Case study

Social evaluation and research intern — Amy Davenport

Amy's degree in social policy helped her develop skills in research, organisation and time management, all vital in her current role

I graduated from the University of Birmingham with an honours degree in social policy. I am currently a social evaluation and research intern for a Birmingham-based social enterprise called Health Exchange.

Before I graduated, I applied for a small unpaid research role with Birmingham City Council as I felt that some professional experience in research would complement the skills and experience I acquired from my three years as a social policy student. With this under my belt, I applied shortly after for my current role.

One of the most important steps I took for this was keeping my CV updated, fresh and relevant. With my degree, extracurricular activities and campus part-time work, I have encountered different skills and experiences every day, all of which can be reflected positively in any application and interview.

For my current role, this was particularly true. In particular, my focus upon health and NHS changes in my dissertation, and the research skills I developed here, were really useful discussion points.

This knowledge is perhaps the most useful tool my degree has given me. On one hand, I have a detailed understanding of the current healthcare environment, and on the other hand, I am adept at compiling research ideas and reports coherently.

The thing I enjoy most about my job is the variety of work I am able to sink my teeth into. Sometimes I am focused on large, ongoing development, whilst other days I have a list of smaller, high priority tasks. I also get the chance to work with different teams and participate in events and promotions that take me out of the office. Here, my experience in working with promotion events on campus, such as freshers' week, came in handy.

The most challenging aspect of my current role is managing lots of high priority tasks. As I have a hand in all areas of service delivery, I am often asked to have a look at a number of things. My degree has definitely helped in this aspect as organisation and time management were essential in order to deliver projects on time.

My advice to students and graduates wishing to take a similar career pathway is to keep on top of your CV by keeping note of new skills and strengths. When you come to write a cover letter for an application, it may be difficult to keep in mind all the relevant things that you have done over the duration of your degree.

Also, if you have an idea of what you want to do after you graduate, try and think of how certain modules - particularly ones that you have done well in - have helped you decide your career path.

Finally, take advantage of the careers services in your university and your area. Drop-in sessions and frequent updates via email and social networks are really useful for looking for inspiration and opportunities.