This week we have some blogs written by our Alumni as letters to our recent graduates. Allow yourself to be challenged, inspired and motivated by their messages.

Dear CCCU Graduates,

There would be no better way of starting this letter to you than to say congratulations!

You have not only survived but also achieved academic excellence in what was the most difficult year to be a graduate since WWII. The resilience you have shown will leave you in good stead as you join the job market.

I am writing to you as a fellow graduate from CCCU who graduated in 2017 after reading Politics and International Relations, three and a half years on I am now the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to South Africa and the Second Church Estates Commissioner. In the last year I became the Vice-President of the Conservative Young Women’s Organisation where I help to mentor and promote women into political positions, I was elected Co-chair of Conservative Friends of Cycling and help found and now sit on the executive committee of a mini think tank called Digital Tories. I realise some of these titles sound rather convoluted and have probably left you none the wiser as to what I do on a daily basis as a job. What I can say is I work in a notoriously ever-changing world where every five years my job and its future security is left in the hands of 80,000 people, only 5% of which have ever actually spoken to me directly but all of which have their lives effected for better or for worse by the work that my team and I do. I have had to learn about uncertainty, as well as the ability to find the good in stressful situations (having worked through Brexit, two general elections, a leadership election and a pandemic I think that just about qualifies me).

I have always thought the greatest thing about the current job market is also its biggest curse.

You can do anything you want as a career and if it doesn’t exist you can create it.

This choice is daunting and brings much uncertainty which is why my biggest advice is to not let fear hold you back. The most liberating moment in my career was the moment I stopped letting the fear of failure prevent me from acting. It only takes one second of bravery to press the submit button on an application or to send your carefully drafted message to a contact on LinkedIn and yet the potential outcomes could be life changing. So be brave because the wonderful thing about humans is we are forgetful and the chances are even if you get rejected, in two weeks or a month’s time no one is going to remember, including you. Remember your most embarrassing moment in senior school? No, either do I and yet I know at the time I probably felt like it was the end of the world. The same is true when job hunting.

People are much more friendly and generous with their time than you may think.

Most professionals remember their first break in their careers and who gave it to them, which is why many are willing to do the same for others. People’s time is precious though so when someone agrees to a coffee or phone call make sure you know what you wish to get out of it. You will hear many different career pathways and truthfully there is no blueprint to your perfect job, if I look at where I am today it seems like my road was a neat tapestry that led me here but in realty while learning what I wanted to do and how to get there it was more like the messy back of the tapestry with lots of knots and dead ends. The journey is just as important as the moment you receive your first job offer, I genuinely don’t think I would be able to do my job as well if I had such a smooth ride. Learning from adversity, stress and knockbacks will make you ready for the work place and remember all bad things are temporary so never give up and keep on learning.

Kind regards,

Christine Wallace, Politics and International Relations CCCU Graduate 2017, now the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to South Africa and the Second Church Estates Commissioner.

(click the name to connect with Christine on LinkedIn! Don’t forget to always add a message when you make a new connection – let Christine know you’ve read his blog and loved it, you’re graduating CCCU and pick out something from the above that has resonated with you or helped you, or ask a question!)

Getting further support from The Careers and Enterprise Team at CCCU

You can get ongoing careers support via the following ways: