The best and worst questions to ask in an interview!

‘And lastly, do you have any questions you would like to ask us?’  The final question which usually rounds off an interview. Although this may not seem a prevalent question to prepare for, having at least one or two questions to ask a prospective employer demonstrates enthusiasm for the role, and the company.
To help you when preparing for your next interview take a look at these top questions to ask, and those to avoid, which will help you become a memorable candidate!

Top best:

What can I expect from you in terms of development and support?
This type of questions demonstrates to an employer that you are keen to learn and develop professionally within the company.

You mentioned that you implemented X last year, how would this affect my role within the company?
Listening to the interviewer and asking questions that relate to the company show you are engaged and interested.

How would you describe the company culture and management style?
Asking questions about the company culture will give you an insight into what it is like to work for this particular business.

From my research, I noticed that you do a lot of X, how would this affect my job role?
Doing some research into the company prior to interview will demonstrate your knowledge of the industry of that company, and that you have actively thought about the interview, thus making a good impression.

What are the biggest challenges facing the company/department right now?
This type of question shows you are interested not only in the business and its future, but also the interviewer’s perspective.

Top worst:

How quickly could I be considered for a promotion?
Keep focused on the job at hand, rather than jumping ahead.

How many days holiday do I get?
This question is not necessary to address at the interview stage, and it may have already been included in the job description already.

Can I arrive early or leave late, as long as I get my work done?
Asking for flexibility in your working pattern before being offered the job may come across as a lack of commitment to the job.

How did I do?
You shouldn’t ask about your performance during the interview, if you would like any interview comments, this can be requested after the interview in the form of interview feedback.

The worst question of all is not asking a question!
Failing to ask any questions tells the employer that you are not fully engaged with the role or company, and may appear as a lack of enthusiasm for the job.

EP Rewards pack 2017 is here!

The Employability Points Rewards Pack for 2017 is now available! There are lots of great opportunities that you can apply to if you’ve cashed in your Epoints. These include internships, work experience, shadowing, workshops and training sessions.

Don’t forget the deadline for students on the Employability Points Scheme to earn points is 5p.m. on the 20th March 2017. Any points logged after this date will automatically roll over to the next year.

The pack can be found on the EP web page, as well as full details about the scheme.

The School of Politics and IR have recommended the following for our students, which you may wish to take particular interest in:

  • Sevenoaks Town Council internship; focused on undertaking research for strategic projects being undertaken by the council
  • Medway Council internship; Internships in the Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation (RCET) Department, specifically focused on Housing Services, Planning and Regeneration Delivery
  • Medway Council internship; Internship in Electoral Services, overseeing a project to introduce tablets for the door-to-door canvassing team. This will allow the student to project manager this initiative, whilst significantly contributing to the Electoral Register.
  • Youcan work experience; Work experience focused on the charity sector, where one student will assist with event planning, facilitating wellbeing weekends, corporate and community fundraising, social media and marketing and general administration.
  • People United work experience; The student will gain the chance to assist the charity with fundraising and assisting with events.
  • DSTL work experience;  Remote work experience placements focused on shaping the way that evidence based decision making is presented to the military by DSTL. This will involve one student acting as a military customer and another as an analyst.
  • Civil Service Fast Stream work placement; the opportunity to shadow a senior government official, meet current Fast Streamers and see first-hand the inner workings of government.
  • Shepway District Council work shadow; the chance to shadow the Kent Alumni (and previous EP Student Ambassador) Elouise Mitchell in her role as a Graduate Planner. This will provide the student with an insight into planning in the public sector.
  • Tunbridge Well Borough Council work shadow; a chance to shadow William Benson, Chief Executive. This will provide exclusive insight into high level leadership within a local council.
  • Civil Service Fast Stream company experience;  a guided tour of Whitehall led by current Civil Service Fast Streamers, including a look inside central government departments. This will include lunch and a chance to attend a Q&A Session.
  • Shepway District Council company experience; the chance to attend a Shepway Council staff training session, focused on building and exhibiting confidence.
  • Caliper skills development workshop;  a skills development session for a small group of students on ‘Launch Your Career with Confidence and Focus’ which will focus on how graduates can market themselves, optimise their innate strengths and apply key attributes to their careers. Later, all participants will receive one-toone telephone coaching exploring career options, enhancing awareness of their values and strengths, and career planning.
  • Chaucer Speakers Club skills development workshop; an interactive workshop focused on developing presentation and public speaking skills. The session will allow student to assess their speaking capability and confidence and provide key strategies to overcome challenges. The session will be interactive with tasks and will also cover fear of speaking, body language, use of notes and gestures in speaking.

What to do with my degree in Politics and IR?

What can I do with my Politics and IR degree?!

If you are undecided about where you would like your degree to take you, it may be worth spending some time to really explore your career options. As a non-vocational course, a degree in Politics and International Relations provides a broad range of careers you could go into. This varies from teaching, Public Affairs and Lobbying, Journalism, social and political researcher to working with a non-governmental organisation (and many more!).

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

A degree in Politics and IR gives you many useful transferable skills including:

  • the ability to research, source and examine information thoroughly;
  • the capacity to critically analyse evidence and construct coherent arguments;
  • excellent written and oratory skills;
  • intellectual independence and autonomy;
  • team working skills;
  • a flexible and open-minded approach to work.

Useful links
To find out more about the different careers your degree could take you into, try the following sites:

Prospects
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/politics-and-international-relations

Careers and Employability Service
https://www.kent.ac.uk/ces/student/degree/politicsandir/

If you are unsure about your career path, or you would like advice, the Careers and Employability Service offer careers guidance interviews. Full details or to book an appointment, can be found here: https://www.kent.ac.uk/ces/contact/index.html 

EP rewards with the Civil Service!

Through the Employability Points scheme, you have the opportunity to win some fantastic and valuable rewards with the Civil Service for 2016/17!

The Civil Service is a politically independent organisation made up of 440,000 civil servants across a huge range of departments and agencies, working to formulate central government policy and implement this by providing services directly to the public. On the Fast Stream you will experience a range of roles and government departments, doing varied, interesting and intellectually challenging work that really makes a difference to the lives of UK citizens. If you are interested in government policy, and you would like to experience what it would be like to work within the Civil Service, take a look at the following!

Civil Service rewards include:

  • The organisation will be offering a work shadowing opportunity, where a student will gain the chance to shadow a senior official in central government. The student can meet current Fast Streamers and see first-hand the inner workings of government. (100 points)
  • A small group of students will also have the chance to undertake an exclusive reward – a tour of Whitehall led by current Fast Streamers and a look inside central government departments. (75 points)
  • Finally, they are offering a Highest Points Prize of £150 Amazon Vouchers to the ‘Highest Scoring Student Studying a Fiance Related Degree.’

To find out about the EP scheme, and how you can get involved, visit: https://www.kent.ac.uk/employabilitypoints/index.html 

Covering letter: useful tips and hints

Writing a covering letter may seem like a difficult and challenging task when applying for a job, however, it is one of the most important aspects when initially applying. You typically only get 30 seconds to grab the attention of an employer through your application, so you want to make a positive impact from the first page. A covering letter allows you to highlight your key skills in your CV, personalising your application and demonstrating why you are the ideal candidate for the role. Take a look at a few useful tips for creating a successful letter below, and some links for further information.

  • Keep your covering letter clear and concise, in an easy to read format. Your covering letter shouldn’t be longer than an A4 page, you want to grab the employer’s attention in the first few lines, as you would with your CV
  • Relate your skills to those in the job description, making sure you tailor the covering letter for each application. Explain why you are applying for this particular role, at this specific company
  • Check and double check your covering letter and CV for grammatical errors prior to submitting. Employers may be put off if your application consists of lots of grammar mistakes, especially if the role requires attention to detail!
  • Where possible, address your covering letter to a named individual, rather than using sir/madam
  • Research the company you are applying to, and include information about them in your covering letter, detailing what attracts you to work for them. This will demonstrate that you have taken the time to research their work, and you are enthusiastic to work for them, rather than just sending a generic letter.

If you need further advice, or you would like a staff member to look over your covering letter, the Careers and Employability Service Drop Ins (daily, 10.30am – 12.30pm and 2pm – 4pm in the Careers Building) are a great place to start, where qualified employability and careers advisers are on hand with support and advice.

Useful sites for further information:

https://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv/coveringletters.htm

http://www.jobs.ac.uk/careers-advice/cv-templates/577/top-ten-tips-for-writing-cover-letters

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/cvs-and-cover-letters/cover-letters

Enactus Kent are now recruiting for NATIONALS 2017!

Enactus competitions are our opportunity to showcase all the work we do for the past year in front of a large audience, which includes Business Advisors from companies like KPMG, Tesco, Asda, Unilever, Brambles, as well as professional judges and academics. We need a team to present, a team to create our annual report and a media team to help with creating the video.

 

Presenters: We’re currently recruiting for 5 presenters. These students will be responsible of writing the script along with the help of the Committee members. There students will serve as the face of Enactus Kent during the regionals, nationals and the final rounds of the competition. 

 

Annual Report: In charge of creating the annual report, A4 side (4 sided) document, that encompasses all the information about our projects, finances, support network.

 

Media (Presentation Team): Create a presentation material that go alongside the script, in the form of a video!

 

Please signifying your interest by emailing recruitment@enactuskent.com

If you would like more information on nationals or would like to sign up to our newsletters, do not hesitate to get in touch!

 

Flashback Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sx74kR9tjkw

BAE Systems: Placement Programme and Summer Internships!

Fancy working for a Times Top 100 Graduate Employer?

BAE Systems are currently recruiting for their Graduate and Placement Programme, as well as offering Summer Internships where you’ll quickly be able to make an impact, developing some of the most advanced technology.

Fast Facts about BAE Systems:

  • 83,400 people are employed worldwide
  • Over 100 new inventions designed, developed, tested and produced every year
  • Annual sales in excess of £22.4 billion
  • Annual research & development spend in excess of £1.2 billion

Don’t miss this opportunity! Apply now by clicking below:

BAE Graduate and Undergraduate opportunities

Student testimonial: Internship at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Elena Filip, a recent graduate from the School of Politics and IR, with a bachelor’s in Politics and International Relations, recently undertook an extremely competitive and valuable internship at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Romanian Ministry. In this piece, Elena reflects upon her experience, discussing her role at the Ministry and how this has influenced her future career.

The internship at the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) was part of an initiative-project promoted by the Romanian Government, Romanian Ministries and other political institutions. The project’s aim was to offer the youth the chance to observe how the central public administration works and to see what can be improved or changed within it.

There were 7,500 candidates who applied for the whole project and only 10 available positions within the MFA. Working with the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for two months was an outstanding experience. Securing this internship was one of my goals after graduating from Kent and also the path I want to build my future career on.

During the first month of the internship I worked in the Communication and Spokesman Department. The environment was very active and I had to be available every moment to help the staff with different inquires, from filling in reports, analysing the news that may affect the Ministry, either positively or negatively, to participating in press conferences with diplomats. I also took part in the Annual Reunion of Romanian Diplomacy, as one of the press department representatives, where I had the chance to meet with ambassadors, diplomats and well-known politicians.

In the second month I worked in the European Union Department, more precisely, in the sector that is focusing on the Europe 2020 Strategy. Overall, my job was to submit a report, analysing the European Commission’s recommendations for each European Union member state from different perspectives, such as calitatively, quantitatively and sectorial. I participated in an event organised by the Embassy of Netherlands to Bucharest, focussing on how we can make the available data from governments and other institutions more open and easily accessible for every citizen.

Beside my work in the MFA, I took part in different events and visits organised by the project. I visited the Romanian Parliament, observing the democratic process within the Deputies Chamber, the National Bank of Romania, the Embassy of Canada to Bucharest, and I took part in meetings with the Romanian Prime Minister, Ministers and also with the USA chargé d’affaires to Bucharest.

This internship helped me realise that the career I want to develop is in diplomacy, to represent my country in diplomatic missions overseas and to help improve Romania’s image worldwide.

Earn work experience with Employability Points!!

The Empolyability Points Scheme is unique to the University of Kent and aims to enhance students’ employability in a simple and engaging way.

You can claim ‘Employability Points’ for taking part in extra-curricular activities (many of which students are already taking part in!) such as societies, part-time work and volunteering. These points can be cashed in later in the year for ‘prizes’ which include paid internships, project placements, work experience, training, vouchers and a lot more, all offered by businesses and organisations.

In 2015-16, over 130 organisations were associated with the scheme and 617 rewards were offered by Kent County Council, Southeastern, Shepherd Neame and Medway Council, to name a few!

One student from School of Politics and International Relations, Clara Lee, had the chance to undertake a project placement with start-up business Convert Energy.

Convert Energy is a renewable energy design and project management company. Their Director, David Browne, informed the EP team that they lacked social media skills in the organisation and felt they could gain a lot of value from a student. Clara was recruited through the EP Scheme and given the chance to review their social media strategy.

Clara commented: “The EP Scheme has given me opportunity to broaden my experience in social media and the scheme is a great opportunity for securing work experience.”

Studies suggest that on average 83 graduates are applying for every graduate role and a degree no longer guarantees a job. In this sort of competitive atmosphere, it is vital that students find a way to make their application stands out from the crowd.

Through engaging with the scheme, you are not only enhancing ‘soft’ skills sought after by employers, but you can be awarded with exclusive work placement opportunities and rewarding experiences.

So what are you waiting for? Get involved with the EP scheme here and get rewarded!

Web: www.kent.ac.uk/employabilitypoints

Email: Employabilitypoints@kent.ac.uk

Twitter:  @empoints

Facebook: Employability Points

Find your career mentor on KEW-NET!

Are you interested in a particular career path, such as Public Affairs, Campaigning, Lobbying, but you are unsure how to get relevant experience in the sector? Or would you like to know what the necessary steps are to take, in order to achieve your career goal?

KEW-NET is an online mentoring service, set up by the Careers and Employability Service. This online mentoring network allows you to connect with students and graduates who are ready to share their experience and knowledge. From discussing job applications, CV’s, to finding work placement and internship opportunities, KEW-NET is a fantastic tool to network and receive career support from a mentor.

How does it work? KEW-NET is simple to set up, taking less than 10 minutes! All you need to do is register here: https://secure2.aluminati.net/kent.aluminate.net/ and once approved, you can log in and create your personal profile. TIP! If you already have a LinkedIN account, you can merge this with your KEW-NET profile to save time.

You can then search for relevant mentors using the filter system. You can search by graduation year, subject, services they offer or even ‘key words’ such as NGO’s or security. When you click on a mentor you can view their profile which details their experience, career, what they can offer and how many mentors they can take on. You can also see if they have previously mentored a student, and you can contact the student first to see what their experience was like, if you wish. If you find someone you think could be a suitable match, either message them first or send them a mentoring request. KEW-NET has it’s own message facility, so you can contact them directly through your account.

So why use it? KEW-NET is a valuable tool to network, making new business connections with people in the industry. Not only can you receive guidance and support, work/internship opportunities may arise through your mentors – so you never know where it may lead!

If you have experience in a particular area you can even sign up to be a mentor yourself!

With over 89 connections in Politics and IR already on KEW-NET, make sure you sign up and get networking!

Want to brush up on your networking skills?
Come along to the ‘Networking Know-How: Introduction to productive networking and business relationships’ workshop – Wednesday 26th October from 4pm – 5.30pm in Darwin Peter Brown room.

You can then put your skills to the test at the:

‘University Networking and Mentoring event: Find your perfect match!’ where you can network with alumni and find a potential mentor! – Wedesnday 26th October from 6pm – 8pm in Woolf Lecture Theatre.