This blogpost was written by Emma-Marie Fry, Careers Consultant at St George’s, University of London.
It’s that time of the year where graduate schemes, Masters courses, placements and internships are being advertised for September 2022, with closing dates fast approaching. Perhaps you are turning your attention to your future career and want a steer, especially if you are in the last few months of your degree, or postgraduate study.
The Careers Service (based in the St George’s Library) can support you whatever stage you are at in your career thinking and planning.
You can book an appointment with a specialist careers consultant. We offer 30 minutes one to one careers guidance appointments and 20 minutes application appointment to get feedback on your CV, application, personal statement or covering letter, or simply discuss how to approach an application. If your application is successful and you secure an interview, we can give you the opportunity to practice in a mock interview, and that is for any industry whether within healthcare or not. Appointments can virtual or in person.
There is also a wide range of resources on our Canvas Careers pages to take you through each step of Explore, Plan and Apply.
Plan – Planning is about the action that you take to move closer to your goals, testing out ideas and getting more information. How will you reach your goals? What route will you take? How can you secure work experience? Get extra training? How and why should you build your professional network of likeminded people (and alumni of SGUL)? Should you consider further study?
Apply – How can you put a strong application together for a job or course? Is your CV up to scratch? How can you make the best of an interview opportunity? The support is there so make the most of each and every job opportunity that appeals to you.
It is worth noting that Explore Plan Apply is not just relevant to students and graduates but is how we all make decisions and move forward throughout our professional lives. St George’s Careers Service can support you for up to two years after you graduate but in the meantime, we hope you enjoy exploring, planning and applying to secure the future you want.
In March we held the second annual Careers Week at St George’s, University of London. We were delighted with the participation with over 500 views.Complete our survey for a chance to win £50 Amazon vouchers.
Careers Week 2021 – what did we do?
The theme this year was Resilience, Workplace Wellbeing and Planning your Career in a Pandemic. The programme included Q&A sessions in which alumni and students from a range of disciplines and courses shared their own careers and wellbeing insights, providing advice on how to manage your own future and job hunt successfully in these unpredictable times. There were top tips and words of encouragement for current students and those seeking work or direction as well as inspirational career stories, with common themes of perseverance, commitment, and consistent courage to find and take opportunity. The broad spectrum of careers and study routes open to SGUL graduates was showcased by alumni representing the wide range of SGUL programmes, some were most unexpected, demonstrating that studying a vocational course does not mean career choice and progression is a foregone conclusion.
We would really value your feedback! We are running a competition to win 3 x £50 Amazon vouchers to thank you for your participation. By giving your feedback you will help us improve and make sure we are providing the support you and future students value. You will get the opportunity to give your own ideas and suggestions for Careers Week 2022, comment on the online experience, as well as the Careers Week programme 2021. Complete the survey (5 minutes to complete). Deadline for completion is 21 May 2021.
If you missed the Alumni Q&A sessions then do visit here. See the full list below with key themes covered. It is worth watching a range (i.e. even those outside of your own programme) as the tips and inspiration are often interchangeable between disciplines. Don’t forgot to watch and complete our survey before 21 May 2021 for your chance to win Amazon vouchers.
Careers Week recordings on YouTube Channel
The Careers Week session recordings are on YouTube.
It has never been so important to manage your career to achieve your ambitions. The next St George’s Careers Week (our second ever!) will be taking place over the week 1-6 March, coinciding with the same national themed week.
We hope the programme will help you make the right choices, inspire you with real life stories, re-energise your job hunt, and ultimately, boost your career.
Open to students of all year groups and pathways, as well as recent graduates, our programme of events will address themes like Resilience, Workplace Wellbeing and Planning your Career in a Pandemic. The programme will include Q&A sessions in which alumni and students from a range of disciplines and courses share their own careers and wellbeing insight, as well as advice on how to manage your own future and job hunt successfully in these unpredictable times.
We will be revealing other useful careers and well-being resources during Careers Week and beyond to help our current students and newest alumni on their career path.
Details of the virtual programme is Canvas Careers Pages, Sgul.ac.uk and other St George’s social media.
This is a guest post by the Careers team at St George’s.
Whether you are soon to graduate or perhaps you are a student considering your future, applying for placements or simply looking for part-time work, the pandemic has had an enormous impact on recruitment. Nevertheless, the global spotlight on healthcare and scientific research offers career opportunities for students studying and graduating at St George’s. The importance of what you know and do has never been so critical to all our lives. Undeniably, these are challenging times for job searching as uncertainty is the theme of the day. Rest assured that whatever struggle you are going through now, your career goals and ambitions are still attainable. There are plenty of constructive things you can do to give yourself the best chance now and for the longer term, when we hope the current situation will be part of history, gone but not forgotten.
Here are some of our top tips on how to handle your career planning in this current situation and turn some negatives into positives.
Set a schedule – allocate time in your schedule for career management. This can be a neglected area in our lives. In fact in normal times, people spend more time planning holidays than their careers. With no concrete travel plans on the horizon, much more time can be given to this life-changing preparation. It also means that you can feel reassured that you have given thought and time to your future, and you are in control. Use the Careers pages on Canvas where I guarantee you will find something that will change your life, even in a small way!
Take a step back and be kind to yourself – take time to Explore, Plan, Apply. At St George’s, ‘Explore, Plan and Apply’ is the approach and mantra for career planning and management. This means starting from the beginning to ‘explore’ what different possibilities exist, what do you enjoy, what are you good at? What are your values? There are lots of online tools to help you analyse yourself and the options available to direct your research – options that inspire, and motivate you, or at least provide the stepping stone to your preferred career areas (you may have several!).
Don’t limit yourself to local options – look more broadly than your immediate area or London. You can always return to our beautiful metropolis in future once you have some solid experience under your belt and the cost of housing can be less in other areas too.
Stand out from the Crowd…tailor your CV and application. Students have said when the pressure is on to find a job, there can be a tendency to send off as many duplicate CVs or applications as possible, some quoting 20, 50 or even more, hoping that one will stick. Time and time again, employers have said how this approach does not work. To help you stand out from the crowd, read the job description and person specification, research what the company do, their values and reflect this in your application. Every employer and job will be different so one size does not fit all. There is more advice here in the Apply section on the Careers Canvas module and do book an appointment with the Careers Service if you want to talk through your approach or get your application checked.
Build your network of professionals – Your career will develop and evolve. Develop your network of people working in sectors you are interested in. Check the St George’s Alumni pages on LinkedIn or the SGUL alumni bios to find inspiration, make like-minded contacts with similar interests and gain knowledge
Develop your skills – As you explore different career paths or expand your network, you may feel there are skills that you would like to improve or develop. Perhaps there is an area that you have been curious to try. There are a large number of free (and otherwise) online courses, and what better way to show your motivation to a new employer, while developing your own confidence in yourself, really feeling like you are managing your own development – it is certainly a win/win. Don’t forget too that you can keep track of the skills you are developing through the St George’s Skills and Recognition Award.
Look after your mental health – You are not alone if you are feeling gloomy and struggling. So many are under strain in these uncertain times. Do get help. Here are some organisations you can contact to support you through this time.
Think longer term – In 2030 what will you be glad you did in 2020/21? Developed your research skills and specialisms? Improved your digital skills? Extended your network of professional and scientific contacts? Improved your health/stress management? Experimented with something different?
There are lots more tips here on making the most of this time.
Whether you are just starting out at St George’s, about to complete your course this year, or anything in between; it is always the right time to work on your career management. For those graduating this year, the urgency is even greater to find the right next step, so do take advantage of the support on offer.
Here are some simple starting tips.
Explore, Plan and Apply are the stages to work through. We have a section on the Careers Canvas pages dedicated to each step, supporting you along the way.
Exploring is finding the direction that is right for you and inspires you! Take the time to identify your skills and strengths, see what graduate job opportunities and careers sectors interest you, and network to meet the right people that share your career interest.
You may find that the St George’s alumni stories inspire you and open up a range of possibilities to explore. Alumni from different courses offered at St George’s give you an introduction to what their current role involves and how they got there. Get career advice from people who have been in your situation just a few years ago.
Planning is taking the time to plot your approach to reach your goal. For example, organising work experience to upskill and test out ideas, deciding where to apply for a placement, researching your next course of study. Perhaps you want to explore the Student Ambassador programme (opens October 2020) to work within St George’s and boost your CV. There are many ideas for CV boosting experience on the Careers Canvas pages. Don’t forget to give yourself the best advantage by completing the St George’s Skill and Recognition Award, an online skills portfolio to take you through from your current stage, all the way through your career.
Applying making a successful application, CV and pass recruitment processes. If you are looking for your next move now, and of course closing dates for many graduate schemes are coming to an end in November, we have recently added some resources to help you at this particular time. Have a look at our Canvas page on job hunting in a Global Pandemic.
We hope you can find all you need. Contact us with any queries, worries or feedback at email@example.com
In these are extraordinary times, the Career Services team continue to be available, albeit remotely, throughout the summer. You can book an appointment here and you can find a wide range of helpful resources on our Canvas module. Our pages include links to guide sheets and videos to cover many of your career planning queries. Everything is organised into the three career planning stages: EXPLORE, PLAN, APPLY. And some programme areas, like Medicine and BMS, have their own section with resources organised by year group.
If you are feeling isolated or frustrated by lockdown and wondering what you can do, here are three key ways you can build your careers confidence:
Review what you can do already and what skills you want to build. Check out Exploring your Skills and Strengths on Canvas for some exercises to start you off. Look for opportunities you might want to apply for and see which skills they are looking for. Do you have those skills? Could you build them online?
Review your CV and application writing skills. Could you update your CV or improve the layout so it is easier to read quickly to find the key points? What about cover letters or personal statements? Do you feel confident about drafting these? You are welcome to send your CV or personal statement draft to firstname.lastname@example.org for review. It helps us if you book a slot then choose ’by email’ for the final question. Or check out how to build a successful CV or application.
Cultivate your online network. Are you on LinkedIn? Does your profile need a review? We can help with that. Then you could try searching for alumni who are working in the roles that interest you and check their skills and career path. You can do that by clicking the alumni button on this page. If you want to work for a particular employer or NHS Trust, are you following them? Putting a notification of a job opportunity is often placed on LinkedIn now and would appear in your feed, so you could be one of the first to know. Plus, you will see what the organisation posts about current developments and plans which will help you with your application.
A few more suggestions:
Go to InsideSherpa and enrol (for free) on one of their virtual work experience programmes with leading companies. This will give you something for your CV if you have no physical work experience planned.
Volunteer! St George’s has many opportunities, especially now. These include tasks (like telephoning isolated people) which do not involve leaving home.
To help you deal with the uncertainty, here is a great video on growth mindset and here is an article which includes 15 ways you can adopt a growth mindset. With this, as in all other material here, do get in touch via email@example.com if you would like to chat about it or find out more.
The Library has e-resources available for you look at, covering topics such as getting into particular medical specialties, writing great medical CVs and developing your career as a healthcare professional. For example, you can search for “medical career” in Hunter – our library catalogue. Remember to filter the results to “online resources” only (left-hand side menu).
It was great to see so many at the Careers Week stand outside the library last Wednesday. We had a range of very interesting queries. Here’s a flavour:
Where do I find vacancies and careers information?
What are my options now I have decided to leave MBBS?
How do I get onto the UK Foundation Programme?
What can I do to get onto a surgery specialty?
We checked some CVs and really enjoyed answering all your questions. Don’t worry if you missed us, you can still book to see us for any careers advice or application/CV help on Canvas or email one of St George’s Career Consultants (Karen Deadfield – firstname.lastname@example.org).
In addition to the Careers pages you can find on Canvas (some through your course pages), here are our Top 5 websites to explore:
Prospects.ac.uk – comprehensive information on all things careers from helping weigh up career options to career salaries, postgrad study to going for interviews.
Target Jobs – great on application advice and video interviews but another great general website
Health Careers – explore the range of careers and progression in healthcare.
LinkedIn – start setting up a profile and seeing how to develop areas of interest, check career routes of others and grow a professional network. Connect with St George’s students and staff as a starting point.
Don’t forget: Explore, Plan, Apply!
The Library has resources available for you to browse and borrow, covering topics such as getting into particular medical specialities, writing great medical CVs and developing your career as a healthcare professional. For example, you can search for “medical career” in Hunter – our library catalogue. We have also collected books around Careers and Professional Development and Women in Leadership on our Wakelet.
Today is International Women’s Day, to celebrate we have put together a list of books on leadership that are available in the Library including new purchases, Clicking on the images will take you through to the Library Catalogue where you can check availability.
St George’s is committed the career advancement of women and we currently hold an institutional Athena SWAN Bronze Award. More about Athena SWAN events for staff and students are listed below.
Athena SWAN networking event: Tuesday 22 March 1.15 – 2pm in H2.6
Dr Sally Worth, Director of the Joint Research and Enterprise Office, who will talk about her career through the commercial world and into higher education.
There is no need to book, but to help organise refreshments, please register your intention to attend by emailing email@example.com or to join the Athena SWAN mailing this. This will be used to encourage staff involvement and sharing of information in relation to the Athena SWAN agenda.
Student Organised Athena SWAN events:
The St George’s Athena SWAN student network is a society that aims to empower women in their future careers. The society organises regular events, with events planned for April and June.