UntitledWhat recruiters say about assessment centres.

  • No need to be nervous.  We want to see your authentic self.
  • It’s not intended to be a gruelling experience.
  • It’s a fair process that allows you to shine.
  • Do your homework.  Make sure you research that employer and be certain you want to work there.

All kinda true.  Good advice. Yeh – you should shout ‘Yippee!’ when your hours of application slog results in an invite.

But but but…at best you will feel like a bug in a jar for the day or half day you attend.  That means – get used to being watched as you do a group discussion, give a presentation, do a role play, analyse a case study, deal with a team challenge – whichever cleverly crafted combination makes up that assessment centre.

Best advice – be in control of the impression advantage.  Be assured that you can help the assessment centre observers/assessors form a positive impression of you.  Small things matter.  Build a positively vibed impression.

  • Look the part (check the dress code for that company/organisation)
  • Do more than a quick Google search to find out about that employer.  Dig deeper, read everything you can, check social media pages, talk to someone who works there.
  • Act like the professional they will want you to be at all stages of the event.
  • Be courteous warm towards other candidates and assessors.
  • Optimise the non verbal dynamic – gentle eye contact, handshake, good posture and speak at the right volume and projection level.

A perfect balance of relaxed alertness is ideal throughout the event.  You will need this for what may seem like a mental version of an assault course.

Remember – they like you already.  That’s why they invited you. Close the deal.

For help with this, post a question, see a Careers Adviser or read the book  How to Succeed at Assessment Centres


Choosing a career should be awesome

Here’s my theory on career decisions.  Most people go for the familiar – what they know (from TV, friends, family), what they’ve heard about and/or what seems relatively easy.  Some go for the quirky or unusual either because they seek something different or due to avoidance of careers that seem dull.

Most of these approaches are limiting or even a fast track to un-awesome.  Ideally you need to see the whole menu at the career restaurant, some serious divergent thinking before you go into convergent mode (narrowing things down).

You can’t know all the job roles that the future holds.  Possible future jobs such as Weather Modification Police, Teleportation Specialists, Spaceline Pilots and Cybrarians are not just for sci-fi books.  They are reliable predictions for the future workplace but you don’t have to go that far ahead.  Just make sure you give yourself the time to explore expansively the possibilities that exist for you now or for the first three years.  Most people research for a stag or hen pretty intensively.  Why not give the same effort to the first of your lifetime careers?

Finally, seeming dull on the surface is not a good reason to reject a career.  Some seeming dull jobs turn out to be better than the seeming exciting ones.  Tweet me your thoughts/questions to @CareerKathHoust.

You thought the work was over

It’s just beginning. The work to find work. Your final year is in the past. It’s pointless to resist. Your work-life beckons. It will take a massive effort but you need not struggle alone. We want to help you. We are boringly fixated on helping you. So don’t avoid us. Start by looking at http://www.uclan.ac.uk/careers. You can see what we do.

If you are undecided about what you can do or what would thrill you, a career conversation will help (book some time with a careers adviser) or check out http://www.prospects.ac.uk for an A-Z of ideas.

If you are putting off taking action because you can’t decide, that is a self-deceiving mistake. Decision paralysis is a desperate condition. Do something that seems half way right. Don’t wait for perfect. Imperfect choices often develop into surprising life/work patterns. The best decision is to decide to do something and ride the surf of an instinctive decision.

Let’s hear about your career adventuring!

Just graduated from UCLan – get your career started

There’s a quite normal high to low curve that new graduates experience.
HIGH – just finished uni, it’s summer, no more study. LOW – what happens next? Reality bites.
So just a reminder that you are not alone on the alien planet called ‘The Rest of Your Life’.

Planning a career sounds like a dull business but it can really be exciting and energising. Check out the great graduate jobs and internships/placements at UCLAN careers http://www.uclan.ac.uk/careers and have an email/phone/SKYPE chat to nudge you on your way for the briliant career you are meant for! Have a go at the poll!

Don’t read this. You’re reading this. Good. Fast Forward Fast Track for Finalists

Just finishing? You’re a finalist so this is for you.
Uni nearly over?
Got a great job to go to?
Well whatever your plans or absence of ‘what next’ ideas, we have an amazingly useful package of career starter boosts for you.
We have revved up Fast Forward February (our brilliant previous career starter programme) and it has now morphed into something even more brilliant – Fast Forward for Finalists.
You know you need a nudge or a gentle boot to get you moving career wise and earning too! Read on.
Three brilliant presents for you – pick one, two or all three
ONE – starting 27 MAY 2014 – book some undivided time with a career expert – in person or via SKYPE – sort your ideas out or work out what to do next and how to do it fast – https://www.uclan.ac.uk/students/employability/futures/fastforwardfinalists.php
TWO – starting 9 JUNE 2014 – really soon – the Online One and Only Completely Awesomely Awesome 10 Steps programme (not to be confused with Alcoholics Anonymous version) – everything you need to know to get yourself a brilliant job in ten easy steps
THREE – starting 16 JUNE 2014 – short workshops and webinars (online) on topics like ‘Crafting a CV and covering letter’ , ‘Where to Find a Graduate Job’, ‘Using LinkedIn to find a graduate job’, ‘The Recruitment Marathon’ – you know you need this
It’s all for you. The Fast Forward Fast Track. Mad to miss it.

Soon to graduate what next for you? Too busy with other things..

I will keep this short.  If you are busy with things that seem mighty important  – dissertation/exams, daytime TV, distractions..take just a little time to think about the whatnext.  This will hit you like a train pretty soon and you will wish you had sliced out just a the smidgeonest smidgeon of time to plan the whatnext.  This is not the end of fun and freedom of student life but a luxurious lookingforward.  Think of freedom from lectures and assignments and nomoney days.  Now is the hour to plan your newborn lifeafteruni or waystoearn what you are worth. You want a shortcut, nosweat track?  Fast Forward February starts on Monday.  Small, quick sessions run by inspiring people to get your career started. Mad to miss this – an hour max on a couple of days is all it will take –

here’s the link http://t.co/IdIB8TVSgT.

Make this one decision and you will create your own career momentum.


Not a lot of people know this…how to get a great graduate job

Well you might think you know how to do this.
Of course people do get great graduate jobs eventually but that’s often after some wearisome meandering around which often includes brain numbing time spent on useless websites or wasted hours chasing jobs that have just been filled. 

It does not have to be that painful or gutwrenching or just plain life sapping.  It is not easy but there are easier ways of doing this and it’s not some big secret that only a handful know.

This is a blog trailer for Fast Forward February, a kind of gentle but timely bootcamp for UcLan final years, starting 10 February and taking minuscule amounts of time.  It will mean that you will know what to do NOW to get your graduate career started.
If you’re thinking ‘That sounds a good idea’ but you are dissertation busting or even just a little or a lot lazy, resist that ‘do nothing’ impulse.  You really need this.

Check the Uclan Careers website http://www.uclan.ac.uk/students/employability/futures/7320.php
http://bit.ly/1ea9EUM for the programme and make this your first smart career decision.

Whether you have no idea what to do next or some vague ideas, this will help you.

Career Life Plans – what next? Career happiness takes a little work.

Some of you UCLAN people are avoiding conversations about what next – that what you will do next when you have no clue thing.
It’s madly and sweetly optimistic to think that it will all turn out alright. Of course, something will come up that will be perfect and then you will know what it is that is right for you.
Never happens. Never happens. Wish it did but it wont. Not normally cynical – you know that – but it’s going to take some effort to discover your perfect or nearly perfect career plan.
We can help. All you have to do is seek us out. We can be virtual or fleshy – sounds wrong, but you know what I mean.
Mad to avoid Futures http://www.uclan.ac.uk/futures. Get some job ideas, find a paid work placement, take your ‘no clueness’ to a Careers Adviser, get your CV checked. I could go on but you probably can guess the rest.
Do something now that gets your head a little bit clearer. Then do something else tomorrow and so on. One thing a day. Not so strenuous. You can fit it in or suddenly it will be graduation day and a you will be facing a blank space of ‘What now?.
Imagine what it would be like to be starting your career life with a first good leap. Exhilarating. There’s something great out there waiting for you but you need to work to get great work. We can show you how.

A Career Happy New Year – Mondays and Fridays

Mondays and Fridays. Do they feel the same? If you live for weekends there’s a whole lot of life that you’re missing. Time to enjoy the working week.

So how can you make this happen? Well it depends..
Perhaps you like a dull job – the tasteless lettuce in the sandwich of your life. No – some people want a non-descript job so they can conserve their creative juices for the real thing they love to do.

But how would it be if the working week was joyful, energising, meaningful, fun – pick what you know would be right for you. There’s the thing though. Most people haven’t even thought about what they want from work, what it needs to be like, the recipe for their own unique job satisfaction. Time to start compiling your list of what you really, really want from your worklife career thing. Small chance of discovering a great career destiny if you don’t do a bit of the thinking first.

UCLAN people – we want to help with this. Loads of help and gentle coaxing on offer to get you in the right headspace for inspiring career moves.

We have great courses (electives and short courses) in Semester 2, workshops and webinars and friendly experts to help you. Mad to miss the stuff we provide.
Email, phone, facebook us http://www.uclan.ac.uk/futures in January 2013 for a truly amazing New Year.

50 seconds of grey – CVs that lack colour

Think of someone new you met recently.  Remember them?  Anything about them?  They might have been nice but now there’s a blank.  Memory is a curious thing.  Being memorable requires someone to be slightly novel or quirky in some way.  So what makes a CV memorable?

An attention blink

Most people know that a CV needs to punch above its weight and push through the crowd to get noticed.  When there is a glut of anything (CVs or greenhouse tomatoes), the juicy ones that look so perfectly formed and ripe that they almost drop off the plant into your hand, are the ones that get picked (remember Pick Me CVs).  CVs have to grab an attentional blink from someone whose attention is at best focused in 30 second blasts, 50 seconds max.

We all have an attention deficit and recruiters who have to scan through piles of CVs every day have less time and less inclination to persevere and read your sizzling CV content if the shape and presentation of the CV distracts or turns off their attention through strange arrangements of text, bland phrases and primary school errors of punctuation and spelling.

Colourful CVs – ditch the grey

Your CV can be genuinely colourful because you have actually thought about using coloured print or headings or even for a designer’s CV you have added some visual aspects that show you have a good eye.  Your CV can be metaphorically colourful because of the words or phrases you use, the arrangement of sections or clever use of web links that take the reader to additional impressive stuff.

Infographic CVs use techniques to capitalise on visual dynamics while ensuring the text also zings.  There are wonderful examples on Pinterest http://pinterest.com/search/?q=Infographic+CVs.

Take a look at them and see if you can borrow some ideas to make your CV just show you off a little more.  While visually creative CVs are predominantly used for design sector applications, we can all use a little bit of these presentation tricks.  Who doesn’t yearn for a makeover?  It’s not about being fake.  It’s just showing yourself off – a good career day.