Getting this internship has shown me how important it is to tailor job applications

About me

Evelyn K.
Social and Political Science
Social and Political Science
BA
James
2017
United Kingdom

About this profile

Equality & Diversity Intern
Department of Chemistry, University of York
United Kingdom
Education / HR, recruitment and training
Large business (250+ employees)
2016
2016

About the job

What I do

Primarily, my role is to support the ambitious action plan that accompanies the Department of Chemistry's Athena Swan Gold Award. I have created resources about the support available for students and staff experiencing fluctuations in their wellbeing; created a database about the speakers who have visited the department and their Equality and Diversity information; and created a poster campaign to showcase the diversity of talent in the department.

Skills I use and how I developed them

Previously I'd used Publisher to make posters and leaflets, I increased my use of Publisher and experimented much more with styles and use of colour than I had before. I've also learnt to use Google Sheets, Docs and Forms which will be extremely useful for the future as more and more is done online.

What I like most

I've enjoyed being able to make useful, tangible improvements to the Chemistry department. Making posters with information about where people can find support so that they're able to best look after themselves; collating information about mental health services available for students to access; generating data about speakers coming to the department to assist them in reaching gender parity in all aspects of departmental culture. What I've enjoyed most has been the sense of team work in the department, everyone has been welcoming, encouraging and incredibly helpful.

What I like least

It has been difficult not to be able to see every project to completion as some of the resources and data I have generated will be developed further once my placement is over and used at a later date.

What surprised me most

I was most surprised by how quickly I was welcomed into the department and just felt like one of the team. It was a lovely experience to have.

Finding and applying for the job

How I looked for work

I used the Careers website, the Student Internship Bureau site and spent time discussing opportunities with friends as we had all noticed different roles from different sites. As I was flexible about the kind of work I was looking for, as I knew I would benefit from any additional work experience before graduation. Due to this, I would say that the process of looking for internships and placements was relatively simple.

How I found out about the job

Careers website (University of York)

The recruitment process

I submitted my CV, completed an application form, was shortlisted, then interviewed and offered the position on the same day.

My advice to students

My advice to students considering work

Don't worry if you've not had a typical path through education and employment. You'll be surprised by the amount you've learnt that has nothing to do with your course by just being at university and joining a society. If you're able to, getting some work experience even if it just narrows down what you're interested in pursuing is definitely worth it.

Other advice

One thing I learnt about on my internship was about the shortlisting process, so the main tip would be make sure you fill out the application as well as you can, and tailor it to the specific job you're applying for. Employers can tell when you've just copied and pasted and obviously that means you're unlikely to be the best candidate.

Contacting me

As a disabled student with a chronic illness, I'm more than happy to discuss all things related to disability and applying for jobs and asking for reasonable adjustments. I'm also happy to talk more generally about less typical paths through education and how to demonstrate why such paths are beneficial, not limiting.


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