KBS Employability Blog

Graduating soon?
You may be pleased to know that you are supported for another 3 years with your job hunting. A good starting place is the new KBS Employability blog – everything you need for job-hunting and further-study all on in one place!

Unfortunately, as soon as we graduate, we get taken off of Moodle rather promptly so this is a great way to access university content and employability opportunities.

Bookmark now:
https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/kbs-employability 

Irena Jennings, DipCG
Lecturer in Careers and Employability, Kent Business School, G.06, KBS Extension
I.Jennings@kent.ac.uk

National Student Survey

Every year, thousands of students complete the National Student Survey (NSS) and give their views on what they liked about their University and course. It also gives students a chance to express opinion on what they feel could be improved to better their student experiences.

Student feedback is compiled together each year and the results are used as a basis for league tables. As we all know, league tables are important, because often employers will look at these to gain a greater understanding about your educational background. I’ve had a fantastic experience in my 4 years at the University of Kent, and the NSS is the perfect platform to express that.

There are also a number of other platforms in which you can give your feedback, so don’t feel confined to just the survey. You can:

* Talk to your Academic Adviser or Programme Director

* Be a student representative

* Complete module evaluations

Remember, you have so many channels to get your voice heard, make sure you use them!

The NSS closes at the end of April, so complete the survey now at: http://www.thestu1780066_10152280322920238_887817034_odentsurvey.com/

On the 20th of March, Kent Business School announced the winner of the NSS iPad Mini draw. Here’s what Diana Forson had to say about the NSS:

‘Kent Business School offers many opportunities for personal development from guest speakers to a variety of modules and workshops which I have been able to take advantage of. The NSS has allowed everyone to express their true opinions on their experiences at the University and at Kent Business School.’

Enterprise Day!

On Wednesday 12th February 2014 Kent Business School once again hosted Enterprise Day. The day started off with a buffet which led onto an afternoon of speakers from different backgrounds. First of all, we welcomed Lord Young of Graffham who gave an inspirational speech on Entrepreneurship and how it has become a really important concept socially, environmentally and economically. We then heard from two young entrepreneurs, Owen Hunnam and Charmaine Kemp. They are both winners of ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ by Kent Foundation. Charmaine, started her own business and is now owner of Wheelie Good Mobility. Owen Hunnam, on the other hand is founder of Yellowball. I had the incredible opportunity of interviewing Owen and getting to know about his entrepreneurial mind set and how it all started. Overall, it was an extremely fruitful day for everyone, from the speakers to the Ideas hotbed!

Student Editorial Board: How would you sum up your business for someone who has no idea what it’s all about?

Owen: Okay, so we’re a creative consultancy. We work across all areas of the marketing mix with a whole range of sectors; helping them market themselves better. Essentially that’s what we do.

SEB: That’s pretty cool. And Vine Magazine is…?

Owen: Vine Magazine is something that I launched from my bedroom about seven years ago. We published 79 editions of that, one every month for the last seven years until we sold the publishing  business to a company called Local World one of the biggest regional publishers in the UK, which we sold to them in December.

SEB: When did you realise you had this entrepreneurial mind-set?

Owen: Since about, very young actually, 11-12 years old when I set up my first business which was mobile discos with my friend, doing children’s discos.

SEB: Do you think entrepreneurs are born or made? Or a bit of both?

Owen: I think they’re a little bit of a mixture of the both. I think that the environment in which you’re brought up, which you’re surrounded by has an impact, but also it’s not just about that. It’s about what you learn and who you work with.

SEB: You dropped out of University when you realised it didn’t really fit your personality?

Owen: Yeah it didn’t really resonate with me. It was about sitting in lecture theatres and learning about very distant  theory and complex issues that could be applied when running a business.  It wasn’t really something that resonated with me and I wanted to run a business and not learn about running one. I think I have learnt a lot more in the last four years than I would have with a four year degree at Uni.

SEB: Looking back now, do you think you would have wanted to continue your studies or do you think it hasn’t affected you?

Owen: No, I don’t think it has. I am pleased that I went there to see what it was like but I think I made the right decision.

SEB: Was it easy to set up your own business? In terms of finance, how did you get the funds?

Owen: It’s tricky but luckily there are so many resources online and I was able to get in contact with a number of people. People I knew, people that they knew. But there is a lot of stuff online in terms of the business plan, cash flow. I had no idea how to do it but I looked it up for myself which is what you can do.

SEB: In terms of help from the government, is there enough support?

Owen: There were no grants available for me, certainly that I knew and I used a commercial loan from the bank.

SEB: What would be the number one advice or tip you would give to an entrepreneur wanting to set up their own business?

Owen: Put yourself in situations that are outside of your comfort zone, because that’s how you improve your character and also surround yourself with people who are better than you and make the most of that to learn as much as possible and apply it in your own business.

SEB: How many employees do you have at the moment?

Owen: About 18 people.

SEB: Okay, so it is quite small at the moment. Do you plan on expanding?

Owen: Yeah lots of plans for the future. We are working with a cloud based technology start up at the moment which is a new piece of software that we launch, which is really exciting as well.

SEB: What is an average workday for you like?

Owen: A mixture of internal meetings with our team to help lay out the strategy of the business combined with meetings with clients and prospective clients to review their accounts and ensure we are delivering all the projections we set with them. There’s also often events like this, getting out to network and a variety of different things as well.

SEB: Thank you so much for speaking to us and good luck with everything!

Get yourself noticed online, get LinkedIn

What is LinkedIn? The Facts…

LinkedIn Is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. LinkedIn now has over 250 million members globally!

It’s for professionals , I’m still at uni, what does it have to do with me?

LinkedIn has become a substantial online platform for recruitment across all disciplines. Employers and recruiters actively look on LinkedIn to headhunt candidates and advertise job vacancies  – so it’s a great place to start looking for graduate or internship jobs!

A basic LinkedIn Account is free – so you may as well try it!

Your profile

LinkedIn works a bit like Facebook; You set up a profile, write a bit about yourself, and start networking. You can join groups based on your interests, add friends (Connections) and send mail (InMail).

However, unlike Facebook, your profile and actions need to be professional. Your profile is the new ‘first impression’. It’s normal to be Googled before meeting someone professionally for the first time (i.e., for an interview) so your LinkedIn profile may be what they see first. Make it professional and appropriate. A good first step would be to upload an avatar. suitable picture would be a photo of you, head and shoulders only, with a plain background. Unless you work with Disney don’t make it a cartoon!

You can upload a formal CV/resume to your profile for contacts to download, so you’re profile itself is not necessarily your resume. Think of what would make your profile stand out  from the crowd. You can detail awards, achievements, interests and there is space to upload documents, images and videos – so be creative!

Selling yourself

This first step is to create a great persona. The best profiles are rich with relevant information; they’re like a candid conversation about yourself, they’re not just a list of prior employers. Make your strengths stand out and state your career goals.

Consider yourself as a brand; LinkedIn is a personal PR tool – use it in a dignified way, but don’t over share personal details. Act like Barack Obama not like a tabloid celeb! Try using  SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to help you get discovered. If you were looking for someone like yourself, what search terms would you include? Use them in your profile and make your public profile available to everyone for search purposes

Try to get discovered beyond the LinkedIn website. If you leave a comment at a news site or a professional blog, enter your LinkedIn public profile URL in the ‘your website’ section.  You can also add your URL to your professional Twitter profile or other social networks. Make it part of your ‘about me’ if you have a blog relevant to your profession or add it to your email signature, or CV.

Building your network

To start building your network  Import your email contacts and look at LinkedIn’s suggestions of others you may know. You can also search for people you were educated with and who share alumni’s. You can search for former colleagues and suppliers that you may have worked with to. Also when you meet new people, use LinkedIn as a secure point of contact  for them to follow up with you afterwards.

But remember The people with the most friends don’t always win! True value will come from adding people to your network that you’ve met or have an online relationship with.  A reference from someone you respect is recommended but choose wisely, less is actually more – gravitas rather than peer popularity.

Groups

Contribute by commenting on your network’s updates and join groups where you can contribute to discussions.  Participate in polls and share business knowledge; answer questions, and ask questions!! You can stay top of employer or professional minds within your network with regular updates.

You can even create your own professional groups. Try asking people to join and keep the conversation lively and open your group so that it can appear in search results.

Etiquette

You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar; Lies, spamming and hijacking threads are not acceptable. Avoid banalities, expletives and controversial posts that may reflect  negatively on your career, clients or employer. Be polite, thank others for their positive reinforcement or contributions.

You’ve got mail; Regularly check your inbox for updates and invitations. It is acceptable to exchange InMail before accepting an invitation. You do not have to accept every invitation that you receive.

Learn to be social: Schedule some regular time to visit LinkedIn and to participate. Read LinkedIn’s Today section which aggregates the most shared news updates. Check out who’s new, there may always be someone you know.

Final words

On the home page follow the link to see who’s viewed your profile. Adjust your setting to allow others to see if you’ve visited their profiles. You may just find a new career lead…

It doesn’t hurt to look around: Check out the jobs advertised. You may find interesting leads for yourself and others, so share them. Introduce yourself to others who may share professional synergy

Sitting on your hands achieves nothing. Enjoy LinkedIn for bringing you opportunity, friendship and knowledge. It is the new way to assist you with your career and business. You needn’t be aggressive to reap the rewards, just active.

New Year’s Resolutions

Every year, so many of us decide to set New Year’s resolutions which we believe will improve our lives, the majority of resolutions are completely unrealistic, which, let’s be honest we know we won’t stick to.

Instead of setting a New Year’s resolution that says you’ll go to the library 7 days a week to spend at least 10 hours each day revising. Or that you’ll never get a takeaway (which as a fellow student I know can be hard). Why not take a new approach on by setting more realistic targets and using them as stepping stones. You never know, by following smaller steps to each goal, you may one day reach that unrealistic one you once aimed for.

For example, maybe this is your final year at university, like it is for me. The pressure is on and you want to graduate with the best grade possible knowing you worked hard for it. Rather than set the 70 hour library week goal, start off by saying you’ll go to the library 5 days a week for 2 hours each time. Once this becomes a part of your routine, you can up the hours to 3 hours each time…etc

Often when we set these resolutions, we make the goal so ridiculously hard to achieve that it demotivates us in following them. Set realistic targets and build them up slowly.

This being said, I’m still trying to figure out how to cut out takeaways, if anyone has any tips- please get in touch.

Online tools and websites that all of you should know about!

NewsWhip is a great tool for those who want to know the most interesting stories in the world each day. Every minute it figures out which news stories are getting the most discussion, via shares, comments, tweets, and other buzz. It adds about 200,000 new stories to their databases each day, including content published in many different languages. It counts how many shares, likes, tweets, and other interactions each story receives. If you want to be in the loop of things with the latest news chosen for you, then we highly recommend having a look at this online tool!

Reuters is an International news agency headquartered in Canary Wharf. The online website has articles on pretty much anything from Business to Politics, to Technology and Photography. It is an easy tool to access to find recent articles. You can get articles on any organisation that has been in the news recently, a.k.a Blackberry and Kodak for being a bit of a failure! (A bit being an understatement) In any case, failing or not, it is an interesting website to have a look at for different articles and is a very good source.

For those of us who are sick of reading information from books, paragraphs after paragraphs and would rather see information presented in a visual manner, we recommend a website called ‘Information is Beautiful’! The platform uses gorgeous visuals to impart data. For example, if you want to find out how much money individual organisations have lost from data breaches, you can view an action visual that shows bubbles that are labelled and sized accordingly, this way presenting a lot of information in an easy to read format. It is an extremely fun to use website if you are into Info graphics and just want to have a break from your books.

Neil’s Toolbox- ‘A few things to make life a little easier’

For all your referencing needs. Although it offers a range of ‘quick fix’ advice when you’re struggling with your essays, personally I cannot speak higher of their Harvard Reference Generator.  Enter all your information about your reference and based on that it generates the perfect format for your reference. In the past, I have neglected my timing when it comes to referencing but seriously it is not something that can be over looked. I could not advise this tool more, even as just a guide to your referencing questions. Check out its plagiarism testing tool as well!

TED-‘Ideas worth spreading’ Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.

Well this is a website you can just get lost in. A conference originally set up by a non-profit organisation to spread information of ideas and research through story telling. No matter what it is, it is likely it has been embraced by one of their speakers.  From Bono to many noble prize winners they have all graced us with. So if you’re ever looking for a sneaky video to feature in your next presentation, check out if anyone has given a ‘TED’ talk on the topic. If it exists it’s likely to be on TED and probably heart wrenchingly inspirational.

And on that note, on behalf of all of us at the Student Editorial Board and Kent Business School, we would like to wish you all happy holidays! Time to freshen up and power up your energy to come back for the second term! In 2014, the Student Editorial Board hopes to keep posting more and more articles on topics that may be of interested to all of you! If you have any suggestions please feel free to let us know! See you all next year!

Tips on Internships!

Internships

With so many people attending university, employers are looking beyond just the course of study and degree level of their prospective employees. They want more, they want enthusiastic and passionate individuals who can show they’re willing to go out and drive their own career.

An effective way to show this is by applying for internships or placements which can be completed over the university holidays for 4-10 weeks or as a yearlong placement as part of your degree programme.

Internships and placements can help you gain an insight into how a company works and if you make a good impression, you stand a great chance of being offered a graduate job. Large firms also often offer a salary for the work you are undertaking, which can be a nice addition to your bank account.

Top tips:

* When you’re applying to the bigger firms, you may be asked to do some tests such as numerical reasoning, verbal and situational judgement tests etc. SHL and Kanexa websites are a good place to practice.

* Make sure you do lots of research on the company. Find out about its history and what it is doing currently using the company website and looking at business news.

* Network, network, network! This is how you can get access to new opportunities and make sure people remember who you are when it comes to picking who to offer graduate jobs to.

* If you have an interview- you will be asked about your competencies, make sure you’re prepared. List out the company’s core competencies and ensure you have at least 3 examples for each competency.

Below are some good starting points which you can use to search for internships/work experience opportunities and tips on getting hired: Milk Round, Rate My Placement, Target Jobs University of Kent Careers, University Of Kent – Employability – Work Experience, and WikiJob

Preparing ourselves for the real world!

First of all, we would just like to welcome all of the Freshers to Kent and welcome back everyone else! We are already in Week 5 and life is pretty hectic for most of us but we hope that with our post we can make you realise that it is not as daunting as it may seem.

Some of you will be looking for placements for your Year In Industry whilst some of you will be looking for future jobs once you graduate and let’s be honest some of you haven’t thought about the prospects of finding a job at all. However, it is important that all of you are aware of the different opportunities that the University makes available to help us become more employable because whether we like it or not that is our fate.

One of the upcoming events is the Employability Week that will take place from the 4th to the 8th of November. Throughout the week there will be numerous events and workshops. We thought we would just highlight a couple that seemed most interesting and useful for all of us.

  • Utilising social media as an employability tool Monday 4th November  11am – 1pm: in the Marquee: focussing on the different tools such as LinkedIn
  • Careers Fair Tuesday 5th November 12 pm – 3pm in the Sports Centre: Meet over 80 employers and showcase your skills by having an informal chat
  • Skills and tips for Interviews Wednesday 6th November  10am – 11am: in the Marquee: Pick up key skills that interviewers will be looking for
  • Student Futures Fair Wednesday 6th November 1pm –4pm: in the Pilkington building at the Medway campus with information on career paths and industry sectors
  • Summer internships and work experience Thursday 7th November 3.00pm – 4.00pm: in the Marquee: learn different techniques on how to find and get placements.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Enjoy the week!

Aoife, Madhuri, and Cat

Reliving your graduation day: What’s available?

If you’re in your final year of study here at the Kent Business School then exams are fast approaching for us all. We’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that all the hard work will pay off very soon. What am I talking about you ask, well, I’m talking about Graduation of course! Previously, the board revealed their ‘Ultimate Guide to Graduation’ and this should definitely not be missed to make the most out of your day – make sure you check it out below! This got the board thinking about how we will be remembering our day, so we decided to let you know about a few options that are currently available to you to help share your day with friends and relatives.

 

Ways to remember your Graduation:

As mentioned in the previous graduation post, there are opportunities for you to be professionally photographed on the day. The University has made this simple by making available professional booths near Shirley Hall where you can have photos taken. These are then available online for you and your family to purchase, an opportunity not to be missed!

As some of you may or may not be aware, the graduation ceremony is videoed and is available for you to purchase after the day of the ceremony, this is a simple way for you to share the day with the friends and relatives who weren’t able to attend the ceremony… If you don’t fancy this particular option, then it is also possible for you view your graduation ceremony on YouTube or via the Kent.ac.uk website after the day as well. Follow the link here: https://www.kent.ac.uk/congregations/videos/index.html to check out previous ceremonies.

Mature couple with laptop.

This got us thinking:

What other opportunities are out there for family and friends to share in the graduation experience? Everyone would love to see the graduation ceremony live, but how can this be achieved when there is often so little space?

Live streaming

A lot of universities in the UK have a live video stream of their graduation days. Universities such as, the London School of Economics, the University of Sheffield, Bristol University and the University of Portsmouth are great examples of this. These universities stream the ceremony live on demand for those unable to attend the ceremony, either in a room nearby, lecture hall or over the internet on their website. This allows everyone unable to attend the ceremony, whether they are abroad or just physically unable to attend the opportunity to view the day in real time. Although there are obvious concerns that this could actually devalue the graduation day, with less people attending because this technology makes it easier and cheaper to watch the day online, it has the potential to open up the day to a wider audience than would have had the opportunity to otherwise. The University of Kent is always looking for ways to enhance our graduation experience and are in fact planning to stream the ceremony, live, in remote locations in the near future. This would allow your friends and relatives who would otherwise not be able to attend the ceremony to be able to share in the celebration.

 

What do you think?

So there it is; our thoughts on how we can relive our graduation day. We think that what the University of Kent currently does is really exciting and allows you to share the experience after the day has finished. This is definitely something that I will be doing! It got us thinking about the possibility of live streaming and its potential to make the day even better. This would allow friends and relatives who are unable to attend the ceremony in person to watch you graduate in a remote location, something which the University of Kent is planning to do in the near future!

Please comment below, let us know your thoughts on this idea and what’s currently available for you, or if you have some of your own ideas feel free to share them! Let’s get the discussion going!

How to motivate yourself into getting the placement role you deserve

The hardest thing to do when you find out you didn’t get a job you applied for is pick yourself up, remind yourself why you’re amazing, and try again for a new role.

I remember this experience when I started applying for a job for my placement year in 2011. The volume of students applying for each role means that competition is tough, and companies expect high calibre students to really sell themselves for the role they applied for. Whilst this may seem daunting, from my experience the placement team at Kent Business School help you through the process of applying for roles in a supportive and encouraging manner, so that students are not only aware of opportunities available, but can gain help on applying for them and even for tips on interview skills.

If you haven’t already seen the opportunities available click here to take a look!

If you need a little encouragement, the board have come up with the following suggestions from our experiences of hunting for a placement role to help you out!

Sarah’s advice

sarah

 

 

 

 

 

When I started looking for a placement role I kept three things in mind:

  1. What kind of job role do I want to apply for? Is it in management, finance, consultancy, and marketing? You don’t have to focus on just one, but make sure you know why you want a job role in that sector of work, it’s important to include this in your application for any opportunity.
  2. What kind of company do I want to apply for? There are so many to choose from, not only in the sense of small or large, but UK based companies will work differently to international ones and this is something to bear in mind.
  3. Where do I want to be based? Sometimes location will matter to students, sometimes it won’t, but it is something to consider when you’re searching opportunities.

And from going through the experience myself, I can recommend three things to keep you going through the tough task of applying for jobs:

1. Use the University’s placement information to help you, it’s there for you to use and is a great tool that many other University’s do not have the benefit of. Kent Business School have set up the following page on the university website to help you find relevant opportunities: http://www.kent.ac.uk/kbs/student-support/placement.html. From my experience this was a massive benefit, because it saved time trying to find opportunities yourself, and I know students who have gained placements with Microsoft and IBM this way. So don’t pass up the opportunity to apply through this route.

2. Be proactive, no one else is going to be able to find the perfect job for you!  It’s tough when you get rejected for a job role you really wanted, but you have to remember that there are so many opportunities that there will be more than one perfect role for you. You just need to find it first!

Student Board Tip: If you’re struggling with remembering why you’re good enough for the roles you’re applying for, write down 10 things that make you an amazing person. It will come in useful in your applications and in your interviews!

3. The jobs are there waiting, just click the link above! All you need to do is go and put yourself in the frame and you will get a job! It just takes perseverance and that in itself it a great trait to have!

Jon’s advice

DSCF1456

 

 

 

 

 

Finding a placement can seem like the most daunting thing in the world for those of you currently trying to find a placement for your year in industry 2013/14 and those of you looking to find a placement in 2014/15. When I was searching for my placement it was an uncertain time because you’re trying so hard to get a placement but they didn’t always seem to happen.  When I was looking for my placement initially, I found that the best place to start was always to look at the existing links the university has through their email list and webpages but now they even have potential opportunities on their social media pages, take my advice and get connected! Although I didn’t actually find my placement by using existing Kent Business School connections, I used many other sites such as milk round and ratemyplacement.com as references for which placements offered the best experience and opportunities. My placement ended up being at a small consultancy in London, which was the best experience possible for my year in industry! Make sure that you’re pro-active, that is to say take it upon yourself to find the jobs, they are out there! Just keep looking and you’ll get the one that you really want. Remember, the number of students applying is high, but this doesn’t mean you have to be some kind of super-human person that has already had two years worth of experience in the field of work you’re looking into. It means that you have to appeal to the company’s corporate culture and fit in with their teams, and the only way you will do this is by being yourself.

 

Happy hunting!