Why Take a RIS Internship?

During your time at University, most people are looking for only a few things; to specialise in their academic career, to improve job prospects, and to have fun! So why should you consider taking an internship? Where does it fit into your University experience? The most obvious answer is to supplement the second of those three points – internships, without a doubt, make you more employable once you’ve left University and often result in job offers.

With more widespread Higher Education, and the job market being so competitive these days, having a degree doesn’t stand out in the same way as it used to, and many Graduates struggle to get into suitable work after completing their studies. With that in mind, having anything that can help you stand out from the everyone else is a bonus and an internship in particular is an even bigger boon as it demonstrates experience in the workplace (even if that workplace isn’t one that you wish to endeavour into as a career.)

But how else does it contribute towards your University experience?

With the University offering over £100,000 in funding for internships, a number of the experiences on offer do actually relate directly to a number of subjects taught. Whilst, of course, it isn’t essential to find an internship in your desired field, it is a big bonus in helping funnel you into your desired career and it may even supplement your studies!

It can also even improve the fun! A tenuous link, perhaps, but you get PAID for any internship you pick up through RIS! And the best thing is that internships are all short, fixed-term positions. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to go back, but you’ll still get paid and have the experience forever. It’s the stress-free, no-obligation approach to careers experience!

So why not take a look at what is coming up this summer, ranging from 4-12 weeks and all paying at least minimum wage*:


*Excluding volunteer positions.

“I found myself applying to jobs for the sake of it”: Russell’s Answer

Russel annswer

Russell Collier, a Biological Sciences graduate from the University of Reading (Writing in December 2014).

“After graduating from University I was hit by the bombshell of pressure to find work as soon as possible, stressing myself to find a job and aspire to a long term career. Hearing others who graduated with me this year in Biomedical Science, I can safely say that this feeling is mutual amongst most graduates up and down the country.

So where do you begin? Well in today’s world the first thing you do is grab your laptop, open up Google and search “graduate jobs”, only to scroll through endless job lists on recruitment websites hoping for some inspiration.

It goes without saying, but this process is extremely tedious. I did this for two to three months, going into the science sector on recruitment websites and looking for relevant jobs. I found myself applying to jobs for the sake of it. After just a few days I had applied to dozens of jobs, half hoping I could get some work, half hoping I would be rejected from a job I didn’t really want.

From my experience of doing this I can say that most of the time I was lucky to get a reply. I applied for about 50 jobs, being ignored by 40 and immediately rejected by six. Four employers offered a phone interview, with two subsequently going onto a formal interview.

By this time, however, I had found my inspiration, having found a job in “medical writing” advertised. I quickly read through the details and I felt I had found my future career – now I just needed to get in. I continued to apply online to medical writing jobs, only to find the same result: I was getting nowhere. Someone then suggested that I speak to the careers team at the University of Reading.

So I went in and spoke to a Careers Adviser on Quick Query. The main piece of advice was that I just approach these companies directly, first looking to harvest information on this career. They called this approach “Informational Interviewing”.

At first I was un-confident in this approach, expecting to be ignored like before. It required some effort but I found a few people in the industry and after a couple of polite emails I was talking to these people about medical writing. This helped me gain a network of professionals who could help me get my foot in the door and I also learned a lot about this career path in the process.

After doing this a few times I was offered an interview! They said they liked my pro-activeness and were very impressed; interesting since I hadn’t applied for the vacancy. I have now written to most Science Communications companies near me and have had several phone calls with professionals, including a freelance writer. I now don’t even think I have the time to meet all of the people who have agreed to it!

With this approach, I feel that I have made so much more progress not only in the pursuit of finding a job, but also I have confidence that this career is right for me. After meeting these people, I wrote to thank them for their time and sent a copy of my CV to be considered for any future openings. These conversations have also allowed me to ask “which attributes do I lack,” so I can go out and better myself for subsequent applications.

Don’t get me wrong, many people do still ignore you, but I believe I am moving in the right direction. This approach requires devotion and the faith that eventually you will come across the right person who can get you a job. Patience is key, but if you’re looking for work, don’t waste your time with online applications, be pro-active.”

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.

My RED Award Experience

My RED Award Experience

by Arianna Chatzidakis

Although the RED Award may sound like a lot of work, it’s actually super easy and fun to complete! I am currently in the process of doing it for the second time. Yes, fifty hours of extra curricular activities does seem daunting, but once it’s broken down it’s actually really simple. Thirty-five of those hours can be made up from work experience, paid work or an internship.  The remaining hours must be from volunteering and attending training and development courses run by the university.

I really enjoyed volunteering as a Freshers’ Angel to gain my volunteering hours. It felt nice to be able to help new students settle in, as we’ve all experienced moving away from home and being thrust into a new environment. Not only that, but I got free entry into the Union and Fresher’s Ball events as I was helping out on those nights. You also get to meet lots of new people.

As well as looking brilliant on your CV and degree transcript, the RED Award provides you with some great life skills. It shows that you have the dedication to complete a task, it provides recognition for your extra-curricular activities, it helps you stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs, and it generally helps you build a wider skills portfolio. It’s definitely something to think about doing before you finish your degree!

Career insight into the fashion industry with Kate Blythe

Kate Blythe is the Editorial and Content Director for MATCHESFASHION.COM. Below she tells us why she decided to work in fashion, and how she got started…


I always wanted to be a fashion journalist from the age of 10 or 11. I collected American and British Vogue magazines for years and fell in love with the beautiful images and inspirational features. From that age onwards I had my heart set on a fashion journalism career and so I focused on English literature and Language as my speciality. I took English, Psychology and History A Levels and then I went to Leeds University to study an English degree. Before university, however, I set up work experience at my local paper and then went to IPC to intern at various magazines such as 19 magazine and Just 17. As a post-graduate, I went to Time Out magazine in London where I worked for 6 months as a freelance writer, and from there I went to ELLE magazine where I worked for 4 years as fashion features writer before moving into the digital world after that.


o   What does a typical day for you look like at Matchesfashion.com?

I start work around 8.30am and have 30 minutes before the team arrive to get through my emails and answer any queries. I sign off, approve and commission all content across mens and womens digital and print titles so my day is a constant stream of questions from my team and proofs to sign off. I also oversee all video content, along with marketing emails, social media and all fashion. I can be approving a fashion rail full of clothes for a cover shoot one minute, then sitting in the executive team meetings discussing forward planning the next. It’s non-stop and very varied, which is why I love my job! I leave work at 6pm to get home to my three children before bedtime which is also when the US markets are up and so I then deal with talent agents regarding celebrity cover stories and shoots.


o   What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The highlight of my career has been building a world class team here at Matchesfashion.com and rebranding all of the website and content in a short space of time. It has been an exciting 18 months and the best is yet to come.


o   What do you enjoy the most about working in fashion?

I love all aspects of fashion – from the incredible talent of the designers behind the collection, to the beautiful product that is created to the editorial stories we pull together from the collections we stock. It is fast moving, exciting and inspiring.


o   What made you choose English as your degree, and what was your best experience whilst at Uni?

I have always been passionate about writing and would love writing essays at school and sixth form college. There is something about story telling that is very exciting to me and so there was really no other degree that I would have considered, other than fashion journalism. University was wonderful and I loved meeting great friends, learning new skills and knowing that I was preparing myself for a future in journalism. I couldn’t wait to get started!


o   Do you have any advice for students on how to stay creative and keep coming up with new ideas?

Read as much as possible – the news, websites, blogs, fashion commentary, magazines. Arm yourself with information and never think that you know it all. I am learning new skills every day and that triggers ideas in my mind for new ideas. Never plagiarise, always be original and stick to your passions rather than follow the pack. Then you will have the potential to be hugely successful!


o   Do you have any motivational words for students aspiring to make it in this very competitive industry?

Take on as much work experience as possible and when you are in a company doing a placement or internship, throw yourself into the role and make yourself indispensable. That is what I did and two months later I was offered a full time job. Never say no, always say yes to whatever task is given to you and your positive attitude and can-do nature will go along way in impressing the right people.


o   What key skills do you need to get into fashion?

Great personal taste, passion for the subject you are working on and digital knowledge. Nowhere is purely print these days, so digital skills are a necessity for being a future fashion leader.


o   If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice whilst you were a student, what would it be?

I used to have to read a whole pile of books every week yet I never allowed myself enough time to really enjoy them. I would have told my younger self to enjoy the time I had and to absorb the literature I was reading, rather than racing through it all. I never have any time these days to read a good book, so that was my perfect opportunity.


This article has been provided by an external organisation – please read our disclaimer

Is a career in digital marketing for you? An employer blog post.


By Heather Baker, Founder & CEO, TopLine Communications.

Henry Ford is considered a pioneer of the automotive industry, Mark Zuckerberg forged the way for social media and Bill Gates is certainly one of the most celebrated innovators in computing. Yet who is the definitive forerunner in the digital marketing sphere? The answer is no one…yet. And that’s because this industry is still emerging, which makes it an exciting career choice for any graduate.

But digital marketing is a very broad term and, from the graduates I’ve spoken to, it’s rather hard to understand what a career in digital marketing entails, what skills they’ll need, and how to land that important first role.

What to expect from a career in digital marketing

The great thing about this industry is that it is still possible to forge your own career path. Digital marketing covers online PR, social media, search engine optimisation, online advertising, video production, copywriting, website and app development and email marketing.

As a digital marketing specialist, you will help companies grow by helping them generate leads and make sales. Your typical day could involve researching target audiences to understand where they hang out online and what they care about; developing ideas for campaigns that will really catch their attention; implementing campaigns by designing online ads, writing blog posts, sending out emails; dealing with the media; analysing the success of each campaign and making adjustments.

It’s a great time to choose this career path – you can be really creative in this industry. While some best practices have been developed, there is huge opportunity to try new things and see if they work, which means you can be genuinely part of the evolution of an entirely new discipline.  And if you can get good enough at digital marketing, you will climb the career ladder quickly. There really is a shortage of good people who understand the principles of digital marketing and if you can generate leads online you will be invaluable to any employer.

What skills will I need?

If you are creative and can write that’s a good start. You’ll also need to love technology, as you’ll be using new software tools as they enter the market. While it’s not a firm requirement, if you can use Excel you will be one step ahead of most people in the industry and the ability to analyse data will be invaluable.

To demonstrate your writing potential, I would recommend you get published. Write a blog, contribute to your university newspaper or offer your services as a writer to a student publication. If you can prove that your writing is good enough to be published, you’ll be one step ahead of most people going for the few digital marketing jobs out there.

Secondly, and this is the fun part, get social – use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram. Show that you love social media and are comfortable using social networks.

If you’re really keen, then you can get yourself Google Analytics and Google Adwords certified. These are self-taught courses, and the exams, offered by Google cost $50 each. As an employer, if I saw a graduate had taken the initiative to pass one of these exams, I would immediately be interested! If you’ve taught yourself to code (you can do this for free on Code Academy) you’ll be gold dust!


This article has been provided by an external organisation – please read our disclaimer

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