Early bird, gets the worm.
We live in a competitive world. There is no hiding from the fact that we will be entering the dreaded job market at some point in our lives. Over the last two years at University, I found starting to think about careers early is good policy. QMUL provides a range of opportunities you can get involved with, I’ve outlined them below.
- Find a QMUL society that interests you and become actively involved – this will put you in a good position to look for a place on the committee in your second year. Alternatively, get involved in some other on campus activity: you could be a course rep, QMSU volunteer, writer for QMedia, student ambassador or undertake one of any other number of positions offered by QMSU. Equally, if you live at home you might undertake a similar position of responsibility in your local community – through a faith group or local residents group.
- Undertake a QProject, one day a week in a local charity, to build evidence of transferable skills that will make you more employable as a summer intern or part time worker. Our stats show us that over 93% of graduates who have undertaken a QProject find graduate work when they leave.
- Take part in QConsult builds on Queen Mary’s award-winning employability programme. It places a diverse range of exceptional QMUL students into mini consultancy projects in local businesses and charities. Local organisations are able to solve a business challenge while providing a meaningful opportunity where students can use their skills, fulfil their potential and develop their social capital. There is a particular interests by some employers to take in Geography students, due to the range of skills we can bring to the table.
- QInterns is another option. It is a service that places students and recent QM Graduates in short paid internships in both small to medium enterprises, and large organisations. A team of Internship Coordinators can assist you with writing a job specification and advert, market the role to our students and graduates, sift applications and advise you on the interview and selection process.
I strongly recommend that you start to explore your job options by attending on campus career events. Another way that you can do this is by getting work experience over the summer of your first year. You should try to do 3 weeks of professional work experience by the time that you enter your second year. This isn’t part-time work, it is experience that builds your knowledge and skillset in a professional environment – whether that’s conservation, local council or city work. There are a few schemes offered by companies for first year that are listed on student ladder and target jobs. Organisations such as SEO London, Rare, Upreach and Bright Network are also very helpful in providing information about potential career choices. You can also set up your own work experience through personal contacts – book an appointment in Careers to talk more about how to do this.
It all comes down to your ability to be proactive and have a good balance of social, academic and career opportunities. If you are looking to leave uni with a graduate job lined up for you, first year is the perfect time to start.