From Career Impact to a Leadership Graduate program

Featured

Farida Tejan

Farida Tejan

Post by Public Relations and Media graduate Farida Tejan

At present, I work for Capita Resourcing- part of Capita Group Plc, a FTSE100 Business Process Outsourcing Company- on the Leadership Graduate program.

The scheme is comprised of 4 rotational placements across different business units with exposure to a diverse range of customers across public and private sectors, with on-going formal business training whilst working towards an MSc in Leadership and Management.

Having completed my first rotation with the division’s sales and marketing team, I am now holding a new business development executive role with the Write Research Company, engaging with business leaders within the consumer and services industry.

The highlights of the role include having access to and engaging with senior personnel within the Consumer and Service industry and being able to earn a commission for results delivered.

Following completing my degree, I went into a role as a Digital PR Executive at a digital marketing agency for just over a year. I was then approached for an internal Digital Marketing Executive role at Capita Customer Management where I worked across the marketing and Communications teams, implementing the online strategy and maximizing brand presence and engagement online.

I think the fact that I began my job search very early on in my final year of university attributed to my success in securing a role. Attending sessions with the career service meant that I had realistic expectations of application processes, salary and what employers were looking for. In addition to being proactive, I invested time in gaining work experience as and when I could and tried to open myself up to any opportunities.

During my time at Capita Customer Management, an internal re-structure took place that motivated me to look into other opportunities within the business. I began to consider the graduate program as a viable option as I knew one of the graduates already on the scheme. I expressed an interest to my line manager who helped me to start the process of an internal application that required me to be a graduate with a 2:1 degree. Following on from this, I had to pass personality and psychometric testing followed by a telephone interview and was then invited to an assessment centre once I passed these stages. I prepared for the psychometric tests online utilising free web databases in order to practice. A similar approach was taken for the telephone interview, where I brushed up on competency-based questions and general interview techniques. The assessment centre was harder to prepare for because I had little knowledge of what to expect, here I spoke to the graduates that I knew from within the business about their experience and tried to prepare general interview and team activity skills.

My course at Hallam really pushed me to take a proactive approach to getting organised and building up my CV in addition to our academic requirements. I think this balanced focus was really key in in preparing me to excel post-university. The sessions made available to me through Career Impact were invaluable in helping me to understand the caliber of applicant that graduate employers are looking for and how to prepare for the assessments within their application processes.

Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get onto a graduate scheme or even the job of your dreams- it just gives you something to work towards. In fact, it turned out that I was completely wrong about what I initially thought of as my dream job! I found that by being open to opportunities and working hard in the roles that I did manage to get, doors opened up for me and I somehow made it onto a path that worked for me.

Five weeks into my internship, a whole host of experience under my belt, and 0 coffees made for anyone but myself!

Featured

What the intern saw

Post written by Hayley Adams, a BA Public Relations graduate. 

Five weeks into my internship, a whole host of experience under my belt, and 0 coffees made for anyone but myself! What more could I want? Aside from a huge, comfy chair of course…

I arrived in Halifax (from Sheffield, England) just five days before starting with Ammp (A Million Moving Parts), and with a homemade coin chart in hand, Chris and Ben had everything set for me from the get go. When trying to tailor my experience, they asked exactly what I wanted to learn in my time with them. I listed a few things before stopping and thinking ‘actually, I just want to try everything’ and so that’s the way it’s going.

There’s no denying that I have been a bit of a Bambi – needing the reassurance that what I am doing is right, good enough. However, beyond their eye-rolls at my panics, their laughter, patience and growing belief in the skills they drill into me daily constantly reinforces my confidence.

Halifax, Canada

Ammp’s consideration of my opinion when it comes down to major business approaches and actions makes me feel less like an intern, and more like a valued team member – something that just doesn’t happen when you’re trying to gain that always necessary experience.

Lastly, and most importantly to me is their willingness to let me go out and exercise the entire purpose of the business – being creative. Getting stuck in there with my own ideas is the sort of experience that is invaluable to my future.

With only three weeks left, I fully intend on making the most of my time with Chris and Ben, so get yourself prepared for more panic and simple questions, guys. You won’t be getting rid of me at the end, that’s for sure!

Product design graduates return to share their experiences

Featured

Product Design Workshop

Post written by Caroline Hanson, Employability Adviser, Art and Design

Last month saw the first ever “Employability Week” aimed at Product and Furniture Design students, organised by senior lecturer Dean, in collaboration with industry experts and the Careers and Employability Service. The first day included three graduates from product and furniture design courses at Sheffield Hallam sharing about their current roles and career path since completing the course. Tom was using his creative skills to work as a marketing manager for Harris Brushes. He shared from his own experience about the negativity that can be faced after graduation which he called the hope/doom seesaw, to him, listening to the hopeful and aspirational voice was important to persevere through initial rejections. He encouraged students to go the extra mile at interviewing order to be memorable, for instance he designed and showed different elements of his design and marketing skills in his portfolio. Since beginning the role, it has developed greatly into a hybrid of marketing and design, he emphasised “Don’t be confined but the boundaries that are given when you secure a role.” Approaching people directly had paid off for him in the past and he even used LinkedIn to contact staff members within an organisation before the interview.

Abby had worked in a number of product design positions before her current role at W’innovate, which is a company based locally in Worksop and designs products for Wilkinsons. She has worked for in house design teams, in consultancy roles and also on a freelance basis, even having the opportunity to visit the production factories in China and gain an understanding of how her designs are manufactured. She emphasised the importance of commercial awareness, especially in consultancy roles, including being aware of the cost of the materials, the target market of your product and the selling price. Her advice for students was “Know yourself and the things you are good at and like working on, then you can sell yourself more effectively.” Her organisation is a graduate centre of excellence, offers short placements and is currently recruiting for a graduate positions of Assistant Product designer, so do take a look if you think this could be the role for you.

The afternoon session focused on portfolio development and every student had the unique opportunity to receive portfolio feedback from a professional in industry. Speaker Nick, reminded listeners that a portfolio should “Sell you, not just your products” and include broad a range of skills. As a recruiter he wanted to see your best work in your portfolio, not everything you’ve ever done, include rough sketches to show development of ideas and ensure a visual impact, by getting rid of any large blocks of text. Key advice was to “Build your personal brand and be thick skinned,” he also recommended entering design competitions open to recent graduates.

Students spoke positively about the day and went away with practical feedback on how to improve their portfolio and CVs. The remainder of the week included input from a top branding agency, practical workshops from the careers team and a boot camp for students to develop their enterprising skills, a number of students took up the offer of one to one appointments or enterprise advice to develop their plans further. Keep an eye on https://careerservice.shu.ac.uk/ to find out about other events coming up!

 

Benefits of working for small firms during your 20’s

Featured

liam-solomon-1Post by 2015 BA (Hons) Marketing graduate, Liam Soloman

I graduated last year (2015) from Sheffield Hallam University with a degree in Marketing. It was extremely daunting seeing my class mates beginning to get jobs and the pressure was building to jump into a career and start paying back those student loans.

I explored the possibility of working for a start-up after watching an inspiring talk from Jack Ma on career paths (click here to view video). In the video, the founder of Alibaba gives a powerful speech on the benefits of working for small firms during your 20’s, to learn a range of new skills, gain valuable mentoring and to be submerged in an environment of passion and desire to succeed. I can honestly say that working for a start-up has ticked all the above and more.

I had briefly worked for two large corporate entities (one in my placement year and one after graduating) and found I was very limited in regard to challenges I faced. I felt I wasn’t regularly learning new things and found it hard to make my mark in an already established company.

With this in mind, I applied for a paid internship in an exciting start-up. I was fortunate enough to get the role at Love the Sales, a company that aggregates all retail sales and displays them on their website. They have a completely unique idea which has been eye-opening to work on. The innovation and creativity in the team is contagious and you get a real sense of achievement from the effort you put into the business.

liam-solomon-2I have always worried about making mistakes when starting a new job, however, working for a start-up is a world apart from the corporate pressure and office politics you find at larger companies. In a start-up, learning is key. Knowing what works and what doesn’t is essential to improving the businesses position. So, if you do something and it doesn’t work you have still learnt something. The atmosphere in the office is always very relaxed and encouraging, the ideology of testing ideas, learning and building from them if they succeed or fail is great to be apart of.

It’s funny, when you’re sitting in a lecture half listening, wondering whether you’ll use this information at all, well, you do! It’s scary how much you recall and put in to practice when brainstorming or trying to figure out a solution to a problem.

If you’re like me and you worry about the possibility of cementing your career choice in the first job you take, then a start-up is a perfect solution to give you time to decide what you like and don’t like and where your skills lie.

Learning something new everyday, no matter how small, is so important at the beginning of your career. Since the start of my internship I have worked on social media, copywriting content, building SEO, email marketing and writing code to name a few. In this internship I’ve been able to gain an array of skills in different areas of the business, not just within a specific silo.

What’s surprised me most since working in this start-up though, is the amount of time my bosses have dedicated to teaching me new skills and enhancing my learning. It’s a very motivating feeling to have bosses that really invest in your personal development.

Now half a year on from graduation, I have progressed from an internship to an SEO executive with the company, learning valuable career skills and enjoying every minute!

The best advice I could give students is to volunteer

Featured

Psychology graduate Dani, shares about her current role as an Assistant Psychologist and highlights the value of gaining experience, both in demonstrating your skills to future employers and also in deciding on a career path.

Dani Mounfield at Graduation

Dani Mounfield at Graduation in 2015

“Since graduating, in 2015, I worked for a few months at a residential facility for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Learning Disabilities before getting my current role.

I currently work for Chrysalis Associates (www.chrysalisassociates.org), a private company who offer therapy for children with attachment and trauma difficulties. As an Assistant Psychologist I complete assessments of the children, both pre and post therapy, looking into their attachment and trauma symptoms, as well as their behavioural difficulties and receptive vocabulary. Additionally I oversee childcare sessions, which requires me to ensure the children are as calm and regulated as possible; this can range from just one child to multiple at one time.

During University I took the Work Placement Module, where I worked for South Yorkshire Fire Departments Youth Service. I also completed a two day Mental Health First Aid Training course, which I would highly recommend, and training at Doncaster Prison, with the charity Catch 22. However most importantly I volunteered for around two years with my current employer, Chrysalis Associates, where my role was solely data entry. Arguably this volunteering was the most important factor in gaining my current job. Without my previous contact with Chrysalis Associates they wouldn’t have contacted me again to offer me an interview, which ultimately got me the job. Before the interview I read through all the reflection notes I had made whilst volunteering, this consisted of all the tasks I had completed and my thoughts and considerations of my time there. I also went through any notes and lecture slides I had from University that were relevant to the job role; additional to this I researched online, looking at what current literature was revealing about children with attachment and trauma difficulties.

In my job I use lots of skills that I learnt in University every single day, from my confidence and people skills to those more specific to psychology; report writing and data analysis. When thinking about my future I am hoping to get one of the very competitive places on a Clinical Psychology Doctorate. However until I can secure one of these places I am trying to build up my CV, with both paid and volunteer work.

The best advice I could give to current students is to volunteer; these days’ employers want you to not only finish university with a good grade, but also show that you are committed to your career path. Employers want to see that you have made efforts during university to go out into the working world and start to build up your practical skills. However, volunteering is also beneficial for yourself, it helps you to figure out what you’d like to specialise in. For example; throughout my first and second year I was confident that my main focus was forensic psychology, however after volunteering at Chrysalis Associates and having done training in Doncaster Prison, I realised that I was more interested and passionate about a clinical psychology career path.”

Get that Job! Boot Camp

Featured

Final year student looking for your first “proper” job, but don’t know where to start? Don’t panic – Boot Camp is here… Two days in September aimed at kick-starting your journey into your first job.

Join students in the same position as yourself – you are not alone!

Have fun

Challenge yourself

Discover your strengths

Capture

Feedback from previous Boot Campers:

Would you recommend Boot Camp to other final year students?

 100% It has been brilliant! 🙂

 Yes, yes, yes!

 Yes, I would as I have gained more knowledge and understanding of what employers are seeking

 

What aspects of the Boot Camp did you find useful?

 Everything! Assessment centres tests, CV help, LinkedIn help, Mock interview

 The CV, Interviews and Alumni talks were very useful as it enabled me to network.

 

What will I be doing?

Boot Camp is action-packed and intensive, so come prepared to work. You will be thinking about yourself, what you are looking for…and developing a plan to help you get there. Over the two days you will:

  • assess your strengths and skills
  • discover different approaches to finding jobs
  • hear from recent SHU graduates/alumni about their own experiences
  • write a great CV/application
  • find out how you can use LinkedIn
  • have a go – practice being interviewed and take part in assessment centre activities

Dates:

8 and 9 September, 9am – 5pm (You need to be able to attend both days)

10 September : One to one 45 minute feedback appointments available throughout the day

Lunch and refreshments provided. Boot Camp takes place in the Careers and Employability Centre.

Places are limited, so book on here: https://careerservice.shu.ac.uk/students/events/detail/252310/get-that-job-boot-camp-for-fin

Who is Boot Camp for?

Boot Camp is aimed at 2014-15 final year ‘Home/EU’ students who have an idea of the sector/industry or job/role they are looking for.

If you are unclear as to what career path to follow or if you do not have eligibility to work in the UK beyond early 2016, we suggest that you book a Careers Guidance appointment via the Careers and Employability Centre,  0114 225 3752.

 

Find out about a career in Neuroscience

Featured

Tom Doherty studied BSc Psychology and MSc Applied Cognitive Neuroscience, graduating from Sheffield Hallam in 2013. He now works as an Operational Scientist for an organisation that provides cognitive assessment software for clinical trials, academic research and healthcare provision. Employment Adviser Caroline Hanson catches up with him to find out more about his current role, and the opportunities open to graduates with an interest in neuroscience.

TD

 What does your current job involve?

 My current role involves a number of things but is predominantly concerned with putting together scientific proposals for a range of pharmaceutical companies in order to convince them of the science behind products for use within their latest clinical trials. My role also includes surveying the data collected from a scientific point of view for a broad range of ongoing trials, in areas such as cardio-vascular safety to the latest clinical trials in Alzheimers disease, and highlighting any unwarranted data points.

 Before my current position I worked as an unpaid research assistant at Hallam following on from my research undertaken at Masters level, I then came to the company I am working in at a more junior position and was promoted to my current role after 3 months.

 What factors do you think helped you to secure your current position?

 Factors that helped were writing up my research for publication and reading a vast number of journal articles from both my study, research post and previous role in this company. After I qualified, I found that the job market for neuroscience graduates is really tough, the main career paths of research and clinical work can feel like all there is. I would say that there are industry posts out there you just have to look a lot harder for them. It took me a full year to find this post but it was worth the perseverance.

 What was the selection process like for your role?

 The selection process for the role included three interviews which included a presentation; two face to face interviews and a brief chat with two members from the board, I would stress that this will not usually be the case, but this company is fairly small in comparison to many others. In order to prepare I read up a lot on the company and prepared mock answers to potential questions along with being well versed in what I had been doing previously.

 How do you use skills and knowledge gained from your course in your current position?

 The key thing for me was the research I did as part of my course, because ultimately, whether you go into industry, research or clinical lines of work, this is what you will be judged on from a scientific viewpoint. These are the skills which I have used most in my role and essentially you want to find answers to questions no matter what role you are in.

 What advice would you Neuroscience students interested in your career area?          

To decide which of the three streams of work you are most suited to and are most interested in, read as many current papers on a broad a range as you can, but most importantly pick your research topic well. By doing this you can do something that is new or innovative and likely to get you noticed or even better published, this will help you stand out and that is what, in my opinion, employers are looking for.

Find out your professional interests…

Featured

English Literature graduate Kayleigh describes for us her approach to exploring her career ideas while studying for her degree.

Kayleigh’s current role: Graduate Management Development Programme at Sheffield Hallam University

A two-year programme to train people as managers in Higher Education, whilst developing their understanding of different areas of the University.

Previous role: Careers and Employment Graduate Intern at Sheffield Hallam University

An 11 month internship supporting employability programme, events, workshops and assisting with other tasks as required.

 

As an English literature student I spent a lot of my degree worrying about what I would do at the end: what job did I want, would my degree get me there, did I have enough experience?

Subsequently I gathered work experience in a variety of areas, exploring options such as journalism, teaching and the voluntary sector whilst complementing this with help from the Careers and Employment service. It’s fair to say that I took a scattered approach to work experience, finding roles in many areas of work that I thought I might pursue (to see some of the work I undertook at university view my LinkedIn profile).

As a result, I did find a career path that I wanted to follow in the remarkably quick time of two years at university: I realised that I wanted to go into management, preferably in Higher Education (universities).

All of my work experience provided benefits in one way or another during my graduate job search. I developed specific skills, such as writing for charities, mentoring and teaching alongside softer skills, like public speaking, engaging different audiences and initiative at work. None of these have been irrelevant despite the fact that they weren’t obviously in a management context, however they all developed skills that are valuable in the workplace, beneficial regardless of what career you choose.

In fact, when reflecting on small pieces of work that I have done I can now see how it links into my current role on the Graduate Management Development Programme.

For instance, when I was in my final year at university I was participating in the Career Impact Scheme (a programme of employability skills sessions designed by the Careers and Employment team to aid students with their graduate job search). On this programme we had a social media talk which particularly interested me and led to some voluntary social media work that I took on outside of my degree; this in turn supported my recruitment process for my internship (which preferred candidates to have some social media experience) and the internship subsequently strongly reinforced my application for the Graduate Management Development Programme.

The reason for all this? To encourage you to find out your professional interests whilst you have access to the opportunities around the city, the support from the Careers and Employment team and the luxury of not needing a job immediately.

University is undoubtedly a busy time but you can get some flexible work experiences volunteering since the majority of organisations will work around your assignments and exams, which will put you steps ahead of other graduates when it comes around to applying for jobs.

It is possible to balance both university life and improving your employability so have a go- if you need a kick start then why not book an appointment with a Careers Adviser to talk through what possible careers options you have, or with an Employment Adviser to look for opportunities suitable for you?

 

What do Sheffield Hallam graduates do after graduation?

Are you interested in accessing information about what recent graduates were doing 6 months after graduation? Destinations data is collected from all recent graduates who are invited to take part in the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE). This is an annual survey and all graduates are invited to complete it (UK, EU, Overseas, undergraduate, postgraduate, full-time and part-time).

sheffield-hallam-university-feature-image-1

Results are available in GEMS (Graduation Employment Market Statistics) which shows the proportion of graduates who are in employment (including job titles, employer names, average salaries and locations), or who undertook a further course of study.

Results are available in the summer of each year and can be accessed from the Sheffield Hallam Careers Central website:

http://careerscentral.shu.ac.uk/planning-your-future/what-do-graduates-do

Staff can also access a more detailed version of GEMS (log on using your normal PC staff username and password) which includes results from the last three years:

https://staff.shu.ac.uk/sls/qess/ss/careers/DLHE.asp

For further information about this survey, please contact dlhe@shu.ac.uk

Career Impact: Aiming High

by Kayleigh Gray, Graduate Intern, Careers & Employment Team

Career Impact is a university-wide programme run by our Careers and Employment Service. It aims to provide quality support, industry insight and networking opportunities for students who are high achieving, motivated and ambitious, in their search for employment on a graduate scheme. It also aims to enhance the impression employers have of Sheffield Hallam students, in focusing on employers who seek a high UCAS tariff and may previously have campaigned solely at red brick universities (High Flyers 2014). The scheme also supports students who share these ambitious aims, but may face additional barriers in their transition to work, such as those with disabilities.

Career impact students at the employer networking breakfast, 2013

Fortnightly skills sessions led by careers professionals or employers, focus on aspects of graduate recruitment such as assessment centres, application forms and networking techniques and include an opportunity for participants to share their experiences. Personalised one to one support is also offered, along with networking opportunities. Contact with employers is also facilitated; last year an employer breakfast led to two participants meeting the employers they now work for. Students have progressed onto graduate schemes with employers such as for Transport for London, Nissan, Birdseye and PFK and our current students have already secured places with Tesco and DHL.

A Twister challenge for the mock assessment centre with L’Oreal

This year’s Career Impact students have been attending our regular workshops, benefiting from sessions such as Making Your CVs and Applications Stand Out, with guests from BGL undertaking CV checks; alongside this our students have also experienced a Practice Assessment Centre with L’Oreal, the adventures of which can be seen captured in the photo to the right. The focus of the group is to ensure that Sheffield Hallam University students feel confident applying for graduate schemes.  As a result we encourage employer engagement but we complement it with professional development sessions like Effective Networking and Navigating Your First Graduate Job.

We are currently starting a Level 5 Career Impact group so that students are ready to apply for the graduate schemes which often close before Christmas. If you know any Level 5 students that are motivated, enthusiastic and well-suited to the Career Impact group then please email the Career Impact lead, Caroline Hanson at c.hanson@shu.ac.uk or the group administrator, Kayleigh Gray at: k.gray@shu.ac.uk