Back to life. Back to reality.

It’s nearly the start of a brand new term. The ‘what am I going to do with all this time’ summer is over. What did you do with yours: earnt money, did some work experience, eat.sleep.rave.repeat?

Whatever you did we are thrilled to have you back at Kent. While you’ve been away we in the Careers and Employability Service have been preparing all sorts of exciting things for you. Our hope is that they will take the stress out of finding jobs and work experience, applying for grad roles or continuing your studies. We offer everything from quick CV checks and job finding workshops, to mock interviews and assessment centres. Pop along to any one of our free sessions during the term to collect employability points.

And for those of you arriving for the first time this September – WELCOME! It’s good to have you with us. Really embrace all the great stuff university has to offer. Be enriched with subject knowledge and practical skills through your course; develop courage and resilience as you navigate university life, some of you away from home for the first time; realise your strengths and weaknesses; get better at planning your time (or faster at typing!). All these skills add up to one super employable graduate.

Once you’ve settled in to your halls/houses you’ve got your timetable and you’re in a good rhythm, why not come and see us?

The Careers and Employability Service is open:

Mondays: 10.30am-5.00pm

Tuesdays-Fridays 9:00am-5:00pm

We’re located between Keynes College and the large D-shaped bus stop. You can pop in for a 5 minute chat or book a 45 minute appointment with one of our advisers. There are computers to use and helpful resources to take away. All this info and more can be found on our website: Www.kent.ac.uk/ces. We look forward to seeing you soon!

 

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One love…let’s get together and feel alright

As part of my postgraduate studies in Peace and Conflict Studies, I am currently completing a three-month internship with terre des hommes Germany. Terre des hommes is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation fighting for children’s rights around the world and I am grateful that I can get to know their valuable work.

I have been interested in development and humanitarian aid for a long time and although I have completed several other internships , I never got to know the work of a non-governmental organisation. Therefore, this is a valuable new insight for me. I am also learning how to apply for project funds from the German government but also from the European Union.

Most of my time so far has been spent working on a project proposal for the EU and I was able to learn about the whole process: we started to develop an idea for a project in India, which supports Indian organisations fighting against human trafficking and child labour. We then developed the idea further, discussing individual project activities, the necessary budget, etc. Next, we filled out the long application form, prepared all necessary information and finally submitted the application to the EU. I really hope that they will accept the project proposal and hence fund the project, as I truly believe in the positive impact this project will have.

I am grateful for the technical knowledge I am gaining, as I will be able to apply it while working for every other non-governmental organisation. However, I am even more grateful to get to know this positive work experience, as every staff member truly supports the organisation’s goals and vision, the whole team is very motivated to do the work well. If I am able to find a job within an organisation with such a positive working atmosphere, I will consider myself lucky.

As a German student who has not been home for a while, I explicitly searched for an internship near my hometown. I was lucky that I found an internship with terre des hommes, as the organisation is located in a city just 20 minutes by train from my hometown. I am currently living with my parents again which is amazing as I can spend time with my family. As my internship is unpaid, my parents are supporting me financially. It is great that the University of Kent Work Experience Bursary allows me to contribute to the costs and I would like to thank those behind the Bursary scheme for all their support.

– Lisa Kramer is studying for an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies

The law of the land

The work experience bursary has given me the opportunity to undertake work experience in the area of law in which I am undertaking my Masters, namely Medical Law & Ethics.  This was an invaluable opportunity to observe the advisory side of the barristers’ work as well as a solid introduction to the Cororner’s court.

I was also fortunate in that I shadowed a Queen’s Counsel in her work on Inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice.  This was very insightful of the workings of the Coroner’s court and informed of the procedures adopted in this specialist court.  As a result, I am well-versed with these.

I have also sat in the trial which was attended by 12 party representatives and also observed by a jury of 13.  The trial related to the suicide incident of a patient whilst at Priory Hospital in London. During my time there, I observed many experts giving evidence and the coroner and barristers questioning them in relation to their dealings with the matters.

I also sat in a conference in which the QC provided advice on a disciplinary investigation. As a result of this invaluable insight into healthcare practice, I gained a practical understanding of this specialist area which reinforced my academic knowledge acquired on my LLLM and cemented my interest for this field of practice.

The skills which I have acquired as a result of this exposure:

  • An understanding to the Coroner’s court
  • An understanding of the procedure of the Coroner’s Court
  • The nature of Inquests
  • The purpose of Inquests
  • Professional regulation of various medical professionals
  • Advisory side of the Bar

I am grateful for the support this bursary has given me in order to complete this work experience, which without the bursary, I would not have been able to afford it. Thank you to Kent and to the donors who make this possible.

– Ibtisam El-Jeaadi

The laws have changed

How was my work experience valuable? The list is substantial and I could go on, but the main thing I took out from my placement at Devereux Chambers, London is the insight into the barristers’ work. Such insight is of importance for a second stage law student, who should be making some big life decisions at this stage. Before, I did not know whether I duly wanted to do an LPC and become a lawyer, or whether doing a GDL and becoming a barrister would suit my personality better. Now I know the mixture of the two professions are appropriate. Additionally, I was not sure whether I am truly interested in tort law… so much as to represent harmed people for the rest of my life (alongside other things).

The work placement affirmed my interests and allowed me to see that I am capable of being a great representative in this field. Of course, no work experience will tell you exactly what you can and cannot do in life, rather it will be an indicator. For me, being in a highly respectable environment with a highly skilled personal injury barrister, reading his submissions and saying to myself ‘Ah, that is exactly what I thought’ indicates my potential. My learning was put into practice and was deemed to be useful.

Thanks to the bursary scheme, I could buy work-wear appropriate for the environment and felt comfortable in being the ‘newbie’ in the office. I could afford a ticket that meant I could get the 07:18 am train and be at Temple Station by 9am – I really do not know what would happen if that option was not available, it was already tiring to leave home at 7am and come back at 8pm. But, at least I know what kind of working world I am stepping into and what kind of working hours are to be expected.

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Dr. Feelgood

I was lucky enough to get two weeks’ work experience in an NHS pathology lab. Whilst based in the blood science department which consisted of haematology, virology and clinical biochemistry, I spent most of my time in the latter; although the department suggests unity between the sections, they are very much separate. The clinical biochemistry section is further split up into Automation (the largest area), and 4 other specialist areas; Point of Care Testing, High Performance Liquid Chromatography, Proteins and Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry. Unfortunately, I was unable to handle the samples due to caution of Hepatitis B, a robust virus which can survive on surfaces for up to 3 months and often survive after the surface has been bleached.

I was able to observe the journey of up to 8000 patient samples a day, through pre-analytical, analytical and post analytical stages. Most of my time was spent in automation where I moved between the four lines and became familiar with the machines and the tests they run. The first line was used for samples coming from A&E and thus including assays for troponin T, a marker for Myocardial infarction, the other lines did not include such assays. I came across multiple methods used to determine contents of the samples including spectrophotometry, Ion Selective Electrodes, Immunoassays, colorimetric assays, electrophoresis and immunoelectrophoresis. Whilst on this experience I realised how important calibration, Internal and external quality controls are when maintaining the machines; to ensure the most accurate and valid results.

After graduation, I must complete a portfolio approved by IBMS in order to officially be a biomedical scientist. Whilst on work experience the difficulty in finding a year placement was reiterated again and again. These warnings did not put me off working within a lab, but instead further motivated me to apply to as many trainee positions as possible and push to get a placement; even if that means moving out of London. These two weeks of work experience confirmed the area of work I want to be in after graduation.

– Jasmine George

Top Tips for video interviews – Video killed the face to face interview

Video interviews are becoming a popular choice with graduate recruiters such as Aldi, Bird and Bird, Skanska and FDM. According to a recent AGR Survey 42% of employers have used video interviews. You can find out more here.

So what exactly is a video interview?

This blog will focus on one-way video interviews where an employer is using online video software to interview. The interview questions will be pre-recorded and the interviewee will be given a set amount of time to answer each question. At no point during these type of interviews are you talking to a live person. The interviewee will be given a log in for the software and will usually be given the option to complete a practice question before the assessed questions begin. The instructions on how to complete the interview will be clear. A typical amount of time given is 30 seconds to read the question and 2 minutes to respond but this will vary from employer to employer. The time will countdown on the screen for each question.

Positives

The good thing about a video interview is that the candidate can complete the interview in their own time and at a place convenient to them. The only thing needed is a computer and a webcam and some video interview software will also work on a mobile phone.  This cuts out travel time and costs. Video interviews also cut time and costs for recruiters and mean that they can replay anything that interests them. As video interviews are timed all candidates get a fair and unbiased experience.

Top tips

  1. Understand the mission and values of the organisation. Research the company and the sector just as you would for a face to face interview.
  2. Complete the practice question at the beginning of the interview. This will help you understand what the time given to answer the question feels like. Practice watching and timing yourself answering questions before the interview by recording yourself on your mobile phone. Maintaining good eye contact is key so practicing before the interview will help you with this.
  3. Complete your video interview at least a couple of days in advance of the deadline incase technology fails you
  4. Make sure your background is professional and that you are dressed smartly. The employer can still see you when they play the video back so dress the way you would for a face to face interview!
  5. If you have time left on the clock at the end of a question do act naturally- do not pretend the camera has frozen!
  6. Make sure that you complete your interview somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed. Tell your housemates beforehand and put a sign on your door.

If you have a video interview coming up and you would like more advice and support please do come and visit us during a drop in session in the Careers and Employability Service building.

Money makes the world go around

My work’s week experience at Octopus Investments commenced on the 10th July 2017, I gained this work experience through the university via a friend’s mum. This work experience was incredibly helpful because it was my first ever work experience with the additional benefit that it was a sector I was hugely interested in as it related to my chosen degree: Financial Economics.

During my short time spent at the firm I couldn’t believe how much I learned mainly due to the organisation prior to my arrival, who had arranged for me to work in a different department every day. My first day was spent with the Client Relation team. The morning was spent shadowing a member of the team listening into calls, where I learnt the most about Octopus itself and the products it sold, with the client relation team having the most knowledge within the company on this aspect. The afternoon was spent with another member of the Client Relation team sifting through and processing feedback whilst improving my computer skills, as I was taught me to process and categorise all this.

My second morning was spent in Octopus’ property sales support team where they briefly outlined what their job entailed, then allowed me to work independently cancelling loan files. In the afternoon, I moved to the sales team and shadowed a member of the team who spoke to financial brokers and pushed to complete loans. On the Wednesday morning, I was with Octopus investment sales support team learning the ins and outs of their job and then creating illustrations (how much return they should expect if they invest X number of pounds with that product) for clients. In the afternoon, I was with a member of the sales team and listened in on his phone calls to potential and current investors. On the Thursday I spent all day with the AIM (Alternative Investment Market) fund team, it was probably the most interesting day of the week because I gained a understanding of how they run their £1.3 billion fund. I sat in on their weekly meeting discussing potential and future investments and then did research on a few of these potential investments, and gave my opinion. I received feedback and the positives of my research was discussed at length, and where to focus more to improve it. On the final day I was in the Labs team (their IT team) who are currently designing and implementing online product platforms which was interesting to see how they were helping the different departments I had been working with the all week.

Overall the work experience was fantastic and I would recommend doing some because it gives great insight into how large companies operate and gives you an opportunity to explore certain fields before actually committing to a full time job in that sector, whilst developing key office skills that will help me in the future after university and it skills which will help me through my studies.

– Ryan Beecheno