Posts by Fiona Christie

Six gems for summer reading from our careers blog archive

7 August 2018

We have been blogging on and off in the careers team for about ten years now and over time our blogging energy has ebbed and flowed. Before we had this blog, we posted on what we called the postgraduate careers blog, which was created for postgraduates at the university. We archived that blog in 2013 but the content is still public. This week I’ve been re-visiting posts that colleagues and I wrote in the past. It is a bit like a diary – sometimes it makes me cringe and at other times, I think, “wow, that’ still relevant ten years on”.

So here are six old posts I thought it worth sharing again:

Why you should leave your career plans to luck

This was one of my first posts and it is about planned happenstance, which is a careers theory, which is relevant to modern careers. It is about how we can all plan our careers to some extent but how for many people, the next career move is also about being opportunist in proactive ways when unexpected things happen. read more

Get help with Psychometric tests

15 September 2017

Depending on what jobs you are applying for, you may be asked to take a psychometric or aptitude test at some point in your job hunting.

We want to offer you a chance to get an instant testing practice to get you ahead of the game and help with you future job applications.

Tests are often only one of several selection tools used by an employer in assessing your suitability.

They are designed to test how your abilities in different areas such as verbal, numerical and logical reasoning.

Research shows that practice can help improve your performance in tests and we can help you with that.

The Careers website allows you free access to a range of psychometric tests: numerical, verbal, logical reasoning, as well as a personality questionnaire, a situational judgement test and Assessment Centre Exercises. read more

Video introduction to 21 Days to Career Success

31 August 2017

If you are curious about the 21 Days career learning programme, why not watch this short video introduction to help get you in the picture about it. It’s my walk-through of the programme and is about ten minutes long. It details the structure and some example posts and activities are introduced.

Effectively, we have created a career learning programme that you can work through at your leisure. It is primarily designed for graduates but of relevance to many others.

What does success mean to you?

10 May 2017

We don’t all have the same definition of success and it can be liberating to think about this when talking about careers. It’s easy to get tied up in knots about earning more or having a certain status but success can be much more subtle than that. We’ve called our 21 Days to Career Success programme deliberately to get you as graduates to think about what success really means to you.

What does ‘career success’ mean to you?  Get yourself in the mood to think about this by viewing these YouTube clips  (source Kerr Inkson – Understanding Careers) which show different ideas about success.  Getting rich, developing as a person, overcoming adversity, winning and being the best, recognition of creativity and making the world a better place come out of these songs. Which one do you identify with the most, or do they all leave you cold? read more

Putting networking into practice

6 March 2017

Dominika Piasecka graduated with a Journalism degree in 2016. She rapidly realised that the skills she needed to build relationships and contacts to get stories for her course were also valuable in  finding jobs.

Dominika Piasecka – at work?

“My name is Dominika, I’m a journalism graduate from the University of Salford and am currently working as Media and PR Officer at The Vegan Society. When I moved to the UK almost 7 years ago, I didn’t know anyone and had to start forming relationships with people from scratch. I first understood the importance of networking at the beginning of my university course when I had to find interviewees for my assignments. The people I knew were more than friends or acquaintances; they were contacts. They helped me to find and connect with people I had to talk to. Online networking makes it all so much easier these days, especially LinkedIn which is a great platform to connect to people professionally. I would add everyone I met during my course and ask relevant people for references and endorsements to build my profile.” read more

Day 18: Well Done! You’ve got a Job Interview

2 February 2017

Fiona Christie – careers consultant

Job interviews evoke mixed emotions – anticipation but also dread. If you are invited to an interview, very well done, this means your written application is good and you are on the next step towards getting the job you want.   But most of us worry about job interviews while also being delighted to have one.  This is natural, so the secret is to manage your nerves by preparing effectively and viewing the interview as your opportunity to impress and even enjoy talking about yourself!

Fail to prepare and prepare to fail

It is critical to prepare by researching the employer and the role you are going for fully. Nothing can rule you out quicker than showing you aren’t really sure about what the job is. Also, get the small stuff right – make sure you know where you are going and allow yourself time to arrive in good time. Plan carefully what you are going to wear – follow the dress code that’s normal for the industry you are going for, e.g., for industries such as Law and Accountancy, dress codes are smart and conservative, whereas if you are going for a job in Advertising or Media, you can probably risk adding a bit more colour to your outfit. read more

Day 16: How to find a job?

31 January 2017

Fiona Christie – careers consultant

Where do you go to find suitable vacancies to apply for? It can be a challenge to know where to actually find the right kind of opportunities for you. Google is good but may just overwhelm you with possibilities! Developing a productive job-hunting strategy can really help. What worked for you as a student getting part-time work might not for finding a job that will take you in the right career direction.

Did you know?

Graduates find jobs in all sorts of ways and all kinds of places. Here is a list which shows how 2015 graduates nationally said how they had found the job they were doing (data collected as part of the national graduate destinations survey 6 months after finishing university).

  read more

Day 15: Grit your Teeth and Get Networking

30 January 2017

In the post about Who’s on Your Bench, we focused on those that are close to you that are so important to us in life.  However, it’s good to think wider, as very often, it may be your weaker connections that can be the source of new opportunities (e.g., someone you once met who works for the company you would love to work for).

Networking for your career.

So what is networking for job-hunting?

Networking in principle – ‘In essence when you network you make a conscious decision to make the most of every contact (new and existing) you have and treat very single encounter as a job lead.’ (source Brilliant Graduate Career Handbook)

‘You are between 50 and 70 per cent likely to create your next career opportunity through your network, i.e., via people you know through University, work, family and socially.’ (source Brilliant Career Coach) read more

Day 14: It’s Good to Talk – Career Conversations

29 January 2017

Fiona Christie, careers consultant

Careers matter to people.  Your career will occupy half of your waking hours; it will impact on your finances, your status, what you contribute to society, your happiness, your own fulfilment and others’ opinion of you.  Your career will interweave with your home, your family and your leisure interests.  And careers, certainly for those of us living in the UK today, mean choices about the kind of life you want to lead and being able to make decisions about those choices.

This is certainly a subject that deserves to be talked about, don’t you agree?

The power of career conversations came out of recent research I have been doing into graduate careers. One of my findings has been that individuals who had found suitable people to talk to about their hopes, fears and ambitions were much more positive about their career prospects. Ironically, although the ‘what’s your career plan?’ question may be one that graduates dread to hear, and would possibly shy away from, it is also one that most people would like to be able to have a stab at answering, especially if they know the person asking is genuinely interested and not just making small-talk. read more

Day 13: Who’s on Your Bench?

28 January 2017
The Tweenies are on my side.

The Tweenies are on my side.

Well, I’ve got Bella and Milo on my bench so I am doing OK. But seriously, there is a cliché that it’s ‘who you know’ that matters in careers. These 3 simple words hide the variation this may mean depending on who you are and where you come from. Sociologists call this social capital, a phrase that is now used widely.

Who's on your supporters' bench?

Who’s on your supporters’ bench?

But whether you are fortunate to be well-connected or not, everyone needs people on their bench and it’s important to appreciate those people. The sporting metaphor is a good one, as this could include people who can cheer you when you do well, can get out the stretcher when there’s an emergency and provide you with coaching and direction. Your bench will include your  close community of supporters who are your cheerleaders, even if you feel they can’t really help your career, they may well be able to help maintain your morale. And we know that staying positive is important when getting a job and developing your career. read more