Spotlight on Mark Stow

 

 

Mark Stow has worked at the University of Lincoln for 7 years and is currently the Head of the Careers and Employability, where he leads a team of 14 people.  Mark lives in Lincoln with his wife and is also a father to two young children.

 

What careers support can your team offer our new graduates after they leave University? 

All of our Careers & Employability Services are available to our graduates for up to 3 years after they complete their studies. This includes access to:

 

• One to one support with professionally qualified Careers Advisers – supporting with careers exploration to CV, application and interview techniques.

• Workshops – we have a comprehensive range of events which are both delivered by the team and by our external partners and employer contacts. These range from basic job search workshops through to sector specific advice and support.

• Careers Information – we have a wealth of careers information resources that are available both in paper format and also via our website.

• Vacancy Search – our website incorporates an extensive vacancy handling service. We process approximately 100 vacancies a month for our graduates. They can register on our site for tailored emails to receive details of opportunities that match their areas of interest and career aspirations.

• Events - these include everything from ‘boot-camps’ – short programmes to support our students and graduates with all they need to know to achieve their ambitions and to tackle the labour market, through to our annual Careers Fair, ‘Find your Feet’.

All of these service, events, vacancies can be accessed through our website – www.uolcareers.co.uk

 

What advice would you give to graduates to maximise their job search?

The graduate labour market is incredibly competitive. The key to success in realising your ambitions and finding your niche is - engagement. Engage with your career planning as soon as possible. By this, I don’t just mean search vacancy websites, but take the time to consider who you are, what your skills and abilities are, where you can apply them and the opportunities that are out there.

Most importantly in the digital age in which we are now living, use all means possible to connect with employers and people who can support you with your job search. Approximately 80% of the graduate labour market is now commonly defined as ‘the hidden jobs market’. This is basically employers and graduates who are recruiting and securing their first step on the ‘career ladder’ through effective networking, tracking graduates through social media platforms like ‘Linked In’. As a result graduates are now connecting with employers, asking them questions and advice regarding their sector and role. This means that when opportunities become available, those employers are able to go directly to the graduates that they have engaged with rather than go to the expense of advertising a vacancy.

What would suggest are the key skills employers are looking for in our graduates?

This is a tricky question. Many employers from specific vocations will be looking for very specific vocational and technical skills. However, there are a significant number of graduate recruiters who are not looking for a specific degree discipline but are looking for skills and abilities that can be of value to them. For graduates, these are the transferable skills that it is essential that they start to recognise in order to open up the graduate labour market beyond the subject discipline that they have studied.

Some of these skills and attributes most commonly referred to in the current graduate labour market, describe values and an approach to work, that most employers are looking for.

A flexible and adaptable approach is something that increasingly employers are expressing as of real interest and concern. They need graduates who are able to adapt to the working environment, work flexibly and able to work in different environments and with different professionals and clients.

Leadership and initiative are also key attributes commonly requested. This does not mean experience of leading and managing people, but more an ability to demonstrate and apply a leadership mind-set - Someone who can take the initiative, and develop ideas and solutions to challenges in the workplace.

There is an incredible amount of information available on the topic, a simple web search for ‘graduate attributes and skills’ will give you lots of information regarding this topic, and will give our graduates a clear insight into what employers are looking for.

My advice for any graduates is to ensure that you have thoroughly read and understood the person specification for any jobs that are of interest. Read your applications and consider whether you have included all of the ‘buzz words’, skills and abilities that are elicited on the Job profiles.

 

What do you like most about Lincoln?

Lincoln is a fabulous place to work and live. Before embarking upon my post graduate studies and professional accreditation, my undergraduate degree was in History, I therefore love the history that we have all around us. Lincoln offers a great balance between a city centre (which is small enough to engage with) and culture.

The sprawling nature of Lincoln is also a huge draw. I love the countryside, and the drive home through country lanes is something that I will never tire of.

What inspires you?

People, life-stories – one of the great things about working as a Careers professional is the hugely diverse range of people that you get to work with on a daily basis. Hearing people’s ‘stories’ as to how they have got to where they are now, is hugely inspiring and interesting.

What are you most proud of?

That’s a difficult one. I am proud of the work that me and my team do but I guess the thing that makes me most proud is my family, I have two children, Louie (3) and Charlotte (1). They make me proud all of the time. Watching them develop and grow is something captivates me. It’s funny how hearing your 3 year old son tell you a story can fill you with pride!

In terms of my own personal achievement, a couple of years ago I walked Hadrian’s Wall – that was pretty spectacular and one of the most gruelling yet beautiful challenges I have ever done, the scenery was phenomenal.

What would be your perfect day?     

This would be to spend time with my family, but in terms of the environment, I have a love of hill walking, and the countryside. So my perfect day would be a day walking up a mountain peak. Enjoying the surroundings, the fresh air whilst taking in the peace and quiet!

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November 2015

     

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