Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Internship hunting. Sounds easy? Think again.

Catherine Batch is back this year with another blog for us. This time she discusses her internship hunting and what she is learning from it. 

As a second year undergraduate, it is time to realistically assess my future career options.  Thankfully, my degree is in History; a subject known to appeal across all job markets and shout to employers, “LOOK! I can analyse lots of odd stuff AND think quickly under pressure!”

Simple?  Unfortunately not: for me, I have found that there are two stoppers in this plan. 

1)      I’m not entirely sure which career path I want to take
2)      All of my possible choices are amongst the most competitive graduate markets

You can see my problem.

Using my logical and analytical history brain, I decided that vacation internship applications were my best strategic step.  Indeed, for companies such as Deutsche Bank, 80% of interns were taken on after penultimate year placements.  It is a massive and almost necessary route into the big companies.  So, thinking along those lines, I decided to apply for the Barclays Marketing Summer Internship.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Marketing is something that I’m really interested in.  I find the opportunity to be creative in my line of work a necessity for any graduate career that I eventually pursue.  Applying to the Barclays scheme seemed an extremely sensible idea and, although it would undoubtedly be competitive, if successful it would be an amazing foot-in-the-door.

So, I registered online and started to progress through the application programme.  My love of being busy and constantly on the go shone through in the questions relating to extra curricular activities.  Being a part of the history society, women’s football committee, and writing for Target Jobs all undoubtedly helped me through the first round.

And then came the numerical reasoning test.  As my friends and family would tell you, numbers are not a strong point.  I can deal with them in small doses, and in practical situations, but at the first sign of a mathematical test I crumble.  It is, in effect, my Achilles Heel.  After whining to my mother for days over the Christmas holidays, I started my ‘numbers’ revision. 

It didn’t go well.

With a massive difference of 46% for my numerical practice and 76% for my verbal, the prospects of getting through the Barclays application second round was looking slimmer every second.  And, true to form, on the real test I managed to get 3/15 correct.

I was devastated.  After three days of revision (I know, I got a bit engrossed), I still had performed poorly even by my dire mathematical standards.  My career in marketing seemed over before it had even begun.

Until my wise mother reminded me of a vital point that, in my excitement and desire to work for Barclays, I had overlooked.  I had applied for an internship in a bank, an organisation where numbers are everything.  I was never going to enjoy and thrive working in an environment where everything revolved around shares and fiscal evaluations.  My strengths lie in writing and words, not economics. 

So I have now decided to ‘crack on’ with finding work experience within publishing; a market no less competitive but with options that suit my personality, including marketing.  And although it requires perseverance, and a lot of telephone calls, I’m enjoying the application process.  I finally can look forward to competing for a job that can challenge me in all the right ways.

I think I’ll leave the numerical reasoning tests for now.

If you are searching for an internship or need advice on how to complete your applications, why not search and use our internship advice pages. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

TARGETjobs news roundup

Afternoon. The snow we were so excited about last week has mostly melted round here. That’s in spite of government advice that we should all go out and build snowmen. So things aren’t completely awesome, but that’s ok because we’ve got some intriguing graduate jobs news for you.

Kicking things off, we’ve got pieces from the construction and engineering sectors. The construction sector says that it is expecting a massive recruitment drive next year, so we’re taking a look at the facts behind the numbers. Meanwhile, engineering consultancy company AMEC has nearly finished recruiting. Want to know how to get a job there?
  • The construction sector is predicting a 77% rise in graduate jobs over the next year. But is it too good to be true? If you’re struggling to believe the figures you can take a look at the reality of the situation (it’s still pretty good).
  • Engineering company AMEC is closing applications for its graduate schemes on 5 February. If you’re planning to apply then you should make sure you know what you’re talking about. AMEC's recruiters get annoyed by common misconceptions about the company. Don’t be the one causing exasperation.
There have also been developments in the consulting, legal and tech sectors:
  • If you’re looking for a company that takes care of its staff then you should take a serious look at Accenture. That’s because it has just topped Stonewall's 2013 list of gay-friendly employers. Other front-runners included Gentoo, The Co-operative and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.
  • If you’re a UK student studying for an undergraduate or masters degree in engineering, computer science, physics or maths, you should consider entering Astrium's presentation competition. You can win £200 and practice your presentation skills at the same time. The deadline for entry is 22 February.
  • TARGETjobs Law is running a series of ‘How to get hired’ workshops. If you’re at university in Birmingham, Bristol or Southampton, you can get the inside story on how to get hired by some of the sector’s leading employers. Sign up quick though, places are running out, and it’s not long ‘til they happen.
But if that’s not interesting to you, read on, because there is plenty of news:
  • With news of a potential ‘triple dip’ recession on the horizon, you need to make sure you don’t lose out. Make sure you are prepared to survive the bleakness by following our tips.
  • The good news is that graduate starting salaries are starting to rise again after staying still for the last three years. While the number of vacancies on offer last year was down, it’s predicted to rise again in 2013. We’ve also got a really useful sector-by-sector guide to which industries recruit the most.
  • There will always be jobs on TARGETjobs, so why not check them out for yourself? We’ve got a weekly roundup of all the graduate job deadlines. It’s a big one, and while engineering and IT, retail, law, business and finance are all particularly busy, there is something for everyone. Check out our latest deadlines here.
To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the round-up this time next week!

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

Friday, January 18, 2013

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello, good afternoon and IT’S SNOWING! Look! Look it’s doing that thing where it starts to look like the top of a loaf! I love snow, it’s awesome! Ahem. Let’s try and keep our composure here. We are, after all, professionals. So, yes; graduate recruitment news.

While we normally kick things off with news from the sectors, that’s taking a back seat this week. That’s because we’ve got a pack of stories about making the transition from student to employee. It isn’t always plain sailing, but with a couple of changes, you could be reaping the rewards.

  • Consider this, a third of students have not yet made time to visit their careers service. If you expect your uni to help you to get a job, this is the way to make that happen. More than half of first years (who are only one term in) have already done it. Have you?
  • If you’re not having success with your graduate job hunt it could be a problem of confidence. You need to be realistic about things, it is a balancing act. It will be a lot harder if you shoot yourself in the foot.
  • But if you do get it right, it’s worth it. That’s because graduates can expect to earn £115,000 extra over their lifetime. There’s also an additional £59,000 for those who go on to do a Master’s degree. All things considered, that’s not too shabby.
  • More of you than ever are getting 2.1s, and not everyone is happy about it. The grade is frequently used as a filter by big graduate recruiters, but when universities respond by giving more of their students the mark, the end result is grade creep.
However, that doesn’t mean we haven’t got any sector news:
  • First up there’s some advice for would-be solicitors. Our recent ‘five minutes with…’ series turned up some real gems. In particular there was some solid advice about how to make your vacation scheme application stand out. We’ve collected it for your viewing pleasure.
  • If you’re interested in careers in management consulting, look out! There’s a new kid on the block. Monitor Deloitte was created when Deloitte acquired strategy consulting firm Monitor. Expect big things.
And finally, we’ve got the usual roundup of graduate job deadlines:
  • The big headline in this week’s deadlines is Kerry Group, which is closing its graduate schemes. If you fancy a job in consumer goods, this could be your week. Engineering is also another sector with jobs on the line, and there are a handful of vacancies in other sectors as well. Check out our latest deadlines here.
To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the round-up this time next week!

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

Right, that’s the business taken care of. Let’s go build snowmen!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Saving money on your food bill while staying healthy

Sam Merriweather from StudentWhat writes for us on how to stay healthy this year whilst still looking after the pennies.

The New Year is upon us. It seems so long ago that you were enjoying that lovely Christmas meal (mainly because you didn’t have to cook it). As uni starts again it is a great time to fulfil some resolutions. The more the better so how about 2 in 1? Follow these tips and before you know it your body and your wallet could be healthier!

Bye Bye Ready Meals

Number one place to start. Get rid of those ready meals and start cooking! It will save you money and do wonders for your health at the same time. At StudentWhat we are not good cooks AT ALL however we have developed the ability to make a few simple, nutritious but also cheap meals. We can now make Spaghetti Bolognese in 14 minutes for £1.28 a serving (Google ‘Bolognese in 14 minutes’ and we’ll be there). You also can cook a portion of mixed veg in the microwave in 3 ½ minutes that costs you 8p so you do not have an excuse not to eat vegetables!

Plan your meals and the shop

This is an easy way to make sure you don’t spend money on unhealthy food and on items you don’t need (usually the same thing). It only takes a few minutes to work out what you want for the week and can save you serious cash over the term. Don’t be ridiculous and say to yourself you’re not going to eat anything bad because that just isn’t going to happen. However maybe buy 1 or 2 treats and limit yourself to that for the week.

Do your shop online and play the system.

Supermarkets are always offering deals of up to £20 off your first online shop. That is serious money! Simply google the supermarket ‘s name and ‘online grocery voucher code’ and you’ll find one. There is always a minimum spend but you can shop with your friends and get the money off on your account and then next time they can set up an account and you can shop together and get the money off again. Then you can move supermarkets…Genius!

Online shopping also allows you to:
·         Give you a better overview of what you’re buying.
·         Compare prices more efficiently.
·         Reduces impulse buys!

Just be aware the first time you shop that you look at the weight of the foods, as you don’t want to buy a half size tin of something accidentally.

Cook in bulk and invest in tupperware

We all know buying in bulk = money savings, however you can often get caught out buying too much of something then watching it go to waste. This month a report from Institution of Mechanical Engineers found that 30-50% of food is thrown away before it reaches our stomachs!

Following step 2 (planning) and having Tupperware can reduce this waste massively. It can also save you time, energy and money as you can cook once and have 3/4 meals ready to go. Remember to reheat the meals thoroughly though to avoid any unsettled stomachs.

Get a balance between cheap and healthy

Trying to save money can lead to the purchasing of unhealthy food. Look at the labels and work our what you can afford to downgrade and what you shouldn’t. For example we don’t recommend buying the most basic beef mince as it is often 20%+ fat however the medium beef mince that is usually around £2.70 or the medium-higher quality mince that is usually 3 for £10 is a good option. On the other hand with tinned chopped tomatoes there is almost no point in buying fancy ones, go basic and you could save around 40%.

If you would like to get some ideas about cheap, healthy and quick recipes as well as seeing the current voucher codes for the supermarket intro offers our Food Section would be a good place to start J.

So there you have it good luck with 2013, I hope it is a good one! Good luck with the exams/hope they have gone well!

Friday, January 11, 2013

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello, good afternoon and welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup. We hope you’re all safe and dry, keeping your resolutions and getting back into the swing of the spring term. We’ve got an interesting selection of things for you to look at this week, from an article in Cosmopolitan to a chance to hang out with Microsoft.

It’s IT that’s leading the news this week. We’ve got a TARGETjobs event with Microsoft that we’re really excited about. Then there’s some big news about tech firm EMC, which is recruiting in the UK for the first time. Finally there’s some timely advice about IT jobs in the banking business. According to the ‘What do graduates do?’ report, IT graduates can have a hard time finding jobs, so this advice could really help you out:

  • First up, cloud computing and big data company EMC will recruit 200 graduates in the UK for first time this year. It has 150 technical jobs and 50 non-technical jobs up for grabs before January 30. Last year they hired over 900 people across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, but never quite made it here.

  • And if you’re interested in joining other IT grads in the world of retail banking, now is the time! That’s because several have decided to extend the deadlines for their graduate schemes. If you’re looking for a graduate job in finance, technology, HR or marketing this could be for you.
However, there’s plenty of general news as well if that doesn’t interest you:
  • If you’re not confident about a job interview, pretend you aren’t! That’s the advice coming from experts Sue Black and Alexandra Watson. You can either pretend to be a more confident friend, or imagining the positives of what could come of the situation.
  • Speaking of confidence, how about putting up a massive billboard with your face on it? That’s what one graduate job hunter has just done, and if nothing else, it’s got him loads of attention. We wrote an article for Cosmopolitan about it.
  • If you didn’t have enough incentive to apply for TARGETjobs’ First Year of the Year award, it has just gotten better. Award sponsor Ernst & Young is sweetening the pot by taking the winner on its Global Student Experience (GSE). This includes five weeks overseas at two different placements.
  • IT also is top of the list of sectors that are closing applications for their graduate jobs this week, along with engineering. However, there was also a surprise boost from the government and public service sector, which is closing at least 2 major graduate schemes in the next few days. Check out our latest deadlines here.
To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the round-up this time next week!

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

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Simple money saving tips for the New Year

Owen Burek, founder of student money site Save the Student, takes us through his top January saving tips.

January is one of the most frugal months for students mostly because of the recent occurrence of that little thing called Christmas. Not to mention a potentially pricey New Year’s Eve bash.

On top of this, January marks the end of being at home with the parents who may have been keeping you fed over Christmas (if you are lucky). Now it’s back to buying food and shelling out cash for your own purchases again.

So, what options are there to help you survive until the next loan instalment? This list of New Year money saving tips should get you in the scrimping mood.

Revise your finances
Revising and January go together a bit like, well, December and Christmas. However, procrastination is always rife and you may constantly be looking for anything to do other than prepare for your exams.
Use this opportunity to take a look through your bank account statements and write up a quick budget. You can go into as little or as much detail as you want but it’s important to know what you have coming in and what money is going out.
You never know, you might find that you can afford an extra £40 this month in order to get those shoes you always wanted in the sales…

Be sales savvy 
Ok, so have your £40 and the pair of shoes you want are in the Winter sale. But, stop right there!
Don’t be lured into making the purchase for this reason alone. Always make sure you:
·         Compare the price online (just because it’s in a sale doesn’t mean it’s definitely cheaper than elsewhere)
·         Sleep on it (give yourself a while to think about whether you really need the shoes)
·         Think ahead (it may be winter now but do you need some spring/summer clothes instead?)

Say good riddance to bad habits 
It’s the New Year and the chance for a “New You.” Whether you are someone who loves to set New Year’s resolutions or not, this is a chance for you to kick your expensive habits.
Quitting smoking or drinking may not be easy but you could easily save over £10 a week which all adds up. Just try not to swap one addiction with another…

Get pedalling  
I’m not talking about what you might think… of course I mean getting a bicycle.
Depending on how far you live from your university, getting a bike can be one of the most efficient ways to get to lectures.
If you usually take the bus then you will not only make a saving but also ditch the extra “Christmas tyre” around your waist.
Before you start thinking that a bike will set you back and arm and a leg, you can find second hand ones at car boot sales and vintage fairs around most university campuses for as little as £20.

Be smart when looking for accommodation
Late-January is also the time when many students will start looking for accommodation next year. This may not appear to be the most obvious way to save money but being clever when you are searching for a new house can save you money in the long run.
Firstly it’s important to know what you can afford when it comes to rent. You can also save a fortune by avoiding agency fees and going direct to the landlords, choosing an energy efficient house to save on energy bills and making sure the house is in good repair to avoid possible deposit deductions that weren’t caused by you.

So there’s a lot to think about and plenty of money to be saved here. A good start would be to read through this guide to viewing student accommodation on the Save the Student website.

Whatever you choose to do to save money in 2013 I wish you the best of luck. Just remember that they library has free heating and you can use exams as a good excuse not to go out…

Friday, January 4, 2013

TARGETjobs news roundup

What with one thing and another, there hasn’t been much in the way of graduate recruitment news over the last week or two. To make up for it we’ve put together a roundup of everything new and interesting going on onsite. There’s a lot of it.

It’s a particularly big week for news from the legal sectors. If you want to be a solicitor then the time is now to apply for vacation schemes. If, on the other hand, you want to become a barrister, then there are also some interesting pieces of information for anyone who is currently planning their pupillage:

  • Law vacation schemes traditionally close applications on January 31, although some now close earlier. If you haven’t got yours sorted yet, you’d better get on it fast.
  • If you’re planning your pupillage then Georgina Wolfe, barrister and pupillage committee member at 5 Essex Court is giving some insider tips about how to get the right kind of attention at the TARGETjobs National Pupillage Fair.
  • Speaking of which, the Fair itself is taking place in March 2013. It is a good opportunity for students looking for pupillages to meet representatives from chambers, course providers and other organisations essential to a successful career at the Bar.
But that’s not the only event coming up. There are also these:

And there are a few interesting developments in the sectors as well.
  • Unfortunately, if you want to go into investment banking, we can’t tell you exactly what any particular company’s assessment centre group exercises will be like – most keep the precise content a closely guarded secret. However, if you know roughly what to expect, you will be on solid ground when the day comes.
  • Speaking of assessment centres, they are pretty popular with big recruiters in the retail industry – possibly as the last stage in the process. If you want to make it, it will help you to understand what might happen.
  • The first year he applied for graduate surveying schemes, Shyam Visavadia didn’t get onto one. Demoralised but determined, he went and made sure he succeeded the second time round. His advice could help you if you’ve found yourself in a similar situation. 
  • And if you want to work with estate agency group Spicerhaart Residential Lettings then you’re going to need to get out a video camera. It has three set questions it is asking candidates to respond to in a YouTube video. How would you go about it?
And there’s plenty of general news as well:
  • First up we’re giving ladies the lowdown on how to turn an internship into a graduate job, or get promotion once you’re in.  We’ve asked a handful of female leaders their tips for success, and this is what they’ve come up with.
  • We’ve also put together a roundup of some of our most popular tips of 2012. We were going to do an all-singing all-dancing video, but we heard that YouTube got there first. So here it is in handy text-based form, with lots of links for you to click on.
  • And if you were planning to get a job this year, where better to start than our very own graduate jobs roundup? There are vacancies in management and consumer goods to engineering tyo name just a few. Check out our latest deadlines here.
To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the round-up this time next week!

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