Blog post

Becoming employable: my experience

By Lauren Marr - 27 April 2022

The University of Derby has a strong focus on employability and really supports students to gain experience to get a graduate job at the end of your journey. I wanted to share my own personal experience with you. To highlight a small range of opportunities available to you and share my favourite experiences too. So here goes... 

The Careers and Employment Service and the Student Employment Agency (SEA) 

I guess first you need to know about these two teams that are there to support you through your career journey while at Derby. 

The Careers and Employability Service have hubs across each campus and these are where you go for careers information and advice. You can make an appointment via MS Teams, phone, or face to face. They also have a live chat open daily too. 

So, this team set up interview-style practice sessions and they work alongside your course curriculum with academics so you experience employability modules within your timetable. 

This team also set up all of the various programmes you can get involved in too such as volunteering, employer mentoring, the Derby Talent Programme and loads more.  

The Student Employment Agency is a space you can sign up to find work of all kinds. There may be jobs at the University you want to try or with local businesses. This team helps you to get your right-to-work checks in place and set up timesheets for payment. 

The Derby Futures Award 

I didn’t mention it above, so not to spoil my own story....but the Derby Futures Awards is a programme offered by the Careers and Employment Service and one I took part in. I’m going to link you to another blog of mine to read all about it. 

Find out more about the Futures Award

Marketing Representative 

I have been a marketing representative for almost a year now. Super easy to sign up to, and then you get to work with the marketing team to create content which is then shared with school leavers and other students who are making their decisions about joining university.  

There are so many different opportunities with this position from attending meetings and focus groups, writing blogs like this, and being involved in photoshoots and videos.  

This position really gives you the chance to work on projects that interest you and help other students by sharing your experiences. The skills you can gain through being a marketing representative depend on which jobs you accept. You can increase your confidence by being in videos, learning how to present ideas clearly in meetings and enhance your writing skills by creating blog posts. The possibilities for skill building are completely in your hands! 

Work with Marketing

Social Media Internship 

I applied for this internship through the SEA to work with Buxton and Leek College. For this role, I had to attend an interview. This really helped me to think about my skills and experiences and put it all down in writing so I could relay it to the employer. It was a great experience to prep me for post-graduation too. 

Here is a little summary of the work I did while in this internship. 

Whilst working with Buxton and Leek College I was able to meet a range of educators and hear them talk about the success their students have had this year. It was really inspiring and heart-warming to hear that these teachers were truly proud of their students and what they have accomplished. I recorded what these teachers had to say and compiled this footage into a video highlighting the different student of the year awards each subject granted.  

This internship helped me to improve my video editing skills in Premiere Pro and gave me a chance to learn some simple animations in After Effects. I also had the chance to travel to both the Buxton and Leek campuses and photograph the work students have made for their art exhibits.  

Working with the Library team 

This position took place over the summer, working five hours a week to write and record scripts for grammar videos and then turn these scrips into skills guides. The goal of this project was to create fun, informative, and easy-to-access grammar advice so that students could find all the information they may need in order to push their assignments to the next level.  

This was a team-based project which meant that I was able to work with an animator who turned the scripts I had recorded into engaging videos for students. Working in this team, with our wonderful employers, meant that there were lots of chances to give and receive feedback and to make sure each of us shined through during the project. 

The skills I learned ranged from research skills, website building, creating skills guides with quizzes and tabs and different sections, and, finally, voice acting. This was not something I thought I would ever do but I really enjoyed morphing my voice to get the right intonation and keeping the listener engaged.  

Communications Placement  

While on this placement I took part in a variety of tasks. I was able to write and edit blog posts, research, create content for key national days like stress awareness (which in turn will support other people), and create social media posts around these days to highlight the research that the University has completed, along with encouraging engagement from our alumni.  

I found this placement extremely rewarding as I was working in many areas that I had not had the chance to work in before. Shortly after finishing my placement, I received an email saying that one of the posts I had drafted for social media received a large amount of engagement. This made me incredibly pleased with the work I had produced and made me more confident in my ability to do a similar job in the future.  

After completing this placement, I was contacted by my mentor to let me know about a job opportunity that would enable me to work with them for a year. Unfortunately, I couldn't apply for this because it is a full-time position, and I am still studying but it is very reassuring to know that this is something I could apply for once I finish my studies and such opportunities arise by being involved in new experiences. 

Final thoughts 

The Student Employment Agency releases job opportunities over a large range of subject areas, and contract lengths. There is a job for everyone at any skill level and it is an excellent way to grow your portfolio and earn some money alongside your studies. Along with the advice and guidance from the Careers and Employment Service, you’re on to a winner. Do not miss out, visit them today. 

About the author

Lauren smiling in front of a bookcase.

Lauren Marr
English Literature student

I’m Lauren, a third-year undergraduate student majoring in English Literature with an interest in social media and marketing.