November 7, 2014, by James Jupe

How My Work Experience Led to a Graduate Job

By Shivam Samani, BSc Mathematics and Computer Science

Whatever your degree, there’s a wide range of options open to you at Nottingham to gain work experience. You might be surprised just how many there are…

Here’s an example: Shivam Samani, who graduated in the summer, talks about his experience on the IT Community Consultancy Project.

Why I got involved

By the start of my second year, I began to see the importance of graduate schemes, and that I had to start improving my employability. Employers want to see you sell yourself with a plethora of work experience and extracurricular activities – all I had was my teenage work experience and first year marks.

I wanted to pursue a career in technology and possibly consultancy; so I applied to the IT Community Consultancy Project. The project gave me an insight into the world of IT and consultancy and also helped local charities to improve their technical infrastructure.

The project

We were divided into teams and assigned charities, but weren’t thrown straight into client briefings! The Careers team eased us into the process, gave us mentors to guide us and organised workshops to build our skills. We got professional training in skills like teamwork, communication and presenting.

My team and I then began meeting with our clients; we helped identify their difficulty and then met regularly to showcase different solutions. Throughout the process we met with the other teams and industry professionals to discuss our progress. At the end of the project we gave a presentation on how we helped our clients and how we applied the skills developed through our degrees and the skills workshops.

What I gained from my experience

Through the sessions and client meetings I greatly improved my professional skills. I became more confident communicating with clients and presenting to large groups of people; I also gained valuable experience in leadership and teamwork.

This project helped me to show employers that I am motivated towards improving my employability, that I can work well in a team, that I am responsible enough to work with real clients, and many more competencies.

This amazing work experience helped me to secure a graduate job with BT!

For anyone thinking of gaining work experience explore your options and if you’re a computer science student, check out the IT Community Consultancy Project. This is a great way to learn how to apply your technical skills to a business, and how to work as a consultant. It is also extremely rewarding contributing to the success of local charities. It’s a one-of-a-kind project that not many universities offer.

For computer science students, apply for the IT Community Consultancy Project by 14 November.  If you’re interested in gaining experience, check out the options open to you and talk to a careers adviser.

Posted in Applying For JobsThe Nottingham Advantage AwardWork experience