#EmpFest16 is coming!

The annual University of Kent Employability Festival starts soon across the Canterbury and Medway campuses. It is free to all University of Kent students!

  • Medway campus: 10 October – 21 October
  • Canterbury campus: 24 October – 4 November

With more than 100 organisations taking part in over 130 events this is your chance to meet graduate employers, industry experts, Kent alumni and academics. Take part in competitions, get expert advice on CVs and skills development, interviews, assessment centre tips and much more ….

EmpFest programmes will be available to download or collect from the Careers and Employability Service or student helpers on campus. Some events have limited numbers so check out the programme and book your place ASAP.

Highlights include:

Plus four Keynes Atrium Mini Fairs!

  • Work and Study Abroad Fair – Tuesday 25 October
  • JobShop Part-Time Recruitment Fair – Thursday 27 October
  • Teaching Fair – Thursday 3 November
  • Languages Fair – Friday 4 November

Check out the exhibitors attending the Fairs at www.kent.ac.uk/ces/events/empfest

Follow us at   www.facebook.com/ukces @unikentemploy

I don’t care what my teachers say, I’m gonna be a supermodel

I would firstly like to thank the B-KEW bursary team for allowing me to experience a truly useful and inspiring internship which has kick-started my career within PR.

Debenhams is the UK’s leading multi-channel retail company consisting of many thriving and exciting brands, commanded by its dedicated employees. I was welcomed into the PR team where I supported and shadowed an existing PR assistant in daily duties consisting of: sample management, admin, research, blogger/press communication and pr event co-ordination. This experience heightened and matured my natural flair for communication in a professional environment, building upon my love for team work and event-management.

It was beneficial to observe PR managers and assistant’s dedication and passion to their role. It provided a fantastic basis for me to discuss in future PR job interviews.

A highlight for me was being given the responsibility to play a large role in the management of a Matthew Williamson SS16 Press show at the glamorous Ritz hotel. I bought, and distributed goody bags, invited attendees, taking photographs for social media, and circulating the room, talking to many journalists from the likes of Vogue Italia and Harper’s Bazaar. This event gave me a real insight into the preparation, management and exposure of the event. I later monitored attendees’ social media pages, examining the success of the event for meetings with the PR team.

The success of this three week work experience brought about a job opportunity with the company that I am being considered for in August 2016. This proved to me how important work experience is when kick-starting your professional career, it can help build upon your networking skills with the possibility of job opportunities.

– Lydia Poulteney is a recent graduate in Film from the University of Kent

Students and graduates: Why use professional networks?

Finding a job in line with your studies is something you might not start thinking about until university is over, and when you do, the first thing you will probably do is type “graduate jobs” into Google and trawl through the jobs on offer. This is the most obvious way to go, but there is another way of improving your chances of finding a job which you may or may not have already thought of: professional networks.


But what is a professional network? Put simply, a professional network is a social network (like Facebook) that focuses solely on interactions and relationships of a business nature, rather than personal interactions. LinkedIn is probably the first name that springs to mind when professional networks are mentioned, but there are also other options available. Wizbii, for example, is a professional network designed specifically for students and graduates, with jobs and internships requiring little or no previous experience – the maximum experience required for jobs is 2 years. Professional networks aren’t just for graduates looking for their first professional job after university. It’s a good idea to sign up and be active whilst you are studying to build up your professional network, have access useful career advice and find internships and other work opportunities. Having a profile on professional networks also shows that you are serious about your career.

Why are professional networks useful?

Professional networks allow you to be headhunted by recruiters who are looking for employees with your particular skills and background, which could save you a lot of time and effort. Like traditional job search sites, you will also be able to search for jobs directly and find opportunities in your desired sector. Wizbii lets you know if any of your contacts have worked at companies you wish to apply to who could therefore give you some useful tips. The social aspect of professional networks is yet another great advantage. You can join public groups, share information on subjects that interest you and read news and articles shared by other members. These interactions will allow you to make new contacts and expand your professional network. And you never know, these contacts could be very useful for your job search and could help steer you in the right direction.

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Consider a career outside of the capital

Laura Hodgkinson is the entrepreneur behind UKswegways.com alongside online brands in four industries making a multi-million pound turnover; all whilst only in her mid-twenties. Laura, gives her view on why graduates shouldn’t all rush to the capital when crafting their careers. When university ends and the graduation gowns have been hung up once more, it’s time to think about the next steps; what do you want to do and where do you want to be? For many graduates, the journey to crafting a career will take them to the capital, in fact twice as many graduates choose to settle in London than any other UK city. However, the bright lights of the big smoke aren’t for everyone and at a time when there is a focus of devolution of power from the capital, now more than ever is an exciting time to look elsewhere.

The Shift

Over the last couple of years, the government has taken steps to make areas outside of the capital more attractive to businesses, offering support and financial help. The biggest example of this is the “Northern powerhouse” which has seen over 150 science and tech companies to Manchester as well as mediacityUk now home to BBC and ITV. Across the Pennines, Leeds is the second biggest financial centre outside of London and is tipped to one of the UK’s fastest growing cities. This fast paced growth is offering up opportunities and opening up room for innovation in cities not only in the North but in locations across the UK.

Living Costs

There is definitely a price to pay for living and working in the capital. It’s reported that London employees spend on average around £3561 on costs which are directly related to their jobs. Throw in the high cost of rent on top of that and it all starts to add up. Now of course thousands of graduates manage the move to London every year and the costs shouldn’t put you off completely, but it’s definitely a factor which you should consider when weighing up your options.

Think Digital

We live in a digital age which is constantly breaking down geological boundaries. In the digital era you can set up a business from your laptop at home and be trading with audiences UK wide or further afield within the week. Exciting start-ups are using this to their advantage. Without a real restriction of location on their business, it is allowing them to set up base in less popular real estate areas, taking advantage of lower rent. With so much potential for growth in the digital industry, these start-ups are an exciting place to be and are often looking for fresh talent to add to their pool.

Transport Links

Doing business outside of London doesn’t rule out ever working in the capital. With transport links ever improving and HS2 on the horizon, businesses far and wide are interacting and trading in the capital daily. Look around on a morning Virgin train to London and it’s teaming with professionals putting finishing touches to proposals and prepping on the way to see a client. Taking the leap into the world of work after university can be an extremely daunting one but remember it’s also an incredibly exciting time. Where ever you decide to settle, it’s important to weigh up all your options and make sure it’s the right decision for you.

Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)

We’ve all heard about people who have found a job through creative means…there’s the Kent graduate who wore a sandwich board around London, the graduate who paid to have a poster on a billboard, and the advertising professionals who used Twitter to “hustle” themselves jobs… but how does creative job hunting actually work in practice?

Know your audience! It’s not going to work if you are applying for a job at a firm who are asking for a CV, covering letter and transcript from university. Sending them a box of chocolates with a DVD of your video CV probably isn’t the best way to get a job with them. If there’s a specific, pre-defined way in which the organisation would like you to apply, then use that. But if you are applying speculatively, that is to say when a job is not specifically advertised (on the off-chance, you could say!), then go for it!

An excellent example of someone who has understood when to be extra-creative is Elski Felson, who created a video CV using Snapchat, when applying for a job there! He hasn’t, as yet, heard back from them, but using the tool that the company manages is a fantastic way to grab attention.

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

(How to dress for work!)

Knowing what to wear to work can feel quite stressful, especially if you are new to an organisation. The reality is that as long as what you are wearing is similar to what your colleagues wear, then you will be dressed appropriately. Different businesses will have different standards of dress code and formality can vary enormously from one organisation to another. Some organisations will have a uniform or a dress code policy. Make sure you to have a look at what people in the organisation are wearing when you go along for your interview.

Generally speaking you should dress business formal if you work with customers in a professional setting, such as a bank or office. Business formal usually includes a suit, tie, shirt and smart shoes for men and a trouser, skirt or dress suit with smart shoes for women. Business casual can vary enormously but should always look smart. For men think blazers, chinos, v necks, preppy shirts, loafers, dark wash denim (for some inspiration visit the Slaters casual dress blog post ). Have a look at this Pinterest board for some business casual inspiration for women.

Our top tips below will help you to understand the rules of business casual.

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He lives in a house, a very big house in the country

As a third year Comparative Literature and English Language and Linguistics student finding work experience has been a challenge. With all the endless essays, presentations and pressures of third year, I did not think work experience would have been possible before graduating university. However, I was given the opportunity to undergo work experience for Marsh & McLennan Companies for two weeks. For those of you that do not know, Marsh & McLennan Companies is one of most successful worldwide insurance firms.

During my two weeks I was based within the International Property Sector at Barry Marsh. Within the insurance world I was informed that June is one of the busiest periods in the business, in terms of binding contracts and renewing clients. Therefore, by working throughout this period gave me a great insight into how the company functioned day to day.

My role consisted of various tasks which included basic admin roles, helping organise meetings, researching information, creating opening memos and also creating pie charts for client data. During this busy time I felt that my assistance was of great help to the brokers. By working closely with the international property team I was able to have a closer insight into the role of a ‘broker.’ One of the most important skills I have learnt is how to use Microsoft Excel to a higher standard. Whilst working at Marsh I realised how fundamental Excel is for a successful business.

One of my favourite tasks was aiding one of my colleagues for a client presentation. I introduced the team to a presentation software called Prezi. Prezi is an alternative to PowerPoint that engages the audience by using dramatic zooming and panning to bring a presentation to life and avoids the classic ‘death by PowerPoint.’ My expertise within Prezi really impressed the team and they insisted that they would try to incorporate Prezi instead of PowerPoint when possible!

Another aspect of my role included going to Lloyds Market to shadow the marsh brokers and the underwriters of the market. This gave me the opportunity to meet various experts of the insurance world. I left my placement feeling a sense of accomplishment. The placement has helped me narrow down what sector I would like to pursue within the future. Most importantly during my work experience I improved my interaction skills, organization skills and has helped build my confidence.

The B-KEW bursary was essential for my work experience at Marsh. It allowed me to travel to London for two weeks instead of one. Without the bursary, I would have missed out on a whole week’s worth of work experience due to the travelling costs. The extra week really helped network within the insurance world and I have received further work experience by another insurance firm since. Finishing university isn’t that bad after all!

– Katie Penn was a 3rd year Comparative Literature and English Language and Linguistics student at the University of Kent.