Stepping out into the real world: Life after my Masters Degree

GO Wales’ most recent competition, Blog to Win looked to find student and graduate writers to share their experiences of graduate level experience, advice or anything about student and graduate life. GO Wales received some fantastic entries for the competition and our winner is Cathryn Evans who has shared her experience of her working life so far after university. Congratulations Cathryn!

By Cathryn Evans

Graduation“Your Interview went really well, unfortunately we’ve decided to go with someone who’s had a bit more experience”, I hated this sentence with a passion. How was I supposed to get experience without being given the opportunity? This is my story.

Cardiff was my destination of choice but I lived in North Wales and this would sometimes go against me. I don’t include my address on my CV anymore unless specifically asked. In 2011 I eventually decided to move to Cardiff to find a job. Luckily within 2 weeks of moving I got a job as a Door Host at TGI Fridays. A position I held for two years. I know what you’re thinking “Why is she working in hospitality when she has a Masters degree in History?” and you’d be right to think that, but I believe, whatever the job, you’ll always learn new skills. This is what you should take away from it, not the fact that it’s not your “dream job” or the “It pays the bills” attitude but “What did I learn?” “How can I use it?” In TGI’s I learnt how to organise, co-ordinate and ensure customer satisfaction; At the UKBA I gained office experience; I was once an auction runner for the day…that was just fun. Obviously I’ve only mentioned jobs I’ve had since moving to Cardiff.

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My break came in 2013 when I became a TV Researcher on a History Programme for Children at Greenbay Media. I’d been sending them my CV every few months or so after moving to Cardiff. I enjoyed every minute of my time there. I learnt so much about TV production and decided it would be beneficial to do a course with Cyfle on ‘How to succeed as a researcher in TV and Radio’ to learn more about the industry.

I’ve yet to mention the volunteering I’ve done to enhance my CV, something I believe has helped me immensely. I volunteered at St Fagans Museum, researching the history of a house they were reconstructing. I currently read old diaries written by a 19th century farmer and upload them online for an organisation called Llen Natur. Another skill learnt and added to the CV. My name was included in an article written by the organisation for a Welsh Journal because of the research I provided for them.

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I’ve recently come to the end of my GO Wales Placement at BGC Wales, a youth organisation steeped in history. They’ve decided to keep me on as a Researcher and Project Co-ordinator. It’s a fantastic project which hopes to promote the history of the organisation in a new fun way by using social media.

It’s a bumpy road guys and experience is essential but doing a GO Wales Placement, Cyfle course or literally just asking an organisation for experience will help. Please don’t let this deter you from going to university. They were the best years of my life and I don’t regret it at all. Chin up guys, we all get there eventually!