I graduated from an Anthropology and Sociology undergraduate course at University of Glasgow and worked at a local retail shop for almost two and a half years before attending Queen’s University Belfast to pursue a postgraduate course.
Where are you now?
I am currently working as a research assistant for a foreign direct investment division within the Financial Times in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
How did you get there?
I undertook three two month NGO, government and business placements as part of my master’s degree at QUB. For my government placement I was a researcher at the Northern Ireland Assembly where I gained experience researching and compiling a renewable and sustainable energy report with the aim to help inform policy.
Towards the end of my postgraduate degree I visited the student graduate job fair which was held at QUB. My current employer was present at the fair and they were looking for candidates with language skills, which I already had having grown up being bilingual and living abroad, as well as research and data base skills, which I gained on my placements.
Making use of Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen’s
Prior to applying to my any jobs, I made an appointment with the student career guidance centre at QUB to help me with my CV. I received great feedback expanding and inputting relevant information as well as formatting my CV. My advisor took great care to listen to my career aspirations and was able to identify key career paths to pursue. I also took part in a trial online careers aptitude test which helped identify types of jobs which would suit my personality and my interests. Afterwards I received email feedback information to keep for my personal use.
After the Financial Times called me for an interview, I contacted the guidance centre again. My career advisor was extremely helpful and corresponded via email prior to my second appointment. He was well informed on the role and the company I applied to and took the time to highlight relevant work experience and my interests in relation to the new role. This meant by the time I attended my second appointment I was able to make the most of my time there. I received interview questions and was also able to have a mock interview. At the end of each session my advisor filled out areas covered and aims to work towards. I sincerely believe I would not have been as well prepared and successful in securing my current position within the Financial Times without the help of the careers advisor.
Advice for current Queen's students
I would advise other students to start applying for jobs months before graduating as it takes time to get interviews.
Attend workshops and events. I made great contacts through events held by the careers centre. For example, I attended a social media workshop and made contact with social media companies which I still correspond with and keep contact with.
Make the most of LinkedIn and Twitter. I worked on my LinkedIn profile and updated it with as much information as I could. I added a profile picture, work experience and education, as well as PowerPoint presentations which outlined the experience and skills I gained on my placements. I also connected with people and companies which I made contact with at events and workshops. On Twitter I followed companies, retweeted and commented on topics discussed which related to the fields I was interested in.
Attend student graduate fairs. This is where I first made contact with my current employer and got a chance to talk to them informally about potential job prospects and the company itself. This gave me a great insight into what the role would be like and what they were looking for.
Make several appointment with the career centre. I was able to make my CV more relevant; I got invited to participate in online careers test; I received information on interview questions, possible career paths and aims to work towards; and had mock interviews. Staff in the centre genuinely care for students as individuals and go out of their way to take the time to help you. I am extremely grateful for the guidance I received as it directly resulted in me securing employment in my current job, which has had a great impact on my life.