Why I became a Career Ambassador – Zbigniew Soj

Today’s post comes from Zbigniew Soj, a 2nd year Politics student who shares his experience of being one of our volunteer Career Ambassadors…

Why and how did I become a Career Ambassador?

As a second-year student of BA Politics, at the threshold of a new academic term, I was looking for some work or study placement opportunities for the coming year. I decided to visit Career and Employability Services in Student Central in order to let people there have a look at my CV and tell me what I can possibly improve in order to be able to find a more attractive placement offer.

The first piece of advice I was given was to look for any volunteering experience (which I did not have at all). I was also pretty worried about it due to the fact that English is not my first language, and therefore, I was not sure to what extent I would be able to work effectively in a voluntary service. However, I knew that any skills gained as a Volunteer might significantly contribute to widening my horizons; for example, for the future job market.  The first thing that came to my mind was to try to find an opportunity like that at the university.

To my surprise, I found a leaflet at the Careers Service advertising a volunteer position of a Career Ambassador that really got my interest.  I found out that if I can contribute a total of 25 hours of volunteering over one academic year, the hours will be accredited through the Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR).  Moreover, it also provides me the opportunity to find out and understand the role of Career and Employability Services.

I made a quick decision then and sent a message to the Career Ambassador Coordinator, who in response, booked a first meeting to discuss the role in more detail. She described the challenges of the role and asked me to consider more fully about volunteering now that I have more information about the Career Ambassador role! Needless to say, I agreed to volunteer as a Career Ambassador, given the t-shirt and excited and ready to start.

What do I do as a Career Ambassador?

The list of possible activities is very diverse and I am sure that everybody can find something for themselves. For example, engaging at Careers Fairs, which take place in Student Central from time to time, might include distributing leaflets to students, helping employers with parking their vehicles and moving their stuff from the car park to the location or cleaning tables before and after the event.

It is also significant to engage with students about ways in which the Careers Service can help them with their plans for future through, for instance, CV/CL checking, mock interviews, an organisation of study and work placements, preparing workshops on various topics, or finding part-time jobs.  As a Career Ambassador, it is also vital to promote the services on social media and do ‘lecture shout-outs’  to inform fellow students about new events or run a small focus group for people who want to find out more about the service.

Zbigniew (left) and fellow Career Ambassadors on duty at a careers fair

 

My personal experience as a Career Ambassador

Personally, I really enjoy this volunteering experience. Helping at careers events gives me an opportunity to develop my transferable skills such as team-working, communication with others or self-confidence.  What is more, I find the whole experience really friendly to EU/international students; I could test the level of my English in this new environment and had no problems with cooperation with others.  It is also a great chance to make new friendships with fellow ambassadors and get to know members of the university staff.

In addition, I become more aware and interested in careers workshops as well.  Thanks to them, I could find out how to find better placement offers as well as get prepared for a job interview.  I admit that every time I get involved in my role, I feel that I do something for myself and for the university, and therefore for others.

Some conclusions…

I strongly recommend becoming a Career Ambassador as a way of getting some volunteering experience, especially, when you want to get ready for your study or work placements as well as increase your confidence with the language, if you are an EU/international student. Doing something for others might be really enjoyable and productive at the same time, and this is how I perceive this voluntary service. Furthermore, I am sure that the skills gained at this time will bring in positive results for my own career in the future!

Thanks Zbigniew! Find our more about volunteering and our Career Ambassador programme.