Monday, December 12, 2016

Mandeep shares his experience at the Explore Sky Finance Insight day

Coming from a Physics degree, a career in finance has always seemed like a natural route for me. However, after attending many career events I found myself continuously hearing the same information from similar types of companies. So, when I heard about Explore Sky Finance Insight day I was intrigued straight away. The next thing I knew I was filling out an application form, completing a telephone interview and I was in!

When I got to Sky I was taken in by the sheer size of their headquarters, Google Maps really does not do it justice! I was greeted with a warm smile from TARGETjobs and taken over to the new Sky building which is full of shops, canteens a dry cleaner... And oh yeah, open offices!

The day itself was fantastic; there was a welcome talk from the head of finance and a few senior leaders. After this, the Sky graduate recruiters spoke about the application process for the graduate scheme, highlighting common places where applicants slip up. It really put into perspective the subtle, yet very effective ways to make a much stronger application, not just for Sky but for any application you may make. There was even a talk from CIMA (the global professional qualification you complete whilst on the Sky Finance programme). It wasn’t all talks, there was a Q&A session with the current graduates and even a chance to network with them over lunch. This was my favourite part of the day as it is where I gained the most valuable information and on top of that there was free lunch.

The day concluded with a tour of Sky and then a team challenge which provided an insight into working life at Sky. I found the team challenge particularly beneficial as it is a task that is commonly asked at assessment centres. The only down side was that I didn’t meet anyone famous but there is always next time I suppose.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Lowri Collins' Explore Sky Tech Insight Day experience

A few weeks into my long university summer break, I received an email from Targetjobs about their latest opportunity; a technology insight day at the Sky campus in Osterley. After doing some research into the culture at Sky, the various roles available and into the graduate tech scheme itself, I decided to submit an application in the hope that, if I was offered a place, I would be able to gain a better insight into a career at Sky.

Fortunately, I soon received an email from Targetjobs and was offered a telephone interview. I was asked several questions about myself and my motivations to apply to the event, which was an insightful experience, helping me to develop my communication skills and reflect on how to sell myself to an employer.

The ‘Sky bus’ enabled me to quickly and easily commute to the Sky campus, giving me the opportunity to chat to friendly employees on route. As I arrived at the Sky campus, I was amazed at the grandeur of the site, as expected of a top tech firm. The laid back atmosphere at Sky reflected the informal office style, with open areas to work. It was really beneficial to be at the Sky offices, as opposed to meeting representatives at a careers fair, as we were able to network with employees across a range of roles and managerial levels, including meeting the grads, who were able to deliver a fresh perspective on exactly what we would be doing at Sky. We were also able to listen to the wise words of Colin McQuade, Managing Director of Group TV and Digital Platforms at Sky, and ask any questions.

The layout of the day was well organized and a variety of different elements of Sky were explored. From speakers to tours, to a talk on how to enhance your application and a quiz, it was definitely an informative day! In the afternoon, we were put into groups, in which we had to assign roles and design and make a new app for ‘Sky Cinema’. This was a really fun activity, challenging us to use our imaginations, as much as our teamwork skills in order to finish the designing and coding.

As a humanities student, I was skeptical about whether my skills would be compatible with a career in technology. However, at the event, I was able to speak to grads and members of recruitment and learn that students from diverse degree backgrounds are valued, as Sky embraces the benefits of this diversity in team projects. I would definitely encourage undergraduates and graduates alike to look into attending this event, as well as the internship opportunities at Sky, especially if you have a passion for technology and the digital revolution that is currently so pertinent to so many elements of our everyday lives. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What can you get out of the Undergraduate of the Year Awards? And why everyone should apply!

Walking onto the glass domed balcony of the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, full of bright smiling faces, I could not have imagined that my application for the Management Undergraduate of the Year would have brought me here just a few months ago.             

A few months prior to the award ceremony, an email from the careers centre at my University had caught my eye. I’ve always loved opportunities and the possibilities to stretch myself, so this seemed like something I would be very interested in, so I applied. I took the online tests and application thinking I had nothing to lose? I was thrilled to find I had been selected as part of the top 40 for a telephone interview, something which I had never experienced before, but I wasn’t going to let that worry me.

When applying for these awards or indeed a job, I believe it’s important to do your research, it shows you have enthusiasm for the company and a desire for success. I got in touch with the area manager from the company hosting the management award, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, she was more than helpful in providing me with advice for my telephone interview and beyond. I kept in contact with her throughout the process and she was a great support.

A few weeks later, knowing I would soon be receiving an email about the outcome of interview I nervously checked my email inbox, and there it was, I was going to London for the assessment centre!

After what was a very long but inspiring day, in which I met fantastic candidates and company representatives from all around the country, I waited for the phone call to know whether I had made it any further. At this point, after meeting the high calibre of candidates, I was proud to have reached this point - especially since my first year at University had not yet finished! I was then elated to learn I had made it through to the final. 10 out of 400 applicants!

The day before the award I received a phone call from the Area manager I had been in communication with, she rang to wish me the best of luck for the award the next day and to offer me an internship with Enterprise, regardless of what happened at the awards, I couldn’t believe it! 

The awards were a fantastic day and gave me the opportunity to meet so many amazing candidates and company representatives as well as catch up with some of the people I had met on my assessment day, naturally as the award announcements came closer I was nervous, however, despite not winning, I still felt, along with many people I spoke to afterwards, that we had all won, we were there at this incredible venue with some of the biggest names in business in the UK!

For the summer? I am spending ten weeks with Enterprise as a management trainee intern and I cannot wait to see what opportunities it brings!

My advice for applicants, it doesn’t matter what year of university you are currently in, or perhaps what qualifications you may think lack, these awards look for the people behind the application submissions, so apply, you never know where you may find yourself!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Hayat tells us how close you are to landing a dream opportunity

Hayat won the 2016 Civil Service Leader of the Year Award 2016. Here's what she has to say about the process...

Application process:
I saw an email about the Awards and was particularly attracted by the opportunity to win a place on the Summer Diversity Internship Programme. I really didn't have the confidence to go for the application but my mum told me I had nothing to lose and to just apply! This was definitely the best decision I made as becoming a finalist and then winning the award really increased my confidence in my own abilities. 

I completed some online tests (after practicing for a good couple of days as I had never done them before) I was told I could progress to the next stage. Answering the employer questions was the most enjoyable part as I was able to convey my passion for diversity and inclusivity in the work place and particularly in the Civil Service! I then progressed onto a telephone interview which was warm and relaxed so I was able to confidently express my interests and my previous experiences in different roles. The whole process was not as daunting as I imagined and I would definitely encourage anyone to go for it as it is worth the effort!

Awards Ceremony:
Once the main application process was over and I was told I was shortlisted in the final 10, it was a huge relief! To get this far was an achievement in itself! The awards ceremony in Canary Wharf was amazing. The venue was unlike any I had been to before and the array of eager and equally excited students in attendance was welcoming. It was lovely to interact with students and professionals from different fields and also to meet and speak with civil servants from the Fast Stream. 

My advice to any undergraduate would be to just go for it, never to doubt yourself and to fulfil your potential! 

Many thanks,

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mazhar talks us through his experience with the Undergraduate of the Year Awards 2016

Application process
Initially, I dismissed the emails that advertised the Undergraduate of the Year awards on the basis that such opportunities only apply to extraordinary people. A week before the deadline I received a third email which finally encouraged me to investigate further. This time the criteria seemed more applicable and the possibility of me receiving such an award began to germinate. To address a few concerns regarding my chances, I set out to uncover the traits of previous winners through the 2015 blog entries. Many people held the belief that becoming Undergraduate of the Year was unachievable for them, however, the process still promised much to be attained.

As part of the application I needed to answer three non-trivial questions designed by the sponsor, Expedia. I struggled to conjure up anything relevant, leading me to conclude I wasn’t destined for this journey.

Forty-eight hours before the deadline, I received a call from the Undergraduate of the Year team urging me to complete my application. I appreciated the thoughtfulness behind this gesture and the humanity behind the team. So I readied myself to battle the questions. If not for myself, then for people who place their faith in people like myself.

When it came to answering the questions, it proved beneficial to brainstorm potential thoughts or experiences of mine which were relevant to the questions. After this, I took three psychometric tests- what helped me tremendously with these were the multiple examples and tips available on the internet - definitely take a look at them!

Assessment centre
While imprisoned by illness, I received an email inviting me to the assessment centre and detailing the plan for the day. The assessment day was held at Expedia’s London office and involved icebreakers and a group exercise where we designed an AirBnB app highlighting nearby special offers. In the afternoon, I networked with the assessors and current employees. Being placed in groups with strangers to design and present an app in just forty-five minutes made the group exercise a worthy challenge. In short, the day was very pleasant despite its competitive nature. Moreover, speaking to the current employees at Expedia informed me of the work completed at their offices.

Awards ceremony
The final ceremony was the easiest part of the process. I sat down with all the finalists and the Expedia staff members that I had gotten to know, had a delicious three-course meal and listened to Fiona Bruce’s amusing stories. Although I didn’t win, I increased the prospects of me working for Expedia, featured on my university’s website and had an honorary mention during my summer 2016 university’s graduation ceremony.

If you are eligible then grasp this opportunity and apply. Seriously, throughout this process, nothing changed; I was still ordinary Mazhar. I just happened to do that little extra by applying.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Thomas Chalmers Explore Sky Tech Insight Day

The Explore Sky (A Tech Insight) event was a great insight into Sky! It was my first exposure to Sky outside of just looking on their website or online presence. At first I was overwhelmed at the size of the Osterley offices (more like a campus!) that Sky had. This really painted a different picture to what I had imagined life at Sky would be like learning more about the variety of sections that make up Sky whether that be Now TV, Sky Cinema or Sky News the list goes on. Only then can you appreciate the wealth of opportunities Sky has to offer.

As part of the Explore Sky event the opportunity to speak to those running and recruiting for graduate programs was a fantastic opportunity and is what differentiates such events compared to traditional careers fairs for example. Occasionally at careers fairs you may have a burning question that is directed more at someone who is on the exact programme you are interested in and you may not be able to get the question answered instantly at the careers fair. But being able to ask questions that could be answers immediately with those who have been running the programmes for some time in my view is the best way to gain an insight into the company and let's you really understand inside and out what the programme(s) you are interested in entails.

The afternoon session forms an exciting group project challenged with developing a mobile web application. Whilst being an IT student "Agile / Lean business practice” is a term that I hear quite a lot especially so when looking at roles in the IT sector but being able to explore the way teams code at Sky is something I am grateful to be exposed to. Putting into practice some of the techniques Sky uses with undergraduates like myself with the help of the experts at Sky was great practise. They say the best way to learn is by doing and in this case it couldn't be more true.

In short the Explore Sky event not only helped me better my understanding of the opportunities Sky has on offer but also exposed me to developing further my technical understanding of how software is actually developed in a large organisation. If it's not clear already, Explore Sky is a fantastic opportunity and one that you should aim to get involved with to learn more about Sky and the technology that underpins its success!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Toms Experience at Explore Sky Finance Insight Day

I applied to “Explore Sky: A finance insight day” after receiving an appealing email from Target Jobs. I have always been interested in finance, but wanted to see if that really was where my passions were. Being a Sky customer I had a decent idea of the sort of work Sky does, but still had so many questions! After an efficient application process, I was invited to attend the day alongside 50 fellow applicants.

Before the event, both Sky and Target Jobs were extremely helpful, providing me with detailed information about what the day would entail, and also offering to answer any questions I had! Arriving at the Sky campus in Osterley was stunning, almost like turning up at university for the first time!

The day itself started with talks from Target Jobs, Head of Finance at Sky, members of the Sky Starting Out team, and current Sky Graduates who all spoke about their jobs. They all provided valuable information on a range of topics such as Sky Behaviours, the application process, and qualifications earned whilst working at Sky. It really gave me the information needed to make future career decisions. Being in such a fast-paced industry, it was interesting to find out about the importance of Sky’s constant innovation.

Having the opportunity to speak to Sky’s current graduates over a (free!) lunch, we were able to find out the in’s and out’s from employees just starting out in their Sky career. They gave us honest opinions about their experiences at Sky, which really confirmed that I want to build a career at Sky Finance!

A CIMA representative explained to use all about the CIMA qualification you obtain whilst working for Sky. Again, it was fantastic to hear about all the career benefits of gaining a highly respected qualification.

We then had the opportunity to showcase our skills to Serena (Sky Finance) and Amandeep (Sky Starting Out) via a team challenge. This 30-minute exercise involved planning a completely new product for Sky to launch! Despite common themes occurring between the groups, each group had their unique take on what areas Sky should be heading in. Each group presented their idea to both the judges and the other participants, and were then asked on the spot questions. Presenting in front of experts and having the chance to answer questions from them has really improved my business confidence!

The Sky campus itself was simply outstanding. We were fortunate enough to have a tour around a place with fantastic facilities, including filming studios, a gym, and even some rare trees!
I would recommend this event for anyone remotely interested in a finance career for several reasons. Firstly, and probably most importantly, it gives you such an informative, enjoyable and interesting insight into what Sky is all about, in a much different way to usual careers events! Secondly, you will have the chance to meet a wide range of people – from peers in a similar situation to yourself, right up to the Head of Finance at Sky! Lastly, if nothing else, you will have an extremely fun day! I cannot recommend the day enough!

If you attend the day, I would advise throwing yourself into anything and everything in order to optimise your day! Everyone there is in the same situation so don’t be afraid to ask questions, get involved in tasks, and be proactive in your approach!

I would like to thank both Sky and Target Jobs for hosting such a fantastic day, allowing everybody to get exactly what they were looking for out of the event! Due to the event, I now intend on applying for the Finance Graduate Scheme.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Katie tells us about her day spent at Sky HQ and the application process

 In August, I was coming to the end of my placement year and keen to find out more about other companies and the graduate opportunities available. I knew that I was interested in applying to Sky, as I had spoken to several people while on my placement who had recommended the graduate scheme. For me, the culture of a company is particularly important and I feel that the best way to get a feel for the culture is through meeting people who already work there, so when I saw this event advertised on the TargetJobs website, I knew it was a brilliant chance to learn more about Sky’s ethos, while networking with their employees. The fact that this event was held at their Head Office made the opportunity to attend even more exciting, having grown up with Sky, I was looking forward to seeing how things work behind the scenes.

The application process consisted of an initial application, which asked you to explain your motivations for applying to Sky, as well as biographical information, such as your University and predicted grades. This closely resembled the initial process for graduate applications and it was good practice for getting back into the habit of filling out applications, while also giving me time to think carefully about my motivations for working in the tech industry and for wanting to apply to Sky.

I received an invitation to a telephone interview not long after submitting my application – it’s worth bearing in mind that TargetJobs will allocate places nearer to the event date – so if you apply early, it may be a few weeks until you hear back. I booked the interview through an online tool and there were several time options so I could find a time which suited me. Before this interview, I made sure to read Target Jobs’ top tips for telephone interviews, as it had been a while since I’d had an interview and reading this helped me to brush up on my skills.
The TargetJobs interviewer was friendly, encouraging me to discuss my motivations for attending the event, while chatting about any relevant experience I had. As my placement was in the technology industry, I had some knowledge and experience of tech, however my placement was a marketing role, so I was conscious that I perhaps didn’t have the same knowledge or experience that some more technical candidates may have had, such as coding. I think the most important thing here is to make it clear why working in tech appeals to you. For me, it’s because it’s such a fast-paced, exciting industry to be in and I am also eager to learn, be challenged and experience new things. Whatever your reason for wanting to attend, this is your chance to make it clear why you should be given the chance! I received an email a few days later saying that I’d secured a place at the event.

The night before the event, I stayed at a friend’s house in London, to make the journey easier in the morning, as we needed to be at Sky for 9.30AM. It was only a short tube journey to the nearest station Osterley and Sky run shuttle buses from the station to the offices, which is something I may not have known without visiting the offices myself (and it’s always handy to have experienced this journey in case you do end up visiting these offices again). It’s also worth mentioning that Sky will refund up to £50 of expenses, so you don’t need to be out of pocket if you do attend – particularly important when you’re a student on a budget!

On arriving at the event, I was greeted by a Target Jobs representative. I was surprised to find that several of the people who had been on the bus with me were also there for the same event. I decided to introduce myself and we got talking about our journeys and our expectations for the day, which helped me to relax and feel at ease, before registering and making our way to the amazing new building. The first thing we saw in the reception was the throne from Game of Thrones, which made us keen to see what else the offices had in store for us.

The first session took place in a large event space. We were given introduction booklets and pens, plus there were refreshments available throughout the day, so we were well looked after! We also received a lanyard with a name badge attached, these were colour coded (purple for those applying for the Software roles and orange for Technical). The morning consisted of several talks, from a wide range of people, including TargetJobs representatives, some of the Sky recruitment team. We were given post-it notes to write our questions for him on and I was pleased that mine was read out, as it was interesting to learn about Sky’s perspective on emerging technologies such as Augmented and Virtual reality and how these will impact Sky’s products and services.

We then got to go on a tour of the buildings, I think the event organisers understood our excitement, as they encouraged us to take pictures and upload them to Facebook and Twitter (my Snapchat story looked particularly good that day!) For this, we were mixed up into different groups, which meant that I got to speak to some more attendees and hear about their experiences. The tour was brilliant, we got to see the Sky Sports Centre and different cafés, restaurants and working areas, there’s even a rooftop bar. As a dedicated Arsenal fan, the only disappointment for me was not seeing Thierry Henry! (Although there was a picture of him on the wall).
After lunch, the afternoon session consisted of a team challenge. We were allocated to groups, which were split between technology attendees and software attendees and between us we chose roles for each member. The goal of this challenge was for us to develop an app for Sky Cinema, I was the product manager, so my role was to decide which features consumers would want and work out what the priorities for the developers would be. I then worked with the Scrum Master to communicate with the developers to understand which of our priorities were feasible and the time frames in which they could be completed. The Scrum Master and I then worked together to amend the tasks, all the while receiving feedback on progress from the Software team. Although we didn’t have a lot of time to spend on this activity in comparison to what it would be in the real world, the focus was on us learning how teams in Tech work together and the kind of roles available, rather than us creating the most perfect product. After working on this for what felt like 20 minutes (but was several hours), it was time for us to present back to the room. This whole project was good experience for assessment centres, as the day combined teamwork and presentation skills. Our team came second, which marked the end of a great day.
One of the most interesting things from this event was that everyone I spoke to had different experiences and backgrounds. There was not one ‘type’ of person at the event, but rather a mix of degrees and disciplines – I spoke to people who studied subjects ranging from Education, to Maths, to Business, to Cyber Security! This made me feel much more comfortable as a Marketing student and helped me to realise that Sky will look beyond your degree subject when assessing your application, while technical skills are valuable, it’s also exciting to see that they are interested in individuals with skills in innovation and creativity.

Overall, I recommend this event to anyone with even a mild interest in Technology, the opportunities at Sky are so vast and even if you decide a Technology role isn’t for you, you’ll benefit from learning how tech teams operate in large scale businesses, while potentially realising that Sky is a place you want to work in the future!


Monday, June 20, 2016

Read our runner up Logan's experience at the TARGETcareers School Leavers' Challenge!

First off I'd like to thank Target Careers and BT for organising such an informative and fun day at the BT Tower in London. It really was a fantastic opportunity that I would encourage everyone eligible to enter it next year.

The first round of the competition was an online quiz which had a whole variety of questions in it, from scenarios about your first day at work to mathematical and logic puzzles. It is a timed process so when you start make sure you are able to complete it all in one go. After completing the quiz it gave you a score and placed you on the regional scoreboard. I placed second in Scotland but since I was one of the first 20 or so to complete it I was pleasantly surprised that I held my place until the closing date. This is when the competition gets more tense as the top 10 people from each region are invited to attend the grand final which was held at the BT Tower in London.

I flew to London the night before and after stayed in a hotel nearby so that I would be prepared for the following morning. The event started at 9am after we had all signed in at the awe-inspiring BT Tower. The first event of the morning was an introduction where we were told what the format of the day was going to be.  After this we were split into our groups for the day and the activities began. Throughout the day each group took part in two challenges, based on the kind of activities that we might encounter at an assessment centre when applying for a job. After an ear-popping journey to the top of the tower my group took part in the first challenge which involved using plastic spoons to move marbles from one cup to another. The challenges seemed rather trivial but they were good fun and the assessors had a close eye on us to see how well we worked as a team and used our leadership skills. The actual challenge was just a means of getting the group to work as a team and having fun.

After this came one of my personal highlights of the day, a networking lunch where we had the chance to eat some delicious food whilst networking with employees from the sponsoring businesses. I had a very useful and informative chat with a recruiter from BT. This was also a good opportunity to get to know some of the other finalists and to enjoy the spectacular view out over London from the top of the tower.

The afternoon was made up of another assessment centre style challenge, a session on personal branding and a "How to get Hired" question and answer session. The personal branding session was about how you can present yourself in a positive and professional way using social media and more formal methods such as CV's. This proved very useful when re-drafting my CV to apply for work experience in the summer. The "How to get Hired" session had recruitment professionals from all 9 of the sponsoring businesses on the stage ready to answer any questions we had related to getting a job. This was another brilliant opportunity that I'm sure will prove useful in the next few years for everyone in attendance.

The awards ceremony was the final event of the day. The prizes were awarded by Mark Murphy from BT. I was delighted when my name was called out as runner up in the competition. The prize of the competition this year is a day at BT's Adastral Park Research and Innovation centre which includes the opportunity to meet people from BT and to find out more about a department of our choice. I am really looking forward to the event which is happening this summer.

I think everyone who attended the event will agree that the day had been both fun as well as very informative and worthwhile. My top tips for anyone who makes it to the final next year is to just relax and enjoy the event. It is not often that you are given such a unique opportunity to prepare yourself for the workplace. In order to make the most of the event you have to be confident and ask questions. The day is not without it's challenges but if you embrace them I have no doubt that you will find the day rewarding and fun. Thanks again to everyone at Target Careers for organising the event and to all of the sponsoring companies for their support.

Visit to find out more information about the challenge!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

TARGETcareers School Leavers' Challenge 2016 Winner!

We hear from Abe Chauhan the winner of the TARGETcareers School Leavers' Challenge 2016 about his experience at the Grand Final which was held at the BT Tower, London!

I first heard about the TARGETcareers School Leavers' Challenge through an unremarkable-looking poster in my Sixth Form Centre; it was advertised as a brief online test with a potential Grand Final later in the year. I thought little of it but, later that week, with a looming English coursework deadline, a 30 minute test seemed like the perfect window for some solid procrastination. I had taken similar tests before with careers services at school and so knew roughly what to expect: there were no trick questions and a lot of them were based on normative judgements personal to me which I found put me at ease. After the test I checked the regional leader board and was pleasantly surprised to find myself in the top 10; I was even more surprised when I received an email about a month later informing me that I was still there and had therefore been invited to attend the final.

Spending the day at the BT Tower was of course a great experience - a personal highlight was lunch on the rotating floor of the tower with a panoramic view of the London cityscape. The challenges themselves were unusual but not entirely unpredictable. We were involved in group tasks, the first coordinating a 'delivery service' to transport marbles and the second involving some remarkably tense negotiating while trading cards. Although we were being observed throughout the day I again did not think too much of it; I was able to enjoy the challenges and meet other finalists from my region which was itself quite interesting. The awards ceremony closed the day and I was shocked when my name was announced.

I am still not certain what it is that I did right throughout the day but, despite that, here are some tips for next year's competition:

1. This is the most important by far - actually give it a go. It is so easy to dismiss competitions like these because you do not think you would be suited to them but I never expected to make it to the final, let alone win. This is a useful experience regardless of how far you progress and you cannot benefit from it if you do not at least apply.

2. Be yourself - everyone has their own approach to group challenges and it is not always the loud and brash members who excel; behave as you would normally do and you should enjoy yourself.

3. Finally, should you get to the final, make the most of the networking opportunity. This year's Grand Final hosted representatives from some of the most prestigious graduate employers in the country, who offer fantastic schemes to school leavers and graduates alike. I personally spoke to several people who will hopefully be able to provide me with useful information and opportunities when I seek employment in the future.

Of course I think it is essential that everyone who is eligible opts to take part in next year's challenge; 30 minutes is a small price for potentially invaluable help and advice further down the line. Regardless of how far you eventually progress, each stage of the competition is designed to serve as an insight into the world of employment which, especially in the competitive workplace of today, will prove useful.

What's next:

This year's prize for the winner and runners-up is a day's tailored work experience at BT's Adastral Park which has been arranged for mid-August; I am very much looking forward to being able to see the workings of such an influential company. Speaking more broadly, in September I will (hopefully) be starting at university; I have accepted a conditional offer to read Law with German Law at University College London. Like most people my age I am not completely certain which career path I will eventually take but my experience with the TARGETcareers School Leaver's Challenge has given me helpful exposure to what I can expect in the coming years.

Visit to find out more about the TARGETcareers School Leavers' Challenge. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

We caught up with Leon from The Male Undergraduate of the Year Award 2015

It has been over a year since the Undergraduate of the Year Awards 2015 and I've learnt a lot in the 10 months that I've been at L'Oréal so far. Both the Award and the placement that followed has given me invaluable experience that I believe would help me in whatever career I decide to pursue. 

I've launched products and managed my own projects and budgets; delivered on leading digital initiatives that my Brand had never done before; coordinated my own team to help organise our annual National Conference; and also exposed myself to very different experiences, from legal, commercial and digital to PR and photoshoots!

This time last year, I would've never thought I could be gaining so much by spending a year in industry and I'm glad I took the decision to defer my postgraduate year for this. I've learnt a lot about my strengths and blind spots and I am clear on what my areas of development are. I now feel well-prepared for whatever I finally decide to do in future!

If you are interested in applying to The Undergraduate of the Year Awards 2017 please pre-register here - 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Lauren attended Women in investment banking and has now secured a role with Deutsche Bank!

Attending the Women in Investment Banking event gave me a comprehensive overview of the industry and dispelled any misconceptions I had about pursuing a career in finance. The day was full of a wide range of activities from skills sessions, where we had the opportunity to learn more about the various application processes, to a buffet lunch, where we got to meet various representatives from the participating banks.  

I particularly enjoyed hearing from the keynote speaker, Virginia Laird, the Chief Administrative Officer for EMEA Markets and Securities Services for Citigroup. Virginia originally trained as a Lawyer and this is just proof to show that you don’t need to have a degree in Economics in order to pursue a career in Investment Banking! I also enjoyed hearing from the panel formed of equally inspirational women from the partnering banks. It was clear to see how passionate they all felt about their careers and this motivated me to apply to the insight programmes offered by the attending companies.

Since the Women in Investment Banking event, I have been fortunate enough to have been offered a place on the Deutsche Bank Graduate Outreach for Women (GROW) programme which is aimed at first year university students. The programme so far has been a fantastic opportunity to not only learn more about the financial industry, but also to develop skills that are needed to pursue a career in this field. As part of GROW, I have also been allocated a mentor who is incredibly friendly and she has been able to offer me lots of help and advice. I am glad that I attended the WIIB event otherwise I probably wouldn’t have thought about considering to apply to this amazing programme.  

I think anyone who is considering a career in Investment Banking should apply to this event as it is a great way to learn about the different opportunities available within the industry and see if it somewhere you could picture yourself working in the future. It is also a great way to meet employees of some of the biggest companies in finance and ask them any questions you may have. I found the day thoroughly enjoyable and recommend you apply as soon as possible! 

If you're interested in a career in investment banking pre-register here to be the first to find out about our next event

Thursday, April 21, 2016

'Thanks to this event I have the job of my dreams with a company I love'.

Georgia - ThoughtWorks, I got the job! 

I first attended the ITs not just for the boys event in March 2015 and to be honest I hadn’t heard of many of the companies before I signed up. I researched the companies when I was looking for which ones I wanted to complete the sessions with when I came across ThoughtWorks. I could see from the website and social media that it was a fun and young company, so I thought I’d take a chance and put them as my first choice for the sessions. My god I’m glad I did!

When I got to the event I was greeted with a lovely atmosphere from everyone, companies and attendees alike, and I immediately knew that no matter what the outcome, this was going to be a good day. When it came to the group activity session this was a perfect opportunity to show the companies there what I could do as a potential employee but in a fun, stress-free environment. There was no pressure and the other girls were really friendly and open to ideas for the task. I knew at this point that I wanted to work for ThoughtWorks so I used this task as an opportunity to show how well I could work in a group, and how I could communicate my ideas, at the end of the day if it didn’t work I didn’t lose anything, but thankfully everything went smoothly for me and my group. After the presentation of your group task you have the chance to network with the companies and get some contact details, this was the best part of the event for me.

In normal careers fairs there is always a rushed feeling. It sometimes comes across that companies want to tell as many students as possible about the opportunities without getting into too much detail with any one student, while this is understandable, I prefer to get a feel of the company by talking properly to the recruiters, and this event was a perfect opportunity for this. I got an email address for the graduate recruiter at ThoughtWorks and the leader of our group task also passed my details on to her (anything is good that makes you stand out from the crowd!). From then on I emailed the graduate recruiter to keep my name in the air while I continued my studies and I actually based my dissertation around the company development process to make me stand out a little bit more.  When it came down to actually applying for the position I felt so much more relaxed as I had already built up a relationship with her, and it allowed me to focus on why I wanted to work for them and the tasks I was being given. Two weeks after I began the process I got the call to say I was in, I was ecstatic!

To think it all came from one (free!) event where I just thought ‘oh what the hell!’ and I have secured a graduate job in a fantastic company.

So, if you’re on the fence about going, go! What do you have to lose? More importantly think of what you can gain! Thanks to this event I have the job of my dreams with a company I love and it was honestly only possible because of this event and the TARGETjobs team. So finally, Good luck, enjoy, and just go for it!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Success story from City Law for Ethnic Minorities! Read how it helped Alex land his dream job at Baker & McKenzie!

Alex attended City Law for Ethnic Minorities in June 2012, find out how the event helped him land his dream job at Baker & McKenzie!

This event was brought to my attention by a lecturer during my first year at University. Some of my course mates and I applied and we were very pleased to have been successful.

Day 1
Following a brief introduction, we were split into small groups and we were immediately given a series of intense, interactive and challenging tasks. These tasks were led by members from graduate recruitment teams of various City Law firms and included advice about applications and interviews.  This was an invaluable opportunity, as it was these same people that would be reading and assessing our vacation scheme and training contract applications in the near future.

Once the skills sessions were over, we were given half an hour to network with trainees and graduate recruitment staff from a array of law firms. This opportunity proved to be incredibly important to me as it was then that I had my first interaction with my future employer, Baker & McKenzie. This opportunity enabled me to develop meaningful relationships within the Firm and when it came to applying for a vacation scheme with them, I felt that I had a genuine understanding of their culture and values. Moreover, the trainees that I met on the day provided me with help and support, where they could, throughout the application process. 

Day 2
On the second day, we were separated into small groups and taken to different law firms. My group were taken to Reed Smith's offices, where we were given presentations by a trainee, an associate and a partner. They discussed the Firm's values, their work and how to be commercially aware. Later, we were given a group exercise based on the London 2012 Olympics. This experience proved to be very beneficial, as it was similar to group exercises that I was required to do during vacation scheme assessment days. 

Following this session, we were taken to Wragge & Co's offices (now known as Gowling WLG), where we were given a talk on due diligence. After this we undertook a research task and we were asked to present our findings to a panel comprising of members of the firm. Again, this experience mirrored assessment day tasks. I believe that it was extremely beneficial to me to be able to practice these skills in a controlled and less pressured environment. 

Finally, we were taken to Mayer Brown's offices where we were given a Q&A panel session with partners from City law firms. 

Fast-forward 1 year
Applying the advice that I was given at the City Law for Ethnic Minorities event, I was successful in obtaining a place on Baker & McKenzie's summer vacation scheme.

Fast forward 2 months - (1/9/2013)
Following my vacation scheme with Baker & McKenzie, I was offered a training contract with the Firm to start in September 2015! 

I believe that my experiences at the City Law for Ethnic Minorities event were instrumental to beginning my legal career and I would strongly recommend applying!

To find out more about the next event, visit the website HERE!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Chris tells us how attending Explore Sky helped secure his graduate scheme!

Explore Sky

Attending Explore Sky in September 2015, for students keen on Software Engineering and Technology, wasn’t just an enjoyable day out - it secured me a great graduate job that will be the first step in my technology career.
When applying for graduate schemes, it’s one thing to go to careers fairs, where you can have a nice chat with current graduates and fill your bag with brochures and free pens. Certainly, I would have felt lost without the broad overview - and would probably have spent a lot more on pens. Checking websites is good too, where you can pick up a little on their ethos.

But another thing entirely would be going to headquarters for a good look around, asking questions to directors, getting a feel for the company culture, getting the low-down on the application process (with very handy tips), and working with current employees in a hands-on afternoon group session. And this is exactly what Explore Sky is all about.

While still quite engineering-focused, Sky is in the middle of a huge transition into ground-breaking technology. Indeed, the first thing I thought when I walked onto campus - not office block, campus - was, “isn’t this a little more ‘Google’ than ‘BT Tower’?”. With onsite restaurants, a cycle shop, gym and many cafes, it’s immediately clear that this is a good place to work. (I got to try one of the coffees after ignoring my map and ending up in the wrong place, where I got offered one for free. No regrets.) It’s also worth mentioning that while the dress code for this event was smart-business, Sky employees tend to wear casual clothes to work, which helps create a very pleasant atmosphere.

On the day of Explore Sky the first place we entered was the sparkling-new award-winning Believe in Better building, with its huge, colourful, open atrium. (Incidentally, this is where the assessment centre was held when I came back - it’s certainly easier on the nerves when you’re in a familiar place.) Once there we were led into our room for the morning, where we were welcomed by the very friendly recruitment team and given a few presentations, along with ample opportunity to ask questions. It’s hard to imagine a better way to get ahead of the game than asking business questions to directors, getting the low-down on the application process from recruiters, and networking with current employees over a free lunch - and this all happened in the same morning.

The afternoon was made up of campus tours and a group challenge, the nature of which was kept as a secret, but it was a lot of fun and even had prizes at the end. The tour is quite remarkable too: you’ll see how Sky fits developers, restaurants, studios and much more all onto one campus. You may even catch a few celebrities - but try to stay professional!

All in all, the experience was instrumental in getting me the knowledge - and enthusiasm - to succeed in Sky’s graduate scheme recruitment process, and I’d certainly recommend it to anyone interested in a career in technology.

Good luck with your applications!

If you're interested in a career in technology at Sky pre-register here to be the first to find out about our next event

Friday, April 8, 2016

Hear from Dale about how attending our Explore Sky event helped him secure a role on Sky's Software Engineering Academy!

My journey into Sky’s Software Engineering Academy

It all started when I received an email from my university promoting Explore Sky – a tech insight day, hosted by Sky at their headquarters in Osterley. An application process was required just for attending, which included a telephone interview. Initially, I thought this was rather strange just for attending an event, but I later realized that this was very helpful – more on this later!

Prior to attending the event, I imagined Sky being a huge corporate company, where everyone wears a suit and spends all day at their desk. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As soon as I walked on campus, I immediately picked up on a startup-like culture. The buildings were stunning, with some of them even having their own colour themes, like NOW TV.

The event started with a welcome talk from both TARGETjobs Events and Sky – we were given the plan for the day. Next, Colin McQuade, a director at Sky, gave a talk about what it’s like working at Sky. I was intrigued to learn that the technology used within each development team for a Sky service is not limited to a select few – instead, it comes down to what is best suited for purpose.

After networking, we were split up into the areas we were interested in – for me, this was Software Engineering. Conrad Langworthy, Head of Software Engineering Academy, spoke about the Software Engineering Academy in more detail, as well as bringing along some of the current graduates to give us an insight of how the Academy is from their perspective.

Finally, we all got back together and took part in a hackathon. Split up into around 5 teams, we were tasked to design a Sky branded mobile app, aimed at showcasing TV content. Each team had a scrum master, designers, developers and testers. Working together was great, and gave a real insight into what it would be like working there. To simulate working conditions, small groups of people were taken away from the team for a tour around the campus. The hackathon finished with presentations, showing what we managed to achieve.

By the time the event finished, I had fallen in love with Sky. I really wanted to get involved. I started filling out my application a few days later, and realized most of the questions that were being asked were similar in some way to what were asked in the application to attend Explore Sky, and all of the application tips discussed at the event really helped to give me confidence in my answers.

I heard back shortly after confirming that I had reached the next stage, which is an unattended coding test. The test involved writing a piece of software to solve a given problem. It’s designed to be challenging, but at the same time being relaxed. Instead of being pressured into solving the problem within a few hours, the test is given over a few days. I submitted my solution feeling quite confident that I had managed to solve the problem.

Next, I heard back saying I had reached the next stage – a telephone interview. The interview was very relaxed, and followed a similar structure to that of the interview conducted by TARGETjobs Events – do you see a pattern emerging here? The interview lasted roughly 30 minutes and I finished feeling confident, but still wondered if I had answered the questions the best I could.

Fortunately, I received an email saying I got through to the final stage, an assessment centre. The name definitely sounds worse than it is! The day was so relaxed – it even took place in the same room I was in at the Explore Sky event, so I was comfortable.

The following week, I received the good news that I had been accepted into the Academy. I start in June, and I can’t wait!

For anyone thinking of joining the Academy, here are my top 5 tips:

1.      I highly suggest that you attend Explore Sky! I honestly believe that I got into the Academy because of all the hints and tips that I was given throughout the event. Especially the application process of the event, it made me feel much more confident when applying for the Academy.
2.      While studying, volunteer at a startup. I spent a few hours a week helping a new tech company get their software up and running. You will gain so much experience of what it’s like writing software for the real world, and you’ll also have something great to put on your CV. For me, it also gave me something to talk about in my application process.
3.      Make sure you know some background on Sky – the more, the better. Find out about what Sky are planning on doing in the future, it will give you great topics of conversation when it comes to speaking with recruiters.
4.      Don’t be shy – both at the Explore Sky event and on the assessment centre. Everyone there is in the same position as you, has the same interests and are there to network. If you get the chance to speak with current graduates at Sky, do it! It’s great to talk to someone who has been through the same journey you are about to go through.
5.      Finally, just be yourself. If you have an interest in technology, you will love Sky. The Explore Sky event and even the assessment centre are both packed full of fun activities that a lover of tech will enjoy.

If you're interested in a career in technology at Sky pre-register here to be the first to find out about our next event

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ruth tells us how attending IT's not just for the boys! helped her secure her role with IBM!

I attended the ‘IT’s not just for the Boys’ event in November 2014. I wasn’t very sure where I was going post degree; I liked the idea of doing a graduate scheme but wasn’t sure if I’d suit them or who to apply for! So when I received an invitation to apply e-mail from Target Jobs I thought it sounded the ideal networking event for me. Since the event I applied and was accepted onto the two year IBM Consulting by Degrees Graduate Scheme and started in July 2015 as a Technical Consultant!

IT’S Not Just for the Boys Event
There was an application process consisting of a form and phone interview when I applied for the Bloomberg London event. I was super pleased to hear I’d secured a place giving all the big employer names who were attending, such as; Bloomberg, IBM, Deloitte, HP and ThoughtWorks.  The event itself was held at Bloomberg HQ in London which is an amazing building! We were all given had a chance to network with each other before going into the event and the mix of degree backgrounds was really interesting.

The event comprised of several talks from high profile women in the tech world who spoke about their journeys and achievements. It was surprising how many career changes they’d had and how many had only moved into technology careers later on!  There were also team challenges where we got to work with each other and representatives from the attending companies. These challenges includes such things as coming up with a new technical venture for a telecom company and were a great chance to work with new people and ideas whilst getting feedback from the company reps.

The day was finally wrapped up with refreshments and the chance to network with the company reps. I had come to the event most keen to speak to the IBM reps so made my way over there! The IBM reps were really friendly and encouraging and after a short chat convinced me that I stood a good chance with applying to their grad scheme!

IBM Application
I applied for 5 grad schemes, but IBM was the one I really wanted. The first step was a CV check to ensure you met the minimum 2.1 degree. From there I was given the IPAT test to take – a numeracy and logic exam which had me mildly terrified since I hadn’t touched mathematics properly for a few years! However, my revision paid off and I passed the IPAT and was through to the full CV check stage. Shortly after this I received an invitation to an assessment centre in Southbank!

I heard the next day that I’d passed the assessment centre but still didn’t have a job as my CV now needed to undergo a business review. Luckily I only had to wait three weeks to be called up and offered a position starting at IBM Southbank in July as a technical consultant!

Working at IBM
I’ve really enjoyed my time so far working for IBM. I started with an intake of 23 graduates and underwent a month of training down in Hursley before embarking on client projects. Since joining I’ve worked in Edinburgh and London and had the chance to work with some big clients and have also been lucky enough to be sent to Copenhagen and Amsterdam for training which was awesome!

I also now write for IBM as part of an international Graduate Blog, so feel free to have a look to get an insight into the scheme!

Technical Consultant @ IBM

My CbD grad Group
 Amsterdam Training
 Exploring Copenhagen

If you're interested in a career in technology then pre-register here to be the first to find out about our next female only technology events

Monday, February 29, 2016

We hear from Christina Avraam who has secured a position with Capital One after attending our IT's not just for the boys! event in December

I’m very excited to confirm that I have been offered a position at Capital One after visiting the headquarters for the ‘IT’s not just for the Boys!’ event! The position I have accepted is the 2 year Technology Graduate Rotation Program which I start in September 2016!

Stage 1 – IT’s not just for the Boys! Event

Since I had a limited background in technology (a Multimedia & Graphic Design Bachelor’s degree and I am currently doing a Masters in Marketing) I was initially just coming to the event to see what options I’d have, and what steps I would need to take, in order to work in technology. Needless to say I was nervous and didn’t think I stood a chance to work in technology; the event cleared up all those nerves and made it clear to me that you only really need a true passion for technology to work in technology!

During the event, which was hosted at Capital One’s headquarters in Nottingham, I had the opportunity to meet like-minded women from all fields who were there due to their passion for technology. I met people from many different companies (AIG, ARM, Bank of England, Cognizant, Deloitte, Tesco and Capital One) who gave me a good insight into their company and the programs they had available. The day consisted of a lot of amazing food, amazing people, presentations from inspirational women and a group exercise where a group of us discussed a possible Mobile App with one of the companies.

During the networking section of the event, I met a young woman who was already in the Technology Graduate Rotation Program at Capital One; she sat with me and spoke to me about Capital One as a company and told me all about her experience. It was at this moment that I put my nerves, and hesitation about being qualified, aside and decided to apply.

Stage 2 – Initial Application

The first part of the application process consisted of filling out forms about my education, previous employment etc. (basically putting together a CV). It was very quick and easy. After I submitted these, I was asked to complete some online tests which included Verbal Reasoning and Numerical Reasoning tests. These were all well organised and easy to follow through the platform.

Stage 3 – Video Interview

A few weeks later, I was invited to do a video interview; which consisted of logging onto a platform with introductory videos explaining the process. A question would show on screen, then I was given 2 minutes to prep my answer (which was not recorded) and finally; 5 minutes to answer the question while being recorded. There were approximately 7 questions; the prep time given was more than enough to put together my answers.

Stage 4 – Assessment Day

About a week later, I was informed that I had passed the video interview and the next stage was an assessment day. This is where it all started to get real! I went up to Nottingham again to visit the headquarters and was greeted by a group of awesome people who were already working on the Technology Graduate Program. They were kind enough to talk to all the people who came in for interviews that day – there were 9 of us in total. The first interview was a ‘Job Fit’ interview where I spoke to a very friendly woman about my ambitions, previous work experience etc. I was made to feel very welcome and the interview was quite relaxed.

After this, I had a ‘Presentation Interview’; we were all given a topic a few days before to cover in this interview. I put together a presentation and had 10 minutes to present my findings to the interviewer. Again, this was quite casual and I was able to ask more questions about Capital One when I had finished my presentation. After this, we all had a tour of the headquarters and enjoyed a complimentary lunch in Capital One’s impressive restaurant.

Finally, a group of 5 of us were taken to the last interview of the day; group assessment. We were presented with a topic and we had to discuss amongst ourselves the possible solutions and path to take. We were being observed by 3 interviewers but it still felt very relaxed.

Stage 5 – Final Interview

I was in class when I found out that I had passed onto the final stage. It was so exciting! I had to go up to Nottingham again a few days later for the final 30 minute interview. This is when I met the Senior Director of Technology; this interview was the most relaxed and casual interview I had. It was very much focused on the questions I had about the position and company.

Stage 6 – Excitement!

When I received the call I was in a group meeting in University; the excitement got the better of me and I ended up jumping up and down in excitement with my group members in the middle of the Library! The only thing that was on my mind was how happy and grateful I was that I had applied to go to the IT’s not just for the Boys! event. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity if it wasn’t for all the friendly people I met at the event and all the information I gathered just by being there.
If you're interested in a career in technology then pre-register here to be the first to find out about our next female only technology events