Kelsie Root graduated with a Masters in History of Health, Medicine & Society at the University of Leeds in December 2018, having put off jobsearch until completing her studies she found it difficult to find the right job with the right organisation straight away. Read how Kelsie learnt the importance of understanding what she could bring to an employer and finding a role that fitted with her skills, motivations and values.
Focusing on my studies
When I graduated in December, I was excited, relieved and deeply anxious. I had spent the year with my nose to the grindstone working on my MA and the various side jobs that paid the bills during the previous year. The demands of MA study and juggling paid work made it so difficult to spend time finding opportunities, drafting applications and getting feedback that eventually I gave in and decided I would start looking for a full-time job after I had handed in my dissertation. This felt like a good idea, and I now think it was the right choice for me at the time. Once I’d finished, however, I immediately felt like it had been a mistake. I had no idea what I was going to do next.
Applying for any job…my misplaced efforts
I quickly realised my first step had to be figuring out how to showcase my skills. Using the resources from the Careers Centre website I looked over all my work experience to date and put together a skills-based CV. This helped me to match my skills to job descriptions and work out what I could do. I started applying to any job that matched my skills-based CV and secured a variety of interviews. As soon as I started going to interviews, it became clear that I was doing something wrong. I just wasn’t gelling with the teams, the places or the work itself. I soon became stressed, questioning how I could keep motivated when all my efforts seemed to be misplaced.
Focusing on what I really enjoy
I realised that I was focusing on what I could do well, but not what I would do well. I began to think about my work experience in terms of what I’d enjoyed about each role, using the same framework to create (apologies in advance for how cheesy this is…) a “thrills-based” CV. I broke each job into what I’d most enjoyed about the work itself, the workplace, the people and the impact my work had. Using both of these CVs together, I realised that all the work I had enjoyed most had a few common factors: I was usually happiest working with students, using my research and analytical skills to improve something. I also found out my Belbin Team Role Type, which helped me imagine how I would fit into the existing team at a new job.
More targeted- so more confident
Together, these things helped me to gain a better understanding of what I wanted in a job. In turn, this allowed me to be more targeted and confident in the applications I made, making the job hunt much less stressful and overwhelming. As each application was for a job I was genuinely excited about, it was easier to write, and my enthusiasm came across at the interview stage.
Two months after graduation I was successful in applying for an internship role at the University of Leeds as an Employability and Progression Assistant. My enthusiasm for the role and the University made the recruitment process so much easier. I am now using my experiences and insight to help students and graduates in the Faculty of Environment and Social Sciences to increase their chances of finding a job they love.
Read more about what is available to you as a member of the University of Leeds Class of 2019
And don’t forget you are not alone, you can continue to access the Careers Centre services and support once you graduate.