Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Networking guide


Everyone is talking about Networking ! Networking is a powerful tool which  is all about making connections with people who you can then contact to get more information and advice when looking to make careers choices or find out about jobs or placements. Remember that quote "it is not what you know, but who you know". In reality we all network everyday because at its basic, network is about interacting with other people either face to face or via social media. It isn't something to be fearful of and detailed below are some hints and tips to get the most out of networking when looking for your placement position.

So firstly, what are some of the benefits of networking:

> You can build your knowledge levels from current business professionals.
> You can demonstrate your skills and initiative which will help build your confidence.
> You can sound out ideas with contacts in your network.
>  You can learn about employment or work experience opportunities through word of mouth/ online contacts.
> You can build long term, mutually beneficial relationships.

Students networking at the Careers Service part time fair in October.

So how can you build your network:
My recomendation would be to get involved in as many events, networking opportunities and societies as possible! Speak to as many people as you can at these events and talk passionately about your skills and interests. It may seem daunting but there are many occasions when you can demonstrate your interest and each time there is the prosepect that someone will take notice !

In person at University run events.
The School of Management Year in Business placement team run a number of events over the term in which different businesses are invited in to present and talk informally to students. These provide a great opportunity for an informal and relaxed conversation, often over food and drink. Do make the most of these events to build up your contacts and find out information that may help you when applying for your placement position. Don't forget that employers have taken the trouble to come to Royal Holloway and are keen to talk to students too.

The Careers Service also run many events including Assessment centre training, Careers fairs and Alumni panels involving Alumni who come back to share their Career experiences. You can find out more about the Careers events from their website: https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/careers/events/eventlistings.aspx .

Students could recently network with Alumni Helena Wilkin from PWC who came back to talk about her Workshadow experience with PWC.

How you can prepare for these events?
1 Research the companies coming to the event using their website / any other contacts you know before the event so that you can make a good impression when you meet them. Think about what you would like to find out from them.

2 Smile as you approach the Company representatives. It is good to prepare an introduction in advance. You will hear people reference an "elevator" speech which is the few points you would want to get across to the Chairman of the Company if you were to join him in the Lift going from the ground to the top floor of the building. In this speech you can introduce yourself briefly, and mention your academic/ professional interests and why you are attending the event. You can then ask some open ended questions to allow a conversation to develop and for you to demonstrate your interest in the Company and position.

 Typical questions you can ask an employer:

> What do you look for when selecting candidates?
> Are there any particular types of experience or courses that would help me get into this area?
> Could you tell me how you got started in your careers?
> How can I make my application stand out?
> What training would I receive in your Company?

3.Take a copy of their email address so you can follow up after the event with a thank you and any further questions. This will demonstrate your committment and interest.

In person through contacts
It is possible that some students may already have good contacts in the business world and would like to make use of these when searching for a placement year position. If your contact works for an organisation that already offers placements you can usually find this out via the company website and then ask them if they can provide a reference or recommendation to support your application. If your contact works for an organisation that has not previously offered a placement year it is possible to start discussing it with them. If you want to self source you should also discuss it with the Year in Business Programme officer : provided the offer meets the requirements of the Year in Business programme then your networking could have paid off and you could have successfully achieved a placement position!

Your fellow students can also prove to be a good source of information. Many may already have gained some work experience or will have experience of applying for placement positions themselves. They can share their insights about different recruitment processes and the low down on different employers you may also be interested in.

Online via Networking sites such as Linkedin

 Comms Network Clip Art
Social media is a great networking tool!  You may use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as part of your daily life. Remember to take care what you post on social media as your settings can mean that postings are visible to prospective employers : many will look at your digital footprint when considering your application.

Following or "liking" organisations which interest you is a great way of keeping up to date with them and potentially learning about new job opportunities.

If you 're looking to network professionally look at Linkedin  where you can include your educational background, work experience, skills and interests. Linkedin was launched in 2003 and is now used by millions of users worldwide. 

Interesting facts from Linkedin about their membership:
  • LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 400 million members in over 200 countries & territories.                                                                   
  • There are over 19 million members in the UK
  • Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second.
  • Worldwide there are over 39 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn's fastest-growing demographic.

Linkedin have a useful guide to help you start off : http://students.linkedin.com/uk
There is also a "Find Alumni" tool which can be used to put you in touch with Alumni who studied a similar course and are now working in the area you would like to secure a placement. Search on line http://blog.linkedin.com/2013/01/30/start-mapping-your-career-with-linkedin-alumni/

Tips to consider when setting up your Linkedin profile
1. Include a profile image: ideally this should be a professional headshot.
2. Complete your profile including name, location, education, skills and work experience. Have a look at how others have described themselves to get an idea of what works well.
3. Add connections: begin by searching for people you already know such as lecturers, classmates, career advisors, family friends and employers you have met at events.
4. Ask people you have worked with or studied under to give you a recommendation or endorsement.
5. Become an active member of groups, share content and engage. By joining interest groups you can gain useful information about prospective employers and see job related postings.
6. Post updates to your profile - it is a good way of keeping your profile "alive" and make sure you take opportunities to renew your contacts as you continue through your degree at Royal Holloway.

Remember networking can be great fun and very beneficial in your search for a placement.

Thank you to Louise Ogle from the University of London Careers Group for many of the above insights on networking.

Why book a 1: 1 Year in Business Careers Consultation

This is a guest post from Emma Baker, the Careers Consultant for the Year in Business programme at Royal Holloway. Emma details below 5 reasons for booking time to meet her:


1)  I can work with you to decide on your application strategy. We can discuss what business function would suit you, whether to apply to smaller or larger organisations, how many applications to make etc. 

2)   I can work with you to improve your CV/ application forms. We can review each application you make to make sure you are marketing yourself effectively.

3)  We can create speculative applications together for you to send to organisations that aren’t advertising placements.

4)  I can advise you on preparing for selection tests and assessment centres.

5) We can practice before placement interviews.

I have ‘office hours’ between 12 and 3pm on Thursdays and you can book an appointment by contacting me (emma.baker@royalholloway.ac.uk) or Katharine Radford (Katharine.Radford@royalholloway.ac.uk)

Monday, 30 November 2015

Considering a Year in Business at Royal Holloway?

Anyone thinking about applying for the Year in Business programme at Royal Holloway may want to have a look at the videos below to help them with their decision.

Emma Baker is the Year in Business Careers Consultant who works with the School of Management students who are looking for placements.

In this video she talks about the advantages of doing a Year in Business in terms of gaining vital work experience, enhancing employability prospects and improving your chances of getting a higher level degree.

Emma also talks about the support the Careers Service offers Year in Business students who are looking for placement.

Contact details: Emma.Baker @royalholloway.ac.uk

Katharine Radford is the Year in Business Programme Officer responsible for the day to day running of the programme. In this video she introduces the programme at Royal Holloway and what students can expect in terms of the programme objectives & outcomes.

If anyone thinking about applying for the Year in Business programme wants more information they should look at the Royal Holloway, School of Management website, where there is a helpful section on frequently asked questions. There are also a number of case studies of students who are out on placement.https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/management/yearinbusiness/home.aspx

Contact details: Katharine.Radford@royalholloway.ac.uk

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Placement and Internship evening : 19/11

At the recent Placement and Internship evening organised by Julie King/ Helen Bacci from the School of Management several Royal Holloway students talked about their experience of Workshadowing/ Internships and Placements. The evening was concluded with an enlightening talk from Will Conder at Affiliate Window about placements from an employer's perspective.

Helena Wilkin, a Royal Holloway 2015 Graduate talked about her one week work experience of Shadowing a Female Leader at PWC at the end of her 2nd year at University. The placement was in Audit and she shadowed all aspects of work.Interestingly the process to secure a place on the Shadowing scheme was almost like applying for a graduate role, with online application, psychometric testing, telephone interview and assessment centre. However at the end of the week and after a final interview, Helena was offered a full time role to be commenced when she graduated - what a good way to go into the final year!

Natasha Virani, a current Royal Holloway Management student talked about her internship as an Account Services intern at the end of her first year at DDB Canada. Natasha gained some great experience in business in her home country and used videos and photos to demonstrate her involvement in a number of projects with Mik Canada and Subaru.

Tarun Hariharan, a final year Royal Holloway Year in Business student impressed the audience with his talk about his placement year with Nomura Structured Finance in Mumbai and the responsibility he was given. During part of his placement year he covered the maternity leave of an Associate at Nomura

You can read more here http://yearinbusiness.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/taruns-placement-year-at-nomura.html

or watch Tarun's video about the tips that he offers Year in Business students:


Some of the main tips for students making applications for internships/ placements included:

  • Do your research : short list jobs and companies that you are interested in and consider what you actually want to do.
  • Be prepared when going into interviews: use STAR examples; prepare questions to ask; do your research about the company; dress appropriately; practice tests online; share examples of previous work experience.
  • Make use of Royal Holloway resources to help you: the Careers service offer practice interviews; CV checking; online psychometric practice tests; regular programme of training events including assessment centres.
  • Build your network ; use Linkedin.
  • Social media - always remember your digital footprint and think before you post : the companies you apply for may see things you don't want them to.
& don't forget to support each other through the process...

The evening concluded with a highly informative and entertaining talk by Will Conder. Many people may not have heard of Affiliate Window, but they will have heard of many of the companies Affiliate work with. These include : Vodafone, Tesco, John Lewis, Boots, Expedia, Hitlon, PCWorld, Sports Direct, Asos, O2, BT, Dorothy Perkins, Post Office, Boden, lastminute.com and so many more. Affiliate Window offer support to find clients an online marketing strategy that works for them and the chance to monetise their websites. It also sounded like a young and dynamic company in which to do a placement year.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Louis Alecu's placement at Vauxhall

Louis Alecu is studying BSc Management with International Business (Year in Business) at Royal Holloway. As part of his 4 year degree he is working for a year at Vauxhall in Luton as a European Supply Chain Analyst (Materials Management).

In this video he gives advice to other Year in Business students and talks about his placement position at Vauxhall.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Bradley Tate's placement at GE Healthcare

Bradley Tate is studying for the 4 year BSc Management (Year in Business) degree at Royal Holloway College. He is currently completing his placement year at GE Healthcare as a Commercial Operations placement student.

You can hear more about Bradley's placement and the guidance he offers current Year in Business students in this video:

If you want to listen to more Royal Holloway students talking about their placement experiences have a look at the YIB video profiles at the top of the blog : see link here http://yibprofile.blogspot.co.uk/

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Maria Stopnikova's placement year at Lucidity London

This is a guest blog from Maria Stopnikova. Maria is an International student studying at Royal Holloway School of Management. As part of her 4 year BSc Management with Marketing (Year in Business) she has just started her 3rd year out on placement with Lucidity London. 

Lucidity London is a marketing consultancy providing advice, planning, research, web design, brand identify and print services to businesses. Maria is reporting to the Managing Director and actively involved in implementing creative solutions for a number of client accounts. She is working with creative teams, digital agencies and print suppliers. 

Maria talks about a number of the marketing projects she has been involved in and demonstrates some of the promotional material she has helped produce. 

 Here are Maria's answers to the questions we posed:

How did you find the application process?
It was quite hard for me to coordinate all my studies and work application process, although the overall process I found enjoyable. Because I live outside the campus for two years so far, I mainly spent time on campus for seminars and lectures and my own readings in the library. The rest of day I used to spend on my own research and everything else to meet the standards of YIB program. 

What recommendations would you make to those Year in Business students starting in their 1st year at Royal Holloway and their 2nd year?
To those students who just starting their 1st year at Royal Holloway I would recommend first of all to concentrate on their studies. From my own perspective (as international student), I was driven by my own goals of getting the most from lectures and seminars, as well as my own learnings. I believe that while you just begin getting into your responsibilities as a student, you may find yourself under the risk of overestimating campus activities, Student Union communities etc. Unless you have a 100% productive time management (which you may find hard to achieve), my recommendation for you would be first look at your studies and what you really understand by being a successful student!

At your second year in Royal Holloway you already have a clear picture of what to expect from your studies and how much time you would spend to get everything done. For those who wish to complete a Year in Business program, the second year is very much crucial in terms of both your studies and work application. One of the helpful sessions provided by RHUL I would say is CV writing process where you can find how to make a good CV relevant in conditions of UK rules and restrictions. However, it’s you only who can make your application process successful. So besides your studies, please do your own business world research. If you wish to get a worthy work experience, try to start thinking of it at least one year before and don’t be driven only by other people’s opinion – this may be not applicable for you!

What is your job title and what projects will you be working on?
My job title in Lucidity London is Junior Analyst and I work on several projects in different industries: luxury food industry (caviar), music industry etc. Some of the projects will require travelling in few months’ time. In particular, I have just made a visit to Germany to find out more about how the caviar farm operation works. Overall, those projects which I’m engaged in are very different and interesting to work at. 

How have your first few months been on your placement?
That’s technically been the first month of my placement so far. I had a great induction week which was full of new activities such as administration work, getting in touch with new people, understanding upcoming projects and ideas. Besides I’m constantly learning something new along with amazing practical experience, so this year is going to help me with my final year at RHUL as well!

What has been the best thing so far about your placement?
One of the best things about my placement is that my work requires academic knowledge and digital skills that perfectly meet my field of studies. Besides, working on few projects require meeting senior people, much travel, as well as great opportunity of being creative and open-minded – amazing experience (I hope you would agree)!

What else would you like to say about the Year in Business programme at Royal Holloway?
I’d say just try to put all your effort into this year and find it pleasant and contributive to your future career!