Categories
Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employers Gradfest2021

Five Tips for Building a Career Around Your Passion

Natasha Sayee, Head of External Communications at SONI Ltd,  the electricity system operator for Northern Ireland on how she harnessed her passion to drive her career.

Natasha Sayee, Queen’s Law graduate and Communications lead at SONI LTd.
  1. Don’t rule anything out

When I was at Queen’s, if you told me I’d end up as a senior manager at a utility company, I really don’t think I would have believed you. I have a love of geography and environment and of nature. And I was a young Greenpeace activist. But I also had a love of debating, of the stage and of public speaking and was involved in local radio from I was about 16. . I wanted to be on TV. And I wanted to move in to reporting using my investigative nature, my passion for public speaking and my love of current affairs to become a reporter. And that’s what I did. I completed a Law degree. Then I moved to England where I did a post grad in Broadcast Journalism, worked my way through the BBC, until I was the most senior general reporter in the Belfast newsroom, and acting Ireland correspondent. And I worked on every story imaginable from the MTV Europe awards coming to Belfast to the unfortunate economic downturn and from elections to crime. I was at the top of my game, but it wasn’t exciting anymore. It wasn’t a challenge. And so I stepped into business, I haven’t looked back, I lead a team of amazing PR, Media Communications and engagement specialists doing the most challenging work I’ve ever done. What’s amazing about this role is that it’s a complete blend of everything I’m good at and interested in, so people, current affairs, and with that focus that we have on climate change. Well, I just come full circle in terms of my love for the environment and sustainability, which I really care about. 

2. Challenge yourself

I am really passionate about what I do. And if it’s challenging, then I bring my best every day. If ever it forces me to drive hard, then it is something I will stick with. And if you’re like me with a fire in you, with that drive, harness that passion, hook it into your career, and keep moving until it feels right and you will succeed. A Law degree from Queens has provided me with a really solid platform to allow me to make all of these jumps and leaps. It says to an employer that you’re informed, you’re considerate, you’re investigative, you’re confident and analytical. You could be a judge, it could be a barrister or a solicitor, an in-house solicitor, or you could become a reporter, or you can become a business leader… with a Law degree from Queen’s, really the world is at your feet.

3. Don’t be blinded by passion

I think at times my passion has blinded me, particularly perhaps when I was at the BBC, where I would have gone through walls to succeed without perhaps taking on board others or their feelings or collateral damage, really. And you can really only get so far on the steam of your own passion. To be truly successful, you need to take that passion, use it to motivate others, collaborate with them, understand what makes them tick. And then think about how you can combine all that fire together to achieve. All that’s possible. Passion is a great thing to have. It’s a warrior’s traits, but create your battalion. Don’t do it on your own, network and make those friends for life. I mean, my best friends are my family. I met them at Law school at Queen’s, they’re my units; they’re my power source. I just couldn’t imagine life without them.

4. Be a team player

You know, people with passion are warriors, we’re fierce, we’re strong. But I’ve learned that that can be intimidating. And that can lead to isolation. So don’t do a solo run, find your squad, find your network, your Battalion, you’ll achieve so much more together. And it will be a much better experience for you. You need to be empathetic as well. What issues are your colleagues dealing with at home? How can you support them? You know, really, relationships are the absolute cornerstone of good business, taking time to get to know those you’re working with. If someone doesn’t sound right in the phone, you’ll know that they there’s something wrong or if someone is on a video call, but maybe isn’t making as much of a contribution as they would normally. Well what’s going on, you know, you need to find that out and try to help that’s really important.

5. Give your passion context in an interview

If you’re interviewing for a role, display your passion proudly, and it will shine through, but make sure you back it up. And that means giving examples of how you’ve put your passion into play, to go the extra mile, whether that’s being top of your class in your subject, whether that’s volunteering, coaching others or taking on extra training. And try to keep a lid on your passion during an interview. What I find throughout my whole career, and it continues to this day, is that nerves and passion can be a really dangerous combination. So it can go one of two ways. You can appear arrogant and overconfident, , or you can get jittery, and you can end up waffling. So breathe, prepare, prepare again. And when you get into that room, whether you’re presenting or you’re sat in front of an interview panel, plant yourself, like a big oak tree, you know, really sink your feet into the floor, like you’re growing roots, and take some time to blossom. Channel that passion that you have to keep focused on what’s important and look after yourself and others. Passion is an exceptional standout quality. But it is like magic. And you have to challenge it and control it and make it work for you. 

You can stream Natasha’s recent talk on the Gradfest2-21 site here:

https://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/graduate-support/UpcomingLiveStreams/

Categories
Career Options Career planning Digital publications Graduate success prospects Publications Uncategorised

6 Paths to Take After Graduation

Contemplating the road less travelled: student blogger Maeve McDermott

‘What now?’ is a question many of us will be asking ourselves this summer following graduation. Three+ years of lectures, tutorials, assignments, deadlines and structure that a post-graduation world doesn’t offer. Whilst this can be daunting and the post-graduation fear is real, it’s important to remember that there is no one right next step – there are a multitude of routes you can take after you finish your degree, and Prospects Student Career Guide 2020/21 takes you through just some of the options available.

  1. Graduate scheme 

Perhaps the most conventional route, a graduate scheme job or ‘professional level’/’high skilled’ job is a structured scheme whereby employers target graduates’ skills and experience and are normally available to those achieving a 2:1 or above. These schemes are run by many leading UK employers across all industries and often last 1-2 years, with many graduates offered a permanent role following this initial period. It’s worth doing your research if you have a specific company in mind – look at their website and social media channels to familiarise yourself with their work culture and values. Recruitment processes and timelines for graduate schemes vary from company to company so be sure to be aware of these well in advance.

More on graduate schemes

 2. Work for a small business

If working for a large company in a graduate scheme isn’t for you, you may prefer working for a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). Roles in small businesses often offer you more responsibility and a wider variety of opportunities, as well as the opportunity to see first-hand how your work is making an impact on the company. These roles can offer greater opportunity to really develop your skillset, often making them a more appealing option for fresh graduates wishing to gain as much experience as possible. SME roles often aren’t widely advertised, and SMEs usually recruit via word-of-mouth recommendations/networking or through your university. 

3. Self-employment

If being your own boss is something you like the sound of, self-employment may be worth considering. A somewhat less conventional option, this route requires a great deal of drive and determination, but undoubtedly has its benefits. Currently, one seventh of workers are now self-employed, and include innovative business owners, using their own experience and skills to identify gaps in the market, and freelancers predominantly in professions such as writing, programming and graphic design. Whilst this route can be a more difficult one, with challenges such as unstable income and tax refunds, resources for self-employed people continue to grow, including British Association for Supported Employment and Centre for Entrepreneurship.

More on launching your own business

4.Work abroad 

Maybe you have your sights set on something further afield? Expanding your horizons overseas won’t just allow for adventure and fun – structured work experience abroad such as internships can be a great way to travel and improve your employability at the same time. This type of work experience is often organised by third-party organisations such as The British Council and Erasmus+. Additionally, many students opt for a gap year following their degree, and choose to gain international experience working in USA summer camps, summer jobs in Australia or adventure working holidays in New Zealand.

Find out more about work experience and gap year opportunities.

Discover Global Opportunities.

5. Volunteer for an international project

Another way to get meaningful experience abroad is through gaining experience by volunteering for an international project. Working with local people in foreign countries and making a meaningful difference to their lives is a truly unique opportunity allowing for personal development, and can also impress future employers, demonstrating a caring attitude and a strong work ethic. There are countless volunteering opportunities available – from wildlife conservation to teaching English.

Discover volunteering opportunities.

6. Postgraduate study 

If you feel that you’re not quite ready for the world of work just yet, postgraduate study might be a possibility. Relevant postgraduate study can set you aside from other graduates and accelerate your career progression, as many roles in fields such as law and clinical psychology require professional accreditation gained through postgraduate study. Perhaps you want to become an expert in your field and even become an academic? Moreover, conversion courses offer you the chance to pursue a career often completely different from what your undergrad may have prepared you for. These are intensive postgraduate qualifications that allow you to widen your range of skills, expand your professional network and increase your confidence in a subject and sector you previously may have known little about. 

Discover postgraduate study at Queen’s.

It’s important to remember everyone’s career path is different and the countless possibilities definitely make that post-graduation fear a little less intimidating. The options really are endless, and this time next year you could be flourishing in a Big 4 grad scheme in London, or volunteering at a wildlife conservation in South Africa. The best thing you can do is reflect on what is best for you, think about what you really want and consider all of your options. 

For more on your career options after graduate, visit our website.


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
Actober Career planning CVs DegreePlus Events Fairs Global Opportunities Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair my future

Five Things to do now for your future career

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:

  1. Attend Gradfest2021

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. 

Discover more

2. Discover DegreePlus

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. 

Discover Degree Plus

3. Find opportunities around the world

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!

Discover Global Opportunities

4. Find a job through MyFuture

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.

Access MyFuture

5. Get your CV in order with Vmock

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.

Watch: How to use Vmock

Unsure where to start with career planning? Visit our website

Get in touch with us at careers@qub.ac.uk

Categories
advice AGCAS Awards consultants employability Graduate success Guardian University Guide League Tables Russell Group

Queen’s Careers Service Recognised for Excellence as they Support Graduates through Covid-19

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.”  

The Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair is taking place on 21 and 22 October 2020 between 2-m and 6pm. Go.qub.ac.uk/Careersevents

Categories
Actober Career planning Events Fairs

Free Download: Your Career Plan for Autumn 2020/21 by Study Stage

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.

Our Careers website is a great place to start planning your career. Whether you have no plan, a vague plan or a firm career plan in mind, we’ll help you set and achieve short and long-term goals.

Don’t forget, the Careers service are here to support you, so if you have a question feel free to get in touch!

Categories
Career planning consultations DegreePlus my future on campus jobs

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Help Your Future Career

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.

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Master's PhD postgraduate

11 Essential Sites to Check Out if you are Considering Postgraduate Study

Not sure if postgraduate study is for you? Attending an information or open day event is a good first step. When it comes to desktop research, there are loads of great sites to help you explore your study options. Here are 11 to save in your favourites. 

  1. Prospects postgraduate search

This search tool lets you explore postgraduate taught courses by subject and location. 

2. Target jobs

Search postgraduate taught courses by job sector including  Law, Engineering and Teaching. 

3. Find a Master’s

Search a database of 22,500 Master’s courses throughout the world. 

4. Postgraduate Search

Search courses, and access advice on funding. 

5. Find a PhD

The world’s largest database of PhD opportunities has over 4,000 PhDs to select from. 

6. Jobs.ac.uk

Search PhDs by subjects including Creative Arts and Design, Computer Sciences and Politics and Government. You can also access student vlogs that offer an insight into life as a PhD student.

7. Gradireland

Want to study in Ireland? Filter by institutions like Trinity and University College Cork to find a postgraduate course that suits you. 

8. Graduate Prospects

Access information on studying abroad in a range of countries including Australia, USA ad China. 

9. The Fullbright Commission

The Fullbright Commission site has all you need to know about postgraduate study in the USA including information about the Fullbright Scholarship.

10. Canada Memorial Foundation

Discover awards for British students or graduates who want to pursue a postgraduate course in Canada.

11. Association of Commonwealth Universities

Access information on scholarships to undertake postgraduate study in low and middle income commonwealth countries including Sri Lanka and South Africa. 

For information on postgraduate study at Queen’s, visit The Graduate School.

Categories
Career planning Leadership

7 Ways to Get Involved with Careers at Queen’s

Peter Moor, BA English graduate lists seven ways to get involved with the Careers Service at Queen’s.

Trips

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.

CV clinics

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.

Interview Practice

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.

Careers Fairs

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.

Social Media

One way to get involved Queen’s Careers service is to follow them on their social media on FacebookTwitterInstagram 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-Campus Jobs

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.