STEM workers

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These disciplines are often referred to collectively, especially in government policies, education / employment statistics, and news articles - you've probably seen a lot of headlines like these:

STEM jobs were hardest to fill in 2016

Women still under-represented in STEM industries, report finds

New STEM education programme rolled out in selected schools

As you'll know if you've ever read any of the stories attached to those headlines, STEM as a whole has a lot of problems at the moment. Many organisations have great difficulty finding qualified workers to fill demanding science jobs, and in addition to the much-publicised lack of diversity in STEM fields, there simply aren't enough young people participating and pursuing a future in STEM, which means that the problems faced by these industries will likely get worse as time goes on.

But is that an issue for everyone else? Just how important is STEM to the world at large?

Why STEM should be important to everyone

The answer, of course, is that STEM is very, very important for the whole planet, and crucial to the continued prosperity of the human race. It hopefully goes without saying that modern society as we know it relies heavily on STEM industries and the talented workers within those industries. Here are just three examples:

  • Computers - The modern world relies on computers to an extent that would have been virtually unimaginable just a few decades ago. We use computers to talk to friends, do the shopping, listen to music, and learn about everything from the history of the world to the correct method for laying a floor. Computers tell us where to go and what's happening there. You probably use computers in any number of different ways over the course of an average day, and it's all because of skilled people in STEM roles who worked hard to make this possible.

  • Medicine - While it's unlikely that mankind will ever eradicate all diseases, it cannot be understated how much safer we all are today thanks to modern medicine. In the last century alone, talented STEM workers saved countless lives by curing smallpox and developing vaccines for polio, measles, diphtheria, and countless other illnesses. One expert has predicted that we will see a "sudden surge" in effective cancer treatments within the next five to ten years. At this very moment, countless people are living and breathing and going about their lives because of the medical advances made by STEM workers.

  • Transport - It's easy to take modern transportation systems for granted. Cars allow you to travel miles in minutes; railways keep entire countries connected; aeroplanes take thousands of people from one side of the world to the other every day. Once again, all of this is thanks to STEM visionaries who never stop working to bring the world closer together and create more and more efficient ways to get from A to B.

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Project management

The science and technology industry is made up of a huge number of workers in a huge number of different roles. The skillset required to work in one scientific sector (biotechnology, for instance) may bear no resemblance whatsoever to the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in another sector (like medical affairs). Science is a massively diverse field that relies on all kinds of different people and their unique abilities.

That being said, there are some roles that can be found across almost all scientific sectors, one obvious example being the role of the project manager.


Project Manager - Role & Responsibilites

A project manager is responsible for planning projects and ensuring that each one is executed to a high standard on time and on budget. Project managers can be found in a wide array of different industries, including IT, telecoms, pharmaceuticals, construction, transport, and countless others.

The precise nature of a project manager's duties will depend on what sector they're in, but common responsibilities include:

  • Communicating with clients, acting as their primary point of contact for the duration of the project
  • Delegating tasks to the appropriate member(s) of staff
  • Overseeing project progress and ensuring high-quality outcomes
  • Making plans and ensuring that everyone follows them
  • Procuring whatever resources are necessary to the project's success

Generally speaking, it is not the project manager's job to actually carry out the work involved in any given project - rather, they will divide up the work between different parts of their workforce and ensure that the project progresses as planned from start to finish. However, a project manager will usually be expected to have a strong understanding of the work they are overseeing.

Click here to browse the latest project manager jobs from Hyper Recruitment Solutions.


Why Are Project Managers Important?

The project manager's role is a critical one because they keep everything running smoothly throughout each project. While talented workers are of course crucial to the success of any organisation, a talented project manager can be just as valuable because they will ensure that all workers are operating in harmony while sticking to the overarching plan. Without a capable project manager at the helm, projects can lapse into chaos and end up missing their deadlines and exceeding their budgets.


Project Manager - Job Requirements

While different fields require different things of their project managers, every good project manager should:

  • Have good communication skills
  • Work well under pressure
  • Know how to co-ordinate and motivate members of a team
  • Be able to work to a strict schedule
  • Have strong organisational skills

Looking for a job in project management? Browse project manager vacancies >

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Graduating from university is a great feeling, but tossing your mortarboard in the air is also the precursor to one of the biggest and scariest steps you'll ever have to take: the step away from student life and into the world of work.

Searching for your first full-time job can be a gruelling and demoralising task. If you've just left university, you probably don't have a whole lot of relevant work experience just yet, and as a result you may feel that you're at a significant disadvantage as you struggle to get a foot on that all-important first rung of the career ladder. But rest assured that there are many employers out there who are desperate to recruit talented graduates like yourself - you just have to make sure they know about you!

With that in mind, here - courtesy of science job specialists Hyper Recruitment Solutions - are 5 top tips for graduates who are looking for jobs:

1) Before you apply for anything, Google yourself.

No matter what sort of role you're looking to land, you can bet that the person who receives your job application will pop your name into a search engine before deciding whether or not to offer you an interview. This is the 21st century, and these days, potential employers will often scrutinise your online presence just as much as your CV. So make sure you're not showing them anything you don't want them to see!

Before you begin your job search, you should:

  • Type your name into Google to see what comes up on the first page of results. (If you have a common name, or if you share your name with somebody famous, you may want to try including your location in the search - e.g. 'daniel radcliffe sunderland' - to find pages that are specifically about you.) Is there anything in there that might damage a potential employer's opinion of you? A Twitter account, a news story, something you wrote years ago that you're not particularly proud of? It may not be possible to erase every piece of information about yourself, but if you're able to eliminate any red flags then you absolutely should.

  • You should also use Facebook's 'View As...' feature to find out how much of your profile is visible to the public. If necessary, adjust your privacy settings so that only your friends can view the things you post. You don't want your future boss to see those drunk photos of you from your graduation party, do you?

2) Make your CV shine.

Composing an impressive CV can be tough when you're fresh out of uni, especially if you haven't previously held a role that's similar to the one you're applying for. But don't assume that the experience you do have is worthless - just because you've never worked in an office before doesn't mean that you've never exercised the skills needed to succeed in that environment.

The key is to think outside the box a little bit. Let's say you're applying for a marketing job at an FMCG company - sure, you've never occupied a marketing post before, but you completed a degree, and perhaps you even worked a part-time job or two while you were studying. These and other experiences will have equipped you with:

  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • The ability to approach tasks creatively
  • Strong communication skills
  • The ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure
  • An understanding of how to behave when dealing with customers/clients
All of these things are highly valued by employers in all sorts of different sectors, so don't be reluctant to include them on your curriculum vitae. Don't think in terms of experience - think in terms of skills!

3) Cast your net wide.

Different employers advertise their vacancies in all sorts of different places, so don't limit yourself to a single website or job listings board. By all means sign up with big names like Monster and Indeed, but bear in mind that there are lots of specialist recruiters out there too - recruiters like Aspire for the digital / media sector and HRS for science jobs. Some organisations, having a limited budget for this sort of thing, will exclusively recruit via these more specialised portals, so don't kid yourself that you'll see every available vacancy just because you check Reed every day.

4) Don't go back into higher education without a good reason.

Postgraduate courses are great, and in some cases, you'll need a master's or a PhD to get the career you really want. However, far too many graduates sleepwalk into postgraduate programmes simply because they don't feel ready to compete for full-time employment.

That's usually a bad decision. Higher education is expensive, as you're no doubt already aware, and while you might tell yourself that a more advanced qualification will lead to better career prospects, the evidence on that front is somewhat ambiguous.

Yes, entering the world of work can feel like jumping into an abyss, but you shouldn't go back to university just because you're cosily familiar with academic life and scared of sampling the alternative. If you have a clear goal in mind (e.g. 'I need additional qualification X in order to be considered for job Y') then by all means go for it, but otherwise, you're probably better off taking the leap into full-time employment.

5) Remember - you're not committing to a career for life. 

When searching for jobs to apply for, try to bear in mind that your first post-university job doesn't necessarily have to lead to the career of your dreams. Many people don't even decide on a career until quite a bit later in life, so don't feel pressured to apply exclusively for jobs that are directly linked to whatever you think you'd like to be doing in ten or twenty years' time. You might only stay in this first job for a year or two - and that's okay, because it will still give you a lot of extra experience and a lot of new things to add to that CV of yours.

So those are our top 5 tips for gradaute jobseekers, and we hope they'll come in handy! Of course, there's no secret formula or trick for landing any job you apply for, but it's important to stay positive and keep striving for success even if you suffer a setback or two. Just because your first few applications didn't lead anywhere doesn't mean that you should give up - keep going, and you'll be starting your new job before you know it!

Searching for jobs in the science/technology sector? Click here to create a candidate account and browse the latest vacancies from Hyper Recruitment Solutions!

Have you considered a career in recruitment?

Here at HRS, we are looking for talented individuals who want to make a difference to the science and technology sectors through recruitment. We have a number of positions available for trainee Recruitment Consultants / Graduate Sales Executives to join our growing sales teams.

The recruitment industry is one of the most rewarding and desirable sectors to work in. If you have an outgoing personality, are good with people, and happy to work hard to succeed in life, then you are perfect for a job in recruitment. We will train you to the highest possible standards and develop your skills and knowledge of the recruitment industry. If you have a passion and enthusiasm for doing the job right, this position offers great rewards.

Apply now >

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FMCG stands for fast-moving consumer goods. An FMCG company is any company that produces these goods. Well-known FMCG companies include Unilever, Nestlé and The Coca-Cola Company.

Examples of fast-moving consumer goods

The definition of FMCG is very broad - any items that are sold at relatively low prices and consumed relatively quickly may be considered examples of 'fast-moving consumer goods'. Most of the products in your local supermarket probably qualify.

Common FMCGs include:
  • Fruit and veg
  • Meat
  • Soft drinks
  • Dairy products
  • Bread and other baked goods
  • Toiletries (e.g. toothpaste, deodorant)
  • Alcohol and tobacco
  • Confectionery
  • Batteries
  • Some forms of medication
FMCGs are sold in high volumes at low prices and used up rapidly (as opposed to durable goods - such as cars, appliances and furnishings - which are purchased less frequently and expected to last much longer).



Challenges for FMCG companies

There's a lot of money to be made in the FMCG industry, but these goods tend to have a small profit margin and - in many cases - a short shelf life. This means that, in order to thrive, FMCG companies must strive to sell as many units as they can as quickly and as consistently as they can. This requires shrewd marketing (to get people to make an initial purchase) and high product quality (to keep people coming back for more purchases going forward).

Other challenges for FMCG companies include:
  • Extending shelf life of perishable goods
  • Reducing impact on the environment (e.g. from discarded packaging)
  • Keeping costs low enough to compete on price

Roles within the FMCG industry

The FMCG industry is very large and extremely varied, with all sorts of roles available for all sorts of different skill sets. Talented workers from STEM fields are highly sought-after in this sector, as these are the people who can help FMCG companies to:
  • Improve product quality / effectiveness
  • Drive down costs via technological advancements
  • Boost shelf life by delaying product expiration
  • Create more environmentally-friendly products and packaging solutions
The ingenuity, expertise and creativity of skilled scientists have long been crucial to the success of the world's largest FMCG companies, and there's no shortage of roles for gifted science/technology workers in this particular sector.


Image courtesy of pixabay.com
Telephone Interview

So you've just heard back from that job you applied for, and it's good news: they were impressed with your CV, and you've made it through to the interview stage. However, this won't be a traditional, face-to-face job interview - as it turns out, this particular employer prefers to do things over the phone.

You might be pleased to hear this at first. On paper, a telephone interview sounds quite a bit easier than the alternative: no need to get a haircut, no need to iron your interview suit, no need to worry about how you're going to get there on time. All you have to do is pick up the phone and have a conversation. Simple, right?

But being interviewed over the phone rather than meeting your potential employer in the flesh does have its disadvantages. For example...

  • The employer won't be able to connect with you in quite the same way as if you were right there in front of them. Facial expressions and body language are important when you're trying to get someone to warm to you, but you can't rely on them during a phone interview - instead, you're forced to present yourself well and get your points across using speech alone.

  • Similarly, you won't be able to use the interviewer's physical cues to assess how well (or not) the interview is going. It can be difficult to give a relaxed and confident performance when you don't know whether the person you're talking to is smiling or frowning.

  • Telephone interviews tend to be shorter and less in-depth than traditional job interviews, which leaves you with a significantly smaller window of opportunity. Less time means fewer chances to talk yourself up and persuade the interviewer of your suitability for the role.

  • While it can be nice to conduct a job interview from the comfort of your own living room, the home environment can be distracting and detrimental to the professional image you're trying to project. Many a remote interview has been interrupted by a child or pet wandering into the room at an inopportune moment, and even if you're home alone, there's still a chance that the doorbell will ring, or that you'll get sidetracked by one of the many other things vying for your attention.

By now, you should be beginning to realise that telephone interviews aren't necessarily the walk in the park that they may resemble at first glance. There are a lot of obstacles to overcome, and we haven't even mentioned the fact that some people genuinely struggle to talk on the phone (even if they're perfectly outgoing and eloquent in person).

But don't despair - you can still ace your phone interview and land the job of your dreams without a hitch. To help you do so, here are five top telephone interview tips from the experts here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions:

1. Choose the right space.

Our phones go everywhere we go nowadays, which means that it's possible to take calls in the park, the car, the supermarket, and just about anywhere else you fancy. However, if at all possible, you should avoid conducting a job interview while on the go; instead, find a quiet, secluded room where you can be fairly certain you won't be interrupted. Try to choose somewhere with as few distractions and diversions as possible.

2. Focus on the task at hand.

Ideally, you shouldn't be doing anything else while you're being interviewed. You wouldn't doodle or surf the web or watch TV during a face-to-face job interview, so you should absolutely avoid those activities when on the phone. And don't eat anything during the call - it's impolite, and the person on the other end might have a hard time understanding you with your mouth full.

3. Make notes beforehand.

It never hurts to prepare. Keep your CV handy throughout the call (along with your cover letter, the company's details, and anything else that might prove useful) so that you can quickly refer to key information as necessary. Before the interview, you may also wish to draft answers to common questions so that you won't 'um' and 'ah' too much when you're in the hot seat. If you don't think it will be too much of a distraction, it might even be worth keeping a pen and some paper handy during the call itself so that you can make notes on the fly.

4. Don't speak too quickly.

During any sort of interview, it's easy to let your nerves get the better of you and speak too quickly to be understood. Before responding to each question, take a breath and remind yourself to answer slowly, steadily, and clearly. You'll come off a lot better for it, and the interviewer won't have to ask you to repeat yourself.

5. Be concise.

Just as it's important to try not to talk too fast, it's also important not to talk too much. Waffling on needlessly won't endear you to your potential employer - it's never fun to sit through a long, rambling answer, and it's even worse when you're on the phone and the physical cues we discussed earlier aren't present to make the monologue more engaging. If you really want to impress, answer each question in as few words as possible (while still making your point clear each time).

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