After graduating with First Class Honours in October, you opted to go travelling and not to apply for graduate schemes straight away like many other graduates. Tell us about your reasons for this and also the benefits of taking a well-deserved break from your studies.
I thought that after graduating it was the perfect opportunity to get off the Island. Unlike some individuals who take a gap year after school and then find it hard to go back into education, I did the hard work before taking the time out, meaning I could enjoy travelling more with the degree under my belt.
How long were you travelling for and when you came back to Jersey how easy was it to find employment?
I went from Peru, to Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil in 2 months, which for the distance I covered in that time was very short. Some people do similar routes to the one I did in a year!
I don't think that leaving a gap between graduation and finding a job is a bad thing at all and I don't think that this should limit someone's ability to find employment. If anything, it is the best time to go because it shows the employer that you have done all your hard work and gained a very reputable degree before going off and having some time to yourself. I think that from an employer’s point of view, this should be considered as a reassuring factor that there is less risk that the employee will leave the job after a year or so to go away.
I was very fortunate that I already had employment lined up for when I returned from travelling. I worked at a small boutique called Plums Lingerie where I had worked part time since the age of 14 and had a lot of responsibility with managing the website. My bosses were very good to me and had become like fairy godmothers to me over the years and thought that going away for a little while would also benefit me. It took me three months after returning from travelling to find my current role in Human Resources with the States of Jersey which I am still settling into and have met some lovely people who have helped me settle in.
I chose this role because unlike some of my fellow students who already worked in office environments during the degree, I had not. I felt that being based in a HR department would be a good starting role for me to ease myself into office life rather than plunging into the deep end and the fast pace of the financial services industry. Don't get me wrong, my current role is very fast-paced and I'm not quite sure how my manager kept her cool before I came to help relieve some of the work load!
Tell us about your new job
My current role is in HR based within the Employment Relations team. My main purpose is to help evaluate and write new policies and guidelines and then implement them into the business. However, my role is not isolated as I am involved with everything from suspensions to wellbeing and business as usual matters relating to general HR. There is a lot to learn but it is a very interesting role.
I can now see how applicable the degree is to many different roles and career paths. While HR isn't studied as a module on the degree, but more of an over-arching awareness and how it fits into daily business, I can see how the Corporate Governance and Law modules fit in – along with many other things I learnt on the degree.
While the degree is perfect for those wanting to specialise in areas of finance such as Wealth Management or Accounting, I can also see how it could benefit many career paths. Having the knowledge of the finance industry, a wider economic and financial awareness and how it keeps the world going around, I can see how it can easily be applied to those who maybe go on to set up their own businesses. Whether that be the next successful investment firm or a florist in London, the degree is always relevant because it not only teaches you about the finance industry, but about how businesses survive and what they need to be aware of in the wider economy. It is only now that I see this and as I’ve thought about my different career options and how my degree will support me in that role.
Are there any tips that you would give current students approaching the end of their degree programme, in terms of thinking about the future and their career?
My three tips for students coming to the end of their degree:
- Work as hard as you can to get that degree, because once you have it, no one can take it away from you.
- Don't be afraid to do something different if you are unsure what you want to do. Take the leap, go travelling, learn a new language or skill, do something that puts you out of your comfort zone. I think that as long as you are developing yourself and learning as you go, you will make the right decisions with your career.
- If you have your heart set on something, go for it – and do whatever it takes to get you to where you want to be. Don't waste your time, because time is all you have!