What degree course did you study and when did you graduate?
Law with German Law LLB (2016); MSc Intercultural Communication for Business and the Professions (2018).
What is your current role?
Employer Adviser, Department for Work and Pensions.
Tell us a bit about your career story since graduating from Warwick
After graduating from Warwick in 2016 – the first time – like many graduates, I went on a job hunt. Throughout my final year I had reached different stages for different roles, some were graduate schemes and others were entry-level positions. Unfortunately, there were no successful interviews, so I returned to the Netherlands and moved back in with my parents. As with some Law graduates, I did not want to continue down the solicitor route (wasn’t sure what I did want to do!) but knew my degree had given me the critical thinking and analytical skills to move into many kinds of roles.
I knew I had to change my approach if something was going to change. So, on a bit of a whim, I attended a job fair in Amsterdam; it was particularly aimed at jobseekers that spoke different languages. In addition to my native English, I speak Dutch fluently and an intermediate level of German. I brought multiple printed copies of my CV, dressed up smartly and went for it. Little did I know that that would be where I'd secure my first post-university job. I met various companies but the one that wanted to interview me was Accenture’s Ireland office. Weeks and some follow-up interviews later, I moved to Ireland in October 2016. I landed a job as a Content Reviewer working on an outsourced Google project at Accenture, using my Dutch and German language skills. I worked there for 11 months before returning to Warwick to complete a master’s degree in Intercultural Communication.
Following that, I moved back to the Netherlands for around 2 years (Sep 2018 – Sep 2020), where I did various roles, all involving my language skills. I secured an internship at British Embassy the Hague, where I helped deliver a large-scale reception to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. I also did some freelance translation, interpreting and writing, as well as a data entry role with Dutch facilities management company, Measuremen.
In mid-2020, new Civil Service roles at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) came about to support their increased work during the pandemic. Some of my graduate peers had entered the Civil Service and I had attended career events at Warwick that alerted me to Civil Service employment opportunities. Adding to the British Embassy internship – also Civil Service work – it was always kept in the back of my mind as worth considering. So, in July 2020 I applied for a role as a Work Coach, supporting jobseekers into work. In September 2020, I secured the role and in 2021, I made a lateral move to my current role as an Employer Adviser, where I support various employers with their recruitment efforts. Among others, I have successfully recruited employees for a major North London NHS Trust and restaurant chain Wagamama.
How has your time at Warwick helped you during your career?
Generally, my time at Warwick taught me to keep an eye out for opportunities to get involved in things and build experiences and connections beyond my main occupation. I’ve continued this similar approach in the Civil Service, and it has helped me build great links across my department – currently I’m part of my office’s People Group (focussed on wellbeing and social activities for staff, comparable to Warwick societies’ social execs), Women’s Network, Christian Network, Reform Champions Network and Black History Month 2022 Working Group. I’ve also taken part in spot-mentoring, Career Watch (a 6-month development programme, also includes a sponsor/advocate/mentor) and recently I’ve gained an additional mentor through the cross-government Christians in Government (CIG) network’s mentoring scheme.
Attending various careers events and initiatives – e.g. employer presentations, CV and cover letter workshops, careers fairs, myAdvantage and alumni talks – helped broaden my horizons as to what was possible for me and equipped me with skills to make good applications. That knowledge has also helped me in advising graduate jobseekers in my current line of work.
Extra-curricular activities & part-time work:
- Chair of SSLC for my MSc
- Organising Team Member for WICAL (Warwick International Conference in Applied Linguistics)
- Warwick Welcome Service Student Ambassador
- Executive Committee for Warwick Christian Union
- Postgraduate Support Tutor for ‘Prepare for Postgrad' course
- Warwick Student Cinema Steward
- Warwick Volunteers: charity fundraising [Safe Haven, Bar Pro Bono Unit]; event stewarding
- Interviewer for Times Higher Student Survey
helped bolster my CV. For instance, one key experience that helped me secure the British Embassy internship was being part of the organising committee for WICAL 2018, an annual conference run by students and for students at the Centre for Applied Linguistics, the home department for my master’s degree. I was easily able to transfer my event planning skills involved in producing the conference to the events internship.
Master’s Dissertation: valuable experience of working across borders and time zones and running my own research project, made for a great example in my British Embassy application.
What ambitions do you have for the future?
I would like to stay in the Civil Service but move up through the grades and explore different departments and professions within the Civil Service, such as Policy or Project Delivery. I have started making applications for the next grade and am working with my CIG mentor to move into the Policy profession. Furthermore, I have started a Project Management course to build my knowledge and skills in that area and prepare me for potential Project Delivery roles. I also aim to return to work with a more international dimension, also within the Civil Service – this could be in departments such as HM Treasury; the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Department for Transport or Department for International Trade.
What advice do you have for Warwick graduates who would like to work in your sector?
Regarding the public sector, it’s very broad so have a think about which aspects of public life really interest you and seek out organisations and roles that play into that. The Civil Service, NHS, local councils and emergency services are part of the public sector, but they don’t only need doctors, nurses, police officers or councillors, they also need finance, comms and project professionals. Before working for DWP, I had my struggles with getting into work and that inspired me to help others with moving (back) into employment. Additionally, having grown up as a Brit in the Netherlands and speaking both Dutch and
English made working for the British Embassy a perfect fit – a great way to support an organisation that was representing people like me. The UK Civil Service in particular has a handy Career Matcher and careers website that may help anyone considering the Civil Service see which area could be a fit for them.
What 3 top tips would you give to students looking to find a graduate role in the UK or elsewhere in the world?
- Don’t underestimate the value and power of Careers / Job Fairs! Some are very broad, while others cover specific sectors or jobs in particular parts of the world.
- Use your networks - and if you don’t have any, start building them through LinkedIn, your peers, friends and family.
- Keep yourself busy whilst looking for work – grow your experiences through volunteering, one-off projects and freelance work.