The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


People: in focus - C&PM's careers team on how to land a job straight after graduating

15 November 2016

A conversation with the C&PM's careers team on how to land a job straight after graduating

Careers Team

There are plenty of things students can do right now to make sure they find the right job after leaving the School. C&PM’s careers team took some time out of their busy schedules to tell Leo Garbutt, Communications and Events Assistant, what students need to do.

The C&PM Careers team is:

Mark De Freitas - UCL Careers consultant;
Dr Niamh Murtagh - C&PM’s in-house Careers Tutor; and
Donna Gage - C&PM’s Communications Manager.

Leo: Mark – what resources can students access at UCL Careers?

Mark: The route to our wide range of resources is through our website. Some of these resources result from co-operation with other University of London colleges.  For example, we have an online library called Careers Tagged, and JobOnline, which carries around 2,500 vacancies at any one time. We go out of our way to source jobs that are of interest to students that aren’t often carried by more corporate job boards.

Leo: How about mentoring?

Mark: The Alumni Mentoring Network is a really powerful resource. Students are often looking for the first point of contact to explore different areas they might be interested in. There are 1,500 UCL alumni working across a range of sectors that are happy to be contacted by current students and recent graduates. There are currently about 140 Bartlett alumni on this system. You can also search this by country, which is particularly useful for international students.

Niamh: And we shouldn’t forget 121 support.

Mark: Yes, students can log on to their My UCL Careers account to book this. Our appointments fall into three different categories. These are: guidance appointments to talk about a particular area of their career; practice interviews to run through typical questions that might be asked; and CV or applications advice.

Donna: Could you explain what the Skills4Work events involve?

Mark: UCL Careers run a range of events, for example the Skills4Work employer panels giving advice on areas such as making your application stand out or interview tips. We also organise mock assessment centres, which are very popular.  These are led by both UCL Careers and employers. In addition to this, we have a rolling series of ‘Career Essentials’ workshops covering all the essential stages of the graduate recruitment process. This isn’t an exhaustive list of broad range of services we have.

Leo: There’s certainly at lot there for students to take advantage of. Now, let’s talk about the careers help that C&PM students can access at the School.

Niamh: Part of my role is to liaise with external employers interested in setting up placements for our undergraduates or graduates with construction or project management training, for example. I try to make sure that this information gets to our students first. Otherwise, we want to make sure students across the School have opportunities to meet employers to ask them questions about the industry and what they are looking for when recruiting, but also to network. Students can come to me for careers advice and quick application checks.

Leo: Donna, can you tell us how students can keep up to date with all the events and workshops on offer?

Donna: I’ll be signposting everything going on within the School and at UCL Careers. Students at C&PM should regularly check the C&PM Careers Moodle page and look out for my weekly Careers Digest newsletter. We’re aiming to have an internal careers event at the department every Tuesday, such as the information sessions that Mark gave recently. We’ll keep this window open for employers to come and talk.

Niamh: Yes, we have three employers lined up over the coming weeks.

Leo: Donna, you mentioned the newsletters. What important information can students expect to find in these?

Donna: I include School events in the newsletter, in addition to relevant events from UCL Careers, employment opportunities, and If we see any employment opportunities. We have the alumni profile there as well.

Leo: That’s where my People: in focus interview series comes in handy. Students can see what other students have done with themselves by exploring in-depth interviews with alumni. These alumni have plenty of advice for them on how to develop their career.

Niamh: Otherwise, the School’s academic staff have many links to industry. Their own career path is useful, as well as their networks and the advice on what the sector is looking for. Students should approach their lecturers to discuss this.

Niamh: However, we know that at a least a third of undergraduate students at second year level don’t necessarily want to go into construction.

Mark: Exactly, students don’t have to go into these areas.

Leo: Yes, and I remember in our last interview you said that about three in four graduate jobs are open to any discipline.

Mark: That’s right, but it should be stressed that the transferable skills students gain from studying at C&PM are valuable and make them very attractive to industries such as management consultancy.

Leo: What words of encouragement or urgency do you want to express to students?

Niamh: A lot of big employers tend to have their deadlines for graduate recruitment programmes very early in the academic year. The sooner students have their CVs in order and are looking for opportunities, the better. They will also get a better understanding of what kind of industry they want to work in.

Mark: That’s absolutely right. One word of reassurance is that the proportion of people who start on a major graduate scheme within the UK is relatively low (only around 9%). The vast majority of graduates will be working with smaller employers who hire on an as-and-when-needed basis.

Leo: Should students be contacting them now?

Mark: Students should start speaking to them as soon as possible. The more they are talking to people about day-to-day life in industry, the easier it is to feel comfortable talking industry language and, in turn, secure a good job. Students from the School are very fortunate to have their own careers fair and so many other resources. All they have to do is take advantage of these opportunities.

Donna: Exactly. A student who attend the smaller events on Tuesdays will be one of twenty-five speaking directly to employers. This is a great opportunity to hand them your CV.

Mark: After students leave the School, these opportunities won’t happen again for them. Being part of the School is a huge asset.

Leo: Finally, what are the issues that face international students when entering the jobs market?

Mark: The government policy for international students does make it difficult and presents an additional hurdle in that regard. However, UCL Careers has specific resources to assist these students. There is an online resource to help students find jobs outside the UK and there are talks we set up to explain how the UK graduate market works. We team up with UCLU Rights and Advice in relation to Visa requirements. We can also help international students to successfully advertise their experience at the Bartlett in their home jobs market. We also highlight the fact that, as international students, they are not necessarily at a disadvantage. Language skills are an example of this. There are also employers that are particularly friendly to international students. Going Global is an excellent resource for finding out how job markets work in other countries and how CV designs are different across countries.

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