September 25, 2015, by Laura Estrop
Top Tips for Making the Most of Your Masters
By Laura Estrop, Social Media Officer
Two years ago I started my masters degree in film, television and screen industries and at that stage of my career journey I had zero idea what I wanted to do after my studies. I decided to take a pro-active approach to trying to find out what I wanted to do as well as filling up my spare time.
Take advantage of your situation
While you may think that staying on at university for another year means another year of putting off deciding what career you want to pursue, I wouldn’t recommend taking this approach. Think about it like this, you’ve given yourself an extra year to build-up your CV and employability skills so make the most of it!
I think it helped me to find out that by doing a masters in a specific field your career options don’t get smaller, they actually expand. I attended a few of the workshops run by the Careers and Employability Service who showed me what options were available. I wasn’t aware that after I had completed my masters there was still the chance to change direction with my career, for example I could undertake a medical or law career if I wanted.
I recommend taking this time to apply for a couple of days work experience within a field you find interesting or even start your own blog. Make sure you have something to put on your CV by the time you’ve finished the degree apart from your result.
Get a job
Masters courses are not cheap. I quickly found this out after I applied for my course and in order for me to self-fund my studies I had to get a part-time job. Although this wasn’t the most exciting part of my year, it was an invaluable experience. I gained many employability skills from that job, such as verbal selling and communication skills, but the most important skill of all would have to be learning how too effectively time manage myself. I had to fit shifts in around my deadlines and other commitments but now I feel as though I am in a better position to deal with situations like this.
The experience also helped me cross-off a few jobs that I know I didn’t want to pursue after my studies.
During my masters, I was on the exec. committee for two student societies. Although this was a big commitment, it was thoroughly worth it. I gained first-hand experience of creating and executing marketing materials and campaigns. These societies were also personally very helpful, as it was the first ‘job’ that I had had where I actually enjoyed what I was doing.
If you’re interested in something, I would 100% recommend trying it out. If you don’t like it, think of the time you have saved yourself applying for jobs in that area or even working in it. If nothing else, the work you do with or for a society will look great on your CV.
Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!
Despite all the extracurricular activities I was involved in, I made time to enjoy myself. I made some great friends from my masters course as well as some great contacts for the future. I can’t express how much more enjoyable spending hours in Hallward is when you’re with good friends.
This is something that definitely applies to MRes students, even if your only contact at University is your lecturer; don’t forget to get in involved with university life.
For more advice specifically tailored to you as a postgraduate student, join us for a series of Postgraduate Career Workshops in July.
If you’re starting your masters this year and would like to some help with the first steps of your career, visit our website. If you have any specific questions about your career, book an appointment with one of our careers advisers.