Students Staff
University of Essex

September 20, 2012


Filed under: Newsletters — Dee Hardcastle @ 4:22 pm


Yes, it really is the final issue, and we hope you’ve found the newsletters useful throughout the summer. Don’t forget that as an Essex graduate, you can use all the services and support offered by the Employability & Careers Centre for up to three years, so keep in touch. Even if you don’t live in the area anymore, we offer appointments via Skype and phone.

In the meantime, keep reading for the final round-up of opportunities, news and advice.

Job spot

Waitrose Graduate Leadership scheme

Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership, have a graduate scheme that has been designed to find the potential future leaders and board directors of the business. They are looking for inspirational, commercially-minded, strategic-thinking visionaries, with their sights set on the future, and the goal of being a leader.

Their three year programme will develop candidates’ talent by giving insight and experience across as much of the business as possible. Successful graduates will spend time working on projects in a broad spectrum of functions, in retail and head office, as well as participating in training alongside graduates from other parts of the John Lewis Partnership.

The successful candidates will also spend time studying for a postgraduate level qualification, to give them theoretical business management knowledge, in addition to the hands-on experience.

The application process is open now, for two months. Apply online.

Careers Adviser’s top tips

We’ve given you a range of tips over the summer, key things to help you stay motivated in your job seeking, and make the most of opportunities. Here’s a reminder of the key points we feel you should remember:

  • Be focused in your job search. Identify what opportunities really suit you and invest your time and effort into applying for those. This will be far more fruitful than lots of half-hearted attempts.
  • Be creative in your job seeking. Not all jobs are advertised, especially those with SMEs. Some jobs take effort to find, but it can be worth it. Take advantage of Social Media, get networking and do your research.
  • When sending your CV, or completing an application, ensure you tailor it to the opportunity you’re applying for. Clearly show each employer that you tick all their boxes.
  • Lots of employers have many stages to their selection process and preparation is vital to success. Do background research, and if likely to be faced with online tests, start practicing!
  • Finally, don’t give up. Just because you don’t hear back from every employer, doesn’t mean your application was terrible. The graduate labour market is competitive, but there are jobs out there, and sooner or later, there will be one for you.

For more in depth advice relating to these points, and related resources, you can review the previous issues of the GradFocus newsletter.

Can you help us?

We’d really like to hear from you. How are you getting on? Do you have any advice you could share with other graduates, and with students who will be in your shoes next year? Whether it’s things you’ve learned from your job seeking experiences, or good news stories such as how you got a graduate job or other opportunity, we’d love you to get in touch. You can do so using the reply box at the bottom of this page, or email with Gradfocus as the subject. Thank you.

What’s new?

English Teaching Graduate Scheme

In many regions around the world there is a huge and growing demand for English language teaching and a need for quality teachers to meet this. A new programme, the English Teaching Graduate Scheme from the British Council aims to help provide unemployed graduates (from the last three years) with a gateway into an exciting and dynamic career which gives an insight into other cultures and communities, while also helping people around the world to meet their own goals and aspirations.

Successful applicants will receive a British Council training grant of 50% of the course fee (tuition only) of a Cambridge CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL course, to be undertaken in the UK only. They will also be given a place on an additional one-day teacher training course run by the British Council, which will provide guidance about starting a career as an English teacher overseas or in the UK.

The scheme is currently open for applications, but you need to act fast: CLOSING DATE 1ST OCTOBER!

Good news

As this is the last issue, and we’ve already equipped you with a wealth of hints and tips for graduate job seeking, we thought we would round off the season with some snippets of good news to show you that it’s not all doom and gloom and give you a positive outlook for the future!

Because you’re worth it

The Graduate Market in 2012 survey by High Fliers Research shows that almost half of graduate employers expected to recruit more graduates this year, a good sign of the ongoing improvements in graduate recruitment since the big dip at the height of the recession. Further good news, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters, is that graduate starting salaries are set to rise in 2013 after remaining static for a number of years.

Yes, definitely worth it

New research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggests that about 60% of UK employers don’t offer any routes into their organisations for non-graduates, so having a degree is definitely in your favour. The CIPD’s research, based on a survey of almost 800 employers, reveals that 71% of employers believe they have a role to play in tackling youth unemployment, with 56% planning to recruit young people in the coming year. Further good news suggests that employers who have taken on young people have found it a positive experience, with 90% satisfied with those they have recruited.


On the up

As mentioned, signs are that graduate recruitment is still improving, with growth in particular in public sector organisations, engineering & industrial companies, IT & telecommunications firms, high street banks and retailers. With September seeing the start of a new cycle in graduate recruitment, it’s a key time to be making applications. Many of the top employers, who receive huge volumes of applications, will stop considering applicants when they fulfil their needs, even if this is before their original deadlines.

Over and out

As we said, we really hope our series of newsletters has proved helpful to you over the summer. We wish you all the best for the future and invite you to continue to avail of the support available to you through the Careers Centre. From support to look for jobs at the right level for you, to preparing for interviews and everything in between, don’t forget we’re here for you. You can also continue to take advantage of our internships team, have a look at their facebook page for details. Farewell for now…and all the best for the future.

September 6, 2012


Filed under: Newsletters — Dee Hardcastle @ 3:53 pm



As we highlighted in the last newsletter, many organisations with graduate schemes have already started accepting applications for 2013 starts. You’ll be competing with new final year students, as well as other graduates from this year, and even the last few years, so apply early if you’re interested! Check the websites of employers that interest you, or check Prospects, Milkround and TARGETjobs.

Job Spot

Scottish Widows Investment Partnership re-opens graduate scheme

Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) has revived its graduate investment manager programme. The two-year programme, which was cancelled for 2012, will be based in SWIP’s Edinburgh office and will train four graduates to become investment managers. A graduate position is available in each of the investment departments – Global Equities, Fixed Income, Investment Solutions and Real Estate – for a September 2013 start.

As part of their role, graduates will get involved in company analysis; research and portfolio construction; risk; and desk support. They will also be supported to study towards professional qualifications: for the Equities, Fixed Income and Investment solutions programmes, the Investment Management Certificate and the Chartered Financial Analyst program; for the Real Estate programme,  Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors accreditation.

A minimum 2.1 degree is required, but SWIP does say it will consider those with a 2.2 if they have relevant experience and/or further qualifications. Candidates will also need impressive problem-solving and communication skills. The application closing date is 1 November, apply online.

Careers Adviser’s top tip

Do your research!

If there’s one way to frustrate a potential employer, it’s sending an application, CV or covering letter that shows no insight whatsoever into who they are, or any knowledge of the industry they work in. Put yourself in their shoes: if you were advertising a job opportunity, and you received a CV and covering letter that were obviously the exact same CV and covering letter the applicant had sent to loads of other employers, would you be impressed? No? Well neither would they.

Employers want to know that you are attracted to working for them specifically, that you know what they’re all about and that you understand what’s happening in their industry and who their competitors are. your application needs to have that personal element, giving the impression that you really want that job, that you’re right for it and that you would fit in. Don’t forget, the Essex CV pack takes you right through this process. Researching an employer is just as important from your perspective – if you can’t relate to what they do and what their values and goals are, then are they really the right employer for you?

If the employer does impress you and you are genuinely interested in the job, this background knowledge should help you make a good application, and hopefully get you invited for interview. At that stage, research is just as important, if not more so. Be prepared to talk about why you want the job, why you want to work for them in particular and anticipate questions they might ask you based on what they’re looking for, having examples ready to demonstrate you have the knowledge, skills and experience they require. Good luck!

What’s new?

Tech firms looking to expand

UK technology firms could create a host of new IT roles, a recent survey has found. Data collected by Intellect, the trade association for the technology industry, shows over two-thirds of companies were looking to expand, with 43% ‘very likely’ to hire staff in the near future. This is potentially great news for graduates who are looking to enter the IT industry.

Kick start your graduate career with an internship

Opportunities are still being added regularly by our internships team, keep an eye on  their facebook page and email to register. How can you stand out from the crowd?

How can you stand out from the crowd?

Heard about the “Jobless Paddy” billboard? Seen the innovative CV of Graeme Anthony? As you’re probably sick of hearing, it’s a competitive job market out there, and in response, savvy graduates are trying to stand out from the crowd. From ‘message in a bottle’ applications to social media appeals, the good, the bad and the ugly of approaches have been showcased in the media in the past couple of years.

Graduates attempting to stand out from the crowd have been creating infographic CVs, resorting to colourful stationery and glittery envelopes, or even sending items with notes, such as the graduate who sent a Kit Kat to a marketing company with a post it note saying “have a break…then give me one” with a link to his online CV.

While creative approaches are best left to candidates applying for creative roles, it highlights the point that it’s important to stand out from the crowd!  A designer CV may impress in media, marketing and advertising for example, but is unlikely to have the same impact in science, finance or technology. So if you feel the traditional black and white approach is best for you, what can you do to shine?

The simple answer is be yourself, or if ‘yourself’ isn’t quite impressive enough yet, then work on it. You should know by now that a degree alone is not enough, and that work experience is essential, but surely there is more to you than that? What do you do in your free time? What interests you? If you’re unemployed, what are you doing while you are job hunting? Show an employer that you’re not just sitting around waiting for a job to come to you. Get active! Hobbies, interests and voluntary work are all ways you can demonstrate that you’ve got more to offer. Think about the skills and qualities you’ve developed and actively use through these activities, and take examples from them to sell yourself to potential employers. Demonstrating that you’ve got the skills an employer wants in your CV or an application doesn’t need to be evidenced from your academic and employment experiences alone.

Another way to impress is to show the employer in your application or covering letter that you fully understand the job you’re applying for and can see how you would fit in with this. It’s also a big plus if you tell the employer why you want to work for them specifically – as advised in the ‘top tip’ above, demonstrate that you’ve done some research into their organisation and tell them what impresses you about them and what it is about them that you can relate to.

In a week with news that graduate recruitment is likely to grow this year, and that graduate starting salaries could be set to rise for the first time since the recession hit, it’s important to keep trying and to put the effort into really emphasising what you have to offer. Remember that the Employability & Careers Centre is open throughout the summer, and available to you for up to three years after your graduation from Essex, so you can contact us if you need help.

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