The workshop for your career in marketing

For a career in marketing, experience plays a big part. It is actual work, trial and error processes which make good marketers. If you are a recent graduate with a degree in Marketing or Business and little experience but would like to launch your career, the Graduate Marketing Workshop will get you started. This event organised by The SR group and Carter Murray, recruitment agencies, will take place on the 21st of June in London. Continue reading

Tips for starting a business

“Starting a Business Tips

There’s a whole wealth of information about starting a business, and we won’t be able to give you a complete guide (that would take several books and several years of research!). However, from our experience at ClickMechanic, where we’ve grown over the past 4 years we can pull out some common themes that have been crucial to our success.

What are your hypothesis?

Inherent in any business plan is a number of assumptions. Working out what these are and then testing them should be one of the first things you do as a budding entrepreneur. A helpful exercise is to write down any assumption you’ve made on a post-it note, and stick them on a graph with an x and y axis: ‘Ease of testing’ and ‘Criticalness to business’

If they fit in the top-right, get testing. If you’ve got things in the bottom right, then now is a good time to rethink your idea. Testing your assumptions with as little resource as possible is key to building a successful business.

Apply the scientific method

In science, you start with a hypothesis, collect some data and then evaluate. This build-measure-learn cycle is incredibly helpful in starting a business. No amount of thinking and hypothesising can replace feedback from real customers. Iterating quickly will help you to improve your product or to change your idea if needs be.

Watch the financials

Startups fail because they run out of money. Ensure you’re measuring the financial performance of your business from day one. It will give you early warning signs of where you need to change course or areas where you can scale. Not only that, but investors are looking for a return, and any founders without a good grasp of their financials is a huge red flag.

Why do you want to start a business?

Building a business from scratch is hard work, and takes long hours, sacrifices and dedication. Before embarking on a project, consider why you want to start this particular business. Just because you have found a gap in the market doesn’t mean that you want to dedicate the next few years to trying to exploit it. So do some soul search, pick an industry that you care about and build a business you’d be proud to be running in a few years.”


This article has been provided by an external organisation, as such the views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Careers, Placement and Experience Centre.

Apply for Charity Apprentice now!

Charity Apprentice is a course for anyone dreaming of a rewarding career in the charity sector to complete in their spare time. Thanks to a grant from the Sofronie Foundation, we are pleased to offer places on the course (worth £1100) for free to students and recent graduates this year! Sign up now at: 

Charity Apprentice is unique because it immerses you in the charity sector, giving you practical experience as well as a theoretical understanding.

The course consists of:

  • Online learning – you can access the course content and seminars easily online, wherever you are, thanks to our digital platform. Read short learning tasks, watch videos and complete quizzes from a range of experts and sources. See your progress and manage your learning through your personalised dashboard.
  • Bootcamp and Hackdays – meet and discuss your ideas with us and other apprentices. Expert talks, workshops, group exercises all geared towards making charity more effective. Build a network of contacts and friendships that will continue throughout your career.
  • Real world challenges – you’ll take on real marketing and fundraising projects designed by charity professionals that will show you first-hand what it’s like to work for charity.
  • Seminars and lectures – present, debate and build on your ideas in monthly online seminars with the team and other apprentices. Learn how to debate key issues and those close to your heart effectively so you can make a bigger impact.
  • Work placements in the UK and abroad – opportunities to apply for exclusive work placements with’s local partners in Kenya. Charity Apprentices who also have a specific interest or passion often end up volunteering or being offered paid roles with in the UK throughout the year.

Whatever your charity career goals, we will help you realise them.

Charity Apprentice is a social enterprise developed by, a children’s charity with a holistic approach.

Save the Date for the National Creative Writing Graduate Fair


Are you a Creative Writing student or graduate? Or, are you just interested in pursuing a career in creative writing? Would you like the opportunity to make connections with the publishing/commissioning world? Is the prospect of making these connections daunting?

Comma Press are delighted to announce the second Creative Writing Graduate Fair at Manchester Metropolitan University, in partnership with The Writing School at MMU. Taking place on Friday 4th November 2016, this fair is committed to providing participants with a unique introduction to the publishing industry and its professionals. This whole day event will run from 8.30am, when registration opens, until 5.45pm, when the pitching sessions will come to a close.

Building upon a brilliant line-up of authors, agents, and editors, we’ve designed a bigger and better fair to tailor to every type of writer: watch a keynote speech from a leading author (to be announced); get expert advice on how to pitch to an agent; attend panel sessions and workshops on a broad range of topics; and get one-to-one pitching sessions with leading industry professionals.

Does this sound like something that would suit you?

Learn more about the Fair and book your place at:

Apply for the Legal Launch Pad Programme!

bldBLD Foundation invites you to apply for the Legal Launch Pad Programme  (LLP) 2017 programme, now open on the BLD Foundation website.

The LLP programme is targeted at second, final year and postgraduate (GDL, LPC etc) Law students and final year non-Law students from African, Caribbean, Asian and other ethnic minority or socially disadvantaged backgrounds in the UK (England and Wales) interested in pursuing a Legal career.

The Legal Launch Pad is a structured nine-month (January to September) training, networking and mentoring programme open to those studying for a legal career.  The LLP Programme is free to access for students (selection is by online application and telephone interview) and offers work placements (including vacation schemes and mini pupillages with our sponsor firms); mock interviews; mentoring (from qualified solicitors and barristers); high quality training workshops on commercial awareness, negotiation, applications, CVs and assessment centre practice, presentation skills; networking and other opportunities. The aim of this programme is to help prepare participants for the legal profession by providing career and personal development avenues via training workshops, mentoring and work placements. The programme runs alongside the university timetable and the event and work placement dates are publicised in advance to help students plan for them.


For more information on the LLP Programme, please visit the BLD Foundation website or go directly to to apply. Applications must be submitted by midnight on 1 November 2016 and places will be offered on a rolling basis so it is important to apply early to increase your chances of success. The system locks up automatically at this time so you are encouraged to apply well before the deadline and contact if you have any questions.

I’ve Graduated…What Next?

The following article is courtesy of Dean Chaffer and Please check out their extensive range of sources on careers for students with disabilities. 


A guest blog from Dean Chaffer, Graduate

“Having recently completed my MSc in Computing, I thought I would share a few thoughts on what you can do after your degree.

Enhance Your CV

You can enhance your CV in a number of ways. Look at the transferrable and key skills you have developed during your degree. Examples are report writing, proof reading and dealing with deadlines. Another angle to look at when enhancing your CV is your disability or health condition.

What skills have you developed as a result of having a disability that make you stand out?

Do you have a lot of resilience? Do you have management skills? Have you learnt to think creatively to solve challenges related to your disability? Ensure you provide examples – these could include working with a personal assistant, or managing a personal budget for your support needs. These skills show employers that you can adapt to different situations. To enhance your CV further, set yourself some new challenges such as raising money for a cause that you believe in. I raised money for an outdoor activities centre that supports people with disabilities. All of this this will give you a variety of different things to talk about at an interview.

Develop Your Soft Skills

Soft skills – communicating well with team members and colleagues, being able to express your thoughts, or give a presentation on a particular topic – are becoming increasingly important in the workplace. Dedicating time to improving your soft skills will help you feel more confident in interview situations or the next time you are required to give a presentation.

Enrol on a Masters Degree

From September 2016 the UK Government is offering loans to those wishing to undergo postgraduate study. You are eligible for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 to cover course fees and help with living costs if you meet the following criteria:

  • Aged under 60
  • Ordinarily live in England
  • Do not already have a master’s degree or higher qualification

Postgraduate study offers you the opportunity to develop your written and research skills, which are essential if you wish to pursue a career in academia. If this appeals to you, be ready for a lot of independent learning and self-reflection.

Be prepared for a step up in the level of work you are required to complete.

If you are considering a postgraduate degree, you can search for and compare courses at Postgraduate open days also provide an ideal opportunity to discover whether a particular university is for you; visit the university’s website for more information.

Attend a Careers Fair

When looking for employment it can be useful to attend careers fairs. Benefits include having the opportunity to demonstrate your passion and knowledge for your subject and talking to relevant employers who are looking for somebody with your skills set. Be prepared – take along copies of your CV or business cards, and be sure to follow up with a polite e-mail after the event and make any enquiries about the next steps to take.

Attend Employment Diversity Events

Large employers often host employment diversity events looking at the different ways students, recent graduates and those with long-term health conditions can get into work. The days usually consist of a series of speakers from a particular organisation, who will tell you about different aspects of a particular role. There is also the opportunity to share challenges that people might have come across on their journey into employment. Practical issues relating to starting work are also explored, such as funding from the Access to Work scheme.

The companies may present some of the opportunities they have on offer for recent graduates like you.

There is also a chance to network with industry professionals to find out what it’s like to work in a particular organisation.

Have a look at the Recruitment and Disability section for more hints and tips and good luck!”

2016 Careers in Health & Social Care Campaign!

social care

28th September will see the launch of the Careers in Health & Social Care campaign, in association with Health Education England, Skills for Care, Skills for Health and the National Skills Academy for Health.

The campaign will be distributed at industry leading events, careers fairs, schools throughout the UK, and online at 

If you wish to learn more about forming a career in health and social care, follow the link (PDF) to read more about ways into the industry…

I want to find a job

Job hunting and the different strategies you can use

Large numbers of graduate leave university every year, but most find their way into jobs within a few months of graduation. One of the classic mistakes that students make is focusing on the most visible parts of the job market such as the web pages of large recruiters and graduate ads in the national papers. The large recruiters make up only about 5% of the total job market for graduates. Only focusing here can guarantee you stiff competition and may mean you miss out on other fantastic opportunities.

Securing a job isn’t easy, but job hunting provides the opportunity to reflect on what career or role you really want. If part way through you begin to feel unsure about your career direction then have a look at our web pages on working out what I want to do. Each sector requires slightly different tactics, so do your homework before you get started. Prospects has useful advice on tactics for each job role. Head to their types of jobs ( section and select the role that interests you and then click on “entry requirements” and “employers and vacancy sources” to access this advice. Despite these sector differences each one tends to use some or all of the following approaches.

Using a Careers Service

The Careers, Placement and Experience Centre (CPEC) at The University of Reading offers a range of services to help your job hunting: you can look at job vacancies as they come up and attend careers fairs and events to find out more about potential vacancies and ask questions – for opportunities and events, use My Jobs Online. My Jobs Online enables you to set your job preferences, sign up for the jobs alerts, book up for Careers Centre employer events and ask questions. Another way of finding jobs is to talk to employers at our careers fairs. Careers Advisers are also available to help you to tailor your CV to particular roles, give you tips on getting into particular job sectors and staying motivated.

Using jobsites and other websites

There are more specialist and generic job sites that, as graduates, you can use to track down vacancies. Make sure you know what you are signing up to when you register: are they a recruitment agency or simply a vacancy advertising service? Sites advertising permanent and work experience opportunities for graduates include Prospects graduatejobs, TARGET Jobs and Inside Careers.

You can also use more generic sites not designed specifically for graduates if you are interested in part time work such as Total jobs and Monster. Remember to look at the national papers too. The Guardian, The Times and The Telegraph ncover jobs in a range of sectors. The Financial Times advertises finance jobs on Wednesdays.

Many sectors have their own specialist job sites so look on the Industry Insights pages on Prospects and head to “contacts and resources” for their “jobs and work” links. Many specialist sectors have their own journals and magazines that you can subscribe to either online or in paper format and who advertise job vacancies. You can use the industry insight links and the types of jobs links on Prospects to identify relevant ones and subscribe.

Using employer websites. There is a range of ways you can track down employer lists for the sectors that interest you. Many professional bodies hold member listings for example Business link holds a list of all the professional bodies in the UK. In addition, you could use Prospects types of jobs select the occupation that interests you and click on “employers and vacancy” sources for suggestions and useful links.

Using employer websites

If you have a clear idea of which employers interest you and the kind of job role you want then heading straight to the employer website makes sense for many sectors. Recruiters often provide detailed information about their graduate roles and searchable databases for current vacancies. Some roles are recruited for in a similar time pattern each year, others are more sporadic and less predictable, so you can also set up tailored RSS feeds so vacancies come to you and reduce the time you spend on them. See the section above for how to track down employer listings.

Using Recruitment Consultancies

If you are considering using a recruitment agency or consultancy to help you access jobs then head to our web pages on how to use a recruitment consultancy for further advice. They are an increasingly popular method for graduates to find work, but not all sectors like using them for new graduates. REC is the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and they have a search engine that will help you identify specialist agencies for the types of roles you are seeking.

Capitalising on prior experience at work

A major way that graduates secure jobs is through prior work experience, placements and internships. In many cases, employers may offer permanent jobs at the end of a period of work experience to those who have performed well. Would you like to work for a previous employer, even if it is in a different capacity to your previous role there? Previous, successful experience with them may make you a more predictable option than other unknown candidates. If you would like to go back, reflect upon the most suitable role and weigh up which of your contacts there to target first. Take it steady. Perhaps ask to meet a couple of people first to investigate the opportunity you seek, before broaching the subject of a job.

Creative job search

The vast majority of jobs never get advertised. Speculative applications are where someone sends an organisation a CV and covering letter without having seen a job advert, hoping to secure work. If you have a role in mind, but haven’t seen it advertised, then you may need to instigate a creative job search and begin to network. If this is the case head to the relevant Getting Started I need to access the hidden job market pages.

Want more?

  • Prospects has web pages on job hunting including networking, using recruitment agencies and finding vacancy sources.
  • Destinations has a section on careers and employers that provides support on different routes into employment and provides useful links.

Working out what you want to do

How to use it:

This coaching guide is designed to help you in identifying relevant job and career options for after graduation and save you time in the process.

  • If you are feeling stuck have a look at What gets in the way which you can find on this page
  • If you want some helpful starting points jump to the second section; Some Practical Tips

What gets in the way…

“I’m concerned I might make the wrong decision.”

Many people put off looking at career choice because of the fear that they might make the wrong choice. You can overcome this if you recognise:

  • You are not making a once and for all decision, 40% of grads change direction within 3 years of starting their first job. Also you can quickly and successfully change direction. Don’t forget all experience can be valuable in helping you decide – and will impress employers
  • I need to have a perfect fit with my interests, skills etc
  • Very few people have a perfect fit. Even if you could find such a role you will probably find it wouldn’t stay that way! A more helpful way is as a first step to simply look for jobs that are a general good fit and don’t disagree with a core value. Go for the 70% rule – if 70% looks ok on the first reading put it on your short list

“I’ve already looked and can’t find anything for me”

  • Sometimes we are looking in the wrong place! The obvious information is provided by large employers or features those who are seen as the place to be. Use our coaching guide on where to find jobs or come to the Careers Centre to find out other ways of looking
  • Check the gap! What are you assuming about job roles which might lead you to rejecting some options which could fit well. Here are three stereotypes that are not necessarily true: ‘Being in an office is always boring’, ‘I need to just be interested in numbers to be an accountant’ and ‘Most businesses only want business graduates’

“I don’t have anything to offer that employers want”

  • This is unlikely to be true. Employer feedback and experience in the Careers Centre is that students tend to underestimate their skills and over-estimate what employers want from them. And 40% to 50% of the jobs we see are for any degree discipline
  • It’s too complicated/will take too much time to sort
  • While it can take some time, there are short cuts – see the next section – and sooner or later you will have to do something. Why not tackle career issues while at Uni and where there are easily accessible experts and resources you can use?

Some practical tips to get started

Like all decisions the career decision process can be broken down into a series of smaller mini steps.

  • Step One: Identifying what you want from a job and what you can bring to it.
  • Step two: While keeping in mind what you clarified at Step one do an initial sift to list what jobs are available and appropriate
  • Step three: Identify those job areas that best fit and research in more depth
  • Step four: Finally making the decision

This process can be done fairly quickly but equally can be spread out over some time if you wish! If you find yourself in a job which is not right for you then just repeat the process.

In more detail

Step one: Identifying what you want from a job and what you can bring to it.

Our instinctive approach is to start by browsing job sites to see what’s on offer and what we like. The danger is you end up with loads of jobs that seem ok but may not be right for you. An alternative starting position is to consider what you want from a job – for example your interests, values and the skills you would like to use. Pull these together into a “shopping list” of the top 5 or 10 things you want and also top 5 or 10 things you can offer an employer (these lists may overlap). You can then use these to assess which jobs or careers would be relevant.
Useful ways to create your shopping list include:

  • Using IT tools, try Targetjobs Careers Report and Prospects Planner. These help you to list your strengths then match it against hundreds of graduate occupations. Discuss your findings with a Careers Adviser – we can help you evaluate what you have found and ensure you haven’t missed anything.
  • Book into our career coaching programme where through a series of three meetings with your Careers Adviser you can work through the whole process. You can start the process with a short discussion. Ask at the Careers Centre Reception to arrange this.
  • The Type Dynamic Indicator helps you to learn more about your working style and the resulting report reveals likely attractive options which others of your type have gravitated towards.
  • If you get stuck try Career Unlocker or Gro. These IT based systems developed by staff in the Careers Centre to help students who are going round in circles or want some practical ideas on what to do next.
  • Many people find it easier to clarify what they want by meeting people who do jobs. Use employer presentations, fairs and other events to ask people why they do what they do. What works for you?
Step two: While keeping in mind what you clarified at Step one do an initial sift to list what jobs are available and appropriate

To generate relevant job ideas try the following resources:

  • Check out the Options with your subject on the Prospects website. This gives ideas about what do people typically do with a degree like yours
  • For a broad overview of careers see the job sectors on the Prospects website
  • For a bit more detail look at our other Career Bites from the menu
  • To look at specific employers in detail try WikiJob or Prospects or check out their own website.
  • If your research at step one suggests you might prefer to work for a medium or smaller organisation look at the jobs and opportunities section on our My Jobs Online website
  • Don’t forget many employers can be found through focused research such as via professional association or specialist websites or social media such as LinkedIn. Our Career bites section will give you links for the areas of most interest to Reading students. But talk to a Careers Adviser for more information
  • Read job and employer reviews on The Job Crowd and Inside Buzz
Step three: Identify those that best fit

Once you have a short list of a few possible jobs/careers take a few more incremental steps to see if they really work for you. Good steps include:

  • Talking to employers to check out your research – meet them at careers fairs, presentations, on-line discussions, and career events in your department etc
  • If still interested explore work shadowing, start small with work shadowing or attend career insight days and then move onto longer work experience. You can meet a relevant Placement Officer in the Careers Centre who can give you specialist advice
Finally step 4, making the decision

If you have carried steps one to three out in detail it is likely that you will have some clear ideas about the career areas of most interest. In many cases decision happen almost without noticing! However if you are still not sure and need some more pointers (or would just like a reality check) try the following exercises:

  • Review what you have learnt so far and what seems to be a good fit at this point in time. Often people are uncertain because they don’t have a clear idea of what a career area entails or what they want out of it
  • Knowing what you now know about jobs; has this in anyway changed the shopping list you created at step one? Re-assess what are the most important factors that a job role must satisfy. Which of the areas you have explored best meet this?
  • If you haven’t done so already explore the ‘risk factors’ involved if you were to apply to the career areas that most interest you. Risk factors include: how competitive is it to get in? Have I got or can I reasonably gain the requirements that will make me a credible candidate (requirements include academics, experience, skills, geographical location etc)? If you have a strong yes to this keep going. Do this section with a careers adviser since it is easy to underestimate or overestimate your ability to get in.

Often the best way to go through the above process is to talk it through with someone. Hearing your thoughts out loud will often clarify things. We offer that service in the Careers Centre so come and talk to an Adviser.

When you have some clarity write it down and then start to look at the application process for individual organisations.

Finally: if something is still holding you back and perhaps you are hesitating to apply this would be a good time to come in to the Careers Centre and ask to talk to a Careers Adviser.

Next steps

Think: where are you in the decision-making process? Use the steps above to define where you are and what to do
Just book out a slot in your diary to see a Careers Adviser to get your action plan started or take some of the actions outlined in this sheet to get yourself going