Something for the Weekend: Reasons Why Your Full-Time Job Is Just Like Being at University

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As we head towards the end of the Summer term, we’ve got some good news: your studies ending doesn’t mean you have to wave goodbye completely to that Uni lifestyle you’ve cherished all these years!

Get inspired by how your full-time job will be just like being at uni…. more or less!

Good luck with exams, and remember that SOAS Careers is open all the way through the summer too. We’re always happy to have a chat about your next steps after SOAS, have a look here or come by the Careers Learning Zone in SL62, Paul Webley Wing!

Alexis Fromageot

Making the Most of Your Summer

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Remember it’s not too late to find something interesting and rewarding to do during your summer! Paid work and internships, volunteering and work experience or placements all look great on your CV and help you develop valuable skills.

There are still lots of brilliant opportunities out there with a range of different employers so check out the SOAS Careers section of MySOAS Student for great tips & insights!

Here you’ll also find details about how to book an appointment with a Careers Consultant to discuss your options if you haven’t found anything to apply for yet but still want to make the most of your summer.

Kathy Williams, Careers Consultant

Something for the weekend: Careers advice from Humbug the Careers cat

If you were in the Paul Webley Wing cloisters last Thursday (4 May) visiting the Wellbeing for Exams stands, you might have seen Humbug the Careers cat.

He popped in to offer a calming purr to students in the throes of revision and exams, and gave us this exclusive interview.

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When asked what the most popular question was from students, Humbug noted that once they were cuddling him, their main questions were around why his fur was so soft, and how he could be so chilled when there were queues of people waiting to greet him.

He did point out that stroking a cat reduces both the human’s and the cat’s blood pressure, so he had generally enjoyed the experience even though it had involved public transport in the rush hour and so he did need a bit of a cuddle to help him recover.

Humbug’s top careers advice, useful for exams as well, is ‘make sure you get enough sleep’. Clearly as a cat, his idea of enough sleep is something more than 16 hours a day, but if we humans can get half of that we’d be doing rather well.

Humbug (or possibly his uncle, Professor Lupin) will be visiting us next Friday 11 May to dispense more cuddles and careers advice – and if you need to talk to anybody about your career ideas before then, you can try our website or simply pop in to see us in SL67 in the Paul Webley Wing.

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Philippa Hewett

 

 

 

Insight from Your Fellow Student: Working in Sustainability

As part of our Student Insight blog series, Charis McCarter, MSc Environment, Politics & Development (graduated 2016) takes an honest look at how she’s secured a job in the sustainability field.

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Charis & the team at 2 Degrees Ltd

It seems rather surreal to be writing a piece for SOAS Careers when half a year ago I couldn’t even find a job!  I do (thankfully) have an awesome job now, but the process of getting here wasn’t easy.  For any of you looking for jobs right now and feeling disheartened; there is light at the end of the tunnel!  I know you’ll have heard it from your mum/dad/sibling/extended family/boyfriend/girlfriend/dog, but keep trying!  Hopefully my account of life post-university will reassure some of you that you will find a job… Just maybe not as quickly or as easily as you may have envisioned!

SOAS fostered in me my passion for the environment, but it also made me scrupulously critical of almost ALL organisations trying to address environmental (and developmental) issues.  That left me in a difficult position when I left – I had simultaneously opened my skillset to a range of jobs in the environment sector, and closed myself off from them by being so critical.  That combined with a crazy competitive job market anyway meant that it took me 2 months after I submitted my dissertation to find something that ticked my boxes in the right field.

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Charis demoing the M2030bee tool at the launch event at the Shard (which she worked on as part of her internship)

And even then, it was in the form of an internship.  Not exactly what I had envisaged after doing a Masters and having two years development experience in Uganda.  However, that internship paid off – I was offered a full-time job in the same company as an Assistant Engagement Manager at the end of it. I now help to source high-impact innovations that will help to reduce energy, waste and water in our client’s buildings for the Innovation Gateway.

While I am very fortunate to now be doing a job in the sustainability field, with a bunch of like-minded conscientious people, my journey here hasn’t been easy… So here are my top three tips for making your job search post-university that tiny bit more bearable:

  • Try an intern while you study.  Get in touch with a few companies that you like the look of and offer them your time and skills for a set amount of time each week.  This will give you an insight into the company, whether you like the type of work you’re doing, and access to a network of interesting people in that field.
  • Use your dissertation to explore a topic you’d like to work with/in in the future.  So many of my friends have got jobs because they highlighted the knowledge they had gained through writing on a specific topic.
  • Use SOAS Careers as much as you can!  I took my CV and cover letter to them several times and received invaluable advice about how to improve my applications, and they were super helpful even after I had left SOAS in giving advice. Make use of all the resources on offer by coming to the Careers Learning Zone (SL62, Paul Webley Wing) or contacting the team on careers@soas.ac.uk

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Charis & the team at 2 Degrees Ltd

Charis McCarter

Please note that the views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not those of SOAS Careers Service. If you consider this content to be in breach of the SOAS values, please alert careers@soas.ac.uk.

 

Guest Blog: Why Volunteering is Selfish (and why you should do it)

Please note that the views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not those of SOAS Careers Service. If you consider this content to be in breach of the SOAS values, please alert careers@soas.ac.uk.

This guest blog comes from Kimberly Hovish, Staff Learning and Development Officer at SOAS, University of London. 

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I’ve volunteered on and off in various roles for about 20 years – not because I’m a ‘good person’ (which is what people tend to assume!) but because I’m pretty selfish. The fact is, volunteering helps me by enhancing my quality of life, providing training opportunities and making me more marketable.

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Studies have shown that volunteering increases happiness and general wellbeing and decreases depression.  Volunteering also helps people appreciate what they have through downwards social comparisons. My personal favourite is the feeling that I’m making a contribution to the society in which I live. I currently volunteer with a charity that facilitates community mediations to resolve conflict. Words can’t describe seeing people who entered a room hating each other (with resentments building up over months or years) leaving the same room two hours later smiling and inviting each other over for tea. You know that warm, fuzzy feeling? Yeah, it’s that. I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to know YOU made that happen.

Free training

Whether you want to change careers, get promoted, or learn something new just for the sake of it, volunteering will give you this opportunity – for free! Through various volunteering roles I’ve attended formal training workshops in mediation, mentoring, and solution-focussed coaching practice, all of which have been fantastic learning experiences and didn’t cost me a penny! But the most useful experience I gained was through volunteering at a women’s sexual violence support service in my late 20’s, when my paid work wasn’t progressing much. I received invaluable, ‘on-the-job’ training and experience in: being part of an executive committee; heading up an organisation; managing finances and fundraising projects; spearheading a marketing campaign; chairing meetings; and responding to people in crisis situations (to name just a few things….). No formal workshops could ever have provided me with the real world experience I gained during this time. It was the most challenging role I’ve ever had, as well as the most rewarding, and my confidence skyrocketed!

Sounding awesome in job interviews

You know in a job interview your mind goes blank when you are asked things like ‘Give me an example of when you have dealt with a difficult situation’ or ‘Tell me about a time when you have demonstrated your time management skills’? Volunteering means you will actually look forward to these questions being asked! Difficult situation? TICK. Teamwork? TICK. Time management? TICK. Communication skills? TICK. For instance, when asked in job interviews for an example of time management, I like to use volunteering as proof I can successfully manage full-time work with other commitments. Working alongside other volunteers demonstrates teamwork and a willingness to go the extra mile (especially as you’re not being paid!). Dealing with people’s conflicts, whether internal or external, shows good listening skills, problem solving skills and communication skills. You will NAIL those awkward interview questions with a bit of volunteering experience!

If you’re feeling a little selfish and you’d like to learn more about how you can volunteer and become happier, more skilled and marketable contact Emma Frampton on volunteering@soas.ac.uk. Head to the Volunteering pages on MySOAS Student to find out more about volunteering.

This guest article has been written by Kimberly Hovish (kh37@soas.ac.uk), Staff Learning and Development Officer at SOAS, University of London

All you need to know about Graduate Entrepreneur Tier 1 Visas

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Every year, SOAS has a small number of endorsement licenses that mean we can endorse our enterprising graduates.  These are exclusively available to Tier 4 visa holders who are current students.

The process for applying is simple.

If you have a viable and innovative business or enterprise idea and want to take this to market in the UK, this is a great opportunity for you.  The idea must show visible benefits to the local community.

As part of the application process for endorsement from SOAS, you will be expected to submit the following documentation:

  • A business plan summarising your business idea, market research, marketing plan, customer analysis and pricing model.
  • A 12 month financial forecast
  • CV
  • Covering Letter

Shortlisted applicants will be expected to present their business idea to a panel. The next deadline for application is 11.59pm on May 31st 2017.  If you are shortlisted, the judging panel which you will be asked to present at is taking place on Thursday 29th June between 2pm – 4pm (each presentation slot will be 20 minutes maximum).

Before you apply you must first meet with the Student Advisor (Immigration and Finance) to determine your eligibility for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa.

For support through the application process, you are welcome to book an enterprise appointment with the SOAS Careers Service.  These are available on Friday afternoons.

To apply, please submit the requested documents to studententerprise@soas.ac.uk.

Jai Shah, Careers Consultant

SOAS Careers is bringing Volunteering to the limelight & making sure that this year’s Microplacements are better than ever!

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SOAS Careers is excited to announce that two awesome new graduate interns have recently joined the team. Staying until this summer’s Graduation, each intern has taken on specific projects to help transform students’ experience of Careers at SOAS.

Recent Anthropology graduate Emma Frampton has been amping up volunteering provision for SOAS students and recent grads. Having been awed by the great volunteering activity that’s already taking place on campus, Emma’s working on bringing together a real community of students and alumni who are changing the world. She’s particularly enjoyed the chance to liaise between students and professional and academic staff.

Having graduated with a degree in African Language & Culture with Swahili, Rupert Wilkinson has been taking a look at internship provision at SOAS. He’s actively been involved in some of the unique programmes on offer for SOAS students, including Microplacments – a careers education programme for second year Undergraduates from a range of departments, culminating in a two week placement. Rupert’s also taken a look at the Careers events run at SOAS, and how to optimise these for students.

Careers provision at SOAS has massively benefited from the great work both Emma and Rupert have put in so far. Having recent grads in the team has offered an extra depth, as the interns are so much more aware of the immediate issues that are of obvious concern to the student body. The pair have excelled at talking to students, graduates, employers and SOAS staff alike and will no doubt continue to have a real impact on Careers at SOAS.

Emma and Rupert can be found in the brand new Careers Learning Zone in SL62, Paul Webley Wing – and are on hand for any Careers questions you may have.

Alexis Fromageot

Are you changing the world, or know someone who is?

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… Then we want to hear from you!

SOAS Careers is excited to run this year’s Make A Difference Awards. The Awards are a unique opportunity to recognise the awesome talents we have here at SOAS, and the amazing contributions you make to supporting other’s lives.

We’ve got four Awards this year, and you can either self-nominate or suggest a classmate or group for any of these:

  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Volunteer Team of the Year
  • Student Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Social Enterprise Business plan of the Year

Each winner will be decided by a panel of judges from across SOAS. All nominees will be invited to a celebration event in May, with prizes for the finalists in each category.

This really is your chance to spread the word about some of the great work that’s happening here at SOAS, and bring together a real community of change-makers on campus.

Head here to nominate by midnight Tuesday 9 May, and spread the word with #soasawards.

Alexis Fromageot

Something for the Weekend: Easter Holiday

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It’s coming to the end of the first week of the Easter break, and you’re no doubt still eyeing up that seemingly never ending pile of essays and revision that you’d promised yourself you’d get done this week. And to top it off, that glorious sun seems to have reached its quota for the British springtime…….

So what better day than today, #NationalKindnessDay, to spend 2 minutes reading about how to make a sucky day a little less sucky.

We’re here at SOAS Careers for everything to do with your next steps after SOAS – and are on hand to help you make that journey as smooth as possible. We’re all moved in to our shiny new Careers Zone in SL62 (Paul Webley Wing), so swing by any time for a quick chat.

Alexis Fromageot

 

Have Your Say about Volunteering

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At SOAS Careers we’re keen to make sure we support you as best as we possibly can. The Volunteering Service at SOAS Careers is currently carrying out a survey of current volunteering amongst SOAS students.

The survey only takes 5 minutes to fill out – whether you’re a regular volunteer or if you’re just interested in the idea of helping others. Spread the word to your cohort!

Click here for the survey!

Alexis Fromageot