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Careers Fair key takeaways

The Careers Carousel week was a fantastic way to meet people working across various fields (and you might know from the Conquering the Cover Letter post that I love doing work experience and playing grown-up) and I took away so much from the week so I thought I’d let you in on a sneak preview.

On that note, here are my top 5 takeaways from the Career carousel.

  1. There are many roads to the same destination. Across BT, EY, Clifford Chance and IBM, it was amazing to hear the diversity in the experiences of the employees. I truly learnt that university is not the only path to success and that apprenticeships can be amazing learning experiences is so important. During the Clifford Chance day, a solicitor spoke about how half of their cohort had studied degrees other than Law at university despite the assumption that you have to study law at undergraduate level to be a lawyer. The important thing is to do what you enjoy and do it well and not limit yourself. As they say, the word is your oyster.
  2. Networking. This was something an apprentice at BT spoke about in a breakout room I attended and she emphasised the importance of networking authentically. Sending a million messages to random people on LinkedIn doesn’t have to be the only way to connect to professionals and attending insight events or other online webinars are a great way to meet professionals. She also mentioned the importance of maintaining these connections once you’ve formed new networks, something which was echoed by a lot of other guests during the week.
  3. Communication is a key skill. Every single breakout room I attended during the EY day (I was meticulously making notes!) mentioned communication as a key skill for the workplace. Whether that be for asking for help with work as you need it or maintaining communication with your team or clients. Thankfully, this is a soft skill that can be developed and I would encourage everyone to think about ways to cultivate this skill. This can range from scheduling regular updates with your team for a school project or developing the habit of asking for help early.
  4. Have lunch with people who inspire you, or breakfast. That might sound a bit random but reading is a very underestimated activity. During the career carousel, people recommended lots of useful books, podcasts or other ways which they’d sought to educate and inspire themselves. We often hear the question ‘If you could invite any three people to a dinner party, who would you invite?’ Well, answer the question, make your list but don’t stop there. Have they written any books where they share their experiences or featured in podcasts or videos sharing advice? Read, read, read- it’s an amazing way to have lunch with people you’d like to learn from.
  5. It’s ok to pivot. I’d argue it’s more than ok, it’s beneficial. As we grow and develop, it’s natural that our priorities and interests might also evolve. I found it so inspiring to hear a graduate speak about her current ambition to move teams from Finance to HR within her workplace. She spoke about the fact that she’d done finance for a long time and although she now had interests in other areas, the prospect of moving sometimes appears quite daunting. As young people, we can often put so much pressure on ourselves to follow a set 10- year plan or to have it all figured out but in the midst of the planning, it’s crucial to leave room for growth and be flexible with our plans. If you’re not sure which industries you might be interested in then perhaps start by applying for work experience in some local businesses or companies you interact with and admire.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my takeaways from the event, if you attended, I’d love to hear what you learnt so be sure to share your lessons below! If you missed the event or one of the days in particular, be sure to join the student community to access the recordings!

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