What has Personal Career Development done for me?
Like so many students that come to University, I had to complete a foundation year in Arts and Humanities before continuing onto my Degree pathway in Digital Media. One of my modules was Personal Career Development and it was in this module I was really inspired to take control of my own future and think about how I was going to get where I needed to be after University.
I was sceptical at first because it was talking about C.Vs and “how to sell yourself”. I had no skills for the industry I wanted to get into – which was Graphic Design- but I kept an open mind. A few of these lectures were delivered by Susan from The CORE and her unconventional approach sparked my enthusiasm to start as soon as possible to pick up the skills I needed and how I should develop them. I learnt that my CV is not just a piece of paper to be tossed aside and forgotten about once it has been written, it should be considered as a living entity, a part of yourself, a living blurb subject to change as I was developing my skillset.
PCD not only gave me the tools, but also helped my self-confidence hugely, enough to put myself out there, to talk about myself, my career goals and to improve myself generally. As a direct result I got a photography project, taking pictures of products for a small clothing business. I had to pinch myself I thought it was unreal! I thought that you had to be qualified to get these sorts of projects, how wrong I was. Even now I tell people I ‘stumbled’ into these roles but the truth is I worked hard, I put myself out there, talked to people, even just discussing what I am doing at Uni and what it involves has been fruitful and that was only my foundation year.
To date I am a 1st year Digital Media Student, and I have gained a role in a small Promotional Products business co-ordinating their social media page. This has incorporated skills I have gained in the first semester of Digital Media using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator when generating and editing content for the page. I am also designing a logo for a local charity and have a potential lead on a web design project, and it is not yet summer. So even if you get a role that isn’t in the field you wish to be in, you will still develop those skills so desperately wanted by employers, and it could potentially be your fast-track into your chosen profession, because those real life job skills have been tried and tested in a work environment.
My advice to anyone starting the foundation year, please keep an open mind because it will only be you that suffers or succeeds at the end. The worst that can happen is someone says no, ask why (as sometimes employers will tell you what needs to be improved), learn from it and move on to the next employer/opportunity/challenge.