Think big to enlarge career prospects!

Posted by Payal Patel on 12 January 2016

My role is to advise students and graduates on how to sell themselves on paper, bringing them closer to their dream jobs (or closer to securing part time work to survive!). Matters of gender inequality are all pervasive, locally and globally, even when it comes to the job application process!

Studies have shown that women are unlikely to apply for a job role if they don’t meet its essential criteria; men on the other hand, tend to apply for roles even when they don’t meet the specs, and yes, they do get the job in some cases! Knowing this, I feel compelled to give everyone the strength and knowledge to overcome barriers, psychological and practical, that hinder their decisions in applying for great roles.

Read More

Topics: Diversity, job hunting, employability skills, CVs and applications

Students with disabilities: Top tips

Posted by Rosalind Kemp on 6 October 2015

The Guardian recently published an article offering advice to students with disabilities starting university. Current students have shared their experiences to help people new to university and many of the tips apply to job hunting and careers as well as uni life so here are our careers-focused additions.

Read More

Topics: Diversity

Events this term for LGBT students

Posted by Rosalind Kemp on 2 October 2015

Autumn term's always a busy time for employer events and graduate fairs. Here are some particular highlights with careers events in London aimed at LGBT students and graduates:

Read More

Topics: Diversity, Fairs and Events

Don’t let employers hold you back. Unleash your potential!

Posted by Rosalind Kemp on 10 September 2015

We’ve all been through bouts of unemployment in our lives - spending endless hours scrolling through job listings, writing and rewriting your CV while being part of a huge pool of jobseekers.
When you finally get to the job interview stage, it can be tempting to fall into the trap of moulding yourself to what you think the employer wants you to be. You ditch your personality and take the safe route of transforming into a clone candidate. You start replying to questions with what you think they want to hear, rather than saying what you truly feel. Being honest in that all-important job interview is key to ensuring the employer and you are a good match. If you try to conform to a pre-set mould, you’ll soon find yourself frustrated at work later on.
Don’t try to fit the imaginary mould, create your own!

Read More

Topics: Diversity, Fairs and Events

Money, Money, Money

Posted by Louise Honey on 14 July 2015

George Osborne's July 2015 budget has unveiled the news that university maintenance grants are to be scrapped, as of September 2016.

With this news many are concerned that low and middle income students will no longer see university as a realistic option. Megan Dunn (NUS president) suggested that cutting these grants could be hugely detrimental to hundreds of thousands of the poorest students.

So what could this mean for careers and employability?

A large number of graduate recruiters currently operate schemes and support programmes in order to attract and recruit a diverse workforce. With the potential for a less diverse student body within higher education, does this mean employers will start looking elsewhere for candidates? And what about roles that have a degree requirement such as, law, teaching or medicine - these roles could become unattainable for some of the countries most talented students because they do not have the financial resource to attend university.

Encouragingly, The Office of Fair Access to Higher Education has said it will monitor the impact of this change particularly in relation to access to higher education of those from disadvantaged backgrounds - which is currently at record levels.

For further information take a look at this BBC News article.

Picture courtesy of Number 10, taken from

Read More

Topics: Diversity

Sticking up for STEM women

Posted by S Donaldson on 22 June 2015

Studies show that women leave academic research in larger numbers than men, and are poorly represented at higher academic levels. Initiatives like Athena SWAN have been set up to address the problem, but if you're a female researcher there are other sources of support out there for you too. One example is STEM women.

The site was put together by Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe, Professor Rajini Rao, and Dr Zuleyka Zevallos, three women with PhDs who wanted to generate open debate around how to improve the situation for women in STEM. Here, Buddhini tells us a little more about the site.

How did you first start the website?

Back in 2012, I think it was on International Women’s Day, someone on Facebook shared a list of female scientists whom you may or may not have heard of. Obviously Marie Curie was in it, and there were lots of other black and white photos of women who were mostly already dead. Great that such a list is being shared, but I figured I should put together a list of more current female scientists to whom people could better relate. I used Google +, which was pretty new at that time and had lots of female engineers and scientists who were posting publicly about their work. So I started compiling a list of their names and ‘shared’ them around, making a group of strong female role models who could inspire people. Off the back of that, I teamed up with two other female researchers and launched a website to celebrate females in STEM, and to comment on the current issues they face.

What kind of things does your website cover?

We profile successful female scientists, and host Q&As with them, to help inspire the next generation of female scientists. For example, we featured an amazing woman called Annika O’Brien who runs robotics workshops in disadvantaged areas in LA, and has her own company now. And we also talk to high-profile male scientists to try to get their input in how to improve the STEM environment for women.

And we call out and comment on current issues that are relevant to women in STEM, such as sexism. As an example, last year the journal of Proteomics published a paper on the sequencing of the coconut genome, and the picture that accompanied a link to the article featured a scantily-clad woman holding coconuts in front of her breasts, which was extremely inappropriate. One of my fellow website authors wrote to the journal’s editor to complain, and she received a less-than-satisfactory response from him, telling her it was all normal, and as a physiology Professor she should be familiar with female physiology!

The photo has since been taken down in response to a twitter storm involving outraged people like us. But I think this perfectly highlights why a site like ours is needed. Firstly, the picture went up when it absolutely shouldn’t have. But secondly, when it was taken down, the apology was far too wishy-washy; they were sorry we’re offended, but they didn’t really acknowledge what they’d done wrong. Which is why things like this keep happening e.g. The Rosetta-landing shirt controversy. Some people think it’s silly to focus on these things, that at least the situation today is better than it used to be. But these are the microaggressions that make women feel less welcome in the male-dominated scientific space. We want to shine a light on sexism within STEM, to help the women facing it know they’re not alone, and to try to move the field forward.

Picture courtesy of STEM women, taken from their Nature blog article.

Read More

Topics: STEM, Diversity

A Day in the Life

Posted by Rosalind Kemp on 9 June 2015

A Day In The Life is a project that documents the experiences of people with mental health difficulties on four days over a year to give a snapshot of what it’s like to be a person with mental health difficulties in England in the 21st Century.

Read More

Topics: Diversity

Women in Academia

Posted by Rosalind Kemp on 4 June 2015

The Institute of Physics has recently published a report with the Royal Astronomical Society, Gazing at the Future. Kate Murray, Careers Consultant to the Graduate School, King’s College London attended the launch and is sharing what she learnt with us on Reach:

The report looks at the experiences of male and female physics and astronomy researchers during their PhDs and their expectations of whether or not they will enter academia after the PhD.

The stats in the report make pretty depressing reading: female doctoral students rate the overall experience of their doctorate lower than their male peers; and the proportion of female doctoral students happy with their doctorate is on average 7% lower than for male doctoral students. Only just over 55% of female doctoral students across all years of study agree that they would make good research scientists (70% of male students overall would agree).

Particularly stark was the finding that 48% of female students, in their final year, envisage that they might have a university role in 3-5 years' time, compared with 65% of male students.

The report suggests reasons behind these stats, including the issue of a lack of role models (thus reinforcing unconscious bias amongst recruiters and setting an unconscious bar on ambition on the part of candidates).

It doesn't seem to me, though, that physics and astronomy are particularly alone in these findings. While efforts such as Athena SWAN and the Equality Charter Mark, as well as initiatives by individual universities such as the fantastic photos of female professors in the Strand building, all help to promote academia as a welcoming place for women, the conversations I have with female researchers across all subjects point to structural issues around the competition for grants and working culture that are off-putting. In fairness, they are often off-putting to men looking for work/life balance too.

What to do? Find resilience, set examples, seek good advice, take opportunities. Find a mentor, find a 'supporter' (someone who actively looks for opportunities for you), and don't be pigeon-holed. Think about protecting your self-esteem and promoting your self-confidence. And retain a love for research.

Image (example of simulated data modeled for the CMS particle detector on the Large Hadron Collider) by CERN used under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Read More

Topics: STEM, Diversity, Postgraduate study

Leadership programme for disabled students

Posted by Rosalind Kemp on 2 June 2015

Common Purpose is a charity that runs leadership development courses and they are currently running a programme in partnership with Santander called Frontrunner for Disabled Students. It's a three-day residential course that takes students behind the scenes of a city to visit an incredible range of organisations and their leaders across different sectors (many of whom will be potential employers). Following the course, students will be able to apply to the Santander sponsored internship scheme.

Read More

Topics: Diversity, Jobs and Internships, employability skills

Subscribe to Email Updates


A blog written by experts

If you’re looking for information to start or progress your career then you’ve come to the right place. The Careers Group blogs are written by experts with a mission to help you develop your expertise or start on the right path. with tips, advice, techniques and resources you need.

Subscribe to this blog and you'll receive:

  • Top tips
  • Expert advice
  • Effective techniques
  • World-class resources

Recent Posts