Jamie Gayya is a recent University of Leeds graduate, currently working as an Employability and Progression Assistant based in the University of Leeds Careers Centre.
Here she talks about how immediately after graduation she felt the pressure of being left behind as friends secured graduate jobs or further study. However, by reflecting on her skills and values and undertaking volunteering she found a career path she is very much engaged in.
The benefits of University
In many ways, university has been more than just a place to gain an academic qualification. It has been a place that has exposed me to various opportunities and challenges – all of which have significantly contributed to both my career and personal development. Beyond the accomplishment of graduating, my time at university has been significantly rewarding and memorable, as I have taken part in various opportunities. I have been involved in supporting a candidate campaign during the student executive elections, was a committee member for the Leeds Filipino society, and worked as a Leeds Loves Ambassador to promote the study of Arts and Humanities to secondary school students.
Where to start?
Having these experiences enabled me to gain a range of transferable skills that were useful for the world of work. Furthermore, these opportunities were very helpful in distinguishing what I enjoyed and disliked. Despite acquiring all these skills, finding where to start after graduation continued to be a challenging and nerve-wracking phase. With my friends securing places for further study, graduate jobs and employment, I felt a lot of pressure that I had to get my career rolling to make sure that I wasn’t left behind. “But where do I start?” was a constant question and thought.
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.
Concerned about career planning? This post gives you a different perspective on the traditional concept of career ‘planning’ and some tips on how to approach this in a world which can be random and unexpected.
At this time of year many of our thoughts turn to the coming year: What we might try to achieve or change in our lives. It is for many, a time for goal-setting and thinking about where they want to be. It is also a time when many people’s thoughts turn to their careers.
I have never particularly subscribed to the view that a career can be planned per se: Life is too random and there are far too many variables involved to make the construction and implementation of a rigid plan feasible. As such, I have always been drawn to theories of career development which acknowledge the impact of outside influences, unexpected or chance events and encounters on our careers. Theories such as Planned Happenstance (Mitchell, Levin & Krumboltz, 1999) and more recently, the Chaos Theory of Careers (Pryor & Bright, 2003) particularly resonate with me. You can find out more about Planned Happenstance and how to use this here and more about the Chaos Theory in this video or in the journal articles referenced at the end of this blog. Continue reading
Our Autumn Graduate Jobs and Internships Fair takes place on Monday 12th October from 11am-3pm at The Edge. There are over 120 organisations attending from a whole range of sectors. This is a fantastic opportunity for students, at all levels, to find out about opportunities with these organisations and to make a good first impression. This post provides tips and advice to help you get the most out of it.
Who should attend?
Everyone! Whether you are in your first, middle, or final year and whether you are looking for a first-year insight opportunity, placement, internship or graduate job, there will be organisations there with opportunities for you.
What to expect
Attending a large recruitment fair, particularly for the first time, can be daunting. Remember that all the organisations are there because they want to meet Leeds students, so try to relax and take advantage of the opportunity to speak to recruiters and those who are doing the job at the moment. The video below (taken from our Yorkshire Graduate Recruitment Fair last summer) provides a great overview of what to expect, as well as comments from recruiters, students and graduates on why they found it useful.