My First Steps: Melissa Larkin, Internships Assistant, King’s Careers & Employability

Up first in our new series Melissa Larkin, who is King’s Internships Assistant here at Careers & Employability, shares her views on being a recent graduate looking for a “real” job in a new country. Want to find out more about what we’re hoping to achieve with this series? Read Seyran’s introductory blog post here.

Hello, my name is Melissa! I went to university in Nova Scotia, Canada and graduated in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Development and Political Science. I am now, exactly one year later, living and working in London in the Careers & Employability office at King’s College London! Being a recent graduate looking for a “real” job in a new country was so many things: exciting, challenging, frustrating at times- but all well worth it!

During my first few years at university I just went to class and did not get involved in university life and different services- who wants to spend more time at uni than they really have to?! That attitude completely changed after I applied for a volunteer trip to Northern Ireland with the Conflict Resolution Society. Off the back of that experience I went on to do two study abroad experiences in China and then Uganda. Throughout my degree I kept very busy, working part-time at a grocery store as well as volunteering regularly at uni events and in my community.

One thing I’m really proud of it that I did so much alongside my studies! I jumped out of my comfort zone, explored three very different parts of the world and through these experiences got to know some inspiring people! My personal tutor was a huge support – she really encouraged me to get involved and gain as much experience as I possibly could while at university. She is definitely a role model of mine, someone I look up to and value her advice, even now!

My degree in International Development was so broad, it was overwhelming trying to make a decision as to what career path I wanted to take. I moved to London and started putting together and submitting applications to employers in all sorts of sectors and before I knew it I’d applied to over 50 positions. This part of graduating is frustrating and can be discouraging, especially when you get that familiar rejection email for the 10th time. BUT, I promise you- when the right opportunity for you comes along, and you get the job it will be the best feeling and make all your efforts worth it!

My top take-away

Don’t just sit back and go through the motions of university life- get involved! There are loads of weird and wonderful careers out there- talking to people is how you find out about them. Volunteer with a uni society, check out the opportunities available to go abroad, or the local internship opportunities! (I wish I’d done more varied work experience during university- it’s your chance to see what you like and what you don’t… and earn money! What’s not to like?) By getting involved you’re building your skill set- transferable skills employers look for and are impressed by- and learning what kinds of opportunities are out there for you!

Best of luck and enjoy every moment of your academic/professional journey!

We hope you enjoyed Melissa’s story! To learn more about King’s Internships and view the range of opportunities, available, check out their website. And if you really want to get out of your comfort zone then take a look at King’s Global Internships