History and Employability during Covid-19: Welcome!

Senior Lecturer Caroline Nielsen is writing a series for us on History and Employability. We know that your future employability will be of concern to many of you, especially in the current crisis, so we hope this series will help. This series will be running weekly. 

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Image of CV writing by Marcus Winkler for Unsplash

Looking for ways to boost your graduate employability profile whilst in lockdown? To help improve your transferable skills and help to pass the time? In this blog post, the first in a new employability mini-series, I’m going to introduce some resources and tools you may find useful now and in the future.

Some of what follows is not likely to be entirely new to you (although some of it might be). There are numerous advice articles out there now on the subject of lockdown employability skills as well as social media channels.

I want to use this space instead to highlight resources that are easily accessible for University of Northampton students and alumni and offer suggestions on how to get the most out of them.

Before I start, I want to make an important point. It is totally understandable that many people (not just students) are concerned about their immediate job or career prospects in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is an unsettling time – there is no denying it. We don’t yet know exactly what economic markets and the world of work is going to be like once we are out of this: we’re sadly too early in the pandemic to know all of its short-, medium and long-term outcomes. It will have negative effects. But it may also have more positive ones, such as more companies realising that flexible more family-friendly working patterns do actually work within their industries.

One very good-news aspect of the situation has been the response of University careers guidance professionals, tutors and employability websites. Many have actively responded to the Covid-19 challenge by creating more online resources for students, no what areas or skills you are interested in developing and how much time you have on your hands.

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You’ve got this! Image by Emma Matthews for Unsplash

So, today’s topic: Two resources to get you started during and post-pandemic

We all know the internet is awash with information, not all of it entirely legitimate or accurate. Engaging with resources written and design by university leaders, careers guidance professionals and industry leaders first will help you locate further legitimate and quality information sites.

The Next Step.org: 

A collaboration between different organisations involved in student employability and training and the Student Room, The NextStep offer guidance for students, HE staff and employers in the time of Covid-19.

This open-access resource is literally brand-new and up-to-date – it opened for business on the 1st May 2020. This means that engaging with it now is a valuable opportunity to see the latest stuff on the graduate job market and improving your employability profile. It is aimed at all current students, soon-to-be and recent graduates, both undergraduate and postgraduates.

It is designed to work in conjunction with your University’s career services (the Northampton careers team is called the Changemaker Hub team) but also offers its own videos and articles on CVs, LinkedIn profiles, virtual hiring processes, virtual careers fairs, and placements. It also offers suggestions for multiple ways you can engage with the Changemaker Hub or other University Careers services. Try searching for some of the key terms on the Hub.

NextStep will be updated regularly over the coming weeks and months, so please keep checking back. You can register for updates or further information on the site.

To access the Changemaker Team: log into Student Hub, click on the ‘Changemaker Hub’ title and off you go. You can also download the Changemaker app for easier access.

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Meet the largest graduate careers website in the UK with millions of visits per year. Prospects is a graduate information site administered by careers guidance and HE professionals and JISC (the UK HE sectors leading technology organisation).

Prospects offers advice for all levels of student experience from undergraduate (first-degree), but most of its materials focus on graduate careers and the labour market in the UK and overseas, and on postgraduate course recruitment. It hosts a large graduate (degree-level) jobs website.

The site has lots of quizzes and articles. It is divided into four main areas: jobs and work experience, postgraduate study, careers advice, and university applications.

For those wondering about what types of thing they would like to after their degree, Prospects also published hundreds of job and sector profiles. The profiles highlight what types of roles may be available in a given sector, basic entry-level information, and what types of skills may be required. You can also read first-hand accounts from graduates about how they moved into that sector.

You can search for suggestions via degree or subject type; the History profile is available here. As you will see, it summarizes the types of skills graduate employers recognise and value from a History degree. These are ‘the research, analytical, teamwork and communication skills that history students develop throughout their degree’ (Prospects.ac.uk).

These two sites are invaluable reading whether or not you know what you want to do after your degree. Hopefully, they will inspire you now and in the future.

Happy browsing!


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