First question, can you tell the reader who you are? So name, job title etc.
Karen Watton, Careers Consultant
And what departments/students do you specifically help?
I spend 3 days a week working with postgrad lawyers at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies in Holborn. The other 2 days I’m based at Mile End – currently, working with students across departments but, from September, in the Law School working with the undergrads. I just can’t get enough of lawyers! (I used to be one myself.)
How do you do this? What do you spend most of your time doing?
Hmm, hard to quantify at this point.
I joined Queen Mary just after Easter and so have had a fairly quiet time in terms of 1-2-1 appointments with students as they have been so busy studying, sitting exams and then taking a well-deserved break. For the students I have met, there have been two main areas of focus: for the lawyers, it’s been on how best to approach training contract applications; and for many of the other students, it’s been working through possible career options and developing a plan.
Aside from that, I’ve been involved in some events – for example, running CV surgeries at the London Grad Fair, being one of the team manning the Careers stand at the QMUL Open Day, and running an interview skills clinic.
I’m currently writing sections of a Careers Guide aimed specifically at postgrad lawyers, plus getting to grips with the coming year’s events programmes.
I’m certainly not bored!
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Being relatively new, an obvious challenge has been getting to know people – across sites and departments – plus QMUL’s working practices and cultures, systems, admin requirements etc. Having said that, I’ve never worked in an environment that has been so friendly and welcoming so this has been made much easier than it could have been. Thanks everyone!
What do you enjoy the most?
I love meeting and working with the students – a really impressive group of people. I am constantly amazed at how much students manage to pack in: in terms of academic achievement but also work experience, hobbies, volunteering, as well as socialising. And for many of them, this is not even in their first language.
What are you most proud of? What is your biggest success to date?
I had great fun running a CV presentation at the London Grad Fair. There was a fantastic group of students who, despite coming from different disciplines and not knowing each other, got stuck in right from the word go, asking great questions, coming up with brilliant examples and generally creating a buzz that lasted throughout the 45 minute session. I was left feeling that we’d all learned a lot.
What is the most common question you get asked by students?
Can you look at my CV? (Though this isn’t always what they really want to talk about.)
And finally, tells us one thing we wouldn’t know about you.
I once won a karaoke competition in Hong Kong, singing a Cantopop song, in Cantonese. I’m sorry to say I’d just learned the sounds rather than the meaning so didn’t have the least clue what I was singing about!