Careers in Nature Conservation

Louise Mason is Second Year Geography with a proficiency in Spanish at the University of Exeter. She talked to us about how she enhanced her skills and experience with the Careers in Nature Conservation Programme. 

The beautiful and diverse Portuguese landscape

The beautiful and diverse Portuguese landscape

Being a Geographer with a love for nature and the environment, I jumped at the opportunity to apply for the Careers in Nature Conservation Programme. After applying online and attending an interview (my first one!), I was excited to find out that I had successfully gained a place. I didn’t fully know what to expect, but I hoped that the experience would aid me in deciding what I want to do in the future, and to develop some skills to help me achieve this.

We arrived in Mitra, Portugal a day late after flight complications, but everyone was so friendly that we slotted into the group without any issues. Our experience was split around a mixture of employability classes, employer presentations and practical activities on the montado. The montado landscape was the focus of our nature-related investigation; its mix of scrubland and forest providing us with a field space rich in biodiversity.

Our sessions included valuable employability skills such as learning about presentation skills, CVs and having a growth mindset, whilst the interactions with employers gave us some really useful information about the importance of networking and examples of how people in the industry had achieved their career goals.

“Not only have I reaffirmed my interest in nature conservation and learnt some valuable skills for my future career, I had a great time laughing and learning with individuals, now friends, from across Europe.”

During the week we visited the nearby city of Évora, where we had a look around one of the impressive university buildings, before having a delicious lunch on the campus. We then had a session about entrepreneurship and the business canvas model where we worked in groups to plan a business, taking into account some of the key principles we had learnt beforehand.

Exploring the montado

Exploring the montado

Working with a range of experts throughout the week, particularly in employability, insects and birds, the week culminated in three nature walks led by us trainees. In our group of three, one person from the UK, Hungary and Portugal, we planned our audit task based on our chosen creature, grasshoppers, with some help from a species expert (thanks Gergő!). Being the last walk of the day we had to contend with some ‘disruptive participants’, but it went well, meaning in the afternoon we could all relax and enjoy our last evening in Portugal.

Much to my excitement one of the project trainers from SPEA (Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds) agreed to take us back to Évora in the afternoon where we explored the Chapel of Bones, the Cathedral and had some time with the group. Our meal times throughout the week were also a great time to get to know the other trainees and the trainers, not to mention tucking into the delicious food that was prepared for us every day. This was also a great time to try and learn a few Portuguese phrases from the other participants who were very helpful, and kindly put up with my terrible pronunciation!

If a trip to Portugal was not enough, I have come away from this week having developed my skill sets in numerous areas. Not only have I reaffirmed my interest in nature conservation and learnt some valuable skills for my future career, I had a great time laughing and learning with individuals, now friends, from across Europe.

cinclogo

How you can get involved If you’re interested in participating in this project, you can apply to take part in the Participative Management Training programme that will be running in south Devon in August 2017.  You’ll also get to work with students from Hungary and Portugal and work with the trainers I worked with in Portugal. ex.ac.uk/cinc

You can find out more about the project and access a lot of learning materials by logging into the project website  http://careersinconservation.elte.hu/moodle/login/

Follow the twitter feed #careersinconservationka2

Transfer Your Skills

Claire Harries graduated from Exeter in 2016 with an MSc in Psychological Research Methods. She’s currently a Recruitment Advisor with Exeter-based recruitment agency Cathedral Appointments She talked to us about how her MSc shaped her career path.

What academic skills did you get from your time at Exeter, and how do they transfer to the workplace? 

Claire Harries

Claire Harries

Although the competing academic, clinical, social, and extra-curricular activities that the course demanded allowed me to develop a skill-set directly applicable to the field of psychological practice and research, these skills have also been highly transferable within professional business environments. In particular, the skills developed through working collaboratively on multiple projects with other students, academics, organisations, and businesses, alongside the skills I developed within data management and analysis have been particularly valuable. My primary role requires me to analyse business and person-specific information and data quickly and accurately, and to apply the information in a structured way by simultaneously understanding business, client, and candidate requirements. The emphasis that my Master’s placed on developing accurate and creative analytical and problem-solving skills has equipped me well to manage these competing and fast-paced demands. Further, managing competing demands throughout the Master’s has equipped me to manage, prioritise, and organise my workload well. The Master’s also helped me to develop strong verbal and written communication skills that have been invaluable.

“The skills I developed through working collaboratively on multiple projects with other students, academics, and organisations have been particularly valuable.”

How did you get into your current role?

I had been studying psychology at University level for 5 years. A large part of my MSc was spent analysing numerical data: something that I did not specifically want to pursue. However, I loved the aspect of critical thinking required within psychology: discovering differences in personalities or organisational designs, and resolving them. I approached an Exeter-based recruitment agency in search of work. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I did know that I wanted to work with people, to utilise my analytical skills, and to be able to solve problems effectively and creatively. I met with a consultant who throughout the interview was quickly gathering and understanding information about my skills, preferences, and work experiences, while simultaneously applying it to jobs on her caseload. I found the process of understanding, analysing, and applying information about people exciting, and I expressed this within the interview. The consultant asked if I would be interested in joining their team: I started the following Monday!

What are your main responsibilities?

My main responsibility is to source candidates for the latest vacancies our company has. Integral to my role is to understand the requirements of a job and finding the right person to fill those requirements. An ability to understand and communicate well with people and businesses is key. It’s all about building relationships – not only with candidates, but with clients too. On a day-to-day basis, I am required to analyse and understand job specifications, write creative and appealing job adverts, advertise jobs, and then use a variety of different resources and databases to find the right candidate for the advertised roles.

What’s the most challenging part of your role?

An important transition has been to adopt a more business-focused lens through which I view decisions, challenges, and negotiations. My MSc taught me to view situations and challenges through a person-cantered lens: focusing on how organisations, research, and clinicians can specifically help the individual. My new role requires me to respond and manage the specific needs and expectations of businesses while also meeting the needs of individual candidates. This new environment has required me to shift the way in which I view situations and make decisions. While this has been the biggest challenge in my new role, I have capitalised on the critical thinking skills developed through my MSc to transfer to these situations. In particular, throughout my MSc I spent a considerable amount of time examining how different psychological treatments work for different individuals and disorders, why they work, and when they work. I have utilised this mindset of thinking about the demands of my role that require immediate attention, for whom, and when, within my new role to help with my transition to developing a more business-focused lens.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to current students and recent graduates?

Don’t fear expressing your ideas. As young people with creative and analytical minds we should take responsibility for driving change, facilitating service delivery, transforming practice, and redesigning and building leadership when change is needed. Take responsibility for your abilities and ideas and apply them.

What’s the best thing about your time at Exeter Uni?

Something that will always stay with me is the confidence I developed to express my own ideas and confidence to drive change… Although it would be too easy to say Camper Coffee!

Claire is happy to hear from current Exeter students and recent graduates. You can email her at

Stand out from the crowd with The Exeter Award

Current Exeter students Bianka Weber (BA History and Politics) and Sofia Marmorini (BA English and Drama) told us why completing the Exeter Award should be top of your New Year’s resolutions.

Bianka  When I began the Exeter Award, I didn’t know much about it, and didn’t realise how much I could learn from the sessions provided by the Career Zone. However, as I attended session after session, I realised how beneficial they were. Not only did I improve my CV, build a great LinkedIn profile and learn how to write effective job applications, I also made new friends and met like-minded and inspiring people.

Bianka Weber

Bianka Weber

“Not only did I improve my CV and learn how to write effective job applications, I also made new friends and met inspiring people.”

I learned how to network and negotiate with people and how to positively influence them. Completing the Exeter Award gave me great employability skills and when participating in interviews for summer internships, I was asked about the Award several times. Interviewers were always impressed by the fact that I took the time – during my studies – to take on extracurricular activities and develop the skills they required.

Last year I was asked to become an Exeter Award Ambassador, and I took on this responsibility with great joy as I find happiness in encouraging students to do something profitable for their careers. I hope others will follow my example and gain as much from the Exeter Award as I have.

Sofia The Exeter Award, in an increasingly competitive field, is a certificate that can really help your job application set you apart from other candidates. Independently of what you study you can take courses to increase your employability. Because the classes don’t belong to a particular subject, you meet students that are proactive, have a will to learn, and improve in areas that aren’t exclusively linked their academic subject. It’s therefore a nice way to make friends that branch out of your usual routines.

Sofia Marmorini

Sofia Marmorini

“Essentially, the Exeter Award pushes you to improve in the areas you decide to pursue, which is exactly what employers want to see you’re doing.”

I’m an international student and I study English and Drama, a subject that doesn’t really address job applications and CVs until the third year (as most subjects at the university do). Through Exeter Award classes, I was able to build a CV in a correct format that helped me apply for things such as summer jobs.

The Award offers skill-sessions that are targeted at improving your performance outside of the strict academic sphere. However, the extra classes I took in Creative Writing to help my studies also contributed to my Exeter Award, so I benefited twice.

Essentially, the Exeter Award pushes you to improve in the areas you decide to pursue, which is exactly what employers want to see you’re doing.

For more information about the Exeter Award visit www.exeter.ac.uk/exeteraward or ask a question through My Career Zone.

Get Your Career Started with Volunteering

Anya Wallington-Lardi is a current BA History student, based at the Penryn Campus. She talked to us about how volunteering with the British Red Cross helped her find out what she wanted to do after university. 

'Taking over' from the Director of People and Learning on Takeover Day 2015

Anya ‘taking over’ from the Director of People and Learning on the British Red Cross Takeover Day 2015

I first joined the British Red Cross as a volunteer during my First Year when I took part in the Aspirational Educators programme with the University of Exeter. This incredible opportunity allowed me to deliver humanitarian education sessions in local schools as a part of a team. After learning more about the humanitarian charity, I knew I wanted to be involved further. Since then, I’ve become a Fire and Emergency Support Services volunteer, a youth engagement volunteer, have taken part in schemes such as Takeover Day 2015 and the Humanitarian Awards 2016, and have started my own Red Cross on Campus group on Penryn Campus. Throughout these various experiences I’ve learnt a range of skills which has helped me to identify what I want to do.

Networking
I’ve met a huge range of individuals including the CEO of the British Red Cross, MPs at Westminster, and volunteers who have set up their own charities in the Calais jungle. I’ve been able to ask a huge range of questions about the sector as well as been inspired by a range of role models, all of whom bring something special to the organisation.

Anya presenting Jeremiah Emmanuel with his British Red Cross Humanitarian Award for saving the life of stranger who was stabbed near his home in May 2016.

Anya presenting Jeremiah Emmanuel with his British Red Cross Humanitarian Award for saving the life of stranger who was stabbed near his home in May 2016.

Skills
I’ve developed a range of skills through my volunteering; from interpersonal skills when helping those who have been victims of fire or emergencies, to team skills when discussing refugee policy in Takeover Day 2016. I’ve also grown in confidence as a result; I’m more comfortable as a public speaker since delivering Missing Maps volunteering sessions as president of the FXU Red Cross on Campus group, and feel more confident in my own career prospects.

Opportunities
Networking and volunteering within such a huge organisation has  taught me a lot about the opportunities on offer to young people wanting to get involved in the sector. I’ve learnt about their internship schemes, International Voluntary Service, and roles within the organisation. I’ve also been able to learn more about individual teams within the UK Head Office when I visited as a part of the Humanitarian Awards, and now know that I would like to work in the international development sector.

What next? My experience with the Red Cross has been vast and varied and I have been able to develop skills and knowledge which has helped me identify what I want to do. I’m currently applying for postgraduate study in international development as well as graduate schemes in the charity sector.

Pathways to International Trade

Federico Aulizio

Federico Aulizio

Federico Aulizio is a current BSc Politics and International Relations with Study Abroad student. Last Summer Vacation he took part in Exeter’s Pathways to International Trade programme; bringing together talented students and SMEs, alongside training from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

What is Pathways to International Trade?

The programme consisted of two parts; the first one was a week of training where professional trade advisors from UKTI came to Exeter and taught us a range of topics, including digital marketing and its influence on the present day, and the importance of cultural understanding when entering an international market.  The second part was an internship where we applied what we learned in the training to the tasks given to us by our assigned clients.

Why did you get involved?

I’m currently a student in International Relations and I wanted an insight on the PR and business side of things. It hasn’t helped specifically for my initial career idea, but it has certainly helped me expand my possible careers plans; as a student, I can’t be closed to ideas or be smallminded. This internship showed me and my fellow interns that expanding our insight can be scary since you may not be completely familiar with the topic or tasks, but at the end of the day it’s worth it.

How did you find the selection process?

Different (in a great way)! There is nothing that gives more relief to a student than realising that your face-to-face interview for the internship ends up being a series of collective activities with people that are there for the same reason as you. Other than being an engaging and thought-provoking exercise, it was an entertaining activity where you would meet your future intern mates and have a taste of the friendly atmosphere you were about to enter.

What did you think of the training?

Having finished my First Year a couple days before the training began, the last thing I wanted was to sit in a room for hours and listening to people lecture me on marketing and trading. But that was the complete opposite of what happened. Yes, there was some sitting involved, but the organisation, mechanics and interactive part of each day made it feel less like a lecture hall. The speakers were very knowledgeable with real life experience and made me feel more equipped for the workforce.

How was your internship? What did you do, and what did you take away from it?

I feel absolutely confident this internship went well. The program itself is closely linked, if not operated, by UKTI which is a quite influential and important branch of the UK government. Therefore, having done an internship with them is great for my CV.

My tasks consisted of finding my client’s competitors for that specific market in a specific country and compared them to my client. I researched the trade laws in the countries assigned and examined them to see if they could impact my client’s products in anyway. Finally, I researched the best possible way for my client to advertise their product using social media and/or hard advertising.

A word for future candidates for this scheme?

Well, my memory would say to do it for the free Domino’s at the end of the training! But my conscious however, would say to do it for your future. It may not be what you want to do in the years to come, but it is certainly a big step in expanding your horizon. It can open doors that you thought would remain closed for a long time, if not forever. It doesn’t cost you anything to try. If you see it doesn’t fit you, you leave with your mouth stuffed with pizza and your pockets filled with a great experience and memories.

Applications for the 2017 Pathways to International Trade programme open January 2017.

Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas Vacation

Applying for graduate schemes, internships or postgraduate study over the Christmas Vacation, need to get your coursework done, AND want a break too?  Is that even possible? Jenny Woolacott-Scarr, Career Zone Information Officer, has some advice.

Get your priorities straight

Of course sorting your career is really important, but it’s not as important as your academic work. If you’re pushed for time focus on acing your coursework and revising for your January exams; a good degree will last you a lifetime.

You won’t miss out on your dream job because you went to the cinema with your friends from home.

You won’t miss out on your dream job because you went to the cinema with your friends from home.

Quality over quantity

One of the questions I get asked most is ‘how many jobs/internships/postgraduate courses should I be applying to?’ We say you should apply to as many as you can, but crucially without letting the quality of your applications drop, or at the expense of your academic work, or getting enough sleep and rest.

It’s called a Vacation for a reason

You are allowed to have a break. You won’t miss out on your dream job because you went to the cinema with your friends from home. You won’t fail your degree because you had a Boxing Day snooze on the sofa. Promise.

When does the Career Zone Close?

The last day we’re open is Friday 23 December, then we open again on Tuesday 3 January. Apart from those dates we’re here to help you via email, Skype, phone, through My Career Zone, or in person if you’re still in Exeter.

However you spend your Vacation make time to enjoy your break, and we look forward to seeing you again in January.

Happy Holidays

The Career Zone Team x

Internships that Click

Anna Gibbon is a recent Exeter graduate. She talked to us about how her internship with The Click Hub led to a graduate role in the same company.

Last month, I was lucky enough to meet with Santander’s CEO, Nathan Bostock, at an event hosted by the University of Exeter. I graduated in the summer, and in my final year Exeter created and supported an incredible 60 internships, which wouldn’t have been possible without the £82,000 backing from Santander Universities.

The Click Hub’s Anna, Santander CEO Nathan Bostock, and Exeter’s Employer Liaison Officer Jo McCreedie

The Click Hub’s Anna, Santander CEO Nathan Bostock, and Exeter’s Employer Liaison Officer Jo McCreedie

Over the course of my studies, I undertook a long-term internship with The Click Hub, a digital marketing agency based in Exeter and London. The company has taken on several interns through the scheme, all of who have gone on to work in similar fields.

I heard about The Click Hub from another student. She told me how they were a small company looking to take on another intern. This was over 3 years ago, and I hadn’t heard of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), and didn’t know much about digital marketing, but they were looking for content writers and I thought that my skills as an English Literature student would put me in good stead.

“Not only was my internship a fantastic opportunity to apply my academic abilities in a professional environment, build my confidence and develop my employability skills, but without the internship I probably wouldn’t have ended up working for the company after I graduated too.”

For me it was the ideal kind of internship. Many people use the Vacations as an opportunity to take part in an internship but being a big lover of travel I wasn’t quite ready to give up my holiday time just yet. My long-term internship with The Click Hub allowed me to undertake an internship alongside my studies, during Term time.

Over the years I learned a great deal, not just about digital marketing but about a whole range of industries as I wrote regular content and website copy for miscellaneous clients. From web designers to interior designers, builders, dentists, and accountants – you name the industry, I probably wrote a blog about it. The role taught me to be flexible as well as self-motivated since much of the work was carried out at home. However, during the time spent in the office I had the opportunity to learn about digital marketing. I became more interested in the workings behind SEO, and watching our clients progress up the Google rankings, eventually taking my Adwords exam to become Google certified.

Not only was my internship a fantastic opportunity to apply my academic abilities in a professional environment, build my confidence and develop my employability skills, but without the internship I probably wouldn’t have ended up working for the company after I graduated too.

Halfway through my final year of study, the company director offered me a full-time position after graduation. I’d seen the company grow from 5 to around 15 people and take on a great number of new clients over the years. I knew they were about to open an office in London, with plans to expand to New York, and I knew that if I worked there I would be genuinely valued as an employee. That’s one of the best things about working for an SME; you know you’ll never just fade into the background. It means that when I began my full-time position as Marketing Executive I was thrown in at the deep and expected to stay afloat because an SME won’t have the same resources as a larger firm when it comes to training. This has the potential to feel overwhelming but it also allows you to develop in other ways. What’s more, you’re in a company you know has invested in you.

I’ve been lucky enough to benefit from both Santander’s financial support and the huge amount of dedicated work carried out by the University’s Career Zone first-hand, so the event was a fantastic way to say thank you to all involved and let them know the result of their great work. And, working for a digital marketing agency, I just couldn’t leave without taking a quick selfie with both parties (on my boss’s orders)…

Loved my Degree, Love my Job

Simon Brooker is Head of Loans at giffgaff money. He graduated from Exeter with a BA in History and Politics. He talked to us about how his time at Exeter has influenced his career.

How was your university experience at Exeter?

The university experience was fantastic, both from a social and academic perspective. Being part of a campus-based university in a small city meant that you got to know a range of people, some of whom became great friends.

Simon Brooker

Simon Brooker

What did you study at university and what impact did it have on your career path?

I studied a BA Combined Honours degree in History and Politics, which of course is a natural precursor to any career in financial services! During my time at university, I didn’t really know where my career would lead, but I’ve found that my degree gave me the ability to digest and critique information and structure rational arguments based on that information so it has served me very well.

How did your experience at Exeter shape your career and you as a person?

It definitely made me a more confident person, with greater belief in my own abilities. It also shaped my way of thinking as well as presenting structured points of view.

Did you take part in any extracurricular activities or societies whilst at university? If so, did you learn any valuable skills from them?

I played rugby for the three years with University of Exeter Rugby Club, so I gained all the teamwork and comradery experience that university sports clubs help develop.

“Believe in your own abilities and keep your mind open to new and sometimes scary but exciting opportunities.”

Did you undertake any work experience before starting your career? If so, what was it and has it benefitted you in your career?

Nothing notable apart from the usual work to earn money while studying. What was more beneficial was that I worked while travelling, so arriving in different countries and finding work opened me up to a number of contrasting experiences. Going through the 2008 financial crisis was certainly challenging but I managed to develop the skills and ability needed to move forward in my career.

How did you get into your current role?

After travelling and living in Australia I got a job with Legal & General Bank in my home city of Cardiff, this was my first introduction to financial services. From then I’ve worked in a range of roles, primarily in the lending and insurance industry, in both operational and development roles. Recently I have focussed in start-up enterprises, looking at ways to broaden the depth of lending to individuals and businesses as well as supporting the growth of brands into financial services.

“I’ve found that my degree gave me the ability to digest and critique information and structure rational arguments.”

What are your main responsibilities?

Product pricing, credit risk, managing third-party relationships, and compliance, along with the common day-to-day operations of working in an office.

What is the most challenging part of your current role?

Dealing with multiple challenges of building a brand, day-to-day trading and developing long-term strategies. There can be conflicts between these goals at times and balancing them can give rise to several challenges, both big and small.

What advice would you give current Exeter students, whether it be career advice or life advice?

Don’t get too stressed about your career when you’re at university. It’s easy to get caught up in the stories of friends and acquaintances getting fantastic jobs and careers; invariably you will find your own way. Believe in your own abilities and keep your mind open to new and sometimes scary but exciting opportunities.

What was the best part about being at Exeter university?

The community feel to the university, knowing lots of people around campus, developing life-long friendships, going to Timepiece after a good rugby win, and the Lemmy on a Saturday night!

Entrepreneurial Skills in the Workplace and Beyond

When we talk about skills like creative planning, sustainability, project management and corporate social responsibility it’s easy to think that these skills are only needed if you’re starting your own business. However, evidence has proven that this isn’t the case and that more and more market-leading businesses are employing graduates that can demonstrate these skills in the workplace; we call this ‘intrapreneurship’. Tom Crosswell, Enterprise GBP tells us more.

Think Try Do

Think Try Do

The Think, Try, Do programme is there to help you develop these essential skills. Through workshops, guest speakers, panel discussions and more, the programme helps guide you through our three stages: Think – what are these skills and how do we put them into practice within the workplace and outside of it? Try – One to one meetings with advisors to help you develop a start-up idea and competitions that allow you to try out the skills developed in the previous stage. Do – meet other budding entrepreneurs, bespoke in-house business support and access to funding to fuel your start up. Think, Try, Do sessions also count towards your Exeter Award so you really do get the most out of every session. You can find out more about Think, Try, Do and book yourself onto a session by visiting our microsite at http://ex.ac.uk/thinktrydo.

This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week, thousands of events and competitions will be run across over one hundred countries, the sheer scale of the week really goes to show just how important these skills are to universities and businesses. Think, Try, Do will be running numerous sessions, workshops and a panel discussion throughout the week and there’s something on offer for everyone.

Ever thought about starting your own website? Join us on Tuesday and Wednesday evening when we will be hosting Dan Wiseman of Webwise media, an expert in web design and e-commerce. Want to hear about how entrepreneurial skills have impacted our alumni in their start-up journeys or their work with businesses? Come along to our panel discussion with speakers including General Manager of Deliveroo, Jeremey Rawlinson, Venture Capitalist Richard Blakesley plus more to be confirmed. The talk will be followed by a Q&A and the opportunity to network. You can check out the full list of events by clicking here.

The week culminates with the second Exeter Start-up Weekend and Global Battle. Over 54 hours you have the chance to pitch and work on your start-up idea alongside technologists, entrepreneurs, designers, developers and other experts to work on providing real solutions to the world’s problems. There are a wealth of prizes on offer and expert help at hand to make sure that you can make the most of this exciting opportunity. Interested? Click on the here to find out more and book your place.

Getting into the charity sector as a journalist – Five things I’ve learnt

Trina Wallace

Trina Wallace

Trina Wallace is a freelance charity copywriter and journalist, and an Exeter alum. 

Excitement. Fear. Curiosity. Apprehension. These were just some of the feelings I had when I graduated from Exeter University in 2001 with a degree in English studies. My university years were fantastic. I made new friends, gained amazing memories and learnt so much about life. After graduation, I wondered what lay ahead.

I knew I wanted to be a journalist, but how would I get there – and what would I write about? More than 15 years on, I work as a freelance journalist and copywriter in the charity sector, which I love. Here are some of the things I’ve learnt in my career since I graduated.

Vocational training is fun and makes you stand out. When you’ve finished three or four years of undergraduate study, you might not be up for more education. But if you want to be a journalist, I really recommend doing further training. Journalism is a craft and getting a good grounding in solid journalistic news and feature writing principles is crucial.

I did a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, a great course. The training is more practical than academic, so I felt like I was moving forward. If I need help with work these days, I always look for people who have a journalism qualification.

“There are challenges but being your own boss means you get to choose who you work with and when, and you can fit your job around your life rather than the other way around.”

Work out what you don’t want to write about. I did some shifts at a popular woman’s weekly which involved interviewing people and telling their ‘real life’ stories. For me, that felt uncomfortable. Vulnerable people were paid to tell their heart-wrenching stories and I didn’t think they were supported enough before or after sharing them.

This experience helped me to figure out that I wanted to work in the charity sector. I enjoy interviewing and helping people tell their stories to make change happen. So in the charity sector, I specialise in interviewing the people charities support.

Charities need staff who come from outside the sector. It’s lovely working in the charity sector where people really care about what they do. Often, staff move from one charity to another which is brilliant as it means expertise is shared in the sector. But I do think charities benefit from employing staff with experience of the commercial sector because they have a different perspective. Journalists can bring that eye for finding a story to charities which helps them to reach more people.

Being your own boss is possible. I have worked as a features writer for business and lifestyle magazines and as an editor for a copywriting agency. At the agency, I was also an account manager for charity clients. It taught me about business as well as writing and helped me to return to the idea I’d had when I was younger about being my own boss. I always admired the freedom my dad had being self-employed, ­yet careers advisers never mentioned the option of being your own boss. But it really is an option and journalism is a perfect freelance career. There are challenges but being your own boss means you get to choose who you work with and when, and you can fit your job around your life rather than the other way around.

Journalism is evolving and journalists need to too. Many printed newspapers and magazines have closed which is sad. Now, more people are reading content online. So journalists have to keep their training up to date so they know about everything from search engine optimisation to creating videos. It’s a move to creating content, not just words. If you want to go into journalism, I’d bear this in mind when you’re considering work placements, training and jobs.

Find out more about me on my website www.trinawallace.com