Emmeline Wilcox, 2016 History graduate
In my first week of university I remember sitting in the History department’s freshers welcome lecture. The department had asked those who had just graduated what advice they would give to the incoming freshers. One piece of advice cropped up over and over again: take full advantage of what the university has to offer. I am ashamed to say that I did not do this – especially when it came to the careers service. I did get involved with the Students’ Union and I did have a part-time job throughout my degree, however I rarely even thought about my career. It was all too easy to become wrapped up in my degree and not to think about my future.
Following the end of my third year exams, I was offered a temporary position in the careers department as an admin assistant for the QConsult programme. QConsult was based in the Careers & Enterprise Centre which opened my eyes to how outstanding our careers service is. The staff are incredibly friendly and they really are on your side, working tirelessly to make sure that Queen Mary students are given the best advice and opportunities. One of the things that struck me most after working in careers office is just how much everyone loves their jobs. Because of this, they all strive to make sure that each student they encounter is given the best experience.
The QConsult programme in particular is a very unique and exciting opportunity and I would thoroughly recommend all students to apply. One of the best things about this programme is that students are recruited on ability, rather than experience. This means that the programme provides an invaluable opportunity for students to get out of the ‘no work experience’ cycle: you need work experience to get a job, but you need a job to get work experience. The feedback from students on the programme has been so positive and I am very proud to have been part of it.
After working in the office and seeing students coming in for advice and information, I decided to book myself in for a meeting with a Careers Consultant to help improve my CV. Before working on QConsult, I did not think my CV needed much improvement – I had worked since I was thirteen and had been very successful with the CV I was currently using. However, the world of graduate recruitment is very different from the world of part-time shop work. No matter how qualified you are for a job, your CV needs to jump through hoops. If you don’t know what these hoops are, then it you will miss out on the best jobs and career opportunities.
So my advice for any student, whether you are in you first year or your final year, is to visit the Careers & Enterprise Centre! Even if you just have one appointment with a Careers Consultant before applying for a job, the experience will be invaluable. You can also book a mock interview to practice your technique, as well as chat about your carer options. As a QMUL student you are very lucky to have such a brilliant careers service, so make sure you take advantage of it!