Friday, June 29, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello and welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup. It has been a very busy week and it looks set to stay that way for the summer months. Most people have now finished exams for the summer and graduation ceremonies are happening.

Once again we’ve got pupillages on the brain. If you’re looking to become a barrister then this is a vital step in your career path. However, there is a lot of competition, and in order to get through you’re going to need to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Enter TARGETjobs Law:

But of course, not everyone wants to be a barrister, and very few of us end up as one. So if you’re looking for jobs elsewhere, there’s still plenty of advice for you:
  • In other news, UK Power Networks has launched a Facebook account. You can see the latest recruitment news but also post questions that one of the team will answer.
But if those particular sectors aren’t for you either, there’s plenty more general advice for your edification:
  • First up was the scandalous news that many students admit to cheating when filling in online applications. Unfortunately for them, this is unlikely to help them, as the process is designed to make sure they are weeded out later on.
  • The TARGETjobs interns have started to post the first in their series of blogs. These guys are the absolute cream of the crop and they write with such panache that Shakespeare would blush. To see for yourself, scroll down.
  • If you’re on Google+ and you’re interested in finding out about postgraduate courses, then TARGETcourses will be launching its page on Monday.
  • If you’re about to send off a job application, just hold on five minutes. Many of the most common mistakes made by graduates can be solved by a good, thorough last-minute check.
  • And speaking of sending off job applications, there’s the regular roundup of all the jobs with deadlines next week. It’s the end of the month, so it’s a busy week, but it’s also graduation season, so competition will be fierce. Check out the latest jobs here.
To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!
TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Meet the TARGETjobs Summer interns

TARGETjobs has two new editorial interns, Ross and Alex. Throughout this summer they will be writing about their experience here: what they are learning, getting used to working life and other bits and bobs along the way. Hope you join me in giving them a big warm welcome. 

Hello bloggers, I’m Ross and I’m one of the summer editorial interns at TARGETjobs. I’ve been here for two weeks and I’m feeling progressively comfortable with my relocation from Scotland to the Wallingford office (even if English people are still really weird, he joked). I arrived here as a relatively recent graduate looking to gain some experience in the publishing industry, based primarily on my enjoyment of writing.

To give you an idea of my background, I studied Scots Law at the University of Dundee (based on the arbitrary selection of a career path at the apparently mature age of 17) before completing an LLM in International Criminal Justice and Human Rights at the same institution. This academic pathway is probably quite appropriate in setting the scene for my arrival at my position at TARGETjobs. I had originally decided (with as much conviction as you can when you don’t know what a job involves) on the idea of an academic career. Following an unguided stab at securing PhD funding, which was unsuccessful, I felt that perhaps my thirst for a career in academia was based more on a notion of a passion as opposed to a concrete enthusiasm.

I moved on to searching for a graduate job. I hadn’t really considered this idea before and felt, with misplaced confidence, that securing a place on a graduate scheme would be a formality given that I had a strong 2.1 and a masters degree. Not so. Over the course of eight months, I experienced a series of peaks and troughs of enthusiasm for a number of potential career paths. At times I would decide that I would be well-suited to a role in management consulting and would pursue this until I was met with the decisive and seemingly insurmountable ‘no entry’ of a rejection email. After recovering from this knockback, I would switch perspective and angle myself towards a career in politics, initially as a parliamentary assistant, to the same conclusion.

It was a galling experience to have my delusions shattered by the realisation that a university degree by itself does not guarantee an immediate career. It did however give me time to focus on what I might like to do when I grow up…

During this confusing period of my young life, I worked full time in the call centre of an apparently regal Scottish bank. Although I wasn’t too unhappy about it at the time, given that I was unused to being given so much pocket money, I reflect on this time with a slight shudder. I guess this is testament to the enjoyment I’ve experienced in my jobs since: firstly in a rural distillery on a Scottish island, which gave me a different sense of perspective and the realisation that putting yourself into an unfamiliar situation can lead to unexpected opportunities arising; and now at TARGETjobs, which has been cosy and tea-assisted, but also exciting as I find myself exposed to the unforeseen complexities of life within the publishing industry.

Over the next few months, I hope to supply you with some interesting insights into my time at TARGETjobs. Thank you for listening (with your eyes).  

Hello guys, I’m Alex, another one of the summer interns. I’m twenty and lacking letters after my name unlike Ross. During the holidays I live at home in Marlow.

I’ve recently finished my second year at Swansea University where I study English literature (I’m always asked how many books I have to read for my course – I just like to carry them around to look intelligent).
Swansea, despite being somewhere close to my heart, is one of those places that receives around a week of summer weather a year, before descending back into winter again, so when told I had the opportunity to come and work for TARGETjobs, I grabbed at it. 

As far as my career aspirations go, I’m set on becoming a journalist, so I see TARGETjobs as an ideal opportunity to broaden my horizons and become familiar with web-based content.

As far as employment is concerned, apart from TARGETjobs, I’ve been working since I was 16. A job at a coffee shop (the name of the company will remain private, though I will say it was a big one) broke up my routine during sixth form and it was an ideal way to get employment during the student holidays. Whilst in Swansea I haven’t particularly worked, although I’ve recently been at one of the local bars serving the revellers (I’ll be sharing a few stories on serving tricky customer in the next few months, fear not). That’s the paid employment. In terms of work experience, I’m a bit of a show off. What with journalism being highly competitive, I’ve been hassling newspapers all over the country to take me on for a week at a time to build up a list of newspapers and articles to add to my cv. My method of calling up everybody on a newspaper’s “contact us” section of their website has yielded results and I hope to be able to put my experiences towards supporting an application for a postgraduate degree (Again, blog post on hassling employers for work experience is to come).

Although in person it’s a lot harder to shut me up and I’m regularly hassling the guys in the office, I’m keeping this post a little shorter, but I promise to update you guys regularly. I’m currently lacking in a classy sign off line like Ross.

Monday, June 25, 2012

How I won the TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year in Low Carbon Technology

Hello today we have a special guest, Declan Bryans, this year's winner of the Undergraduate of the Year in Low Carbon Technology, sponsored by EDF energy. He kindly has given his time to write about his experience, what he did to make sure he was ahead of the competition, how he felt on the day of the award ceremony. The first part of this guest blog talks about his determination to succeed and how he rallied the troops around him to make sure that his application and interview would stand out. (Some really useful information) 

Hello everyone, my name is Declan Bryans and I am going to write this blog explaining my motivations to why I entered and how I became the Undergraduate of the Year in Low Carbon Technology, sponsored by EDF Energy. I study an MSci in Applied Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.  I’ve never wrote a blog before in my life, so I have asked a couple of my friends how they do it.

They said; express your feelings and type it as if you’re telling someone it for the first time. Coming from the west of Scotland this seems like a bit of a daunting task but I will do my best to keep the text informative and interesting! So, here we go!

I first heard of Undergraduate of the Year competition back in December 2011, when I received an email from my department at Strathclyde University. The email stated that the deadline was fast approaching and that it may interest some students. So with exams round the corner and being submerged in notes and textbooks this seemed like the perfect form of guilt free procrastination a student could wish for!

After looking at the twelve awards, the low carbon technology award stood out to me, it was an area I was interested in, it was related to my course and I had recently done a project on renewables. Dream come true! So after filling out the personal details section adding in my CV we got to the questions specific for this award. If memory serves me right, it was how I could tackle the energy crisis and how my course relates to it, having studied this topic already, a quick catch up and I had down, what I thought was two pretty good answers.

So exams finished and wrapped up a period of time later (can’t remember how long!) I received an email from TARGETjobs congratulating me on my success for passing the first stage and that the second stage consisted of some online tests to be completed. Win! After a few online practise tests I plucked up the courage and started the tests. I found the tests to be quick paced with the difficult part knowing that you’re against the clock and then trying to remove that fact from your head to concentrate on the questions at hand.

Eventually, it was March and I had received an email congratulating me on passing the previous stage and that I would soon be contacted by the sponsors of my award, which I was. I was invited to attend their assessment centre down in London on the 23rd of March. I was told to prepare a 5 minute presentation on a stated topic. That was when the thought occurred to me that I could win this award: I have made it this far, why not take it all the way. That was when I decided I needed to ensure I had one great presentation that would stand above the rest of the competition, as I knew that the other students through to this stage would definitely put up a good fight. So I asked for help, I met up with some lecturers in my university who specialise in this area and we threw ideas off each other. Armed with a plan I dedicated a night to prepare my slides and the dialogue to go with it. It didn’t stop there however, I took it to my Study of Advisors and another lecturer who has helped with our presentation skills in the past, asked their advice and refined my overall presentation. Once this was done I practised, practised myself, practised in front of friends and family, even practised on the train down to London.

Eventually, I was there (after a 5 hour train journey). Not being a regular visitor to London I have to admit I got lost a couple of times but through trial and error I made it to the right building: and on time too!  I met the other students who were competing for the award and they were great people with impressive backgrounds, one guy had a personalised tie of one of his achievements. The day consisted of two team work tasks and the presentation, so I decided to give it my all that day and enjoy myself (and being honest, it was a lot of fun!).

Ten days went by and I must admit; it was looking bleak. I was expecting the “there were many great applicants but unfortunately” story. Just imagine my surprise when I received the email stating I was a finalist and invited to the award ceremony on Friday the 13th of April: bad day for some but good omen for me considering it was also my 21st Birthday!

Stay tuned.. next week Declan will be back to talk about the award ceremony, his nerve-wrecking experience and the joys of finding out that he was the winner! 

And... if you think you have what it takes to be next year's Undergraduate of the year why not pre-register to be the first to know when the awards are open.

Friday, June 22, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello and welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup. Things are beginning to heat up here, as exams are finishing, graduation ceremonies are starting up, and ex-students are now casting around for jobs.

The big story this week is that it is pupillage interview season. If you want to become a barrister you will have to go through this essential stage. In order to help you out we have got in touch with the chambers and put together a handy guide to the process:

  • First up, make sure you re-read your application carefully. If you’ve been called up for interview it is because they liked something you wrote. Be prepared to elaborate on that theme.
  • Secondly, be prepared to answer the questions. While you should think about the kind of things you are going to be asked, it pays to be flexible with your answers. You don’t want to give a rehearsed answer to a question which wasn’t asked.
But of course there’s plenty of advice for the masses who aren’t looking to become barristers. Take these gems for example:
  • The Great Place to Work award for the BestLarge Workplace this year went to Admiral Group, beating Microsoft and McDonald’s. Admiral deliberately looks for candidates who are not just experts in their field, but a good fit for the company.
  • In more awards season news, BDO has been named Accountancy Firm of the Year at the M&A Awards for excellence in the finance industry. The company has been involved in a number of important deals over the course of the year, and justly deserve this award.
Once more, we have our classic combination of advice and jobs for your viewing pleasure:
  • Following on from our article last week about what you should include in your job application, we are looking at how you should write it. This path is littered with grads that have tripped up. Read on, and avoid sharing their fate.
  • And as usual we have the roundup of graduate jobs with deadlines closing over the next week. It’s a bit of a mixed bag this week, with jobs in retail, IT and engineering to name just a few. Check out the latest jobs here.
To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!

TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Extra-curricular activities at University

Today we have Ali Matena writing a blog for us. We met Ali last month when she came down to the TARGETjobs HQ for a one-day work experience – hope she enjoyed it. Today she will write about the importance of getting yourself out there and taking part in extra-curricular activities. It may be the thing that makes you stand out from the rest of the competition.

University without extra-curricular activities is like tea without sugar, for me anyway. It’s not a complete necessity, but it adds something and sweetens up the experience.

I recall the headlines on my first day at university: ‘Loughborough University Rugby team consecutively clinches cup gold’ and ‘Students give back to the community through park cleaning efforts’. Apparently, university wasn’t just for studying.

If you think your group of friends and peers expands when you come to university, wait until you join a team, society or project… that network explodes.
I am a project leader of a volunteering scheme – something which helped me get to know a diverse range of people at university.

Organising for nearly one hundred students to go into local schools and assist children with their reading skills and confidence is no mean feat. On top of that my university work has forced me to manage my time in an adaptable way. Time management is important with employers; if you can’t get somewhere on time you may not really be serious about the job.

University life encompasses a plethora of opportunities. Being a keen netball player from a young age I knew I had to get involved with attempting some sort of netball, particularly at a university renowned for its sporting talent and consistent success. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t wait to get started, but it is intimidating.

Through overcoming the fear of trialling in the midst of some of the UK’s best netballers, I learned something vital to help me through the employment process. In order to strive for what you want, you have to push yourself and venture out of your comfort zone. Participating in extra-curricular activities in the first place demonstrates a pro-active attitude.

I didn’t make the squad in my first year, making me question my strengths and myself. However, without this setback I wouldn’t have had something to build myself up from. I tried again in my second year and succeeded.

Knowing I had worked hard for something I was aiming for, and achieving it, erased the frustration of my first year. I could have just given up but I didn’t and through doing this, I subconsciously developed my employer-friendly skills displaying that I could bounce back from disappointment.

Extra-curricular activities are not for everyone, and balancing them with a full-time degree is challenging. However, consciously or not, they are moulding you into somebody an employer duly welcomes as well as assisting you in  making the most of that coveted time at university.

Check out how to write about your activities when it comes to putting together your CV.

Friday, June 15, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello and welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup; your weekly fix of everything that’s going on in the world of graduate jobs.

While there is normally one standout section with more going on than the rest, this week it is busy all over the shop. There have been developments in property, law, hospitality, consulting, accountancy and engineering. If any of these areas are of interest to you, make sure you keep up-to-date; it could be a lifeline in commercial awareness questions.

In the near future we are going to be launching the first of the blogs from this year's  Undergraduate of the Year awards, as well as our very own TARGETjobs interns. If you want to find out how the experts win their places, stay tuned.
And, as usual, we have our regular selection of tips for graduates who aren’t looking to move into these areas:
  • We’ve been looking into common graduate job hunter mistakes, and we’re now at the headline story: the application. In order to deal with this properly we have broken it down into two parts. Next week we will be looking at how not to structure it, but this week we’re telling you what not to write.
  • And of course there’s our roundup of all things deadline. There is a mix of jobs across the sectors, but IT grads in particular will not want to miss out. Check out the latest jobs here.
 To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!

TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with

Friday, June 8, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Good afternoon and welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup. Despite the Jubilee this week we’ve found time to put together a pile of top quality articles. There’s everything from tips for future solicitors, to the roundup of next week’s job deadlines. If you want to get a job sitting down, this is the place.

This week it is financial services and accounting which are generating the most news. The results from two surveys suggest some definite trends across these sectors, and should give you some ideas about where you could take your career.

What’s more, there are significant developments in construction and law to read about:
But if these sectors don’t interest you, there are still a couple of articles which could pique your interest:
  • As usual, we have our regular roundup of graduate job deadlines. If the rain is keeping you in, make the most of your time and send off some applications. Check out the latest jobs here.
  • If you’re going to apply for jobs, one of the most important things you can do is research. Dedicate a couple of days purely to researching the job, and if you can’t bring yourself to do that, think about whether it’s really for you.
To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!
TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with

Thursday, June 7, 2012

From an 'amateur Facebook page' to head-hunted overnight

It's been nearly four months since I wrote my previous guest blog for TARGETjobs. So much has happened since then!

Last time I was writing about the importance of being relevant, persistent and positive. I also mentioned The Graduate – a Facebook page I created as part of an application process to an advertising agency.

Well, I must say, this page has had a fantastic impact on my life! I did pass through to the next round of the application process, and the one after … And that's as far as it went with this particular agency. But looking back, I am so very glad I didn't get an offer. Because then I would have never been able to do what I'm doing now. I was approached by a head-hunter via The Graduate and am currently working on a super exciting project! I've been given a ton of responsibilities and a creativity carte blanche!! I would have never imagined that this early in my career, I'll be involved in concept building, branding, cost to market planning, business strategy, project management and pretty much everything else that goes hand in hand with creating a new business! It is an amazing opportunity and it all happened because of an amateurish Facebook page I put together during one afternoon in January.

There's more. I kept applying to agencies. But I was much, much more picky. I only applied if I could really see myself as part of their team. And this made a massive difference! I got invited to interviews and offered positions. Now it was me who was in a position of choice! After a whole year of rejections, I was finally getting somewhere! All because I actually implemented the painfully familiar“it's not about quantity but quality”strategy.

Obviously, things didn't just happen overnight (although it felt that way). Meanwhile, I was working on this project I mentioned, in a pub and a sports venue. And this is important, too. Whilst I was just sitting at home, working hard to perfect my applications and having all the time in the world to worry about my future, nothing really happened. Once I got out there, worked an average of 12 hours a day and only spend a couple of hours or so a week on applications, I was able to focus only on what really mattered. And it paid off.

I'm now excited about launching the new business I'm helping build, starting my new job in September and continuing on the path to my Dream Career.

So, this is my story. I'm sure you've got a story, too. And if you're still looking for your Dream Job, try to fit it into your story, rather than the other way around! This is the best advice I gave myself.

If you need more convincing that keeping busy will eventually get you the job you deserve have a look at how your part-time job in a pub or in retail can lead to a success career.

Or have a look at how you can make your social media work for you by getting you your dream job and how to manage your online reputation.

Friday, June 1, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Good afternoon and hello at the start of your Jubilee bank holiday 4- Day Weekend! After a quiet few weeks we are back on with plenty of news. There have been interesting developments in the law, engineering, property and consulting sectors to name just a few.

It’s IT that is leading the news right now. Last week we told you that IT graduates were missing a trick when it came to applying for graduate jobs, and there were plenty of IT jobs in the deadlines roundup too. This week there is more of the same.

But of course IT isn’t the only sector with things going on.
As ever, there are still the old faithful features for anyone looking for general careers advice and helpful links:
  •  In our series on common mistakes made by graduate job hunters we’re looking at ways in which you can increase your chances of success when choosing which job to apply for.  
  •  And finally, we’ve got our regular roundup of graduate job vacancies that are closing next week. For those of you about to enjoy a four day weekend, now could be the best time to sit down and put together your job applications. Check out the latest jobs here.
To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!
TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with