What have you done in addition to your degree to enhance your employability and what do you feel you’ve gained from this?
- Placement- I took two years placement between stages 2 and 3 of my degree. This gave me a real insight into the industry and confirmed to me this was the career I wished to pursue. This working experience gave me a better work ethic on returning to university and helped develop my communication skills as well as giving me more confidence.
- Self-Taught computer programmes- When working on my placement I found there were multiple computer programmes that were commonly used in industry which had not been taught in much detail on my course. In my case, these were programmes such as AutoCad and Revit. Downloading student packages of these softwares and taking time to learn through youtube videos and books has been extremely useful both when working and studying, this is also something I can now add to my CV.
- Gathered contacts/built relationships- Both whilst working and studying I have tried to build up as many contacts as possible, and in as many different fields as possible. This has been extremely helpful in finding new work or getting help with things I am unsure of.
Making use of Careers, Education and Skills at Queen’s
- Alumni Mentoring Scheme – I applied to the alumni mentoring scheme and was put in contact with a director of a large company in my field of work. I found this extremely helpful as I was able to speak to someone with experience. From this I picked up useful tips about career development and how to network.
- CV check – Before applying to jobs I created my own CV and arranged an appointment with a careers advisor in the student guidance centre. She was able to provide helpful tips on improving my CV. I will definitely avail of this service again once I have made another draft.
Any advice for other Queen's students?
- Placement- I would encourage any student, where possible, to try and gain a placement opportunity. I feel it gives a better appreciation for a degree and what you are actually working towards. It is an opportunity to ensure that you are pursuing a career that you enjoy. In my own case, and I have heard of many examples, placement students have been offered a graduate position by the firm they undertook placement with. In some cases it’s also an opportunity to earn money and build up contacts.
- Mentoring- The alumni mentoring scheme was extremely helpful. I imagine this would be even more helpful in the event that a student did not have an experience in the line of work they were aiming for. This is an opportunity to speak