Natalie Gilfedder shares her experiences of internships, employability and being a student at Edinburgh.
When I first started University, getting through my degree was my main – and probably only – concern at the time. But, at the beginning of my third year when I began to apply for internships and started think about graduate jobs, the realisation of ‘what makes me stand out compared to other students?’ finally dawned on me.
First, I thought the only thing employers were looking for are those who have completed a prestigious internship or ran a society. But, in actual fact, I have now realised that employability can be found in all areas of your degree programme and in other activities out with University.
After a meeting with the University’s Central Careers Service and after I finished insisting that I had achieved nothing in my first two years of University, they explained to me that I had more than enough experience to get the position I wanted. My main issue was articulating the skills I had developed in my degree programme, part time work and extra curricular activities.
My experiences were highly relevant in terms of developing my communication, interpersonal and team working skills, which were all needed for the position. I had developed my employability in more ways than I had originally thought and this enabled me to gain an Employ.ed on Campus internship in the Business School!
Taking note of and effectively articulating the skills that I developed throughout my time at University is an important lesson I have learned- and has definitely reduced the number of job application rejections! The University’s Graduate Attributes helped me more effectively articulate what skills I have developed through being a student at the University of Edinburgh. Another way that helped me to articulate my skills was completing the Edinburgh Award. This gave me the opportunity to be recognised for my part-time work and develop and reflect on three particular skills. And I still have a copy of all of these skill reflections which are really handy for job applications!
When it comes to applying for internships, part time jobs or graduate positions, being able to speak confidently and concisely about why you are the best person is how you will stand out from the other graduates. It’s not necessarily all about what you have done, but how articulate your experiences!