Situated in the little building on the side of the student union (opposite the Charles Wilson building), the Careers Development Service is made up of a team of enthusiastic people who help us students become equipped for a lifetime of career success through providing us with invaluable experiences to enhance our CV and boost our skills. I have used their services a lot throughout my three years at university and I have found them to be really useful, therefore I am going to outline what they have done for me in the hope that it might persuade current students to get involved with them and show prospective students that the University of Leicester offers more than just a degree.
What I have completed via the Careers Development Service:
Leicester Award: The Leicester Award is a skills development programme run by the Careers Development Service which is open to students who take part in any volunteering, paid work or a leadership position within the student union. The programme requires you to complete 25 hours’ worth of your volunteering/part time work/leadership position, online workshops, group discussions and a reflective presentation. You then write up your experience of the Leicester Award in a portfolio which is to be submitted. There is a lot involved in this but it was a really good experience because it enabled me to build upon my transferable skills and taught me how to effectively communicate these skills, for example I was taught how to use the STAR technique which has come in really handy for the job I am currently applying for. And it looks really good on the CV! Find out more here.
Leicester Award Gold: Having passed the Leicester Award I then went on to apply for the Leicester Award Gold which is an advanced skills development programme which helps you to develop your skills even further, particularly focusing on developing your networking skills. I was accepted onto the Business Insights Leicester Award Gold and so far I have met with a business leader (from Leicester City Council) who set me and a team of other students a real life business challenge, one which they were yet to overcome themselves. We were tasked with trying to discover solutions to this challenge and earlier today we presented these ideas back to our business leader as well as the other students and business leaders (including leaders from law firms, finance and social enterprises) in the programme. This was a rather scary experience but it was a really good way of building my confidence in speaking with employers and in front of a large audience. I think our team did really well as we managed to generate a great discussion following our presentation and we answered the questions asked by the business leaders very effectively. And we thought of some good ideas which our business leader has decided to take on board and work on (well done team!). The whole programme has so far been really useful because it has raised my commercial awareness and given me insight into working in the public sector. It has enhanced my teamwork and organisation skills as well as providing me with the chance to network. The final part of the programme is a mock assessment centre which will give me great practice for when I am, hopefully, offered to attend real-life assessment centres for the jobs that I haver for. Find out more about Leicester Award Gold here.
Festival of Careers: Although I haven’t actually attended the day myself, I have worked shifts manning the entrance and exit and have witnessed first-hand just how useful this day can be. The Festival of Careers is an annual event held at the beginning of October whereby various businesses, from different sectors, set up stalls in the marquee in order to speak to students who are interested in working for them. It is a great way to establish networks with your potential employers and ask questions about what it is like working for them and how best to approach the application process, giving you a head start in securing a job with them.
CV and interview help: The Careers Development Service offer you the chance to book appointments to get your CV checked. They have expert knowledge in what employers are looking for on a CV so attending one these will really help you to improve your chances of being successful in the application stage. They also provide practice interviews and assessment centres, giving you feedback on your performance which allows you to enhance your performance when it comes to the real ones. To book them log onto MyCareers.
Keeping you in the know: If you sign up to MyCareers you will receive weekly updates on jobs that are available to apply for. You can tailor these so that you only get notified on jobs specific to you.
So the Careers Development Service are incredibly helpful as they provide you with experience to enhance your CV (a lot of what is on my CV has come from the activities I have taken part in through the Careers Development Service!) and keep you informed about available job opportunities. I hope this persuades some of you to pay them a visit. I say use them to your advantage whilst you are still here at university!