Friday, September 28, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello, good afternoon and welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup! We’ve been getting busier and busier for a few weeks now, and it looks like things have now kicked off with the start of term. Whether you’re looking for graduate jobs, internships, or just some solid advice on how you can make yourself more employable as a student, it’s all here.
Interestingly the sector that has been the most active this week is management consulting. If you don’t know much about it, management consulting (mancon for short) is all about improving professional practices and building better companies. It is a growing area, with good salaries and a number of graduate schemes:
  • If you want proof that consulting is a growing area, then check out this report from the Management Consultancies Association (MCA). Almost two thirds of consultancies expect to grow in 2013.
  • And PA Consulting has launched a competition to make the world a better place. You can enter alone or with a team mate and compete for the chance to win a salaried internship. Definitely CV gold.
But if you’re not looking for jobs in consulting, there’s plenty more to talk about:
  • If you’re interested in careers in finance, you might like to know that companies in this sector are encouraging the good treatment of employees. Aon was recognised for treatment of its working mothers.
  • Insurers Lloyd’s of London has had a profitable first half of the year. They had a hard time last year after a series of natural disasters meant they had to pay out a lot. We can only hope they are not affected by the floods this year.
  • And, in a similar announcement the design and engineering consultancy Atkins has issued an update on trading in advance of its half-year results for the six months to 30 September 2012. It has taken on nearly 300 new staff.
  • If you’re struggling to find jobs with advertising, marketing or PR companies, we’ve got some useful suggestions for you. You can try looking in other industries, make speculative applications, or apply for internships and work up.
  • Consumer goods company Unilever has teamed up with Save the Children to launch the EVERY ONE campaign. The partnership is aimed at improving access to health workers and life-saving vaccines.
  • It’s time we came clean with construction news too. It isn’t all roses, but neither is it all doom and gloom. Several companies are making positive steps, and while investment is still needed, things are looking up.
  • It has been the Liberal Democrat party conference this week, and chairman of the Bar Michael Todd QC has defended the Bar Council’s social mobility programmes. This included the new Pegasus Access Scheme.
And if those sectors don’t interest you, we’ve got plenty of general advice as well:
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 jobs, internships 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, September 26, 2012

How a year abroad will get you a job

Our intern Laura is back with yet another great blog. This is a must-read for all those that are starting their year abroad or are thinking about planning their year abroad for next year.

I started a British Council teaching assistantship in Germany two years ago and although it may sound like a cliché, I feel a lot more employable now I’ve done it. Loads of you will be starting your year abroad this month and if you learn to sell your year abroad experiences well, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t secure you a graduate job when you get back.

On the most obvious level, a year abroad bulks up your CV and application forms with a huge amount of new experiences; often experience that you would not have been able to get at home. I chose a teaching assistantship because it was a chance to do something completely different to studying, and even if you don’t want to be a teacher, doing something out of your comfort zone can boost your confidence and reveal strengths you didn’t know you had.

And although you will be the ‘gap yah’ guy for the first six months after you get home, don’t treat this as a bad thing! If every sentence that leaves your mouth starts with ‘when I was on my year abroad…’ or ‘this reminds me of a time on my year abroad when…’ you can adopt in graduate job interviews when you need to provide examples of your competencies. Just by going abroad and surviving the year you’ve already ticked loads of competency boxes- courage, adaptability, personal responsibility, the list goes on. Don’t undersell your year abroad experiences because even the things you don’t think are particularly notable achievements, like finding accommodation and making friends, really are. The fact that you still managed to do them despite being in a foreign country, speaking a foreign language and out of your comfort zone is something a graduate recruiter would want to know.

Finally, when going for graduate jobs, it is important to remember that graduate recruiters want to know how you think, not what you know. A year abroad develops the way you think because it makes you question and challenge everything you come into contact with. It makes you see your own life and country from a new perspective and while you may think conversations about minor cultural differences sound trivial, they make you question the status quo and develop your global perspective. No graduate recruiter wants someone who accepts things as they are. They want people who can identify strengths and weaknesses, think outside the box and suggest alternative ways of doing things. If you’ve ever had a thought like ‘I wonder why the Germans start school at 8am’ or ‘I wonder why the French kiss each other’s cheeks all the time,’ as trivial as it may sound, you’re on the right track.

In a nutshell, your year abroad is worth much more than just a line on your CV, so make sure the recruiters know it. 

We've also got some great articles on our site on how to make a gap year count, whether it is part of your university course or not. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Bryony Smith, this year's winner of the Engineering Undergraduate of the Year award writes for us about her experience and her first week at her placement with E.on. Her life sounds very exciting, this should be very motivating for those considering entering next year. 

It’s a Sunday evening and already I can’t wait for a lie in. My uni friends still have another month off, whilst I’ve got over a year of work before I head back north for three more years of study. And I think it’s brilliant.

It’s been nearly 5 months since Michael Portillo announced I had won the prize of 48 weeks’ work with E.on (And of course the title “Engineering Undergraduate of the Year” and a week’s trip to the Netherlands-more on that later).  It slightly worries me that a placement year should be considered a prize for the lucky few; but life is what you make of it. If you don’t apply for jobs I can almost guarantee you won’t get any offers.  You can only benefit for applying for schemes like these.  I applied having had a great Year In Industry (YINI) at National Grid, who are now kindly sponsoring me, and some of my fellow YINIs through our engineering degrees.

But, back to the present. I’ve completed my 8 weeks at National Grid (as part of my sponsorship contract) and my first week at E.on. I’m not convinced it was a typical week. Straight after an intense first day of inductions and project briefing, we travelled in preparation for a “community day” where the wider team all come together; in this case to build an outside garden and activity area for a special needs college.  This involved somewhat more than originally thought and so our team meeting scheduled for the next day was transformed into an informal update/ plumbing session. This was a great introduction to a normally widely dispersed team, with lots of banter and an excellent opportunity to learn how everyone worked together (or not!).  Thursday was back to the office for a crash course on my project for the next few months (a warning/advice system to manage the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants more effectively). Friday was an early start for the long journey to Liverpool (4hrs leaving at 0645) to look at the current system, meet my project predecessor and hear from plant staff what they really wanted the system to do.

In a week’s time, I’m off to Benelux in Rotterdam, to see the power plant and city heating scheme (part of the prize) and after that who knows? Uni life is never far away.  A year of touring my friends’ unis, with money in my pocket and no coursework to worry about sounds pretty good, as do the job offers (particularly as my school friends are now 3rd years and freaking out over job applications). Some people complain I’m lucky, but the future is what you make of it and opportunities can be created. After all the saying goes “the more I practise, the luckier I get” so what’s stopping you? 

If you think you have what it takes pre-register here and if you pre-register before the applications open on Monday 1 October you will also be entered into a prize draw to win a £25 Itunes gift card.

Friday, September 21, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello, good afternoon and welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup. We’re here to give you the lowdown on what’s going on in the graduate recruitment world. Up and down the country it’s Fresher’s week, and while most people might not be thinking about graduate jobs just yet, you can get the edge on them.
The first way you can do this is by getting to know your target sector a bit better. This week we have specialist advice from a whole heap of different sectors, including accountancy and finance, law, IT, media, public service and government, business and engineering:

But of course it’s not all happening in the sectors, there’s plenty more general news.
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 jobs, internships 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, September 20, 2012


As my internship comes to a close, I’ve been asked to think about what I’ve learnt here at TARGETjobs towers. So as I promised our blog editor Jackie, I’m going to give you a bit about the top five ‘things’ I’m taking out the door with me when I leave.

This may not sound very cool but one of the most important things I’ve learned is Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). I realise that this makes me sound like I spend far too much time at a computer and before I started at TARGETjobs I would have wondered why I would need it too, but really – it’s useful. With so much of the media making its way online, employers are emphasising more often that they want experience in online journalism. I’m not saying that I’m an expert, but having a working knowledge of HTML will hopefully mean the difference between me and another candidate.

Staying on this tangent, my next most important ‘thing’ is the content management system (CMS) that we use at work to get all that lovely content online to you guys. Again, boring as I sound, knowledge of how to use a CMS is a great soft skill that you can put on your CV. It’ll show a prospective employer that you know how to work the ‘behind the scenes’ bit of a website and that you won’t cause their website to crash on your first day, substituting stock exchange rates for a cute picture of a cat in a box and party hat.

My third ‘thing’ that I’m taking with me is confidence. No, I’m not going to strut my stuff out the door like I just don’t care – this relates to writing. Previously I would fret over who read my blog posts in case they took offence to them, or thought my comments ridiculous and inarticulate. TARGETjobs has taught me to shift this angst. Writing on a regular basis has taught me that through practice my writing has become better. I’m quite happy to write now and publish away without fear of rebuttal.

I’m also more intelligent now. Ok, not really, but I can pretend to people now that I’m more intelligent than I am. Having worked on pieces for (deep breath) finance, management consultancy, IT and technology, property, quantity surveying, law, media and a good chunk of The Guardian UK 300, my knowledge of different industries has increased beyond what I thought was possible. It means that I can hold a conversation with a colleague about the technical points of a finance graduate scheme and understand the brain-teasers asked of graduates at interviews.

At this point I must stress that the fifth ‘thing’ I was going to take with me when I left was one of the titanic apple desktop computers that our design team have, but I’ve been assured that this isn’t possible. Apparently it’s something to do with theft.

Anyway, the last ‘thing’ I’m taking with me is advice. After four months of full time work, I would be a fool not to remember at least a few of the things people have said along the way. For instance, I realise now that it’s not just about having a huge amount of work experience on my CV, it’s about being able to convince an employer on one piece of A4 that they just have to meet me. No pressure then for the next time I put pen to covering letter paper…

On a serious note, I would like to thank everyone I’ve worked with at GTI Media who have contributed to my experience over the past four months. They’ve been extremely rewarding and I will miss you when I’m back at university.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Communique' from an uncertain future

Something everyone has heard before: ‘You need to do what you enjoy. You spend the majority of your life working, so if you don’t enjoy it then you’ll not be happy.’

Something else everyone has heard before: ‘If I won the lottery…’

In life, the prominence given to money cannot be understated. People talk about it all the time. Parents complain about a lack of it. Some individuals are ruthlessly driven in the pursuit of it. The fruits of wealthy pockets are forever envied. Money must be quite important, then?

Our consumer-driven, capitalist society is propped up by self-perpetuating industries and organisations following the dangling carrot of profit, hence the credence given to commercial awareness by graduate employers. Publishing, which, broadly speaking is the sector in which I am currently employed, is not renowned for its generosity when it comes to financially rewarding employees for their hard work; yet it is still a commercial enterprise. Fiscal payback for employees is largely dependent on the amount of money that a business is able to accrue; so what of those job sectors that are more likely to supply their employees with kinder monetary gifts? Without having experienced graduate jobs in traditionally cash-soaked sectors such as banking, law or accountancy, for example, I can’t say that they are substantially more demanding than publishing. I also can’t say that they’re boring, soul destroying or grim, which is why I’m starting to wonder: should I choose to pursue a career in an area that could furnish me with sterling and hope that I might, as a bonus, even enjoy the job?

Here’s a surprise: I’m uncertain. As I discussed in a previous blog entry, the implications of pursuing a career that you haven’t experienced are many and various. If you opt for a path that you think you’ll enjoy, there’s every possibility that you may rue your choice when you find yourself struggling for money; if you follow pound signs, there’s a chance that you may curse your choice when you are battling for contentment.

There’s no way to accurately predict the future. Depending on the career choice you make and how things fall, anything could happen. So here’s a seemingly silly suggestion for skirting a mid-life crisis: get some hobbies. Colour your free time with activities that you enjoy so that in future, you can work to live instead of living to work. Play golf. Take up cycling. Buy a camera. Develop your interest in ornithology. Do whatever appeals to you and if you don’t know what you like, get thinking and try things out. This isn’t intended to be a doom-laden sentiment, merely a pragmatic means by which to exercise some control over a wild beast. At least then if things don’t go entirely to plan, you won’t be left feeling completely short changed.  

Thank you Ross. 

Maybe taking a gap year after university may also help clearing your mind, picking up hobbies and figuring out what to do with your career. If you have thought of this but worried about how employers may view it why not have a look at how you can market your gap year to employers. 

Or why not have a read of our 'Fun, prospects or money article' this may inspire you and give you some options. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

TARGETjobs News Roundup

Hello, good afternoon, and welcome to this afternoon’s TARGETjobs news roundup. It’s been a busy week this week. We have news and advice aplenty, and even a pretty awesome competition for you to get involved in.

Unlike most weeks, there is no sector that is clearly dominating the news this week. However, there has still been a strong batch of news from the sectors. Anyone interested in accountancy, engineering, insurance, marketing and PR, property or retail should cast a beady eye over this lot:

However, if you aren’t interested in those sectors, there’s still plenty of news and advice available for you:
  • And, as usual, we have the roundup of all next week’s deadlines. One company in particular is splurging on new staff. Travel agency Flight Centre is looking for graduate recruits across the country, so if this is your bag, make sure you get on board. 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 jobs, internships 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, September 12, 2012

Gillian O'Neill - an introduction

Meet our new guest blogger, Gillian she is here to tell us about her journey from uni life to being a graduate. Her first post is an introduction to herself and a little background. 

I still remember the day that I decided what I wanted to study at university.  It was one of the first days back at high school after the summer holidays, I was starting sixth year, and our Head of Year announced that our usual S.E. (Social Education) class would now be dedicated to university applications.  We were pointed towards the UCAS website, and told to begin
This is rather unexpected, I remember thinking.  I had never really given much thought to the concept of life past high school.  Sure, I had thought of finishing high school (I was happily crossing off the days of my 2005/06 calendar at home), but beyond that? Beyond that was a big fat void.  I was suddenly faced with the prospect of my future - as if it had only just that moment burst into existence because I had granted it my attention - and I was a tad overwhelmed.

So, there I was, university prospectuses in hand, being told to pick a course.  I became panic stricken at the notion of planning out the next four years of my life in the same class that was usually reserved for finishing off last night’s homework and catching up with friends.  I relayed this thought process to my Head of Year (well, minus the pointlessness of SE as a class; I figured she wouldn’t quite see eye-to-eye with that part), and her reply was, “Well Gillian, what are you good at? What do you enjoy?”

But what was I good at? In the academic sense, the obvious answer was English.  Having completed my Higher Grade examinations that year, I had received an ‘A’ for English, a ‘B’ for both Drama and History, and a ‘C’ for Administration.  I hadn’t even managed to sit my Maths higher, after receiving 5% (yes, 5) in the preliminary exam.  English seemed to jump out as my strong suit.  It was, after all, my only ‘A’.  As far as what I enjoyed, that answer was in a similar vein; I liked to read and I liked to write.  And that, right there, was the entire thought process that led to my studying an English degree.  I was good at English, so I would study English.  I enjoyed writing, so I would study something I enjoyed.  It seemed logical.  Sensible.  Of course, I didn’t really consider where this degree would take me after university.  My future may have just turned into a real concept, but only insofar as the next end goal: graduating university.

In 2006, I received an unconditional place on an Arts & Social Sciences course at the University of Strathclyde, which became a single-honours in English in my final year.  I then graduated in 2011 with an upper-second class degree.

And so, in July 2011, I found myself staring into the same blank that had presented itself to me in high school; my future.  But it felt much more serious this time around.  This wasn’t higher education; this was a career, a living, a life.  I quickly realised I was now in the same place I had been six years prior – looking into my future, wondering how long it had been there and why I was only just noticing  it now.  Just like before.  And, just like before, all I knew was this: I loved the English language, and I loved to write.  So was that what lay in my future? English? And if so – how?

My university prospectus listed my future career prospects as being in areas such as local government work, teaching, social services and the voluntary sector, amongst many others.  But nothing stood out to me as “my career”.  And I still really wanted to incorporate my love of reading and writing.  So, I looked to my peers for direction.  Those who had actually made a decision all seemed to be going down the teaching route, whether it was through a postgraduate course to become a teacher, or taking a gap year to study abroad.  The teaching thing was clearly popular with us English grads, but seemingly not with me, as I cringed at the notion of returning to school and attempting to teach the beauty of the English language to the auto-correct generation.  Sure, there would be reading, but it would be for others.  And as for the writing aspect? I had visions of myself working long into the night (most likely clutching a bottle of wine) as I tried to translate the scrawls of an apathetic adolescent, red pen tearing through paper, a manic look in my eyes, and I feared for my future sanity.  Teaching was definitely not for me.  But then, what was?

Which brings us to the present.  As it stands, I have spent the last year applying for graduate jobs whilst simultaneously working temp jobs, retail jobs, call centre jobs (none of which have taken into account my love of reading and writing, sadly), and signing on for Job Seeker’s Allowance.  I am an atypical, modern day graduate, stuck in the University/Real-World limbo.

This introductory post has been just that; an introduction into how I came to be a graduate.  I plan on writing more blog entries for TARGETjobs, where I will share my personal experiences on seeking a graduate job, as well as discuss my dream job(s!), and also give my own advice to those at university, or are just about to start.  I hope you enjoyed my post, and hope you’ll return for more!

If you are unsure about your career options why not have a look at our careers report, which measures your strengths and weakness, and through other questions and answer can suss out which best careers are suited for you. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Government unpaid work experience

Alex ix back, this time with his view on things about the Government new unpaid work experience scheme

Every graduate will be familiar with the “think about your future” chat. Typically, this will involve a parent – maybe both, depending on level of seriousness – and yourself. Venue will be in a place that reflects your parents’ intention for it to be casual and yet allowing for minimal routes by which to make an escape.

This week I’ve decided to have a go at current affairs analysis, giving you my view on the government’s plan to introduce 13-week unpaid work experience for young people wanting to claim benefits.

A little context – the government is trialling a scheme whereby young people who wish to claim jobseeker’s allowance and haven’t previously completed six months paid employment must complete 13-weeks unpaid work experience in order to claim benefit. Context provided.

How do the two relate? I, like many of my friends was panicked on hearing this – I’m talking taking an interest in BBC’s newsbeat, between Family Guy episodes. Young people coming out of university wouldn’t have jobs and were destined to sit on sofas watching PPI and pay day loan adverts. However, when I calmed down and looked at the numbers, it all began to add up.

The Employer Insights area of TARGETjobs states “How to get hired by leading employers.” There are 157 of them. To use an example, Deloitte has around 1,200 graduate vacancies. Just imagine the number of vacancies available on graduate schemes in every company of the UK. Things are looking brighter already. But that isn’t the only option a graduate has open to them.

Next up are the entry-level jobs. Perhaps more popular in the media, and so something I am familiar with, these are often advertised on an ad-hoc basis. Although finding one which ticks all the boxes – both for you and the employer – can be a bit tasking, there is a plethora of companies looking to recruit and it has been a rare occasion that I haven’t been able to find a job suited to me on any of my usual haunts. Many do not require a particularly high level of training – a degree and a number of transferable/soft skills are the norm for many.

Specialising in your chosen field too makes a lot of difference – I may kick myself at some point if people start using my tips. As a student looking to develop a career in Journalism, I thought I would apply to newspapers. This may yield a mere puddle of ten job opportunities in the best case scenario. However, if I was to walk into an average-sized WHSmith and take not of all the different publishing groups on their magazine isle, this puddle becomes a pool of job opportunity. Go to a big WHSmith and this becomes a veritable reservoir.

At this point I release that I am open to a certain amount of criticism. Yes, it is probable that these jobs are out there, but what to do whilst attempting to gain said employment. From my own personal experience, I have always found that my part-time job has always been happy to up my hours, so to speak, whilst I’m available full-time. It keeps me active and the thought at the front of my mind that if I don’t get my act together quickly, I’ll be asking customers if they want whipped cream on top for many months to come (I’ll leave it to you to guess where I worked).

Graduates are ahead of the game and there is no need to feel that unemployment waits at the end of a degree. It merely requires a bit of preparation.

Thank you Alex, as always a great post. 
Why don't you also have a look at what we think about this matter and whether this Government scheme will help graduates find a job. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello, good afternoon and welcome to the TARGETjobs weekly news roundup. It’s been a busy week, with new people, advice, promises and threats. Whether you’re looking for a job RIGHT NOW, or you’re just about to start the autumn term and want to get ahead of the game, this is the place to be.

Leading the news this week is the built environment sector. There is good news from both the construction and property sectors. In the week when Prince Andrew abseiled down the side of The Shard, it is perhaps fitting that these sectors are finding their feet again.

However, we also have articles from the investment, insurance and marketing and media sectors:
But, of course, there is plenty more content for those of you who are not particularly interested in those sectors:
  • First up we sunk our teeth into the government’s new scheme for unemployed jobseekers. The trial scheme will mean that unemployed people between 18 and 24 claiming benefits will have to do 6 months worth of unpaid work.
  • We have also been training up our new events promotions executives. You can expect to see them on campus soon: on Monday they will be at the University of Edinburgh’s freshers fair, and Tuesday they will be at the University of Glasgow.
  • We also gave you some timely advice on how being in a university sports team could really help your graduate job prospects. Freshers week is the perfect time to sign up for new commitments.
  • And, as usual we have our regular roundup of all next week's graduate job deadlines. This will be a big week for vacancies outside of London, so if you don’t fancy living in the Capital, make sure you check it 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 jobs, internships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Are you switched on?

Our intern Ross Brown is back with quite a introspective blog and he is asking the question:  Are you switched on?

Do we need to wait for experience to provide us with answers, or could we avoid part of the struggle by forcing ourselves to be more switched on?

When I’m told not to slouch because I’ll get back problems when I’m older, my sense of invincibility robs the advice of its urgency. In my graduate job travails, I wonder how prominent this bulletproof mentality was, or whether a large proportion of my struggles were attributable to not having been switched on.

With hindsight, I reflect in bewilderment at times when I didn’t make effort to progress. I was quite a keen tennis player when I was younger. Unfortunately, my game was blighted by unforced errors — yet I rarely made any effort to remedy this by employing tactics. As a result, I was endlessly hindered by my own mistakes and more matches were lost than won. I can now see that I firmly believed that my imaginary innate skills would ultimately triumph despite my refusal to practise. I struggled with my own expectations and my sense of perspective. Was this youthful naivety or arrogance, or was I just not that switched on?

Now, having worked at TARGETjobs for two and a half months, I can say that I’ve had a good degree of exposure to approaches to obtaining graduate jobs. The following pieces of advice seem most pertinent:

·         Land on what you think you want to do

·         Pursue work experience

·         Make well-considered, tailored applications; don’t scattergun companies with generic, Ctrl C, Ctrl V disasters

·         Don’t sell yourself short – there may often be evidence of competency in your experiences where you felt there was none.  Don’t, on the other hand, use tedious superlative clichés culled from The Apprentice.

These simple suggestions are meaningful and helpful with hindsight, but did I really need to do an internship with a graduate careers advisor to achieve this level of clarity?

Previously, I may have felt that I had other things to do when I could have been approaching my career with more thoughtfulness. I may not have reached a position of accumulated knowledge and experience where these insights would have resonated with me. However, there are many for whom the thoughtful approach appears to be a priori. Here is a blog written by a switched on young lad named Chris Rowlands, who is already doing the right things to facilitate his future success. Have Chris and other impressive career hunters been fed more assistance than I have, or are they simply more switched on and prepared to seek the advice themselves? I can’t be sure, though I’m willing to bet that the second option is not entirely irrelevant.

So how do you become more switched on? To begin with, waiting around for life to happen for you isn’t often the wisest approach. During these times of economic hardship, it’s also not a viable approach. Properly engaging with what you’re doing, no matter what the task, is a good way to inspire thoughtfulness, consideration and motivation. Unreflectively complaining about how impossible it is to get a job is not the best way of finding one. Hunting out advice and making use of others’ experience is a useful way of trying to learn lessons before you find out the hard way by yourself. It’s possible that being switched on may be natural, but it is also something that anyone can do for his or herself.

It’s hard to be immersed in something, view things from above and have foresight all at once. Fully appreciating the significance of something in advance is impossible; I will no doubt find this out once again aged 45 — crippled by lumbago.

Thanks Ross.

Why not plan ahead a see how you can avoid a graduate career crisis.