Leaders from PwC, Citi, Deloitte and FD joined our first employer panel to give an insight into graduate recruitment in Northern Ireland. Here are eight takeaways from the session.
1.Skills matter more than your discipline
“It doesn’t matter what degree you have, it’s more important that you have the right skills – you can develop those skills at uni. A lot of these skills you already have. We want to know you can lead yourself and others. What was your role in a sports team, in uni projects, and at the Students’ Union…”
– Stephanie Gowdy, Senior Manager, PwC
2.You can flex outside your subject
“Lift your head from academic study and look at the type of work a potential employer gets involved in. Then look at the skills you could bring to that work. We have English Literature graduates who are bringing great analytical skills to PwC, for example.” – Stephanie Gowdy, Senior Manager, PwC
3.A global mindset begins at home
This is about more than where you have travelled (though if you do want to broaden your horizons, don’t miss Go Global Week). “We want to see that you are global and inclusive. That you can network and work with different individuals. Have you worked in a team where someone worked differently? It’s about showing you can be understanding of how different personalities work together.” – Stephanie Gowdy, Senior Manager, PwC
4.Store takeaways from employer events
“Aside from the right skills, we are looking for graduates who are interested and can tell us something about the company. Show us you have a passion for the industry. Come to events like this and pick up tips and share them.” –Carla McGlynn, Technology Site Lead, Citi Belfast
5.Influencing happens outside of Insta
“We look for collaboration. How do you work with others and bring them along? It’s all about how you can bring staff along with you.” –Carla McGlynn, Technology Site Lead, Citi Belfast
6.You can develop the skills you need at uni
“The skills we look for are:Management, Problem solving, Entrepreneurship, Creativity, Social Skills, Negotiation, Digital Know-How and Emotional intelligence. A lot of activities and skills you develop during uni will be appliable.” – Karen Butler, Director in Consulting and Head of Talent, Deloitte
7.There are opportunities to travel and make friends
“Take the chance and be open to new ideas and try new things you won’t know where it takes you. Our graduate recruits have gone to New York, London, Australia, Munich – you can go anywhere where we have clients. There is a big social aspect to it as well.” – Jordan Hendricks, Frist Derivative
8.Use lockdown wisely
“Now is a good time to use the extra time to critically think about own skills and what you want to do.Use this time to optimise your CV – personalise your CV for each job. Do your research on the company you want to work for. Follow the industry, look on LinkedIn… that genuine knowledge comes across well in interview.” – Jordan Hendricks, Frist Derivative
Don’t miss our next employer panel featuring KPMG, EY, FinTrU and Allstate
Meet Michael Downey, one of our Go Global Ambassadors 2020. If you are thinking of following in his footsteps and spending a year or a semester abroad, he’s here to share his tips, tricks and wisdom with you.
“New York City has an energy like no other – it’s fast-paced and full of life! Certainly, when you compare it to the countryside in Dromore, Co. Down.”
As a Business Information Technology student, I made the decision to do a placement in one of the greatest cities in the world, New York City. The experience of living and working on NYC was a rollercoaster (and included a 4-month quarantine in Miami) but it’s been a life-changing experience. Here are just some of the reasons why….
I worked as a Software Developer for a SaaS start-up called On The Stage, and I joined at a time when the company was experiencing high growth – this was super exciting! My office was located on Broadway & W 54th St and my apartment in Amsterdam Ave & W 107th St, both in Manhattan so this was only a 20-minute subway ride which was super convenient.
What can I say about the concrete jungle of NYC? The energy of the city is like no other – it’s fast-paced and full of life! Certainly, when you compare it to the countryside in Dromore, Co. Down. There’s too much to do in NYC and it never stops. Luckily, if you’re on an intern budget NYC has tons of FREE events to offer, I mean 100’s each day and it can be overwhelming deciding which event to go to.
If you’re worried about surviving financially on an intern salary in NYC, I’d advise you to create a budget and stick to it and you’ll be fine – this is actually a great learning experience as you learn how to manage your personal finances.
Part of my routine involved running around the 1.58-mile Reservoir Loop in Central Park before work. This run at 7.30 am in the morning was a beautiful start to the day as you could escape the mayhem, relax and enjoy the ambience. There were always thousands of people running and this really fueled my motivation to push harder and improve my run time
The beauty of living in a major city is that historic events are commonplace. Luckily, I was able to attend two notable sporting events: the 2019 US Open Tennis – Women’s Singles finals (Serena Williams was playing) and the PGA Tour National Trust Tournament (Rory McIlroy was playing)
On two occasions I also travelled to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to watch the Brooklyn Nets vs Miami Heat play in the NBA . An NBA game is an awesome experience, they really know how to put on a show. The game comprises 4 quarters with each quarter lasting 12 minutes but the whole show lasts 2 hours!
Escaping the city
In the winter, I travelled to Hunter Mountain Ski Resort with a group of friends for a weekend of snowboarding. This was just over a 2-hour drive from Manhattan which is like driving from Dublin to Belfast, so it’s not far, at least for American standards.
New York City is among the world’s most dynamic culinary capitals.
Sampling new cuisines became a weekly routine. After trying Peruvian at a restaurant named Pio Pio on the Upper West Side I quickly fell in love with this amazing cuisine! Another favourite would have to be Japanese, the ramen from Totto Ramen in Midtown East and the sushi from Sugarfish in Soho were hands down my favorite. Totto Ramen was located within walking distance of my office which was perfect, especially on a chilly winter’s day, the warm broth was an excellent meal to get the blood flowing.
One of the J1-IWT visa requirements is to experience American culture and I believe this was fulfilled by attending a variety of iconic Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Fortunately, the CEO of On The Stage is also a Broadway producer so one of the perks of the job is to occasionally be offered free or discounted tickets. In 7-months I attended nine shows including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Hamilton, Slava Snowshow, The Rockettes, The Lion King, Tina The Musical, The Inheritance, Little Shop of Horrors and Riverdance.
Exploring the States
The United States is a huge and diverse place, every state is like its own country in terms of legislation, culture, people and the way of life – that’s what makes the country so special! I experienced this firsthand by travelling to multiple US cities, for example, Miami, Marco Island, Naples, Orlando and Tampa, FL, Houston, TX and Chicago, IL. Each city has a different flavour, culturally, Miami and Houston are extremely different compared to New York and Chicago – it’s interesting to visit and experience these diverse cities. Another fascinating comparison is the political views of the majority; Miami (Republican) vs New York City (Democratic). Here are just a few of my highlights:
Speaking Spanish in Miami
During quarantine, I spent 4-months living in Miami, so I truly experienced the Latin culture. The majority of people speak Spanish so if you want to practice your speaking and listening skills make a trip to Miami. Since 1st year I’ve been taking Spanish classes at Queen’s, so this was the perfect opportunity to improve my skills. I also enjoyed exploring the Latin cuisines; Cuban, Venezuela and Colombian. Miami is a cool city and its growing at a fast rate.
I also got the opportunity to visit Marco Island on the west coast of Florida, it is situated right on the Gulf of Mexico, so the ocean is beautiful as it is calm and warm – just a few degrees hotter than Portrush.
Houston is a modern city in terms of infrastructure and buildings. Everything is BIG, the houses, the cars, the food portion sizes etc. The locals are super friendly, you receive pleasant greetings when out and about. In Houston there is a huge Indian and Vietnamese community, so you see a lot of these restaurants around the city.
The highlight of this trip was visiting the NASA Johnson Space Center, which is home to Mission Control and astronaut training. The behind-the-scenes Tram Tour was amazing, I saw the Saturn V rocket, which is the tallest, heaviest and most powerful rocket ever flown. NASA used the Saturn V rockets during the Apollo program to send Americans to the Moon.
Chicago is a pretty city and the most significant characteristic for me was the architecture. It’s like a mini, cleaner New York City. The three days in the city were crammed with tourist activities, these include; the Architectural Boat Tour, Navy Pier, Riverwalk Walking Tour, 360 Skydeck & The Tilt, Deep Dish Pizza and Portillo’s Hot Dog. I loved learning about the history of Chicago.
During my last week in the US, I spent some time at Disney World Orlando which was amazing! I visited Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Highlights were Star Wars land, Avatar Land and Toy Storyland. The new Star Wars and Avatar attractions are so immersive, you truly feel like you’re in the movie – Disney has created an incredible experience.
Michael was supported with obtaining a visa and moving to the US by the Rian Immigrant Center. More details here:
Meet Michael at our Go Global Canada/USA info session on October 12.
The graduate job market looks a little different this year, but the era of remote working has paved the way for tech advances in the way companies recruit students. For starters, Queen’s Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair is going digital this year allowing you to browse employers’ virtual stalls, watch company videos and find out what it might be like to work at a particular company – all from your laptop. Here, some recruiting companies who have flexed the way they recruit to meet the challenges of virtual recruiting.
1.Employer-led online skills sessions
Accessing training with experts from top companies is just a click of a button away. Take Deloitte who are running skills sessions online throughout Autumn. Available to watch live or on demand, topics covered include building confidence, research and communication – all skills that will stand you in good stead in the future.
The digital world allows you to get under the skin of a company and get a feel for what it’s really like to work there. Take EY – they are running a Build Your EY Experience Week from 5-9 October. With a live welcome address from their partners, the week promises insight into the people, clients and culture that make the company unique.
Imagine creating a virtual avatar that can virtually walk around a company, meet the people who work there and take part in events. Sounds like the stuff of a sci-fi movie but PwC’s Virtual Park allows you to do just that.
There are more opportunities than ever to live chat potential bosses. At Queen’s Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair, employers can filter candidates by their student profiles and invite candidates with the skills they are looking for into a live chat or video call. Make sure you stand out by completing your online profile in as much detail as possible.
Act now if you want to give yourself the best possible chance to propel your career forward.
Here are five things you need to do now:
We are excited to host a six-week festival of live streamed events, interactive content and online resources. You will have the opportunity to connect with employers and to access support and advice as you graduate into an altered recruitment landscape. Whether you are in final year or not, you can enjoy employer insights, resilience coaching and alumni stories live to your Instagram feed.
DegreePlus is an employability award that allows you to gain recognition for extra-curricular activities you take part in outside your lectures. This could be leading clubs and societies, taking part in leadership programmes or volunteering in the community. You’ll get a certificate and will have something concrete to talk about in future interviews.
MyFuture is an essential careers portal you’ll use throughout your time at Queen’s to search and find jobs. Whether you are looking for a part time job to fit around your studies or a graduate scheme or placement, you can filter by your degree and skills to find the right job for you.
With many graduate jobs and schemes opening this month, you’ll need to get your CV in order. Similarly, if you are looking to gain work experience or even get a part-time job during your time at Queen’s. VMock is a virtual CV checker that gives you feedback on your CV in seconds! If you need extra help getting your CV in order, book a consultation with one of our careers consultants.
Go Global Week is almost upon us. To get you in the mood, we’ve rounded up five of the awe-inspiring places you can visit from Queen’s on a work or study abroad trip. Prepare to light up your ‘gram with #travel goals.
You can spend a semester or a year studying in Canada, just like Queen’s Land Use and Environmental Management student Stuart Best.
“As a student in Canada, I did lots of interesting group projects, and there are so many good opportunities to network and develop, as well as making lots of Canadian friends!”
“Peter King made a huge contribution to the peace process in Northern Ireland and is still extremely interested in Irish affairs. My work mainly consisted of taking calls from constituents, helping them with the issues they were having with federal agencies and discussing any concerns that they had. I would like to thank Congressman King and everyone else in the office for making my internship incredibly enjoyable. I would also like to thank everyone from Project Children for giving me the opportunity to have an unforgettable summer!”
If you want to combine work experience with adventure then Generation UK China could be the programme for you. You can spend your summer interning in industry across China, like History student David Keenan who spent last summer in Shanghai.
“For any student wanting to internationalise their career, and travel to an exotic country over the summer, I strongly urge you to consider the Generation UK – China Internship Programme!,” says David.
Erasmus Study & Work Programme has opportunities all over Europe. Law student Megan Edwards spent a semester studying at Pazmany Peter Catholic University (PPKE) in Budapest. “Studying in Budapest, Hungary as part of the Erasmus programme was the greatest experience of my life, she says.
You can go as far afield as Australia from Queen’s and spend a year or a semester studying at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales. Check out their Instagram feed to see what your view of campus could look like!
If that has whetted your appetite for travel, don’t miss Go Global Week from 12-15 October. Register for the Go Global Fair here.
Whether you’re trying to build your personal brand or enhancing your profile for your job search, LinkedIn is a powerful tool.
The first step in building a LinkedIn Profile that will blow recruiters away is to know what industry and types of roles you are interested in. This will help you decide which of your skills to highlight more prominently and which keywords to use. Once you have an idea of what you want to do, it’s time to get to work on the specifics.
First Impressions count!
First and foremost – your name. You should only use your full name on LinkedIn, you don’t need to add any degree qualifications, nick names, initials, etc to your public name. You’ll also need to upload a profile photo – this is your opportunity to show how you present yourself! Make sure the photo looks professional, dress smartly and have a plain background.
The headline you choose here should be relevant to you – and get creative! This is the first thing people will read about you, so make it count. Your headline should be short, snappy and clear. Don’t forget you can also customise your URL!
Highlight your unique skills in the ‘About’ section
Imagine you’re in an interview and you’re asked, ‘Tell me about yourself.’ Your ‘About’ section on LinkedIn should sum up this answer. Take some time to expand on what makes you unique, highlight key achievements and portray who you are and your values. This is your opportunity to highlight your personal brand!
Be sure to keep in mind that this is a summary of your accomplishments, make sure it’s not too long. You want someone to be able to read it quickly and get a feel for who you are; if your summary drags on, readers may skip over important information!
Your profile is your profile, so it makes the most sense to write your summary and details in first person.
Your Experience and Education
If you’re looking for your first professional job, don’t panic about the experience section. Focus your efforts on the Education section – list the modules you took that are relevant to the job role you’re after. Were you a part of any clubs or societies? Note those down!
If you have had work experience, summarise the company you worked for and your role. Don’t include anything sensitive or confidential, like the names of clients you may have worked with. Highlight your key contributions to the role and the skills you use.
Don’t make this section a copy of your CV, use this as an opportunity to expand!
Your unique skillset
LinkedIn is the perfect platform to list out all of your key skills. Take the time to select at least 10 core skills to add to your profile. This will help recruiters to identify what talents you have, and help you to find jobs that align to your background. If you spend some time endorsing your colleagues, it will also help boost your profile if they endorse you back!
Whether you’re looking for your first job or just boosting your online brand, investing some time in your LinkedIn profile is never a bad idea. At First Derivative, we’re excited for you to be taking that next step! Are you ready to join the #FDFamily? Take a look at our current vacancies here.
The Careers Service at Queen’s has been awarded an AGCAS Membership Quality Standard for their service to students and graduates, as the university climbs the Guardian League table to 11th in the UK for student employability.
The Careers, Employability and Skills Team at Queen’s has been awarded Membership Quality Standard by AGCAS,the expert membership organisation for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.
The award comes as it’s revealed that the University is now ranked 11th in the UK for career prospects after 15 months by the Guardian University Guide 2021.
Trevor Johnston, Head of the Careers Service at Queen’s said: “Our AGCAS membership is testament to our ongoing commitment to supporting the best possible career outcomes for our students. This prestigious award is a result of the incredible hard work of staff across the Careers Service who have worked tirelessly to build online provision for career support and guidance amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We recognise that the pandemic is having a huge impact on students and graduates. We remain committed to supporting our students and graduates to access the tools they need to maximise the career opportunities available to them.”
As a result of government-imposed restrictions in the wake of Covid-19, the Careers, Employability and Skills team at Queen’s moved their entire programme of activity online overnight.
“From offering virtual one-to-one consultations to the increased use of live chats and virtual events and masterclasses, we’ve been able to offer our students and graduates access to the guidance and support they need to develop their employability,” said Mr Johnston.
Recent Law graduate Norma Taggart said: “The Careers Service is a tailored, student-friendly accessible service. The staff genuinely care about your career path and work tirelessly to help you with practical advice on CV checks, interview skills and techniques to ensure you enjoy great success at Queen’s and beyond.”
The Careers Service was quick to respond to lockdown, offering targeted support to graduates with the delivery of Gradfest2020, an online careers fair swiftly organised in June, in lieu of the cancelled Northern Ireland Graduate Recruitment Fair.
“Gradfest2020 comprised bespoke workshops designed to help graduates navigate job uncertainty while developing key employability skills during the crisis. We have also played a key role in linking our students and graduates with our partner organisations, facilitating student-employer networking opportunities in the digital space, such as the upcoming virtual Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair,” said Mr Johnston.
He added, “We are proud of our staff and students, particularly our graduating cohort, who have successfully navigated a challenging end to their university experience. With our continued support, we hope they’ll build the tools and resilience they need to enjoy a positive start to their careers.”
We asked recruiters what are the stand-out traits they look for in graduates. Alongside the biggies like teamwork and leadership, they told us that a can-do attitude goes a long way. How many of these soft skills can you tick?
“Often times, it’s equally important that someone is able to communicate and has good presentation skills as it is the type of degree you have.”
Adrian McCarthy, For Purpose Ireland
“Most industries are highly regulated. Can you think of a time when you have had to demonstrate discretion and integrity? Would you be able to challenge the authority of they were displaying questionable ethics?”
Jo Ferguson, CME Group Belfast
A good attitude
“We’re looking for well-rounded individuals who have both the aptitude and attitude to thrive within their business.”
Kim McAllister, Almac
“We look for people who are enthusiastic, passionate and willing to learn. Attitude towards work is important, you should be willing to give tasks your all.”
Joelene Ridgill, Seagate
The ideal candidate must be a team player and show commitment to the job and the firm.”
Sarah Fleming, Muldoon & Co
“We look for passion and enthusiasm for driving change. We need people who are quick to adapt and who are always learning.”
Birgitta Swanberg, Liberty IT
We look for candidates who are driven to succeed and motivated to achieve targets set for them.”
Clodagh Mckeefry, MRP
“We are looking for individuals who are curious, creative, and have an interest in constantly developing. People who can take initiative, ask hard questions, and develop your skillset to be successful.”
Jared Kearney, Citi
Want more top tips from employers? Join our Employer Panel series starting Sept 30, designed to help you develop your professional network and get the inside track on getting hired after graduation.
How to create an online profile that will stand out to employers at the Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair on 21 and 22 October
The Graduate Recruitment & Placement Fair on 21 and 22 October is the biggest Careers Fair at Queen’s. The fair will be a little different this year as we hosting it virtually on a digital platform called Graduateland. We like to think of this as Tinder, for jobs. Just like an online dating site, you can browse prospective employers to find your perfect match. You can even watch videos and live chat with recruiters. And, just like an online dating site, the more information you put on your online profile, the more you’ll stand out.
Completing your profile
The platform indicates how complete your profile is by giving you a colour coded percentage. Make sure your profile displays as green and as close to 100% complete as possible (you can opt to leave the age and gender fields blank, if you prefer).
Get the basics right
This above video covers the basics of what you will be asked to fill in at registration: degree information, skills etc. The good news is, once you have done this for one event, you don’t need to do it again. So, for example, if you attend Go Global on 14 October, you will already have a Graduateland profile However, for the Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair there are a few trickier elements to fill in
Nailing the tricky questions
You can upload your CV, fill in your job history and details of any exchanges or work-related learning you have done. So far, so standard application. Where it gets tricky is an innocuous little box called:
‘Type in a captivating headline’
This is followed by a small box asking you to ‘Add a brief description of yourself that presents your career goals, skills and experience to potential employers.’
We know it can be hard to articulate everything that is fabulous about you in 200 words, so we curated the best tips from across the internet. If you still need help, you can contact our careers team for expert advice on email@example.com.
Student blogger Dara O’Donnell from our MEDIA programme offers a crash course on MyFuture and her top tips for getting the most from Queen’s careers portal.
MyFuture is your very own online careers portal, which enables employers to advertise specific job opportunities, placements and internships relevant to you throughout your time at Queen’s. This platform promotes vacancies both on and off-campus, as well as advertising positions that are located further afield. This means you have access to life-changing opportunities abroad too.
The virtual presence and function of MyFuture provides you with invaluable access to work experience, careers advice and systems that can all help pave the way to you landing that dream career in the future. You simply use you Queen’s student ID to log in and get started!
Here are five ways to best utilise the platform:
You can upload and tailor your CV
The first step to landing your dream role through MyFuture is by creating your own profile, adding a charming personal statement, past employment history and any experience and skills that you possess that will make you a promising candidate. Noting the degree you are studying when signing up to the platform will enable the system to specify job opportunities that directly relate to your desired career. This is helpful in saving time scrolling through boundless unsuitable posts you would on regular job-seeking sites! Additionally, you can attach your own personal and professional CV to your profile, providing employers with further insight to your individual history and aspirations. Make sure you proofread your profile and CV or, alternatively utilise a MyFuture shortcut to the VMock CV Checker, located on the website’s main menu page, ensuring there are no silly mistakes that could stand between you and your desired future career.
2. You can find events relevant to you
MyFuture will help you gain further understanding of different pathways you can take to achieve your individual career goals. This is through providing a constantly updated calendar of different careers fairs and employer events that are taking place on and off- campus, as well as this, providing various links to upcoming careers workshops that you can attend. Being pro-active and attending these events will allow you to explore your options during your studies and may open your eyes to possible opportunities abroad that could enhance your employability skills and ultimately may transform your mindset on your future career journey.
3. You can practicse your interview skills.
By joining MyFuture you will have already shown a desire to begin your career journey and start finessing your future employability. Why not take this a step further and make use of the information resources and mock video interviews available on MyFuture? There are multiple practise interviews to take, ranging from general interview questions to graphic design and business management interview scenarios. Unlock your potential and learn how to best flex your skills in an interview, giving you a one up on your competition!
4. You can book a Careers Consultation.
Within MyFuture there is an option to book a one-to-one careers appointment with one of Queen’s own consultants, to help guide you in successfully managing your own future career path. During the pandemic, these meetings are being offered virtually through video call. If you are feeling lost, like many students often do, do not be afraid to ask for advice and guidance when it is free to you! This is an invaluable service offered to us by the University’s Careers Department and should be taken advantage of.
5. You’ll automatically be kept informed
Regular emails and job alerts will allow you to stay up to date on the opportunities that are available on MyFuture. Make sure to download the MyFuture mobile app so you have it readily accessible at all times to browse potential future careers, whether that be while passing the time on your daily commute or filling the minutes in between classes.
Lastly, it’s important to stay positive and remain optimistic in working towards your future career goals, especially throughout this unimaginable tough period for everyone. MyFuture is a reassuring platform for students and graduates alike and is here to help us progress and succeed. As a nearing graduate myself, now more than ever, the future seems daunting, however, being equipped with a system such as MyFuture, I feel confident and motivated in taking the steps towards my future career, while being supported by Careers at Queens through access to a system such as MyFuture.