What have you done in addition to your degree to enhance your employability and what do you feel you’ve gained from this?
For the 2 years at Queens I’ve been a class rep and a member of Queens Sub Aqua- now being part of its committee. I’ve also completed various qualifications such as: Full UK driving Licence; Level 2 SIA Security Guarding Licence; Level 2 SIA Door Supervisor Licence; BSAC Open Water Diver; RYA/MCA Small Craft Basic Sea Survival Course and recently an AED course.
Problem Solving: I have developed these skills through my academics. In technology when designing my project, there were times a problem would develop. Using my initiative I was able to find a solution to the problem.
Communication: This is a skill which I believe is very important because many other skills pivot around communication. Through my various stewarding and security roles it was important to communicate well to visitors so that they understood what was happening and to ensure positive feedback. I also became a class rep in university and this was a great opportunity which allowed me to collect feedback from fellow classmates and pass it on to the lecturers.
Leadership: I have been a member of the Boys Brigade (BB) for the past 15 years and have recently moved on to be a leader for my local club. The BB has benefited me by teaching me discipline, leadership, teamwork and creative skills, which I am now able to encourage to others.
Initiative &Team Work: Through the BB I achieved my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh. I was the navigator for the team, ensuring we were heading the right direction and keeping to our time schedule. This was a very beneficial experience as it enhanced my coordination, planning and time management skills. Furthermore, I was selected to participate on a junior exchange trip to Sweden, interacting with a group from Sweden. This was a great experience, teaching me about different cultures and teamwork.
I am part of Coleraine Young Farmers Club (CYFC) and have participated in various events throughout the years including debating, public speaking, stock judging and the arts festival. When I was in the 12-14 age group I came 1st in Ulster for dairy stock judging. I feel that this was a great achievement because I am not from a farming background. From doing this competition my confidence improved and I have since won further competitions including impromptu and also became runner up in the county Londonderry junior young farmer of the year.
All of this while working as a steward and security officer across UK and Ireland and at one point also working at same time as a tour guide and first aid at the giant’s causeway. Prior to this I worked for 3 years at a garden centre.
Of recent I have secured placement with the Jagex games company, Cambridge. The role I have been given is the Junior QA tools developer position. It will be very challenging but it will be very beneficial by teaching me a lot about various coding systems which could prove useful in final year and when seeking a job after graduation.
Making use of Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen’s
I used Careers advisers to check my CV and when I was invited to interview I asked for information from students who have previously went through interviews with that company so that I knew what was likely to come up. For the Jagex Interview, I asked for advice any current students at the company would have, in terms of questions or layout of the interview. The careers team were very helpful in giving me this information and I was able to pick up some tips about the structure of the interview which I learned would consist of a php test, which I was not expecting. By knowing this is was able to go away and look over key php terminology and when I went into the interview, I knew what to expect. As a result I passed the test and have been given the placement opportunity.
At the same time I also had an interview for Colgate and again asked for guidance. I was able to again pick up some information from previous student experiences and went in with a good working knowledge of the role. I was also offered this position but I decided that Jagex was a better opportunity. Especially because they had over 2500 applicants for the one position I was offered and with me doing Computing and Information Technology and not Games Development, I found this an experience and chance not to be missed.
Any advice for other Queen's students?
Promote yourself, do activities through Queens, to show that you do more than just study. Seek advice if invited to interviews, especially because careers advisers may have information on what previous students have experienced.