Posted by: clairebyron | April 17, 2015

The power of mentoring

Every so often on Careering Ahead we include a guest post if we think our readers would find it interesting. The following is from Helen Hayes, Placement Officer (Mentoring) at Newcastle Uni Careers Service…

‘Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction’, John C. Crosby.

Most people have had an informal mentor at some point in their life – family members, friends and colleagues can all help us to find direction. But have you had mentoring to help with your career?

Career Mentoring is a programme run through the Careers Service which pairs students with mentors working in the North East. Over a series of at least four sessions you can chat to your mentor about your career plans, concerns and ideas. Mentors can use their experience and knowledge of the workplace to give you an insight into a specific career.

Why mentoring? Well, let me rewind… in 2010 I finished my Masters and took up my role on a graduate scheme. It was going swimmingly until we were all made redundant six months in. What was I going to do? How could I plan a different career path? I worked with a mentor who helped me through the whole process – over a series of sessions we worked through everything from finding out what was most important to me and setting career goals, to writing a plan to help me get there.

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Posted by: davidjamesnaylor | April 2, 2015

Rising From the Ashes- Lessons Learned from my Assessment Centre

It’s never a nice feeling to miss out on something you feel could have set you up in your ideal industry. I’ve just missed out on a placement that felt perfect for me- a year working at Warner Brothers, which would have revolved around the exciting task of communicating their social responsibility programmes to a global audience as a corporate intern.

Big of a kick in the career-nuts then, but alas, each failure is but a stepping stone on the river of life (or something like that). Onwards and Upwards… Read More…

Posted by: abbiegilligan | March 15, 2015

Need to get some work experience?

So I’ve just reached the end of my Newcastle Work Experience placement! It was 100 hours long, starting back in November and finishing mid March. Waking up at 6:30am to commute to North Tyneside was definitely not my favourite thing, but getting a taste of an area I’m interested in and developing my skills made it worthwhile. Not to mention, earning while learning (£700)! I’d do it all over again!

Today’s job market is this vicious cycle where in order to get experience you need experience, proving difficult to really get started. Newcastle Work Experience is a great way to complete a placement during term time and in Newcastle/the North East, so no need to go too far afield! Developing skills in the workplace whilst still studying for my degree has really helped me understand the direction I want to be heading in post-graduation.

NWE placements for summer are available on the universities “Vacancies Online” portal with more being added everyday. The experience is great, and the money’s not too bad either…

Apply today, I couldn’t recommend it enough!

Posted by: juliamayglen | March 9, 2015

Plan B

So what do you do when you get rejected from the job you want?

If you read my last post you will know that I went for a Sabbatical Officer role at the Union. The job application for the Sabb. role was a campaign. The students vote and the elected winner gets the job, it’s all student politics.

I didn’t get the job… so what now? For any one who gets rejected from the job they want, what is the next step?

If I’m honest, I’m kind of looking forward to applying for a job which hires based on merit, as opposed to popularity. Will I come to regret saying that? Probably. Do I sound bitter? Probably.

So on to the next thing.


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Posted by: emilygilmour | March 8, 2015

The perks of having a part-time job on campus

… and what Newcastle University has to offer!
Here at Newcastle University, there are a variety of different jobs on campus that we can apply for. From Student Ambassador to Jobs on Campus, there’s always some opportunity that you can get your hands on. I’m a Student Mentor, and the job doesn’t require me to work regularly, so it would be ideal for those that are wanting some experience (with a bit of cash). However, there are varying degrees of responsibility for each different position, meaning that there is a job for everyone. Here’s a little run-down of just some of the opportunities we have at Newcastle:


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Posted by: emilygilmour | March 5, 2015

Step aside Simon Cowell, I’m the new judge in town…

OK, so perhaps I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, but let me tell you a bit about my role as a judge on the student panel for the TARGETjobs National Graduate Recruitment Awards.

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Posted by: juliamayglen | February 28, 2015

A Job Interview Like No Other

For most jobs there are several conventional stages a candidate will go through; a CV, an interview, maybe an assessment centre.

For Sabbatical Officers it all rides on a successful campaign; posters, videos, a speech, and your vote.

I am in the process of campaigning for Activities Officer and next week the results will be revealed.

Read More…

Posted by: yukipei | February 23, 2015

I’m Not the Only One

I always have known exactly what I’m going to do: clear aim, bright future. I have been applying for jobs during my university years to obtain relevant skills. I am social secretary of XX society, I had 3 internship experiences, I volunteer at weekends…

Let’s be realistic and honest here, who actually knows what is ahead of us? I mean – most of us just finished one of the most demanding exam in our lives, career? Really? I’m not denying people who are determined and driven in their early 20s, but surely, there’s got to be someone who is not that organised and keen, someone like me?

I was never clear about what I’m going to do, I was lost in my first year. The thing I always asked myself is: I’m now in University, I’m happy. BUT – is that all? What am I supposed to do after this? It’s like you don’t know what to do after achieving one goal. Everyone around me sound like as if they know exactly what they are going to do, and they are already preparing themselves for graduation; as if they have full control of their own lives. Their spirits only make me feel even more anxious. To make things worse, being an international student, I suffered the problem of cultural shock.

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Posted by: davidjamesnaylor | February 21, 2015

Gizza’ Job: My Assessment Centre Action Plan

Make an Impression

As I write, my suit is receiving a pampering at the dry cleaners, readying for battle at my upcoming assessment centre. Even if it’s just for your own benefit, making an effort to ‘look the part’ when meeting potential employers helps you make a killer first impression whilst letting you feel all special and important at the same time.

Make sure you talk the talk too- fasten an enthusiastic smile to your face as you make carefully-selected small talk with the assessors in the lunch break. Don’t be afraid to give them a nudge towards hiring your good self, however discrete and friendly it may be. Present the best version of yourself throughout the day and you won’t go far wrong!

What Am I Letting Myself in For?

Google truly is a wonderful thing. A quick search of “Assessment Centres at…” could lead you to a treasure trove of advice from previous cohorts of applicants. Companies aren’t likely to drastically change the set up of their assessment days each year, and a quick scouring of the inter-web has hopefully given me a taste of what’s to come.

I’ve also been living out of the company website, feeding myself with the latest info and tit-bits related to company policy and the job specification. I’ve found it very helpful going over my initial application and CV too, making sure that I’m well versed in my life endeavors thus far. Here’s hoping my time as a ‘newspaper distributor’ scores me a few points.

Practice Makes Perfect

GCSEs, A-Levels, Exams…the advice is always the same. The more you practice something, the better you get. I recently attended a practice Assessment Centre courtesy of the Newcastle Uni Careers Service, and it was a perfect way of preparing for the big day. Better to cut your teeth in front of helpful and advice-laden Uni staff rather than your prospective employers. The Careers Service hold regularly Assessment Centre-related events, I read three this month alone! 

Take a Deep Breath

I won’t lie, I am desperate to get this placement. Nevertheless, I’m heading down to London the day before my assessment to soak up the ‘vibes’ and take a protracted deep breath before the show. You can only do your best right?

Wish me Luck!

Posted by: rhiannonlong | February 17, 2015

Blind leading the blind?

As a second year languages student, I feel like I’ve been forced into thinking seriously about my career slightly earlier than with some other degrees. The looming prospect of a third year abroad is constantly lurking at the back of your mind, and unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much guidance on how to approach it.

At the start of the year, you’re given three rather broad options; study at a foreign university, teach English at a school abroad, or work in your chosen country. Now decide.

That’s pretty much it in terms of guidance, and when you’re talking about a rather considerable chunk of your degree, and a pretty important life experience, it can feel like you’re drowning in a decision far too big for you to make alone.

You’re instantly thrown into a frenzy of trying to consider EVERY option and research EVERY German university and find out the population and nightlife and crime rates in every single German city.

My first piece of advice? Stop, don’t panic, and work out what you want to do. It’s no use being convinced on how good a certain university is if you have no interest in studying. At the same time, there’s no point in starting to apply for jobs when you have absolutely no idea of which career path you want to go down.

This was where it was slightly easier for me than a lot of my friends. I know (or at least I think I know) what field I want to be working in, so the idea of working abroad appealed to me. I imagine teaching English would be very rewarding, but I’d heard a lot of reviews on how it benefits your social life more than improving your language skills. And when you’re paying nine grand a year for a foreign language degree, you’d hope to be pretty adept at your language by the end of it.

The same went for studying abroad. Again I’ve heard it’s pretty fun and a great cultural experience, but personally there was no course which stood out to me which was better than working. There’s no point going to the university for the sake of going to the university; make sure you actually take an interest in the courses they’re offering.

So I think before even looking into the details and specifics of every option, it’s worth considering what kind of a person you are and what you personally are looking to get out of your year abroad. The university can’t offer that much guidance, which is why I felt like it was the blind leading the blind; you find yourself asking your friends for advice when they’re in exactly the same position.

If you’re considering a future career where it’s extremely competitive and former experience is vital, a year abroad working will look great on your CV and demonstrates a certain degree of courage, (as well as the obvious second language skill).

If you’re looking for the more social option, or there’s something you’ve always been dying to study, then uni seems like a sensible choice.

Point is? Before you let yourself get overwhelmed and bogged down in the details of work placements, Erasmus funding and overseas uni courses, figure out what you want. It’s so much easier to make an informed and correct decision when you have a clear idea in your mind of what you’re looking to gain from the experience. And when you’ve decided? Then hopefully I’ll have some advice for you on knowing where to look to get what you want.

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