Continuing with our ‘From the Talent Bank’ series, we are keen to get more Top Tips about starting work. Last week we heard from Amy Dicks, who talked about the importance of having a friendly attitude and SMILE! Today we hear from another talented colleague, Kristina Kand, who is the other Employability Assistant in our team.

Kristina, originally from Estonia, has been working at the Career Development Centre (CDC) for more than two years. She describes her role as having 3 facets: there’s the student support side with assisting the Talent Bank, events side organising careers events as well as working with employers.

Let’s see what she has to say about starting work!

Kristina, so you’ve been working for the CDC here since 2014. What do you enjoy most in your role as Employability Assistant?

It’s really great when the relationship with an employer develops from the initial phone call to them fully engaging with us. It’s very exciting when the phone rings and for example, an employer may have a rough idea of what they wish to do, such as, to advertise an internship with us. Then as I talk with them, we realise that they are actually more interested in other services that we offer as well, such as running a workshop on campus. So I am able to support employers with what they need.

Can you tell us about your first job?

My very very first job?

Yes your very very very first paid job! (We are interested to hear about people’s first jobs, as that’s often quite interesting and unexpected!)

It was when I was a teenager, maybe 12 or 14 years old. I worked on a farm in Estonia in the summer. What I remember was doing backbreaking work weeding in the sun, and we didn’t get paid very much.

What would you advise students in terms of applying for their first graduate job?

I would say, to keep your options open. Think about the top industry you would like to work for, and then alongside that, think about a few other sectors that you would be interested in. For example, after completing my Masters in International Liaison and Communication, I didn’t think I would work in Higher Education. I was actually looking to work in International Communications, and I ended up working in University! I do enjoy the friendlier environment here at CDC.

What is a piece of advice you have about starting a first job?

If you are working in an open plan office, being aware of your surroundings help. For example, being careful not to talk too loudly or chatting for too long, as your colleagues may be trying to work. Striking a balance between work and fun is important.

Kristina, some students may know that you’re involved with the Talent Bank Assessment Day. Can you give an insider’s tip on tackling the Assessment Day?

Assessment Days are quite common in the UK as part of the recruitment process, and so taking part in the Talent Bank Assessment Day can be really good experience when applying for jobs in the future. My tip is to make sure that you are actively involved in the group discussions. If you don’t have anything in particular to add to the discussion, simply inviting other group members for their ideas shows that you are engaged.

Thank you Kristina! Your tip about keeping options open sounds really wise. The next Talent Bank intake is coming up and if you would like to gain paid part-time work alongside your studies, apply by 12 June!

We look forward to the next blog, as we catch up with Hristina Simeonova, Employability Coordinator, and hear what she has to say on this very timely subject!

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