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Careers in the Life Science Industry Themed Week – A Wrap up

Joe O'Brien23 March 2020

Written by Glyn Jones, Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

Last week UCL Careers ran the Careers in the Life Science Industry Themed Week. The week consisted of seven events taking place across four days with over twenty professionals from the industry coming in to share their insights. Here are some of the key points that we’ve picked out from what our speakers shared.

Be open

It can be tricky getting an idea of what career pathways are viable to you when you’re leaving education. Panellists throughout the events spoke about the confusion they had experienced and how they weren’t sure what their next steps were going to be. Some spoke about how they embraced this as an opportunity to explore roles they had never previously considered. Even if they went on to do something completely different afterwards, they could pick out the positives from the role, such as developing soft skills that have come in useful further down the line.

Be inquisitive

If you are unsure about the role you want to do next, there’s usually someone out there who you can speak with about your options. That could be via a Short Guidance Session with UCL Careers, speaking with people at events and career days, or this can be done online through platforms such as the UCL Alumni Community or LinkedIn. Speaking with others can open up a whole range of roles that you may have never previously considered and will enable you to gain valuable insight on how to get into certain sectors. It’s also worth noting that through sparking conversations such as these, you can grow your professional network, which may even lead to getting some valuable work experience or a future job.

Be passionate… but show this in the right way

A passion for science is something often required for a role within the life science industry and will be on the checklist of many of those involved in recruitment, but how do you show this? One panellist stated that he had heard the statement ‘I have a passion for science’ so many times that it now meant very little to him. Anyone can include this generic term in a covering letter or application, what really gets the attention of the reader is being able to demonstrate your passion for science. Explain where your passion has come from; what area of science in particular is it that you enjoy? This way, recruiters will be able to get a true understanding of your passion for a subject and start getting to know you as an individual.

Be up to date

The nature of science means that it is always advancing and changing, and consequently, so are life science careers. Organisations are ever-evolving, using exciting new science to tackle problems. Keeping up to date with these can be one of the major challenges of working in the sector, according to some of the people we heard from. For example, panellists spoke about how they were required to keep up to date with the development of the COVID-19 pandemic and react accordingly to this information as part of their role. Although this can be difficult, working in a constantly developing field was something that many speakers said was one of the best aspects of their job. Using recent journal articles or news stories will help you keep abreast of the latest developments and enable you to have informed discussions about these topics.

Be flexible

Many of our panellists spoke about how they didn’t land their ideal role with the first job they got. Sometimes you may have to work in a related field before moving over to an area that interests you more. Graduate schemes can prove valuable in such situations, as they often equip you with sought-after experience as you move through departments via rotations. If a graduate scheme isn’t for you, then plenty of our panellists spoke about how they got experience in graduate entry roles before landing the role that really suited them. A sideways move or promotion within an organisation can sometimes get you where you would prefer to be within a company.

Be focused on skills

Some of our speakers advised that highlighting your skills allows you to demonstrate your suitability for a role even if you haven’t got directly relevant experience. You may find that focusing too much on particular programmes or techniques may limit you as these are constantly changing and being replaced or updated. Instead, you can still demonstrate your suitability through mentioning specific skills that are particularly relevant to the role. Crucially, don’t forget to provide evidence of how you’ve previously demonstrated these skills.

Be specific

Whether it’s during an initial message when trying to grow your network, completing an application or preparing for an upcoming interview, make sure that you’re tailoring your information for the audience in question. It’s worth spending time researching the organisation you’re communicating with, get an understanding of who they are, what they do and what type of people they work with. Through doing this you’ll be able to link your own skills, experiences and values with theirs, demonstrating your suitability to work with them.

What did we learn from our “Biology and Business” panel? | Careers in the Life Science Industry

Joe O'Brien12 March 2020

Written by Sophia Donaldson, Senior Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

Do you want to use your scientific knowledge and interest in business to help commercialise new discoveries? Well, you really should have come to our Biology and Business event on Monday night, shouldn’t you? Don’t worry though, if you couldn’t make it along, we’ve collected together the key take-home points below.

Who were the speakers?

Matt Aldridge, a trainee patent attorney at Kilburn & Strode LLP, where he works at the interface between science and law. Matt has a biochemistry degree from UCL, and an MSc in cellular therapy from bench to market from KCL. Matt spent a year working in a lab-based role before moving into patent law.

John Cassidy, an investment associate at Arix Bioscience, a Biotech-focused venture capital group based in London and New York. John has a neuroscience PhD from UCL, and experience in life science consulting.

Mikhaila Chowdhury, a brand manager at GSK consumer healthcare, where she focuses on digital marketing across oral care and wellness products. Mikhaila has a clinical background in dentistry, completing vocational training at UCL’s Eastman dental institute. After leaving dentistry, she studied a masters in international health management at Imperial, then went through the Future Leaders Program at GSK.

Ismael Gauci, a senior consultant at Deloitte, where he helps clients solve problems across R&D and clinical operations. Ismael has a PhD in cardiovascular science, and before joining Deloitte, he worked at Deallus, a smaller life-science-focused consultancy.

Rachel Greig, a medical science liaison at Incyte, a biotech company, where she focuses on the clinical development of treatments in haematology and oncology. Rachel has a PhD in immunology, and experience in policy work in the charity sector, and in public affairs at the pharmaceutical company Lilly.

And Ella Nuttall, a manager in KPMG’s healthcare and life sciences division. Ella took up an internship at the Wellcome Trust during her Psychology undergraduate, then after completing her MSc in health psychology at UCL, she worked as a health psychology specialist for Lucid, a medical communications agency, before joining KPMG.

What do people like about combining life science with business?

The panel all agreed that the best things include working at the cutting-edge of science, and having access to people who are leaders in their field. For instance, Ella mentioned recent trips she’d taken across the world – notably to Japan – to speak with scientific experts to inform her consultancy.

Some pros were particular to certain sectors. Matt enjoys playing with language and arguing a point, and his role in trying to prove a new invention is original allows him to do that. Mikhaila enjoys the creativity involved in her marketing role. Rachel enjoys the variety that her role brings, as she finds herself visiting different hospitals and interacting with different experts each day. And Ismael and Ella both enjoy the problem solving aspect of consultancy.

Panellists also spoke about the added dimension of having to think commercially, not only scientifically, as appealing to them. Mikhaila and Rachel see the movement between roles and divisions that is possible within large pharmaceutical companies as a benefit – once you get in, you can try new things.

What are the downsides?

The downsides varied depending on the role. The working hours were mentioned as a potential downside of consultancy by Ismael and Ella, and John also commented on this from his past consultancy experience. Ella emphasised that considering what work-life balance means to you is important, but she and Ismael both enjoy the exciting projects they work on, which keep them engaged during potentially long hours.

Something John misses from consultancy is the teamwork and the structured development. Venture capital involves a lot more independence and lone working, and individuals must take more responsibility for their own development, which can be a challenge.

As a Medical Science Liaison, Rachel enjoys her frequent travel to different hospitals, however, she is London based, and so her travel is often simply a normal London commute. She noted that colleagues based outside of London who cover wide territories may spend hours in the car to visit hospital sites, which suits some people, but not everyone.

Matt is early in his training as patent lawyer, but he mentioned encountering more resistance to patent applications than he expected. When you’ve argued a case and it gets rejected, that’s a low point of the role.

Will getting a PhD or a business qualification help me get in?

Three of our speakers had a PhD, and one speaker was a qualified dentist. So if you have a PhD or MD in the life science industry, clearly you won’t be the odd one out. But what if you don’t have a PhD already? Should you get one?

The general consensus from the panel was: only if you actually want one. They all emphasised what a lot of work PhDs can be, and the commitment needed to see them through. PhDs were mentioned as advantageous in patent law and biotech venture capital especially, to the point where some organisations may demand them, however, both Matt and John said there are other work experiences that can get you into both fields, and Matt is proof that people can enter patent law without a PhD.

The panel also agreed that if you want to take a business qualification for your own benefit – so you can decide if you enjoy business, or so you can feel more confident in interviews – then go for it. Matt enjoyed his science and business MSc, which he applied for through genuine interest. However, the panel all agreed that most employers think it’s easier to teach a scientist the principles of business than the other way around, and so your science knowledge and experience is likely to be more valuable than a business qualification.

So what can I do to enhance my chances of getting in?

  • Accept that confusion and rejection are normal, and keep trying. Every speaker shared stories of being confused about what direction to take, and then of being rejected once they’d decided on a direction. These are completely normal parts of everyone’s careers, and the panel encouraged everyone to keep ploughing onwards. 
  • Sometimes you need to take a job you don’t want to get to the job you do want. Sometimes rejection indicates there’s a gap in your experience that needs to be filled. So just as Matt worked for a year in a lab to gain hands-on science experience so he could get into patent law, and just as Rachel worked in public affairs to gain pharma experience so she could transition into a medical science liaison role, sometimes you may have to take a role you don’t particularly want in the short term, so that you can achieve your longer term goals. John too mentioned that it wouldn’t generally be possible to enter venture capital directly from science, as some prior business experience – perhaps in consultancy – would also be expected. And Ella mentioned that if you find it hard to get into larger consultancies, or if you don’t want to enter at the graduate level, gaining other work experience first – like her experience in a medical communications company, and Ismael’s experience at a smaller consultancy – will help.
  • Get networking! Our speakers provided examples of just how crucial networking can be, as Ella found her first post-MSc job through speaking to an academic, and Rachel found her way into pharma through a contact she met at a conference. So attend relevant events, chat to people, and reach out to professionals on LinkedIn.

Check out the other events forming part of Careers in the Life Science Industry Week here.

What to expect from Careers in the Life Science Industry Week 2020

Joe O'Brien26 February 2020

Written by Sophia Donaldson, Senior Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

From the 9th March we’re hosting a week of daytime and evening events to help you explore careers in the Life Sciences. Here’s a rundown of the week and how it can help you.

What is the Life Science Industry?

The Life Science Industry encompasses anything that aligns with Life Sciences. So a huge range of opportunities fall under this umbrella, including roles in drug development, patenting, marketing, and selling new therapies, or communicating the latest developments in bioscience to policymakers, clinicians, and the public. We’ll kick off the week with a session at 12.30pm on Monday 9th March from CK Science, a science-focused recruitment agency, who will provide an overview of the Life Science Sector, and share the kinds of roles they help companies recruit for, including roles for undergraduates, masters grads, and PhD-holders.

Can I stay in the lab?

Yep! If you’ve enjoyed your laboratory experiences so far, come along to our “Roles in the lab” event at 6-8pm on Tuesday 10th March to hear from a panel of speakers who’ve built careers in labs within commercial companies and the public/university sector. In all of our panel events, speakers will describe their roles, share their career journeys so far, and offer top tips for progressing in similar careers. There will also be an opportunity to ask your own questions of the panel too.

Can I work with data?

Certainly! If it’s the increasingly large datasets emerging from the lab that interest you, join us at 6.30-8.00pm on Thursday 12th March for our “Data Science Careers” panel, where speakers from private, government, and university settings will talk about their roles, and offer tips on how to enter the field.

Can I work in the Life Science Sector, but leave the “doing science” bit to someone else?

You sure can! And we have three – yes, three! – events to show you possible ways to do it.

At 6-8pm on Monday 9th March we have our “Biology and Business” panel, where speakers will share how they use their scientific knowledge in a commercial context. You’ll hear from professionals working across life science consultancy, patent law, biotech investments, and on the business side of big pharmaceutical companies.

At 3-5pm on Wednesday 11th March we’re hosting a Strategy Consultancy Experiential Case Study Session, where Cambridge Healthcare Research will give you the chance to try out a consulting case study that reflects their daily work, and will be similar to the type of case you’ll face in the consulting application process.

At 6-8pm on Wednesday 11th March we’re running a “Life Science Communication and Policy Careers” panel, where you can hear from professionals communicating new scientific developments to a range of audiences, including policy makers and the public.

And at 12pm on Thursday 12th March a representative from the European Medical Writing Association will run an interactive workshop, providing a taste of life as a Medical Writer, and offering tips for improving your writing.

For another look at the full week’s schedule, visit the Careers in the Life Science Industry Week page.

Charities & NGOs Week 2020: What we Learnt

Joe O'Brien7 February 2020

Written by Sally Brown, Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

Four events, 3 interviews, 27 sector professionals…and a dog. So, what did we learn? Below you’ll find our main ‘take-home’ messages from Charities & NGOs Week 2020.

Get voluntary experience

Probably the biggest message from our sector professionals was to do some volunteering; indeed, many volunteers go on to work in paid roles in the same charity. Not only does volunteering give you useful transferable skills for your CV, but doing a range of different roles can give you real insights into the kind of role or organisation you would like to apply for. If you know the type of role already – such as Communications – then try to find volunteer experience in that area. Also think ‘quality over quantity’ when it comes to volunteering; it is much better to do a one-off event that gives you a range of connections and develops lots of new skills than trying to do as much as you can because you think it will “look good on your CV.”

But…not all experience has to be voluntary

For many people, volunteering is not a viable option – and organisations will understand this. So, highlight the transferable skills from paid work or from your degree that can be applied to roles within the sector. However, it’s worth noting that there are a lot more opportunities for flexible volunteering nowadays, some of which can be able to be done remotely or have a commitment of as little as one evening a month.

Be open minded

Don’t feel that just because your first role in the sector isn’t quite what you want you will be pigeon-holed. Sector professionals often change their roles many times and progression doesn’t necessarily have to mean straight up – you can move sideways and diagonally if you want! The skills you acquire from this sector means you can also move out of it into more corporate settings should you want to. It’s important to not think that you’re restricted by your degree choice, in fact many of the speaker’s we had in for this week worked in roles that you wouldn’t traditionally associate with their degrees! Finally, don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone – whether this is a certain type of role or working for a cause whose client base you might find challenging. When pushing out of your comfort zone, make sure you’re keeping your own wellbeing and mental health in mind though!

Consider smaller as well as bigger charities

Getting roles – whether paid or voluntary – in some of the larger, well known charities can be harder due to the competitive nature of these opportunities. Therefore, consider reaching out speculatively to smaller, local charities and offer to do some volunteering or even inquire about a more permanent paid role. Offering to help with a smaller charity’s social media for example can be particularly useful – as they may not have a dedicated person in the team to do this. Make the most of London and the range of organisations that are based here!

Some of the challenges of the sector?

Lack of resources and funding are massive challenges and can result in a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork in some organisations; it can be difficult to keep in mind the ‘bigger picture’ of the cause when working on something that doesn’t seem relevant to the key aims of the organisation. Progression is also an issue, especially in smaller organisations – so try to be open-minded and flexible.

Be specific when writing or applications or at interviews

Some organisations and roles don’t look at academic credentials – but the competencies and experiences from previous roles. This can be aspects such as knowing the client base and the challenges that comes with this.

Ask questions

Don’t be afraid to do this! Whether during volunteering or reaching out to professionals, ask about the roles people do and work out what matters to you. If you haven’t got the time to give for regular volunteering, then network and make connections where you can.

 

Thank you to all the professionals who gave up their time – including Prince the dog, who we are pleased to report has now found a new forever home. For further information, why not check out the Lecturecast recordings from the week that will be available to view soon from: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/resources/slides/themed-weeks/charities

Careers with Global Impact: Working in International Development

Joe O'Brien6 February 2020

Written by Shally Sawhney, Skills Officer at UCL Careers.

Careers with Global Impact: Working in International Development Event
Wednesday 12 February 2020,

1.00pm – 3.00pm

Have you considered a career in International Development?

Would you like to discover more about how your skills translate into roles on a global stage?

Join us for a lunchtime panel event where we’ll be exploring careers across a range of international development organisations. Professionals with experience of working in regions across the world will offer an insight into their career journeys, the different job roles available within the international development sector and provide tips on the key skills needed to build a career on the global stage.

The event will also include a Q & A and an opportunity for networking. We’ve got less than 20 places remaining so act fast if you don’t want to miss out!

Book your place now!

What to Expect from Careers in Health Week 2020

Joe O'Brien29 January 2020

Written by Sarah Sirrell, Information & Research Officer at UCL Careers.

Are you looking for a career that makes a difference to people’s lives? From data to governance, or diagnosis to treatment, Careers in Health Week has got you covered.

You’ll be able to network with people who are working in a diverse range of health careers and hear their stories. We’ve got guests coming from a range of rewarding careers who are keen to share their experiences with you!

Health – The Bigger Picture, 6.00pm Monday 10 February

Would you like to learn more about the range of roles in health beyond health services and clinicians? Come to our panel event where you can hear from the experts themselves.

We have panelists from the Greater London Authority, RAFT, and The Health Policy Partnership who will talk about how they went from being a student to their current role and give you top tips along the way.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Health Careers Discovery Evening, 6.30pm Tuesday 11 February

Please join us at this networking evening where you will have the opportunity to connect with health professionals. Our guests will share their experiences and insights into different career options in this sector.

Confirmed health professionals come from: Aquarius Population Health, Blue Latitude Health, British Heart Foundation, Costello Medical, Galliard Healthcare, Health Sciences Academy, Integrated Medhealth Communication consultancy (IMC), Moorfields Eye Charity, and more!

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Patient Contact Roles Panel, 1.00pm Thursday 13 February

If you enjoy working with people and want to make a real impact to people’s lives, come and hear from and network with health professionals and those training to work directly with patients and clients in a health-focused role.

The panellists will include a Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Nutritionist, Highly Specialised Speech and Language Therapist, 4th Year Medical Student at UCL, and a Health and Wellbeing Practitioner.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Data and Diagnostics Panel, 5.30pm Thursday 13 February

Challenges to health and health systems are changing rapidly on a global scale and the ways in which health data and diagnostics are used to discover ways to prevent, treat and cure diseases is more important than ever. If you are interested in how data analytics and diagnostics are being used in the Health Sector then book onto this panel event where you will hear from professionals who are actively engaging in using data to improve our lives.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

All Health Week events are open to UCL students and recent graduates with an interest in the sector, regardless of your degree subject.

Did you want to explore things a bit further before the panels? Take a look at our online careers library for useful sector guides, job profiles and key job sites: https://ucl-careers-resources.targetconnect.net/search?query=health

Seven Tips For Securing A Career In Cultural Heritage

Joe O'Brien26 November 2019

Written by Glyn Jones, Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

As part of Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Themed Week, we held an event on Careers in Cultural Heritage on 14 November 2019. Four panellists joined us for a Q&A discussion, sharing their insights from the experiences they’ve had during their time in the industry.

Here are the top tips that we took away from the event:

1. Pursue your passion

Tellingly, each panellist told us why they love what they do. They were passionate about various things including research, history, volunteering or arts and literature, all of which allow them to contribute to the industry in which they work. Pursuing your passion will not only contribute to your drive in the workplace, but means you’re more likely to enjoy your role. Make sure that you can demonstrate this passion, through attending relevant talks and events, carrying out research or even going on to do a postgraduate qualification.

2. Find a skill that you are good at

Having a desirable skill that you are good at, which you’re able to evidence during an application process, can give you an advantage when applying for opportunities. Some of the panellists mentioned how they utilise particular skills that they are good at and tailor this towards opportunities for which they are applying. Demonstrating your suitability for a role through this particular skill allows you to carve out your own area of expertise within an industry.

3. Gain relevant experience

Relevant experience can be crucial in job applications. Through this, you’re able to demonstrate your understanding of the sector, the day to day responsibility required for the role and how you are well equipped to do this. Work placements as part of a Masters are excellent opportunities to gain these experiences, as are internships and volunteering opportunities.

4. Be adaptable

Show that you can turn your hand to multiple tasks to demonstrate your adaptability and broad skillset. Panellists highlighted the importance of being able to work with a range of different collections, taking on more management responsibilities through their roles and juggling multiple projects across different locations. Whatever the work involves, showing a can-do attitude and being able to adapt to changing circumstances is a valuable skill for this sector.

5. Make the most of development opportunities

The Cultural Heritage industry seems to be fiercely competitive, therefore panellists were keen to emphasise the importance of making the most of developmental opportunities when they come around. This could be gaining further experiences within your organisation, taking part in training offered by your employer, pursuing further education or undertaking a

traineeship. All these opportunities will enable you to further your knowledge as well as giving you valuable practical experience.

6. Push yourself

All panellist spoke about the importance of working hard and showing a commitment to the work that you do. Push yourself; this commitment can lead to the opportunity to take on more responsibility and gaining further skills, which may prove useful later on in your career. The panellists said this with the caveat that with a long career ahead of you, you should make sure to avoid burnout.

7. Network

Networking can be important in many different sectors. Building contacts and professional networks can be crucial in getting valuable insights and hearing about future opportunities within certain industries. The picture painted by our panellists was of a highly competitive industry that has stiff competition for each vacancy. Through your networks, you will be able to set yourself apart to gain valuable insights that can give you the edge when applying for vacancies.

You can read our other post-event blog from Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Week: Careers in Museums

If you want to speak to one of our Careers Consultants about your career, please book an appointment via MyUCLCareers

UCL Careers Themed Weeks 2019: Museums, Arts & Cultural Heritage Top Tips from Gina Koutsika

Joe O'Brien19 November 2019

Written by guest writer, Gina Koutsika, Creative & Skills Director at V&A Museum of Childhood.

Panellist on Careers in Museums Panel, 11th November, 2019.


It was a great pleasure to be on the ‘Careers in Museums’ panel at UCL and to see so many students wanting to work in museums. For those that could not make it, here are my top 4 tips to succeed in the museum sector:

  1. Learn about yourself, your needs and your preferences. Working in museums is fulfilling and rewarding. You are surrounded by passionate and interesting colleagues, significant – and sometimes astoundingly beautiful – artefacts that can reveal so many different stories and you create memorable, life-changing, enjoyable experiences for and with the public. However, working in museums requires – not only at the start but throughout your professional journey – a lot of personal sacrifices. It requires to invest a lot of your personal time; a lot of your energy and the pay is for some roles less than the national average. It is important to be confident that working in a museum is really what you want to do and that it worth the personal cost. Alternatives include being a museum supporter, museum consumer and a museum volunteer, while having a different career.
  2. Develop your competencies and skills. Volunteer in different roles and in a variety of museums. Get to know the sector and gain hands-on experience, which is often more valuable, than academic knowledge. When I started and while working full-time, I was volunteering in both my own organisation (at another department) and in another museum. It was exhausting but also exciting and it enabled me to build on my skills and experiences, which led to a promotion.
  3. Grasp any opportunity that comes your way and seek to create your own opportunities. Be open, available, and willing to support others. It’s important to make connections, take up training and networking opportunities. You may even want to source a mentor. There are a number of networks you can join for free, and museum membership organisations, like ICOM, MA, GEM, VSG as well as subject -specialist network, that usually have a discounted student membership. There are also bursaries to attend conferences and training days, and it is worth saving up and investing in your professional development.
  4. Regularly, visit museums and exhibitions and observe how visitors engage and interact. Note what worked and what did not. Think about what you may have done differently and your reasoning for it. Talk to the front-of-house staff and learn from their experiences in the galleries. Keep a log of your visits and who you meet. Keep up with the latest developments in the sector through newsletters, research papers, books. Read widely and outside the museological literature.

UCL Careers Themed Weeks 2019: Media Week

skye.aitken14 November 2019

Want to work in the media industry? Find out more at Media Week!

A lecture theatre full on students with panelists sitting on stageAre you thinking of working in the Media industry after your degree? Or is this simply a sector that you would like to explore further? We have put together a number events in the final week of November to enable you to take things further through a spotlight on this diverse and exciting sector.

Monday 25 November

The week kicks off  with an evening insight into Publishing, where people working in a range of roles from editing, agency and rights will take your questions. We are excited to have speakers from Bloomsbury Publishing, LBA Books, UCL Press, Rakuten Kobo and DK (Penguin Random House), working in a variety of roles.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Tuesday 26 November

We will take a look at what it’s like to work within Advertising, Marketing and PR. Professionals working in advertising agencies, consumer and corporate PR and marketing will be discussing their careers, the difference between the various areas and some of the exciting projects they have worked on. Panelists will also offer tips on how you can make your first steps into each of these areas.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Wednesday 27 November

We are delighted to have News Associates running a journalism workshop exclusively for UCL students and recent graduates. This is an interactive session aimed at those looking to pursue a career in UK based journalism.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Thursday 28 November

We finish the week on  with an incredibly exciting line-up focused on the Film, TV and Radio industries. Joining us will be BBC TV and radio presenters, a junior music manager and a film director. We expect this to be a popular event so don’t miss out!

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

 All the events are open to UCL students and recent graduates with an interest in the sector, regardless of your degree subject.

Did you want to explore things a bit further before the panels? Take a look at Prospects.ac.uk to see just how many roles there are within the Media industry. Prospects also breaks down the different roles within Advertising, Marketing & PR.

UCL Careers Themed Weeks 2019: Top 5 Lessons From Government & Policy Week

skye.aitken1 November 2019

Written by Colm Fallon, Careers Consultant, UCL Careers

You may have missed Government & Policy Themed Week 2019, but don’t fret, you can access recordings from this year and previous year’s events and related resources by heading to our website.

Panelists sat on chairs on stage

It’s impossible to sum up all of the valuable insights shared throughout the week, but here are 5 things we learned from Government & Policy Themed Week 2019:

  1. Rapid changes are the norm

Working in the Civil Service can sometimes resemble the TV show ‘The Thick of It’. There may be fewer expletives used, but things can change rapidly, and you have to be adaptable. For example, you may be working on and promoting one policy in the morning, but by the afternoon priorities may have shifted and you find yourself having to completely change your focus.

  1. Evidence is key

Our speakers also emphasised how working in a space where the agenda can be set and changed by forces outside of your control may not be for everyone and that’s OK! You may spend months working on a policy but due to public pressure or economic factors, it may not be implemented or may have to be adapted to meet the changing circumstances (the world as it is, not as we wish it to be). The work of advising Ministers means focusing on the evidence and that is not affected by changes in public opinion.

  1. Experience is knowledge

You can gain useful experience working on the fringes of government, e.g. public affairs, lobbyists, think tanks, charities, and so on. You’ll gain an outsider perspective on how government works. Importantly, working in the Civil Service means being apolitical, you need to be impartial and able to provide policy arguments, not political arguments. If you have political ambitions you may be better off gaining experience outside or of course working directly with parliamentarians and political parties. Some MPs would suggest that working completely outside of and removed from politics can be beneficial. Learning about business, people and the world can help you better serve your constituents.

  1. Change takes time but the results can be very rewarding

Influencing policy is being a voice in the discourse, one of many. Although it can be difficult to be heard the most rewarding aspect is seeing the impact on individuals of the policy changes you’ve fought for and implemented. It’s important to realise that change takes time, and the key to success is to make sure that the long term impact is understood and prioritised over short term gains and personal biases.

  1. Everyone gets imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome (feeling like a fraud who will be found out at any moment), can be common and it’s a normal way to feel. Be kind to yourself, have realistic expectations and remember that learning is a process. No one can be expected to know everything right away. The key to success is to work on upskilling and build relationships with colleagues and mentors. Utilise your network for support and advice, most people would have been through the same experiences as you at some stage.