What have you done in addition to your degree to enhance your employability and what do you feel you've gained from this?
I did an internship for Scottish Widows in Edinburgh in the summer of 2016. Through this I was able to develop the communication, time management and practical skills needed to succeed in this particular path. Examples of such practical skills included learning how VBA coding works, learning how the teams work together and how to work more cohesively in a business environment and improving my one-to-one interaction with work colleagues.
Through gaining this experience I was at a strong advantage when applying for graduate roles, this helped me obtain interview invites, this in turn helped me build up confidence and a greater familiarity to the interview process in obtaining a graduate role.
I have obtained a graduate role as an actuarial consultant for the firm Willis Towers Watson in Dublin which starts in late August 2017. I secured it in early much after applying to many different actuarial roles. After going through the hoops of CV and cover letter submissions, online testing, video interviews and a face-to-face interview I was able to secure this role.
During this summer I hope to get a trip planned to Europe or America before I start work!
Making use of Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen's
I have used careers fairs in order to get an insight into the range of careers that are available to me when I graduate. Here I was able to talk to people who worked for these firms and get an insight of what it is like to work for these firms on a day to day basis. Alongside this I have been to different presentations to gain a similar insight.
I also participated in the London Finance and Business tour where I was able to get an experience of what it is like to work in an environment such as London. This helped me understand the roles that existed in firms in the finance industry, this in turn helped me prepare better for interviews for gaining a summer internship the following year through gaining a deeper knowledge of the application processes that firms use.
Advice for other students
I would say it is important to make the most of the opportunities available at Queen’s. The advice that could be gained through visits to the student guidance centre was very useful in helping me improve my CV and future job applications. I think it is also important to get internship or graduate applications in as early as possible in order to become more familiar with the application process.
If I was doing university over again, I’d consider looking more at doing study abroad programs such as Study China through hearing reports from friends in my year who really enjoyed it and felt that they had benefitted form it.