The Career Zone – Helping you Reach your Career Goals

Our range of services can really help you gain crucial experience, and boost your careers confidence. Even if you’re studying at Exeter for a year, we can help you maximise your time at University, and help you on your way to a bright future. We talked to Anda about her experience of using the Career Zone, and how we’re helping her with her career path.

Anda, please tell me a little about your background, you are a European student studying social science at postgraduate level at Exeter – why did you choose Exeter?

I am a European student and a Criminology and Psychology graduate. I study MSc in Social and Organisational Psychology at the University of Exeter. I have chosen to study for my Master’s at Exeter for a few reasons. Firstly, I chose Exeter because it is a Russel Group university and a leading university for research and teaching. I specifically liked the research culture within the Psychology department. Second, I wanted to study Social Psychology, and Exeter is one of the few universities that offer this specialisation in the UK. I really liked the practical aspect of my course, for example, we had an extended research project module and we got to learn and practice advance statistics which I believe is a great skill to have for employability.

Anda, current MSc in Social and Organisational Psychology student at the University of Exeter

“After the one year I have spent at the University of Exeter I can say that the career advice and support I have received at the University were one of the best opportunities for my career.”

In your time at Exeter what was particularly useful to you about the services the University offered?

While I expected to really enjoy my course, I did not expect the Career Zone and employment opportunities to be so good. Now, after the one year I have spent at the University of Exeter I can say that the career advice and support I have received at the University were one of the best opportunities for my career, as it really helped me develop the skills for searching, applying and securing jobs but also offered me the opportunity to apply for internships within the University and get the essential work experience I needed.

You told us that you used Handshake and our webpages to apply for five jobs in the year and actually took four of those jobs on – four jobs in one year! Tell me about that please, how was the application process, how important were the jobs to your career development?

Yes, I have used Handshake and I have applied and worked on two Student Campus Partnerships (SCP) jobs in current research undertaken at the University, one marketing internship through the Pathways to Marketing scheme where I worked as a Data Analyst within a marketing company, and I worked as a Student Ambassador.

I found the Handshake site very useful. When I was looking for jobs, I would write in the keywords I was looking such as ‘research’, and I would check it periodically to find new opportunities. I found it very useful that underneath each job posting the Career Zone attaches a short advice list that summaries all the things you need to consider when writing an application (such as information about how to write a cover letter). All the University internships come with a standardised application form which makes it very easy to structure your answers and learn what employers are looking for at each stage. Therefore, the process of applying to jobs at the University of Exeter is easy because it is streamlined and organised.

The jobs were very important to my career development. Before coming to Exeter, I only had one relevant job experience (for the career that I want) and some volunteering experience. Now, I have three other extremely relevant positions on my CV and I have learned so many useful skills that have helped me develop professionally and bolstered my confidence.

“The jobs were very important to my career development. Before coming to Exeter, I only had one relevant job experience and some volunteering experience. Now, I have three other extremely relevant positions on my CV and I have learned so many useful skills that have helped me develop professionally and bolstered my confidence.”

Could you tell me about some of the workshops and sessions run by the Career Zone that you undertook?  

Before I started applying to jobs, I went on Handshake and booked many sessions that could help me improve my employability skills. I have attended sessions on writing your CV, cover letter and interview skills. I have also attended employers’ events and meetings, LinkedIn workshops, and a workshop about building resilience and confidence. I have also used an interview tool provided by the University which simulated a trial interview with pre-made questions and a video recording option.

I also had the opportunity to be appointed to a mentor through the Career Mentor Scheme and I have received valuable career advice from my mentor.

Lastly, I have applied for and was awarded the Exeter Award which is an acknowledgement from the University of all the extra-curricular activities I have participated in such as training and jobs.

You had also done some online self-evaluation, to assess your strengths and weaknesses, how did that help you?

Yes, I did. I feel like the evaluation tools mostly confirmed what I already knew but I have taken into consideration my results and used the identified strengths in my CV, while I started to work on my limitations in order to surpass them.

“I believe that my course and amazing lectures and as well as the Career Zone workshops and work experience have helped me develop personally and professionally and offered me the tools to reach my career and academic goals.”

You mentioned to us that doing all of this extra-curricular activity gave you extra confidence, that’s great, how do you think this will help your plans for the future?

I gained a lot of confidence in the last year as before coming to Exeter, I found job applications daunting and I was very pessimistic about my employment opportunities. However, once I gained the right skills through the sessions I have attended through the career service and I started to apply for positions that I was actually appointed to I felt better and better about my capabilities, knowledge and future prospects. As a result, prior to finishing my Masters, I started applying for PhD positions because I have always wanted to work in research and academia.

After a few applications, I have been awarded a funded PhD position for the project I was most interested in. I have worked very hard for both my academic and extra-curricular achievements but I am also very grateful for all the help I have received here at the University of Exeter. I believe that my course and amazing lectures and as well as the Career Zone workshops and work experience have helped me develop personally and professionally and offered me the tools to reach my career and academic goals.

We’d love to help you with your career planning, come in and see us in the Forum, Streatham Campus, or in the Exchange, Penryn Campus.

Or you can live chat with us on our website

email careers@exeter.ac.uk

call us 01392 724493 9am – 5pm

Monday to Friday, including Vacations 

Exeter Award Week 2018

Olivia Evans is a Work Related Learning Assistant, based on the Streatham Campus. 

Olivia Evans, Work Related Learning Assistant

The Exeter Award is an employability achievement award for current undergraduate and taught postgraduate students. It’s for both Exeter and Penryn students and is delivered in partnership with the Students’ Guild and FXU. Completing the Award is a fantastic way to gain new skills and boost your CV at the same time. Find out more as we celebrate Exeter Award Week, 22 – 26 January.

The Award will help you transfer skills on paper into the real world and teach you how to really impress employers with a great CV, an impressive job interview, and well-developed soft skills. In fact, students who complete the Exeter Award are more likely to get a graduate-level job within six months of graduating.

“Employers are looking for so much more than just academics in such a competitive market place. The Exeter Award could make the difference for a candidate in terms of making them stand out from the rest.” John Lewis Partnership

Completing the Exeter Award doesn’t just make you more employable though. Many of the skills you will learn can help with your University studies. Our Personal Development sessions can teach you how to better manage your time and stress, how to work productively in a team and how to create and deliver an effective presentation. Learning how to write a strong CV/covering letter and give a good interview could be key to you gaining an internship, work placement or year abroad during your time at University.

“The Exeter Award helped me to improve my CV enormously, which was the first step to getting my first job. On a personal level it improved my confidence too, as the Exeter Award gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself, both on paper and when facing others.”  Sam Ellis, Contract and Sales Manager at Lionsgate (MA English Studies)

The Exeter Award can be easily completed alongside your studies, and you can do it at any point during your course. There are lots of things you might have done during your time at University that can contribute to the award e.g. attending certain Personal Development sessions, employability activities, eXfactor, Grand Challenges, Common Purpose and working a part-time job, internship or volunteering. Almost all of these are automatically uploaded to your Exeter Award progress report- all you need to do is register online to check- you might have done more than you think. Find out how to register here: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/exeteraward/structure/

“Students who complete the Exeter Award are more likely to get a graduate-level job within six months of graduating.”

If you’re already taking part in the Award, thinking about it or just want more information, we’ll be in the Career Zone and the Forum all week. Come and speak to our teams to find out about the range of opportunities we offer:

STREATHAM:

Monday– We’ll be in the Forum all day, so come and win prizes playing our Exeter Award Game and speak to the team to find out more about the Award and its benefits for you.

Tuesday and Thursday (PM): Our International Internship Ambassadors will be there to have a chat and answer all of your questions about International Internships.

Tuesday (10am-12:30pm) and Thursday (12:30pm-1:30pm): Doughnuts and Sign-Ups! If you’re interested in taking part in the Exeter Award, come to the Career Zone and when you sign up you’ll get a free doughnut too!

Wednesday: The Exeter Award and Enterprise teams will be holding drop-ins in the Career Zone all morning, so come and chat to them about Student Start-Ups and the Exeter Award.

Wednesday: Our Grand Challenges Team will be in the Forum all day to answer any of your questions about Grand Challenges this summer. You can also find out how you can complete your Exeter Award and prepare for Grand Challenges at the same time.

Friday: If you’re already taking part in the Award, our Careers advisors will be in the Career Zone all day to give you help and guidance on your mock application form, to help you perfect your job application skills.

PENRYN:

Tuesday (10am-12pm) – Antonia Coppen will be holding drop-ins all morning in the Career Zone for anybody who has questions about starting or progressing with the Exeter Award, or just wants to find out more about it.

All Week: the Career Zone team will be at the Exchange and the Hubs all week, which is great for anybody who wants an informal chat or just has some questions about the Award and how it can benefit you.

We look forward to seeing you.