Careers support for Graduates

If you’re coming to the end of your time at Exeter (or you’ve already Graduated) there’s two really important things you need to know;

  • Firstly – all University of Exeter Graduates, from all courses and all campuses, can access careers support after Graduation for as long as they need it.
  • Secondly – we’re always available throughout each Vacation.
We’re here to support you for as long as you need, and we’re available all Vacation, and beyond.

Those are the headlines; let’s take an in-depth look at our support for Graduates and Alumni.

We know everyone’s different, but we also know that your careers-related questions and concerns are a lot more common that you might think. That’s why we’ve created Careers Forever a fantastic online resource specifically designed for Graduates that gives you instant access to the answers you need. If you want to, you can work your way through the whole programme, or dip into the sections that feel most relevant to you.

“We can help all University of Exeter Graduates, forever. And we’re here to help you throughout the Vacation, and beyond.”

As a Graduate you’ll also have access to Handshake (we’re saying goodbye to My Career Zone, our previous careers portal this summer!) so you can still find jobs and opportunities from all over the world, and network with top employers. You’ll also be able to book onto relevant careers events, fairs and sessions.

We’ve been operating pretty much entirely online since the pandemic started in March 2020, and over the last year we’ve further developed our virtual support. You can Live Chat with us through our website 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Email us or if you prefer to talk to someone, call us 01392 724493.

We understand that sometimes you might need extra support, that’s why we’ve got virtual appointments for everything from getting your CV together, to in-depth careers guidance, all of which operate throughout the Vacations.

So, to reiterate;

  • We can help all University of Exeter Graduates, forever.
  • We’re here to help you throughout the Vacation, and beyond.

Let us know how we can help.

The Career De-Stress Series: Helping you take some stress out of career planning

In my role as Employability and Careers Consultant, it’s always a mixed bag of conversations and situations, but one thing is clear

Kate Foster Careers Consultant
Kate Foster – Employability and Careers Consultant.

– life for students is currently challenging and stressful – but we are here to help, advise and support you to be in the best place you can be with your career planning.

There is no doubt we’re all living through unique and complex times, add in the usual pressures of University and  life in general – deadlines, assignments, dissertations and demands on our time. I’m not surprised that making career decisions elicit feelings of stress, even panic and avoidance, if you don’t know where to start.

Help is at hand as the Career Zone is here to support you. Our staff have a wealth of expertise and experience to offer students and graduates, and we’ve put together a range of online sessions and podcasts to help guide you through making career decisions and developing employability skills as part of our Career De Stress campaign this week (18-22 January).

We’re all pushed for time trying to fit in as much into our busy lives as possible. If this is you and you’re feeling overwhelmed consider signing up to our Time and Stress Management and Personal Resilience sessions. You’ll have the chance to explore not only how you’re feeling but also through sharing experiences realise that you are not alone. You’ll also pick up some great practical tips and techniques.

Do you dread being asked about your future career plans, and find yourself starting to avoid those people who might ask you?

It can be overwhelming not knowing what to do and where to start, but instead of putting it off and burying your head in the sand (apologies for the cliché) think about booking onto the Choosing a Career session. You’ll find out about different ways of exploring careers, and have the opportunity to focus on YOU in terms of what is important to you and what motivates you.  Our fantastic colleagues in Wellbeing are also working with us as part of “Career De-stress” so look out for the following sessions – Looking after yourself whilst Exploring Careers and Disclosing a Disability to a future employer. These focussed sessions will enable you to not only focus on the key elements of making a career decision or finding a supportive employer, but also explore resources and sources of further help, and identify practical tips and techniques to enable you to manage those stressful situations such as the dreaded recruitment Interview!

If you don’t have much time our podcast series may be just the thing for you as you can download and listen in your own time – Topics include “Delegation”, “How will graduate jobs be impacted by COVID-19”, “How can I beat Interview nerves?” and “How do I choose a Career?”

In addition, there is a wealth of online resources available including the Career Planning section of the Career Zone website, which is organised around Decide, Plan, and Compete – with hints, tips and resources aimed at whatever stage you are at with your future decisions.

My Career Zone Digital includes some great interactive information including professional insights into different industries and sectors, and online tools (like video interview practice) where you can improve your skills and confidence.

My top tip would be…..start somewhere…… look at the Career De stress activities. Grasp as many opportunities as you can and break out of your comfort zone.

Planning and managing your career is a lifelong employability skill so this won’t be the first or the last time that you’re faced with deciding what to do and which direction to take. Some people find it easier (or appear to find it easier!) than others.

My top tip would be…..start somewhere…… look at the Career De-stress activities. Grasp as many opportunities as you can and break out of your comfort zone. You never know what you’ll find out about yourself, you might even start piecing together some ideas for a future career.

For further information on Career De-stress and to book onto sessions –

Your Career in Journalism

Becca McAuley Graduated from the University of Exeter BA International Relations, 2018. She’s currently Sub-editor at the Daily Mail.  

Becca McAuley, University of Exeter Graduate and current Sub-editor at the Daily Mail

After I graduated from Exeter I did a MA in Newspaper Journalism at City, University of London. While I was there I did some work experiences at places like The Times, The Telegraph and PA where I learnt more about the different types of journalism which helped me to decide what sort of career I wanted. I applied successfully for the Trainee Sub-Editor Scheme at the Daily Mail and did a placement at Metro as part of my training before starting properly at the Mail.

“There’s a great satisfaction in writing a good headline or caption, and it’s even better when the story you’ve subbed is picked up on the TV or radio when the papers are being reviewed.”

Before doing my MA I didn’t really know what sub-editing was or even that it existed as a job in its own right, but it’s exactly what I’ve always enjoyed most about journalism. I absolutely love being on the front line of getting the paper out each day – the sub-editors are some of the last journalists who read the stories that go into the paper before it is printed. I love the variety of stories I get to read and edit and it’s so cool seeing the paper coming together over a couple of hours. There’s also a great satisfaction in writing a good headline or caption, and it’s even better when the story you’ve subbed is picked up on the TV or radio when the papers are being reviewed. On a typical day I come into the office in the afternoon and read that day’s paper so I know the context if there are any follow-ups to come. In any one shift I could go from subbing a story on Prince Harry to one about a big row at the heart of government – the variation keeps it interesting. Once all the stories have been subbed and the paper has been checked and printed we go again for the second and third edition, when updates to stories and new stories are added.

“In my third year I was co-editor of The Witness, the University’s politics journal, which is where I started to realise my love of sub-editing – before I even realised that was what it was. I was also a member of Xpression, the radio station, which I made news reports for and where I contributed to the Friday evening news hour.”

My favourite thing about my BA at Exeter was the variety of modules I could choose from, which meant I could make my degree exactly what I wanted it to be. I’ve always been really interested in the Middle East so I took advantage of being able to study modules from outside my discipline and took modules from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies – Jonathan Githens-Mazer’s modules on Muslims in Britain and Nationalisms in the Middle East were definitely some of my favourites and the fact these were often smaller classes was hugely beneficial in allowing the class to discuss and debate the topics and learn from each other. The modules offered by the Strategy and Security Institute were brilliant too and it was amazing to be taught by experts from the field – people with experience at the top levels of decision-making including Dr David Blagden and Dr Sergio Catignani. I also really enjoyed studying Contemporary Public Debate in an Age of Anti-Politics, which definitely gave me food for thought at a time I was figuring out how to become a journalist and what sort of journalist I wanted to be.  In my third year I was co-editor of The Witness, the University’s politics journal, which is where I started to realise my love of sub-editing – before I even realised that was what it was. I was also a member of Xpression, the radio station, which I made news reports for and where I contributed to the Friday evening news hour.

“For anyone wanting to get into journalism generally, the best thing you can do is get experience and make this experience varied. Write for the student paper or the magazines, have a blog, get work experience at local and national publications.”

My experience in student journalism at Exeter was invaluable – it gave me the skills I needed to be able to do a Masters while also convincing me that journalism was definitely the path I wanted to go down. The fact that my academic interests are also my journalistic interests meant everything I learnt in lectures taught me something that I could take with me in my career.

For anyone wanting to get into journalism generally, the best thing you can do is get experience and make this experience varied. Write for the student paper or the magazines, have a blog, get work experience at local and national publications. This will not only show your commitment but will help you to learn about different types of journalism and will give you an idea of what area you’d like to go into. For sub-editing the best advice I can give is read widely – this will help you to understand the different styles different newspapers or magazines have. Also don’t close yourself off to any types of news – as a sub-editor you can go from subbing a story about Love Island one minute to one about a big policy announcement the next so having at least some knowledge of lots of areas is vital.

I absolutely love sub-editing and in the future I’d like to expand my skill set to include commissioning. I would also be interested in one day working for a publication that focuses more in-depth on politics and policy decisions. I wouldn’t rule out a return to writing about politics in some form, though I definitely want more experience as a sub-editor first and I’m excited to see what the next few years hold.

We’ve got your back… forever!

Cat Holt is a Careers Consultant (PG Programmes) in the University of Exeter Business School. 

Cat Holt, Careers Consultant (PG Programmes) University of Exeter Business School

Did you know that you have access to career support even after you graduate? We’ve got your back… forever!

We provide career support throughout your degree and it doesn’t stop there, after graduation you still have access to a wealth of career resources.

Life can be unpredictable; your gap year travel plans fell through, the dream graduate job isn’t living up to your expectations, the six interviews you attended last month all rejected you… whatever position you are in as a graduate we are here to support you.

The good news is that you won’t lose access to My Career Zone (just make sure that you select the ‘Graduate’ option at log-in). This gives you access to a smorgasbord of tantalising career resources. These are my top 5 resources that I bet you didn’t realise were available for graduates:

  1. You can still search for jobs and internships

The jobs advertised on My Career Zone aren’t just for undergraduates, there are loads of jobs available for graduates. Plus don’t forget to search for GBP internship opportunities which are open to recent graduates (up to 3 years), if you haven’t found a graduate job yet then these opportunities can be the doorway into work and often lead to permanent roles

  1. You can still attend workshops and webinars

Yes, that’s right there are still lots of events that you can book onto in My Career Zone and attend in person. Or if you now live in Bali, no worries, we have a selection of webinars that cover lots of major career topics instead. Check out the current list, there’s even one called ‘Help I’ve Graduated’!

  1. You can still apply for a Career Mentor

Still not found the right job and want advice from someone in the sector? Well a Career Mentor may be the right step for you. Recent graduates (up to 3 years) can apply for an experienced professional to provide career information and advice for 6 months. The next round of applications opens in September and the mentors will be listed on My Career Zone:

  1. You can learn new skills that are relevant to the workplace

We have specific resources aimed at graduates to help you succeed in the workplace. From career skills like improving your work-life balance to IT skills such as Excel, you’ll find some really useful videos and articles on My Career Zone Digital:

IT Skills and Workplace Skills

  1. You can still book one-to-one appointments

We can arrange an appointment with a Career Consultant, this can be in person, via Skype or by phone. Maybe you’re struggling with job rejections and want to talk through your feedback, perhaps you want some help refocusing your career ideas, or maybe you are thinking about postgraduate study; we can offer impartial career advice on all these areas and help you move forward on your career journey.

Just email or call the Career Zone to book: Exeter 01392 724493 Penryn 01326 253735

“I really hadn’t realised that I was still able to access the careers service after my masters had finished. To start with I updated my My Career Zone account to a graduate account and then started booking onto events that I never got round to attending during my course. I then had some one-to-one appointments to help me focus my ideas and thanks to their support I’m applying to graduate schemes. Don’t feel you are alone after graduation, the Career Zone have been so helpful.” Diana Belza, MSc in Marketing and Finance

So go out into the world, enjoy your next steps in life, but don’t forget we are here if you need us.

In the Zone – Shoot for the Stars

Bethan Watson is a BA English student at the University of Exeter, and current Career Zone SCP on the Streatham Campus. 

Caitlin’s cover art inspired the ‘outer space’ theme throughout “In The Zone”

This year marks the third annual student-produced “In the Zone” careers magazine launch. The magazine was a joint project between myself and fellow English student Brittany Willis, with the support and guidance of the team at the Career Zone. Just in time for Graduation, the magazine launches on Monday 29th April; make sure to grab your copy, or visit the Career Zone website where a digital copy of the magazine will be available.

At the Career Zone, we understand there’s a great deal of pressure on you to secure a graduate role. This year, we wanted to focus on anyone who feels intimidated by the more structured, well-publicised and specified job opportunities, or disheartened that there aren’t formal routes into the sectors they’re interested in. We’ve also aimed our magazine at those who aren’t interested in joining the workforce yet, at least through a traditional pathway. You might want to apply for further study, take some time off to plan your next move or travel, or even be interested in starting your own business venture.

We’ve provided comprehensive examples of the resources the Career Zone offers, with feedback from students who’ve used them. For example, My Career Zone Digital is an excellent resource for preparing you for all aspects of the job application process. The Career Zone also provides excellent frameworks to secure your own fully-funded internship, either after Graduation or during your studies. If you have no idea what kind of role would suit you, the Career Zone has you covered with our Professional Pathways scheme, which offers you the opportunity to explore a sector you’re interested in through training and a paid internship. These are only some of the resources available, and if you haven’t heard of them before, they’re worth a look.

“Because we realise formal routes might not be for everyone, we’ve included examples of students who have taken unconventional routes and the advice they have to offer you upon Graduation. This includes students who have travelled, who are now working abroad, who have made informed choices about their Masters degrees, and who are turning their hobbies into business enterprises.”

Because we realise formal routes might not be for everyone, we’ve included examples of students who have taken unconventional routes and the advice they have to offer you upon Graduation. This includes students who have travelled, who are now working abroad, who have made informed choices about their Masters degrees, and who are turning their hobbies into business enterprises.

Bethan Watson, Caitlin Thomas and Brittany Willis

As editors and contributors, the process of collating “In the Zone” has been an opportunity to both grow and discover for Brittany and I. We are both Streatham-based second year English undergraduates. Brittany is interested in a career in publishing, whereas I am still actively exploring different opportunities, which I discuss within the magazine. I feel that creating this year’s edition of “In the Zone” has allowed us to exercise skills that will be valued in our future careers. Brittany now has first-hand experience of editing and contributing to a formal publication, which will give her a basis to demonstrate her interest in the sector when applying for publishing roles. I have been able to build upon my existing skillset in terms of communication, taking the initiative and managing a project from idea to completion. Overall, we both feel better informed about what we can offer as candidates and now have examples to refer to when asked to demonstrate competencies for specific skills.

“In the Zone” has also been a platform for other students to demonstrate and grow their skills, which was a priority for the Career Zone team. Caitlin Thomas, a second year Classics student and budding fine artist, won a competition that I organised to design the front cover for the magazine, and has inspired the visual theme throughout. Caitlin currently has an active website for her art, and we hope that this opportunity gave her a platform as a talented student artist.

Like most students, Brittany, Caitlin and I are in the process of shaping our own career journeys. With graduation drawing closer, “In the Zone” aims to ensure that students feel they are in a position to make an informed decision about their career choices, without pressure or panic. Within the magazine, Exeter Alumni have kindly offered us their insight and experiences after Graduation. As a result of reading their testimonials, I felt reassured; I was able to stop, think and really consider what I want from life, rather than feeling like I should be applying for a certain role because it seems like the right thing to do. I think that one of the key messages from the magazine is that there is no one right pathway after graduation; it’s a big change but there is something for everyone, and the aim of the Career Zone is to make sure you feel empowered rather than scared to make decisions around that change.

Career Zone believes in Careers Forever; the service is accessible for as long as you need it. However long ago you graduated, and wherever you are in the world, so please make sure to get in touch. 

Top Resources from My Career Zone Digital for Graduates

Marie Johns graduated in BA Philosophy and Sociology from Exeter in 2017. She’s currently the Survey Project Officer (GBP) here at the University. 

Marie Johns, Survey Project Officer (GBP) and Exeter alumn

During my final year at Exeter, I was pleased to discover that the Career Zone is available to graduates for three years after graduation. I’ve certainly been taking advantage ever since!

In particular, online resources from new platform My Career Zone Digital have been extremely useful in helping me to understand what I want from a job, make successful applications, and ultimately secure employment. Since starting my job, I have enjoyed browsing the resources available for graduates who have entered the workplace. Below, I have compiled a list of my favourite resources from My Career Zone Digital, for graduates at any stage of their career journey.

The Elevator Pitch Builder is a great tool to get you used to talking about yourself by teaching you how to create an effective professional summary. Not only does this help you to develop self-awareness of your strengths and ambitions, but it will help you to talk confidently about yourself in applications and interviews.

The Employer Advice section of My Career Zone Digital contains a number of useful videos covering a range of topics. I found the Job Hunting videos well worth watching. As a recent graduate, I was new to job-hunting and the world of full-time work. It was therefore interesting to hear experienced employers talk informally about which attributes they look for in a new employee and think about how I could demonstrate these to make a good impression.

I found the Interview Simulator to be a really useful tool for interview preparation as it includes many examples of questions you might be asked, grouped into categories. The fact that it allows you to record yourself giving answers enables self-evaluation and improvement and also helps you to build confidence in answering a variety of questions. I also like that there is a way of testing yourself and rehearsing a real interview by having a mock interview which you can either take without knowing the questions beforehand, or create yourself.

My Career Zone Digital

The IT Skills Courses are a great way to brush up on those Microsoft Office skills you haven’t used since GSCE! You can set the course to fit your preferred level of ability (beginner or intermediate) and you have the choice to either actively participate in the tutorials, or to simply watch videos of someone else performing the tasks. My current role involves a lot of work on Excel, which I’d not used extensively before, and I found this course was the ideal way to increase my confidence for the tasks required of me.

The Career Skills Section is great for those, like me, who are in work. There are lots of resources available under sub-headings such as Balancing Work and Life, Being More Productive and Improving Workplace Skills which I have often drawn upon to help me adjust to everyday workplace challenges. It is great to know that these resources are available to me as my career progresses over the next three years.

My Career Zone Digital is there to support you whatever you’re doing now or hope to be doing in the future. There is also a new weekly newsletter you can sign up to which means you can keep up-to-date with new content that’s added.

I fully recommend that you take advantage of these resources just as I have. Good luck!

You’re leaving so soon?!

Tom McAndrew is a Careers Consultant based on the Streatham Campus.

Go and change the world

Those in their final year are leaving us. In this Summer Term, final exams, bits of course work to deliver maybe and that’s it.

Ouch. So soon?

Congratulations to those who got their dream graduate role. You worked hard and deserve it. Well done.

Possibly you made those who haven’t got their dream job feel very, very envious. They are the ones who hurtled towards Career Zone throughout the year in search of solace and advice. A few reassuring words; your time will come, you will get there, keep on trying, you will get there.

You have all been in an education system where there is a definite path. Career paths after graduation are less direct. A minority follow a linear path. A graduate job after leaving and then a meteoric rise. Easy. The majority of us follow a much more haphazard path. Up and down, off at tangents, sideways steps.  One step forward, two steps back for some. The journey is the reward as Taoists say.

As Robert Louis Stevenson said: “Little do ye know your own blessedness; for to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.”

And you are all blessed, you are all the lucky ones. You are young, you’re bright, and the future beckons. Who knows where your journey will lead?

As Floella Benjamin used to tell our graduands; go and change the world.

If you’re struggling then the Career Zone is here to help and support you for three years after you graduate. Talking through ideas, helping formulate plans, help with your applications, your interviews. In person, by telephone, by email and by SKYPE. You may not need us but we are there for you if you do.

You’re leaving.

Bon voyage.

Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas Vacation

Applying for graduate schemes, internships or postgraduate study over the Christmas Vacation, need to get your coursework done, AND want a break too?  Is that even possible? Jenny Woolacott-Scarr, Career Zone Information Officer, has some advice.

Get your priorities straight

Of course sorting your career is really important, but it’s not as important as your academic work. If you’re pushed for time focus on acing your coursework and revising for your January exams; a good degree will last you a lifetime.

You won’t miss out on your dream job because you went to the cinema with your friends from home.
You won’t miss out on your dream job because you went to the cinema with your friends from home.

Quality over quantity

One of the questions I get asked most is ‘how many jobs/internships/postgraduate courses should I be applying to?’ We say you should apply to as many as you can, but crucially without letting the quality of your applications drop, or at the expense of your academic work, or getting enough sleep and rest.

It’s called a Vacation for a reason

You are allowed to have a break. You won’t miss out on your dream job because you went to the cinema with your friends from home. You won’t fail your degree because you had a Boxing Day snooze on the sofa. Promise.

When does the Career Zone Close?

The last day we’re open is Friday 23 December, then we open again on Tuesday 3 January. Apart from those dates we’re here to help you via email, Skype, phone, through My Career Zone, or in person if you’re still in Exeter.

However you spend your Vacation make time to enjoy your break, and we look forward to seeing you again in January.

Happy Holidays

The Career Zone Team x