Becca Oakley's case study

Before working for Careers Network in my fourth and final year at university, I admit I wasn’t particularly aware of the services they provided. I’d picked up a leaflet here and there, gained a collection of free pens from careers fairs but failed to actually talk to any of the employers, and attended a few careers sessions that were lovingly scheduled into my timetable by the biosciences department. As for any work experience I had, it was very ‘bitty’ – a few months at a restaurant, a few days observing some scientists at work in a lab, a couple of weeks helping out on a charity bike ride from London to Paris. Safe to say, my career life was a bit of a mess.

"I’ve realised that although my work experience is ‘bitty’, along with various societies I’ve been involved with, it actually means I’ve gained a lot of skills I never realised I had."

Then I got lucky. I saw a posting for a Life and Environmental Sciences social media assistant here at Careers Network and applied – after all, I liked Facebook and Twitter, I had a couple of blogs and I needed a part-time job. I was offered the position 8 months ago, and have been working here ever since! Along the way I have done all sorts of tasks – along with the planning and scheduling of tweets and Facebook posts that I signed up for, I’ve attended a wide range of different careers talks and fairs, analysed and written reports of various student surveys and even sat on the interview panel for potential careers advisors. Without even meaning to, I’ve picked up so many tips in all aspects of getting a job – and I suppose most importantly, I’ve realised that although my work experience is ‘bitty’, along with various societies I’ve been involved with, it actually means I’ve gained a lot of skills I never realised I had.

Careers Network don’t just help with graduate jobs either – I’m actually doing a Masters next year (yes, I have signed up for a 5th year at university, I just can’t get enough of student life) and there are plenty of sessions offered on further education. Not only have some of these been useful when writing my application and knowing what I can achieve at the end of the course, but personal contacts here in the office have also been helpful, convincing me to ‘just go for it’ and helping with applications for bursaries.

"Although applying for jobs is another year away for me, I’ve become so much more prepared for whatever assessments I’ll eventually have to get through and I feel really reassured knowing we can benefit from careers support for 2 years after we graduate!"

Overall, I am so glad I saw the advertisement for this job at Careers Network – it’s meant I have a clear career path ahead of me now – and the best part for all other students is that they don’t even need to work here to get the same benefits; they can just attend whichever of the sessions they think will help them, check out various online resources or book appointments to meet with careers advisors in person. Although applying for jobs is another year away for me, I’ve become so much more prepared for whatever assessments I’ll eventually have to get through and I feel really reassured knowing we can benefit from careers support for 2 years after we graduate!