Good advice for anyone having job interviews…
When it comes to job interviews, one of the most important factors is being able to persuade the employer that you have the appropriate skills and experience to be a good candidate for the job. As a result, it’s good practice to draw together as much physical evidence of relevant previous work as possible.
At its simplest level, this is just a case of listing out your past employment to demonstrate your capabilities. However, the difficulty for students and recent graduate is that you may not have a great deal of job experience, so you’re going to need to put in a little effort now to give you a better chance of landing a job in the future.
Here are some tips on building up you evidence stockpile:
Write for your chosen profession
Whether you want to be a games developer, lawyer, music journalist or particle physicist, getting something published that you’ve written for your industry is a good way of demonstrating your knowledge and interest. There is a wide range of publications for every industry and you’ll be surprised how many of them would be happy to feature your thoughts, ideas or stories.
Start by creating a good list of possible publications and hunt down the contact details, which are usually on the contact us page of the website. It’s important to get a good idea of what the publication features before coming up with your own idea for what to write about. Once you have this, you can then craft a request to your contact at the publication, explaining your idea and why it would make for a good addition to the publication. You can’t expect every request to come back with a positive result, but it’s important to keep persevering to get your work published.
This might be a no-brainer, but it’s easy to pass over until the last minute, so try to take some time during the summer to build up your work experience tally. Not only will it give you real experience, but it will also give you an excellent opportunity to get evidence for the work you’ve done and skills you’ve got. Try to think of your time during work experience from this standpoint and keep copies of anything that you’re proud of. It might be a good idea to ask the company if it’s happy for you to do this as a courtesy, but most will just want to help you as much as possible. If your work gets featured online while you’re doing work experience, make sure you keep a record of the URLs to reference during interviews.
This is very similar to work experience, but it could give you a bit more flexibility in terms of what you do and the kind of evidence you can build up. Approaching charities, clubs, events and organisations with an offer to do something that relates to the job you eventually want to get is another great way to build up evidence. If you want to be in marketing, offer to help with their promotional activity; if you want to be a designer, offer to create a poster or flyer; if you want to be a biologist, offer to go in to do a talk on a chosen subject that might be of interest to the people they support etc. Again, keep a record of everything that you do and refer to it in interviews when you’re trying to take your first steps in the working world.
If you’ve already ticked off a number of these, you can take things to the next level by adding video to your evidence log. With smartphones, it’s easier than ever to film yourself or others talking knowledgably about your industry. And with YouTube you can easily post these to the masses and share on social media. It’s not going to be for everyone, but if you’re a confident speaker and you’ve got subjects you’re passionate about then it could be a creative way to evidence your interest and understanding of your industry.
Try to be entertaining, interesting and engaging while filming and don’t forget that if you’re not happy with the initial results, you can always just do another take to get it right.
Create a portfolio
This can either be online or a physical portfolio of your work, but it will act as a strong talking point for your interview. It comes in handy when asked questions about how you might tackle a particular situation, providing you with tangible examples of what you’ve done in the past.
Your portfolio can include any written work you’ve had published for your industry, or if you work in the creative sector then you can include design work, film, apps, games, websites etc. that you’ve worked on in the past.
It’s important to structure your portfolio so that you can easily refer to items without scrambling around, so a tabbed reference could be an option to make it easy to find something specific when you’re being interviewed.
Gerard Harris is the editor of entertainment news and reviews magazine, Tuppence, which has developed a flexible work experience programme to allow budding writers and designers to gain experience, a reference and an online portfolio to evidence their work. Over the last 15 years, Gerard has worked in the digital sector for fashion companies like Office Shoes and UNIQLO, as well as time at other big brands, including Odeon, RAC and Ford.
Projects take place in every industry around the world. Think of all the construction projects you see in cities, or of the marketing projects that happen whenever a new product is released.
The world thrives on projects and this means there will always be a need for project managers. Read on to find out what this role entails, why to enter the field and how to get your foot in the door!
What is a project manager?
Project managers are responsible for the day-to-day running of projects. They are results-driven and goal-orientated creatures with a knack for organisation, leadership and communicating effectively.
A typical project manager will be involved in:
- Planning the project
- Organising and motivating the project team
- Setting deadlines and delegating work
- Carrying out risk and quality assessments
- Working with stakeholders
- Solving problems as they arise
- Ensuring project goals are achieved
- Delivering the project on time
This is not a job for shrinking violets! Project managers are strong leaders who are capable of organising and motivating people. You must therefore be a team player with an eye for spotting risks and solving problems. It can be a challenging job, especially when deadlines loom or things go wrong, so being able to cope with pressure is essential.
Why be a project manager?
Here are our top reasons to choose a project management career:
- Project managers are required in every industry and sector. It is true that sectors such as IT and engineering are major ‘project’ sectors. However, every industry performs projects, so creative and humanities graduates are welcome too!
- Because projects happen worldwide, project managers often get to travel and work with a variety of different people.
- As every industry requires project managers, this means there are lots of jobs out there. Project managers will always be in demand and this won’t change any time soon. Projects will always exist.
- Salaries are excellent. Project managers in the UK earn on average £40-£50k. Depending on the industry and how much experience you have, this salary can reach quite a height.
- Job satisfaction is huge! Being part of a project, watching everything come together successfully and working in a team are all some of the highlights of this career.
How to kick-start a graduate project manager career
Much like any other job, landing a role as a project manager requires experience and qualifications. Here are our top tips for entering the world of project management:
- Which sector do you want to work in? Many graduates use their current degree as a starting point. However, you can also complete further study after graduation in the form of a PgDip or master’s degree in project management. Bear in mind that if you want to manage projects in a very technical field such as engineering, finance or IT, it is normally essential that you have a degree in one of those subjects.
- Work experience is vital. Try volunteering or contacting companies directly to see if you can do work experience with them. If you have chosen the PgDip or master’s route, work placements are often included as part of the course.
- Try getting a project administrator or project support role. These entry level positions give you valuable experience working alongside a project manager on actual projects. Getting an entry level job like this will make it much easier for you to progress onto a managerial role, either at the same company or elsewhere.
- You might see qualifications such as PRINCE2® or AgilePM® mentioned in job specifications. PRINCE2 is a project management methodology. Agile is an ‘umbrella’ term encompassing many different approaches to delivering software. Many employers insist you gain PRINCE2 or Agile certification, because they will be used on the project. It is therefore a good idea to gain at least an entry level qualification in PRINCE2 or Agile, depending on what your chosen sector requires.
Find out more
Ready to take the next steps? Check out your university career service for further advice. They’ll have a list of internships or volunteering opportunities to apply for, plus they can help you write a killer CV.
To find out how salaries vary by industry and which parts of the UK are project management hotspots, read this Project Management Salary eBook. It’s essential for any graduate thinking of pursuing a career as a project manager.
AXELOS are the official PRINCE2 accreditation body. You can find accredited and approved PRINCE2 courses on the AXELOS website. For accredited Agile courses, please check APMG International’s website.
Simon Buehring is the founder and Managing Director of Knowledge Train, an accredited PRINCE2 training organization based in London, UK. For over 25 years, Simon has worked as a project manager for a wide range of organizations, both in the UK and internationally, including the BBC, HSBC and IBM.
If you have not been back in a school for a few years, you may still be under the impression that it is made up of teachers, dinner ladies, caretakers, school nurses and secretaries. What may surprise you is that there are many many different types of jobs available in the school environment – professional, associate professional and in academic support.
All of these jobs have one thing in common; they are there to help shape the future lives of young people. Sound like an environment you would like to work in?
On Monday 26 February, we have invited 25 organisations who offer opportunities to work in schools. Below are some of the non-teaching roles that these organisations have advertised:
- Admissions Officer
- Arabic Speaking Learning Support Assistant
- Behaviour Manager
- Behaviour Support Practitioner
- Braille Trained Learning Support Assistant
- Breakfast Club Supervisor
- Clerk to the Governors
- Cricket Coach
- Data and Student Services Manager
- Design Technology Technician
- Drama Assistant
- Early Years Support Worker
- Estates Manager
- Examination and Accreditation Officer
- Family Support Assistant
- Graduate Assistants
- Graduate Learning Support Assistant
- Graduate Maths Learning Support Assistant
- Graduate Music Assistant
- Health Care and Personal Care Assistant
- Higher Level Teaching Assistant
- IT Network and System Manager
- IT Technician
- Lab Technician
- Learning Coach
- Lettings Officer
- Marketing and Reprographics Coordinator
- MDSA / Playleader
- Music Secretary
- Occupational Therapist
- Office Manager
- Operations Manager
- Pastoral Care Worker
- Pastoral Manager
- Personal Coach
- Physical Education Teaching Assistant
- Play & Development Leader
- Play and Development Worker
- Play Worker
- Premises and Health & Safety Manager
- Pre-School Assistant
- Pre-School Deputy Manager
- Primary and Secondary Cover Supervisors
- Pupil Services Manager
- Raising Attainment Assistant EAL
- School Counsellor
- School Finance Officer
- Science Technician
- SEN Teaching Assistant
- Site Compliance & Maintenance Technician
- Special Needs Support Worker
- Specialist Physiotherapist
- Speech & Language Therapist
- Sports Centre Manager
- Sports Coach / Leader
- Sports Officer
- Sporty Learning Support Assistant
- Strategic Business Manager
- Support Assistant
- Support Assistant Sport
- Swyddog Gweinyddol
- Teaching Assistant
Some of these roles will require experience and special qualifications, while others may just need your skills and bags of enthusiasm.
Come along and chat with the exhibitors at the Teaching Recruitment Fair, 26 February 2018, 12 – 2pm, Newport City Campus, and find out more about the requirements and opportunities open to you. They have temporary opportunities in some of these roles for you to experience working in a school.
Despite the sometimes hectic working environment, a teaching assistant role can be one of the most rewarding careers available. Not only do you become a part of a pupil’s life, but you also get to be the reason that many of them succeed. Students learn best in a safe and encouraging environment and teacher needs help in everything that she does inside and outside the classroom to create and maintain this kind of setting. Because of this we’ve combined all the facts you need to consider before hitting the apply button, intrigued? Read on…
- To work under the guidance of the teacher
- Prepare the classroom before each class as well as tidying at the end of each class
- Support reading groups
- Work on a one to one basis
- Lead small groups
- Have excellent knowledge of the school curriculum
- Have excellent numeracy, literacy and ICT skills
- Monitor and record pupils progress
- Report feedback to the teacher
- Carry out administrative duties
It is also useful to bear in mind the attributes that your employer will look for when hiring a candidate. Although you may have the drive to work in a classroom, it’s important that you hold all the skills needed to work with children.
The qualities your interviewer will look for are:
- The ability to work as part of a team
- Creativity and confidence
- Good reading, writing, and numeracy skills
- Flexibility to work with a diverse range of children
- The ability to build excellent relationships with both staff and children
So how do you actually get into the school we hear you say?
Every school will have their own set entry-level requirements for teaching assistants, depending on what you will be needed for. Although many will accept you on the basis that you have great work experience, some will look for qualifications such as ‘Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools’ and ’Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools’. Most paid jobs will also require for you to have GCSEs in both literacy and numeracy, or the equivalent.
Before you begin working with children, you will need to apply for an enhanced background checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and be registered with the EWC. These can both be applied for by popping onto their websites and filling out the forms provided. Both can take a number of weeks to complete, so it’s best to get these completed and sent off as soon as possible.
Once your checks are back, registrations complete, and your CV up to date, there are a number of ways that you can gain experience and jobs within a classroom environment. Check jobs boards, contact your local schools, and sign up with agencies that have plenty of contacts… Ahem. Whether long or short-term, each and every placement you take will gain you time, experience, and the chance to get your foot in the door, which in plenty of cases results in the offer of full-time work.
Roles will vary depending on the specific setting that you are placed in. Secondary schools will more than likely mean that you will be placed in a classroom with a specific subject, or be assigned to an individual that may need guidance, support, or help. In Primary school you will generally take on a more general role, working with a class across the whole of the curriculum and offering the teaching help with anything they need. If you decide to go down the special educational needs route, you may be assigned to a particular pupil, or work regularly with a particular class, it is also very common for there to be more than one teaching assistant present in this type of environment due to the needs of the students.
By Hannah Tuck, Staffroom Education
Want more information and help on becoming a teaching assistant or working in a school? Come along to the Teaching Recruitment Fair this month where you can speak to the Staffroom Education team and other teaching representatives about the opportunities on offer.
Teaching Recruitment Fair
Monday 26 February 12-2pm
Newport City Campus
If you’re close to finishing your degree or you’re on your summer break there is a good chance you will be looking for a temporary or permanent job. When exploring your options the question may come up; is it better to apply through a recruiter or approach the company directly?
There are many unknown advantages to applying via a recruitment agency.
Here are the top 5 reasons to work with Reed Scientific:
1 Your CV is more likely to be seen by the hiring manager
An employer receives an average of 250 applications for every job advert. He or she will spend 5-7 seconds looking at a CV. When your CV matches the requirements of a role your recruiter will not only make sure your CV is seen by the employer but will also discuss your experience and skills with them, supporting your application.
2 You get the advice needed to improve your employability
Recruiters know the market. In addition to CV and application guidance your specialist consultant will provide pre-interview support, including an overview of prospective employers based on their knowledge of the company.
3 You will have access to multiple opportunities through one point of contact
Recruiters keep you updated on relevant vacancies. They provide you with information on the market and discuss the different opportunities you can access with your experience – even if it’s a career path you may not have considered.
4 You have constant support whilst you are looking for work.
Recruiters help you apply to the right roles and give you last minute advice before an interview. They chase for feedback and negotiate offers on your behalf. They will also call companies on your behalf to see if they have suitable vacancies in their teams.
5 And it is all for free!
Most recruitment agencies (including us) provide their services completely free of charge for candidates.
Finding your first teaching post is a process that doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult if you are well-prepared and plan ahead. We know it’s hard to think about when you’ve just got a shed load of coursework out-of-the-way, but now is the time to put the work in. With interviews surfacing for the new school year, we’ve put together our top tips on how to bag your first teaching role…
First and foremost, it’s important to identify the type of teaching vacancies you want to apply for, think about your preferences:
- location – are you willing to commute or is it too much for your first year as an NQT?
- type and size of school
- year group/key stage
- full-time or temporary – would you take a short-term post?
So where do you go to find your new role?
- Teaching fairs and university portals are a great place to start. Here you’ll find temp/full-time/part-time vacancies that can suit all needs.
- Recruitment agencies.
- Social media; Linkedin offers a range of jobs and you can search #hiring #teachers on Twitter to narrow your hunt.
- Indeed, TES and plenty of other boards are guaranteed to feature most of the vacancies that are out there. It’s a good idea to sign up and upload your CV so that potential employers can contact you too!
Then, CV & applications
If you’ve found a particular job that you want, tailor your application to that specific school. Too many applicants end up being disregarded due to silly mistakes, so find out the name of who you’re addressing it to and make sure to pick up on why you want to work for them. Make it hard for the interviewer not to consider you and include a strong cover letter that shows your passion and drive.
Before applying, it’s a good idea to Google yourself and evaluate your digital footprint. Are all of your accounts private and is there any sort of content that may be deemed offensive?
It’s also important to remember not to sit by the phone…
Network aggressively with friends and acquaintances—a kind word from a colleague to a school administrator may open doors. Spread the word about your job search to your Facebook and Ning friends, and look for job feeds on Twitter.
Struggling? Why not consider the supply route?
Without blowing our own trumpet, Supply is a great way of securing an income and getting your foot in the door whilst waiting for that dream teaching role. The more schools you visit, the more people you meet, and we’re all very familiar with the saying ‘it’s who you know’ when it comes to the big job hunt.
You get the call, are you prepared?
Turn up with evidence to support your application. Class work, great references and portfolios are a strong way of communicating ‘Hey, look! I’m a great, organised and passionate candidate!”. You may be asked to teach a lesson or give a presentation, so make sure you understand what is expected and required. You should enquire about class size, location and available resources as well as considering how you are going to differentiate yourself from the rest.
The school will also be keen to know how well you could work with other teachers, other adults in the classroom and how you will relate to parents. Supporting your answers with examples will strengthen their impact and show that you have the experience needed for the desired job. Remember to relax, relate AND ASK QUESTIONS! You can find some of our top tips for that on another recent blog here.
By Hannah Tuck, Staffroom Education
Meet the Staffroom Education team and others at the
Teaching Recruitment Fair
Monday 26 February 12 – 2pm
Newport City Campuss
For more information on vacancies or how to apply, please contact:
Scarlett Seager, Student Recruitment Manager (email@example.com)
Kate Buffery,Student Recruitment Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Are your feet itching with insufferable wanderlust? Is your heart longing to do something outside of the norm? Do you want your next experience abroad to be a step outside of your comfort zone?
Volunteering abroad can become a powerful platform to do all of the above more. It facilitates meaningful cultural exchange between the local community and the volunteer, turning what would have been a normal holiday overseas, into something extraordinary.
Here are our top 5 reasons why you should ready yourself to make an impact and get out into the world to volunteer!
Travel and Cultural Immersion
The most apparent reason. Volunteering abroad gives you a great opportunity to explore global environments in a truly unique way. As a volunteer, you will be able to see a side of that country that typical tourists almost always miss. You will become truly immersed in different local cultures whilst also making an impact.
Volunteering with Travel Teacher means you get to do and see things that are truly unique. You will be living with sensitive communities and will have many life changing moments that will provide a lifetime of memories. Picture yourself living inside a local village on the Coral Coast of Fiji, contributing towards the education of young people in The Cook Islands, assisting with a save the beach initiative in The Maldives or helping to plant trees for sustainable growth in India. These unique experiences will change the way you see and travel the world!
Develop vital transferable skills
Volunteering is a wonderful and proven way to boost your own transferable skills such as confidence, teamwork and communication. It also provides substance for a high quality CV. With competition for jobs becoming fiercer and fiercer, employers are looking for someone who stands out form the crowd. International travel, cultural exchange, self-confidence and practical professional experience certainly combine to offer this. So at the end of the day, a beautiful synergy has taken place between you and the community.
Some volunteering programs even go a step further than that. Travel Teacher offers participants the opportunity to gain an industry recognized teaching qualification. Our experiences will provide you with a foothold into your chosen career pathway.
Develop lifelong friendships
It is not uncommon for volunteers to meet their new travel buddy or best friend for life while on project. In fact, it is almost expected. Volunteers are all there for one reason – to do good and help change the world. This shared passion is only intensified as you bond over your experience on the project. Your fellow volunteers will be there for the highs, the lows, and everything in between. And by the time your stay is up, you will have a whole group of people from all corners of the earth to call friends.
Help others in need
Amidst the beauty of our partnered destinations, the spectacular beaches and coral reefs: a magnificent string of islands floating peacefully in the ocean, there are also impoverished rural populations who as yet have not been able to benefit from its strong tourist trade. As a volunteer on work placement with Travel Teacher your contribution can assist in helping the young people have a brighter future.
Broaden your horizons
Volunteering helps you discover what you really need to be happy, and to appreciate what you took for granted back home. Volunteering gives you the chance to reflect on your role in the world and motivate you to continue being the difference.
Think of volunteering abroad like the cupboard to Narnia, a door to see a country through the eyes of the locals. It is a chance to experience what their lives are like on a day-to-day basis, get to grips with the problems they are facing and how you are a part of the solution. Experiencing this rich cultural immersion changes you as a person. As you become apart of this new community, you are slowly, but surely, transformed into a Global Citizen.
So what are you waiting for?! Book that plane ticket and start travelling responsibly!
Meet us on campus! Where and when you can find us
So, we are at that time of the academic year when recruiters are on campus actively promoting their brand, engaging with students and actively trying to drive applications onto their graduate and placement schemes. One of the ways companies do this is through careers fairs. Yes you know, those huge scary rooms, full of giant stands, littered with giveaways, brochures and company representatives waiting to speak to you. The good news is that this is really your opportunity to engage with recruiters or employees from companies and build on research to find out about their opportunities. There are however some key mistakes that students make when attending university careers fairs and I’m highlighting a few to ensure that you’re not the one to make them!
Not researching the organisations that you want to talk to
Nothing gets my goat more that when a student approaches my stand and says “So…what company is this and what do you do?” The first impression I get as a recruiter is definitely not “Wow, this candidate sounds great, I want them working for me!” Researching the organisation before hand, looking through their website on what roles they offer and what qualifications are needed will let you know whether this is a company that is aligned with your own goals. You could look up their recruiter on LinkedIn and maybe even connect with them beforehand. Try this approach instead
“Hi, my name is….and I currently study BA Business Management. I have been doing some research on your organisation as I’m really interested in your 12 month placement scheme, could you please tell me some more about the application process please.” It’s all about first impressions! When companies are at career fairs they are looking for talent, so if you approach recruiters in the right way then they will respond positively!
Being dressed like you have just got in from your student night out
Personal brand is everything when it comes to companies looking for their future leaders. If you show up looking like looking like you’ve been out all night and haven’t bothered going home before you come to the fair then you are showing no sense of personal brand. Take some pride in your appearance. Would you turn up to an interview looking like this? First impressions count in any situation. I’m not saying you need to come in full business dress, but remember that you want a graduate job, so give yourself the best opportunity to stand out from the crowd by dressing smart, grooming and approaching me with a smile on your face.
Not having a recent, good CV with you
OK, so you’ve created a good first impression on me, approached me smartly dressed and have done some good research on my organisation. I’m thinking this candidate has potential and I want to be able to follow up with you after the careers fair so I ask for your CV – You don’t have one! How are you standing out from the crowd now? Take several copies of a generic CV with you (even better if you’ve tailored one before hand as part of your preparation) so that you can leave this behind. Some companies may just tell you to apply online, but encourage them to take the CV anyway or take the opportunity talk a bit about yourself and your skills for the role …show them that your are more than just a name on an application. Another important point is to be open-minded when looking at potential companies. Don’t go to your careers fair with tunnel vision. Many employers at the fair, be it national and international brands down to smaller SME’s have many opportunities that might be what you are looking for and really suit your skill set, so be open minded with the organisations you look at…you never know what gem they might have.
Filling up on the freebies with your mates
Yes, most organisations have freebies; it’s their way of keeping their brand visible when you get home and to make their stands look enticing to get you over. Your job is not to fill up as many bags as possible with free stuff in competition with your friends, but to interact and engage with your potential future employer and collect information. It is always good to go out on your own so that you can have some one-on-one time with a recruiter or employee from the company you want to work for, so don’t trawl around in a big pack.
Not getting recruiters details and failing to follow up
The hard work has been done, the fair is over, you’ve met some great employers, left a few CV’s and come away with some great company information. How many contact details did you get? If you want to truly set yourself apart from the competition and give yourself an opportunity to work for your dream company then ensure you collect contact information and then follow up with an email or a personalised request on LinkedIn. This will look great to recruiters; you researched the company well, looked smart, gave a CV on the day; then followed up with an email saying how great it was to meet and how you’re looking forward to hearing back. If you’ve followed those 5 steps… the chances are pretty good that you will hear back!
Martyn Flynn,Talent Acquisition Manager, Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Meet Martyn at the Opportunities Fair on 10 November 2016