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Making the most of your year abroad Careers and Employability Service Nicola Urquhart Careers Adviser October 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Making the most of your year abroad Careers and Employability Service Nicola Urquhart Careers Adviser October 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making the most of your year abroad Careers and Employability Service Nicola Urquhart Careers Adviser October 2012

2 What we will cover: What is employability? What employability skills are graduate recruiters looking for? Benefits of a year abroad – Activity 1 How to sell your year abroad to potential employers CVs – Activity 2 Interviews – Activity 3 Action points Questions

3 What is Employability? A set of attributes, skills and knowledge that all labour market participants should possess to ensure they have the capability of being effective in the workplace – to the benefit of themselves, their employer and the wider economy. (CBI, March 2009)

4 Why are employability skills so important? Increased competition – over 400,000 graduates leaving university each year. Our latest UK recruitment campaign closed having attracted c.24500. The bank will offer c.475 places in 2012. HSBC newsletter April 2012

5 Changing world of work: Global economy More career changes New technology/social media Roles change Changes to graduate recruitment

6 Employers increasingly focusing on attributes in addition to traditional employability skills Successful candidates need to be able to demonstrate these attributes on their applications and articulate them at interview Your year abroad can help you to do this!

7 Activity 1 In your groups write down what you gained from your year abroad.

8 Benefits of a Year Abroad The experience itself rewarding & life-changing Enduring friendships Extended network Enhanced cultural awareness Better prepared for further study Confidence Learnt more about me Improved planning and skills And many more!

9 Skills and attributes that graduate recruiters are looking for? Communication Report writing Team working Leadership Planning and organisation Project management Enterprise Problem Solving Reflection Adaptability Energy Drive and resilience Integrity Reliability Enthusiasm/passion Self awareness Confidence Contextual/cultural awareness Capacity to develop Numeracy Positive attitude Business and customer awareness IT skills Adaptability Maturity

10 Benefit to employers international education ignites a passion for understanding other people and their perspectives.. essential to success in our increasingly diverse world. Douglas N. Daft Chairman & Chief Executive – Coca-Cola

11 Who to sell these benefits to Civil Service Departments e.g. DFID, Diplomatic Service, GCHQ etc… International businesses e.g. Nestle, PwC, Sky, Shell, Bloomberg etc… International NGOs e.g. Greenpeace, Amnesty, Raleigh etc… Other International groups e.g. United Nations, European Union etc…

12 What employers say… "Few students are able to articulate what they have gained from their experience in higher education." (Association of Graduate Recruiters, 1995)

13 Using your year abroad to enhance your CV

14 When should a CV be used? When an employer asks for an application in that format When an employer states apply to… without specifying the format When making speculative applications Always with a covering letter

15 What is the purpose of a CV? To inform the employer about your education, work experience, skills and interests To show how you meet the criteria so the employer can not deselect you To sell your qualities and to persuade the employer to invite you to interview

16 Matching up your CV with the position/company It is not one size fits all, you need to tailor your CV to each position you apply for. Research the organisation. Do they have a mission statement or core values? What will they be looking for in you? Who works there at the moment? What are they passionate about?

17 What makes an effective CV and covering letter Right format Well presented Proof read/consistent tenses You have included all the necessary information Your skills and abilities are clearly evidenced Conveyed your understanding and enthusiasm for the job Targeted it to the job

18 What does it need to contain? Personal details Education and qualifications Work experience Skills Interests and additional information References

19 However dont be constrained by headings. Scholarships/Awards Voluntary work Relevant experience Positions of responsibility Publication/Presentations Conferences attended Research skills Additional skills Languages

20 Hints on wording Avoid personal pronouns - No Is Avoid producing a passive CV Start with verbs wherever possible Use short sentences & concise phrases Focus on accomplishments Refer to specific projects with quantifiable results

21 Make use of Action Verbs created instructed analysed produced negotiated designed calculated maintained administered controlled reviewed observed consolidated delivered founded increased studied invented supplied detected programmed recommended distributed developed solved prepared installed selected arranged formulated solved started

22 Activity 2 In your groups write down employability skills/ attributes you would want to highlight on your CV. How can you demonstrate these through your year abroad?

23 Year abroad specific Energy and commitment Language skills Cultural awareness A positive can do attitude Drive, resilience and adaptability Planning and organisational skills Enhanced communication skills Confidence Awareness of a different labour market Problem solving skills

24 Relevant skills Adaptability Produced work to a high standard whilst learning new academic procedures during my time spent at another university Communication skills Cultivated language and communication skills through contact with people from around the world. Learned to use non verbal and verbal communication to overcome communication and language barriers Planning and organisational skills Developed budgeting and planning skills by financing, planning and organising my year abroad. This involved using various spreadsheets and keeping a record of expenses Confidence Successfully undertook a year abroad which enabled me to make contacts with students and employers working within the sector in Italy

25 Using your year abroad to help you succeed at interviews

26 Selling yourself at interview The interviewer is very likely to ask you about your year abroad at interview This is your opportunity to highlight your skills/attributes and how you could be successful in the role It is easier to interview someone who is talking about something they are interested in.

27 Activity 3 Write down three possible questions an interviewer may ask about your year abroad. Have a think about how you would answer the questions.

28 Possible questions … Why did you decide to spend a year abroad as part of your degree? Tell me about your year abroad? How did you decide where to go? What were the main challenge of spending a year abroad? What did you learn about yourself on your year abroad? 'Is there anything you would do differently?

29 Possible answers Describe a situation during your year abroad where you had to adapt to a new situation. Situation: I was studying at the University of …. during my year abroad Task: I had to submit an essay which was a different length from what I was used to. Action: I spent longer planning the essay, including producing a detailed structure. As it was a bigger piece of work I started writing the essay earlier than I normally would. Result: I submitted my essay on time and achieved a merit.

30 How the Careers and Employability Service can help you.

31 What we do Careers Talks and Workshops Careers Library: Employer Directories, Occupational Profiles, Books etc Comprehensive Web Pages Careers Employability Award (CEM) on Moodle Vacancy Database Alumni Careers Network Annual Careers and Recruitment Fair Drop In - Quick Query Careers Guidance Interviews

32 Careers and Employability Service Web Site:

33 Working abroad Information on working abroad Prospects Working abroad (50 Country Profiles) Advice on working abroad tionAndJobs/DG_4014676 tionAndJobs/DG_4014676 Another route is to work for a large organisation initially in the UK and then transfer

34 Careers Employability Award (on moodle) The module takes about 12 hours to complete But this can be done at your own pace You do this by completing: 9 quizzes 3 short assignments 1 feedback form

35 Vacancy Database All vacancies sent to the Careers and Employability Service by employers, whether for graduate jobs, sandwich placements or vacation work/internships are entered on this database which offers: Email alerts of new vacancies which may interest you Employers notifying vacancies are often specifically targeting Kent graduates, so competition for jobs is lower than on other vacancy sites

36 Careers and Employability Service Fair Thursday 1 st November 2-5pm Eliot Great Hall. Chance to meet employers and hear about opportunities

37 Speak to an adviser: Quick query, drop in and speak to an adviser 10.30am -12.30pm and 2.00pm-4pm Monday to Friday. E mail @careerhelp and an adviser will respond to your query. You can also book a longer career guidance appointment over the phone or pop in.

38 Stay up-to-date with what is happening Employability Newsletter Follow us on Facebook at University of Kent Student Employability Follow us on Twitter at @unikentemploy

39 Action Points Be proud of what you achieved! Put together a CV while your year abroad is still fresh in your mind. Prepare responses to typical interview questions drawing on your year abroad. Stay in touch with people you met ( LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc.) These people are your network Make use of the Careers and Employability Service.

40 Questions

41 The University of Kent Careers and Employability Service You can download a copy of this presentation at

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