I met a PhD student recently who had been at a Careers Service event last month on ‘Working in Policy’. The student said it was one of the best things she’d been to at the university. Obviously that’s nice feedback to get to pass on to the colleagues who’d organised that event, but what struck me was how that student had used the event in a way that had helped her get greatest benefit from it. So I thought I’d pass on a few thoughts.
This event was not directed at PhD students specifically. It was open to students studying at any level who were interested in working in policy. So don’t just go to things that have the ‘PhD student’ label as you may miss out on something that will genuinely interest you.
Do your research before you go. The list of speakers was available before the event. The student identified that there was going to be someone speaking who worked in a role that really excited her. But she was also open to hearing from others as you never know when you’ll hear something interesting from an unexpected quarter.
Take the networking opportunities offered. There was time for informal networking between students and speakers after the event. The student made sure she had a conversation with the speaker she was interested in. She demonstrated her enthusiasm and got across some of her own relevant experience and skills. She learned more about the role and made a great contact.
Follow up afterwards. As a result of the first contact she made at the policy event, she was arranging to meet with the speaker again to discuss the possibility of some work shadowing. If you meet and connect with someone at an event, do consider following up with them to get further information or even experience.
This was a great example of someone using one of our events in exactly the way we encourage students to. So do explore what’s going on at the Careers Service. We don’t like to e-mail you every time we run an event so you should get in the habit of looking on MyCareerhub where all of our events are advertised.
And look out for our PhD Horizons Careers Conference on Tuesday 6th June. You can hear from over 30 PhD graduates working in different career areas and there will be opportunities for networking with the speakers.
(Obviously we’re not the only service organising events that may be of interest to you so keep your eyes open for anything else happening across the University or beyond).