hullcareersjack

Your Weekly Careers Update Courtesy of Jack

Archive for the tag “University”

Illness – Employers are Sick of It

Illness isn’t great at the best of times. It’s worse when it strikes you down for 2 of the 5 days you had managed to bag yourself within a lucrative business in a different country. Guernsey to be precise.

But it did get me thinking – where is the line between acceptable illness and unacceptable illness? When will an employer agree that you are genuinely too unwell to work? Do you have to turn up first and see how you go? Fortunately I was staying with one of the employees at this business and it was more than apparent to her just how ill I had become. If not, I would have found myself nervously treading the employability minefield – balancing impressing my employer with dedication and self-sacrifice against the overwhelming urge to display the effects of the stomach upon a £3.29 meal deal across my desk.

The short, sweet and simple answer is ‘it depends’. That doesn’t help very much. Here’s why.

Each employer is different. Each employer will have had their own unique experiences with individuals in these circumstances, and a lot is very much down to luck. One employer may see illness as an excuse to skive; another might be genuinely concerned for your health and advise you to stay at home until you are well. Some employers won’t care. Such is life.

But what can you do to mitigate the effects of ill health at work or on a placement? Here are my 3 top tips:

1. Ensure you are well rested and fed–

Being run down is going to mean you are particularly susceptible to bugs and viruses. By looking after yourself, you can do your very best to avoid coming down with these illnesses in the first place and avoid the problem all together!

 

2. Stock up on Immodium –

Maybe not just Immodium. Diarrhea, sickness, headaches, fevers… The effects can be awful to deal with (especially when you are alone in a new city) and may take a while to disappear on their own. Viruses in particular cannot be treated, but the symptoms can be tackled with many over the counter medicines. Build a travel medicine kit and ensure to have it with you, just in case.

 

3. Battle through –

‘Sniffles’ warn us of the impending doom at the hands of man flu/colds. They are not, however, a good excuse to skip work. If you know you can work, battle through. Negative impressions come through being unproductive and this is why illness becomes such a problem. If you can make it there and get through the first few hours, you will maximise your chances of avoiding a negative impression. If you don’t feel better by around midday, you can always head on back home with your employer’s permission. You will have shown just how dedicated you are, how you understand the importance of turning up and your employer will recognise you are genuinely ill and aren’t using this as an excuse to skip work and explore your new city/play Xbox.

 

It is very difficult to stay away from work and still leave a positive impression. Try your very best to avoid illness in the first place, make sure you’re prepared for the worst and battle through if you can. It’s tough, but it’s doable.

Jack

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Confessions of a Recruitment Consultant

Dear all,

This piece is incredible. A lot of you finalists will be looking for jobs very, very soon (hopefully). You’re probably making a few of these mistakes. I know I was.

Read it and be realistic in your applications. Get yourself noticed. Don’t tell them about your ‘bird of prey’. Read on. You’ll see what I mean.

Confessions of a Recruitment Consultant.

Jack.

Max Lands! And tells us how easy we have it.

The Careers Service has hosted a German Marketing Intern this week. We’re going to call him Max. He’s quite kindly agreed to do my job for me. And I’m getting paid for it! Enjoy!

Guten Tag everyone,

I am Max from Germany visiting my friend Jack in England.

I really have to admit, British people are weird. Especially British people at universities. Just the thought of someone with a philosophy-degree doing a job as manager… that would never happen where I come from.

In Germany much fewer pupils start a course in university after their A-levels (or Abitur, as we call it). But if you do, you have to decide beforehand, in which field of jobs you want to work as most employers would not even consider employing you if you have not a fitting degree. So I got to say, you English people really have better opportunities after university. You have so many chances!

That also explains to me why you have to have such huge CV’s with a lot more additional activities than we Germans use to have. You guys still have to prove that you are fitting for a job- we already did by studying a matching subject.

Nevertheless the German job-market is lacking of well-qualified employees. This is a result of a massive decrease in the birth-rate in the last 20 years. German parents became lazy one could say. Most companies and employers can’t even fill their apprenticeships, not to talk about post-graduate jobs.

Especially the healthcare-sector is in desperate need of labour-force. Why’s that, you could ask me? Are Germans that sick? In fact we are not- at least not usually. But good old Germany has become exactly that: old! Nearly half of the inhabitants (around 46%) are at age 50 or above. And as you know, with age often come the minor ailments.

Furthermore engineers are really wanted. You sure know BMW, Volkswagen and all the other major automobile-companies. They are the reason why. German industry is a great deal about producing machines, especially cars. At least this is what we are famous for in the world! But we can’t do that without engineers and others specialists.

Speaking of which… why don’t you guys help us out a bit? Some of you need jobs and we need qualified students. And with a more or less fitting degree, your chances are not bad at all, especially since all of you speak English very fluently (at least I hope so), which is one skill most companies are looking for. And in many cases you don’t even have to have German language skills. They would be really helpful though but a lot of Germans speak English anyway.

So maybe, if this could be an idea for you, why not just talk to the friendly advisors of your career service or have a look at the website of the international placement service of Germany (Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung)?

http://www.arbeitsagentur.de/nn_572444/Navigation/Dienststellen/besondere-Dst/ZAV/arbeiten-in-deutschland/EN/Startseite-EN-Nav.html

So much for today from me. I’d really like to meet you in beautiful Germany.

Auf bald, euer Max

Internships – Free work for the sniff of a job.. Until now.

It hardly seems fair does it? You know you’re good at what you do. One day you’re going to be the CEO of (insert the name of the biggest company you know). Why should you have to provide free work when you can’t afford to feed yourself and your degree is a full time job in itself?

Well the thing is, (the biggest company you know) doesn’t know howgood you are at what you do. An application form can only tell you what qualifications a candidate has. An interview can only tell you how good at lying about said qualifications the candidate is. Working tells you outright how good a candidate is at working.

The argument is pretty evenly balanced. However you don’t have a job. The employer does. He has a 3D TV at home. He doesn’t need Dominos vouchers to afford ‘posh pizza’. He has a team of Italians working in his kitchen. He doesn’t even like pizza.

The point is, you’re in no position of power. The status quo is that you’re going to have to put out, and if you don’t, Pierre is going to do it instead.

“But why is this the status quo?” I hear you cry! “Why aren’t we starting a revolution?”

Well we are.

The Hull University Careers Service is working on a scheme with employers to get you access to paid internships! That’s right! You’ll be able to afford ‘posh pizza’ without those crazy coupons AND you’ll be showing a potential employer just how good you are at working!

These are fantastic opportunities to get your foot in the door. We have a few up there at the moment, but keep checking back as this will be updated regularly:

http://www2.hull.ac.uk/student/careers/students/vacancies/paidinternships/graduateinternships.aspx

That’s quite enough excitement for one day.

Good luck,

Jack

Generic CVs WILL NOT Get You An Interview – This Will.

There is nothing more frustrating to an employer than a CV which is quite obviously generic. Granted I’m not an employer. However, a perk of my job is interrogating employers. This isn’t a perk due to some twisted power trip. It’s a perk because it is a perfect excuse to have a pint. Drunken employers are truthful employers.

So it follows that I can’t actually reveal the name of this employer. Nevertheless, I can reveal the main focus of his slurred wisdom:

DO NOT WRITE GENERIC CVs!!

I don’t think said employer (let’s call him Tom) could have been more explicit. Employers know when a CV is generic. No two companies in the same field of work are the same. Each will have a different ethos. Each will have taken on different work. Each will want something different from their candidates.

This information is generally available from the website, but of course this is the first place other people will look and you’ll end up with the same information as the rest of the candidates. You want to look different. You want to look better. Try these:

a. Read a Decent Newspaper – Stay on Top of Current Affairs

‘Naomi, 24 from Brighton’ does not have insightful political views. She doesn’t even really like football. Don’t read a tabloid. Read a broadsheet. They will get you thinking, introduce you to new ways of approaching relevant issues and, above all, introduce you in a concise and sufficient manner to issues that are going to be highly relevant to your field of interest.

b. Use Research Tools Available to You at University

You will have ways of finding out what projects your targeted employer has been involved in.

Lawyers: Use Westlaw or Lexis to find out what high profile cases your targeted employer has been involved with. Find out which cases they have been successful in.

Business Students: Use EU documentation to find out about relatively large scale contracts. Registration of such contracts is compulsory if they meet certain financial thresholds.

Arts Students: Explore! Use journals. Use galleries. Use agency websites.

The list is not exhaustive. Students of all disciplines have unique research tools. Use them!

c. Look at the Job Description and Tell Them Why You Fit It

If they have told you what they want, why would you tell them you’re something different? It’s like asking for lager and receiving ale. It might look the same (if slightly off), but it tastes like Humber water. That’s not to say an employer is going to want to taste you. I would imagine that would be strictly against the rules. It means you must fit the description in substance. You must show that your substance is of a far greater quality than that of Pierre from Oxbridge. Pierre is relying on his university status. You’re relying on your substantive skills. It’s very, very doable.

So what’s the moral of the story? Tailor your CVs. Do not be generic. Go that one step further. Win that interview.

Jack.

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