11 March 2021

Moving into the second half of our tenure as Masters students, many of my fellow course mates and I are starting to feel the anxiety around our potential career paths — especially during this difficult time of job insecurity.
Girl taking notes while also using her laptop

After a much-needed winter break, semester two kicked off with an Employability Skills Expo from the Business School! It was the second time that the Expo was held, and the first time it was conducted online.

The School managed to bring in industry giants such as Google, Amazon, NatWest Group, and JP Morgan for the half-day event on 20 January. Students could choose to attend a large variety of sessions — there were client-hosted workshops and panel discussions revolving around topics such as: interview tips, assessment centre workshops, CV writing skills, and maximising job applications.

Personally, I managed to attend the following sessions, which I found really useful:

  • "Networking in a Global, yet Locked Down World" with Doctor Care Anywhere
  • "Maximising Your Job Application" with Amazon
  • "Understanding Career Paths in Marketing and Analytics" — was a panel discussion with various experienced professionals and alumni.

I found the event extremely interesting and I’m sure my fellow Business School mates did too. Here are the top five insights I managed to gather from the Expo.

1. It is still possible (and extremely important!) to network during the pandemic

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and tells a story, and do not be afraid to reach out to industry professionals over the internet. You can also attend events (either physical or virtual) to network — for example industry and alumni groups.

2. Be strategic when applying for jobs

Really understand the company and its values, then find out what you can bring to it. Always tailor your CV to the specific job description — avoid being vague and general.

3. Master the art of the interview

One major tip, is use the STAR (situation, task, action, result) technique when answering competency interview questions. Be genuine and honest, and make sure to always have questions ready when the interviewers ask at the end.

4. Try to get your foot in the door

Placements, internships, and University Society roles can help you develop skills and experience, as well as opening doors, and help you penetrate the industry. Grab every opportunity available to you as a student and perform your very best!

5. Take it slow

Another interesting insight from a speaker was to focus on your studies first and not feel too stressed out about jobhunting for now. While future career prospects are important, it is also essential to take care of one’s mental health, especially during these tough times.

Finally, I end this blog post with a quote from the Keynote Speaker, Sandy Begbie, CEO of Scottish Financial Enterprise:

"There’s no one path when it comes to a career. At your stage there’s no such thing as bad decisions. There’s no such thing as a bad experience. It’s all about thinking about how you gather experiences and things that you can add to your CV that will really grab the attention of people.

"Always come back to these questions: What is your unique selling point? What is it that you want people to remember you for?

"And always test yourself with that elevator conversation — if you had 30 seconds to explain to someone who you are and what you stand for, and what it is about you that they would really want to have in their organization.”

If you’re having employability concerns, why not make the most of the University’s Careers Service and book a one-to-one appointment?

Don’t forget that the Business School also has a dedicated Student Development Team to help you.

Thank you for reading until the end. You can also read Alejandra’s memoir of attending the Employability Skills Expo in person last year!

Arifah on a walk

Arifah Badlishah is a student on the MSc in Marketing programme.