Why take a Careers module? My experience with ‘Career Planning for POLIS Students’


This blog post was written by POLIS student Sam Greet about his experience on the module Career Planning for POLIS Students.

When I was looking at my module choices for second semester, I wasn’t sure I had made the right choices back in September. My first lecture for one of my choices really didn’t suit me and I knew I had to think of something else to move onto, but amongst the array of discovery and optional modules I really struggled to narrow down exactly onto something I wanted to do.

Finding the right module

A module that I had originally glanced over (but not given much thought to) was the Career Planning for POLIS Students module. When it was getting closer to deadline for changing modules, I still had yet to find anything that really spoke to me from the traditional module list and I revisited the careers module in more depth. What I found was a comprehensive programme of teaching, with extended seminar sessions and no lectures that looked to develop all manner of skills and employability. However, I remained unsure about what this would really amount to in practice.

I’ll admit that I was at first concerned with academic rigour, as I very much enjoyed traditional subjects and essays, and was performing well with these. I decided to seek out lecturers and staff members to discuss the POLIS Careers module, and I was immediately reassured of the module’s immense value. Ultimately this convinced me to take the plunge and switch – and I can say that this was one of the best decisions I have made in my second semester.

The module itself

The module was clearly structured; every session delivered varied, valuable, and interactive insights into careers, employability and personal growth. The diversity of content within the module and the breadth of skills it helped me to develop was immense: to name just a few aspects of the module, I built my (somewhat shaky) public speaking confidence with numerous presentations, honed my CV and interview technique, benefitted from presentations from POLIS alumni, and had psychometric tests thoroughly demystified. It was the broadest module content I have done at university and has really put me on a path towards my career interests. I certainly know that in my group, everyone (whether they had clear aims or not) has gained a lot of self-understanding and development through taking the module.

Module assessments weren’t predicated on simply testing your ability in interviews or the quality of your CV, so don’t be dissuaded if these aren’t your strong suit at first. As the POLIS School Representative, I know full well how students are frequently pressured by overlapping deadlines and lengthy essays in January and May, so the earlier timing of this module’s assessments and their distribution over five smaller hand-ins made for a much less stressful assessment period.

Module outcomes

This careers module has given me self-confidence and assurance in my decision-making ready for the first steps of my career. Ultimately, it helped me to recognise and take opportunities as they come, and maximise my potential. Much of the module facilitated important self-reflection on skills, performance, and your approach to life. I think this is the most important part of employability for students, as once you have a clear conception of yourself, you’ll be better able to plan for the career you really want and the skills you need to get there.

Whilst I had this content delivered excellently by Steve Carter in relation to POLIS, the whole careers team deliver a concerted and considered effort in these modules across departments to make them engaging and worthwhile for students. This module lays the critical foundations of professionalism for those looking to take a year in industry, teaches how to look for opportunities efficiently, gives a platform to confidently apply for internships and work experience, and helps you to make the most of a year studying abroad (as it has in my case). I could not recommend the module more to students, particularly given how competitive the graduate job market will be for us and how important it is to start developing these skills before we come to the end of our degrees.

Career Planning for POLIS Students will be available to sit again in semester 1 of the 2018/19 academic year. If you have any questions about the module or would like to find out more about Sam’s experience, we encourage you to email us at careerscentre@leeds.ac.uk. If necessary, we’ll be happy to put you in contact with Sam, who has made himself available to answer queries about his experience.

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Filed under Advice, CVs & Applications, Develop your employability, Interviews

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