By Joe Armer, BA Modern Languages Student
This summer I was lucky enough to work for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign as an Organising Fellow in Dayton, Ohio, one of the key battlegrounds in the election.
As an organising fellow, I was, in essence, a trainee organiser on the Ohio Democratic Party Co-ordinated Campaign, responsible for electing Democrats up and down the ballot.
Unsure what I was going to do with the summer after my Year Abroad in France and Spain, I started applying to jobs, internships and work experience over the Easter Holidays. Working on a campaign is something I’ve always wanted to do but British election campaigns always seemed to clash with exam season so I was never able to do more than the occasional bit of volunteering.
So I arrived in Chicago on Saturday the 1st August, headed out to my apartment and got ready for my first day at work at the consulate. I went to the Lollapalooza music festival on Sunday; one of the biggest festivals in America, having beautiful
weather and some English music was quite a strange mix! My work began Monday morning arriving at the building shown in the picture across, where the movie style excitement of working in a big city began to kick in. I soon came up to the 22nd floor where my office was based and found myself very enthusiastic to meet the team.
Daniel Thomas recently finished his studies at the University of Birmingham, and he was able to find graduate employment after graduation. Here is what he had to say of his experience:
“Adapting to the British recruitment process was a strenuous task, but the careers network at the University of Birmingham was extremely useful and was integral to me landing a graduate scheme offer with a top global firm. I completed my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh before starting my master’s degree in Engineering Management. Coming from the U.S. meant that I would not only have to adapt to a different style of teaching but also different employability requirements.
There were countless workshops and presentations that I took advantage of to inform myself of British professional standards. Psychometric testing, detailed application forms and assessment centres were all very new to me, but the careers network was a great source for help. I utilised the careers library for insight and practice examples for psychometric tests and attended one-on-one sessions regarding my prepared application responses and CV content. The office was extremely useful for gauging labour market information and accessing directories with tailored tips for succeeding with particular employers and roles.
The international careers advisors were invaluable resources for educating me in the different etiquette, vocabulary and overall cultural differences to make sure I stood out in a positive light. Ellen O’Brien was incredibly helpful in providing me with personal advice to display my unique selling points and strengths on multiple occasions before my interviews. As a lead facilitator she organised networking events that allowed me to speak with employers that were fully aware of my struggles as a foreign applicant. These events were intimate enough to really allow for uninterrupted conversations with employers to gain insider knowledge into these big organisations.
I can honestly say that one of these events directly resulted in me getting a graduate scheme offer with Ernst & Young. It gave me the opportunity to speak with a recruitment officer who completely changed my opinion on the culture of the organisation and assisted me throughout the whole recruitment process. My scheme starts next September in London and I will be an Information Technology Consultant for financial services organisations regarding risk and compliance across supply chains. This could not feel like any more perfect of a fit and I owe it all to the careers network at UoB!