My BUIP Internship as an International Employer Liaison Assistant

By Eliana, BUIP Intern

University_of_Birmingham_Sign_-_geograph_org_uk_-_1730337

Roger Kidd [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I was in my year abroad in Moscow, Russia, juggling between an intensive Russian language course and the beautiful, but icy, Moscow streets. I was motivated in getting work experience, to further develop my skills and employability, but being in Russia, I did not have the opportunity to attend any interviews or assessment centres. On Worklink, I noticed a vacancy for Employer Liaison Assistant for the Middle East, which immediately attracted my attention. Studying Russian Studies and International Relations, I am very interested in international affairs and business, so I decided to apply.

Few days after the Skype interview, I received the email with the confirmation of being chosen for the role. I was unsure of what to expect, but I was ready to start.

My role entailed working in Careers Network, closely with the International Careers Consultant and the Employer Relations Team. Although I received valuable support from my line manager, I managed the project independently.

Initially, I conducted a research on the very diverse labour market of the Middle East. I decided to start by looking at the most studied courses, then, to the fields of specialization of the best universities in the area. Moreover, I analysed graduate destinations and the companies hiring most graduates. Finally, I scrutinised the economic sectors and employment level.

In order to effectively engage with employers, I developed a strategy, which entailed working in a different way than how it had been previously done for the same role. First, I researched the structure of the companies, to identify the best person to contact. Then I ‘connected’ with them via LinkedIn: I talked about the possibilities for engagement and asked to fill in a survey, so to discover the skills that they look for in graduates. Similar work was done via email, but I considered LinkedIn a more effective way to directly contact employers.

I have contacted employers from 8 countries. The response rate of the survey was twice more than expected. I would follow up with an email or phone call to the employers who showed interest. The university now has 16 leads for future collaborations.

At the same time, this process has boosted my communication skills, having to adapt the linguistic style according to whom I was speaking, and according to the means of communication: email, telephone or LinkedIn.

The second part of the internship consisted in creating learning materials for students interested in a career in the region. I have designed an online resource with general information about the area, country-specifics and employment advice. I had the opportunity to enhance my HTML coding skills, which I had not been using for a while, to create an engaging and functional resource.

This experience helped me developing a wide range of skills, some of which are data analysis, research, persuasion and IT. Also, the topic itself is very interesting. Learning more about the ever changing reality of the Middle East has significantly improved my awareness about this part of the world.

I strongly recommend this internship as a work experience opportunity. You are given the possibility of managing an important project for the university. Because of this, new ideas are always welcome and you gain valuable professional skills, suitable for any career path.

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About Bethany Baxter

University of Birmingham Careers Network Student Employability Team Member (Information Team Support Assistant)

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