All change

Congratulations to our students who are finishing up their studies and contemplating what the future holds. We understand big changes are afoot and that some of our graduates may feel overwhelmed by the choices ahead of them. By taking some time to Understand Yourself and the skills and attributes you have gained during the course of your degree and experiences to date, will help you to make your next steps.

Many thanks to Lindsey McLeod, Careers Consultant, who highlights that whatever those next steps are after graduation, they don’t have to define the rest of your career; the first role after graduation can be a stepping stone to endless possibilities and even a career change…

We recently caught up with Sam Ella, a Civil Engineering graduate, who kindly shared her career journey to date:

“After my PhD in Materials Science Engineering from the University of Edinburgh, I became a Project Manager in renewable engineering. I was in this field for five years and then worked in Oil and Gas (O&G) for a year (after the firm I was working for liquidated). I was a carer for six months in the pandemic after being made redundant from the O&G role. I couldn’t pay my bills on the wage so went back to Engineering Project/Ops Management for one and a half years (electrical not renewable). I then had a career change to Head of Resources/Operations for Iriss, a charity that works with people, workers and organisations in social work and social care to help them use knowledge and innovation to make positive change happen.

Whilst Sam was successful in her previous careers, she just didn’t feel like these previous roles aligned with her values or gave her the fulfillment she was looking for.  At the heart of what she really wanted was working with people and supporting them.  She was able to adapt and utilise her previous experience to transition in to a new area altogether through hard work and determination (as well as following her own, great advice):

“A career change can be hard (take advice where you can, learn things, go on courses, and bug people on LinkedIn to meet up so you can pick their brains…  You have so much left to do and so long left to live, why waste it in a job that doesn’t make you happy.”

We also spoke with Natasha, Head Coach at, an organisation which helps people make career changes:

“Don’t do it alone; put a support team around you. Career change takes time, and big journeys are much easier with a team of supporters. Surrounding yourself with other career changers, trusted family and friends, experts, and mentors, can help you get inspired, find solutions to obstacles, and stay accountable.

Don’t look for jobs; look for people…look for people to connect with who are working in fields that interest you. Have conversations with them about their work, and what it might take to break into their industry as a career changer. You’ll be able to learn more about making a shift, and make an impression on people who are able to support you as you make your move.”

If you’re looking for people to connect with then try Platform One, a community of University of Edinburgh (UofE) alumni, students and staff who are there to support your career exploration. People are keen to answer your questions and share their honest experience; it’s an excellent way to discover new options and remind yourself there is no single right pathway.

And, give the Multi Story podcast a listen for some inspirational stories from UofE graduates.  If you’re looking for your own support team, The Careers Service provide support to graduates for approximately two years after the end of your course; we’ll put your mind at ease and support you to make career planning manageable.

The Careers Service Graduate Toolkits are a great starting point to get going with your career research and planning; we want to equip you with the skills to successfully manage your career long term whatever happens now and in the future. Our hope is that by utilising our toolkits and advice, you’ll be prepared to embrace your future career and if you decide to change career you’ll be prepared for whatever the future holds.

Thanks Lindsey.

(Image credit: Rama Krishna Karumanchi on Pixabay)


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