We are coming to the end of our spring campus tour and boy have we been busy. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve travelled up and down the country visiting the likes of the universities of Birmingham, Lancaster, Loughborough, Manchester and Man Met (both in one day which tested my capacity to be in two places at once, but kept me fit running up and down Oxford Road) London, Leeds, York and more!
It’s always fantastic to meet hundreds of interesting and curious students and one thing that I’ve picked up is that most of you have the same concerns and therefore ask many of the same questions. So in an effort to reach those of you that couldn’t make it to chat with us in person, here’s a rundown of the most commonly asked questions at careers events.
- Do I need experience for an internship with Step?
Can’t get a job without experience, can’t get experience without a job. It’s that old Catch-22. That’s where we come in. We often consider our internships and placements to be the first step on the ladder. The businesses we work with aren’t looking for people with 4 or 5 years of experience, they work with Step precisely because we link them up with students and recent graduates. They appreciate your fresh ideas, your new and different perspectives and importantly your potential to grow and develop along with the business.
Now that isn’t an excuse to do nothing! Experience, in whatever shape or form (society experience, voluntary experience etc) is still going to be vital in helping you to stand out from the crowd.
Do you have opportunities for First Year students?
This ties into the first question, but the short answer is yes, of course. We don’t structure our summer internships by year and generally the year you are in will have no bearing on whether you secure a summer placement.
Here’s a blog by business studies undergraduate Jason who completed a summer internship in recruitment between his first and second year.
- I’ve seen a graduate opportunity on your website, I graduate in June can I apply for those opportunities?
Unless stated on the job specification, our current graduate opportunities are looking for immediate starters. This means you will be automatically rejected if you are still studying until June. Occasionally these roles can open up for final year students, but this will be reflected in the job advert. If you are looking for a graduate job for when you complete your studies read on…
- What summer internships/graduate roes do you have that I can look at now?
While many bigger businesses have their summer internships planned 6 or 8 months in advance, smaller businesses just don’t work on the same cycle. This means the majority of our opportunities won’t come through until April or May. So don’t panic if your summer isn’t sorted yet! (A great example of this is from Sam Stevenson who, after being unsuccessful in finding a sandwich placement, instead secured a summer placement, in June, through Step and got the vital and relevant work experience he needed)
One thing to take away is that it’s always good to come prepared to these career fairs. I know many of you won’t have an idea of what you want to do, I know I didn’t at University, but that doesn’t mean you can’t research the businesses that are at the event and come with questions that will give you a better idea of the kind of internship or placement that you might want. For more advice on how to prepare for a careers fair you can read Diane’s blog here