Communication, organisation, and time management

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m Ellie and I live in Manchester. I studied LLB Law at The University of Manchester and graduated in 2020. After graduating, I worked for a non-profit organisation for a year and I now work in an administrative role at the University. In my current role, I am responsible for the administration around the LLM Law programmes. My duties include: being a first point of contact for information from students; updating student records; processing extension and mitigating circumstances requests; overseeing assessment processes e.g. scrutiny and marking; organising assessment results and providing information to Exam Boards.

How are communication, organisation, and time management important in your current role?

Organisation and time management are vital skills in my role. I am required to meet strict deadlines - for example, ensuring that the marking of all assessments is completed by a specified date – whilst also staying on top of ad hoc day-to-day tasks and responding to incoming queries via telephone and email. I organise my workload by prioritising tasks and using my Outlook calendar and diary to plan when I will get things done.

Another key skill in my role is communication. I communicate with a range of people on a daily basis – for example, students, academic staff, colleagues, and external examiners. I tailor my approach depending on the person I am communicating with, such as by avoiding jargon and simplifying processes when communicating with students who may not be familiar with University terminology. As a former student of the University myself, I know how daunting some things can seem, so I always aim to be a friendly and approachable contact for the students.

How did you develop each of these skills during your degree?

As a student, I was required to manage a busy workload – attending lectures, completing work for seminars, reading and preparing for assessments – whilst undertaking part-time employment and extra-curricular activities. Being organised and managing my time was essential to ensure I stayed on top of my studies.

I was also able to develop my communication skills through participation in seminars, joining societies, and volunteering. I met and communicated with a wide range of people during my studies, and I felt completely confident in communicating with new people by the time I completed my degree.

How did these skills help you get your first graduate job?

As a graduate, I felt prepared to enter the world of work having developed key skills during my degree. On job applications and in interviews, I discussed examples of scenarios where I had utilised key skills at University and I was successful in obtaining a role in a new field (advising unpaid carers about the statutory and community support available to them), despite having limited work experience. Prospective employers were interested in finding out about the skills I had acquired during my studies and these skills enabled me to secure an interesting first job.

What were the main factors that influenced your choice of first graduate job?

After graduating, I knew I wanted to stay in Manchester, earn some money and develop my skillset whilst I figured out my long-term career goals. When working for a non-profit organisation, I was able to gain experience in a new field and work in a role where I could give back to others, which was incredibly rewarding and motivating.

I changed role in order to try something new, and my current role has enabled me to return to a higher education environment and figure out my long-term goals. I will be starting a Master’s degree in September and I aim to undertake a PhD after this, with the ultimate goal of a career in academia. The skills I have acquired throughout my studies and job roles will be essential during postgraduate study and I look forward to progressing to the next stage in my career.