We’ve had the Oscars… now it’s time for SEOTY. May Loonam tells us about her...
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We’ve had the Oscars… now it’s time for SEOTY. May Loonam tells us about her experience of being nominated for Student Employee of the Year Awards, twice!

As much as I value my degree (and trust me, by the amount of nervous energy that has been invested in it, I really do), for me experience in a working environment is the deal-breaker. Being in my final year, I look back on the time I’ve had on the course, and I can’t help but feel like I’m now ready for the “world of work.” My course has no doubt taught me vital skills related to my field, but it’s during my part-time work in the Student Jobshop that I’ve been able to put these skills into practice, and it’s thanks to this that I actually feel confident and ready coming to the end of my time at University.

In the Jobshop I give advice to students on how to find part-time work, as well as searching for and processing vacancies. I also get involved in social media, marketing and events, which are my favourite aspects of the job. The sense of responsibility I have has made me feel more independent, and it’s rewarding to be treated as a member of staff, and not just as a student. Being able to manage my time between my course and my job has taught me the level of discipline that I need for the future when I’m in a permanent full-time role.

One of the events that I help organise and run is the Student Employee of the Year (SEOTY) Awards, which acknowledge the hard work of students who work part-time alongside their studies, and last year, the team at the Jobshop were nominated for a SEOTY award. The nomination alone made me feel really appreciated, both by myself and as part of the team. It not only boosted my CV, but my confidence as well.

Being an event that we also organise, alongside being nominated, I helped run the institutional SEOTY awards in Inox Dine and it was there that I found out the Careers Service, which I also work for, had won the regional award which meant we were heading to the national finals in Birmingham. We travelled to Birmingham for the final, and during the day went along to the ‘Emerging Talent Programme’, where we learnt how to identify our strengths and demonstrate this to employers. It was a great chance to socialise with other students, and I came out with some vital advice and resources which I still keep firmly in my notebook. Attending the meal and the awards surrounded by fellow winners and employers was an amazing experience, and I felt that my time and effort was really appreciated.

I have my own SEOTY-shaped stamp of approval to add that touch to my CV.

I’m coming to the end of my Journalism Studies course, and not so long ago I had a fear-induced panic – what if I don’t want to work in journalism? I loved the course, but I just wasn’t sure where I would take the skills I’d learnt afterwards, if a traditional role in journalism wasn’t for me. Through helping plan and run events, and through communicating with people, I now have a clearer career path laid out, because I’ve found out what I’m good at and what I really enjoy. I recently struggled with confidence in myself and what I might do beyond graduation, but winning a ‘nationally commended’ award with the Careers Service last year has shown me that I can do it, and that I am in fact employable.

Since then, I’ve had a placement at HR Media and will be spending a week with Corporate Communications at the University, and I put this down to my time here in the Jobshop and Careers Service, and the confidence I gained from being involved in SEOTY. I have learnt so many skills through working part-time, such as communication skills, time management, team work, and more practical skills such as using various databases. Being involved in SEOTY and the Emerging Talent Programme has taught me how to highlight these skills and sell myself to employers to gain further experience in the field that I now know I want to work in in the future. I have my own SEOTY-shaped stamp of approval to add that touch to my CV. I owe a lot to my part-time job, and not just some extra money to spend in the holidays.

Nominations for SEOTY 2017 can be made at: http://www.nases.org.uk/seoty or call into the Student Jobshop in the SU for more information.