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Category Archives: Careers

Interview Presentation Tips For Success

As if going for interview wasn’t stressful enough… sometimes we are asked to give a presentation as part of the process! If the thought of this fills you with dread, read our top five tips to help:

Preparation is key!

You will be given a topic and a time limit for your presentation. You should research the topic and how it relates to the company. Be creative about sourcing information. Decide which information is relevant and collate your ideas, grouping them in themes as they emerge. Think about your audience, in order to ensure you pitch your presentation at the right level.

Get the structure right

Developing a clear structure for your presentation will help you stay focused and help your audience follow you. Have a clear message that runs through the presentation.

You should make sure you have a powerful introduction and memorable close, as these are the times when your audience will be most attentive. Ensure that your ideas are clear and come in a logical sequence.

When calculating how much time to spend on each section you should allow 10-15% for your opening, and the same for your conclusion, then the remainder of time should be spent on the main content.

Prepare visual aids

It’s important that you use a mode of presentation that you can operate with ease. There are several alternatives to the traditional PowerPoint presentation that can reflect different skills, however be cautious about being flashy in order to emphasise technical expertise as this can cause problems with audience distraction.

Do not subject your audience to “death by PowerPoint” – keep your visual aids simple and use to emphasise what you are saying rather than taking the focus away from you.

Also consider providing hand-outs for the audience to keep as a reminder of you and your presentation.

Practice, practice, practice

Rehearsing is essential to feeling confident on the day. As well as familiarising yourself with the content, you should check your timings are right.

Find what works best for you: speaking out loud to yourself in the shower, picking up presentation tactics from the Internet (TED talks are a great resource for this), or familiarising yourself with your presentation over and over.

If possible, do a dummy run in front of a friend or family member and ask for constructive feedback. Alternatively, take a video of yourself and observe what worked well and what you need to improve.

Body language

The way you deliver your presentation and how you appear to your audience is just as important as what you say. If your message, tone of delivery and body language are consistent, you will present powerfully and with impact. Nerves are natural, but you can channel a feeling of confidence simply by changing your posture. Remember to smile and to have eye contact with your audience.

 

Finally… remember that the audience wants you to succeed! You were invited to interview because they think you have something to offer and they want to see more. Follow these tips and show them that you are the right candidate for the job.

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By Carol Vaughan, Careers & Employability Service Information Services Co-ordinator

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British Science Week – #BSW15

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It’s British Science Week this week (previously known as Science & Engineering Week) – a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths, featuring fascinating, entertaining and engaging events and activities across the UK for people of all ages.

We thought we’d start the week off with some fun science facts…

  • It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open
  • A medium-sized cumulus cloud weighs about the same as 80 elephants
  • A single bolt of lightning contains enough energy to cook 100,000 pieces of toast
  • In an average lifetime, human skin completely replaces itself 900 times
  • A red blood cell can make a complete circuit of your body in 20 seconds
  • An electric eel can produce a shock of up to 650 volts
  • If the Sun were the size of a beach ball then Jupiter would be the size of a golf ball and the Earth would be as small as a pea
  • Women blink nearly twice as often as men
  • The amount of carbon in the human body is enough to fill about 9,000 ‘lead’ pencils
  • Hot water freezes faster than cold water

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For more on British Science Week visit the website or check them out on Twitter and Facebook:

http://www.britishscienceweek.org/

https://twitter.com/ScienceWeekUK

https://www.facebook.com/ScienceWeekUK

Thinking about STEM careers? Check out these links:

http://www.wherestemcantakeyou.co.uk/

http://www.stemgraduates.co.uk/

By Carol Vaughan, Information Services Co-ordinator, UWS Careers & Employability Service

International Women’s Day

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The tagline for this years international women’s day is #makeithappen which I felt connected well to careers and employability as in terms of career planning and fulfilling your potential it really is up to you to ‘make it happen’.

Even in today’s society women all over the world still face lower salaries in comparison to men, and are still not equally represented in the boardroom or politics and globally women face violence and a lack of education compared to their male counterparts.

However, since the inception of international women’s day in 1900, women have won many battles and this fact should be celebrated and women everywhere encouraged to #make it happen.

And to provide some motivation I thought it would be a good chance to take a look at some women who have done just that-

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and has been voted Forbes most powerful woman in Media. The Huffington Post sold for 300 million to aol in 2011 and Arianna Huffington remained as editor in chief.
Belinda Parmar runs Lady Geek a business which aims at making technology and games more accessible to women. Little Miss Geek aims to get young women to be inspired by a career in the technology and games industry.

Jenny Dawson founded a social enterprise rubies in the rubble her organisation uses unwanted left over fruit and veg from markets and turns them into jams and chutneys while supporting unemployed people to help them gain valuable skills and experience.

These are just a few examples of women who have made a path for themselves and have become successful using their own merits. If they have not been enough to motivate you into action why not watch this Ted Talk and get motivated to take control of your own future and #make it happen for yourself!

By Pamela Smith – Careers Adviser, UWS Careers & Employability Service

Interview Tips and Tricks by Ashleigh Harman

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Read our guide to find out more about how to plan and prepare for your interview so that you can make the best possible impression on your potential employers.

A Student Guide to Good Interview Practice
Landing a job interview can sometimes feel like hitting the jackpot, especially when you’ve spent weeks searching for vacancies and sending out CVs.

Your interviewer will have been impressed and intrigued by your application, but remember that they will also be meeting a selection of other candidates to discuss the role. An employer sets up numerous interviews in order to find out more about a group of suitable candidates and the skills and knowledge that they possess. The face-to-face meetings also allow them to determine whether or not individuals that look good on paper will actually fit in with their ethos and environment.

Our guide looks at what you can do both before and during an interview in order to make the best possible impression on your potential employer and prove that you are the right candidate to recruit.

Be prepared
Thoroughly research the company before you attend the job interview and have a selection of questions prepared, which you can ask the interviewer at the end.

Also think carefully about the characteristics, skills and experiences you want to put forward. Having this information safe in the back of your mind can be incredibly valuable, as the mental cue cards can help you present yourself in the best possible light where you give substantial and authentic answers to any questions asked.

It can also prevent you from drawing a blank, as you will know what message and image of yourself you want to portray to your potential employer.

Have the right attitude
An interview is your time to demonstrate exactly what you can bring to an organisation. Have an enthusiastic and professional attitude right from the offset in order to make a positive first impression and showcase exactly how you will be an asset to the business on a daily basis.
Also demonstrate a passion for the organisation, as interviewers like to see that a candidate has taken the time to research and get to know their business. It is also recommended that you express exactly how you will be able to contribute to the success of the business by becoming part of the team – highlighting your indispensability to the interviewer.

Ask meaningful questions
Every candidate knows that they should ask questions, but many struggle to come up with anything substantial.
Ask about the business in order to show your keen interest, see if there are opportunities for promotion and progression to prove that you are driven and also enquire into the challenges of the role, giving you an opportunity to express how you would tackle these.

Be yourself
While you may think that this is easier said than done, you should avoid giving any routine, bland answers that an interviewer will have heard before. Instead, tell stories and anecdotes that address the questions asked in order to provide the potential employer with greater understanding of you and how you would work within their organisation.

Make a lasting impression
Always follow up your interview with a thank you letter outlining what you gained and learned from the process. This can help you make a lasting positive impression and also demonstrate to a potential employer that you are genuinely interested in the role.

What not to do in a job interview
What you don’t say in a job interview can be just as important as what you do. Below is a selection of interview faux pas that all candidates should look to avoid at all costs:

Don’t turn up late
Don’t wear inappropriate clothing
Don’t mention money in the first interview
Don’t pass on any questions or answer “I don’t know”
Don’t mention any unrelated career goals or part-time jobs
Don’t talk negatively about any previous job roles or employers

By having a clear understanding of what employers do and do not want, and how to go about making a strong impression, you can adequately prepare for your upcoming interviews so that they run smoothly and put you in the strongest possible position for being chosen for the role.

Ashleigh Harman is a digital content writer for a recruitment agency specialising in job vacancies and careers in compensation, benefits and rewards. http://www.portfoliocbr.com/

DISCLOSING A DISABILITY?

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If you’re wondering when or whether to disclose a disability, at University or when applying for a job, you might find the following advice useful:

There’s no legal requirement to disclose a disability. Our general advice would be to disclose before it becomes a barrier to you. Your rights under the The Equality Act 2010 apply at any time you disclose, whether this be at application, interview or any time after.

The Careers and Employability Service and Disability Service are both here to provide advice and guidance on a range of issues, including disclosure of a disability.

There are Disability Advisers and Careers Advisers available at each campus and you can arrange contact through the Student Link reception – more information can be found at http://www.uws.ac.uk/studentservices

Advisers provide a confidential, professional opportunity for you to discuss thoughts or concerns.

Disability Advisers: Disclosure at University – who, when and why…

Disability Advisers are a good source of advice if you’re not sure where to start. Your information is treated confidentially and Advisers would normally only send relevant information to lecturing staff, exams co-ordinators and occasionally library staff, as agreed with you at your appointment with them.

If you are meeting someone new within the University who doesn’t know about your disability, for instance a Careers Adviser, librarian or a visiting lecturer, it can be helpful for you if staff know what you need: for example if you have difficulties reading website materials, information can be prepared in an alternative format for you.

Careers Advisers: Advice and Information when applying for a job or other opportunity…

• Understanding what might be classed as a disability
• Considering when or if you should disclose a disability
• Deciding how to present your disability positively to an employer
• Exploring your career development options both during and after university

The careers and employability service can send you information on different aspects of disclosure, and these are also available on campus.

For more information and contact details visit http://www.uws.ac.uk/studentservices or arrange to speak to staff by visiting the Student Link on campus.

Boost your commercial awareness with professional magazines and newsletters

Most work sectors have professional magazine publications both in printed and/or digital formats with news and discussion about what’s going on in the sector. Many also have free digital newsletters that you can sign up to receive.

These are a great way for you to build your knowledge and commercial awareness of the sector you want to work in.

The best way to find these publications is to search by sector, for example “teaching”, “human resource management” or “science”. Some examples:

  • Times Higher Education Supplement
  • PlanetEarth
  • International Accountant
  • PR Week
  • HR Magazine
  • The Scientist

Don’t forget that many of these also have Social Media accounts where they publish up to date news and information.

Get on the list, get connected, and stand out from the crowd during the job application process with your up to date knowledge and commercial awareness!

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By Carol Vaughan, Information Services Co-ordinator, UWS Careers & Employability Service

How to Organise your Job Search – Top Tips for Graduates and Students

Looking for your first full-time job after university can be quite a challenge. Read these organisation tips to help you keep on track with your applications.

Five ways to organise your job search

Attempting to land your first job after university can be tough. From not knowing whether or not you will get responses back from applications to keeping track of vacancies, CVs and emails, it can become quite a challenge especially as you try to balance your job search with your studies.

Organisation is therefore crucial for staying on top of your job hunt and university work. Having a system in place can prevent the search from becoming confusing and time-consuming, allowing you to keep track of the process and prevent it from impacting on other areas of your university life.

Below are five tips to help you remain in control and give you the best chance of securing the right graduate-level role for you.

1. Outline your expectations at the very beginning

Undoubtedly, you will have certain expectations for your first job after university. Think carefully about what you want and need from your graduate-level role, paying particular attention to the following:

  • Industry
  • Business type
  • Location
  • Salary expectations
  • Working environment

Make a note of your expectations before you start, as this can help you remain completely focused and provide you with a good understanding of the end result you want to achieve.

2. Build a proper routine when job hunting

It can be easy to become lost as you get stuck into your job hunt, while postponing the most difficult tasks can also be tempting.

Build a routine so that you can remain focused and continue pushing forward. This should include putting together a schedule outlining the time you want to dedicate to job hunting every week. You also need to plan out the tasks you want to carry out over a set period of time so that you have a clear understanding of what needs to be completed in advance. We would recommend doing the most demanding work when you are most productive in order to make the most of your time.

3. Benefit from virtual tools

Make use of the different apps and tools that have been designed to support job searches.

Job boards can let you view a selection of job vacancies narrowed down by industry, which can make your search more simple and straightforward. Creating an account on Indeed can also be beneficial, as it gives you the opportunity to see millions of employment opportunities in one place. The Indeed website and app pulls in vacancies placed on all different online job boards and company websites, so that you can find suitable roles quickly and save them to one place.

Evernote can also be used to synchronise the documents related to your job hunt across all devices, allowing you to organise any covering letters and CVs that you send out.

Free management systems such as Huntsy and JibberJobber can then help you to better manage your job search. Suitable job vacancies can be manually and automatically added, while you can schedule interviews, remind yourself to send thank-you and follow-up emails, find connections and apply for jobs. Using a management system to plan out and organise your job search can break up the process into small, easily digestible tasks so you can stay on track of exactly what is going on.

4. Regularly update your plans

Many job seekers fall into the trap of establishing a strategy and then forgetting to regularly review and update it during their job search.

Update your plan every time you get a reply or there is a status change so that you can gain a clear and accurate understanding of what is completed and what still needs to be carried out. Also include dates for every action that you complete so that you can recognise when you should follow up on an email, interview or other correspondence you have had with businesses or recruitment agencies.

5. Indulge in some much-needed rest and relaxation

Job hunting can be a stressful ordeal, so clocking off and spending time away from your computer is necessary. It can allow you to clear your head and spend time with your family and friends, so that you are less likely to dread heading back to the job search the next day.

You should also take the time to talk to the people closest to you. This can help to boost motivation and hear the thoughts and opinions of those most important to you. Regular family chats can also leave you with no excuse to delay tasks, as you will be expected to provide them with a progress update.

However you approach your job hunt and whatever strategy you choose, it is crucial that you decide upon a routine that is right for you. By making organisation one of your priorities, you can stay on top of the process and continue to push forward, allowing your job search to remain as effective as possible where you are able to find and apply for the job roles that are most suitable for you.

Author Bio: Ashleigh Harman is a digital content writer for Portfolio Payroll a leading specialist payroll recruitment agency in the UK.

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