Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car

I had a very warm welcome from the Enterprise Rent-A-Car team who made me feel at home in just a couple of minutes. This is what you can expect from a company whose priority is good customer service above all. I had the opportunity to have a close look at the graduate applicant selection process. On the second day, I was lucky enough to be able to shadow interviewers in the different tasks which comprised the assessment centre.

Enterprise have their selection done in-house, so I was able to network and meet not only with the incredible Talent Acquisition team but also the Area Managers. I have most definitely improved my networking and communication skills. However, the nature of shadowing is one of patient observation and analysis. From the various applicants’ performances and analyses from the assessment centre interviewers, I had a much better idea of what employers look for from applicants. Therefore, I can confidently say that I have gained very valuable analytical and employability skills.

Understanding the graduate selection process and seeing how an assessment centre is run gave me an insight in the field of recruitment. Since I wish to further my studies in Organisational Psychology, thiswas the perfect opportunity to delve into this field.

– Teshan S. Bunwaree is a final year Psychology and Law student at the University of Kent.

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Self-employment abroad and tax rates!

Hi, it’s Amy here, a careers adviser from the Medway campus. I’m currently on a career break for a year but I thought I’d keep in touch by sending blogs of careers-type-things I learn on my way!

After staying with some couch-surfers in Spain (one Spanish wedding photographer and one English expat), I was shocked to hear about the differences in self-employment taxes. I used to be a wedding photographer and would only have to pay tax after making a certain amount of money, however, this wedding photographer said he has to pay around 300 euros every month regardless of how much money he makes in addition to 40% tax. I believe tax rates vary, but even if a self-employed person makes no money one month, they still have that set monthly fee. For a lot of people, this means they cannot afford to be self-employed, especially as it takes time to build up a client base.

Paying taxes has an effect on benefits too, for example, the amount someone can claim for unemployment benefit is directly related to how much they have paid in (and for how long).

If you’re looking at being self-employed abroad, make sure you check the tax rates and payments first. But also weigh this up with the cost of living. Yes, the self-employed photographer I met had to pay a lot more tax than I did, but the fuel and the wine are so much cheaper than in the UK (two of my main expenditures on this trip so far!) As long as I manage to keep spending more of my euros on fuel than wine, I’ll send more blogs from other countries!

Please note, this information is based on informal conversations so figures may not be completely accurate and may differ depending on circumstances. Make sure you do your own research if you are looking at self-employment abroad.

– Amy Wiggins, Careers Adviser @ Kent (currently on a career break)

Doing unpaid work experience?

Have you heard about our bursary?

These students did, and look what they achieved!

My internship at Kent Enterprise Trust was amazing. It was a great learning experience and I had the chance to meet many wonderful people who I got to learn from. – Micaela Digennaro

 

With the help of The University of Kent Work Experience Bursary, I was able to not only get the amazing opportunity to experience a variety of mini-pupilages, but it also allowed me to witness and experience the working environment in which I am considering as a career. – Maria Deguara

 

Thanks to the University of Kent Work Experience Bursary I had peace of mind knowing that my travel expenses would be covered by the University. All I had to do was plan out my travel to the workplace and make sure I kept the receipts for them. – Teshan S. Bunwaree

Find out more, and apply online at www.kent.ac.uk/ces/bursarykew.html

Working with the head sports therapist at Gravesend RFC

Over the course of the year, I have been working alongside the head sports therapist at Gravesend RFC. During my time there I was required to perform specific special tests to help diagnose a client’s injury.

Throughout the early stages of my placement, there were times where I was asked to perform special tests for the hip and at the time, I had no knowledge of what to do. This made me feel embarrassed and took a toll on my confidence as a sports therapist. I felt that because I had to ask my supervisor how to perform a certain special test, I would lose respect from the players and the staff.

On a positive note, after my supervisor told me which special test to perform, I was able to provide the correct treatment and also develop a suitable rehabilitation programme. At that moment in time, I felt like the supervisor and players expected me to know all the special tests even though I haven’t even been taught them yet by the university. This encouraged me to research special tests independently so that I have the required knowledge if this scenario ever happened again. I would research journal articles and use YouTube videos for further guidance.

After revising all the special tests fully, I was able to perform any special test required during the latter stages of the season which boosted my confidence and I felt that I earnt the respect that I fought hard to get.

– Harry Morrell is a 3rd year Sports Therapy student

Have you found some unpaid work experience? You could be entitled to the BKEW bursary – apply today!

 

Work experience at a local newspaper office

My work experience with the Kent Messenger group gave me a fantastic insight into the workings of a local newspaper office. My office in Canterbury produced five newspapers, which meant there was a reasonably broad scope of stories. I was surprised to find I was thrown in at the deep end – while I largely had to ask for stories to be given for me, I was allowed – and expected – to get on with them with minimal supervision, unless I specifically asked for help.

My biggest fear was with making phone calls to members of the public, such as victims of theft. Even though I wasn’t asking about particularly sensitive issues, it still felt odd to call up a stranger and take up several minutes of their time, sometimes having to convince them to let me use their full name and age as well.

At the start of the week, I was worried to the point where I would write out my end of the conversation before making the call. By the end of the week, I was much more comfortable, especially when talking to press officers, and would only write down the questions I wanted to ask.

I also learned the value of making sure I knew the full details of a story before calling someone up about it; on one occasion I called a press officer, oblivious to the fact he was also a reporter for the paper, and another time I called a property developer about a planning application that had been approved, only to quickly realise that the application had only been validated, not approved and that all but one of my questions were therefore irrelevant.

By a lucky coincidence, I was, on one occasion, able to use my specialist airshow knowledge, as this is my area of interest. My ability to provide some detailed and useful information for an article on the Herne Bay Airshow was seemingly appreciated by the writer, and, given that it was only my second day at the time, hopefully, showed the rest of the office that I was a competent and valuable addition to their team.

Towards the end of the week, I also received some useful tips on my writing, including not giving too much away in the introduction to encourage readers to read the whole article.

All in all, it was an enjoyable and interesting week in a friendly office, which has taught me a lot about how local newspapers function.

– Adam Landau is a 1st year Journalism student

Have you found some unpaid work experience? You could be entitled to the BKEW bursary – apply today!

 

Work experience at Marsh & McLennan – the global professional services firm

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My experience at Marsh & McLennan was nothing short of amazing. It was a wonderful learning experience and I got the opportunity to meet new people who I got to learn from and form connections within my short week-long stay there. Given that it was a whole week of working 9 to 5 and that it was based in costly London, the B-Kew Bursary really helped me in being able to attend the work experience as, without it, I wouldn’t have been able to commit to living in London for a week. Given that I have no family in London, I had to organise my own accommodation for the week which proved to be very expensive and the B KEW Bursary is really the only reason I got this amazing experience.

Over the time spent there during my week, I got to work on an Excel Spreadsheet project that my supervisor gave me and that lasted all week. It was meant to give me an insight into the basics of what the risk finance team does every day as well as how to use various useful excel functions that employers are often looking for. I also got to sit down with various members of the team who each explained their work to me. As someone going into Actuarial Science, it gave me an insight into the various fields I could go into as an actuary. I was taught about Risk Finance Optimization, Risk Tolerance, Investments, Reserving, Solvency II, Natural Catastrophe as well as Sales and Pricing. The knowledge gained gave me useful things I will be able to talk about in interviews in the future and in job applications. This is especially important for me since I will be applying for a placement year next year and thus this has really given me a competitive advantage.

I also feel the experience of having to commit to waking up in the morning and working all day from 9-5 was a really important lesson and test as to whether I’m willing to commit to this career path, which I am. Furthermore, I got to strengthen my people skills as I had to hold conversations with different members of the team and be able to maintain those conversations. The highlight for me was getting to speak to the managing director, John Davies, who shared a lot with me with regards to his career, the department as a whole as well as giving me advice, and the challenge was really to use my social skills to make sure I would be memorable and not easy to forget.

All in all, I would definitely recommend for people to make use of this bursary as I am one step closer to my dream job because of it. Attending that placement was a dream that seemed to feather away moment by moment until I came across this bursary. I also would like to applaud and thank the University of Kent for being so considerate and creative with coming up with something like this as money is always a barrier when it comes to the job search and career growth.

– Refilwe Modise 

Have you found some unpaid work experience?
You could be entitled to the BKEW bursary – apply today!

 

Finding a graduate startup job – Risehigh.co

While graduate schemes remain the mecca for some students after university, many exciting jobs can be found in startups and growing businesses. The benefits of such roles are numerous: gain more experience (and do so quicker), work more closely with senior staff, actually see the impact your work has on an organisation.

But where can such opportunities be found and how do you go about landing a startup job? RiseHigh talks you through the process.


FINDING THE JOB

Arguably the most effective way to find a startup job is to identify interesting companies and applying directly to them. Startups appreciate this as minimises their costs and demonstrate your interest in the company. Industry awards, startup press (think Mashable, Startups.co.uk, Techcrunch), and investment sites (from Venture Capital firms to crowdfunding sites) are all great sources of interesting companies.

If you take this approach make sure you write a unique cover letter explaining how you found the company and why it interests you: don’t just copy and paste a generic list of your skills and achievements. Startups want you to show why them not just why you.

Startups do also advertise on standard job sites such as Reed and Guardian Jobs, so it can pay to keep an eye on these two and search specifically for roles which mention ‘startup’.

We would say this, but another great way to find startup jobs in London is RiseHigh. When you apply to our platform we learn a bit more about you then use intelligent matching to hook you up directly with roles and companies we think are a great fit. Very simple, very effective.


APPLICATION PROCESS

As already referenced, one key feature of your application to a startup will be a cover note. This is your chance to explain exactly why you are interested in the company and highlight the key aspects of your skills which match with the role. This must be personalised for each company; a generic cover note sticks out like a sore thumb and will invariably end up with a rejection. If you’re not sufficiently interested to write a unique cover note, it’s probably best to save your time and not apply in the first place.

When writing your CV, ideally make it just one page (or at the very most two). Work on the assumption whoever reads it is short of time and won’t spend more than a minute (and possibly less than half of that) skim reading it. If you had thirty seconds to get across the most important aspects of your skills and experience, what would you say? That’s what should go on your CV. Don’t include every single thing you have ever done – at best it will dilute your strongest facets and at worst it will mean the person reading will gloss over everything. The vast majority of students and graduates put way too much on their CV – be bold, stand out from the crowd, and go for a slick one-pager.

Finally, if you get to interview stage, do your research. This is true of every company you apply to but is particularly pertinent for startups. You should know what the company does inside-out and be fully armed with a number of questions about it. The more you know, the keener you are, the better your chances of getting the job.


Getting a job in a startup is a great way to start your career after university. You get more experience than you would in a traditional graduate scheme, you will likely learn faster, and you may not need quite as much experience to land a coveted role.

Remember to personalise each application, hone in on the key relevant skills you possess, and explain exactly why you want to work for the company in question. Do all this and you’ll be halfway there. Good luck!

RiseHigh is a platform for non-tech roles in startups, with a particular focus on marketing, sales, and operations.

Apply to be part of the community here: https://risehigh.co/