Alumni are helping students make informed career choices by participating in regular events where they can offer advice and guidance.
Alumni Insights is a series of tailored events designed to connect students with graduates who have gone on to have interesting and successful careers.
The events include careers panels, online advice clinics and business networking events, and are proving popular with students and alumni alike.
We spoke to Ryan Hamilton, a 2013 graduate of Linguistics and currently a careers adviser for Skills Development Scotland. Ryan has participated in the annual career panel for the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences for the past four years.
Why have you chosen to take part in the Alumni Insights events?
I did not attend any alumni advice events as a student, but on reflection I think this would have given me a valuable insight into the graduate world. As a result, I believe that taking part in these events now allows me to pass on my advice and guidance to current students. I take part because I enjoy talking to current students and also to other alumni. These events can also prove to be useful for professional networking, and also making new friends.
Why do you believe it's important that students hear from alumni who have gone on to have successful careers?
Careers of today have no boundaries and I believe that students are not as constrained as they may believe they are in terms of career opportunities. Hearing from alumni at events like these shows the variety of career opportunities that are possible from degrees at Edinburgh. By hearing our stories, current students are broadening their horizons and can begin considering career areas they had not previously thought of.
Why would you like to help Edinburgh students? Do you believe our Edinburgh education is a unique one?
I certainly believe that my education at Edinburgh has helped carve me into the person I am today through not only the formal education I received but also all the extra-curricular opportunities that were available to me. I like helping students at Edinburgh to realise that everything will work out following graduation, but also to put things into perspective for them; your ideal career may not be straight out of university and it may take time to get to your ultimate goal. Hearing from alumni helps students to see that career ideas can develop over time, and that one should continually re-assess the definition of a ‘successful’ career.
Which moments or activities during your studies really influenced your subsequent career choices and opportunities?
As a student, I worked part time for Student Recruitment and Admissions as a Student Ambassador. I delivered campus tours to prospective students, their parents and school advisors. Part of this work involved working alongside the Widening Participation (WP) team, who delivered events to students with no background of higher education within their family or who attended schools with a low uptake to universities. Having come from this background myself, I was inspired to continue working with school-age students providing a service where I could inspire and guide young people to reach their potential. This was reflected through my job as a WP Graduate Intern and has followed through to my current role as a Trainee Careers Adviser.
What do you wish you’d known as a student?
I wish I’d known that everything would eventually work out in the end and not worried too much about the future after graduation. I also wish that I’d attended some of the events that I now speak at myself!
The Alumni Insights events are only possible thanks to the generous support of our alumni who take part. If you are interested in participating in one of our events, please contact CJ Cochran, Alumni Manager: