Whether it’s wearing your ‘lucky’ shoes to a job interview or carrying a lucky charm, some superstitions can benefit your job search, while others could be holding you back.
Do you have a ‘lucky’ interview suit? Research at the University of Cologne found that lucky charms can work – but it’s all to do with the confidence they give you, rather than any magical forces at play. However, other work-related superstitions can have a negative impact on your career – especially when it involves negative self-talk. Read on to discover the superstitious chat you need to cut from your work lexicon.
“Everything happens for a reason”
When it comes to job searching, peddling the narrative that you are not in control can absolve you of the responsibility of trying to improve. Obviously, there are certain things in life that we can’t control and when bad things happen to us, all we can do is try and learn from it and do our best to move forward. But when it comes to our career and looking for jobs, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that our decisions and actions have a role to play. If you don’t get a job interview, for example, look at how you can improve for next time rather than shrugging and blindly putting it down to fate.
“I’m having a run of bad luck”
If you have been knocked back for a series of job opportunities, it’s tempting to look for a pattern when there is none. Instead of putting a bad run down to bad luck or that you are ‘cursed’ in some way, examine your own behaviour and actions and look at ways in which you can improve for next time.
“I’m no good at that”
We should always be striving to improve and upskill throughout our career, so allowing yourself to be pigeonholed as a poor public speaker or disorganised, for example, can limit you. Look at any perceived weakness as an opportunity to improve and get better at something. This way, you won’t rule yourself out of a great role down the line.
Want more help with your job search? Check out our website for advice on CVs, application and interviews.
If you missed Day One of our Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair, you missed some golden nuggets of advice about graduate recruitment. Lucky for you, we’ve pulled together some top tips below. If you want more expert help navigating the graduate recruitment landscape, don’t miss Day Two of the fair.
“Your career can be a winding path, take opportunities that come your way. You might find your first job isn’t your dream job but it will allow you to grow into a role that is your dream job.”
Mary McLaughlin, Queen’s Careers Consultant.
2. Networking is a key stage of research
“Networking is so important to learn about the career paths of other people and to where they are. It can help you determine if you are a good fit but also help you learn about other jobs you might not otherwise have heard about.”
Diane Masson, Queen’s Careers Consultant
3. Virtual Fairs have the same principals as traditional fairs.
“The principals of a virtual fair are the same. It’s about networking with employers. Finding out about the work culture as well. Is it an organisation you would thrive in and develop and grow? Does it sit with your own values and your own interests? It’s also about finding out about job search and recruitment. Asking questions about when employers recruit and how they recruit. What are those cycles, do you know when their deadlines are? What is there selection process? A Fair is opportunity to find out about those things. It is unlikely that you will leave with a job, but you will leave armed with information. The more informed you are, the more equipped you are to make good career decisions. And the better informed you will be about how to perform well in the selection process.”
Diane Masson, Queen’s Careers Consultant
4. MyFuture contains a wealth of opportunities
“Jobs that are advertised on MyFuture are from employers who are targeting Queen’s students, so employers who are on MyFuture want YOU.
“You can find placements, internships, Global Opportunities and even insight days, which will enable you to find out about the organisation. International students can access Student Circus to find work in the UK. You just need your QUB email and password to access a range of opportunities. You can set filters for industry and sector and get job alerts specific for you.”
Diane Masson, Queen’s Careers Consultant
5. Read the small print on a job description
“Read the information about a job and the detail. You might dismiss a job without reading the detail and if you read the information, you might discover it is applicable to you.”
Diane Masson, Queen’s Careers Consultant
6. There are loads of places to find jobs
“Websites like Prospects, Target Jobs, GradIreland are a great resources. You also have industry specific sites like Gradcracker – which is STEM sector specific. Company websites are also a good resource. Big graduate recruiters have lots of info on own websites and of course you can also find lots of information of the Careers Service website.”
Diane Masson, Queen’s Careers Consultant
7. It’s never too early to look for jobs
“Don’t leave to last minute. That applies to both your job search and the application process. It is never too early to start your research. That is what this virtual fair is all about. Research sectors you want to work in.”
Diane Masson, Queen’s Careers Consultant
8. Knowing yourself is half the battle
“Knowing yourself and identifying your skills is really important. Think through your experiences and how those are going to help in your career.”
Mary McLaughlin, Queen’s Careers Consultant
9. Don’t downplay your skills
“Sometimes we have a tendency to downplay our skills. Think through part-time jobs and what type of skills you learned. Those are skills any employer will want to have. It’s not just that you stacked shelves at the supermarket, for example, you also communicated with your colleagues and helped others on the team. Those are skills that make you a great fit for any role.”
(Psst! There are over 300 jobs on offer over the two days!)
Wow! What a jam-packed day of amazing exhibitors we had yesterday at the Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair. We have over 70+ more organisations coming today, so make sure you come back and check them out. The Day Two event lobby is already open, so you can pop in and check out employers and jobs, request interview slots with selected employers and follow employers to receive alerts.
Here are just some of the awesome companies signed up for Day Two – they are all hiring students just like you! If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so here:
The Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation providing an extensive range of integrated services across the drug development lifecycle to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally.
You can upload your CV to your profile, so that will let an employer know what you’ve done. The key is to articulate what you have learned and the skills you have collected along the way. Employers want to know what skills and experience you can bring to the role. Below you will find a list of top skills employers told us they are looking for in student and graduate recruits, along with a brief explainer. Tag as many of these as you can to your online profile ahead of the event.
Cognitive/intellectual skills, such as:
Problem solving: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.
(Other terms might include – Thinking creatively/Decision making)
Applying subject knowledge and understanding: potentially from the degree pathway.
(This might also include researching the types of industry/roles that the subject knowledge could lead to and mechanisms for doing this.)
Professional attributes/attitudes such as:
Communication skills: the ability to communicate effectively in a range of professional contexts (both orally and in writing).
(Could also include body language, presentation skills, listening skills, communication styles)
Teamwork: the ability to work with others in a team, to communicate, influence, negotiate, demonstrating adaptability/flexibility, creativity, initiative, leadership and decision-making.
(Might include knowledge of their teamworking style, types of teams, working with remote teams, leading teams, running meetings)
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.
(Other terms might include – Emotional intelligence, self-awareness, building on strengths, self-management)
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.
Utilise modern technology:associated with work place or work-related activity.
Information technology skills: includes ability to learn, apply and exploit relevant IT programmes.
Business and organisational skills such as:
Business operational skills/ Commercial awareness: understanding of relevant commercial, marketing, management and/or financial processes/principles. Awareness of differences in organisational cultures and practices.
Business communication skills: Written, verbal and/or online.
(Could also include – Business etiquette, coaching, collaboration, influencing others)
Language Skills and Cultural Awareness
Proficiency in foreign languages: developed through courses or overseas experiences.
Cultural awareness/intelligence: and the ability to implement this in a variety of multicultural contexts.
If you haven’t registered for the Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair yet, make sure you do it today. Use your QUB email to enjoy uninterrupted access to our virtual platforms and register for both days so you can experience everything on offer.
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 Derivatives, 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.
Want more top tips from employers, including FD, Citi, PwC and Deloitte?
Join our Virtual Employer Panel on 30th September between 1-2pm
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.
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.
Over 300 million people around the world use LinkedIn to maintain their professional network. There are other professional social networking sites which are popular in certain countries or for certain industries, but LinkedIn is currently the largest and most diverse. They have created some useful videos and help guides for students.
Think of your profile as your online CV. Remember that people are likely to skim-read it so focus on key strengths and experiences rather than listing everything you’ve done and all your duties and responsibilities.
Understand how to use privacy settings on your other social media accounts. When people search for you online, you want to be able to control what they find.
Join and contribute to LinkedIn groups. There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn. Make sure you pick relevant ones that you can be active within. There are lots of groups for students studying specific subjects as well as for professionals.
Research information about companies and look for the profiles of people with whom you may be interested in making contact. LinkedIn’s alumni tool (Topic 5 on the LinkedIn for students website is a good way to find out what graduates from your course are now doing.
Start to build your network by sending connection requests to relevant people. Alexandra Levit’s article “4 Steps for Effective Online Networking” and Alyssa Walker’s article “How to Build a Professional Network Online” have some tips for how to do this effectively. Most people will ignore the standard request sent by LinkedIn “I would like to add you to my professional network” unless they know who it’s from, so make sure you tailor each connection request. You’re also more likely to get a positive response from people you have met.
During our live online session, employers from Almac, TLT, Deloitte and Citi as well as our very own Claudine Sutherland, discussed the skills that recruiters are looking for now more than ever. Here is what they’ll be assessing you on:
“A customer focus, a strive to exceed expectations, a high standard of work, the ability to follow standard procedures of good manufacturing practice (GMP) and to lead by example – what I mean by that is to be a positive role model amongst your peers.” – Frances Weldon, Almac
“Communication is a key skill employers look for and the foundation on which you build other skills. Think about the most appropriate way to communicate, smile, feel the fear and embrace it, be honest.” – Frances Weldon, Almac
“It’s important that you foster teamwork with colleagues; get to know them. Pick up the phone, use Skype or Teams, instead of an email. These are skills I know Queen’s graduates already have from using Canvas, the university’s online learning platform, and from communicating upwards to lecturers” – Frances Weldon, Almac
“Use the job-specific knowledge you already have, either from work experience of from hobbies or sports and apply it to the work force. Show you can be a critical thinker with good problem-solving skills.” – Frances Weldon, Almac
“Brush up on industry jargon, understand what the job entails. Organisation is pivotal, take notes, devise training matrixes with mentors, learn from mistakes, build a network and contacts and work on your Microsoft Office skills. – Keith Barkley, Citi
“When it comes to progressing in big organisations, hard work is key” – Keith Barkley, Citi
“Attitude and motivation is 70% of it, being willing to learn and adapt is vital; Covid-19 is a prime example. If you have the right attitude, we can work with you to fill the experience gap. Self-awareness and knowing your strengths and weaknesses is important. Play to your strengths, you can’t do everything. In a team, acceptance and tolerance is key.” – Stephen McMaster, Deloitte
“Flexibility is important. Graduates often think they need to stick to one clear career path. We like to see people who have done something different and got a broad range of experience. Be flexible. Look for opportunities wherever they come up.”” Andrew Ryan, TLT LLP
“We employ people with a knowledge of the commercial world; that’s not just about reading the Financial Times, it’s about having an opinion on those matters. One of the top things we look for is a commercial awareness and client focus, so understand the business you are in and what you can bring to clients.” Andrew Ryan, TLT LLP
“Take ownership, be self- aware, know your limitations – employers will provide mentorship and will support your transition to the workplace. Think of your wellbeing, when it comes from self-awareness, it’s about recognising when you need support and take that support when its offered.” – Frances Weldon
“If you are in a role that genuinely interests you, you will perform better, learn faster and progress more quicker, so play to your strengths. Integrity is a massive factor, being honest in your work. If there are challenges, knowing about it is important so we can fix it. Lastly, supporting your colleagues in the firm. We are all working to the same objectives, play to your strengths and help others where they need help. – Stephen McMaster, Deloitte
We assess recruiters by our six leadership standards, the three main ones being 1. Drives value for clients – that comes back to how everyone pulls together as a team; 2. Champions progress – embracing change, and lastly, 3. Lives our values – treat people with dignity and respect – Keith Barkley, Citi
Missed this session? Join our live employer Q&A June 18th at 11.30 am Gradfest2020
Employers from EY and Pinsent Masons and our own Mary McLaughlin offered top tips to nail that online interview or assessment centre.
Tech can be glitchy
Check your wi-fi in advance and have a back-up plan in place in case of technical difficulties (e.g. your phone as well as a laptop). Also pause before and after you speak to avoid that awkward moment when you talk over your interviewer. Another top tip was to access Teams via Chrome rather than Safari.
2.Your appearance is not the only aesthetic on show
Just like in a regular interview, you need to make sure you look professional (sit up straight and make eye contact), but our panel said you also need to consider your background too. Avoid a wardrobe bulging with clothes behind you. Find a well-lit, neutral space in your house – somewhere quiet that you won’t be disturbed by noisy family members!
3.Ask the right questions
You know that moment at the end of an interview when they ask you if you have any questions? Always have some questions up your sleeve, ideally about the company goals and values. Remember in a virtual interview, you won’t get shown round the office, so ask something that will help you decide if a company is right for you. NB: Now is not the time to talk about perks like holidays and salary.
4. Virtual assessment centres follow a similar format to IRL
Just like in a real-life scenario, virtual assessment centres comprise of ice breakers via Teams, group exercises and individual numerical and written exercises. Top tip for group exercises: make sure you contribute and make your ideas heard. Jump in with solutions but don’t take over.
5.Prepare as much as you can
Have a pen and paper to hand during the call – you can practice maths skills online via jobmi.com. Better yet, log on to MyFuture to take a mock video interview that you can record and watch back. Sounds cringe, but when you notice your weird tics (avoiding the camera, overuse of ‘umms’ and ‘errrrs’) you can correct them before the real deal.
Missed today’s session? You can re-watch in your own time at Gradfest2020
Join our next live session on June 18th at 9.30 am and find out how LinkedIn could be the ace up your sleeve.