What is the University Milk Round?

This is the term that is used to describe companies which visit universities and other institutions of higher education in order to recruit students who are usually in their final year of study for graduate employment within their companies.

It is individual universities which will organise careers fairs, usually in the Autumn and Summer terms, and invite a selection of companies to visit. Larger companies which tend to visit universities in search of potential graduate employers include large retailers like Tesco and Lidl, Marks and Spencer and Argos; accountancy firms like Deloitte and KPMG, engineering companies such as Cummins and food groups like Kraft and Brakes, plus design companies, marketing and advertising firms and business consulting companies.

It is noticeable that the job market seems to be improving from 5 or 6 years ago when the recession was hitting everybody, including graduate employment. But most universities are reporting more companies visiting their graduate careers fairs today than in previous recent years. The only exception is within the area of public sector graduate jobs where government spending cuts, at both national and local levels, have scaled down public services and significantly reduced employment within this sector.

New year, new job

Although many people find January a rather depressing time of year; a time which can feel “flat” after the vibrancy and liveliness of the Christmas period, for others, it is seen as a time to make changes and this may include looking for a more rewarding and challenging job.

You can help yourself to do this by staying positive about your ability and available jobs. A positive outlook on life needs to come across well on your application form and at interview. Don’t gush, but do be enthusiastic about what you enjoy doing and how you think you will be good at a new job. Make sure you’re looking smart too. The new year may be time to invest in a new style of clothes and a new haircut.

Do look over your CV. You may need to update information and include more recently acquired skills. Have a look at transferable skills which may help especially if you are considering a change in career or want to try something different.

The new year is a good time for brushing up on rusty skills or for learning something new. Many local colleges may offer night classes in improving computer skills or in updating first aid training or even in improving foreign language skills.

Finally, think ahead.  When applying for jobs, do a little research into the the company to which you are applying and the job which you are hoping to do.  Think about your interview and even practise answering typical interview questions in front of a mirror.  You may feel a little silly but this could pay dividends later.

Is a second language useful in the job market?

British people are notoriously poor at speaking another foreign language and for those who struggled to learn a smattering of French, German or Spanish at school, it may seem a rather useless subject when it appears that most of the world seems to speak English more than competently.
However, many employers do view more favourably candidates who can speak a second language than those who do not. This is true even when speaking a specific or a second language is not part of the job specification. Learning a new language enables a person to have a broader understanding of another race or culture which means a candidate is likely to be more flexible or is more open to looking at things from a different perspective. In today’s world where the internet can connect us to others thousands of miles away in seconds, the ability to have a knowledge and understanding of others can only be an advantage.
The ability to speak more than one language definitely gives candidates a competitive edge over others. With the rise in immigration in the UK over the past 10 to 15 years, there are many children growing up speaking English in school and another language at home, giving them an advantage over children from families where only English is spoken. For those who are determined to succeed, they may want to try learning a less common foreign language. British companies are opening markets in Russia, Brazil, China and parts of the Middle East and competent speakers of Russian, Portuguese, Chinese and Arabic may find themselves in demand.