Employability and beyond
Welcome back to the Criminology Collective for our second blog post, Libby here. Today’s post is all about employability during and after University and how to ensure you are going into the job or course that is right for you. We cannot emphasise enough that a job that may be the right choice for your peers or even the job that ‘sounds right’ may not always be your best fit. Many of you reading this may be in a similar position to us at the moment, just finished University, looking forward to graduation but stuck in a limbo of how to progress. There are two main options after completing your undergrad- either a Masters or full-time employment. Jo chose one and Lib the other option- what’s right for you isn’t always what is right for everyone else.
One issue you might encounter when applying for jobs straight out of University is when employers ask for a minimum experience of say, 2, 3, 4 years in the role. This is an impossible task in many cases, however we have some tips to increase experience, maybe not directly in said role but at least related. This is not only great for CVs and interviews but also in expanding your knowledge and aiding your University course. So, tips! We recommend that while you are at University you spend as much time and effort on extra-curriculum activities, and if there is nothing that you like then create one! While we were at University we re-activated the dormant Criminology Society which gave us talents and skills in event planning, democratic elections, meeting and minutes, risk assessment, team work, funding and treasurer skills and most importantly time management. Events that Criminology societies hold are great for expanding your existing, growing knowledge while at University as well as creating a network of great and influential people.
JO: Another quite dreary tip I would give, and no one will like me for this (except maybe lecturers), is to turn up on time, to ALL your lectures, and participate. See, I told you it was boring but aside from the obvious benefit of your work being brilliant, it is worth remembering that your lecturers will be writing your references when you graduate and if they can say you are punctual, engaged and reliable this will add weight to your CV. Right, boring bit over…
LIB: We also took part in contributing to our Student Union, this made them want to help us and is great for references in the future. You may have trouble with gaining experience through volunteering, especially in subjects like Criminology whereby access and data protection can be limiting factors. Jo overcame these issues and volunteered in her last year within the prison system….
JO: I joined an education module called Making Links run by the University of Westminster in HMP Pentonville. The premise is that 12 ‘outside’ (university) students and 12 ‘inside’ (prisoner) students take a 10 week Introduction to Criminology module together. Inside and outside students work together on seminar activities, each student bringing their knowledge and experiences to the table. My role was to facilitate seminars and to generate a bit of discussion…. It was both challenging and inspiring and really positive steps are being taken in prison to encourage prisoners to consider education post-release. I will write a full blog on my experience of volunteering in HMP Pentonville in due course. The takeaway for now can be that my volunteering opportunity came through my wider network and it cannot be overstated how important your network is. A much much wiser woman than I said this as part of a longer piece aimed towards grad students but much of which applies to undergrads:
‘Every encounter from here on out is a professional encounter. Be prepared and walk into your classes prepared to act like a future colleague. It is your job to show your advisors that that is what you are.’ (Kyla Wazana Tompkins)
Here is the link to the longer piece and it’s really worth a look.
LIB: Another great tip is to find out how your University is set up to help you find employment. Most (if not all) Universities offer some kind of employment guidance- for example our University had a Job Shop. This is incredibly useful, not only do they advertise jobs to you first before the big sites get them, but they also help develop skills like Microsoft and help with making you a 1st class CV (even if your degree isn’t).
The Criminology Collective founders believe that you shouldn’t be alone through the hard times of graduating and being faced with an almighty bill, we want to be there for students (current or past) to help with keeping your future job subject specific. We believe the majority of us take courses like Criminology, Psychology, Sociology and other Social Sciences because of the vocational aspect, we have an empathetic attitude and we haven’t done these courses necessarily for the whopping salaries, so why not continue our learning into the field of work? That being said, Social Sciences doesn’t always mean a vocational job that you’ve dreamed of. At the moment I am interning at an Insurance Underwriting company with future plans to pursue a job in Cyber crime and Fraud insurance. The great thing about Criminology is that nearly every area of life is or can be affected by crime, in fact let’s throw down a challenge. Who can come up with an area of work that is incorruptible….
Thank you for reading this far and let us know on our Twitter page what you think (@crimcolluk) and please add your tips for employability, we know we have only just scraped the surface here.