Rebecca Brown is a Microbiology and Immunology BSc (Hons) student who graduated in 2019. While she was studying for her degree, Rebecca also worked part-time as a Careers+Placements Associate. We had a chat with her to find out more about her role, the benefits of work experience and what her graduate plans are.
What does a typical day in your part-time job look like?
Fortunately, I don’t think there is such thing as a typical day! Each shift can vary from presenting at open days to prospective students, to writing articles for C+P newsletters. I have been able to take part in such a wide range of events during my time as a C+P Associate which has also led to me being involved with other events the university has hosted such as the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation visit!
What has been the highlight of your job so far?
I have enjoyed the open days most because I get to give advice to people in a situation I went through a few years ago. Talking about my experiences in front of an audience has been great for my own confidence too!
What skills have you developed?
The main skills I have developed are time management, organisation, teamwork, presenting, and communication. I have developed most of these skills during my shifts by getting involved with the Admissions and HE Guidance Conference, open days, and filming for C+P promotional material.
Why did you decide to get a part-time job?
To be honest the money was a big pull! Aside from the money, I did want to gain more experience that I could put on my CV for graduate job applications and it has certainly given me more experiences and skills to talk about during interviews.
How do you juggle working and studying?
Being able to focus on my studies in final year was really important to me, so having a job with C+P meant I could choose the shifts I wanted to work to suit my (very hectic) timetable! I still found organisation was key when the university deadlines were closing in, so I often planned my week including things to do so I could allocate time for socialising, working at C+P and my university studies.
How have the skills and experience you’ve gained from your part-time job helped you in other areas of your life?
Massively! I have secured a graduate position in biology and I used lots of examples from my time at C+P as evidence for teamwork, communication, and time management during my interview. I think my part-time job has shown that I can work under pressure to deadlines and be able to adapt to various work situations which are important to employers!
What advice would you give to other students thinking about or looking for a part-time job?
My honest advice is look for a part-time job and get the experience but only if its right for you! I believe that the skills you gain will help you in your future career whether they are related or not to your degree, so if you can afford to take the time then go for it!
Did you do a placement?
My placement was at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Maidenhead as a Microbiology Analyst. My experience on placement was an amazing opportunity which massively developed my laboratory skills but also my confidence and communication skills!
My main role involved routine testing of samples produced on-site and making sure they were safe for the public to use. I was able to volunteer at other events outside of my role, including a STEM careers and education promotional event at Sandhurst Military Academy for 900 schoolgirls aged 11-15 as a representative of GlaxoSmithKline. I was one of three employees to promote GSK early career options including placement years and apprenticeships!
Have you secured a graduate job yet?
I have secured a graduate position as a laboratory technician at The Binding Site in Birmingham! My role will be using lots of technical skills and knowledge I have obtained during my degree including affinity purification.
I found the role through the university, as my lecturers sent out an announcement, however I was also made aware of the position through Careers+Placements!