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Humanities Careers Conference Round-Up

On the 13th of November the University held its annual Humanities Careers Conference in the Western Auditorium.  Jonathan Brown went along both as a student and our inside reporter…

It comes as no surprise that while as students we are under the everyday stresses of assignment deadlines and exam preparation that these events, set up by the Careers and Placements Service, aim to provide an easy way to get information and help about careers and opportunities following on from university. The conference offered the opportunity for students to come and listen to a number of speakers who gave some insight into the employer mind-set as well as some of their own personal experiences as students working their way to their chosen career. Never intruding on or taking away from valuable time that students cling to in order to meet the demands of the university workload these events can either be grasped as a great opportunity or bemoaned and underutilised.

de Havilland Campus Image

It was evident from my experience at the conference that this was very much the case. Amongst the whispers of students during the downtime before the speakers began some students were upset at having to attend the conference. However, while these students were caught up in the stresses of university and busy conveying the point they could have spent their time better elsewhere, they missed what many others did not and that was how helpful and influential the conference and workshops can be. As a level six student I attended the conference with my peers and got the opportunities to not only learn some interesting information from the speakers but to gauge the overall student opinion on the event.

Don’t sit back… keep yourself active

One student that took this full advantage of this opportunity was Alexa Carter, a journalism student in her final year at the university. Alexa was fortunate enough to be one of six final year students that were offered the chance to have lunch with the guest speakers prior to the conference. She described this opportunity as a good way to build confidence by approaching the employers but also to interact with other students. Alexa’s eagerness to take advantage of the day’s events didn’t just stop at the lunch. After the conference she took it upon herself to approach one of the speakers, Jane Fordham, in order to get a foot in the door at the major PR company Golin and Harris and her unique approach rewarded her greatly.

“I wanted to make an impression,” she explained with enthusiasm in her voice, “I said I don’t want to just take a card like everyone behind me I want to come and do some work experience for you as soon as possible, and they said that would be absolutely fine which was awesome.”

Alexa’s approach and willingness highlighted many of the points that all of the speakers were keen to make about what humanities students should be doing in order to get the work they want.

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Andy Forbes of Hertford College had a lot to say when it came to giving students advice on how to go about things once they finished at the university and he put it best when he said, “Don’t sit back, and keep yourself active.” Mr Forbes went on to explain that many companies are inundated with applications from lots of students who all share many of the same skills and because of this it is important to show off your personality. A certain ‘activeness’ within the working world or with personal projects that reflect the field of work you may want to go into can also help you stand out.

Alexa was able to do this; taking everything that the speakers said on board and pushing, literally, through the crowds to get noticed by a company that she believed would help set her up for a great future. While it is true many humanities students will acquire similar skills throughout university these are the skills that many of the employers are looking for; writing, communication, and research skills are all hugely important. Combine those skills with an enthusiastic personality and a willingness to show a high level of productivity and you have what makes a humanities student special and indeed desired by employers.

Workshops that took part on the day included: Entrepreneurship and Freelancing, Teaching, Placements, and Graduate Schemes.

Speakers on the day included: Andy Forbes – Principal of Hertford Regional College, Marianne Hanjaras – HR Manager for Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Kelvin Ward – Digital Marketing Manager at City University London, Adam Ditchburn – Learning and Interpretation Officer at St Alban’s Museums, and Jane Fordham – Talent Recruitment Director of Golin Harris.

For more events by Careers and Placements Service log into http://www.careerhub.herts.ac.uk

Jonathan Brown Image

Jonathan Brown is a final year Mass Communications student at the University of Hertfordshire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images: University of Hertfordshire (C) All Rights Reserved

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