies are not generally considered before the closing date, but that might not be the case elsewhere. So, if you want to apply for a popular job in Great Britain or the Republic of Ireland and you leave the application to the last minute, the company might already have received a lot of applications and the job could already be gone.

So, there’s no need to panic, but do make sure you’re aware of these issues as you go along. Alright, that’s me for now. Join me next week, for a look at student competitions and a look at how things went at the Careers Fairs this week.

Career Fairs – making the most of them

October 17th, 2011 by Laura Schmah

Hello everyone! I’m sure a lot of you have already heard something about the upcoming Career Fairs, but as life tends to rush along you’ve probably had no time to follow up and find out more about them. So that’s why I’m picking up on that theme in this week’s blog.

The world of University might feel a bit apart from the ‘real world’ from time to time, especially the world of employment. Career Fairs, though, bring that real world to you. They give you the chance to meet graduate recruiters and are particularly useful if your degree is non-vocational. You can use them to get a good sense of what range of jobs are out there – many graduate opportunities are open to students from any degree and you might be surprised to find what you’re actually qualified for!

Also, if you’re looking at postgraduate study rather than work there will be a number of postgraduate course providers at both the 25 and 26 October Fairs. So make sure to note down these dates and make space in your diary to come along.

Administration, Finance & Management Fair

Tuesday 25 October 2011, 11.00 – 15.00, Whitla Hall


Engineering & IT Fair

Wednesday 26 October 2011, 11.00 – 15.00, Whitla Hall


Law Fair

Wednesday 9 November 2011, 14.00 – 16.00, Whitla Hall


If you’d like to know more, and find out what other events are coming up you can find a lot more information on the Careers website under Career Fairs.

Now you know when and where they’re on, how can you make the most out of these events? Here are 4 tips:

  1. It’s always good to be prepared – take a moment to look at the websites for some of the employers you’re interested in before you go. Then you’ll be able to ask better questions – and get better answers
  1. Have a think about the sort of person they might be looking for – someone who is motivated and positive, for a start – and the sorts of skills they’ll be interested in; try to put that across when you talk to representatives – and remember to smile! Don’t be afraid to ask them all those questions that have been banging around in your head. If you’re interested, show it
  1. Be open-minded – the skills you have developed through your course could potentially be useful for many different jobs, not just those related to your degree. When you’re talking to the organisations’ reps ask them what degree they did – it might be an eye-opener!
  1. What if you find your dream employer or job? All the better, but don’t forget to note down the full name and contact details of the representative you spoke to and keep your copy of the fair brochure for further reference Then, when you’re doing further research or preparing your application, you’ve got a contact to follow up on if you need to

That’s all for now. I hope this was useful for you and I’ll look forward to seeing you all at the Admin, Finance and Management Career Fair on 25 October. Next week’s blog will be all about how to best manage your time when you have early deadlines for applications.

Clueless?

October 12th, 2011 by Laura Schmah

Hi again everybody! Last week’s blog was all about how to find a graduate job, assuming you already have some idea of what field you want to get into. But while writing that I got to thinking what if you’re not actually at that stage yet – how can you get there in the first place if you have no idea what to do next?

Looking at what you want to do as well as what you can do it’s not just a case of doing a Jamie Oliver and throwing all this into a bowl, whisking gently and that’s you sorted – you also need to take into account what is out there and where they are available!

If you don’t know what to do or where to look your starting point should be making a guidance appointment with your Careers Adviser by booking through reception at the Student Guidance Centre (see the 26 September blog for details). Careers don’t just help students who know what they want – they can help you if you’re stuck too.

Also, there will be a couple of 1 day workshops in November and December called “Careers for the Clueless” and these ‘do just what they say on the tin’. Check our Events Calendar in next few weeks for dates and other details.

In the meantime why not have a look at Graduate Prospects www.prospects.ac.uk and Gradireland www.gradireland.com? Both have lots of useful info on job areas and postgraduate study options. Gradireland’s Careers Report function is also a good way of seeing what you might be suited to work-wise.

Anyway, as well as giving you some tips on what to do let’s also look at 5 things NOT to do when making career decisions:

Don’t be afraid – look outside your comfort zone and don’t let fear of the unknown affect your decisions about your future.

Don’t just think in black and white – simplifying things might make decisions seem more straightforward, but it could also limit you. Look at different options and routes to your dream job.

Don’t drift: do something – try not to get stuck thinking about things and never actually doing anything. This is called ‘analysis paralysis’. Sure, take your time, but don’t over-think.

Don’t rely on others to make your decisions for you – your family and friends all want the best for you, but at the end of the day don’t forget it’s you who decides!

Don’t feel that help from Careers, Employability and Skills Service is for everyone but you – you can still get help even if you’re feeling clueless. Talking to a Careers Adviser and attending events is always going to be beneficial. Of course, the better prepared you are, the more you might take from those meetings and events; but that doesn’t mean you’ve got to know exactly what you want before you turn up – that’s what they’re there for, after all!

Joking aside, even if you feel apprehensive about the idea of a one on one appointment with an Adviser at the moment, don’t forget you can use the drop-in service for a shorter discussion; and you can always sign up for one of the Careers for the Clueless Workshops when details are announced.

I hope you found this week’s blog helpful and look forward to seeing you again next week, when we’ll be talking in more detail about Career Fairs and how to use them.