Where to begin?

If you are still unsure of what career direction you would like to go in then firstly think about your skills and interests. This will help you work out what career areas match your interests and preferences. You can also take advantage of the online tools that are available which can help you to understand yourself better allowing you to identify the jobs that suit.

Online Tools to help you identify your skills

As well as visiting websites you can make an appointment with one of the Employability Team and we also have a range of graduate career handbooks which can also provide information on navigating the labour market and preparing yourself for interviews.

Central careers also offer lots of help and testing tools which are available for you use via Blackboard.

Prospects Planner: This is a job exploration tool which aims to help you identify your skills, motivations and interests and match you to relevant job types. 

Target Careers Report: The Targetjobs Careers Report uses questionnaires and psychometric tests to explore your interests, strengths, personality and abilities to match you to jobs that would suit you.

Porot: The Porot website includes a number of career management and self-assessment tools which are of particular use to Business students.

Graduate Recruitment Bureau: has numerous self-assessment tools including industry profiling.

Getting the most out of your work experience

Before starting your work experience, it’s a good idea to do some preparation in order to help you get the most out of it.

Things to consider
  • Think about your current skills, along with your strengths and weaknesses. How might the work experience enhance your existing skills and help you develop new ones.
  • When assessing your skills, consider your transferable skills such as team building, presentation skills, leadership, communication, etc, as well as more occupational-specific skills like knowledge of processes, activities and cultures which are specific to a particular career.
  • How will you travel to your work place? How much will this cost?
  • What time do you need to get to your work on your first day?
  • How long will it take to get there?
  • What should you wear? Some organisations or sectors will expect you to wear business dress; whereas in others people dress more casually, and so it’s a good idea to check on the culture of the organisation before you start.
What to expect

Depending on the sector, length and general nature of your work experience placement or internship, you can expect a variety of things, and of course the unexpected!

Training: an internship or placement should provide you with experience and training not only for the length of your time with the organisation, but also for future roles and your graduate career.

Responsibilities: your responsibilities as an intern or work experience student will largely depend on the type (and size) of organisation and your particular workload. Some interns find themselves working on particular projects, either on their own or as part of a team, and this often means a high level of responsibility for the tasks and outcomes. Some interns however may be working on a particular function of the business and just be responsible for this, although this isn’t a bad thing as quite often this is a crucial cog in the machine that ensures overall success.

Who you’ll work with: this very much depends on the size of the organization, it may just be one other person, or it may be hundreds! Be prepared for both – you may need to be able to build a strong working relationship with just one other person or maintain relationships with several. Communication is key.

Other expectations: don’t expect to make the tea and coffee (well, not all the time) - this is a very outdated representation of interns, so just join in with the rest of the team and take it in turns, but always offer so that you create the right impression.

Networking at work

Networking isn’t as scary as it sounds; it’s about meeting people, and you do that every day. Starting a new work placement is a great way to build your professional network. A professional network is important, it can support your future development - it may be that one day the person you met in the staff room becomes the person recruiting for your dream job.

Before you begin your work placement - be prepared. Savvy networkers know who they are going to meet. Check out the company website, is there a ‘meet the team’ section? If so, have a look! These people will be your work colleagues. Social media is a great networking tool - set up a professional LinkedIn account and use this to introduce yourself.

Introduce yourself to everyone once and offer your assistance. This may sound daunting, but it’s a good way for people to know who you are and what you can do to help them.

Look out for any social/sports events and sign up. It’s a great way to meet other people in the company.

Be open, make eye contact with others, smile at people when you can in the hallway, lift or in the kitchen and say hello.

Arrange to go for a coffee with a person whose career you are interested in. Call/email them and ask to meet; people will be flattered that you are interested in them. And that’s important - be interested! Make sure you ask open-ended questions, and then listen attentively to their reply. An open-ended question needs more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. If you listen to their responses, people will warm to you.

When you finish your placement connect with them on LinkedIn and ask your manager for a recommendation.

And don’t forget, the best way to network and get yourself known is to do a good job!

Finding Jobs

Useful websites to visit:

  • Milkround: is your graduate career resource with 100s of internships, placements, graduate jobs and schemes.
  • Inside Careers: This site offers detailed information on graduate occupation in specific areas such as accountancy, banking, information technology, logistics, management consultancy and patents with company profiles and information on graduate vacancies.
  • Graduate Prospects: offers guides to graduate careers and postgraduate study in the UK.
person sitting at computer
  • Guardian Jobs Advice: Advice and interesting case studies of people in all kinds of industries.
  • Target Jobs: Here you will find the latest trends key debates and up to date news about specific jobs / occupational sectors.
  • All About Careers: You can search for jobs via sector on this website and find out more information about the kinds of jobs that interest you. There is also useful information about relevant upcoming events.
  • Directgov: This government service lets you search for particular occupations and get an overview of the main requirements of a particular job with information on where to go for further help and advice. The site covers a wide range of jobs, including graduate careers and occupations where a degree is not necessarily needed.
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International Students & Employment

Further information

International@CampusLife provides information and advice on non-academic matters, including immigration advice and services, to all international (non-UK) students and their dependents. Advice is offered free of charge and without discrimination.

Tel: 01792 606557