We talked to Shentao, who graduated with an MSc in Social Research Methods and Statistics in 2020. Shentao described his thoughts on "securing a job in an infected world".

What are you doing now?

Two months ago, I landed a job as a Commercial Analyst at THG Ingenuity.

What have you learnt in your new role? What do you like / dislike about it?

I have learnt that successful delivery of services always starts from a thorough, precise and in-depth understanding of the demand. I have also learnt that Collaboration is of critical significance.

What skills have you developed?

Hard skills: Tableau, Google Analytics, BigQuery, SQL

Soft skills: communication, presentation, public speech.

What did you do after finishing university?

Searched for a job. Rejection letters came flooding in. I was so used to ‘unfortunately’ in emails and ‘I’m sorry but...’ in phone calls that I was 100% sure I could compile a Rejection Letter Dictionary that tops The Sunday Times Bestsellers List! Ultimately, some companies opened their doors to me, one of which was THG. It was all normal things I had done a million times: cover letter, self-introduction, a run-through of my experiences, virtual interviews, phone calls with HR, emails to confirm all kinds of onboarding details, immigration status checks, etc.

What are your plans for the future? Do you want to stay in the same sector?

Stay in the UK for the next few years working in the Big Data world.

What advice would you give to a current student who isn’t sure what to do after graduation?

Hold tight to what you want and never let go of it. This is the thing you should have in place before you start. It matters because there will be times when everybody around you is telling you that you can only achieve your goals by sheer luck. In moments like this, your only pillar will be your own resilience and endurance.

If you could go back, would you do anything differently?

I would start job-hunting earlier, perhaps right at the beginning of my Master’s programme. There is a lot of negativity around job hunting. You hear your friends and relatives murmuring around you ‘trust me landing a job is incredibly hard!’ You see people post their profile in multiple job-hunting social media groups. You glance through columns discussing negative impacts of COVID-19 on the economy. You see career services spare no efforts to hold career events in the attempt to get more of their graduates into their dream jobs. If I could go back, I would focus on my own abilities and remember that there are still jobs out there.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you finished university / started your first graduate job?

If you take a closer look at many companies’ career websites, you can see they are still hiring. Go to Google Job Board, Guardian Jobs, TargetJobs and register your preferences, you will see there are still job postings popping up every day.

Sum up your career journey in three words.

Determination, preparation, action.