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Other sectors | The Careers Service Other sectors – Oxford University Careers Service
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The Careers Service publishes nearly 50 separate briefing notes on different sectors and occupations. We aim to focus on the career options that attract most interest and attention from current students, and we realise that our coverage can never be comprehensive. This briefing offers ideas for learning about and researching opportunities in other sectors which may not have much visibility at Oxford in the core ‘on-campus’ recruitment events we run.

You may have a long-held plan to pursue a particular career that we don’t cover, or have recently stumbled across something that caught your attention. Whatever it is, the fact that something has tweaked your attention may indicate there is something inherently appealing for you in that idea, so pay attention to your intuitions – your ‘gut feelings’ – and think about investigating further. But how then do you start to explore how to become an explorer or a travel writer, an optician or chiropodist, or an animator say or stunt artist?

There are many potential strategies for researching options and roles, and there is lots of scope for the enterprising individual to create their own personal pathway too. This briefing aims to point to some of the most promising starting points and approaches to help you to make a start.

Remember, whether you are just starting out with your career planning or making applications, interviewing or even choosing between different job offers, staff at The Careers Service are here to help, advise and support you through independent and impartial advice. Current students and alumni can book a discussion with a Careers Adviser throughout the year.

Online resources

The internet is an obvious place to start you search.

Graduate Career Websites

It is no accident that graduate websites feature prominently in the External Resources highlighted in all our sector and occupations briefings. These sites can offer:

  • a wider reach across more industries and roles than a single university careers team (e.g. ProspectsTargetJobs; and Milkround);
  • a more specialist service within a limited area, but providing greater depth and information on a wider variety of roles (e.g. Inside Careers for finance and legal sectors: Gradcracker for STEM careers; Arts Jobs within the arts and cultural sector).

For example, the Prospects website run by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) is the UK’s biggest graduate careers website and provides separate briefings on over 400 job profiles that you can browse by sector or alphabetically. Prospects’ other tools include a Career Planner which recommends job matches based on a personality assessment, advice on seeking work in 30 different countries, and a section around the questions of “What can I do with my degree?”.

Industry Bodies and Publications

If you are interested in a particular role or sector that is not well covered by our briefings, the likelihood is that there is a professional body, national organisation or specialist publication that serves people working in that area. For example, anyone interested in say the area of transport and logistics, or sports management or tourism and leisure can use any search engine to quickly uncover links for:

  • professional bodies;
  • government policy papers, research;
  • industry news and reports and analysis on sectors and future scenarios;
  • trade publications.

These sites are frequently an outstanding source of sector related information, not only providing news and information on current issues and trends but also often:

  • listing member organisations and companies;
  • details of industry awards, including the companies and individuals singled out for excellence;
  • listings for trade shows and relevant events; and usually
  • job vacancies. For example, trade publications nearly always include vacancies sections and you will usually find full page advertisements taken out by recruitment agencies specialising in the sector.

Social Media

Organisations now use social media extensively to promote themselves, their products and careers. It’s not surprising therefore that companies of all kinds are using social media to tell stories about themselves and, increasingly, to advertise positions.  As with all social media, the bigger the pool of users, the more attractive it tends to be for advertisers, so once you have a clear target area in mind, see what you can find on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn … and extend your search to other platforms if you are not finding any good leads.

Firstly, you may find good ‘company level’ information that you can use, but more probably you can seek out individuals who share your interests or who are already involved in the career areas that you are most interested in learning about. This can be critically important, especially if your field of interest is particularly specialised because the smaller the ‘niche’ the less likely it is that there will be the umbrella organisations, magazines and website sites to provide information. See the next section for advice about networking.

Secondly, through interest groups or pages specifically created to support specialist interests, you can start to connect with these people, become privy to their discussions and consider joining the conversation. As above, the smaller the ‘niche’ the more valuable the internet and social media sites become in helping you to connect with like-minded people.

And there are also lots of vacancies now being promoted through social media sites. Big employers use them extensively to share information, advertise positions and allow potential applicants to learn about the company and jobs by encouraging their current staff to answer questions, post videos and share their experiences. And for the small business owner who may already be selling through social media and who has zero budget or expertise in recruitment, it makes sense for them to recruit through the same channels they already use to find and connect with their customers.

Job vacancies

Every job advertisement, even an old one where you’ve missed the deadline, can be a valuable source of information.

  • Firstly, it provides a job title and will list the skills and attributes sought in an ideal candidate;
  • Secondly, it may indicate necessary or desirable qualifications you could consider pursuing;
  • Thirdly, it shows that this particular organisation within that specific sector hires into that role – their competitors are also likely to offer similar roles;
  • Lastly, it may provide a named contact you could approach speculatively, both for an informal informational interview or to see if they are likely to hire again in future.

If a single expired vacancy can give you a better understand of the criteria required for a role, this approach can be used more generally as a starting point to understand potential careers and find organisations to research and contact.

Reaching out for information and networking

As with all career research, eventually you will want to talk to someone who is actually in the career of interest to you. These are the people best positioned to give you information about their day-to-day reality as well as challenges, opportunities for career development, and lots more.

See our networking webpage for ideas of how to make, grow and maintain contacts.

Whatever your interests, it is a virtual certainty that somebody, somewhere is already working the role or business area that you are interested in – whether it’s yoga therapy or knitwear design. People are generally willing to share their experience and give advice if others are genuinely interested, not least because it is flattering to be asked and intrinsically rewarding to help others. The more obscure their particular work, the more likely it is they will welcome an attentive and curious audience, so don’t be afraid to ask how they got to be where they are and what advice they would have for anyone interested in following a similar path.

Start by searching for alumni on LinkedIn, the companies that they work for, and seeing if they have any appropriate entry level jobs advertised. You can extend this to seeking out and joining LinkedIn ‘Groups’, which may enable you to tap into active communities and on-going discussions in the fields that interest you most.

You can extend your networking efforts across all social media tools to find information and people. For example, search for blogs, Twitter feeds and facebook pages of organisations and individuals. If you can’t find anything at all, perhaps get creative and consider setting up your own blog or starting an interest group and see who finds you!

When you have identified where you might want to work it can often be worthwhile to make a speculative approach if there is no position advertised. Small organisations – and sometimes even quite large ones – may not have the people or other resources to advertise and manage ‘recruitment’ but instead rely on who they know and their networks to help them attract new talent. Moreover, in some sectors you will be expected to be proactive and make the first approach to organisations that interest you. See our sector pages for more details.

Our resources: Podcasts on other sectors

Running the Show! From TEDx to London Music Scene

The challenges, learning and opportunities that come from Running the Show.

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 5:00 – TEDx Oxford: Student led international event: Indyana Schneider
  • 24:30 – Oxford Entrepreneurs: Engaging with commercial partners and event management: Chris Williams
  • 47:00 – The Columbo Group: Marketing on the London club scene: Jason Ellar
  • 1:14:00 – Q & A (ends 1:38:44)

An Actors Life For Me

Thinking about acting, drama and theatre? This talk includes speakers from two prominent drama schools and one theatre. The focus will be on acting but it’s also a great opportunity to hear from a theatre manager about hiring actors and other related roles in theatre. We’re delighted to be joined by Mountview, ALRA and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

This information was last updated on 27 September 2018.
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Recent blogs about Other sectors

Events for Researchers in Weeks 7 and 8

Blogged by Rebecca Ehata on 15/11/2018.

Closing soon: Win £5,000 to carry out a research project next summer!

Billed as their ‘Alternative Internship’, investment firm Baillie Gifford’s ‘Curious Minds’ competition, which is open to penultimate year or final year DPhil students in any discipline, represents an exciting opportunity for students who can demonstrate curiosity about the world and breadth of thinking. Entries close on 23rd November 2018. For more details see

Alumni + Researchers@ Jobs for Mathematicians

When: Tuesday 20 November, 15:00 – 16:00
Where: Maths Institute, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Oxford

If you’re keen to explore careers which use your mathematical skills, the ‘Jobs for Mathematicians’ careers fair (16:00-18:00) is an excellent place to start. Get the most out of your visit by attending this pre-fair session, which aims to help you think about employer perceptions of researchers, and considers the most effective ways to present your skills and experience to the exhibiting companies. Click here to book a place.

Effective job-searching, networking and your digital identity

When: Thursday 22 November, 13:00 – 16:00
Where: The Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road, Oxford

Still a few places left at this interactive workshop, which looks at the best ways to:

  • review and enhance your online academic and professional profile
  • utilise your existing digital networks and develop new networks for new career opportunities
  • maximise your profile and networks to find exciting job opportunities.

Further information and booking here.

Communication skills for researchers: Improv workshop

When: Tuesday 27 November, 16:00 – 18:00
Where: The Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road, Oxford

This 2-hour masterclass will use improvisation techniques to boost your ability to respond spontaneously in stressful situations. It will help you deal with the unexpected and feel more confident to think on your feet. You will have the option to practice different techniques in a supportive environment. Book your place now to avoid disappointment!

Workshops at the Oxford Foundry in 7th week

Posted on behalf of The Oxford Foundry. Blogged by Corina Lacurezeanu on 15/11/2018.

Idea Exploration: What is the value proposition?

19th November 18.00-20.00, The Oxford Foundry. Sign up here.

This workshop a part of the wider ‘Idea Exploration’ series. Suitable for ALL University of Oxford students, postgraduate students and ECRs, in any discipline. No prior business experience or knowledge required.

You have an idea, and you have a strong understanding of who your customer is – great! But having an in-depth understanding of the value that you’re adding to your customers is vital if you are to communicate effectively about your product or service. You want to make sure that your customers show up – and that they keep coming back.

This workshop will help you:

  • Define your value proposition
  • Effectively communicate your value proposition to your customers
  • Understand how this differentiates you from your competition

EQuip Yourself – The science of motivation and engagement

21st November 18.00-20:00, The Oxford Foundry. Sign up here.

Motivation comes from vision, goal setting, and celebrating small successes, but there’s more to it – there’s actually a science behind motivation. This Workshop explores how the neuroscience and psychology of motivation works within the brain and how to motivation yourself and others.

What will you learn?

  • What motivates you?
  • Finding your why – Identifying your personal values
  • Understanding the effect of dopamine on the brain
  • Authenticity and behaviour drivers

This workshop is a part of the Foundry’s 12 part EQuip Yourself Series, and is suitable for ALL University of Oxford students, postgraduate students and ECRs, in any discipline. No prior business experience or knowledge required.

Apply to the IMAGINE IF! pre-accelerator programme

Posted on behalf of Innovation Forum Oxford. Blogged by Corina Lacurezeanu on 14/11/2018.

The IMAGINE IF! accelerator brings together science-focussed start-ups with seasoned entrepreneurs and industry experts to provide mentorship and to compete for a cash prize. This is your chance to develop your early-stage science-based idea into a real-life venture. The deadline is midnight (BST) 16 November 2018.

Apply here to the Health and Life Sciences IMAGINE IF! pre-accelerator: 

  • OPEN to all 
  • FREE to enter
  • NO equity in return
  • EXPERT mentorship, flexible and tailored to your venture’s needs. Check out our mentors.
  • EXPOSURE, publicity and networking across the local and global Innovation Forum platforms

The winner of the Oxford competition would enjoy a 6 month lab space in the BioEscalator Innovation LabsThis is in addition to the unmissable opportunity to pitch at the Global IMAGINE IF! Competition in the Next Health World Innovation Forum in June 2019 for more prizes and get the all-needed unrivalled exposure. Hear it from last year’s Global competition winners, the OXFORD startup BioMe.

Is Journalism your Passion?

Blogged by Damilola Odimayo on 14/11/2018.

If journalism is your passion, Journo Resources could be what you’ve been waiting for. With free information and tips on how to start and build your career, internships and graduate schemes, funding, bursaries and much much more, this could be the resource that helps kick-start your career.

Visit their website to find out more.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Endorsement Application – Information Session

Blogged by Elleanor Thornton on 14/11/2018.

This information session (with the Student Visa and Immigration Office and Endorsement Panel Chair) is an opportunity to better understand what the endorsement panel at Oxford are looking for and the mechanics of making your application. We strongly advise anyone thinking of making an application for endorsement to attend.

  • When: 27 November 2018 from 9:15-10:00
  • Where: Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road
  • TO BOOK A PLACE at this discussion contact with your name, course and year(s) of study.

We are keen to support entrepreneurial activity at all levels and encourage all graduating students from any discipline and with any sort of business idea to apply.

More information can be found here.

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