Alumni News: Jenny Freij

Jenny Freij (MEng Mechanical Engineering with a Year Abroad, 2015) tells us how she secured a graduate job.

Graduation. It is the event that instils everything from fear, excitement and confusion in students all over the country. Whether it is to simply be free from coursework deadlines or to enter into a competitive graduate scheme, everyone has a vision of what their post-graduation life looks like. In a perfect world, I was going to enter into a graduate scheme in a large international company, live in London and then move to a new continent every year. Unsurprisingly, I was wrong about almost everything.

A year ago I attended a lecture at the University about project management. Although it was perhaps not my favourite topic, I was intrigued by the company where the guest lecturer worked. Despite being aware of its small size and that the company did not have a graduate scheme (nor any advertised jobs at the time), I asked him who to contact regarding applying for a job. The same week, I sent an email to HR with a short description of myself and my past experiences as well as a CV. Four months and 33 emails later, I had a 15 minute telephone interview and yet another month later, an interview on site. At the beginning of June 2015, I had secured a job in a small town in Gloucestershire.

Having summed up my how-I-got-a-job story in a paragraph, it appears a lot smoother than it was and throughout the process I learned some things I wish someone would have told me before I started. Firstly, planning for your post-graduation life is stressful no matter how you go about it, so try to not stress more than you have to. Secondly, while it is good to have dreams about the future, it is less helpful when these visions become obstacles. To not end up exactly where you envisioned yourself is not the worst thing that can happen. Personally, by ignoring some of my pre-graduation goals, I ended up in a better situation than I could have hoped for. Finally, and most importantly, I took a chance and it paid off. While not all initiatives pan out, what do you have to lose by contacting what you think sounds like an ideal company to work for?