Find Yourself a Mentor – Introducing Bristol Connects

Are you enjoying your subject and wondering how that passion could translate to your future career? Perhaps your head is swimming with ideas about what you think you’d be good at and what would be rewarding work? Do you want to understand what might give you the edge in application and selection processes?

University alumni can be a great source of support. Not only are they familiar with Bristol, but they can also be a ‘real life voice’ that will provide realistic and honest advice.

A photo of the backs of three Bristol graduates in their graduation gowns.

Bristol Connects is a free platform for all current students to interact and network with University of Bristol alumni. We spoke with two Bristol alumni that have been interacting and supporting students via the platform to find out more about what they’d been getting out of using the system.

Joe Levart (Psychology BSc, 2019) is now a Client Services Manager at Journey Further, a branding agency with locations across the UK and beyond.

“Like many, I had a change of career ambition whilst I was studying at Bristol. Realising a career in Psychology wasn’t for me, I looked to explore other avenues – which quickly made apparent how vast and confusing the job market can sometimes be. One of the most impactful ways I did this was through networking with, and gaining mentorship from, senior leaders at businesses I was interested in – to learn what they did on the day to day and how the skills I learnt from my Psychology degree could be adapted for a role in that space.

Now that I’m in a place to provide some level of guidance from my career to date, from Recruitment to E-Commerce to Marketing, I felt passionately about offering some of my time to allow current students and recent graduates to ask the sorts of questions, and meet with the sorts of people, that I wish I had the opportunity to whilst I was a student – hopefully removing even 1% of the questions that I had when I was in the same position.”

Sati Boyajyan (Economics and Management BSc, 2012) is now a Director at IE University, a Higher Education Institution which works across the continent.

“For me looking back as a student I only knew about ‘standard’ ways of applying for a job, which was through online applications or sending over my CV to the hiring manager. Of course, now I know that there are other ways of achieving desirable career goals, and there is ‘no shame’ in asking for help, getting connected with people in industries, getting support from the Careers Service, asking for support from mentors and getting recommended internally to companies/employers of interest.”

What they wish they’d known

So why not set aside just a small amount of time each week to research and learn from others that have been in your shoes? Who knows what nuggets of insight you might find. There are a range of Bristol alumni waiting to hear from you.

When asked what they wished they’d known as a students, Joe told us;

“It won’t come overnight, but what I wish I’d done as a student is more to try and uncover, and understand, each potential career path – whether it would fit to my strengths, and the implications of a career in that space. It doesn’t matter if the first job you end up taking isn’t perfect. Your career is a 40-year journey (for some) so taking those first couple of years to explore different options is a great use of time.”

Sati added;

“I think current students need to utilise the tools available to them to engage with the Bristol Alumni network, as it can be very valuable for their professional journey. Don’t be shy and connect, ask for advice, and ask about alumni’s experiences.”

Find out more about Bristol Connects and register online for free today.

The Bristol Mentors programme is now open for applications for students returning to study in 2023/24. For more details on eligibility and to start an application please visit our webpage.

For more support around networking and making connections please come and see us at the Careers Service, 5 Tyndall Avenue or talk to us on LiveChat.