Preparing for your future, Recruiters, Uncategorized, What's On

Top tips from the Internships, Work Experience & Volunteering Week

Virginia, Employer Liaison Assistant, gives us a roundup of Internships, Work Experience & Volunteering Week …

If you joined us thank you, if you missed the event/s then don’t despair, here’s a roundup of how the week went.  Last week, from Monday 25th to Thursday 28th around 1300 students engaged in the Internships, Work Experience & Volunteering Week. This consisted of three days of employability workshops closed by the Internships, Work Experience & Volunteering Fair where around 50 organisations exhibited including charities, large graduate employers and international summer opportunities.

The employability presentations and workshops that took place were delivered by high-profile employers as well as specific sessions delivered by Careers & Employability staff on topics such as how to improve your CV, writing a covering letter or how to start-off on LinkedIn.

If you missed these, do not worry! We are constantly holding CV drop-ins and workshops in Careers & Employability. Also, if you didn’t have a chance to attend any of the employer-run sessions keep on reading about their key tips and advice.

PwC – The Interview Process and Psychometric Tests

PwC has been ranked Number 1 in the Times Top 100 graduate employers survey for the last twelve years, hence their application process is very competitive and involves many stages. During this session students were able to carry out a Mock Group Practice and a Psychometric Test Practice. These were the highlights of the workshop:

  • It is important to differentiate between reported information (CVs, application forms, interviews) and observed information (ability tests, written exercise, group exercise). Application processes in large companies involve both, hence you must look good on paper and be the type of individual they are looking for when they meet you.
  • ALWAYS prepare for an interview: research the company and use the STAR method when answering questions.
  • Make sure you have a look at their e-learn resources before you apply!

PwC – Commercial Awareness

The main tip from this session was just to be commercially aware! Unfortunately, this is a common skill that is lacking from graduates, so having this skill will definitely make you stand out from the pile of applications. PwC’s advice on researching and practicing commercial awareness can be split into three parts:

  • Gaining a knowledge of global issues and the wider economy.
  • Have an understanding of the industry or organisation you are applying to.
  • Having a self-awareness of yourself, your skills and how you can add value to the organisation.

Santander– A Career in Retail Banking

Instead of the usual stand-up presentation, Santander delivered a dynamic session where three members of the company talked about their career and held a question and answer session. Their key advice to succeed was:

  • Once you know what career path you want to go in, get to know who the key people are.
  • Get as much experience as you can, no matter what the sector is, your transferable skills are what counts! This work experience will develop your confidence and make you more employable.
  • Not getting into a Grad Scheme is not the end of the world, there are loads of opportunities out there!
  • Don’t worry about your grades, find a company you want to work for and work hard for them.
  • If you want to progress into a company, challenge your bosses but in the right way.

Enterprise-Rent-A-Car – Employability Skills

Enterprise-Rent-A-Car delivered an insightful workshop on how to gain employability skills and make the most out of your time at university to become more employable.

  • Think of your projects and extra-curricular activities and how you’ve gained employability skills from these.
  • Essential to have some work experience before applying to any graduate job.
  • Including key skills and buzz words in your application is what will encourage a recruitment manager to keep on reading.
  • During the interview make sure you make a good impression and dress to impress!
  • Be prepared. You should know three interesting facts about the company and know yourself well! What are your goals, skills and strengths? What are your weaknesses?
  • Always answer questions following the STAR method: Situation, Task, Action and Result.

Microsoft – Securing an Internship and Placement

Microsoft took part of the Internships, Work Experience & Volunteering Week with one of their interns delivering the session and telling us about how is it like to work for this large technology company.

  • When applying celebrate the difference that makes you unique. What differs you from all the other applicants? What can you offer to Microsoft?
  • Once you get the placement, work as hard as you can. Expect to work extra hours and from home, this will show you are committed and you care.
  • Be sociable and flexible. If they like you there are more chances they will call you back. As a matter of fact, most of the graduate jobs at Microsoft are filled with former interns.

L’Oreal – Year in Industry Hints & Tips

This session was delivered by a current graduate and an intern in L’Oreal, both from Cardiff University. They explained their experiences and gave some tips on Assessment Centres:

  • Make use of the online resources and be prepared.
  • During the exercises prioritise your time and be cooperative in group tasks.
  • Be confident but also be yourself, they will realise if you change your attitude after a few hours.
  • In the interview, apply the famous STAR method.

EY – Application Boot camp

EY talked about the application process which is focused on finding applicants strengths with the first stage being the ‘strengths portal’ – four assessments namely numerical, verbal, Situational Strengths and Business Behaviours Tests. They also gave some general advice when applying to any company:

  • The need to identify your strengths throughout any application process – what you enjoy, what are you good at and what makes you tick.
  • Importance of having a growth mind-set – it’s not all about your natural ability, it’s also about your persistence and tenacity. The most successful people may not have been the most talented but they were the ones who put the most work in and made sure to grow through hard work.
  • By interning in a company you will have more chances of getting a grad job with them, that’s how it works in EY and in many other places!

EY – Global Mind-set

As a global company, EY delivered a presentation on why it is important to have a global mid-set and how this quality will increase your employability chances.

  • A global way of thinking is important because many big companies operate globally, hence you need to be aware of the necessities across the world.
  • Diversity in a company is important to deliver exceptional client service.
  • The key attributes of a global mind-set are: Intellectual capital, Psychological capital and Social capital.

If you would like any further advice or guidance on the topics covered here or anything careers related then please contact us.

The Careers & Employability team can help you …

Careers & Employability are here to support you throughout Your Career Journey, providing the services and events to help you with:

Exploring your Future – Know yourself,  identify your strengths, explore your options by:

Building your Skills – Develop yourself, take opportunities, reflect & focus by:

Making it Happen  – Know the process, take action, achieve your ambition by:

Best wishes

Virginia, Careers & Employability Team


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