Working as an Archive Assistant by Monica Dosanjh

Happy Friday and welcome to another post as part of the Student Employability Guest Blog series! Today, we get an insight into the work of a part-time archive assistant from Monica, one of our lovely Talent Bank student helpers. Grab a cuppa, make yourself comfortable and read below for some hands-on advice on applying to work for the university!

And remember, if you, like Monica, want to share your employability experiences in a blog, drop us an email on careers@westminster.ac.uk with your idea and you could shine on the official careers blog, too.

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Who is Monica & Why Talent Bank?

Working as an Archive Assistant by Monica Dosanjh

My name is Monica Dosanjh, and I am a soon-to-be English Literature Graduate (the feeling of finishing university still hasn’t sunk in!) and I work as an archive assistant for the university. Whilst studying for my degree, I have found the Talent Bank Scheme an incentive to find work and develop beneficial transferable skills, utilised later on in the work place. Through using Talent Bank to find employment in my current job as an archive assistant, I feel that the scheme has prepared me for my desired career field. In this blog post I will further discuss why that is…

I joined the Talent Bank for many reasons. First, I was intrigued about the scheme from attending a freshers fair earlier this year (I know what you may be thinking — ‘but you’re a third year student how can you attend freshers fairs still!‘; well, you can, my friend! Attending career fairs in any year of study can be a great way of seeing what’s out there and sign up to something new that grabs your attention). In my case, I came across the Mentoring and Talent Bank schemes stall at the fair and got talking to a representative, and I was thoroughly impressed by how the university supports students through offering various part-time job opportunities whilst they are studying. Often, it can be very difficult to not only find employment outside university, but balance it with studies (e.g. due to the long and unpractical hours that retail jobs provide). However, after coming across the Talent Bank website and watching a video of previous student helpers, who had been working during term time alongside their studies, I was drawn in to apply, too.

How to prepare for applying to be a part-time Student Helper

When I saw the job posting for the archive assistant role, I immediately started devising my CV by thinking about the skills listed on the posting that I already possessed. For one, I had obtained previous experience during a work placement whilst I was at school, where I worked for an art gallery as a gallery assistant. The role involved researching and writing biographies for several artists for the galleries’ archive. 💡 When applying for a student helper role, or in fact any job, I would highly advise to write down and think about all the skills you already have by looking at any work (voluntary and / or paid) and extra curriculum activities you have participated in. It’s best to emphasise the skills you have developed through your employment experience and demonstrate how you have used these skills to show how you are suitable to this role.

When I was invited for an interview, I was told that I would be participating in an accuracy test, which I had no idea of what this consisted of. Initially, I thought whether I would be completing a numerical or alphabetical filing test or something similar to that. Therefore, I tried to prepare for this test by ironically researching (I can’t stress enough how much I love researching!) what this accuracy test may entail. I would thoroughly encourage anyone before they have an interview for the talent bank scheme, to do a bit of research on the department that you want to work for, as this will really demonstrate your willingness and initiative.

Working as an Archive Assistant

I have had many highlights throughout my role as an archive assistant due to the nature of the work I am carrying out. The responsibility of my work is to research anyone during 1970-1992, who belonged to any sports societies during said time and may have pursued sports later on in their career. Many of the highlights I have experienced are all to do with researching extraordinary people who have gone on to do amazing things with their lives- for example, some have gone on to be recognised by the British Official Associations of Korfball and Fencing. Finding out this information makes me feel that the work I am doing is extremely valuable, as this is history that has not yet been discovered until I started my research on a particular project. What gives me the most amount of joy when doing my work is knowing that my research is vital to getting in contact with past alumni’s.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed gaining an overview of what different sports societies existed in the university during this time, and what successes they achieved through competitions. All of the research I have completed shows how rich and unique the university’s history is.

Further advice

I would recommend any student to sign up for the Talent Bank (TB) scheme, as this is an opportunity not to be missed. TB offers employment that allows you to balance studying whilst working part-time on a good salary. The hours are extremely flexible and are perfect for those, who need to prioritise exams and coursework at busy times throughout the year. I think the scheme is a unique experience that students should make the most out of as it enables you to gain skills and practical insight into careers that you may be potentially interested in; as well as prepares you for finding work after you graduate from the university.

I hope by reading about my experience has interested you in getting involved in taking your career journey one step further! There are amazing and diverse opportunities that would benefit any student from participating in, and would help build experience for the wider working world that you will enter after completing your studies.

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A big THANK YOU to Monica for this insightful piece! Applications to Talent Bank are open – you can apply by filling out this form. 
And remember that the Careers Team is here to help you with succeeding in your employability journey! You can find our contact details below:

DL: 0207 911 5184  | E: careers@westminster.ac.ukWebsite | Facebook | Careers Blog 

Anna Dolidze

Anna Dolidze

Information and Communications Assistant at Careers Team
Anna Dolidze

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