Postgraduate Students Career Bite Size Success!

by Lucy Marris, Employment Adviser, Sheffield Business School

L-R Lucy Marris (Employment Adviser); Rohan Pethkar; Professor Isobel Doole (Deputy Dean of SBS and Head of Postgraduate); Zhuoling (Jolene) Wang and Geshani Subasinghe

Career Bite Size was a series of five optional workshops offered specifically for Postgraduate students within Sheffield Business School for the first time this year.

Devised by Employment Adviser Lucy Marris, the sessions took place on alternate Tuesday evenings from 28 January 2014 to 25th March 2014.  Each 1 ½ hour interactive session was a free-standing introductory workshop on a topic designed to help support students in proactively achieving their career goals for the future.  They were delivered by the Employment Advisers within SBS who specialise in providing support to  PG students.   Interested students could either dip in and out of the series opting to attend only those sessions of most relevance and interest, or could register and attend all five sessions to receive a certificate of completion.

The lively sessions were extremely well supported by students, with 74 different individual postgraduates attending at least one of the five sessions, and six dedicated students attending all five of the workshops and so receiving both a  certificate of completion together with an electronic Credly Career Management Skills badge to incorporate into their LinkedIn profiles.

Warmest congratulations to the six postgraduate students within SBS who have been awarded the inaugural Career Bite-Size Credly Award and Certificate.  This acknowledges their engagement in proactive career management through attending a series of five voluntary workshops on the topics of employability; looking for opportunities; creating CVs; performing at Interviews and networking with employers.  The completing students were:

•             Narendra Dangol: MSC Food Consumer Marketing and Prodouct DVT

•             Rohan Pethkar: MSC International Business Management

•             Geshani A subasinghe: MSc Managing Global Business

•             Lukas Tjitrabudi: MSc Managing Global Business

•             Zhuoling (Jolene) Wang: MSc International Hospitality and Tourism Management (work experience)

•             Yunjie (Jackie) Zhong MSc International Marketing


Jobs Fair impresses employers and final year students

by Kayleigh Gray, graduate intern with Careers and Employment team  

On 13 March the Careers and Employment team put on another recruitment fair for students in the Careers and Employability Centre; it was focused on final year students, and invited these soon-to-be graduates to talk to local and national employers.

The day was a success, with over 300 students interacting with currently advertising organisations, thereby increasing their chances of jumping into a graduate job after leaving Sheffield Hallam. The event was so popular that we had students queuing out of the door – luckily it was a nice day and our ambassadors gave them some biscuits whilst they waited! Before coming to the fair, students had the opportunity to read who was there and what they do and as a result, they were able to prepare questions and bring relevant CVs. This contributed to positive employer feedback, with representatives saying that our students were friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable in their subject areas.

Each organisation had a stand where they answered student enquiries about their company and jobs; one of our pre-requisites for the fair was that all employers on the day had live graduate job vacancies. Employers present included Decathlon, Kin Speed and G Media. Some of the organisations stayed on to take part in a Question and Answer session which was very productive and offered our students the chance to engage with the companies in a different, more direct manner. Some of the questions included, ‘What do you value more, paid work or voluntary experience?’ and ‘When asking an interviewee about teamwork, what skills do you want to hear?’

Some employers were so impressed that they expressed an interest in taking part in our Career Mentoring scheme and have said that they would like to return for any other recruitment fairs we may have. In addition, the students benefitted from the employer interaction, the opportunity to ask questions and the chance to see a small sample of the jobs available upon graduation.  We appreciated the time that these companies voluntarily offered to us and our students and we will certainly be repeating the experience again next year for all to enjoy. If you have any Careers and Employment questions, please ring us on 0114 225 3752.

Preparing for an interview and job hunting tips in PR

by Louise Railton, final year PR and media student

The CIPR’s latest research gathered the views of approximately 400 CIPR student members. The research reveals how internships fail to provide consistent learning and development opportunities for PR Interns.

As a PR student who’s months away from graduating, I know all too well how intense final year can be. Final year isn’t easy anyway; but having the extra worries of finding a job in public relations, getting interviews, and impressing potential employers can be stressful. Here are some tips for PR students who are job hunting and wanting to prepare for interviews.

  1. Social media profiles: Spend some time going through your social media profiles to make sure you represent yourself accurately as the fun but professional person you are! If you don’t have LinkedIn, definitely sign up. LinkedIn is a great platform for networking online.
  2. Accounts on Twitter: This follows on from the previous point, have separate accounts for different audiences. For example: create a professional account as well as having a personal account.
  3. Key influencers on social media: Think about who you follow/admire on Twitter and why. Some companies such as Tesco are really clever with the things that they post.
  4. Join in and #chat: Use Twitter to your advantage by joining in with relevant chats, such as #PRStudChat and other chats by the CIPR which cover different but important topics. It’s a good way to network and share your opinions on relevant issues. Cision have compiled a list of relevant PR Twitter chats.
  5. Start up a blog: Having a personal blog is brilliant experience, and a great way to showcase what you can do. Also having a professional blog, or contributing to a professional blog will look great on your CV. Professional blogs are regularly looking for contributors. Blogs are a great way for you to show employers your writing style and interests.
  6. Do your research: Make sure that you thoroughly research the agency/company, who their clients are and the company ethos. Being well prepared will show that you are enthusiastic and serious about working for them.
  7. Practice your interview skills: Prepare some questions which you might be asked and ask a family member or friend to go through them with you. This will help you to not get flustered or go off topic during the real interview. Be clear and stay calm.
  8. Demonstrate media awareness: Become aware of bloggers, editors and feature writers in the industry. Knowing the name of a journalist will look impressive.
  9. Read the papers: Author Sarah Stimson of ‘How To Get A Job In PR’ says “Common questions in PR interviews include “what news stories have caught your eye recently?” and “tell me about a PR campaign you’ve seen in the last six months which impressed you/didn’t impress you”. In order to answer both of those questions you need to be fully aware of what’s been in the news.”

Top Tips for interviews:

  • Be prepared – be on time, know your route and look up people who work at the organisation on LinkedIn
  • Be professional – appearance and the way you are dressed
  • Be enthusiastic and available
  • Be flexible
  • Demonstrate that you are willing to learn new things
  • Be positive – smile!
  • Show confidence
  • Bring samples of work with you so you can explain them in further detail
  • Know your strengths and weakness, but focus on your strengths
  • Talk about where you have work experience but also what skills you used and how you used them. Giving good examples is important for interviews
  • Ask your own questions – prepare some questions for the interviewer. A good question to ask: “Is there anything else you would like me to demonstrate?”
  • Show you can use your own initiative and think on your feet
  • Follow up by sending a thank you email if possible

Editor’s note: Congratulations to Louise for this blog post being selected as Pick of the Week by Behind the Spin, an online magazine for public relations students and young PR practitioners.   Here’s her moment of glory! – very well deserved too.


Support for Summer Leavers

We’re a little over half way through our two-week programme of support for Summer Leavers.  Running to 11 April we’ve got workshops, drop-ins, and offering on-line advice for students who are nearing the end of their studies. So if you’d like some help with getting a job when you graduate, look for

  • faculty pop-up Adviser stands  and CV checks (in the Careers and Employability Centre, Stoddart, Cantor, Owen level 2 and  Collegiate Learning Centre
  • specific workshops, jobsite help and guided tours of the Careers and Employability Centre (tours available between 11am-3pm)

Check out:

  • the ‘Leaving this summer’  information  on shuspace
  • careers workshops beginning ‘Leaving this summer’ (Please book on Shuspace > Employability > Events)
  • emails from your faculty employment adviser
  • SHUCareers on Twitter and Facebook

This week’s events include:

Jobsite help for jobseeking 08/04/2014 10:00- 12:00 Careers and Employability Centre, next to main entrance, Owen Building

Help! I don’t know what to do!  08/04/2014 15:00- 16:30 Chestnut Court S001, Collegiate Crescent

Jobsite help for jobseeking 09/04/2014 12:00- 14:00 Careers and Employability Centre, next to main entrance, Owen Building

Postgraduate Study and Funding     11/04/2014 12:00- 13:00The Careers and Employability Centre, next to the main entrance of the Owen Building, City Campus.

There’s also faculty careers advice for you:

Faculty careers advice drop-in times

  • ACES: Between 12:30-13:30pm every weekday in the Cantor building from 31March- 11 April
  • D & S at City: Between 12-13:30pm every weekday from Tuesday 1st April- Friday 11th April on level 2, Owen building
  • Biosciences, level 7 Owen building: 
    • Tues 1st April, 11am-1pm
    • Thurs 3rd April, 12-2pm
    • Friday 4th April, 12-2pm
    • Tue 8th April, 11am-1pm
    • Wed 9th April, 12-1pm
    • Thu 10th April, 4-5pm
    • SBS: from 12-13:30 every weekday in Stoddart (except for the 31st March, 12-12:30)
    • Collegiate: varied, please see shuspace > employability tab  > events > careers workshops > Leaving this summer? Employability advice for Collegiate students



Journalism students capture launch event

Recently we told you about the official opening of our Careers and Employability Centre, and promised to tell you a little more about the students who had been selected to work on the event.

This is the story of Kelly, Harriet, Emily, Emma and Charli – five final year BA Journalism students. Selected by tutors, Sue Featherstone and Graham Moorby, based on their outstanding work, the students were tasked with using everything they’ve learned on the radio and TV module, to provide us with a video of the event. The footage had to be filmed in real time, with key guests being interviewed – so this involved quite a bit of prep and briefing before the event, during the event itself, and then editing afterwards.

The students contacted guests in advance and selected those that were happy to be filmed or interviewed on the night. They sent questions around the theme of ‘why choose a Sheffield Hallam student?’.

Kelly says she saw this as a good opportunity to improve her skills at a live event, especially as she’s loved her tv module. Harriet realised it was a great chance to get experience and improve her CV while Emma felt that with graduation only a few months away this was a timely piece of work that gave her a real taste of the working environment.

Tutor Sue said: “I was very impressed with the efficiency and professionalism with which the girls approached the project.”

So with all the equipment returned at the end of the evening, the task of editing footage down to three minutes was next on the list – using more skills from their recent studies.

And you can see the results for yourself here

Students demonstrate high interest in working while they study

We held another Work While You Study Fair in the Careers and Employability Centre a few weeks ago at the end of February. We know from previous years and enquries from our students that many of them are keen to find some kind of work to supplement their income while they’re studying, which also provides them with experience to have on their CV.

In just three hours we welcomed  over 500 students and the feedback from employers, students and staff was excellent. Here’s a flavour of what they told us…

BSKYB “Very nice centre, very modern and well equipped”

G4S “Excellent hospitality with a warm welcome from the Team at SHU along with very good approachable students” they also said “can you improve on excellence?! A most enjoyable venue with constructive, successful events”

Whitbread / Premier Inn said “Excellent service very caring, friendly and professional”

Ant Marketing “Your staff were welcoming and ensured we had everything we needed”

Transline Group “The students were great, friendly and open about work opportunities”

And our students told us…

“Great opportunities and good that the University arranges this type of event”

“This was really helpful, I hope to hear back for the jobs I have applied for today”

“Very informative and helpful, the fair showed me opportunities I may not have previously considered”

“Lots of choices and opportunities to choose from.  All very insightful and informative”

If you’re interested in finding part time work while you study here, contact our team in the Careers and  Employment Centre.

Being a Student Ambassador

A quick peek into the world of the Student Ambassador today… meet Louise Railton, who shares her story with us.

How long have you been an ambassador?

I have been an ambassador since September 2013

Why did you become an ambassador?

I needed a flexible job to earn a bit of extra money during my third year that fit in with my studies.

What are  you studying and which year of your studies are you in?

Public Relations and Media. Final year

What sort of work have you had as an ambassador?

I have worked open days, done guided tours, worked the odd event, talking to prospective students and parents and worked during freshers week.

What have been your favourite moments?

My favourite moment was when I had to give a guided tour at short notice and managed to do this successfully.

Have you been asked any difficult/funny questions?


What skills have you learnt from being an ambassador?

I have developed my verbal communication skills from speaking to visitors who come to the Careers and Employment Centre and have developed a lot of my confidence.

How do you think being an ambassador will benefit you?

I think it’s a good thing to have on my CV, the experience I’ve got has been broader than on my course.

Would you recommend to other students that it’s a worthwhile thing to do?

Yes. And I think it’s really good for prospective students to hear things from students who are here – we’re a good source of information!


University employing its key strengths in survey

by Laurie Harvey, Public Relations Officer

A UK student survey has seen Sheffield Hallam University maintain its top spot for employability for a second year running, whilst also sealing first place for careers advice from academics, the low cost of its accommodation, international student support and research activity.

Sheffield Hallam came first out of 22 UK Universities in five categories from last Autumn’s Student Barometer Survey, with 93.5 per cent of students satisfied that the learning they undertake at the university will help them get a good job when they graduate.

The University also came first for students’ satisfied with the opportunities to earn money while studying, and third for the availability of financial support.

Paul Helm, assistant director of student and learning services at Sheffield Hallam, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve maintained our performance in last year’s survey and have added new strengths to our learning portfolio.

“Students are coming to us because they know the package of low priced accommodation, exemplary research and teaching, careers advice and a high rate of employability, is hard to beat.

“Employability is a crucial component of our courses and as an institution we place a huge emphasis on preparing our students for the world of work. That’s why Sheffield Hallam has the highest number of students enrolled on courses with a placement year in Great Britain ”

The Student Barometer survey is administered by the International Graduate Insight Group (i-graduate), and tracks the opinions of students at higher education institutions at 22 of the UK’s universities. Results are from the latest survey which tracked opinions in autumn 2013.

Why I chose an internship

Meet Kayleigh. She’s one of our graduates who decided to take up a one-year placement as an intern to help improve her employability. Here’s her story:

Degree: English Literature BA, graduated in 2013 with First Class honours

Current job title:  Careers and Employment Graduate Intern for Sheffield Hallam

Early on in my studies I realised that leaving university and getting into a graduate job should not be viewed as a right for a graduate: I had to consider my employability throughout my degree. English DOES make you employable because you will leave university with analytical, negotiation and communication skills (to name a few).  But only a small number of graduates will appeal to employers if they only draw upon skills that they have acquired academically. You should show that you have developed these skills and have gained new, complementary ones in other roles, whether that’s through part-time work, volunteering, joining a society or taking part in other extra-curricular activities like sport.

For example, during my first year at university I worked as a Student Course Ambassador and an Exam Invigilator whilst also volunteering as a Student Course Representative and a Faculty Representative. As a result, I developed my communication skills in a variety of ways and had interview experience under my belt just from that first year. There is an extra-curricular activity to suit everyone, so I’d advise you to visit the Careers and Employability Centre or the Students’ Union to find something to suit you.

Here are some of the tasks I’ve been working on as a graduate intern:

  • I undertake a variety of roles within the Careers and Employment Centre. Primarily I help organise and deliver the Career Impact Programme, am the Career Mentoring Scheme administrator, write tweets for the @SHUCareers account, manage the Career Impact LinkedIn page, organise meetings and work on both the Employment team and Information team for the Careers and Employability enquiry desk.
  • Alongside this I have also been involved with the launch of our new Careers and Employability Centre, including meeting the Vice Chancellor, contributing photos and feedback to the ‘SHU employability blog’, promoting the events and building relationships with relevant and important employability organisations, such as Hallam Union, the Sheffield Universities Recruitment Fairs (SURF) and the Research and Innovation Office.
  • I have created a strong relationship with the Students’ Union, conducting presentations with them to present a united employability front to the students; I have developed this further by starting a Students’ Union drop-in in the Careers and Employability Centre for students to talk to a Students’ Union representative every week about volunteering, joining a society or applying for the Hallam Award recognition scheme.
  • I supervise the Employability Ambassadors on a daily basis to review their role, conduct focus groups for the Careers and Employment service and am their first contact when they have any work-related queries.
  • Although I have developed a social media specialism within my job I also regularly use my English Literature skills to analyse data, write reports, articles and training documents for my colleagues and the service.

I’m three-quarters of the way through my internship now, and during that time (and the other experience I gained as an ambassador, rep and invigilator) I’ve upped my skills in so many ways. I’m an experienced organiser, event planner, and supervisor now. I’ve worked with a huge range of people – from students to employers to senior academics at these events and have used those opportunities to promote the services we offer.

I’ve learned to listen to feedback, conduct focus groups, to collate it and present it, and to present it to help influence change and improvement. And yes – I still love literature (as a staff member I can still use the learning centres here to borrow books!).

My internship finishes in July so I’m now focussing on the completing my employability journey and I am hoping to continue working in Higher Education- at Sheffield Hallam if I can!.  Here are my top tips for yours…

 My employability journey

                Reflect upon your potential career and find a few graduate jobs that you would like to do

Look at job applications for that sector and identify any skills that you’re missing

Consider how you may use those skills in your current paid and unpaid work

Locate some volunteering, activities or societies so that you can develop the missing skills

Regularly reflect upon the work that you’re doing and make a note of when you have excelled, faced challenges and/ or brought about a change

When you’re in your final year at university continue your paid and unpaid work because it shows organisational and time management skills

However alter your workload so that you do less work and if you’re volunteering, ensure that it is flexible so that you can do less during important academic periods

Consider doing work-based learning modules so that you get experience, skills and personal professional reflection whilst gaining academic credit

Remember your large amount of experience and employability skills when applying for jobs during both the application stage and the interview

Never give up. If you’ve put the effort in to make yourself employable then you will get a graduate job, so don’t get disheartened if you have a few unsuccessful interviews

Utilise the help available to you. The Careers and Employment service offers help to all SHU students and are still here to help for up to three years after you graduate. The whole graduate recruitment process can be confusing, so use the professional advice that the Careers and Employment Advisers offer. Come into the Careers and Employability Centre to the left of the Owen building entrance or ring 0114 225 3752.

Volunteering Fair Success

by Caroline Hanson, Employment Adviser

Recently, SHU Careers and Employability Service worked with D&S academic departments, the D & S placement team and Hallam Union to host a targetted volunteering fair. Over 350 students studying Psychology, Sociology, Politics, Law and Criminology came along to investigate opportunities open to them and network with local organisations.

The team designed the fair to encourage these students to learn about  and get involved in,  the broad range of volunteering opportunities available that are relevant to their degree subject and could ultimately enhance their career prospects.

We’d arranged for 20 external organisations to be there –  including South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield Children’s Hospital Trust, Caudwell Children, Making Space, Catch 22 and local political parties.  Our students found out about voluntary opportunities in areas such as campaigning, mental health support, advice work, youth work, research, helplines, tutoring and mentoring. We also provided information about the additional opportunities offered by Hallam Union Volunteering, and shared about placement opportunities and support available from the Careers and Employment Service.

Around 50% of those who attended were in their first year of study. It was good to see that students are now thinking about gaining experience early on in their course. 90% of those who completed the feedback questionnaire stated that the fair was useful in helping them find voluntary work, with 70% of respondents having signed up to a voluntary opportunity that day.

The event also helped to build stronger relationships with local organisations and discuss opportunities to work together in the future. The feedback was generally very positive; Catch 22 representatives commented, “Students seemed very willing and enthusiastic about the opportunities on offer,” whilst Sue Butler from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue stated,  “This event was ideal for a new role we are currently recruiting for – which is particularly for students.”

From our perspective in the Careers and Employment team, working with colleagues in faculties always proves beneficial – we can create a highly focussed event for our students, utilise a wider network of contacts and promote it more effectively to the students. We hope to build on the success, to repeat and expand the event in future years.