The CV Competition is back, Apply now!

The Careers and Employability Service CV Competition is back with more opportunities for students to win work experience opportunities with 9 local organisations. This year the majority of vacancies are funded at £300 per week! Competition entry is open to all students. Details of the competition are available on the webpage http://www.kent.ac.uk/ces/cv-competition.html

 

To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is send your CV and a covering letter. The organisations will then be sent the CV’s and asked to choose a winner. Confirmed experiences include marketing, event planning, conservation, community arts, curating, archiving and finance. Experiences will last 2 weeks over the summer vacation at a time suitable to the winning students and employers.

 

Employers were impressed with the applications and winning students from last year’s competition. Students were also very positive about the competition with one of our winners commenting: “It went very well. I had lots of things to do, I met lots of interesting people there, and had the opportunity to handle the water voles and mice, and take care of them which was really fun. It was a great experience.”

The competition is now open and will close on the 28th Feb

 

Top Tips for Acing That Big Presentation

 

Whether it’s as part of an interview, or you’re simply delivering information to your colleagues, presentations are an almost unavoidable part of modern working life. If you’re a student, delivering presentations may also form part of your course. Either way, presenting can be a nerve-racking experience.

Our biggest piece of advice is to prepare as thoroughly as you can. We can’t stress enough how helpful it can be to simply read through your presentation out loud before you deliver it. It’ll help you notice any woody wording or lengthy areas, and will help you establish a flow, which can help your audience better understand what you’re saying. It’ll also help you include natural pauses in your presentation, which is important for helping your audience retain the information you’re presenting.

Thankfully, giving presentations is something that gets easier with practice, and each one offers you the opportunity to learn from the experience. Remember: everyone gets a little nervous when giving a presentation! It’s perfectly natural to feel a little worried before and even during your presentation. Try to remain calm and concentrate on what you want your audience to learn. Thorough preparation is also key to increasing your confidence before the event.

We love a good presentation at Viking, so we thought we’d put together a little guide to help out anyone planning a presentation. Take a look and see if it helps you ace your next presentation:

Do you have any top presentation tips? Get in touch and let us know on Twitter at @viking_chat.

It’s Only the Beginning

“The one thing all famous authors, world-class athletes, actors, singers, business tycoons and celebrated achievers in any field have in common is that they began their journey when they were none of these personalities – and yet they began.”

My 10 week summer internship at the Development Office, University of Kent has been a real experience, which I will treasure for many years to come. During my internship, I was part of the Fundraising and Prospect Research Department; working as Fundraising Research Intern. Working at the Development Office was not a normal 9-5 shift. In fact, I got to be involved in real projects – ranging from fundraising campaigns to filming videos and working at the congregation.

I started off my internship looking into the Telephone Campaign where I was involved in preparing recruitment and training materials, as well as preparing the annual report for the Autumn 2015 Telephone Campaign. Being an undergraduate in a scientific field, the report was perfect for me where I could utilize the statistical and analytical skills that I had learned from my studies. This year, the Telephone Campaign, which is one of the biggest fundraising campaigns carried out by the university, was successful in raising over £90,000. The funding is used to facilitate projects such as Kent Opportunity Fund, Hardship Bursary, Postgraduate Scheme and Student Projects in order to promote student experience by facilitating students. In order to promote the Telephone Campaign, I represented the Development Office at the Freshers Fayre stall by designing flyers and distributing them to the students. Alongside the campaign, I had the opportunity to get an insight into the footstep project, a fantastic avenue for the alumni to connect with the university by providing donations to support various projects run by the University and in return, have their personal message engraved in a brick.

One of my shining moments was designing website content for the Student Sport Scheme, a new student project that focuses on enhancing the student experience in the sports sector. Being a student myself, I appreciate the sheer importance of sports in the wellbeing of a student.  My role allowed me to design and compose the website content for this scheme. This involved researching previous alumni, such as Olympic Gold Medallist Susannah Townsend, who received financial support from the university to succeed in their chosen sports whilst studying. It was an invaluable experience to have the privilege to look into their work in sports and how they benefitted from the university. This is evidence of the important role I was provided with, as the content I prepared has now been published on the university website.

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I was also trained in prospect research, including how to carry out various research on Kent alumni, trust organisations and remarkable personalities. I thoroughly relished wealth rating and developing my knowledge of the Raiser’s Edge. It was astounding to learn about the efficiency of the database, which unequivocally helps in carrying out stewardship. Prospect Management and New Leads are also another aspect of the prospect research that I developed my interest in throughout my internship.

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I get knocked down but I get up again

Searching for a placement I eagerly checked my exam results, hoping for a 2:1.  You can imagine my shock and disappointment when I realised I had achieved a 2:2. I was determined to continue my search for a placement despite my disappointment.  True to being forewarned, a lot of positions weren’t interested in anything less than the 2:1 I’d been warned about and some even wanted a 1st! But, so many companies were more than happy to take someone with a 2:2 if they could prove they had the necessary skills.

“But… what are this necessary skills?!” I hear you cry…! Teamwork and communication and problem solving skills, oh my! Exactly the kind of experience you get from being involved in societies and volunteering and where better to get involved than Uni?! I personally have been on the committee of the Physics society for two years (I did a foundation year as well) as well as mundane little things like a part-time job back home, all of it added up until I was accepted and moved up the scale of various applications, through the psychometric testing of multiple companies, assessment centres and interviews, until all of that hard work finally culminated into the pearl at the centre of the oyster: the job offer!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always sunshine and roses! For every stage of one offer I got through, I was rejected form nine others but the thing you need to remember is: life is full of knockbacks and disappointments but it’s the good times (like finally getting that offer!) that really make it all worthwhile.

I’m going to insert a shameless plug in here: The Employability Service are INCREDIBLE. Without their CV workshops, drop-in sessions and support I wouldn’t be where I am today. The team there really know their stuff (after all: their job is to help you get your job!) and couldn’t have been more supportive and caring if they tried.

Long story short: I’m going on the placement of my dreams in July, earning real money and gaining life-skills that will serve me well for years to come, despite the tears and frustrations of repeated rejections, I have finally got the placement! The opportunities are there if you can just reach out and grab it!

 

I did and I’m never looking back.

 

Kieren Scott, BSc Physics

Ready to start

Starting your own business isn’t easy, and can be quite a daunting prospect. You’ll need to put in many years of blood sweat and tears and be ready for the wild ups and downs of entrepreneurship. As a startup that’s been growing for four years, we have a great deal of experience to draw on, and thought we would share some advice to help you turn your ideas into a reality.

Start small and iterate quickly

You might be the next Virgin or Facebook, but they weren’t built in a day. The last thing you want to do is to spend years crafting a product that nobody wants. Therefore you should start very small with a minimum viable product. Get feedback early from real paying customers and then use the feedback to improve the product. With an ecommerce business, a website can be made in minutes using a platform like Squarespace, and Google AdWords can drive some traffic to the page for little money so you can validate your idea. Not only will you save lots of wasted time, you’ll also be a much more attractive prospect for any investors.

Understand your early customers

Whilst you might have dream of breaking through the mass market, the most important thing at the start of your journey are your first customers. Try to fully understand why they would buy what you’re building. What problem are you solving for the customer. You should also know who else is currently offering things that are the car repair sector is wildly different to fashion, for example.

Why start this business?

It’s surprisingly common to hear of founders running companies they have grown to hate. Before embarking on a project, take the time to understand how this business will work for you as a founder. Just because there is a gap in a market doesn’t mean that the best use of the next few years of your life is exploiting it. Do some soul searching, pick an industry that you care about and build a business you’ll be proud to be running in a few years.

Watch your finance

Simply, businesses fail because they run out of money. Not being on top of your cash flow from day 1 is a mistake many first time founders make. Not only will you get warning signs early and be able to course correct, but you’ll also understand which parts of your business are performing better and are ripe for expansion.

Taking the plunge and starting a business is something all founders go back and forth on. Be prepared for hard work, and a rollercoaster of ups and downs. With these tips, you’ll be able to avoid mistakes being costly and increase your chances of a business that’s successful. Whilst there is always an element of luck, there is a lot that you can do as a founder to ensure your business will be a success. Good luck!

I want it all, I want it all, I want it now

During my reading week I worked as an Executive Assistant (EA) at one of the world’s leading investment companies, 3i. Based in London, with nine offices worldwide, I was able to see how an international company functioned and communicated with its partner offices. As a French undergraduate, I particularly wanted to observe how they liaised with their Paris office (and luckily I sat opposite the French employee who negotiated with them!). The company focuses itself within three main areas of investment; Private Equity; Infrastructure; and Debt Management. I worked within the Infrastructure team, who are currently undertaking a major deal, so it was a great time for me to arrive as I had a lot of work that I could assist. Throughout the week I really got into the ‘nitty gritty’ of what it would be like to work as an EA.

So, how was this achieved?

I was fortunate enough to aid the EA team on tasks such as Diary Management where I used Outlook Calendars to manage multiple directors simultaneously in order to organise, book and/or cancel meetings internally and externally. This meant that I was in constant communication either via email or via telephone with various parties, and so acted in a polite and professional manner whilst representing the company. Moreover, I learnt how to manage and justify company expenditure, which also included a bit of ‘inbox detective work’ to calibrate bank statements. As a result, I was entrusted with full responsibility of the company’s ski trip next year. Here, I managed the entire team’s travel details where costings and flights needed to be verified and collated into the team calendar. I used Excel and Outlook again to send everyone’s invites which required immense attention to detail, and created an online and hard folder copy of all details for the next EA to take over. I similarly worked alongside the Legal team on my last day to verify legal documentation.

Graduate Assessment Centre

Furthermore, I was fortunate to arrive at the concluding stage of their graduate assessment centre. This meant that I was able to observe the final stages of their assessment process, what was involved from the graduate’s viewpoint, and also what the assessors (senior management) were looking for in particular. Working alongside the HR department, I welcomed applicants and took the time to settle them into their new environment as it was to be a long and intense day for all involved. Strict time management was vital during these two days as there was a rigid timetable of events which needed to be adhered to. I was also given responsibility to invigilate part of the process, ensuring that all candidates were treated equally. I was afforded the opportunity to sit in on board discussions and observe how they chose the final candidates to undertake the scheme. It has given me a true insight from ‘the other side’ as to what employers truly search for, and in turn I can use this knowledge to better myself when I apply for graduate schemes.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and would love to go back again as it was invaluable to me. I liaised with numerous employees from Managing Partners to Graduate Analysts, and even candidates in the same boat as myself. I was truly fortunate to have been entrusted with so much responsibility in such a short amount of time and so, was thoroughly able to experience the role of an Executive Assistant and what the job would entail. I believe that I arose to every challenge, and am happy to say that all tasks were completed by the end of the week. Moreover, on a general note, I was able to experience what my life could be like living and working in London and if this is something I wish to pursue. I can positively say that despite the busy commuter trains, I love the hard working yet social buzz London has to offer!

– Sheena Wooldridge is a 3rd year French and History student

Then you’ll finally see the truth…that the hero lies in you

The internship in the development office last summer was an amazing experience. For me it was a unique opportunity, one that has taught me invaluable employability skills and given me office experience.

On arrival in the Development Office, preparations were in full swing for congregations, which took place in my second week. I immediately got involved in the social media aspect of graduation, with planning potential tweets and looking up honorary graduates twitter handles. They wanted to gain a more prominent following on the UKCStudent snapchat and graduation was the perfect platform to achieve this. As no one had used snapchat before during grad week, so this was a bit of an experiment – which turned out to be a very successful one!

In addition working on graduation gave me a rare insight into how much planning and preparation goes into such an event. There was a buzz everywhere and the students looked like they enjoyed every second. Which gave me some great material for the snapchat. Snapchat was great because it captured this feeling of excitement and pride that was inescapable throughout. Having never really thought about graduation as much of an occasion, after this experience I can’t wait to graduate next year.

Learning how to use web-editing software Dreamweaver was another one of the highlights for me. Before this placement I was not particularly tech savvy, so being able to update the University website’s content was not only extremely satisfying but also fascinating. I learn how to use programs such as Word Press and Photoshop. As I got more familiar with the software I was able to do it more and more independently. This gave me such confidence.

Everyone in the development office was patient and open to any questions (no matter how silly!) Creating an enjoyable working environment. I learnt many skills during the ten weeks interning in the development office, including.

Such a variety of interesting and challenging tasks. IT skills were the most valuable thing I gained from this experience and hopefully I will put these to good use when applying for graduate jobs in the future. However, what I enjoyed the most was working alongside my fellow interns and colleagues. We had a lot of fun and it was such a creative and encouraging environment. It has inspired me to invest in my future, and to aim for jobs with similar roles in communications.

– Sophie Baker is a 3rd year American Studies student