Case study

Assistant quantity surveyor — Theresa

Visiting a careers fair at her university paid off for Theresa, who secured a job as an assistant quantity surveyor as a result of it…

How did you get your job?

I visited a careers fair at the university where my employer, a construction services organisation, was exhibiting. I left a copy of my CV and a completed application form with the HR manager who was manning the stall. He indicated to me after reviewing my CV and form that I may be of interest to them and that he would contact me within the next seven to ten days.

What was the application/recruitment process like?

I was contacted by telephone within a week and asked to attend an interview with the managing director, senior quantity surveyor and the construction engineer. The interview lasted approximately 45 minutes and covered my course content and my previous experience. The senior QS was particularly interested in my knowledge of the forms of contract which I had covered within my course. He specifically asked about the New Engineering Contract (NEC3) documentation and how compensation events affected the performance of the contract.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

Very relevant; I use the skills I acquired during my course on a daily basis, in particular measure and take-off from engineering drawings and knowledge of contract forms and law.

What are your main work activities?

Measure and take-off from engineering drawings, preparing information for tender submissions, performing calculations for final account negotiations and re-measuring on-site delivery against contract quantities to determine if a variation claim is required.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

As I have only been with the company for two months, I am still learning within the role. However, I hope to progress to become a full member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The variety of tasks involved and the changing contracts as we tender for new business across the UK.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Working to tight deadlines to provide information for tender submission.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Pay attention to the performance requirements of a quantity surveying role during your degree course so that you can start developing the skills or experience you need before you graduate. If you have the opportunity to take a placement year out to gain some experience, I would advise you to do so as it will give you a better understanding of what will be required of you when you graduate and it may also provide you with a project for your final year dissertation.