Student story: The benefits of volunteering

Thinking about getting some work experience this summer? QProjects Summer has 12 positions in charities open for application now.

jessJess Weeks got involved with QProjects earlier this year, as a Collections Project Leader at the Royal Academy of Arts. Jess wanted to gain some experience in the heritage sector and loved the idea of working for an independent charity – so applied for QProjects. Now that she’s finished her placement, we caught up with her to see how she got on…

What did you enjoy about your placement?

“The Royal Academy was a great place to be in general. One of my favourite tasks, however, was working on the opening of the Anthony Green exhibition. I had to transcribe one of his pieces of work and it was so nice knowing that my opinion was valued. On opening night I met the artist himself! The team were so lovely and really made me feel welcome; I was sad to leave, but I felt very lucky to have had the opportunity to do such a wonderful placement.”

Do you think that doing a QProject has helped your employability?

Benefits-of-volunteering1_(002)“Having the QProject on my CV is really going to help me with further applications. I have learned many transferable skills, had to deal with and overcome certain challenges within the role, and have also gained valuable experience within the sector. In interviews I will draw on my experiences at the RA to provide support for statements of character and experience. I have also made valuable connections within the sector. Networking is crucial and QProjects provides a great platform to start this process.”

What would you say to a student who was considering doing a QProject?

“I would wholly recommend it! It’s a fantastic way to meet people and make connections, as well as allowing you to learn crucial skills within a sector. Although it is unpaid, I feel that this looks better on your CV as it shows how dedicated you are and good at time-management! Do it sooner rather than later – don’t (like I did) wait until your third year to start looking for experience. These projects are a great way to start gaining experience and learn what you like and don’t like, so for me this project has allowed me to understand that I might be best suited in a more educational role rather than curatorial.”

If you fancy doing something similar, further details on how to apply for QProjects summer can be found here. The programme is open to all students and the deadline is 1st June.

Graduate story: Sam, boohooMAN

sambMy name is Sam Babatunde and I’m the Senior Content Marketing Executive for online menswear brand boohooMAN. I graduated from QMUL in 2007 with a Business Management degree. Ever since the first lesson of my marketing module gripped me in a way none of the other modules did, I knew that marketing was what I wanted to do.

How I got into content marketing:

Marketing is a wide field, so when I graduated I was unsure exactly what marketing discipline I wanted to follow. My current field of Content Marketing/SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) was a new digital focused industry that had only been around a few years really, so I had no idea it even existed.

After a friend roped me into helping her market her website to bring in traffic, I started learning more and more about SEO and fell deeper into the rabbit hole until I decided I liked it so much that I should probably start making a career out of it! I applied for an internship at an accommodation website and the rest is history.

What a typical day looks like:

Well it’s a well-worn cliché of the industry that there’s no ‘typical working day’ but some of the roles I’m responsible for are:

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Career information for Chinese students

china-1020914_960_720Statistics show that over 70% of Chinese students who have studied in the UK return to China after their studies, so we’ve pulled together some useful resources to help you to start thinking about your future now.

http://www.prepare2getahead.co.uk/

This comprehensive e-learning resource has easy-to-read sections covering everything from career planning and researching your options to developing your skills, including helpful activities along the way.

It aims to help you make the most of your time at university in the UK, understand yourself and your dreams and goals, and ultimately make yourself more employable.

http://www.innovate2getahead.co.uk/

China is very supportive of innovation and entrepreneurs, and your time at university is a great time to develop these skills. Areas covered on the site include how to think differently, create value and generate ideas, as well as source funding.

Careers & Enterprise resources

Last year Careers & Enterprise published 5 international job search guides including one for Chinese students looking to find work at home. Here you can find out more about job hunting and marketing your QMUL degree to overseas employers – see below.

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How to make the most of the Jobs Market

jobsmarket2

Our Jobs Market on 18th May is your chance to meet employers face to face and apply for live job opportunities. Ask questions, find out more about the employer and apply there and then – simple! With a range of employers from a number of fields, this is a great opportunity to network, make some great contacts and hopefully land yourself a job!

Register your place here, and read on for our top tips to help you make the most of the event…

What to bring:

Copies of your CV (for tips on writing a CV, see our CVs and applications blog posts here), notepad and pen, a list of questions to ask and lots of enthusiam!

Make a good impression

Start conversations with recruiters by introducing yourself. Ask how their day is going and smile to show that you are listening. Be polite – remember that recruiters are people too! Making notes will show the recruiter that you are interested in what they have to say and will be useful for you to refer to afterwards. Remember to ask for a business card – this can be helpful if you decide to make a job application. Finally, try to dress smartly; this will help you feel more confident and counts towards making an excellent first impression.

Ask the right questions

Make the most of this face-to-face opportunity with an employer (remember there are live vacancies available) by asking questions that you wouldn’t usually be able to ask. Here are some suggestions from us: 

  • What roles do you have available?
  • What do you enjoy most about working for Company A?
  • What work experience do I need to have when applying?
  • How can I make my application stand out?

If it’s a graduate scheme on offer:

  • Can you tell me more about what your graduate programme involves?
  • What can I do now to prepare myself for your recruitment and selection process?

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Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES)

Biotech Yes provides business training for PhD students and early postdocs – if you’d like to find out more, we’ll be holding an introduction to the Biotech YES competition and business workshop on Tuesday 16th May (2.30-4.30pm).

Why participate?

  • Acquire business development skills
  • Build and pitch your own business plan
  • Learn about commercial & marketing strategies

Who is eligible?

Bioscience and biomedical researchers from medical researchers to electronic engineers to ecologists.

To book a place go to www.cpdbookings.qmul.ac.uk (course code RC900)

Looking for work experience? QProjects Summer applications open now

  • Are you looking to gain some work experience this summer?
  • QProjects Summer places QMUL students in local charities completing challenging projects which are flexible around your other commitments.
  • Looking to build your CV? This is a great way to get some experience while giving back to your community.

Amrin Nahar applied for a QProject in 2016 and was appointed Digital Marketing and Comms Project Leader at St Joseph’s Hospice:

amrin“The reason why I got involved with QProjects was that I saw it to be a fantastic opportunity to enhance my work experience. I was able to apply for the role of Digital Marketing Assistant at St Joseph’s Hospice. My main responsibility was to aid the Head of Marketing and Communications to deliver a new intranet for the hospice. What I really enjoyed was being able to provide insight and suggestions to the team regarding the project. This made me feel incredibly involved in the team as well as allowed me to gain experience in working in an office environment. QProjects has helped me gain interviews for jobs as the skills I have acquired have been valuable and transferable for other roles. I believe that if students are looking to gain first hand work experience and enhance their employability prospects, QProjects is a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of. As many employers want to see that potential candidates have engaged in practical work experience.” 

Since her project, Amrin has carried on volunteering taking on extra responsibilities, as well as securing a permanent role here at QMUL whilst she completes her MA.

Applications for QProject Summer are open now until 1st June to all QMUL students.  For more information about the roles and how to apply, check out our application form here.

Free environmental auditor training for students

The Sustainability Team are offering free auditing training for students on the 1st June – this training opportunity will be valuable to students that are interested in working in the sustainability sector especially, but also students who would like experience of auditing in general.

Gain practical experience of environmental auditing to make your CV stand out in the competitive environmental sector.

sustStudents will receive:

  • A certificate to provide evidence of their experience
  • Highly interactive training lead by qualified auditors
  • Practical experience of conducting an environmental audit

Schedule:

9.30am–1pm – Auditor training and free lunch
2pm onwards – Students conduct at least 1 audit on campus in pairs

If you’re interested, sign up by emailing sustainability@qmul.ac.uk or filling in this Google form.