Category Archives: Finalists

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Applying to graduate schemes and jobs

As we come towards the end of a very different autumn term, everyone is in need of a well-deserved rest! If however, during the vacation period, you are looking to apply for graduate opportunities, below we have a few ways in which you can do this and how to prepare for the application process!

Graduate Schemes
If you are in your final year, you might be applying to graduate schemes. Graduate schemes are structured training programmes, providing you with responsibility early on, skills development and hands-on experience. Opportunities for 2021 start, are still available to apply to, but deadlines are coming up soon!

  • Where to find graduate schemes? careers.kent.ac.uk, Prospects, Milkround, TARGETjobs, Times Top 100 Graduate Employers and Bright Network all advertise schemes!
  • Access our Finding a graduate job workshop on Moodle: DP4450 for advice when applying
  • Attend our skills workshops to prepare for the assessments (virtual assessment centres, application forms, interview workshops coming up!). Book online Target Connect

Graduate Jobs
It’s important to remember that graduate schemes aren’t the only option for graduates, and in fact only a small percentage go on to a graduate scheme. You can find graduate jobs in big and small / medium sized businesses, across all industries. Entry-level roles can be available all year round, so keep looking on job sites for opportunities as we head into the spring term.

  • Where to find graduate jobs? Our Find a Job webpage has many useful job links.
  • Tip! Ensure you CV is up to date before you start applying! You want to make sure your CV includes your degree, any relevant experience (internships / placements), as well as, any extra-curricular activities that you have undertaken whilst at university (e.g. societies, Ambassador and Student Rep roles, volunteering).

Preparing for the application process

If you are in the midst of going through the recruit process, you could be asked to undertake various assessments. These can range from psychometric tests, video interviews and assessment centres. To help you prepare and feel confident when completing these, we offer many opportunities to practice!

  • Practice psychometric tests and video interviews via Graduates First. Practice numerical, verbal, situational judgement, game-based and assessment exercises are free to use! Login on the Graduates First website
  • Have your CV / Application reviewed by an Adviser. We have online appointments available during term time and the vacation period. Book a Quick Advice appointment
  • Attend a virtual skills workshop to help you prepare for interviews, CVs and selection tests. Workshops are running until the 18 December!
  • Book a practice interview with an Adviser, to help you with your interview technique, and receive feedback for self-development. Book a Practice Interview
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Gaining experience during lockdown

If you are looking to gain some work experience, don’t let lockdown deter you! We have put together a few ways in which you can gain experience and develop your employability skills, many of which can be done remotely.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a rewarding way to gain experience and develop your employability skills. There are numerous charities and organisations looking for help, including remotely. A few of these include:

  • NHS Responder Volunteers
  • Canterbury and Herne Bay Volunteer Centre
  • United Nations Volunteers
  • Translators without Borders
  • Zooniverse – research projects
  • Be My Eyes
  • TechSoup

You can also log your volunteering hours with the Kent Volunteering Scheme!

Virtual Internships

Virtual internships are flexible, online opportunities, where you can undertake remote experience. Many virtual internships exist in areas such as tech, marketing and social media roles. Some employers will give you project work to complete over a period of time, and you may have regular catch-ups with the employer.

Others are more flexible, allowing you to complete them in your own time, such as The Forage, which offers free open-access virtual internships. Great for building your commercial awareness! Opportunities include those in Law, Design, Tech, Investment Management, Banking and more!

Courses

There are lots of online courses you can explore, many of which are free. Whether that be something to complement your degree, or you want to learn something completely new, such as coding, a language or digital marketing. Find these on sites such as Coursera, The Open University and Future Learn.

We also offer free courses through Study Plus. We have a variety of online workshops, bookable online, covering a range of topics including: meditation, resilience, project management and photography!

You are not only learning something new, but having this on your CV will show your professional development outside of your degree.

View more resources for gaining experience, on our How to develop your skills at home guide.

You can also access the guide, plus all of our other resources and slides on our Moodle page: DP4450.

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Lockdown: Study Plus free online events and workshops

During lockdown, why not make the most of all the online Study Plus and Careers events? Develop your skills and meet others with similar interests.

Session include Photography, Editing and Proofreading and Resolving Conflict.

Wednesday 11 November 14.00-15.30 – Introduction to Project Management 

Projects are happening all around us and in the workplace it is likely that you will find yourself either involved in a project or managing one.

The aim of this course is to share some tools and approaches that will help you set-up and deliver your project successfully.

Saturday 14 November – 10.00-14.00 – Emergency First Aid 

An introduction to Emergency first aid. This will be a 4 hour event.
Please note we have limited spaces available so book soon to avoid missing out!

To promote the concept of continuous personal development, positive curiosity, and resilience to succeed.

  • What is a growth mindset
  • Fixed mindset v Growth Mindset – 5 key areas
  • The power of ‘yet’
  • The role of feedback
  • Define what it is and why it is important
  • Common barriers to good time management
  • Understand different types of time management issues, strategies, techniques and tools to address these.
  • Know what their own time management issues are
  • Leave with practical plan specific to their needs

We are living in exceptional times. Lockdown took us all surprise and for many of us it meant reimagining the way we work and manage our lives. But as we ease into this ‘new normal’ what are we doing to ensure that our approaches are as inclusive and emotionally intelligent as possible? You are graduating into a world that is more digital and global than ever before, and this session has been created to give you space to think about your role in making that space accessible and safe for you, and others. This session covers:

  • Why does being inclusive matter: the ethical and business case
  • Power and Privilege and its impact on our working lives
  • The Equality Act 2010 and the legal context
  • Harm reduction: action planning and behavioural changes

No matter who you are, if you interact with people there are bound to be times when we are required to have difficult conversations. Most people would rather not have the conversation, will try to avoid it if possible or hope it goes away, or sometimes we may address the situation ineffectively and potentially make it worse. This course is designed to give you the skills and confidence you need to have those challenging conversations in an effective way.

By attending this course, you will learn:

  • the common reasons why we avoid having difficult conversations
  • principles that will help you get the best out of challenging situations
  • understand common motivations with challenging behaviour
  • how to be assertive

Many organisations now expect all employees to help write quality web content. These skills are a great asset to any company and your career, whatever your academic background and job role.

Whether writing web pages, a corporate blog or helping to build a social media campaign, this session will give you the basics for writing compelling online content. It is highly interactive including group discussion and practical exercises.

During this taster course you will:

  1. Be provided with tools to help you identify your core values, i.e. what matters to you.
  2. Experience increased clarity as to your core values and feel more connected to your own potential and deeper sense of purpose.
  3. Be provided with tools to build self-confidence and curiosity to approach experiences and feedback from a positive and constructive angle.

Learning Outcomes:

  • How you can use the rule of thirds to compose your images
  • How to use layering and  negative space in your images
  • When to change the aperture on your images

The focus of this session the focus will be around language, phrasing, championing and challenging. We will share best practice models, research and advice to ensure attendees feel confident to talk about Equality and Identity in an inclusive and thoughtful way. In the workshop we will explore:

  • Can I say that? Looking at current news stories and challenges
  • Exploring what we mean by ‘tone of voice’ in organisations
  • Guiding principles and best practice
  • Weaponised language and reclaimed words
  • Surgery session

This 2-hour workshop course will provide you with useful communication and leadership skills that will enhance your ability to build relationships and gain respect.

By attending this workshop, you will learn:

  • practical skills to build your confidence when communicating both personally and professionally
  • how to communicate like an influential leader
  • what is needed to build rapport.

Editing and proofreading are transferable skills that will be valued in any job role. At work, you will need to check your own emails and reports. Your employer may also ask you to check other people’s work as part of your role. This session will give you the skills, tools and resources to check written work effectively. It is highly interactive including group discussion and practical exercises.

By the end of the session, participants will have:

  • Understood the need to manage yourself, the team, and the task!
  • Examined their own personality style and therefore how they may manage
  • Explored Problem Solving and Decision-Making tools.
During the second part of this taster course, you will explore how your key values from part 1 are crucial to your chosen career and how to approach your careers and job search from a place of creativity, authenticity and possibility.

Check our Target Connect to see all the Study Plus and careers events on offer. 

Need a place on campus to join online lectures or seminars?

**The Library and study spaces remain open during lockdown.**

Do you need somewhere on campus to watch a lecture online? Want to join an online seminar but don’t have anywhere to go?

Whether you need a student PC or have your own laptop/device, there are plenty of study spaces on both campuses you can use as an alternative to the libraries.

Study Hubs

There are Study Hubs across the Canterbury campus with socially distanced PCs, laptop spaces and printers. View the Study Hubs map. View the Guide to Study Space and PCs on the Medway campus.

Teaching rooms and PC rooms

You can also use lecture theatres, seminar rooms and PC rooms while they are not being used for teaching. You can now view live room availability online:

If you are already outside a room and want to see if it’s available for you to use, scan the QR code outside the room and it will show you!

QR code on teaching room door

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Mental health support

There’s a lot going on in the world at the moment, and students are being faced with challenges not yet seen before, which might make you more vulnerable to feeling anxious, depressed or just low.

Whether or not you have struggled in the past with mental health issues, take a bit of time to actively focus on your wellbeing and remember that whatever you’re going through, support is available at Kent.

What mental health issues can the University’s Wellbeing Team help with?

The Wellbeing Team can help with issues such as stress and anxiety, panic attacks, depression, eating difficulties, sleep problems, low self-esteem, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

Is there any professional mental health support offered by the University?

The Wellbeing Team consists of Mental Health Advisers, Counsellors and Student Mentors. Mental Health Advisers are specialist practitioners who can offer mental health advice and support. They can provide short term focused interventions to promote wellbeing and support students to develop coping strategies, and help put in place an ILP or ‘inclusive learning plan’ if required.

We also have a free confidential Counselling service for all Kent students.

What about additional support?

There are many ways you can access mental health support. Togetherall offers 24/7 online mental health support overseen by qualified therapists. You can also give Canterbury Nightline a call to speak to a trained student volunteer about anything that may be troubling you during the night.

There are lots of charities such as Mind and Rethink Mental Illness who have many online resources. See our mental health webpage for more ways to access support.

Are there any wellbeing events or groups I can join at Kent?

Take a look at the Student Support and Wellbeing events calendar to meet others and find ways to support your mental health. There are regular events such as the online Wellbeing Café, International Wellbeing Group, student mindfulness sessions, social groups for autistic students and more.

Don’t forget to follow the Student Support and Wellbeing Team on social media @UniKentSSW for mental health and wellbeing free activities, events, peer support groups and online resources.

What should I do if I need urgent mental health support?

Please see our emergency support webpage for information on urgent mental health support.

How to make the most out of Progress Profiles

Students have told us that it can be hard to know how well their studies are going. We created Progress Profiles to give our students a clear understanding of their performance. We think it is important to have regular conversations about your studies with your Academic Adviser. Progress Profiles can help focus these conversations.

Your Progress Profile is now available via a web based platform. It’s a summary of your academic progress to date and it shows your attendance and attainment. Your Progress Profile can be accessed directly from the Student Guide.

Screen shot of Student Guide showing Progress Profiles link in menu bar

Need help using Progress Profiles? Watch the video below for a detailed explanation of how Progress Profiles work and how you can make the most of them.

 

What do I do if I feel like I need some support?

We hope your Progress Profile will help you feel enabled to steer your studies. However, we recognise that in some cases it may make you feel like you need some support. Please do not feel like you need to work through this alone. We encourage you to speak to your Academic Adviser or to take a look at our student help webpages to see how you can access further support.

Virtual Employability Festival

#EmpFest20 is here! 12-23 October

The Virtual Employability Festival has started. Attend events online, including our showcase Virtual Careers Fair 2020. Free to University of Kent students and recent graduates!

Want to know how to network online? Or how to prepare for a virtual assessment centre? The Virtual Employability Festival is the perfect opportunity to develop your job-seeking skills and gain an insight into a range of career sectors from graduate employers, industry experts and Kent alumni. Receive expert advice on the key things that can make you stand out in the recruitment market! And, you can earn Employability Points (EP Points)!

Take advantage of the range of online activities taking place, which will help you to take the steps towards your career goals. These include:

  • Virtual Assessment Centres
  • Creating a great CV
  • Video Interview Skills
  • Psychometric tests
  • Career insights into: Finance, Law, Social Work, Politics, Project Management and much more!

The EmpFest programme is available on the Careers and Employability Service website. The great news is that the majority of events are open to students from all stages and schools. Some have limited spaces, so check out the website and book your place ASAP.

Virtual Careers Fair

The Virtual Careers Fair is the highlight of EmpFest and takes place Tuesday 20 October, 10.00-16.00. Meet with exhibitors offering a variety of graduate and undergraduate opportunities, ranging from Graduate Schemes, Year in Industry placements and Summer Internships to Insight Days.

  • Download the Careers Fair Plus App – available on the App Store and Google Play
  • Book appointments with recruiters from 1 October

The app will allow you to:

  • View exhibitor profiles in advance, find out more about them and view their websites
  • Filter and search for opportunities by degree subject, sector or business area
  • Book short 1-2-1 appointments to talk to recruiters (usually 10 mins)

Keep updated with Careers Fair and #EmpFest20 news by following us on:

  • Canterbury: Facebook: @UKCES   Twitter:@unikentemploy    Instagram:@unikentces
  • Medway: Facebook: @ukmemployability  Twitter:@ukmemploy Instagram:@medwaycareers

Join the conversation at #EmpFest20

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Study Plus free workshops (October)

The Study Plus programme has been revamped with a new and exciting range of workshops, all of which are free of charge to attend.

All workshops in term one are taking place virtually. Places are limited to please book online early to avoid disappointment.

Wednesday 21 October 14.00-16.00 – ASPIRE – Business Start Up Journey 

Find out more about the University’s flagship student start-up support programme at our inspirational launch,  where we welcome serial entrepreneur Dr Mick Jackson, founder of WildHearts, a multi-million-pound group using its profits to help humanity.
Hear from student entrepreneurs talking about founding their own businesses and learn more about the Business Start-Up Journey’s mix of interactive workshops and one-to-one advice sessions which will guide you through starting your own business.

Saturday 24 October 10.00-16.00 – ASPIRE – The Ideas Hack 

Dive into our ideas hack where you’ll work with other students to find ideas using the Sustainable Development Goals as inspiration. Develop key skills using Design Thinking techniques that help you to fully understand what users want and how to unlock the innovation in your ideas.

Monday 26 October 11.00-12.30 – Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence refers to the capability to understand and recognise your own emotions and those of people around you, which is crucial to personal effectiveness.  You will come away with:

  • Understanding of the 5 elements of EI,
  • The importance and impacts of EI in the workplace and for career building
  • Actions they can take to increase their own EI

Monday 26 October 15.00-16.30 – Building Resilience 

Building resilience is key! From the field of early years (0-5 years old) through education and into the professional working world, resilience is something we need to help us thrive in whatever stage of life we find ourselves and appropriately manage any challenges we may face. Most importantly resilience helps us in our personal and professional lives. By attending this workshop, you will learn:

  • strategies to become more resilient
  • how to challenge your limiting beliefs
  • how to address challenges you face in life
  • how to adopt a growth mindset.

Wednesday 28 October 15.00-17.00-  ASPIRE – Problem Solving for Start Ups 

The best businesses solve problems for their users or customers. In this interactive workshop we learn together how to pull problems apart and see how our start-up can really make a difference in solving the world’s problems. 

Wednesday 28 October 18.00-20.00 – Meditation 

This course will enable you to apply meditative practices to study, work and life:

  • Applying knowledge of the roots and purposes of meditative practise to personal circumstances
  • Utilising the basic principles of meditation to events and situations
  • Adopting contemplative skills of mindfulness, focus, and personal transformation to activities
  • Choosing meditative approaches that suit their needs

By the end of the session, you will have:

  • Examined presentation fears and strategies to overcome them
  • Understood some tools and models for presenting such as Kiss; The Pyramid Principle and INTRO
  • Practiced presenting – speed style
  • Explored ways to beat the nerves

Saturday 31 October 10.00-14.00 – Emergency First Aid 

An introduction to Emergency first aid. This will be a 4 hour event. Please note we have limited spaces available so book soon to avoid missing out!  

Book a virtual workshop now.

Stephen Isherwood

Graduate jobs – Down but not out

As part of the annual EmpFest activities, taking part on the 13 October, 17.30-18.30, our keynote speaker is ,Stephen Isherwood, CEO of the Institute of Student Employers who will talk through what is going on in the graduate labour market.  The Institute of Student Employers, formerly the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), is the UK’s leading independent voice for student employers, representing the majority of major graduate recruiters in the UK.

There is no doubt the jobs market is tough and will remain so for at least another 12 months. But did you know that employers still filled over three quarters of their graduate vacancies in 2020? Stephen Isherwood, CEO of the Institute of Student Employers, will share his insights on how employers have responded to Covid-19 and the steps you take to make sure you have a good story to tell recruiters.

The event will be a short presentation, followed by a question and answer session, hosted by James Corbin, Head of Careers and Employability for the University of Kent. This is a great opportunity for students and staff alike to better understand the current graduate labour market.

To book, students should reserve a place on the Event webpage  and staff should email careerhelp@kent.ac.uk

Student Damien

How to stand out in the job market – what you can do now

Damien Harateh, Kent graduate and Software Developer at IBM, shares his advice to final year students on how to make yourself stand out from the crowd in a fast-paced job market.

What did you do whilst studying to develop your employability skills?

“During my studies, I spent an enormous amount of time pursuing several initiatives and engaging in a number of roles. I got heavily involved in student representation and student societies, as well as co-organised a number of conferences. I also held a number of positions at the University, such as being a Residents Support Officer for Keynes College and Employability Representative at Careers and Employability Services. I engaged in those roles not because of the employability skills per se but because I always had a desire to try different things and to develop useful skills. 

You really want to be graduating from the University of Kent with more than just a degree. To put it bluntly, having just a degree is simply not enough. You will be competing with thousands upon thousands of graduates with similar degrees. The way to make yourself stand out from the crowd is by developing valuable skills and squeezing the most out of your time at the University. University of Kent provides a plethora of opportunities – get involved in student societies, become a student representative and make sure to get some work experience. The skills developed as a result will be the pillars to your future success. Do not sleep walk through your degree.”

What are you doing now, and how did your involvement with extra-curricular activities at university help you to secure a graduate job?

“Currently, I am a Software Developer at IBM, with one foot in project management. My undergraduate degree had nothing to do with computer science at all — this is an area I pursued solely in my free time, developing websites on the side, and helping several student societies with their IT side of things. Undoubtedly, having worked on a number of projects besides my degree allowed me to develop a range of very useful skills.

Having recently started managing a team of my own, the skills such as effective communication, leadership skills, and thinking innovatively to solve small and large problems have been very useful to me — I started developing all those skills at the University, and I cannot imagine being able to jump at the project management opportunity at my firm, had I not had those skills and experiences. Nowadays, less and less employers care about what you studied, but care increasingly more about how you present yourself and what defines you as a person. What defines you are the projects you worked on, your hobbies, your accomplishments, among many other things. If you can pinpoint exactly what you learnt from each of the projects you worked on, then you will have much easier time persuading the potential employer that you are the person they are looking for.”

Did you use the Careers and Employability Service whilst at university? If so, how did they help you?

“I started using the Careers and Employability Services (CES) very early during my time at the University. The simple truth is that you do not know what you do not know. Unless you get familiar with the information and the services offered by the CES, you will simply be unaware of the many opportunities out there. CES, apart from providing interview coaching, CV and cover letter feedback, also has a vast amount of incredibly useful information on their website. Therefore, you should make sure you know their website inside out. Your career development starts the day you arrive at the University. It is much easier to navigate your University years when you know the direction you are heading.

Personally, I used CES throughout my whole undergraduate degree. Their website provided me with many useful tips and recommendations, and thanks to their newsletter, I also learnt about many opportunities I would not have heard about otherwise. As a student, this is a service you really need to use to give yourself a head start. Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity. Therefore, make sure you are proactive about your career development from day one.”

What key piece of advice would you give to final year students looking for a graduate job?

“My key piece of advice would be to think about the kind of companies you would like to work for. What industry interests you most? Why does it interest you? Do not look solely at the rankings or the salary. Ask yourself, is this the kind of company I would be happy working at for X number of years? Also ask yourself if you identify with the company’s mission. Reflecting on those questions will dramatically change how you approach job-hunting.

Besides that, you should consult Career and Employability Services about your CV and cover letter. I cannot stress that enough. Imagine being a recruiter, who receives two applications. Both of the applicants have similar degrees and similar accomplishments. Which one of them are you going to pick? The one with a tailored cover letter and a meticulous CV or the one whose CV has not been updated since 6th form? Now, imagine that there are 20 applicants for every position available. The first impression is literally based on those two documents, so do make sure that they are both exemplary.”

-Damien Harateh, Law, Accounting and Finance graduate (2018)