August 18, 2023, by Jackie Thompson
Believe in Your Abilities and Be Open to Trying New Opportunities
By Kaixin Chen, MA Film, Television and Screen Industries graduate
During my university years, I was committed to a career in the film and television industry. The careers sessions I attended, the social gatherings recommended by professors, the online lectures, and even the research topics I worked on were all in preparation for breaking into the screen industries. When I walked across the stage at graduation, I definitely didn’t realise that I would be involved in working for the graduation ceremony seven months later. From student to member of staff at the University of Nottingham, it’s been an incredible journey for me.
Keeping my options open
The screen industry generally thrives in only a few cities, which was my biggest struggle, and it was a very anxious time for me. After weighing up my options, I felt that the most important thing for me was to stay in Nottingham, so I applied for all the roles I could find that were relevant to my abilities or/and interests. I kept an eye out for external opportunities posted on the Careers job vacancy site, MyCareer, and subscribed to alerts for university vacancies.
Asking for support from the Careers team
After months of frustrating job searching, I booked an appointment with the Careers and Employability Service and was given very informative and detailed CV guidance. Sometimes it does need some objective advice to help make changes to improve the final product. I took the advice from the meeting and the website to complete a CV and some answers in the recruitment system. The first thing I did after receiving the interview invitation email was to book an interview preparation appointment. This was the first interview invitation I had received and I had so many questions and concerns, but luckily the adviser was very helpful and most importantly they helped build my confidence. I passed the test and interview and got the job. Whenever I look back I am always happy with the effort I put in.
Providing a key role for UoN alumni
I currently work as the Alumni Engagement Assistant in the Campaigns and Alumni Relations Office, providing administrative support to alumni and the department. I am usually the first point of contact for internal and external communications, which means the enquiries you send to the alumni department, I will be the first person to deal with it. I enjoy helping alumni find and recall their connections with the university. I also help to keep the database accurate and contribute to organising webinars. I assisted with the summer graduation ceremonies as a staff volunteer, which certainly meant a lot to me.
Developing my knowledge and skills
Working at one of the world’s top 100 universities, I have undertaken several useful training sessions. During my induction, I developed a broader knowledge of the education industry and the university from a staff perspective and learned about the operations of the university. I have also had job-related training such as managing databases, protecting sensitive data, and mastering office software. I will attend emergency first aid training in the near future, which I believe will be beneficial to the office and myself.
Reflecting on my journey
Looking back now, I would give the following advice to myself when I was looking for a job:
- People who work in what they love are lucky, but it’s super common to work in a career that is different from your profession and passions. Believe in your abilities and be open to trying new opportunities, and you’ll find that you can get places far beyond what you initially thought you could.
- Ask for advice to help with your CV or questions on an application form to help you get an interview
- Be confident and sincere in your interviews and knowing the department and company culture will be helpful.
- Keep learning – what you do at the moment doesn’t necessarily define the direction of your life. The experience and abilities you gain will make you look forward to wherever life directs you.
If you need help with making choices about your future direction, talk to us and we’ll help you every step of the way. Book an appointment with one of our advisers.
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