… you missed a great informative event, and chance to network (ie talk to!) recent PPLS grads about their journey since graduation, and gain inspiration for your own.
With a great range of speakers from across the PPLS subjects, students who made it to the event last night were treated to informative and interesting insights into some very diverse paths since graduation.
There was Laura, currently working in a marketing role with the university, previously with an advertising and marketing agency. She networked (ie talked to someone at a wedding!) her way into her first position at the agency, and subsequently decided she preferred the ethos of public sector and moved her career that way. Her advice? Plan ahead – identify your interests and see where they fit within the wide range of opportunities in the marketing industry, get very familiar with social media, make sure you’re comfortable with your sector as well as your job-role, and don’t be afraid to fail – you learn a lot that way!
Then there was Emma, a trainer with Right Track and support worker with Social Care Alba , who used her failure in one sector ( sacked 3 times!), as a catalyst for reflecting on her strengths and interests to steer her in the right direction (heading towards Art Therapy).
Rachel B inspired us with her tale of a trip to the Careers Service which resulted in her reading our wee book ‘You Want to be What?!’ on ‘left field’ careers, where she read about subtitling careers – a perfect match for someone mad about film and language construction! Following a course in Translating Popular Culture at City University, London, she is now an Account coordinator with Deluxe Digital Studios.
Then Rosemarie talked of her path from Healthcare adviser at Boots the Chemist to Healthcare team leader with VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) in Tanzania. Her advice? – no panic applications to unsuitable positions (her first, unsuccessful, tactic). Her success came after she stopped panicking and focused on her passions and strengths and ditched the ‘wild applications’ for far fewer focused ones, whilst supporting herself with temp work.
Rachel L talked with passion about her role as a primary teacher in the classroom, and subsequent progression into management via principal teacher roles and now as a head teacher. She stressed the relevance of her psychology both to working with children, managing a team of teachers, and working with parents! Though she didn’t pull her punches on the work-life balance of a teacher and the mountains of bureaucracy involved.
Alasdair championed office-based careers, as an administrative assistant here at the university, solving IT-based issues for Careers Service staff, and developing quick IT solutions to laborious admin tasks. He did stress the need to find the right office role – one with opportunity to develop and progress, not stuck in a repetitive role with no hope of doing anything else. (This is what most students are referring to when they say ‘I dont want to work in an office’!). He also emphasised how he’s combined his passion for IT with his administrative role.
Lee spoke passionately about his career path to date from philosophy degree to consultancy with EY via suit-sales, BBC and Barclays. He again emphasised that you’ll learn from everything you do, so dont be afraid to make mistakes (eg suit-sales!). He also stressed the need to think about what motivates you. This reflection took him from Belfast to Barclays for a new challenge (challenge being one of his motivators), and now onto EY as a consultant. He also spoke very eloquently about how key his philosophy skills have been to his success in his professional life.
And finally, Yorath HR change business partner with the Civil Service emphasized the importance of putting in the research sooner rather than later, and to talk to people doing the job, rather than just read about it – ie attend careers events and network! He also re-iterated Laura’s point about the importance not just of the role you do, but who you do it for – he was very clear he wanted an HR career in the public sector, not the corporate.
If all this has whetted your appetite to find out more, click on the names above to read a full account of their career paths to date, and their advice for current students.
And for yet more inspiration, you can read case-studies from previous years via the PPLS careers web pages.
So, your PPLS degree can take you in so many directions – be inspired by recent PPLS graduates above – follow their advice for working out your starting point after graduation, which includes, in no particular order:
- identifying what’s important to you (not other people!)
- thinking outside your degree discipline
- getting experience sooner rather than later
- not being afraid to make mistakes – you learn from them
- not being hung up on job titles (who knew an internship administrator was actually doing a key marketing job!?)
- starting on a career path based on your interests and motivations, without necessarily knowing the destination
- making use of your Careers Service.