The Queen Mary Careers & Enterprise Centre, based at the Mile End Campus, was started as a way of providing a gateway for students in need of work. As well as providing support with anything to do with your future career or setting up a business, the QMUL Careers & Enterprise also has three dedicated ways of helping students gain work experience and valuable skills:
- QProjects: meaningful work experience opportunities in local charities.
- QInterns: high-quality internships specifically sourced for students/graduates.
- QTemps: paid part-time and temporary work.
Having been an avid user of all three, I am well-versed in the benefits of utilising the QMUL Careers service.
Starting out as a fresh-faced, inexperienced Law undergraduate, I soon realised that I had no clue what I wanted to do, but did not want to feel left behind. While many others were busy creating a formidable CV to start applying for training contracts, I found the strain of coursework time-consuming enough. But, being faced with the longest summer I had ever had, I had a stark realisation – I needed a job.
I had already had an interest in human rights and so applying for a QProject during the summer at a human rights organisation was a great start for me. It helped me develop in key areas such as my research and writing skills. I also gained valuable knowledge of working within a charity, a prospect I had started to consider during my first year.
I also used other services offered by the Careers & Enterprise Centre. Students can book appointments for practice interviews with a Careers Consultant, introducing me to the STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result) method of answering questions. I also learnt how to polish up my CV to show my skills in the best possible light. I found myself being more confident at interviews and finding it easier to get noticed.
Towards the end of my degree, and having a slightly better idea of what I wanted to do, I applied for a QInternship at a start-up based in London. The start-up was a PR agency that offered tailored marketing strategies. The small team meant that I could get hands on experience whereas in other, larger agencies I would have to wait years before I would get the chance. I was initially there for six months but they extended my contract for a further four months! It was fun and interesting, and I built up a network of trustworthy colleagues.
Then, having done both a QProject and QInternship role, I was able to progress easily into a QTemps position. I found myself working in the very place that helped me – as a Careers Administrative Assistant! I now help Rachael, the Senior Recruitment Office, with the administrative tasks that surround setting up a student/graduate in a temp position. So I’m developing my skills even further and learning more about careers work which is helping me to think about what I want to do.
QMUL Careers also provides a fantastic support service for recent graduates which meant even though I had graduated from Queen Mary, I could get some advice on what to do next. For example, I was directed to the JobOnline website, which has vacancies from all University of London affiliates. I could also set up email alerts for jobs which fit my specific criteria so I could take time over my applications.
Overall, the careers service played a very vital role in developing my careers prospects and supported me throughout my degree!
Administrative Assistant, Careers & Enterprise Centre