Jess, our Employer Liaison Marketing Intern, recounts how she used last year’s Internships, Work Experience and Volunteering Fair to land herself an internship in PR
I had that epiphany moment when talking to a taxi driver in my second year of university. “So…” he said, “what are you actually going to do with a Sociology degree?” I immediately went on the defensive – “erm, well, there’s loads of career paths you can take, like social work, or, justice work, or education work”. But as I paid my fare, I thought cripes. Do I actually want to do any of those jobs? The answer was no. My cynical old aunt must have been right: I have just wasted £27,000 on a degree, for a career I’m not passionate about, panic, panic, panic.
Luckily for me, this state of despair did not last long. The University’s annual Internships, Work Experience and Volunteering Week was coming up, with a large Fair as the week’s finale. I found on Facebook there were going to be a lot of exhibitors there, offering paid and unpaid work experience and volunteering positions. It felt as though a lifeline had been flung to me in the rocky waters of mid-degree crisis: it was time to iron my blouse and get inspired.
Prepare for the Fair …
I did some swotting up before the Fair, checking out the exhibitors which I may be interested in and then researching them online. I identified some tasks I knew I enjoyed doing, such as interacting with people, creative writing and digital stuff, and let that lead me to make a shortlist of organisations I knew I wanted to speak to. I printed off my CVs, and off I went.
The Fair was a fantastic experience. I got to speak to lots of company representatives, a lot of whom were actually recent graduates themselves. I was able to talk through my interests and experiences, and understand what opportunities they would be able to offer me to further these. I got home and applied to a few positions straight away, in areas such as marketing, PR and journalism, which I had not necessarily considered myself suitable for before. After a few follow up emails, I eventually landed myself an interview with PR agency PHA Media for an internship.
Five months later …
I found myself sat on a train back to Cardiff from London, reading a lovely thank-you card and feeling super positive about my future. My four week internship at PHA Media had been a big success – I found a passion for public relations that is now the focus of my search for the next step after I finish my degree. Choosing to attend the Internships, Work Experience and Volunteering Fair changed the course my life is taking, for the better. The confidence you get from applying for jobs with prior experience, and the knowledge that you enjoy the work and are good at it, is invaluable.
Get involved …
So make sure you get involved with this year’s events. There are 3 days of skills sessions, presentations and drop-ins running on the 4th Floor of the Students’ Union from Monday 6 – Wednesday 8 of February, the sessions run by Careers and Employability and employers such as PwC, Enterprise-Rent-A-Car and the Civil Service Fast Stream aim to increase your employability prospects and boost your confidence when applying for roles and submitting application forms.
A list of all the session taking place and details on how to book can be found on the intranet
The last event of the week is the Internships, Work Experience and Volunteering Fair which takes place on Thursday 9 February from 11:00 – 15:00 in the Great Hall, Students’ Union.
A list of exhibitors can be found on the intranet
Jess, Employer Liaison Marketing Intern.
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