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"Technically, working as a writer and researcher wasn?t my first graduate job. After finishing my classics degree and the GDL, and deciding I didn?t want to be a lawyer after all, I did some freelance work editing, proof-reading, writing some non-fiction (something of an accident, but a fortunate one, which grew out of a publishing internship), and working with a web designer and author on an author's website.
However, I wanted a full-time job, something more certain, so after seeing an advert in the jobs section of a newspaper, I became a writer and researcher for an American guide to legal professionals. Lawyers, wannabe lawyers and relatives of lawyers will probably know all about this guide. For the uninitiated, they?re comprehensive legal directories offering an in-depth guide to the best lawyers in various geographical areas and market sectors. The research is conducted through in-depth phone interviews with a cross-section of lawyers in a particular area and their clients, with the intention of gaining an overview of the market and the key players within it; every researcher and writer is assigned several sections, such as Labor & Employment in California. This was the first part of my job; the second was to collate the comments gathered through research (using the specially designed database), decide which firms and lawyers merited inclusion in the guide, and write a concise overview of their practices including particular specialties, strengths, and anonymous quotes gathered through research. During my time there, I was also responsible for copy-editing various sections of the US guide and writing editorial for sections researched by colleagues on the US, UK and Global guides.
As a first job, it was a great introduction and CV booster which combined skills and knowledge I already had with the chance to develop new skills (the law diploma wasn?t a necessity, but did help.) The ability to build a rapport with and elicit useful information from senior lawyers and industry figures, sometimes within a very short space of time, is an extremely valuable one, and probably the most useful I gained from this job specifically. Other skills, such as organisation and time management (useful when writing editorial for one section while organising and conducting interviews for another), and the ability to write concisely and in an appropriate and literate style, had been mostly developed during my classics degree and law diploma, and will be useful whatever I choose to do ? though my time here certainly helped with this too.
I also liked that the job didn?t tie me in to a fixed contract or path, and was a good chance to meet new people and to network ? I still keep in touch with several former colleagues. I?ve now gone freelance, focusing on digital and offline marketing for the publishing industry. I work on a freelance basis for a small e-book company and also hope to get a part-time job doing similar work at another publisher, or editorial work. These are all areas where my experience, as well as previous freelance experience and my qualifications, will prove useful."
ELOISE, CITY UNIVERSITY
"My first job after university didn?t happen to be in the same city, let alone the same country, where I grew up. I finished my thesis in January 2006, spent a few weeks home and went to Antwerp for a few days away. I sent a few cover letters to some consultancies; I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had just completed a degree in Politics followed by a Masters in Public Affairs and was quite keen to head into London as my friends were all working there. I arrived home still puzzled as to what I should do and surprisingly I received a few requests for interviews in Belgium. I headed back for some interviews treating it like another holiday and I accepted the second job offered to me at a top Communications agency in Brussels.
I just immersed myself into this new job and took on all the challenges they gave me, which was the easiest way to learn so much and it improved my CV and made me quite likeable as I said yes to pretty much any project, as a result I got to travel to places like Cape Town, Switzerland, UK and France to work on some amazing clients. The role began with media monitoring to develop a better understanding of all the clients, this led onto writing media pieces for clients and developing stakeholder mapping for clients. My role changed as I grew and according to team size. The multi-sector experience alongside the communications, marketing and social media played a crucial role when applying for new jobs. The ?open to try anything? attitude helped a lot in my first job as we were ultimately early adopters for social media, which has now helped me in my current job. Ultimately I am now still living in Brussels 5 years later and have changed jobs to the British business network and get to meet new people everyday."
UZMA, BRUNEL UNIVERSITY