I was somewhat apprehensive before attending this event, as I imagined it would be a group of incredibly successful past Bangor students who only spoke about the positive experiences that they had had post graduation.

Fortunately I was proven wrong and I was pleasantly surprised when the speakers talked about what actions that they undertook when things went wrong and they had to adapt to the situations that they found themselves in.

The four graduates:

◊ Bethan Wynn Jones (Zoology BSc & Wetland Science and Conservation MSc 2014) CELW and Conservation Officer at Snowdonia National Park

◊ Dawn Thomas (Ecology BSc 2004 & Behavioural Ecology PHD 2010) Living Seas Awareness Officer at the North Wales Wildlife Trust

◊ Graham French (Marine Biology BSc 1998 and Teacher training with Biology) Director of PGCS Secondary at Bangor.

◊ Jon Cannon (Zoology with marine zoology 1988) Process Science Manager at Welsh Water.

Each graduate gave a short talk about their experiences since graduation and gave advice to the group about finding employment after graduation.

Advice

Volunteering

All of the speakers agreed that volunteering was a vital way of gaining experience and relevant skills that enable them to hopefully find a job post graduation. Bethan mentioned that she still volunteers even though she has a job, as it allows her to experience new things. It was also mentioned that volunteering is an important networking tool and can be useful in finding opportunities for jobs and meeting new people.

Temporary/seasonal employment

This was described as being important for a person’s CV, as it shows that they have been in a working environment before and can cope with the demands of it. A seasonal job also allows for new skills to be learnt and to give someone real experience in a field so that they can decide if they want to pursue full time employment in it after graduation.

Plans can go wrong

The speakers all told us not to be downhearted if things do not go the way that we imagined them to, as this can open new doors and throw up new opportunities that may even be better than the original.

Apply for everything

I found this advice to be somewhat confusing until it was explained that by applying for jobs that you are not sure about or may not be qualified for, it can give you valuable experience when it comes to interviews and the job application process.

My thoughts

Overall, I found the career cafe to be very useful as it gave me a new perspective when it comes to graduate employment and allowed me to learn some useful tips that I can use in the future.

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