“I am thankful that I started thinking about careers in first year. It gave me more time to explore different options”

 It can be tempting to put off thinking about what you want to do when you graduate, especially when you are busy with university work. Chloe Henhaw, (BA English), shares how she started thinking about careers in her first year, and went from having no idea what she wanted to do to securing a place on the Civil Service Fast Stream. 

Hello, my name is Chloe and I have just finished my final year studying BA English. I chose to study English because I love to read, analyse and discuss literary texts. 

Did you know what you wanted to do for a career when you started your degree? 

I had no idea! Whilst I loved my degree, I could not see myself pursuing a career directly linked to the subject. 

What made you first want to engage with the Careers Service?  

I wanted to find out about wider career possibilities for English graduates. I also sought to gain a better understanding of my professional skillset. 

What was your first experience of using the Careers Service like? 

I first attended a talk about careers in the creative sector. The talk was very informative and interesting. It motivated me to attend a range of other talks on careers in other sectors, including law and the public sector. 

I am thankful that I started thinking about careers in first year. It gave me more time to explore different options and decide what career might suit me best.

I also learnt about the Bristol PLUS Award early on, which I then went on to complete in my second year. The experiences and skills I gained whilst completing the Award proved invaluable as I applied to jobs and graduate schemes in my final year. I had a better understanding of my strengths and what I wanted to get out of my career. 

How have you used the Careers Service during your time at Bristol?  

In my first year, I subscribed to Flying Start email newsletters, through which I discovered and participated in a range of volunteering opportunities and workshops.  

This year, as I applied to graduate schemes, I found the Careers Service online tools very useful. Using the practice aptitude tests and interview simulator helped me to feel more prepared during each stage of the application process. I benefited most from the one-on-one interview practice with the Careers Service. Beforehand, I was intimated by the thought of doing interviews. However, during these sessions, I learnt more about what to expect in them and improved my technique. As a result, I felt more confident going into real job interviews.  

What are your plans for after graduation? 

I have secured a place on the Civil Service Fast Stream; a scheme I first learnt about at Careers Service talks and events. The Careers Service supported me throughout each stage of the application process and equipped me with the tools and knowledge to succeed in getting the job.  

What do you think you have learned about yourself through Careers Service activities? 

I have become more self-reflective. I better understand my strengths and how to improve in areas and skills that I find more challenging. I have learnt that I am resilient and am able to overcome obstacles which at first seem daunting (such as doing interviews!).  

What advice would you give to other students in a similar position? 

Book in for Careers appointments! They are a great chance to go over CVs and application letters as well as to more generally ask questions and get advice about your future career. 

Find out more about the support and opportunities available to you at the Careers Service by visiting bristol.ac.uk/careers