Careers Scholarship Summer Programme 2017

It was great to work with some of the students doing project placements as part of this programme.  It’s a competitive programme open to students in later years of their BSc or MPhys.

This year I offered two sessions. The first one was co-delivered with Ross Galloway, the academic in the School whose remits includes this programme. This was to prepare students for their placements (academic & industry), address any questions and concerns and help them move confidently into their project placements.

The second one today was to help students  reflect on what they did, what went well, what went less well, how they coped with the challenges and how it might influence future career plans.

Importantly, it was also about  how to present what they gained from doing the project. There was lots of animated discussion, constructive peer feedback and hopefully everyone felt a lot more confident  about how to talk about their project and what it means they can do.

I also think those in the group today will do a much better job at the end-of-placement presentation event as well as in future applications, interviews and networking events.

Big win for the School of Physics – 3rd place out of 300 UK university teams

IBM UBC final all 5The IBM Universities Business Challenge (UBC) Worldwide is the world’s longest established undergraduate simulation-based competition designed to develop employability and enterprise skills and starts with 300 teams across the UK.

Facilitated by Susan Bird (Careers Consultant, School of Physics & Astronomy), the School submitted two teams, one team making the semi-final in Edinburgh. After a keynote introduction from Shelagh Green, (Director, Careers Service), the teams did a series of intensive, timed business simulations culminating in a 60 second innovation pitch.

The Physics undergraduate team – students Imran Marwat (team leader), Fidel Elie, Ziyi Zhang, Adamos Spanashis and Brandon Christman – not only won 2nd place at the semi-final – but also won Best Business Idea on the day, beating 19 teams from other UK universities.

The School funded the team’s travel & accommodation expenses to the London final, the team was mentored by Mike Ross from Standard Life Investments & supported by the Careers Service – a good example of how we work with Schools & industry partners to support the employability and professional development of our science students.

The UoE team of physicists went on to win third place in the final gaining a prize of £250 and beating a number of business teams from universities across the UK.  A real coup for the School of Physics & the University of Edinburgh.

Here’s how team member Ziyi Zhang reflected on the Challenge:

“Thank you for being at the competition and supporting us throughout this experience. I realized studying physics not only made us “book smart” but also taught us critical and logical thinking which can be applied beyond academics.

Combined with creativity and hard work, physicists can be successful in any field of our interest. We should all branch out to areas outside of our textbook, and explore our hidden potential.”

Like a list?

In some sectors, you have to be a lot more proactive to find employers, do some research on them and make direct approaches. Physicists are naturally curious people but pragmatic. A list is always useful…

Physics Connect lists thousands of scientific companies, businesses, non-profit organizations, institutions and experts worldwide.  You can find the searchable directory here. You can also sign up to a weekly newsletter. Find organisations doing work you like the sound of and contact them to see if they will consider your CV. Make your CV and cover letter targeted to them and it will make a really positive impression.

More advice on CVs and cover letters here

Bright Recruits – IOP recruitment site

This website has some great videos giving you an insight into what jobs involve and where they are. Here is just one of them. Bright Recruits also advertises job for physicists in a wide range of academic and industrial sectors. You can search by specialism, there is an Employer A-Z and a search for graduate jobs. Good careers advice too!

Find more here

Edinburgh Graduate Recruitment Fair

Poster of the Edinburgh Graduate Recruitment Fair

Edinburgh Graduate Recruitment Fair  #EGRF16 is on next week with over 60 exhibitors. It’s a good opportunity to explore opportunities.Find out more here.  However:

  • If your palms get sweaty at the thought of talking to employers
  • If you have limited time
  • If you simply don’t know how to make the Fair work for you

watch our ‘Prepare for the Fair’ video here  to get the most out of the event.

Expand your CV! Global Leader Experience

Common purpose image     A great opportunity for students to develop and showcase problem solving and skills, and will certainly enhance your  employability.

100 UoE students from at least 25 nationalities will have the opportunity to work together over 4 days to explore a major world challenge from a local perspective – it involves a partnership between the University, City of Edinburgh Council and The Wheatley Group. You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • learn from leaders from business, government and NGOs
  • discover how a city works and doesn’t work
  • develop Cultural Intelligence as you learn from each other
  • generate innovative solutions to the Challenge which are presented to city leaders.

This kind of opportunity does not come around very often, and it is completely free. Be warned, you have to be committed – it isn’t something you can sign up for and then not attend at the last minute, but then that makes it all the more worthwhile.

It’s run by Common Purpose, a social enterprise with over 25 years’ experience in leadership development programmes that enable people from different backgrounds, sectors, geographies and generations to work together to solve common problems. The programme is open to UGs & PGs and takes place during ILW (16-19th Feb) at John McIntyre Centre.It gets glowing reports from previous participants, including Edinburgh alumni.

Deadline Dec 14th!    More details and online application here :

Candida Martha Menezes, Student, University of Edinburgh, participant, Edinburgh and Glasgow 2014

“I have been inspired by speakers, they made me determined to work hard and grasp every opportunity. I have also learned so much from my fellow participants who are great communicators, innovations and much more!”



U + JCMB 5327 = *CV+*

Make your CV stand out for all the right reasons.

  • This session from Susan Bird (Careers Service) will give you tips and tactics for an effective CV, no matter what you are applying for
  • Any year group welcome but targeted at Junior Hons, Senior Hons and MPhys

When: Wed 11 Nov 2.05pm – 3pm

Where: JCMB 5327

More advice here 

Need your CV to work better for you?

These short videos are a great start to get your head round what should or could be in your CV…and what shouldn’t.

Employers may just ask for a CV but most will expect a covering letter to go with the CV.  Think of it as a presentation package – the CV is factual, edited highlights about you in relation to the required criteria. You don’t have to tell them everything about everything! The cover letter links to your CV but doesn’t duplicate it. It’s the place to summarise what you can offer and – more importantly – get across your motivation and interest in the job and the organisation. If you can include a cover letter, you should.

For an introduction to cover letters, start with this short podcast. Once you have a draft, get some feedback by booking an appointment on MyCareerHub or coming along to the Physics drop-in service, Thursdays 12 – 1.30 outside Magnet cafe, JCMB