In 2015 the Student Jobshop are celebrating 10 years in their current location in the Students’ Union.
As part of our anniversary activities, we contacted a number of our graduates who worked with us as Student Assistants in the Jobshop, to find out what they have been doing since they left University and we thought you might like to hear about their experiences of working whilst they studied and how that helped them to find employment after graduation.
This week we interviewed Sarah Bows, who studied German and Business Studies and graduated in 2008. Sarah worked as our Student Jobshop Assistant from September 2007 - March 2008 and after a few years in other roles, she is now working in the Careers Service once again!
Jobshop: Please briefly describe your role in the Jobshop:
Sarah: As Student Jobshop Assistant I was involved in adding vacancies to myVacancies, answering student queries (from anything to specific vacancies to how to apply for NI numbers), contacting employers to find out about potential vacancies, and helping out at events (e.g. Freshers' Fair).
Jobshop What did you gain from working in the Jobshop?
Sarah: It made me more aware of the types of jobs I wanted to apply for myself when I graduated, and it gave me some really useful customer service experience (which helped me to secure my first "proper" job after I finished my course!) The team were also really supportive, and made me more confident in my abilities (particularly as I didn't have a great deal of previous work experience).
Jobshop Did you undertake any other work experience/part-time work whilst you studied at Sheffield?
Sarah: I volunteered at a local primary school through Sheffield Volunteering (running a German club with two other students), and I also worked on the Confirmation and Clearing Helpline one summer.
Jobshop: What have you been doing since graduation?
Sarah: I was offered a job at the South Yorkshire Transport Executive (SYPTE) a couple of months after graduating. Although I originally saw this as a short-term opportunity, I ended up staying there for three and a half years! This was partly due to the recession, and also the fact that I really got on with my colleagues and was developing some really vital skills within my role. I then started applying for jobs at the University - and was eventually offered a job in the Learning and Teaching Services (providing project support to two well-known student programmes).
Jobshop: What are you up to now?
Sarah: Last year, I was seconded to the Careers Service to support a project for students from under-represented backgrounds. From that, I was offered a full-time role within the team - this time coordinating the various different projects we run for taught postgrads. It's great to be back working with the Student Jobshop team again!
Jobshop If you could offer one piece of advice to current students about working whilst studying...............
Sarah: Do it! You'll really notice the difference when it comes to applying for jobs, as you'll have examples other than study that you can use to demonstrate your skills. I would also say it makes working full-time after seem less of a shock!!
Jobshop Any other information you wish to share with us or with students:
Sarah: Try to think about what it is you like doing, rather than what it is you want to 'be'. In other words, you don't have to decide on a particular job title, unless you want to be a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer etc. A good example of this is my current job as a 'Project Officer' - not many people would necessarily see that title and think "that's what I want to do", but when you read the job description it includes so many things! Much of which would be transferable across industries and sectors. Also, think as much about the things that you don't like doing as the ones you do - this will really help you to decide whether a job is right for you or not.