Developing your employability at Queen Mary

Developing your employability at Queen Mary


I think my best tip for new students would be definitely get involved in your first year – get involved in societies and volunteering. It’s a great way to meet people and learn new skills. I think when you’re starting out at uni there’re so many exciting opportunities. In first year, the best thing to do is to sign up to different internships in different sectors, to get a feel of what you actually enjoy and where you best fit. I heard about the internship at HSBC through the career services, I think the internship has prepared me in terms of leadership skills, presentations and also improved my networking skills. Q-Projects is a three-month internship based in local organisations around Queen Mary. One of the Q-Projects I was involved in is, “Student Voice” which is a regional charity and I think that really made my CV that bit better. When you’re in university, it is crucial to get involved in societies. There’s so much that you can gain from it: friends, skills, meeting new people and networking. We have academic societies, so societies linked to your course. If you want to increase your chances of employability, we have societies that can help you do that. The types of volunteering opportunities at QM are really broad, so anything from feeding breakfast to homeless people down at Whitechapel to stewarding the London Marathon down at Canary Wharf. It’s just given me a solid ground base of skills. It means that I can go to employers employers and have recognisable skills that they value and skills that have come off my own bat – I’ve gone out and got them for myself. During my first year, I volunteered as a GCSE English tutor. I think having volunteer experience on your CV would make you more attractive to employers, because they can see that you want to work to develop your skills not just to earn money but to use in the future in a potential career as well. Peer mentoring is a scheme that Queen Mary have started, that helps students that are coming into university to get advice from older students, on academic problems, social problems, residence problems, anything that they’d like. Mentoring involves lots of different skills that you need in a work force, that includes communication. That’s such a big skill because you need to as a mentor change how you approach different students. Sometimes you’d have six different people and they’d all have a different learning experience, and that’s why you had to make sure that you were easily adaptable as an individual. Something I did in my first year was I spent a week at BP. It was an insight week into what BP does and how we as students can get involved after we graduate. They made me realise what a big company really needs to see on your CV. Course reps are essentially representatives of whatever courses they pick up, they are the point of contact for other students to go to. I think the skills that you develop mainly as a course rep are skills such as leadership and representation. It’s really important that, say, as a leader or manager within a company, that you are able to speak on behalf of the entirety of the firm. I tend to book short sessions with the careers service to go over my application form that I have pre-prepared or do a mock interview which is really helpful. And that often highlights to you what your weaknesses are, so that you can practise them before the interview. QM careers centre is just so helpful – there’s so many opportunities for us that we just need to grab. University isn’t just about coming to lectures, it’s also about gaining new experiences, meeting new people and developing your career.

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