Monday, August 18, 2014

Rebecca Hanson came to two TARGETjobs Events! Having now graduated, we catch up with her to find out what she gained from the experiences

Rebecca Hanson came to both IT's not just for the boys! and Future Female Engineers events last year. We catch up with her since graduating to find out why she decided to come to both events and what she gained from the experience...

I graduated with a 2:1 BSc in Physics from the University of Warwick. I’m due to start on the Manufacturing Engineering graduate scheme at Jaguar Land Rover in September; however, it was only seven months prior that I had little idea of what I was going to do post-university. The great thing about studying a science is that while a future career may not always be directly applicable to your studies, you gain so many transferable skills that employers absolutely love, such as a strong numerical ability and a good attention to detail.

I initially heard of IT’s just not for the boys! through a departmental email, and couldn’t resist the chance to attend Bloomberg’s HQ. The event was a valuable opportunity to communicate directly with employers, many of whom I hadn’t previously considered applying for. The highlight of the event was being able to hear from two fantastic speakers – the happiness expert, Alexandra Watson, and Kathryn Parsons, co-founder of Decoded. The confidence and inspiration that they managed to instil in me that day remained with me throughout all my application processes.

However, the event also made me realise that a career in IT wasn’t for me – and that was okay. Knowing what I didn’t want to do in the future was just as valuable as knowing what I did. It was this thought I had in mind when I gratefully accepted an invitation to another event from TARGETjobs, Future Female Engineers, hosted at the Heritage Motor Centre. Again, this provided the opportunity to hear from key speakers, most notably Roma Agrawal, an award-winning structural engineer of the Shard.

The events had many similarities. Both allowed me to interact with representatives from major employers in a more relaxed setting than at a careers fair, for example. Furthermore, I met so many other women from universities across the country, all with their own stories and employer dilemmas – it was good to hear that I was in the same boat as others in not knowing what to do!

However, there were also differences between the two. IT’s not just for the boys was aimed at building confidence in women to apply for some of the larger IT companies such as Cisco, whereas Future Female Engineers provided more insight into the companies themselves via intimate group questions. Either way, the events provided me with invaluable advice, contacts and ideas that I wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else.

There were many companies who contacted me after both of the events inviting me to apply to their graduate schemes, such as EMC, National Grid and EDF Energy – I had my pick! However, the Jaguar Land Rover representatives present at Future Female Engineers were clearly so passionate about their careers that I decided to apply for their Manufacturing Engineering graduate scheme soon after. After completing some initial verbal, numerical and diagrammatic reasoning tests, and a further situational judgement test, I was then invited to attend an assessment centre. This was by far the toughest aspect of the application process, as it involved a gruelling combination of interviews, in-tray and role-play exercises. My interviewer particularly took delight in hearing about Future Female Engineers and how it had inspired me to apply to the company, and it was one of the strongest aspects of the day. I was then further rewarded with a call the next morning informing me that I was successful!

I don’t know if I would have had such a clear sense of direction had I not attended IT’s not just for the boys! and Future Female Engineers. The events provided me with invaluable experience and opportunities, and I would strongly advise anyone considering the events to apply!