Tag Archives | FBL placements

Top 10 Tips for Applications

Today we have a guest post from Joe, one of our placement students who is soon to start his placement year working at Morgan Stanley. Whether you are applying for a placement, internship or graduate job, his tried and tested tips should help you during the application process!

  1. Start looking early:

Many schemes open up to applications at the end of summer and recruit on a rolling basis. Spend a few days of your summer noting opening dates and deadlines for applications.

  1. Prepare key documents before the application cycle:

Save yourself time down the line when university work builds up by having already put together your CV and a general cover letter structure over summer. Also, make both a 1-page and 2-page CV, as various companies may state a preference.

  1. Consider the main factors in deciding which jobs to apply for:download1

i. What role do you want to be in? ii. Do you want to work for a large or small company? (both have advantages and disadvantages) iii. Do you want work in another city? (consider relocation costs) iv. Is it a paid position? (salaries can vary greatly)

  1. Research the company and the role you are applying to:

Generic applications get nowhere. Read up on the business news relevant to the firm and about the firm. Go on the firm’s website and look at the recent developments and core values. Read up on what the role will actually entail. Look at intern reviews on websites such as “Rate My Placement”.

  1. Tailor each application to each specific role and company:

All that research you’ve just done should be embedded in your cover letter so you come across as genuinely interested in the position you are applying for.

  1. Apply early:

Once all this is done, get in those applications! This is for two reasons. First, you are more likely to be successful if you get your application in early. Second, you don’t want to have to be filling in applications when it comes to exam season.

  1. Use the resources available to you:

Southampton Business School has a really strong placement team and website – so use them! Get them to go over your applications, do mock interviews with you, and ask for advice.

  1. Interviews – competency questions:

Plan in advance, but don’t try and create an individual answer for every possible competency question you can think of. You will never remember all of them. Instead, know really well about five things you have done in the last 2-3 years that display your skill set. Then when you get asked, “tell me about a time you when displayed skill X”, select your most relevant example and apply the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method to it when giving your answer.

  1. Assessment centres

Arrive early so you are not stressed, and then just be yourself. If feel like you need to act differently, then maybe the company isn’t the right fit for you anyway and you wouldn’t enjoy yourself there. Also, there’s a good chance they’ll call you out during interview if they’re not too sure about the way in which you are presenting yourself.

  1. If all else fails…it’s a numbers game:

There will be many good candidates out there with similar qualities to you, so it all may come down to fine margins. Play the odds and do lots of (quality) applications and something will eventually fall into place!

Wishing the best of luck to Joe next year! 

Share your own application tips with the hashtag #FindYourPlace

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#FindYourPlace

findyourplace

Introducing #FindYourPlace! Over the past few months we have loved hearing from different people about their placement experiences, tips and advice. Now we want to hear from YOU!

Over the next few months we want to build a community, sharing tried and tested tips, advice and experiences which will hopefully help you #FindYourPlace. Whether you are looking for a graduate job, internship or placement year, we want to hear from you – get involved on our twitter and facebook page and keep up to date on key information which will make you a first choice for employers!

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4 Extra-Curricular Activities that Employers Love


Are you stuck for extra-curricular activities to add to your CV? Perhaps you don’t know which of your experiences is worthy of mentioning, or maybe you’ve not yet got round to taking part in anything outside of your degree. In this article, we’ll look at four activities outside of your course that employers love, providing you with inspiration for writing your CV, or new ideas for activities to apply for in September.
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1. Doing charity work

Taking on charity work is a great way to show your passion for a cause close to you, as well as providing an opportunity to learn new skills relevant to your future career. Charity work doesn’t always involve fundraising or providing frontline services, there are often opportunities to take on a volunteering position with the management of a local charity, teaching you valuable business skills such as a good email manner, project management skills or event planning.

A volunteering role such as this is a great way to fill any gaps in your experience, for example if you were unsuccessful in applying for a summer internship. You may have to go without pay, but don’t forget that even a day or an afternoon a week during term time can be enough for you to learn many of the useful transferrable skills mentioned above.

2. Actively learning new skills

A highly sought-after trait of new hires is being a self-starter when it comes to learning new skills. If you regularly spend time learning new skills outside of your degree course, you’re able to demonstrate that you’re willing and able to fill any gaps in your knowledge, which can really help to reassure your interviewer if you don’t yet have all the skills necessary for the job you’re interviewing for.

SKILLSThere are two types of skills you may wish to teach yourself. Firstly, extra-curricular skills can demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded person, for example learning first aid. Learning this life skill shows you have a willingness to become a resource to your community, and is also relevant to the business world, since organisations need a number of trained first aiders in the building as part of their first aid obligation. If you have a first aid certificate already, check it’s in date, as due to a rule change, an out of date certificate means you’re no longer a first aider.

Second, is learning a skill relevant to your industry that you may not have gained through your course. For example, if you’re looking to get into digital marketing, you need to learn industry-specific skills which are not on offer on many courses. Show you’re worth hiring by learning these skills before you get on the job training, which can be done for free with online courses by Google and other providers.

3. Show off your writing skills

Even if you’re not looking to enter a career in journalism or copywriting, the fact is that many roles require strong writing skills, for example for communicating ideas in presentations, writing reports, or creating specifications for products or campaigns.

One of the best ways to showbusiness-writing off your written communication skills is to write for the Wessex Scene, the Tab, or other publications such as a blog on a topic you’re passionate about. Bringing a portfolio of articles authored by you can really help set you apart from other candidates who may simply rely on their CV to demonstrate their writing skills.

To gain even more credit with the interviewer, consider writing on a topic relevant to the industry you’re looking to enter, demonstrating not just your writing skills, but also your passion for the career you’re aiming to begin.

4. Taking part in relevant societies and student groups

Employers love to see candidates who have actively tried to expand their knowledge about the industry they’re looking to enter, and a great way to show this is by joining a club or society relevant to your career plans. For example, if you’re looking to become a web developer, then why not join the Electronics and Computer Science Society? Or if you’re looking to become an engineer, then taking part in the Engineering Society can help show your passion. With over 300 societies to choose from, it’s well worth taking a look for one relevant to the career you’re looking to enter.

Your level of involvement in these groups is also of significance in your interview. It’s always best to join just one or two societies and take on a leading role, such as becoming a member of the committee, than joining 5 or 6 and not attending regularly. A deeper involvement in a club means you’ll learn more transferrable skills such as financial skills or time management, which you can put on your CV and discuss in your interview.

About the author

Seb Atkinson graduated in 2011 and is a first aider writing for the Safety First Aid blog, which provides helpful advice to first aiders and first aid volunteers.

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Be informed, even if not smart

I recently came across an online article about the most ridiculous ways some students have spent their student loans. This immediately brought to mind my own student days and I can still – vividly – remember the buzzing feeling of

work-lifeseeing a huge balance on my bank account on the day the loan arrived. Luckily, I didn’t spend it all on an Elvis Presley bust (read the article below to find out more…). No, I was sensible and used it to pay for driving lessons. Well, I used most of it for that. The rest, well, goodness knows what I did with it. Honestly, I probably did a lot of ‘fun’ stuff (buying a lot of shoes comes to mind). And, since I did my degree in fashion, a big chunk of the loan was spent in fabric shops and the like – I am a self-confessed hoarder of all things crafty.

But, looking back now to my student years and the time I’ve since spent working, I can see a few things I would have done differently. Besides being wiser with my money, I would have definitely spent more time exploring different career opportunities. Doing a creative degree was great; three years filled with sketching, pattern drafting and sewing  was heaven for me. But after the degree, I was none the wiser about what I really wanted to do with my life. It was so easy to just think about the here and now, and not plan for the future at all.

I ended up moving abroad fairly quickly after graduation – in fact, two days after! – which made it even harder for me to pursue the dream of working in a creative role. I never completely stopped using the skills learnt during my degree, designing and making bespoke dresses, and crafting in my free time, but earned my living by working in roles that were not that creative at all.

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Do I regret not embarking on a creative career straight after graduation? Yes, sometimes I do. I wish I would have been a bit more sensible (yes, sensible) about the choices I made. But, on the other hand, I got to travel and live in some amazing places, and during my travels I grew as a person more than I ever would have if I had gone straight into employment from uni. So, if I could give my 20-year-old self some advice retrospectively, I would tell myself to at least think about different future paths during my studies, and to use holidays between studies wisely by experimenting with career options, rather than just lay on the beach. That way, my choices might not be any smarter than they were, but at least they would have been informed decisions, not wild guesses. But, I cannot go back in time or change the past. You, as a current student on the other hand, do have the opportunity to experiment with career options here and now. Be smart with those opportunities, just like you need to be smart with your student loan.

So, about that Elvis Presley bust… you can read about it here.

http://www.thenationalstudent.com/Student/2015-01-16/What_are_the_10_most_ridiculous_student_loan_purchases.html

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Why work for an SME?

As you search for work experience, whether it is a placement, internship, or job; you will probably be instantly be drawn to the huge iconic companies such as ‘L’Oreal’, ‘Deloitte’ or ‘Disney’. Although these are all fantastic places to work and gain experience, have you ever considered applying to work for a Small-Medium-Enterprise?

Here’s some aspects you might not have considered…

  • You can make a big impact – Being a small fish in a big pond can be tough and, whilst you will contribute, you probably won’t make as much of an accountable impact to the company as a whole. With smaller SMEs you will be part of a much smaller team and so you will probably have more responsibility and your work will make a bigger difference, which can be very rewarding.
  • A simpler application process – Being smaller, SME’s often have a less lengthy application process, and so whilst still competitive, you are more likely to be given the opportunity to shine at interview.
  • More accessible – If you aren’t someone who wants to move for your placement, an SME might just be for images (12)you as there are plenty of opportunities local to Southampton which would mean you won’t have the hassle and expense of moving to another location.
  • Valuable experience – A placement at an SME is just as valuable as one at Coca Cola. It’s not where you do your placement, but what you do and what you make of it. Future employers look for skills and attributes you gain from a placement more than the size or reputation of the company itself.

Interested?

If you are interested in working for an SME, we can help you out. Take a look at our Jobs board for current opportunities or pop in and see us for some advice!

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