The Fairs – from the inside, out…

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Written by Georgia Widdowson, Psychology placement student.

“Don’t miss the Part- time jobs fair tomorrow…”,
“Do you want to find a job whilst studying?”,
“Georgia, you don’t want to miss out…”

After receiving what feels like a life time of emails – similar to the above – promoting Job fairs, volunteering opportunities and undergraduate roles which will make us ‘more employable’ I thought, “Do you know what, I think I’ll take a rain check this year.”

Well, now I am kicking myself for closing a door to opportunities I had never opened my eyes to in the first place. I would always think “How is this actually going to help me? Companies won’t choose me. Employers won’t want to work around my busy University schedule.” But, I was wrong. Being on placement in the Careers Team has enabled me to experience University job fairs from the ‘inside’, where I have got my hands dirty with tasks. I now see why fairs are so important to get stand out work experience as a student. Attending a careers fair isn’t scary, its set up for us, SHU students.

Taking an undercover role as a staff member at SHU has forced me to take my fingers out my ears and listen to what employers can offer us. They DO want to help us. If I’d have never taken up a work placement role at the University careers and employability team, then the skills which I have learnt would still be buried under a towering pile of ‘denial’. I have uncovered abilities I’d never have the self-confidence to develop.

When I first arrived at my work placement, I was gobsmacked by how much work goes into the creation of job fairs for us students. The team do everything possible to help us and all the work that goes into fairs is solely with the benefit of students in mind. Without sounding biased the fairs amazing! Some quotes below from students at the recent Work While You Study Fairs can give you a bit of insight into exactly why job fairs are a must to attend…

            “Great variety and there a few companies here which I am definitely going to sign up to! There are opportunities here I didn’t think we could get involved with and get paid for.”

“Really good to be able to talk to employers in person as it’s easier to ‘sell’ yourself face to face rather than over your CV.”

            “It has been excellent! It made finding a job so easy! Everyone was really helpful.”

            “It was good because there are companies here that I wouldn’t think of applying for, so it was great to have some variety!”

These are just handful of student quotes which undoubtedly highlight how valuable, helpful, fun and eye-opening the careers fairs are!

However, I had to save the best until last…

            “We LOVE it! Loads of fun jobs and opportunities- I have signed up everywhere!”

This student was beaming like a Cheshire cat and was so enthusiastic and excited it was as if someone had told her she had landed a dream date. This really made me giggle and reminded me what exciting and interesting opportunities are handed to us at this University – we shouldn’t take them for granted!

So, when the next fairs come around,  don’t be a hermit and exchange Netflix for job finding. Find and drag yourself and your mates on campus and get involved! Whether this is talking to employers, taking leaflets or better yet, signing up to a job or volunteering opportunity! It doesn’t matter if you don’t find an opportunity; at least you got yourself out there! There’s no harm in trying and excelling yourself.

All I can think now is “I am so glad I decided to do a work placement! I’m a new ‘strong, independent woman’ who can achieve anything thrown her way!

My first week on placement!

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Blog post by Psychology student Georgia Widdowson – my first week on a work placement in the Careers and Employability Centre…

A bit about me…

I’ve always loved people, I love chatting with them, listening to them, but most of the time, talking at them. That is why I decided Psychology was the perfect course for me; the study of human behaviour never fails to get me excited!

During the open day for Sheffield Hallam, I was instantly attracted to the course once it was stated that we had the option of doing a work placement .I thought “Fab, a chance to get out into the real world and explore what a field in Psychology has to offer!” As a fantasist, I always envisaged I’d end up pulling a Freud and being a counsellor for the 8 weeks, or taking a leaf out of Milgram’s or Zimbardo’s book and conducting some crazy experiments. However, although it has not been as juicy as this, that’s not to say, I haven’t already learnt a lot during my work placement so far!   

So, where am I doing my work placement?

Originally, I was assigned to work at a sexual health charity in Sheffield. I was really looking forward to this as it covered one of the many areas within Psychology of interest to me. So, I thought “Amazing, for once, things have actually worked out for me!” Well…I spoke to soon. A couple of days later, when enjoying a nice Jacket potato in the Heart of the campus café, I received an email stating that a change in circumstances within the organisation meant I could no longer carry out my placement there. So, after one of my classic dramatic and blubbery phone calls to my Mum (and in front of the unfortunate souls who happened to be in the café) I concluded that this was down to fate, and that I had to trust that it was meant to be!

So, to get to the point…thankfully, the lovely and friendly careers team at Sheffield Hallam said they’d take me on, and as such I was assigned to work in their team for 8 weeks.

Now, I am sure you’re all wondering. How has my first week been?

As my first day arrived, I woke up at 7am, blurry eyed and zombified, and feeling very nervous and anxious about being in a professional environment and meeting new people. Despite this, I immediately felt welcome, and the positive and vibrant atmosphere within the department got me very excited about the opportunities and activities I would be getting involved with. Of course, I was apprehensive as it was not my original placement or line of work which I would originally chose or was interested to get involved with, yet this was the kick I needed to get me out of my comfort zone.

Luckily, I came at the perfect time. In the height of the organisation of the department’s two biggest job fairs ‘GoGlobal’ and ‘Work while you study’ (which I encourage everyone to come and check out!) I have helped towards the planning and promotion of these. I devised floor plans for the space at which the fairs will take place, deciding how the layout should be and where each company will stand. I’ve chosen the promotional videos for each company who will be at the fair (Apologies in advance if these bore you) and completing admin work, such as coding on the UniHub website, and I have sat in meetings among the careers team which was great to analyse from a Psychology perspective! These are things which I’d have never in a million years seen myself doing- yet, thank goodness I have! As it has provided me with skills which I’d have never have pushed myself to achieve. I am now looking forward to getting more stuck in!

So, what am I trying to say?

My first week of work placement has already provided me with the most important thing of all…confidence; Self-confidence, confidence in my abilities and skills and the confidence that my opinion, as a student, does matter. My view of Sheffield Hallam has changed.

Already, I have learnt that the University, especially within the careers and employability team, want you to succeed and do well and do all they can to help you achieve your life goals. So, don’t shy away and pop in to the department and ask any questions you may have about your future, or apply for an on/off campus job to earn some pocket money and gain invaluable skills, helping you to be more employable! And if you’re unsure about doing a work placement, all I can say is… Do IT, as no experience is ever wasted.

Nine tips if you’re still looking for a sandwich placement

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If you’re still looking for a sandwich placement for your second year, don’t despair. Here are our top tips for securing a placement:

  1. Use the Placement Portal as one option (placements are uploaded throughout the year including summer), but try a range of other approaches – advertised vacancies, speculative applications and networking (to get inside information)
  2. Don’t forget to search on UniHub – the ‘search employers’ section is also useful as you can identify potential employers to contact
  3. Identify the type of work you’d like and the location, identify potential organisations and then approach them directly – discussing strategies with an Employability Adviser can help
  4. Take the time to get a named person to call or address your email to, then make sure you follow up to check they’ve received your email/CV after around two weeks if you don’t hear anything
  5. Utilise social media: create a positive online presence, use twitter and LinkedIn to get ideas about potential organisations, positions and contacts – see if you can arrange to talk to your contacts face-to-face.
  6. Look out for full-time vacancies: contact the employer to explain that you’re available for 12 months and ask whether they would still consider your application
  7. Check websites such as student ladder, Targetjobs, Prospects and Rate My Placement – identify organisations which interest you then identify alternative companies you could approach which are less well known
  8. Make a list of 50 employers you’d consider: use UniHub, try Googling “top 10 transport companies in Yorkshire” (or whatever criteria suits you), ask others for suggestions, check professional bodies’ websites, then ring the employers on your list to ask whether they offer sandwich placements and ask for suggestions for other companies to try
  9. Find a list of previous employers who’ve offered sandwich placements to students from your course in previous years and contact them to ask whether they’ve recruited this year: you may need to ask lecturers or placement administrators to help you locate the list

Make the most of your Summer – The Future is Yours

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What will you be doing this summer? Now’s your chance to shine and give yourself the best possible opportunity of starting a successful career by taking control of your future.

Log onto UniHub, search the jobs field with the words Summer 2017 and start building a standout CV.

Summer to remember

You can change your summer by:

  • Volunteering – Get involved in local and national opportunities which make a real impact for charities, festivals and events as well as equipping you with real world skills and experience.
  • Global Internships – Get stand-out global work experience through summer internships with organisations worldwide.
  • Cantor Bursary – Your chance to apply for a flexible bursary of up to £500 to help you experience living and working overseas.
  • Summer Campus Jobs Earn cash in a flexible and familiar environment on campus here at SHU. Be an Ambassador, a Shelver in the library, a Mentor for fellow students or a crucial part of an administration team.

This is your opportunity to get employability experience and give yourself the best possible opportunity of finding a career you love, whatever your year of study.

Be employable and make this year the one where you gain new skills and make an impact locally or globally to stand out from the crowd. 

To view these opportunities, please click here or log onto UniHub and type Summer 2017 in the jobs field.

Come to our careers fair on Thursday 23rd March

With our Spring Fair taking place on Thursday 23rd March, this is your chance to meet with dozens of local, national and international employers who are offering graduate recruitment, internship and placement opportunities.

If you want to hear five great reasons why you should attend our careers fair, have a look at the video below:

To book your attendance at the fair, please click here.

If you’re already attending, then here’s some great student tips on how to prepare for the fair!

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday 23rd March between 11am – 3pm in Hallam Hall and the Careers and Employability Centre.

Careers Fairs – the blind date you need to be attending!

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I wonder what the person behind me on this train would say to me if they had 30 seconds to hold my attention? I’ve never met them before but I like to think I’m quite easy to get on with. My ability to remember random information about the most bizarre of topics should mean that i am confident we could at least hold a conversation beyond the simple nod of fellow commuter approval!

It just so happens that this guy is wearing my Football teams colours. The knowing nod turned into a question and answer session based on long suffering Sheffield Football opinions.

Consider this scenario. . .

Say I had booked this train well in advance knowing that the guy was going to be on there along with several others with a similar passion and enthusiasm for the same topic. Throw the team manager and a couple of the players on the first class carriage and all of a sudden we have everything needed in the confines of one train to truly make a difference and impact on what is essentially a profit making business.

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Do you work for an enthusiastic retail company and are you looking for enthusiastic team members to make a difference on the shop floor?

Do you work in construction and would your company benefit from being in a room of Building Surveying or Urban Planning students? We’re giving you access to top future talent with up to date and innovative thinking from within your industry. This could prove invaluable and give you that competitive edge in the market.

Are you an Engineer looking for Engineers? It’s the same principle. A recruitment fair is a blind date you can’t afford to miss.

Why, I can hear you thinking?

Number 1 – Its free of charge for you to access highly skilled, specialist students and graduates that will make a difference to the future of your business. The best thing is, they’re all under one roof! We spend so much time on smart phones in today’s society but is there really a better form of communication than face-to-face contact?

Number 2 – Students want to see YOU! The competitive labour market has given our students a desire to forge a career whilst they are still studying. There will be attendees who have the skills and specialisms that you’re looking for.

Number 3 – Brand Awareness! First impressions are everything. Your competitors won’t miss a trick, they will be there too. This is your opportunity to showcase your company and exactly what you are looking for and can offer. By the time our students graduate, they will be looking for opportunities to join companies who they are familiar with.

Number 4 – One size doesn’t necessarily fit all. We make our students aware well in advance that you are coming on campus. This means you have a chance to appeal to non-traditional applicants. What’s interesting to a Bio-Science student might not be what you initially think. Thinking outside the box is often a catalyst for positive change.

Number 5 – Give something back to those who could make a difference in your business. Utilise any alumni connections you have with our University and bring along an ex-Hallam graduate who is working for you. What better way to get your message across than it coming from someone who automatically has things in common with our students?

Get involved in our recruitment and careers fairs starting with the Work While You Study Part-Time Jobs Fairs on Wednesday 5th October . Employ our students in paid part-time roles to fit alongside their studies.

To attend please complete a booking form as an expression of interest, and our team will be in touch to discuss.

Wednesday 5th October 2016 – Work While You Study Fair – City Campus
Thursday 6th October 2016 – Work While You Study Fair – Collegiate Campus
Tuesday 25th October 2016 – Business & Finance – placement and graduate jobs fair
Wednesday 26th October 2016 – STEM – placement and graduate jobs fair
Wednesday 2nd November 2016 – Events, Tourism, Hospitality & Food – placement and graduate jobs fair
Thursday 10th November 2016 – The Natural and Built Environment Careers Fair

So, without further ado . . . Let the jobs, see the students!

Post written by James Beighton, Student Employment Co-ordinator at Sheffield Hallam University. For more of his musings, you can also connect with James on LinkedIn.

My time working for Careers and Employability

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Olivia – our second year Psychology placement student – has written her final post for us.

We’re already half way through March and I can’t believe my placement is nearly over! During the seven weeks that I’ve been here I’ve experienced so much it’s hard to sum it up in this one blog post. I’ve witnessed an entire week of creativity happening around me. I’ve been involved in successful part-time jobs fairs both at City and Collegiate. At the University’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Day I was fortunate enough to meet loads of companies relevant to jobs that I’m interested in. Only last week I was involved in the organisation of celebrating International Women’s Day which couldn’t have gone any better! Listening to inspirational women talk about their success in careers, which are typically male dominated, was extremely interesting and thought-provoking.

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During my time here I have worked on many aspects of social media, ranging from promotion of events on twitter, creating a campus jobs group on LinkedIn, and producing a short video summary of the Creative Careers Week for Facebook. On a similar note, the videoing didn’t just stop there! In a hope to encourage more students to visit City Campus, so as to not miss out on some of the great opportunities, a colleague and I created a short video to demonstrate just how quick and easy the journey from Collegiate is.

Within my time at the Careers and Employability Centre I was able to complete two small projects. One of which was a spreadsheet and information pack on what psychometric tests are, and what psychometric tests are used by different companies. This will hopefully be useful for future students to use as a way of familiarising themselves with what may be expected of them when applying for specific jobs. Another project I worked on throughout my time here involved thinking of ways to gain feedback from students who don’t utilise the Careers and Employability Service. I wanted to know why this was and ways students believe the Careers Service could be improved. I was able to send a questionnaire to a list of students who haven’t used the Careers and Employability Service and gain useful feedback that way.

centreFurthermore, another part of the placement I particularly enjoyed doing was helping with practice interviews and observing student consultations and business advisor meetings. This really allowed me to interact with the students and gain first-hand experience of just some of the day-to-day jobs the Careers Consultants and Advisers do.

Overall, it has been a fantastic experience with so many things happening at all times. I have been privileged enough to work in an amazing team with some truly wonderful people!

 

Top 5 common sense tips for your placement search

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Business and Marketing student Alice, who is just starting her placement year, sets out here her top 5 tips for successful placement search.

Research:

When applying or preparing for any application or interview it is vital to prepare yourself, with both company and role research. This is a great tactic for setting yourself apart from other candidates and in an employer’s eye often extremely important as there is a significant need for  understanding of the skills required for the role. Start with basic history research of the company moving further to understanding the company ethos and values (matching these to your own, nobody wants to be stuck in a company with values they can’t connect with!)

Prepare:

Read and re-read the job description and skills specific within the role, although this seems like blatant common sense it is often missed that the job role description holds many clues to the questions you are likely to be asked during the interview process. In many instances an employer will devise both job description and a set of interview questions in correspondence to the desired skill set at the same time.

Match your skills and previous experience to the specific skills identified within the job brief, providing an example of an instance you  have demonstrated each of the skills! This will allow you to provide physical evidence of having the required skill set needed.

Smile:

Relax and smile! Over the phone or face to face interviewing. Believe it or not a smile can even be heard over the phone, in a sense, it will help create an upbeat positive tone of interview. Employers are more likely to remember a smiling face, enthusiasm is a great attribute and will communicate a sense of ease in a stressful situation.

LinkedIn:

More than ever employers are following interviews with further research on their candidates using LinkedIn. It is vital to update all aspects of your LinkedIn, with the fact you are a placement seeking student at the forefront of your profile. Reach out to relevant connections to increase your credibility, including endorsements, up to date qualifications and a suitable profile picture. Sheffield Hallam university offer fantastic support on getting your placement profile ready!

Feedback:

Successful or unsuccessful, it is always useful to receive feedback even if successful in the interviewing process. Contact the employer and ask politely for feedback on which aspects you performed well in and what can be improved upon. I can guarantee there will be sometime later in your future you will use both positive and negative feedback  to learn from and will be grateful for the information.

Don’t stop until you’re proud!

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Business and Marketing student Alice is busy applying for placements. Here she tells us why she now feels more confident…

A sense of achievement is what every student expects when embarking on their university journey. Cliché I know, but a very wise lady once gave me a very wise piece of advice, she told me “Never stop until you’re proud”. In the thick of my second year and applying for placements I found this piece of advice to be at the forefront of my motivation. Having performed numerous telephone interviews you could say it was becoming second nature, but having secured a face-to-face interview I just couldn’t shake this overwhelming feeling of nervousness.

The company sent me over a briefing for my interview describing the days’ activities to be a ten minute individual presentation, group tasks and a competency based interview.

Arranging a meeting with someone more experienced than myself seemed like the sensible thing to do. Here I met Karen Allan my employment adviser, not only could I discuss the process and my general worries with an experienced figure but straight away I felt much more at ease and calmer about the situation.

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Having had the opportunity to take part on the Common Purpose leadership course offered through Sheffield Hallam, I felt relatively comfortable with my performance in group tasks and wasn’t so anxious about this activity. However having to prepare a ten minute presentation on ‘increasing brand exposure’ seemed to be proving the most difficult task to prepare for. Despite the fact I had been doing tasks such as this throughout my university experience, in this situation I was naturally more apprehensive. But the support with my preparation hadn’t stopped at Karen, and seeking advice from my Marketing tutors who were more than happy to help, enabled them to advise and critique my work to allow the best chance of securing the placement.

With all the tips and tricks Karen has armed me with and the support of my tutors now all I have to do is take a deep breath, keep my fingers crossed and remember “Never stop until you are proud” and hopefully my next post will be a blog about how to successfully secure a placement.

London Calling – spook busting!

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For some students, whether thinking about a  job on graduation or undertaking a placement year, almost as frightening as the prospect of not getting a job, is the daunting reality of getting one and having to relocate to a perhaps unknown or unfamiliar location.  Below are some myth-busting insights from a student who has ‘been there, done that’ encouraging you to take the plunge.

Thanks to Charlotte Stanbridge, a current final year student of Business and Enterprise Management, for sharing her positive reality check on what it was really like moving to London.  You can see Charlotte’s earlier post on ‘Top Tips for Placement Seekers‘ below.

 

What’s stopping you?

When applying for graduate and placement roles, you will often find that a lot of opportunities are London based but don’t let this put you off! I often hear ‘I’m not going to London’ from peers but it is important to be flexible where you can.

So, what is it that is holding you back from tackling the big smoke?

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1)       ‘It’s too expensive, I can’t afford to move there’

True, living in London will cost you considerably more in terms of rent however you will find that this is often compensated by higher salaries or ‘London weighting’ which on placement added an additional £3,000 to my annual pay.  A lot of the larger companies will also pay a month in advance in order to help you get set up in London.

2)      Likewise, ‘It’s too expensive, I can’t afford to live there’

And again, travel and leisure can be expensive however as students, you will be more than used to being thrifty. Something I found particularly helpful around travel is the student oyster card which just cost £10 to issue and gives you cheaper travel rates on trains, tubes and buses which can also be teamed with a 16-25 railcard for further savings. There are also plenty of things that you can do for free in London – which I now miss greatly – including festivals, museums, television filming (check out Applause Store) and lots of tourist attractions which are free too!

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3)      ‘It’s too big, I’ll get lost all the time’

So I did get lost once in London however there are so many landmarks (Big Ben was my landmark of choice on this occasion), apps and maps dotted around to help you and all the thousands of tourists wandering around. Some fantastic apps I would recommend downloading are; Citymapper and Tube Map (both great for navigating your way around the city on foot, by bus or taxi) and Uber and Hailo which are taxi apps.

4)      ‘I’ll be a little fish in a big pond’

Don’t see this as a negative. Focus on the fact that there will be hundreds of opportunities around you every day. London is also a great place to meet and network with others. Whilst on placement, I met other like-minded placement students who worked for all kinds of companies like Unilever, Microsoft and Arcadia. The experience and people I have met have greatly helped shape my career aspirations for the future.

5)      ‘It’s not safe’

As with any city, it is important to be aware and mindful of crime in London. Even small things, for example, not leaving your phone in your back pocket as an advertisement to thieves or travelling alone late at night. In my experience, I did not feel any less safe as in Sheffield or other cities I have visited but always be aware of your surroundings.

I feel it is important to point out that this is my personal experience of living in London for 13 months whilst on placement. I am also not a ‘city’ person at all having grown up on a family farm 2 miles from civilisation so was pleasantly surprised by how much I have fallen in love with London.

Best of luck with all your applications and hoping you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Any questions, please feel free to contact me on LinkedIn.

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