In fact, it’s so important to act now if you want to give yourself the best possible chance to propel your career forward that we’ve renamed this month ACTober.
Here are five things you need to do this month:
Register for the Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair and Create your Graduateland profile
Our Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair is going virtual this year. Graduateland, our event platform has loads of cool features we are sure you’ll love. Once registered, you can browse employers virtual stalls, watch company videos and find out what it might be like to work at a particular company. A bit like a Tinder bio, your Graduateland profile will help you stand out to employers. The more detail you fill in the better.
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.
The Go Global Fair is your chance to explore the wealth of global opportunities available to you during your time at Queen’s, including study, work and volunteer abroad programmes. Start planning your epic summer 2021 now!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not sure where to start with career planning? Overwhelmed with options? We’ve streamlined your journey for you so you can easily see where you need to be and what you need to do to stand the best possible chance of propelling your career forward.
To help inform your career-planning journey, we’ve created a snapshot of the steps to success for every study stage. You can download the guide relevant to you to remind you of key events and milestone dates.
Maths graduate Ben Devlin explains how the Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair helped him realise the range of careers available to him.
Queen’s graduate Ben Devlin works as a Retirement Consultant at Willis Towers Watson in Dublin. He was taken on by the firm as a graduate actuarial consultant in late 2017. He may have made the transition from university to work look easy, but the reality was lots of applications, CV and cover letter submissions and interviews.
“I secured my graduate job after applying to many different actuarial roles,” says Ben.
Asking the right questions
Ben was able to get a better understanding of the options open to him by asking the right questions at the Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair: What positions at your company would be a good option for someone with my degree? What is it like to work at your company?
“I was able to get an insight into the range of careers that are available to me as a graduate. I was able to talk to people who worked for these firms and get an insight of what it is like to work for these firms on a day to day basis,” he says.
Building up skills
Ben built up relevant work experience during his time at Queen’s.
“I participated in the London Finance and Business tour where I was able to get an experience of what it is like to work in an environment such as London. This helped me understand the roles that existed in firms in the finance industry and understand the application process. This in turn helped me prepare better for interviews and to land a summer internship the following year.”
His advice to current students? “Make the most of the opportunities available at Queen’s. It is also important to get internship or graduate applications in as early as possible in order to become more familiar with the application process,” he says.
When Queen’s graduate Rachel Murphy (nee Hill) met her employer at a Queen’s Flagship Careers Fair, it took her career off in an exciting new direction.
Like many students, History graduate Rachel Murphy (nee Hill) chose her degree subject because of her passion for the subject, rather than because she has a particular career goal in mind.
“In terms of my career, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, which made deciding on a subject to study at university quite tricky. In the end, I decided to study History as it was a subject that I loved at school and the subject which I knew I would enjoy the most. Enjoying my time at university was very important to me and this was my main motivation to study at Queen’s and to study History,” she says.
Exploring my options
While at Queen’s, Rachel was keen to explore career options and to build up valuable skills that would make her more employable after graduation. She gained work experience at PwC and built up her confidence by sitting on the Students’ Union Council.
“This was great experience and built up my confidence for going forward into the working environment,” says Rachel.
She also booked a consultation with a Careers consultant at Queen’s Careers service to get CV and interview guidance.
She started the September following her graduation, moved through the Management Programme and was promoted to Management Assistant seven months later.
“The job had various roles and responsibilities which keep me very occupied throughout the day,” she says.
For more of an insight into the Graduate Management Programme at Enterprise, watch this video:
Four year on, Rachel is Projects Officer at the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster, the largest rural youth organisation in Northern Ireland which aims to nurture and develop young people. She credits Queen’s Careers service for helping her develop the skills she needs to succeed and for giving her that crucial first employer introduction.
If, like Rachel, you are unsure what you want to do after graduation, register today for our Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair. You can meet employers who are looking to recruit graduates just like you.
But don’t take out word for it – here is what Rachel had to say:
“My advice for current students is get involved with Queen’s and all it has to offer. I would also advise to make use of the careers service as soon as possible and to really think about what their plans for after University,” she says.
From expert guidance to building your CV, our Careers Consultant Mary McLaughlin explains how to start planning your career at Queen’s – whatever your study stage.
1.Make an appointment with a Careers Consultant
The Careers Consultants are available to meet with you in a one-one appointment to help you navigate the job search for part-time and on-campus jobs as well as potential summer internships and placements related to your area of study. The Consultants are normally located in the Student Guidance Centre and are currently conducting appointments online. Make an appointment via MyFuture.
2. Log into MyFuture
MyFuture is the University’s online careers management system. In the system you will find on-campus jobs as well as other part-time student jobs, summer internships and placements, and full-time positions for graduates. This is a great place for you to start your search for an on-campus or part-time job as well as to find opportunities to go abroad and events to connect with local employers. You will also use MyFuture to book one-one meetings with Careers Consultants. Use your student ID to log in.
3. Fit job experience around your studies
As you consider taking on a part-time job or getting involved in extracurricular activities, it’s important to make sure that you save plenty of your time for studying and all of the reading that many of your classes will require. This is particularly important in the first semester, when you are adjusting to University life and courses. The University policy for on-campus jobs allows for working only 15 hours per week during term-time to allow you enough time to focus on your studies. Search jobs on campus.
4. Access free online career planning tools and resources
Queen’s Careers website has a wealth of information for those of you searching for a job whether that be part-time, a placement, or a graduate position. Get tips on where to search for jobs, how to write a great CV and cover letter, and how to prepare for an interviews. Also, the website has information on international opportunities and programming with employers from Belfast and beyond! Visit the Careers website.
5. Make your extracurricular activities count
Many of you will work part-time jobs, volunteer, or take part in a student society or progamme offered by Careers, Employability and Skills during your time as a student. You can gain accreditation for completing extracurricular work-related learning alongside your degree through DegreePlus. The certification helps you to articulate your development and achievements to others, including potential future employers. You’ll also receive a certificate at graduation. Discover DegreePlus
For more information or to discover how Queen’s Careers Team can help you plan your future, get in touch.
You might already have heard of DegreePlus, Queen’s employability and skills award that recognises extra-curricular activities. It looks great on your CV, but why?
Well, it shows employers that you have learned much more at university than just what was taught on your degree.
The below 12 DegreePlus Skills show recruiters you have the potential to transform organisations and add value early in your career.
What employers want: Cognitive/intellectual skills
What DegreePlus can equip you with:
Problem solving skills. The ability to analyse issues, identify barriers and offer/implement potential solutions. This may involve prioritising tasks, coping with complexity, setting achievable goals and taking action. It may also involve innovation at relevant points.
Applying subject knowledge and understanding: potentially from the degree pathway.
What employers want: Professional attributes/attitudes
What DegreePlus can equip you with:
3. Communication skills: the ability to communicate effectively in a range of professional contexts (both orally and in writing).
4. Teamwork: the ability to work with others in a team, to communicate, influence, negotiate, demonstrating adaptability/flexibility, creativity, initiative, leadership and decision-making.
5. Interpersonal skills: includes ability to engage with and motivate others, sensitivity, global and cultural awareness, moral and ethical awareness and the ability to adjust behaviour accordingly.
6. Leadership skills: leading other individuals or groups through a set of complex decisions as part of goal achievement within projects or significant and challenging activities.
What employers want: Technical skills
What DegreePlus can equip you with:
7. The ability to utilise modern technology: associated with work place or work-related activity.
8. Information technology skills: includes ability to learn, apply and exploit relevant IT programmes.
What employers want: Business and organisational skills
What DegreePlus can equip you with:
9. Business operational skills/ Commercial awareness: understanding of relevant commercial, marketing, management and/or financial processes/principles. Awareness of differences in organisational cultures and practices.
10. Business communication skills: Written, verbal and/or online.
What employers want: Language Skills and Cultural Awareness
What DegreePlus can equip you with:
11. Proficiency in foreign languages: developed through courses or overseas experiences.
12. Cultural awareness/intelligence: and the ability to implement this in a variety of multicultural contexts.
This four-point interview prep checklist has been put together by our awesome Careers Team to help you nail that all-important job interview.
1.Cover the basics
Make sure you know who you are meeting, when and where. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people mess up the logistical details of job interviews – either by miscalculating the time it will take to get to the interview location and arriving late or by noting the time or location down incorrectly. Confirm the date, time and location, along with your attendance when you respond (promptly) to the interview invite. Avoid awkward introductions my memorising the name of the person you are meeting.
If it’s a video, skype or phone interview, make sure you are in a quiet location that has a good connection. For video or skype, make sure that your surroundings and the clothes you are wearing look professional.
For more tips on virtual interviewing and assessment centres, check out our Masterclass on the GradFest2020 site.
2.Do your research
Look up the company’s website, paying particular attention to theirmission, strategy and values – try to weave these into any answers you give about why you want to work for the organisation. Learn who their clients/customers are and who their competitors might be. Don’t just look at what a company says about itself (many employers provide company information via MyFuture), but what employees and past employees say about them. Review sites such as Glassdoor allow you to read what employees say about the company culture as well as interview experience.
Take time to investigate what is going on in the relevant industry and how that impacts upon your prospective employer.
For top tips on how employers are navigating the post COVID-19 workplace, check out our Masterclass on adapting to the changing world of work.
3. Know what job you are applying for
Read and re-read the job description so you canrefer to it in your interview answers. Look at the company website for more role information and how that fits in the structure of the organisation. Look for networking opportunities to speak to people in the company or the industry.
Once you have an understanding of the organisation and the role for which you are interviewing, think about your key selling points and how they relate to this job. Evidence with examples each of the elements in the person specification. It can be useful to use a mind map to remind yourself of elements from your degree, your extra-curricular activities and your work. Or to use a timeline for the last few years to draw out the key milestones and what you gained from them. Pay attention to the things you really enjoyed and the challenges you overcame. Use this evidence to prepare STAR-formatted answers for each of the skills elements in the person specification.
Film & Theatre Making student Christian Green spills everything you wanted to know about Queen’s Career Development Programme in NYC.
What inspired your trip to New York?
I applied for the Career Development Programme to NYC because, as a film student, I have long considered the option of moving to America post-graduation. The trip appealed to me because of the focus on developing skills and personal traits that employers look for, like confidence, communication and professionalism. It also promised to help us to develop a, “global/cultural awareness”, and despite me being to America with my family on multiple occasions, I had not yet developed that awareness of America’s business landscape and what it is like to network and put yourself forward as a young business professional in that kind of environment. I was more than interested in the diverse range of pre-planned company visits and also the specific visit of going to meet a BAFTA winning filmmaker.
What were the highlights of the experience?
On a personal level, my top highlights of the trip would have to be:
Meeting with filmmaker Marcus Robinson at the World Trade Center and receiving an open invitation to come and work with him post-graduation.
Seeing the city for the first time. The hike I did on my own through Manhattan (visiting most of the iconic locations within the city as well as iconic film locations).
Going to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.
The Queen’s Alumni Networking Evening where I had the privilege to speak in front of past Queen’s students from all fields and generations.
Last, but certainly not least, getting to meet such a diverse and wonderful group of Queen’s students whom I had the pleasure of sharing this experience with. Everyone was able to take a lot away from the programme and we all made memories and developed friendships that will last us a lifetime.
What was the most surprising thing about the experience?
What surprised me the most whilst in New York was the fact that the world of business (whether that be corporate or commercial), even within a large city like New York, is not as intimidating as it is made out to be. When people think of business in its stereotypical form (briefcases, suits and all), we all instantly picture the elite, the select few. Who handle money and have careers that some of us could only dream of. My main observation from one meeting to the next during the visit was that this is not the case at all. Yes, you do need to have certain qualifications, a specific work ethic and can-do attitude in order to succeed but once you are in, everyone is just like you. Most of the people who spoke to us were either Queen’s alumni or natives of Ireland or Northern Ireland and because of that, they interacted with us all on a very personal level. They wanted to hear about us and what we studied and aspired to do just as much, if not more, than they wanted to talk about themselves and their companies/success stories. Even some of the CEOs that we met, who initially seemed quite intimidating and powerful, were not that much different from the nine of us seated around the table. They simply worked hard, dreamed big and made the right decisions when the opportunities came along. As sung by the legendary Frank Sinatra, “If I can make it there, I’m gonna make it anywhere”, and that just about sums up the world of success and professional business within New York; if you can get your foot in the door and be heard, the possibilities are endless.
In what ways has the trip been life-changing?
For myself personally, the key life-changing piece of information that I learned from the programme is that “corridor vision” can narrow down your career options and that ultimately, you can tailor your own future for yourself. For the people who are maybe are not so sure of what they want to do or they are open to the idea of alternatives, at each and every company in New York we were told in some shape or form, “If you come from a university like Queen’s with a good degree (no matter what field), that shows a certain kind of determination and aptitude to learn”. And with that, the opportunities for post-graduates who simply have the confidence to make the move and the determination to succeed are almost endless. Whether it be the likes of internships at KPMG or Moet Hennessy or the TwitterU programme, your degree does not tie you down to one door at the end of the corridor, one job. Do not become so fixed on this one role that you ignore all of the other opportunities that present themselves to you along the way.
In what ways did the trip enhance your CV?
In terms of my CV, the trip helped me add the credibility of being a Global Ambassador for Queen’s but also helped me to develop a lot of my own skills which I can now list with confidence such as public speaking, team work, team leading, presentational skills, organisational skills and professionalism. It really did open my eyes to what it is going to take for me personally to go out to the States and take in the culture shock but also adapt to it.
Peter Moor, BA English graduate lists seven ways to get involved with the Careers Service at Queen’s.
This has to be the best bit about the careers service – the different trips on offer! I went on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York and Washington D.C as part of the Global Leadership Programme. For just £250, we went away for a week to learn leadership skills and all about the future of work. Each year, around 30 students go on the trip to a different exotic destination so this year it’s Toronto. There are also different trips to the likes of Germany, Brussels and London – all of which give you invaluable experience of what it’s like to work in different places across the world.
To get any form of work placement or graduate job, you’re going to need a mighty fine CV. The careers service offers regular CV clinics to make sure your CV is the very best it can be. These are free and have been so useful for me gaining different work placements. They’ll even have a nosey at your LinkedIn profile, making sure it is up to scratch.
When you’re going for that graduate job, the likelihood is you’ll be put through your paces with a range of interviews. A good way to gain confidence in this area is to meet with one of the careers consultants to give you some hints and tips! Also, the Student Guidance Centre, where the careers services are based, have a room available if you ever need to do a video interview by webcam.
If you have no idea what area you want to go into then the Careers Fairs are perfect. Every few months, you’ll find a fair with representatives from all the big graduate employers. It’s a great opportunity to network with the people that you could one day be employing you! They’re also really good for finding work placement opportunities. A lot of degrees now include a paid year out in industry so these fairs are the best way to find the company you want to spend a year working with.
One way to get involved Queen’s Careers service is to follow them on their social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. You’ll find tonnes of useful advice and reminders for any events coming up. As a student, you’ll also have access to their online portal MyFuture to book onto any careers related event.
On the MyFuture portal, you can find lots of different part time jobs on offer at Queen’s. These range from being a campus tour guide and student ambassador (my job!) to helping with catering on campus. All of these roles are really flexible so if you have exams or assignments due, then you don’t have to do any work if you don’t want to. It’s also a good source of income to top up that student loan.