On Tuesday 20th January the SOAS Careers Service launched a new initiative – What I wish I had Known as a Student with SOAS Alumni.
These lunchtime sessions which run between 1:30pm and 2:30pm every Tuesday and Thursday during term time have been designed to give alumni the opportunity to share their experiences of the workplace and to pass on their hints and tips to current students.
The small group sessions give up to six students the opportunity to hear from alumni from many different sectors.
Our first session kicked off with Adam Edwards, a SOAS Development Studies Graduate from 2004. After graduating from SOAS Adam followed a career in temporary contracts on Government projects and has been working in this sector for the last decade. This presented its own set of challenges and is not the career path he expected when he joined SOAS. The opportunities as well as the pitfalls can be traced back to the decisions Adam made as an undergraduate, and this is something that Adam discussed in detail during the session.
The event went down a storm with the students that attended with some really positive comments:
“Excellent presentation. Keep it up.”
“Small enough to get some personal info.”
Before Adam left he gave us his top tips for current SOAS students:
- Check out if there are any professional bodies or associations for the sector that you are interested in working in and join them – you generally get free or reduced rates while you are a student.
- If you’ve not got one, get a LinkedIn account.
- Be flexible.
- If you have language skills, keep using the language whenever you can.
- Don’t just apply for your dream job, be more pragmatic and give yourself a few more options.
- Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) structure to explain your extra-curricular activities to potential employers. For more information about how to use the STAR structure, check out the Careers Moodle page.
So what’s Adam doing now and what are his next steps? Adam is in the process of setting up as a consultant in Geographic Information Systems and starts a PhD at Birkbeck in September. He’s also looking to achieve the Prince 2 qualification in project management.
We wish Adam the best of luck for his future ventures and look forward to seeing him at SOAS again soon!
Did you miss out on meeting Adam? Well never fear, we will be running these alumni sessions every Tuesday and Thursday during term time. For more information about these events and to book, visit our events page.