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How to find graduate jobs and successfully apply for them. Psychology

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  1. How to find graduate jobs and successfully apply for them. Psychology • Nicola Urquhart • Careers Adviser • Careers and Employability Service •

  2. What is Employability? ‘A set of attributes, skills and knowledge that all labour market participants should possess to ensure they have the capability of being effective in the workplace – to the benefit of themselves, their employer and the wider economy.’ (CBI, March 2009)

  3. What do employers want? Commercial Awareness Degree awarded at 2.1 or above Work Experience Extra-Curricular Activities Professional attributes Employability skills

  4. What skills and attributes do employers want? Leadership Communication Adaptability Energy Contextual/cultural awareness Self awareness Report writing Adaptability Problem Solving Numeracy Positive attitude Reflection Confidence Integrity Team working Capacity to develop Reliability Drive and resilience Project management Enthusiasm/passion IT skills Business and customer awareness Planning and organisation Enterprise Maturity

  5. What skills and attributes do employers want? Transferrable skills Attributes Integrity Adaptability Energy Drive and resilience Reliability Enthusiasm and passion Self awareness and confidence • Communication (oral, written) • Negotiation • Team working • Planning and organisation • Time management • Leadership • Problem solving

  6. Why are employability skills so important? Increased competition – over 400,000 graduates leaving university each year. • ‘Our latest UK recruitment campaign closed having attracted c.24500. The bank will offer c.475 places in 2012.’HSBC newsletter April 2012 • Saatchi & Saatchi – 3000 applicants for 12 summer internships 2012. • Kent Probation – 300 applicants for 6 jobs in October 2012. • ‘An average of 73 candidates chasing each vacancy, up from 30 applicants per job before the economic downturn.’ Guardian June 2012

  7. Applying for opportunities

  8. What do psychology graduates do? (2011) • Employed 66% • Further study 26% • Unemployed 6 % • Not available 1%

  9. Research how the sectors you are interested in recruit!

  10. The Graduate Labour Market is…… • Complex! • Competitive!

  11. Finding vacancy websites for your sector • • Job sectors • Graduate jobs in… • Employers and vacancy sources •

  12. Related to Psychology • NHS • (currently advertising 4 Trainee Psychological Practitioner posts – closing date 5/3/2013) • (including Assistant Psychologist positions • (also offer work based placements) • (includes Research Assistant Posts) • HM Prison Service, Probation Trusts (35) • (including support worker roles) • Local Government Jobs • Civil Service • Charity and third sector

  13. Where to look for vacancies • Check job vacancies to find out about the types of roles being advertised • Graduate directories • Careers and Employability Fairs • Social Media • Recruitment Agencies

  14. Using Social Media to Job Search Twitter • Follow organisations @BPSOfficial @PsychologyNow • Follow @unikentemploy • Get industry updates • • Remember everything is public

  15. Facebook • ‘Like’ company pages (Civil Service Fast Stream, NHS Management Scheme • ‘Like’ • Is your profile professional enough?!

  16. LinkedIn • • Search for jobs. • Use key words in your profile. • Follow companies. • Connect with people in the industry. • Join relevant groups.

  17. Vacancy Sites - • • • • www • •

  18. Other resources • Professional bodies • Institute of Practitioners in Advertising • Chartered Institute of Marketing • Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development • Recruitment agencies • FASHION - George Ellis Recruitment • MUSIC - Handle Recruitment • ACCOUNTANCY - Hays Accountancy Personnel • SECRETARIAL - Nice People Employment Bureau

  19. Newspapers • Local papers e.g. Kent Messenger • London papers e.g. Metro • The Guardian • The Telegraph • The Times

  20. Recruitment agencies Organisations ask recruitment agencies to find the most suitable person for their job vacancy. You will usually have an interview with the recruitment agency and then the organisation if shortlisted. Pros • Recruitment consultant may know the organisation well so can help you to prepare for your interview • Can save time with CV writing as you may not have to tailor it to each role • Some agencies have exclusive access to jobs so you can only apply through them • Usually a free service for you Cons • They may not have your best interests at heart, the consultant is paid commission upon your employment • They can be very persuasive and make you believe a position is suited to you when it is not • Some recruitment agencies may play on your weaknesses and insecurities to convince you to take a job

  21. Careers Fairs Graduate Events The Summer Graduate Fair ExCel, London, 5th June 2013 TARGETjobs/The Careers Group The London Graduate Fair Business Design Centre, Islington 20th March For fairs elsewhere in the UK, see

  22. Creative approaches

  23. Not all jobs are advertised : the hidden job market

  24. Speculative approaches • The BBC say a third of jobs are never advertised (others say 70-80%) • Send your CV and cover letter (to the correct person) • The organisation can see that: • You are interested in them specifically • You have initiative • They could avoid recruitment advertising fees

  25. Getting work experience • • • • • • •

  26. Applications and interviews How to succeed

  27. Successful applications

  28. What employers say… "Few students are able to articulate what they have gained from their experience in higher education." (Association of Graduate Recruiters, 1995)

  29. What is the purpose of a CV? • To inform the employer about your education, work experience, skills and interests • To show how you meet the criteria so the employer can not deselect you • To ‘sell’ your qualities and to persuade the employer to invite you to interview

  30. Producing a CV

  31. Matching up your CV with the position/company • It is not ‘one size fits all’, you need to tailor your CV to each position you apply for. • Research the organisation. Do they have a mission statement or core values? What will they be looking for in you? Who works there at the moment? What are they passionate about?

  32. What makes an effective CV and covering letter • Right format • Well presented • Proof read/consistent tenses • You have included all the necessary information • Your skills and abilities are clearly evidenced • Conveyed your understanding and enthusiasm for the job • Targeted it to the job

  33. What does it need to contain? • Personal details • Education and qualifications • Work experience • Skills • Interests and additional information • References

  34. Don’t be constrained by headings. • Languages • Scholarships/Awards • Voluntary work • Relevant experience • Positions of responsibility • Publication/Presentations • Conferences attended • Research skills • Additional skills

  35. Hints on wording • Avoid personal pronouns - No “I’s” • Avoid producing a passive CV • Start with verbs wherever possible • Use short sentences & concise phrases • Focus on accomplishments • Refer to specific projects with quantifiable results • Try to incorporate wording used in that sector

  36. Make use of Action Verbs created instructed analysed produced negotiated designed calculated maintained administered controlled reviewed observed consolidated delivered founded increased studied invented supplied detected programmed recommended distributed developed solved prepared installed selected arranged formulated solved started

  37. Application forms (online) • Read the question! • Re-read and highlight the main points • Write your answer • Check you have covered each point • Include key words

  38. STAR approach (online) For questions where you are asked to ‘explain a time when…’, it is useful to use the STAR approach: • Situation – set the scene • Task - what needed to be done/achieved? • Action - this should take up about 80% of the answer, what action did YOU take? • Result - this is the ‘proof’ that you succeeded, try and give evidence such as statistics if possible

  39. Applicant Tracking Systems Some major recruiters rely on Applicant Tracking Systems to initially scan through CVs, covering letters and application forms. If you do not pass this stage, your application may never be seen. Case Study: Olu – Business and IT I applied for 120 placement schemes, the most disheartening thing about it was receiving rejections at 1am in the morning. My applications weren’t even getting to a human being! Allianz was my last shot, and for the first time I made my application relevant, I used key words and I practiced psychometric tests. Not only did I get the placement, but they asked me back after graduation, so I have now started on their graduate scheme.

  40. Beating the system • Use their KEY WORDS from: • Job description • Person specification • Values and mission statement section • ‘What we look for’ section Example: Candidate must have strong communication skills and must be fluent in German (ensure highlighted words feature in your application)

  41. Here comes the (computer) science bit… Concentrate! • Never send your CV as a PDF: Applicant tracking systems (ATS) lack a standard way to structure PDF documents, info can be mis-read • Don't include tables or graphics: ATS can't read graphics, and they misread tables • Call your work experience, "Work Experience": The computer might completely skip over your work experience if you haven’t labelled it as such • Don't start your work experience with dates: To ensure applicant tracking systems read and import your work experience properly, always start it with your employer's name, followed by your title, followed by the dates you held that title.

  42. Interviews

  43. Interviews – do your research • Be familiar with the employer website • Re-read employer information/ your application form • Remind yourself why you find this employer attractive • Keep up to date with current affairs

  44. Body Language • Shake hands warmly, but wait to be invited to sit down. • Smile • Try to relax - don’t sit on the edge of your chair, but don’t slouch. • Speak clearly and not too fast • Don’t fidget • Keep up good eye contact with the interviewer

  45. Interview Questions Interview questions may be: • Hypothetical (what would you do if…) • Competency based (describe a situation where you…) • ‘Traditional’ interview questions (tell me about yourself) In your answers, keep in mind the skills and attributes the employer will be looking for. Be honest.

  46. Prepare answers to obvious questions • Why are you applying to us? • Who else have you applied to? • What do you know about our competitors ? • What makes you suitable for this placement/job? • Why should we employ you? • What do you know about the company/industry/scheme? • Tell us about yourself • What are your strengths and weaknesses? • What do you do in your spare time? • Why did you choose to study Psychology ?

  47. Prepare for Competency Questions Describe a situation where you had to ..... • show leadership • make a difficult decision • overcome a difficult obstacle • work with others to solve a problem What would you do differently?

  48. Hypothetical Questions – What would you do if ………? • What would you do if an irate customer complained about the length of time they had been waiting? • What would you do if you disagreed with something your manager was doing? • What would you do if a person became aggressive when talking to you?

  49. Thinking on your feet • Used precisely because it's impossible to work out your answer beforehand • Tests your ability to think quickly, logically, produce practical solutions • Don't panic! Take a few seconds to think - this shows confidence • There may be many possible solutions.

  50. Difficult Questions • Ask for some thinking time • Tell them you would need to research the answer • Ask if you can come back to that question later • “I’m afraid I don’t know” is better than waffle • Keep the answer short if you are operating at the edge of your comfort zone