In this blog post we meet our Faculty Team Clerical Assistant, Michaela Lesayova. Here she tells us what her job entails and offers her top tips to students and graduates!
What is your job at the Careers Centre and what does it involve?
I graduated from Leeds University in July 2012 with a BA International degree in Managing Performance. I have worked in various roles in the University during my degree in departments such as the International Student Office, the Study Abroad Office, Leeds International Summer School and my home department school. This extensive and positive experience led me to apply for a full-time post within the University, because I already had a valuable experience and I enjoyed working here.
At the moment, I work in the Careers Centre as a member of the Faculty Team providing clerical support. My job involves providing support to the some of the careers modules run by the Careers Centre. As well as this, I also provide support for various events that the Careers Centre runs for students throughout every academic year. This will include workshops, forums, conferences and fairs etc.
I am responsible for the administration of some of the modules. This involves a lot of email communication with students and also with the tutors who teach on these modules. I also have to create the VLE content for the modules, download assignments from the VLE and manage the marking process. This involves a lot of printing and scheduling. I have to make sure I am meeting multiple deadlines and keep myself organised.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I am extremely lucky to have a fantastic manager and office colleagues, so I have a lot of fun at work. Communicating with students is also a great experience. I have really enjoyed working on events like the Law Fair and Employability Forum. These experiences have definitely enhanced my planning, liaising and organising skills. I have to speak to a lot of professionals from outside the university and this has helped develop my communication skills and boosted my career confidence. The supportive and motivating approach of my manager has also inspired me to do the job as best I can.
Outside of work, I also have the opportunity to get involved in courses organised by the university. I have recently taken a Black & White Photography course. This is an area that I really enjoy and would not have been able to do it without the support of the university.
What skills are important for your job?
I have to be very organised and able to plan as much as possible in advance in order to complete all of my tasks (timetables, schedules, meetings, academic support for the modules, student announcements and so on). Another very important skill for my job is communication. I talk to a lot of students, university staff and other professionals on a daily basis, so I have to be on the top of my emails and deadlines. Multitasking is essential during busy periods like exams and I also have to communicate closely and effectively with my Manager during periods like this one. We need to make sure that everything is running smoothly and on time.
What training or previous experience do you have that has helped you in your current role?
As I have already mentioned, I worked previously for the University which was definitely an invaluable experience! I strongly suggest to students to get involved with the University if they get the chance. I had previous experience with working in an office as well as with students which was definitely a key experience in securing my current post. I was actively involved in organising events of different sorts, ranging from creative to professional. I had a very good knowledge of Microsoft Office and Outlook, I was capable of planning schedules and timetables and had a lot of experience of working in a team.
The University also offers a lot of internal training and I had further training upon being appointed my current post which has helped me to learn how to use systems like the VLE or Banner which I believe has definitely enhanced my career skills.
What top tips would you have for students and graduates?
My top tip for students and graduates is not to pressure themselves too much into getting an amazing/dream job straight after graduating. Final year is very busy and intense and there is a lot to do not just in terms of finishing their degree. I definitely suggest staying on the top of the things as much as possible, but not being scared to do a smaller internship first or a part-time job, but at a good position. It will be an invaluable experience and building up their experience, skills and career confidence will get them ready to snap the top job once it comes along. I also suggest being open to new experiences and to learning new skills. Trying to explore jobs which may not be directly connected with what they specifically studied, but the experience they will get may lead them up on the ladder faster than they have imagined. Network with people, talk to friends, go to different events and be friendly and approachable. You never know who may be looking for the skills you have got and a casual chat in the first place may secure you a job!
Enjoy learning and work on yourself constantly, even once you have a job, keep looking out for opportunities and I believe that vigilance will eventually lead you to your dream job.