For those of you who don’t know about our Career Development Service, they are the cream crackers, they’re brilliant! They’ve always had the time to listen to my questions, respond to my emails and offer great advice. As students, it can be slightly daunting. You may not be ready to grow up and enter the real world of work (I completely understand and contemplate this often).
I’ve always been keen to get involved with programmes and projects outside of the Geology Department and no, the rocks aren’t getting to me! The stereotypical geologist is a man, with a hammer in one hand and wearing the socks and sandals combo. You can’t forget the handlens necklace and baggy nylon trousers. I admit, we slightly do look like this, mainly for warmth and practicality… but my point being, is that I may have only ever met one or two geologists who look like this. Come graduation, we want to stand out of the crowd right? Well read on.
Have you heard of the Leicester Award? Applications are expected to open in the second week of September with the deadline shortly approaching at the end of October. In my first two years of studying, I undertook a different programme each year. Its great asset to your CV and is flexible to get involved alongside your studies. Outside of the compulsory workshops you work the hours you want around your schedule.
In my first year of studies, I undertook the Leicester Award for Online Networking which although is offered term-time, I completed it over the summer via distant learning. Where I work so intensely during term-time, I struggle sometimes to switch off and so this programme suited me down to the ground. Like me, you probably thought you’re the bee’s knees when it comes to social networking, well why not? We’re young, we’ve grown up with such technology, and we’re bound to know the ins and outs of all things computer-related. How very wrong I was. I didn’t realise just how often employers look at your online footprint to see if you are the candidate they are looking for. The programme is really thought provoking and it’s been great to connect with professionals in industry, something all graduates should be aiming to do.
In my second year of studies I undertook the Future Leaders programme which is now a Leicester Award Gold. We had the privilege of being mentored directly from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and within groups had to deal with a real-life problem the company faces. Upon completion of our research, we presented our results back to employees and attended a mock test centre in preparation for when we graduate.
Since coming home from studying abroad, I’ve since learned the structure of the Leicester Awards have changed which now allow an endless amount of people to participate, whereas ‘back in the day’ we would have to apply for the programme which may have only had the facilities for 40 or so students – so this is great news.
There are so many graduates entering the job market each year, and as UoL students we should be using the resources that are available to us as undergrads such as the Career Development Service and making sure we really do stand out of the crowd come those applications.