Categories
Inspiration Leadership New Year Semester 2

NEW YEAR MESSAGE FROM TREVOR JOHNSTON, HEAD OF CAREERS, EMPLOYABILITY AND SKILLS

“I’d like to wish all our staff and students a very happy and healthy New Year. Providing award-winning careers support and advice to over 24,000 students has presented extra challenges in 2020. From very early on, staff in the Careers Service recognised the importance of continuing to support our students and graduates with all aspects of career planning and decision making. That meant embracing digital platforms and moving all our activity online.

The response from our staff and students was to adapt quickly and immediately engage with our new mode of delivery. I’m pleased to say we have discovered some unexpected benefits that we hope will have a lasting effect from this point forward. We have found that we have been able to reach a wider audience and deliver support asynchronously, with students able to re-watch skills sessions and employer presentations in their own time. As a result of this flexibility, our digital uptake has increased.

Behind the scenes, staff have worked extremely hard to source software and a range of digital platforms that have enabled us to diversify our delivery, offer relevant content and engagement opportunities online, and ultimately transform the student experience.

I am extremely proud of what we have achieved together. There are, of course, many elements of this past year that we will want to leave behind, but it has also sharpened our focus on how we deliver our service.

As we prepare to launch a new semester, we are encouraged by the enormous scope of possibilities and we are focussed on offering a more flexible and accessible Careers Service in the future.”

Happy New Year from all the staff in Careers, Employability and Skills!

Categories
Advent Calendar advice Career planning Digital publications prospects Publications TargetJobs

Careers Advent Calendar: 5 Digital Careers Publications to Gift Yourself This Christmas

1 TARGETjobs Careers Survival Pack

A short intro for first years on how to boost your employability while enjoying university life.

View online

2 The UK 300 2020/21

Find out which companies are among the UK’s most popular graduate employers and get tips from leaders and rising stars in the industry.

View online

3 GradIreland Guide 2021

Careers advice and jobs for all sectors

View online

4 Prospects Student Career Guide 2020/2021

Apply graduate jobs and schemes, discover internship opportunities, industry insights and more.

5 Prospects: What do graduates do?

Insights and analysis from the UK’s largest higher education survey 

View online

For more useful publications, visit our website

Categories
Advent Calendar advice Career planning consultants consultations

Careers Advent Calendar: How and When to Book a Career Consultation

Two types of consultations are available – 30 minutes to discuss any aspect of your career management or 15 minutes to receive feedback on your CV or LinkedIn profile.

The aim of these consultations is to support you so that you can successfully manage your own career. As a result, students and graduates are limited to no more than 5 appointments per academic year.  Most people use only 1 or 2 appointments in any year.

Book an appointment via MyFuture 

Careers Consultation FAQs

When should I start thinking about career management? 
It’s important to focus on your studies but the application processes for graduate schemes and taught postgraduate study start to open in the September/October of your final year. Many employers hire graduates that they already know through placements or internships, so it pays to start career planning sooner.

Am I on the wrong course? 
Many students have doubts about their subject choice at various times throughout their time at University. It’s important to be proactive in handling these doubts. Don’t just give up and stop attending! Targetjobs have some useful advice to help you understand the root of the issue and what to do next. Book an appointment with a Careers Consultant to discuss career options related to different subject areas and speak to your Personal Tutor (if applicable) or Adviser of Studies if you are considering changing to a different course.

Where do I start? 
A good first step is to research career options:
– Read 10 tips for exploring your career options
– Looking for something related to your subject or a specific industry sector? – read Career Options and Information by School and Sector

To turn this into a shortlist of career options, it’s important to consider what’s important to you in a career e.g. your motivations, the skills you enjoy using and where in the world you want to live.

Gain further insight into different roles and companies by attending Careers events.

How do I stand out from the crowd?
– Get some international experience – read our Study / Work Abroad pages
    – Get some work/volunteering experience – see Careers Events  
    – Gain accreditation for engaging in employability-enhancing activities through DegreePlus

I want to start my own business
– QUBSU provides support to Queen’s entrepreneurial  students and recent graduates 
– Opportunities for developing entrepreneurial skills can be found on the DegreePlus website

For more advice on career planning, visit our website

Categories
Advent Calendar advice Graduate recruitment Job alert Job Hunting job search on campus jobs

Careers Advent Calendar: 6 Steps to Finding the Perfect Job on MyFuture

  1. Log in using your Queen’s ID

  2. Select ‘Jobs’ and ‘Search MyFuture Jobs’ from left hand menu.
  3. From your home page of the jobs section, you can view:
    – Recommended jobs based on your previous views
    – Jobs people on your course are looking at.
    – The latest job listings and trending jobs.
  4. You can filter your job search by industry, job function, course, date posted or closing date. 
  5. Set up a job alert for a saved search and get daily or weekly results sent directly to your Queen’s email.  
  6. You can also favourite jobs or follow employers you are interested in so their new posting appear on your home screen.

Get started now: Log in to MyFuture

Categories
Advent Calendar IT Office 365 Technical skills

Making the Most of Office 365 as a Student

While you are a student at Queen’s, you will have access to Microsoft Office 365 for free. It includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote (which are hosted in the Microsoft Cloud). 

When you use Office 365, you can access your files stored on OneDrive for Business from virtually anywhere—by using a PC, a Mac, and even select mobile devices. You can also share files with others or synchronise OneDrive with your laptop or home PC. 

Below you will find a list of the features included in Office 365 and how to use each to its fullest: 

A list of applications is presented below 

OneDrive – Personal storage space with the option to share files or folders.
You can access your files like another drive on your device. The files are stored in the Microsoft Cloud.

OneNote – OneNote is a digital notebook that provides a single place for all of your notes and information (and you can create notebooks to share with other colleagues). OneNote saves as you type.

Teams – Teams facilitates chat-based working with other students and includes file sharing and other tools that help teams work collaboratively.

Forms – Forms are easy to create – surveys for people, inside and outside Queen’s. Forms produce charts and an Excel file stores all the responses.

Sway – Sway is a web-based way of putting across ideas, through text, imagery and animations. These can be used to persuade or inform.

Planner – Planner is a way of allocating and scheduling tasks. And can be associated with Teams

Word, PowerPoint and Excel – These are available as a subset of the Office 2016 equivalents and they can be used via a browser on any device connected to the Internet (whether or not you have Office 365 on the device).

For more on developing your IT skills, visit our website

Categories
Advent Calendar Career planning Employer events Events

Careers Advent Calendar: Five New Things to Try in 2021

We have a packed semester of activities and events planned for 2021. You can check out the full schedule here. Here are just five ways you can challenge yourself next year:

  1. Embrace your leadership potential

We have 100 free student memberships for Queen’s students to the Institute of Directors worth £75 each. If you are serious about success, an IoD student membership can give you the competitive edge, with benefits including access to:

  • A guru panel of entrepreneurs and business leaders
  • Networking events
  • Internships and work placements
  • A peer-to-peer networking community
  • Direct – a magazine for board-level executives

Claim your free membership via the IOD site using the code QUB2021.

2. Channel your creativity

In the first of our bitesized session in 2021, you’ll learn to Think Creatively. This lunchtime session is about how we can use tools and techniques to increase our creativity. 

3. Learn a new language

Would you like to complete a fully-funded language course through Queen’s Language Centre? The Global Opportunities Team are offering 50 students a free language course in Semester 2. 

4. Explore study abroad options

Does the thought of studying in Australia or Canada appeal? Don’t miss our study abroad into session.

5. Develop your people skills

Our WORKING WITH CUSTOMERS AND CLIENTS workshop will give you an insight into what is required to be a great people person in the workplace.

Check out our Careers Events page to browse and book events

Categories
Advent Calendar advice Interviews TargetJobs

Careers Advent Calendar: Five Tricky Job Interview Questions

Our friends over at TARGETjobs have collated this list of tricky interview questions with tips on how to answer them. Read the full article here.

‘What is your most significant achievement?’

This question is designed to assess your values and attitude as much as your achievements, and employers often want you to talk about your activities outside education. You’re more likely to come across well if you choose to discuss something you’re genuinely proud of, which could be because it involved leading others, overcoming obstacles or persisting in the face of the odds. 

‘What motivates you?’

You are particularly likely to be asked about your motivation in a strengths-based interview, which focuses on what you enjoy doing and what you do well. This is an approach that graduate recruiters are increasingly using alongside or instead of competency-based questions.

Your answer should draw on an example from your extracurricular activities, work experience or studies that suggests you would be strongly motivated by the job you are applying for.

‘Give an example of a time when you showed initiative.’

If an interviewer asks you to describe a situation in which you showed initiative, avoid giving an example of an idea you had but never put into action. It’s much better to talk about a time when you not only came up with a solution to a problem but also acted on it. 

‘What is your biggest weakness?’

The problem with this question is that you’re being asked about your shortcomings, when your instinct, in an interview situation, is to keep your flaws as well hidden as possible. What you need to do is to frame your answer to as to give it a positive spin.

Strengths and weaknesses can be different sides of the same coin, so another way to approach this question is to think about how you overcome the potential downside of your greatest strength. For example, if you’re a natural teamworker, is it difficult for you to cope with conflict or assume leadership abilities? How do you cope with this?

‘Are you innovative?’

Graduates are sometime asked to give an example of when they were innovative, ‘thought outside the box’ or used creative thinking to solve a problem. Many graduates are concerned that their examples are just not innovative enough, but the interviewer won’t expect you to have given the prime minister tips on handling Brexit! Instead, talk about times when an idea from you had a positive impact: for example, if you came up with a fundraising idea for charity or found a way to save time on an assignment.

For more resources to help you build your business and organisational skills, visit our website

Categories
Advent Calendar advice Commercial Awareness personal skills Skills

Careers Advent Calendar: Understanding Commercial Awareness

Employers often look for commercial awareness in candidates. Here are three things we learned from the Open University’s free Commercial Awareness course:

1. How to understand an organisation and how it creates value

When researching an organisation, you shouldn’t just look at what an organisation does, but how it does it; explore the activities and processes within an organisation. From the outside, two organisations may appear to be delivering equivalent services or products in the same way. They may have broadly similar suppliers and workforce sizes, their location and other large-scale features may even be comparable. Yet the costs incurred by processes inside these two apparently similar ‘black boxes’ may be vastly different. So, although what goes into each organisation and what comes out may seem pretty much the same, the ways in which they create value could be radically distinct.

2. How to understand an organisation’s value

An organisation is a machine for adding value. In its simplest form this means it takes an input at one value and, if successful, converts it to an output at a higher value.

The concept is seen most clearly in manufacturing, where raw materials are worked on to produce finished goods that customers value and are prepared to pay a premium for. Whilst the raw materials or components already had worth, the process of manufacturing added more value.

Commercial awareness means being aware of how change to one aspect of an organisation’s system can have disproportionate, far- and wide-ranging impacts on many other components.

3. Where you fit in in the value chain

The course mentions three components in the value chain: 

  • creativity: coming up with a new product or process
  • manufacturing: churning out the product (this is the tangible part of the chain but it adds less value than you might think)
  • marketing, branding and advertising.

When it comes to applying for a position within an organisation, ask yourself

  • Does your role fit neatly and exclusively into one of these three stages?
  • In terms of a value chain are you closest to the ‘inputs’ or the ‘outputs’ of your organisation? (Roles close to the input end might be procurement, enquiries, goods received, etc., those nearer to the output end might be invoicing, delivery, after-sales services, etc.).
  • We talk of a value ‘chain’ – but to what extent does a linear chain (receiving work and passing it on, with added value) represent your work situation? 

Reflecting on the above will help you demonstrate your commercial awareness to a potential employer. 

Access more useful resources to build your commercial awareness on our website

Categories
Advent Calendar advice Global Opportunities Go Global Language skills

Careers Advent Calendar: 5 Benefits of learning a new language

If you haven’t heard already, all Queen’s students are being given the opportunity to take a course at Queen’s Language Centre for free in Semester 2 – all the details including how to apply can be found here. There are so many benefits to learning a new language. Here are just seven of them.

  1. It Boosts Your CV

Having another language is seen as a major plus by employers, particularly in today’s global job market.

2. It’s Good for the Brain

The cognitive thinking and problem-solving skills required to learn a new language rivals Sudoku when it comes to giving your brain a workout.

3. It develops a global mindset

Learning a new language gives you a greater global understanding of the world and how it works.

4 It allows you to experience other cultures

Learning a new language exposes you to new cultures. You will have the chance to see new things from a different perspective and be able to connect with people across the world. You get to learn what’s fashionable within a culture, including music, style, history and literature. This, in turn, will help you grow as a person and appreciate things that you wouldn’t have noticed before.

5 It helps you multitask

Switching between languages outs extra demands on your brain – those that can manage it are better at multitasking and managing stress. 

For more resources on boosting your language skills, visit our website.

Categories
Advent Calendar advice Employer Engagement Linkedin Networking Social Networks

Careers Advent Calendar: Managing Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is like marmite. Some people love it. Some people loathe it. I confess to being nearer to the second category myself. But here’s the catch – it is a useful and influential platform for kickstarting your career.

Why? 3 reasons…

  1. Networking – LinkedIn isn’t like other social media platforms. It has a career focused USP, meaning you can cultivate a specific professional network. You can follow what other people in your industry are talking about, share opportunities and ideas and, yes, even steal a few too!
  2. Career Path – One of LinkedIn most notable features is that users upload their career and educational history to their profile. This means you can check out what career path your professional role models took when you’re planning your own professional journey 
  3. Jobs – LinkedIn is no silver bullet to your unemployment woes. But it does boast an impressive jobs feature, allowing you keep track of who’s hiring in your area, what skills and experience they’re looking for and more details on how you might apply. 

Convinced yet? Well, let’s pretend you are.

So how can you make the most of your new LinkedIn account? Here 10 short, sharp, tip-top tips:

  1. Profile Picture – Something vaguely professional please, no snaps from ‘Malouf 2k18 Lads Holiday’
  2. Background Picture – Always more tricky I know, but popping in something, even just your top landscape shot, adds some personalization to your profile.
  3. Make Your Summary Sing – This is your first chance to show off, so pretend it’s a job interview and sell your unique story! 
  4. Specific Skills – Don’t sell yourself short. Have a think about what you can offer to an employer, and try not to lie! 
  5. Job History – Take a few minutes and do this right. Make sure you get your employment and educational history correct, you’d be surprised how many people will see it.
  6. Describe Your Work – Job titles aren’t enough, tell us what you did in the role.
  7. Network Building – Be careful here, you don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry spamming your timeline. Remember LinkedIn is career focused, so only connect with folks who are professionally relevant. Colleagues, role models and career influencers? Perfect! That Ex you never got over? Avoid!
  8. Endorsements – Not one of my favourite features but useful nonetheless. Give your connections some endorsements for their skills and, who knows, they might return the favour!
  9. Contact Information – The internet is a weird place, so don’t overshare, but a professional email address allows those interested in your work to drop you a line.
  10. Kill The Buzzwords – I know it’s tempting to fill your profile with all the latest, and still meaningless, industry jargon. But it makes for painful reading so cut the ‘synergies’, ‘passionate’ and ‘results-driven’ lines. When it comes to who you are – show, don’t tell!

Now you’re all set! 

One thing’s for sure, LinkedIn isn’t as fun as other social media platforms. So, don’t forget about it as the notifications pile up. LinkedIn is a platform that’s on the rise, make sure you make the most of its ascendency. 

Good Luck!

About the author: 

Thomas Copeland is a second year Politics, Philosophy and Economics student. He is Founder & Editor of Challenges NI and is the Head of News at Queen’s Radio.

WATCH: Using LinkedIn Effectively