All the fun of the (recruitment) Fair…..

Advance notice – and a diversion from exam prep – Tuesday 30th May sees the EGRF (Edinburgh Graduate Recruitment Fair) roll into town again at the Pleasance Sports Hall.

PPLS finalist? still looking for a graduate role or course? This is an essential event if you’re looking for graduate work, further study or opportunity to gain experience.

You’ll find a range of employers looking for people with your range of skills, including –

  • TPP, a leading software company which recently employed Linguistics grad Laura
  • National Library of Scotland – philosophy grad Jamie is forging his career in Library and Information Management, and had placements at the National Library
  • EY – leading professional services organisation, employs Rachel (Cog Sci) as an IT Risk Assurance Consultant and Robert (Philosophy) as a Global Trade Consultant – to name just a few of the PPLS grads employed with EY.
  • Explore Learning – tuition providers – great experience for psychology and LEL grads considering teaching as a career – each year grads from both these subjects go into teaching.
  • Freshfields Law firm –  your PPLS skill-set, and in particular the philosophy skill-set – is very valuable in a legal career

….and so many more…. check out all the exhibitors via MyCareerHub.

PPLS student looking for experience or internships? – exhibitors include:

Want to make the most of the Fair? Come along to one of our short workshopsPrepare for the Fair – get tips and advice on how to make the most of the event – search for the events and sign up via MyCareerHub

So get ready for the Fair – Prepare! – research who’s coming, attend a Prepare for the Fair event,  and come along on Tuesday 30th May ready to make the most of this great opportunity to talk with a range of graduate employers, internship providers and further study institutionstoo good to miss.

Posted in Career events, Career planning | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Your career – how lucky can you be?!

I was prompted to think again about the role of luck in people’s career by a recent article in the Guardian, – The secret of success? Believe in luck’.

I often hear people talking about the role luck has played in their career – statements such as ‘Oh, I was just lucky to get that job / talk to that person / be in the right place at the right time….etc’. However, if you unpick stories a bit more, I usually find that yes, luck has played a part, but so also has the fact that someone has been prepared to take an opportunity, talk to someone and follow up on that conversation, do something different. To make the most of ‘lucky breaks’ it helps to have some idea of:

  • what interests you
  • what you’re good at doing
  • and be positive about trying things that fit with these interests and abilities, without necessarily knowing where this may lead.

Careers happen in different ways – there’s the more obvious route of deciding on the career you want to get into – clinical psychology, law, marketing etc – and putting into place all the pieces of the jigsaw you need to get there – research, talking to people, gaining experience, vocational courses, applications and interviews etc. You’ll find lots of examples of people who do just that.

However, that doesn’t work for everyone – it can be hard to work out where you want to end up – there’s just so many jobs out there.

So there’s also the route without a known destination – working out what you’re good at and what interests you, and following any opportunities which meet or develop your strengths and interests and seeing where that takes you. This is something we Careers people know as Planned Happenstance. It’s not about being passive and waiting for things to happen to you, it’s about going out there and finding your own opportunities through:

  • Following your curiosity and identifying your interests.
  • Being positive – wondering “how I can” rather than “I can’t because…”
  • Being prepared to take advantage of chance opportunities, such as unexpected phone calls, chance encounters, impromptu conversations and new experiences.
  • Learning, developing skills, remaining open and following up on chance events.

You only have to have a brief browse through the PPLS-grad case-studies to find plenty of instances where PPLS grads have done just this:

  • Laura got her first break into marketing via a chance conversation at a wedding which she followed up on (read her section on My Career Decisions in her case study)
  • Hannah took a stepping stone role in a recruitment agency which helped her land a role in talent recruitment with Skyscanner. Key to this was Hannah’s clarity about what she was good at, and being able to talk about why she would be good for the role at Skyscanner – listen to Hannah’s thoughts on this.
  • Rosie never thought she’d end up working as a team leader for VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas). A friend spotted the ad and thought the skills needed matched Rosie’s, gained from leading a team or Saturday staff at Boots, among other thing. As Rosie concludes ‘Do not limit yourself to what you once wanted, what you’ve been told you should be, or what your degree naturally inclines you to. Find that thing that makes you light up, and then find a job that pays you to do it.

In reality – most people’s career path owes something to both preparedness and luck. The key to being able to make the most of lucky or chance encounters, is to be prepared!


Posted in Career planning, General interest | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Strength-based interviews – an insider perspective.

I’ve blogged on the changing nature of interviews – video, strength-based etc – in the past. Now my colleague, Rebecca, shares her insights and advice after observing strength-based interviews in action with the IT employer FDM group. Read on to find out more.


‘Recently I visited FDM Group to observe an assessment day at their Glasgow office (big thanks to the FDM staff who were very welcoming and importantly to the candidates for letting me observe them too!).  FDM use strengths based interviewing as part of their assessment process and I picked up so many useful tips to pass on to those of you who are preparing for a strengths based interview.

1. Preparation is vital

As with any interview the key to performing well is proper preparation.  The wording of many strengths based interview questions doesn’t always make clear that the interviewer is looking for examples, but they are. Make sure you put the time in to preparing properly and thinking through different examples that you can talk about to back up what you’re saying about your skills.

2. Pause for thought

It might sound a bit strange but a bit of silence in an interview can be a good thing.  You might get asked a tricky question, something you weren’t expecting or something you just haven’t prepared for.  You don’t need to launch into your answer the instant your interviewer has asked you the question; it’s fine to take a pause to give yourself some thinking time.  Much better to take a pause for thought and then answer the question rather than fill the time with ‘waffle’ that doesn’t really address the question!

3. Remember results!

In many strengths based interviews your interviewer won’t probe you for more details, so it’s crucial that you give enough detail in your answers, especially when you’re talking about specific examples from your experiences. Remember results and sum up the outcomes from your experiences; were you successful at what you did and how do you know? This also ensures your answer finishes on a positive note.

4. Take an interest and show your enthusiasm

Much of the advice on the web about strengths based interviews tells you to be yourself and certainly you do want to be yourself as strengths based interviews are all about understanding you and what motivates you but you should also consider how you can express your interest and enthusiasm in the interview (you might even be being assessed on the level of engagement and enthusiasm you show in the interview).  Think about how you can come across in an engaging way through your body language, facial expressions and tone of voice.  Interviewing candidates all day is also a tiring business and an enthusiastic and interested candidate can go a long way towards helping the day go that bit better for an interviewer!

5. Beware of the Google search!

Finally beware of just using a Google search to find information and advice about strengths based interviews online.  There’s a lot of misleading advice out there (such as not needing to prepare for strengths based interviews!), so if you’re using online information to help you with your preparation make sure it’s credible and reliable.

Want to find out more?

Start with the Interviews section of the Careers Service website which includes a section on strengths based interviews and links to a few good websites with handy advice on how to prepare.  If you’re interested you can also read my Insider News report giving the full lowdown on the FDM assessment Day on MyCareerHub.’

Many thanks to my colleague Rebecca Valentine, one of the Careers Consultant team here at Edinburgh, for writing this very informative piece and letting me share it with you via the PPLS careers blog.

Posted in Applications and interviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Grab an internship – these PPLS people did…

Whether you’re about to graduate and not sure what’s next, or wondering what to do with your summer – there’s still time to find internships.

About to graduate? See what happened when Harriet (LEL grad) landed a graduate internship with Mackie’s crips, via Scotgrad. Check out Scotgrad’s latest opportunities   – you can apply for ANY paid placement through ScotGrad, regardless of your degree subject!

International graduate? Since 2010, graduates from approximately 25 different countries have successfully completed placements through ScotGrad. Find out more about eligibility here.

Still looking for a summer internship?

Third Sector Internships – now being advertised via MyCareerHub. – check them out..

(Read the experience of one PPLS student on a 3rd sector internship from 2015 – the format was slightly different then – a longer internship – but you get the idea….)

Closing date 17th April –  find them all here: or by searching MyCareerHub. for ‘Employ.ed 3rd Sector’

Key info:

  • All internships are 4 weeks long
  • These are full time volunteering positions for which you’ll receive £1000 funding
  • Start dates range throughout the summer (information is listed on each individual MCH advert)
  • Internships are only open to matriculated University of Edinburgh students – ie not open to graduates and due to the timing not open to fourth years graduating in July.

All roles open to every discipline – check them out below – and find out more via MyCareerHub.

Need more ideas for internships or summer work? – take a look at the ideas on our website in the Looking for Work section.

And for support with applications – consult our online application and interview resources.

Have a productive vacation/future!

Posted in vacation work, work experience | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Psychological therapies – explore the range of opportunities….


NHS HealthCare England have just published a new booklet on all the different options for working with psychological therapies in the NHS, including:

  • Assistant clinical psychologist
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Counselling psychologist
  • Counsellor
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Health psychologist
  • High intensity therapist
  • Psychological wellbeing practitioner
  • Psychotherapist

The booklet – which you can download here – Careers in the psychological therapies NHS 2017 – also contains case studies, advice on getting started, and potential career paths. It’s a good overview of all the different options using psychological therapies in the NHS in England.

NHS Scotland has taken a slightly different approach, introducing the Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology posts, rather than the High Intensity therapist or Psychological well-being practitioner mentioned above.

Two postgraduate courses in Scotland train graduates to work in the role of clinical associate in applied psychology. Both courses are run jointly by NHS Scotland and are a mixture of work and study:

MSc in Psychological Therapy in Primary Care (run jointly by University of Dundee and University of Stirling)

MSc in Applied Psychology for Children and Young People (University of Edinburgh)

For more resources on getting into different psychological therapies, check out the resources on your psychology careers pages.

Posted in Psychology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Why TECH needs Humanities…..

‘Want to create the next iPhone or Uber? Start reading great literature’

I was intrigued by the title of this post on LinkedIn, and its resonance with PPLS, so read it in more detail. The author, Christian Madsbjerg* argues for the value of the humanities to inform STEM developments –

‘When we stop valuing culture, we become blind to the very opportunities that drive “world changing” technology to mass adoption. The greatest challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century are cultural, not algorithmic. And the greatest tools for the study and understanding of culture exist within the wealth of theories and methodologies that make up the humanities’…….

…………….The greatest challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century are cultural, not algorithmic. And the greatest tools for the study and understanding of culture exist within the wealth of theories and methodologies that make up the humanities.

So if you’ve ever wondered about the value of your humanities and social science degree in a technical world, read on – You can read his full article here. 

*Christian Madsbjerg is author of SENSEMAKING: The Power of the Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm and a founder of ReD Associates , a strategy consulting company based in the human sciences whose employees include philosophers anthropologists, sociologists, and more.

Posted in English language and linguistics, Philosophy, Psychology | Tagged | Leave a comment

Need some career inspiration….?

….use our range of online resourced to get inspired!

  • Want a quick kickstart to evaluate where you’re at with your career-thinking? Try Career Explorer! – 10 simple quiz questions to get you started
  • Looking for a bit more detail, using an online programme? – Try Career Planner – an online job exploration tool  to help you identify your skills, motivations and interests and then explore relevant job types.
  • Want to get your teeth into some in-depth self-reflection via an online workbook, written by our Careers Consultants? – Try Career.ed – designed to help you figure out and plan your own career path
  • Keen for even more career assessments? – Try Career Assessments –  exercises around motivations, preferences and values in career planning to help you work out what these mean for your career path.

And for inspiration from recent grads and ideas related to your subject, check out your very own subject-specific careers pages.

Posted in cognitive science, English language and linguistics, General interest, Philosophy, Psychology | Tagged | Leave a comment