Graduate Destinations – Thomas Hanley, Reporter

Today we’ve been speaking with Thomas Hanley who graduated from the BA (Hons) English course in 2016. We asked him about getting his first graduate job as a Reporter.


Thomas Hanley – BA (Hons) English graduate, University of Cumbria

 

Where are you from originally?

I’m originally from Dumfries, Scotland.

 

What made you choose the University of Cumbria?

I was offered places at both the University of Glasgow and the University of Cumbria. I opted for Cumbria as I received a personal email from Dr. Stephen Longstaffe which detailed the strengths of my application and how he felt the course could help with my personal development.

 

Which course did you do?

BA (Hons) English

 

Why did you choose your course?

I’ve held a passion for reading and writing ever since I was a child, and felt that the English course could help me turn my passion into a future form of employment.

 

What did you like most about your course?

My favourite part of the course was engaging with peers and lecturers who held a similar passion to me. The varying forms of assessment also ensured that the course was challenging yet enjoyable, while helping me to develop into a proficient and well-rounded communicator.

 

What is your current job title?

Reporter

 

Which company do you work for?

I work for DNG Media, the largest independent publisher in Dumfries and Galloway which has four weekly newspapers, a website, and a range of specialist publications.

 

What does your role involve?

I research and write on local events and human interest stories, reporting on a wide range of subjects including politics, business, sport, entertainment, and arts and culture. I interview people in a range of different circumstances, and attend council meetings, court proceedings, and sports matches.

 

What was the application process for your job like?

I had to attach a cover letter and CV that I targeted specifically for the role I was applying for. I was then invited for my first interview.

 

How did you prepare for your interview? Any tips for others?

To prepare for the first interview, I ensured that I was aware of what DNG Media offers as a company, as well as having a strong knowledge of the areas it reaches and covers. I took time to read some of the companies’ print and online product in order to gauge what I felt its strengths were, and if I could identify any areas where I could bring fresh ideas or perspective. I also made sure I understood and could adapt the writing style DNG Media employs, as it varied greatly from the style used for academic assignments.

 

What was the interview process like?

The interview process saw me attend a first interview. I was then asked back and tasked with rewriting a police press release in house style. Finally, I was invited for a second interview, where I was subsequently offered the role.

 

Were there any surprises?

In hindsight, I feel that my knowledge of politics within the region could have been greater. Although confident in my knowledge of national politics, I should have recognised that I was applying for a role reporting on local news and therefore knowledge of politics at a local level would have been more valuable and relevant.

 

If you had to say one thing to someone aiming to get a job like yours what would it be?

I would stress the importance of taking on work experience and extracurricular activities. With the job market being as competitive as it is, especially in an occupation like journalism, a degree alone is no longer a guarantee of employment. I would also advise that being a good writer does not always equate to being a good reporter. You need to be confident and tenacious to make sure you get the story you are after, while holding the capacity to step over the line and ask the questions that many people can’t or won’t, but would love the answers to.

Want to find a job like Thomas’?

Contact careers@cumbria.ac.uk for advice and support.

Find out more about your Careers and Employability Service here.

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Summer Career Fix: Join Professional Bodies

What are you doing this summer to help you stand out from the crowd?

Gary’s bags are packed and he’s ready to jet off to places far sunnier than Cumbria. But he’s not off for a lazy beach holiday – he’s going to be doing one small thing each week that will help in his future career. He doesn’t know what that career is just yet, but that’s ok – most of these things can be done even if you aren’t 100% sure what you want to do. And if you need some help finding your path, you can always email the Careers & Employability service for some advice and guidance: careers@cumbria.ac.uk

So what’s Gary doing this week?

 

This week, Gary is finding out about the different professional bodies in his chosen sector, and joining as a student.

Being a member of your career sector’s professional body gives you access to knowledge, resources and a network of people already working in your area. You will often be able to join at a discounted rate (sometimes even for free!), and you will receive information and advice about how to develop your career. There are usually CPD courses available as well, which is great for your on-going development.

For some careers you need to be a member of a professional body in order to practice – for example accountancy, law, psychology, nursing and midwifery. You may already be aware of these as they accredit your course. Even if you don’t need to be a member to practice, it’s still a good idea to find out about what’s available and what you will get from being a member.

Here’s a list of professional bodies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_professional_associations_in_the_United_Kingdom

You can find out more about the benefits of being a member of professional bodies here: https://targetjobs.co.uk/professional-qualification-and-accreditation.

 

Come back next week for another #SummerCareerFix 

Support is available from your Careers and Employability Service with career planning, CVs and applications, interview skills, practice interviews and more. Contact careers@cumbria.ac.uk with your careers queries.

Graduate Destinations – Charlotte Vaughan, Primary Teacher

Today we’ve been speaking with Charlotte Vaughan who graduated from the BA (Hons) with QTS Primary Education course this year. We asked her about getting her first graduate job as a Teacher.

 

Where are you from originally?

I am from the Carlisle area.

 

What made you choose the University of Cumbria?

I wanted to stay close to home and I knew that the university had a good reputation for teacher training.

 

Which course did you do?

BA (Hons) with QTS Primary Education

 

Why did you choose your course?

I knew that I wanted to become a teacher and I felt that the degree course suited me better than taking a school direct approach.

 

What did you like most about your course?

The university staff and lecturers are friendly and approachable which made studying with them really enjoyable. Being able to study in small tutor groups meant that we received very specific feedback which helped us develop as students and teachers.

 

Have you accessed support from the Careers and Employability Service?

I completed the Career Ahead Bronze and Silver awards and I attended a practice teaching interview with the Careers Service. This gave me the opportunity to develop my interview skills and it gave me confidence going into interviews.

 

Best piece of careers advice you have ever been given…

Don’t apply to every job going, wait until the right one for you comes along.

 

What was the application/interview process for your new job like?

I had to complete a detailed application form after which I was shortlisted for interview. I had to prepare a 30 minute maths session for a class of Yr 5/6 children which is trickier than you think because the 30 minutes just flies by! Following that I had an interview with the school council which involved KS2 children asking questions of their own devising (this was my favourite part). On the second day of the interview process, I was invited to return to the school to complete a short written task and then have a formal panel interview with the headteacher, two school governors and the school vicar (who is also a governor). Thankfully, after all that, I only had to wait a couple of hours to find out that I had been successful.

 

How did you prepare for your interview? Any tips for others?

I made a bank of possible interview questions and wrote answers to them, which I then practised – a lot! I spoke to lots of teachers while I was preparing for my interview and they gave me plenty of great advice and tips. I would advise others to research your school thoroughly, prepare as many possible answers as you can think of and talk to others who have already been through the process.

 

Were there any surprises/anything you didn’t expect?

Not really, I was very well prepared.

 

What is your new job title?

Permanent, Full-time KS2 Teacher.

 

Who is your new employer?

Wiggonby C of E Primary School.

 

When will you start?

Officially, September 2017. Unofficially, now!!

 

If you had to say one thing to someone aiming to get a job like yours what would it be?

Put lots of time and effort into your preparation and interview because it really is worth it!

 

Want to find a job like Charlotte’s?

Contact careers@cumbria.ac.uk for advice and support.

Find out more about your Careers and Employability Service here.

Summer Career Fix: Follow people in your sector

What are you doing this summer to help you stand out from the crowd?

Gary’s bags are packed and he’s ready to jet off to places far sunnier than Cumbria. But he’s not off for a lazy beach holiday – he’s going to be doing one small thing each week that will help in his future career. He doesn’t know what that career is just yet, but that’s ok – most of these things can be done even if you aren’t 100% sure what you want to do. And if you need some help finding your path, you can always email the Careers & Employability service for some advice and guidance: careers@cumbria.ac.uk

So what’s Gary doing this week?

He’s finding relevant people and organisations and following them on social media.

This is a really quick and easy way to improve your career prospects. Instead of mindlessly scrolling Twitter, do some searches to find influential people in your career sector. Follow them and try to get involved in conversations.

This will build up your commercial awareness skills – one of the most important graduate skills that employers look for. Commercial awareness is basically knowing what’s happening in your sector.

So for example if you are an Occupational Therapy student or graduate, search for local NHS trusts to follow, find out who are the influential voices of OT on social media, and also find out about any Twitter chats you can get involved in (#OTalk for example).

This will help when you start applying for jobs as you will have greater understanding of what’s happening in the sector and the important issues happening now.

Come back next week for another #SummerCareerFix 

Support is available from your Careers and Employability Service with career planning, CVs and applications, interview skills, practice interviews and more. Contact careers@cumbria.ac.uk with your careers queries.

Friday Featured Opportunity – Cumbria Collaborative Outreach Programme Graduate Interns

The University of Cumbria is currently recruiting for three graduate interns to work on the Cumbria Collaborative Outreach Programme. This is a full time role for 12 months and the interns will be based at one of three locations: Carlisle, Energus (Workington) and Barrow-in-Furness.

Can you:
  • Work alongside area officers to deliver educational initiatives in schools and colleges within Cumbria; as well as with community groups, in order to raise aspirations and achievement and support progression to Higher Education
  • Work impartially and effectively to build good relationships with a range of partners both internally and externally, including schools, colleges, employers, communities and universities?
  • Work with other colleagues to reach operation targets and goals
  • Demonstrate a commitment to the WP agenda for under-represented groups in higher education?
We are looking to recruit three motivated graduate interns to develop and deliver an agreed programme of outreach activity within their area for the Cumbria Collaborative Outreach Programme (CCOP). This is part of HEFCE’s (Higher Education Funding Council for England’s) national initiative to ensure Government targets to double the number of young people from WP backgrounds in Higher Education by 2020 are met. You will report to the CCOP area officers under the guidance of the CCOP manager.
The University of Cumbria is the lead institution for CCOP – the Cumbria consortium, which includes partners ranging from higher education institutions, further education colleges and employers operating within Cumbria.
One post will be based within the University of Cumbria but will work for the consortium and report to the CCOP Manager. The programme aims to work in identified target wards with specific young people in three key areas of Cumbria to provide sustained, progressive and intensive outreach in order to broaden aspirations and ultimately increase progression to higher education.
There will be three posts, one for each area, to support the co-ordinating of the programme– Barrow in Furness, Workington and Carlisle.

These posts are fixed term for 12 months.


Informal enquiries: Lisa Martin at lisa.martin@cumbria.ac.uk
Closing date: Tuesday 29 August 2017 (midnight)
Interview date: Tuesday 05 September 2017, Furness College, Barrow in Furness
     Wednesday 06 September 2017, Energus, Workington
      Thursday 07 September 2017, Fusehill Street Campus, Carlisle
Reference: 83058
Starting Salary:  £15,379

 

Find out more and how to apply here.

Graduate Destinations – Lauren Mines, Graphic Designer

Today we’ve been speaking with Lauren Mines who graduated from the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course in 2016. We asked her about getting her first graduate job as a Graphic Designer.

Lauren Mines – BA (Hons) Graphic Design, University of Cumbria

 

Where are you from?

Chester-le-Street, County Durham

 

What made you choose the University of Cumbria?

The area felt safe, the living costs were affordable, and the course stood out amongst other universities where I attended interviews.

 

Why did you choose the Graphic Design course?

The small class sizes, and the many projects you completed per year compared to other Universities, which often only offered 4 projects a year to complete.

 

What did you like most about your course?

The incredibly regular interactions you have with your tutors, which is unrivalled. Tutors know you by name, and offer support throughout your time there.

 

What is your current job title?

Graphic Designer

 

Which company do you work for?

Autodesk, in Birmingham

 

What was the application process like?

The job was advertised online without saying who the employer was, as it was advertised by an agency. I sent my CV and a link to my portfolio to the agency, who contacted me to say I had an interview to which they then disclosed who the employer was.

 

How did you prepare for your interview?

I thoroughly researched the company, and prepared some questions to ask at the end to ensure I came across as engaged. I also, by this point, had already been through two other graphic design interviews (one of which asked particularly tough questions such as “What would you say your biggest weakness is?”), which I felt had prepared me well for this one.

 

What was the interview process like?

The interview was conducted by one person (who is now my senior designer). I answered some questions, talked through my CV, and presented my portfolio. I then had to complete a test which entailed replicating a printed leaflet into InDesign.

 

Were there any surprises?

I was informed when I was offered the interview that it was for the company Delcam, a CADCAM software company. However, during the interview process it was revealed to me that Autodesk was buying Delcam and so I’d be working for Autodesk. This came as a huge surprise as Autodesk is a huge international company and I had even used their software in my graphic design work – I couldn’t believe I had a chance to work for them so left the interview quite shocked!

 

If you had to say one thing to someone aiming to get a job like yours what would it be?

Don’t be put off applying for jobs that do not disclose who the employer is due to being advertised by an agency, and if you secure an interview for a company you’re not too interested in working for, still attend the interview. It firstly gives you the chance to gain more experience in being interviewed, and secondly, there could be a huge surprise like there was for me.

 

Want to find a job like Lauren’s?

Contact careers@cumbria.ac.uk for advice and support.

Find out more about your Careers and Employability Service here.

Summer Career Fix: Social Media Audit

What are you doing this summer to help you stand out from the crowd?

Gary’s bags are packed and he’s ready to jet off to places far sunnier than Cumbria. But he’s not off for a lazy beach holiday – he’s going to be doing one small thing each week that will help in his future career. He doesn’t know what that career is just yet, but that’s ok – most of these things can be done even if you aren’t 100% sure what you want to do. And if you need some help finding your path, you can always email the Careers & Employability service for some advice and guidance: careers@cumbria.ac.uk

So what’s Gary doing this week?

He’s doing a social media audit!

If you want to get a professional job, you need to present a professional image on social media. The majority of recruiters will google applicants before inviting them for interview so it’s vitally important that you make sure what is online reflects you in a positive and professional way.

There are a couple of things you can do:

  1. Google yourself! See what comes up when you search for yourself online. Any old accounts pop up that you had forgotten about that you can close? What about news articles and images too?
  2. Look at your accounts: Check all your social media channels e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Yello, Flickr, Bebo, MySpace – check them all! Are your security settings locked down? Are there any posts that would be damaging, for example, drunk photos, swearing, negative posts about your employer – these would all be warning flags to a potential employer.
  3. Take a look at your network and start conversations. Remember that anyone you meet could know about your perfect job, so make those professional connections and use them! Send messages out on your channels about what you’ve been doing to enhance your employability. Let people know you what you are looking for and see where it takes you.

If you would like to find out more about carrying out a social media audit, and why it’s important, you can read this article.

 

Support is available from your Careers and Employability Service with career planning, CVs and applications, interview skills, practice interviews and more. Contact careers@cumbria.ac.uk with your careers queries.