Our award-winning Employability Service is made up of a dedicated team of specialists that help our students achieve their ambitions and making them stand out from the crowd. But what does an Employability Team do and how can they help you? We sat down with Employability Consultant Sharmin Khalique to learn more about her and her background.
By Cara Fielder. Published 22 April 2022. Last updated 4 January 2023.
Before joining ULaw, I worked in the Civil Service for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as an Executive Officer. I worked on the government initiative Kickstart Scheme (The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create jobs for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit) during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prior to this, I worked as a Careers Consultant for an international company, where I provided careers advice to international undergraduate and postgraduate students. I have also worked as an Employability Tutor where I delivered City and Guilds accredited employability training to unemployed adults, including courses in Customer Service, Business Administration and Personal and Social Skills. Before that I worked as a Careers and Student Services Officer at London College of Contemporary Arts, where I managed careers services, delivered workshops and one-to-one sessions, and dealt with complaints.
Last but not least, I also worked as an English Foreign Language Teacher for three years in the heart of London in Bloomsbury, teaching beginner to advanced level classes, as well as IELTS and exam preparation classes.
In a nutshell, a normal day in my job role is meeting with students either face-to-face on campus or for remote one-to-one appointments, planning a schedule of guest speaker events, preparing material for my weekly newsletter and liaising with colleagues and students via email.
One-to-one appointments can consist of supporting students with writing a CV or cover letter, reviewing job applications, help with preparing for an interview or assessment centre as well as practising for an interview. I give advice and guidance to students with any career-related queries. Sometimes students need support in identifying their strengths and skills, and I provide advice and support in career mapping.
Other issues I help students resolve include understanding what employers are looking for, giving tips on how to feel less nervous about interviews and giving guidance on how to draft emails to employers. I advise and give guidance to students who are pursuing placements as part of their course and am happy to discuss anything else that students wish to know.
The most important aspects of my role are supporting students with career planning, preparing for employment, providing a tailored experience for every student I interact with and ensuring that I share beneficial knowledge and advice.
The interaction with students has to be the part of my role that excites me most. It is great to be able to give tailored advice to each student, considering the needs of the individual and providing advice, suggestions and feedback based on what we discuss together.
My own journey as a student, as well as my teaching background, drew me to work with students. I have always been passionate about teaching and sharing knowledge.
I love the versatility in my role. I get to do lots of different things; sometimes I am organising guest speaker events for students, identifying and reaching out to potential speakers, delivering employability workshops, and other times I am having one-to-one sessions, working internally with colleagues, and supporting both undergraduate and postgraduate Business School students with all employability-related matters.
My career highlight so far has been being able to work with university students and help them on their career journey. Undertaking a university degree is hard work that requires a lot of commitment and dedication. It is definitely a highlight for me to be able to work with students and be part of an important life-changing journey.
One of the most important pieces of advice that I always communicate to students is to be honest. When talking about themselves, whether this is in a CV, cover letter or during interviews, it is extremely important to be honest about your knowledge, skills, qualities and how you can add value to a company. By building on genuine examples of your experiences and where you demonstrated your skills, it will be easy for you to talk naturally and comfortably, allowing you to expand on the details. This will help you will come across as more authentic and sincere to employers and hiring managers. Honesty is not only important at the hiring stage but also throughout your employment and is key to having a successful career.
Some of my favourite pastimes outside of work are spending time with family, travelling and seeing the world, going for walks and exploring nature. When I’m with family, I enjoy eating together and generally having meaningful conversations. I also really like travelling, seeing more of the natural beauty the world has to offer and learning about new cultures and history. I find it interesting and thought-provoking; I never get tired of visiting different places, cities and countries.
A surprising fact about me is I really enjoy walking. My interest came about when I was a student and realised that I was very fortunate to have my own form of transport, my legs and started to enjoy this particularly if I had missed a bus. If I could walk everywhere that would be ideal – where there is no question of time I will walk, like a tortoise.
Various people have inspired me throughout my career, including encouraging teachers, supportive colleagues and understanding family members, all of whom have motivated me and taught me to have a strong work ethic and be driven to make a difference. They have made me realise the importance of helping and supporting others whenever possible, no matter how big or small.
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