Design your career journey


I found that attending this event was greatly beneficial as it helped me focus on the things I still need to research and focus on to not only decide what career path I would like to pursue but also to research and consider my alternatives. I have become very interested in applying to study abroad instead of taking on a placement; having said that I would still like to research and apply for placement as it would grant me an amazing learning opportunity as well as real life experience in the workplace within my field of study. All in all I found this session to be greatly beneficial and I will continue with the tasks to earn the EDGE accreditation and further progress in my career journey.

Careers research

As park of my preparation for placement and as a way of exploring my career options I decided to attend the EDGE accredited talk posted on Handshake on designing your career journey. The following are my notes on the talk and the research I conducted thereafter.

Speaker: Dr Donna Caldwell – employability advisor –

What will be covered:

  • Career planning through reviewing Ulster’s employability journey
  • Researching career option
  • Before starting to apply to jobs it is essential that you complete your handshake profile.

Great websites to search for work experience

  • Prospects
  • Target jobs
  • GradIreland
  • Rate my placement

My options

  1. International work experience: research at Go global
  2.  Online professional profile and networking: Digital learning hub – digital presence, LinkedIn, Handshake – Events
  3. Professional skills profile:

Never be afraid to seek advice – Ulster university offers their students support in planning their work experience, placement, internship or graduate opportunity by offering career guidance appointment.


We were tasked with making a mind map to help us in our career planning journey – This is something I was very keen to do as I had been doing my own research before starting this and was looking forward to the help and guidance.

Here are some mind mapping template resources we were given:

  • Coggle – mind mapping for beginners
  • Mindly – for mobile mind mapping
  • – free mind mapping
  • MindMup – for creating public mind maps
  • Stormboard – for in-person mind mapping sessions
  • Lucidchart – for turning your mind map intoo an organised flowchart
  • Ayoa – for a modern approach to mind mapping
  • MindNode – for Apple users.

Here are also some examples that were shown to us as part of the PowerPoint presentation:

Learning outcomes

How can I get my EDGE accreditation with this activity?

  • By acknowledging the importance of career ownership and planning through the development of a visual map.
  • Identify and articulate my career goals and ambitions by researching relevant industries and sections.
  • Effectively present and adopt professional standards in an online context.
  • To learn the importance of body language and personal projection in delivering an effective online presentation.

Assessment details:

  1. Attend the initial 1 hr webinar session (this one).
  2. Create a mind map through researching your chose career area/s using the prospects website – what can I do with my degree? DEADLINE – 1 month max (there is no specific date as it is an extra curricular but the sooner the better).
  3. Attend an individual 1-1 coaching session with your employability advisor – to discuss draft mind map. My employability advisor is Stella So –
  4. Deliver a short, impactful PP presentation (5 mins) based on the mind map research to highlight your career plans and goal/s. Feedback will be provided on the day.
  5. 300 word reflection essay summary. Once completed send to employability advisor that I did the presentation with. It will then be added to be EDGE record by them.

AIM to do the EDGE PLUS award. Do as many skills talks as you want as it could lead to a scholarship. Great for upskilling and progressing in my degree.

Future events

Future jobs and opportunities week 11-14 October: More information here

  • placement opportunities
  • graduate jobs
  • industry experts
  • skills development

Schedule of events:

  1. Skills boosting programme —- 11-14/10/21
  2. Graduate virtual fair (All disciplines) —- 12/10/21  1pm – 6pm
  3. Placement & Internship virtual fairs – Comp, Eng and construction —- 13/10/21  1pm – 5pm
  4. Placement & Internship virtual fairs (All disciplines) —- 14/10/21  1pm – 5pm

E&C and EDGE activities

  1. #PreparefortheFair: What can I expect from the virtual fair?  —-   04/10/21
  2. #PreparefortheFair: How to create an impressive Handshake Profile —- 05/10/21
  3. #PreparefortheFair: How to make a good impression at the fair —- 06/10/21
  4. #Future Jobs & opportunities week – The ultimate CV makeover —- 11/10/21
  5. Skills for your future (EDGE accredited) —- 15/10/21
  6. Improve your presentation skills (EDGE Accredited) —- 20/10/21
  7. Design your career journey (EDGE) —- 26/10/21
  8. Improve your presentation skills (EDGE Accredited) —- 03/11/21
  9. Design your career journey (EDGE) —- 10/11/21
  10. Improve your presentation skills (EDGE Accredited) —- 17/11/21
  11. Skills for your future (EDGE accredited) —- 24/11/21

Creative entrepreneurship

As a designer I must work on my communication skills.

I should aim:

  • To be introduced to professional practices within the creative industry, career options and skills to improve employability.
  • To demonstrate a clear understanding of idea generation and research tools for digital product design.
  • To demonstrate skills in written and verbal communication within a professional context.
  • Working on paper and supporting research and independent study. Reflecting and evaluating your work in a professional context.

I will need to

  • Develop professional practices skills and employability.
  • Make a good CV, cover letter.
  • Learn how to give a pitch and confidently present ideas.
  • Create products that will solve problems.
  • Record my idea generation process and the research that leads me to my final design outcomes.
  • Produce work and research and take on feedback within the allowed time.
  • Aim for personal development and career development.
Feedback should be ongoing and it will come in 2 different forms:
  • Formative feedback: this is the kind of feedback that helps the work progress and its development.
  • Summative feedback: this is the feedback one receives after the work has been handed in.

Idea: It might be beneficial to leave my work in the studio; like a printout and ask for feedback, it will be a great help as showing my work will get me better feedback and therefore better results.

Preparing for Placement

  • Always ask, mentors that simply refuse to help are useless to me as a young designer as they don’t help me increase and hone my skills. Do no waste your time, it is not worth it.
  • It is ideal to recognize a bad situation when you are in one, if your studio environment is not helping you grow, then you should leave it. You are not only there to work but most importantly also to learn and improve.
  • As part of building up yourself as a young designer attending events such as the Belfast Design Week would be greatly beneficial.
  • Be aware of the challenges of your industry and how it is continually changing. AIGA (the professional association for design) has an amazing website which would make for a great resource.
  • The UX design collective trends has a great resource – 100 lessons for 2021
  • The article ‘are you a good fit for UX?‘ talks about skills you need to succeed in the industry; this would be a great learning resource.
  • Employability; it is essential that I identify my strengths and weaknesses.
  • What kind of studio environment am I interested in. It’s up to me to find the direction I want to go in.
  • Challenge yourself, this will help you grow as a designer, learn new skills and develop my design process.
  • When creating my portfolio to show to employers a mix of physical and digital work is a MUST.
    You can get ideas down on paper faster than on screen, these sketches are essential when applying for placement.
  • Don’t let an employer pay you less because they know you are willing to do the job simply for the love of it. Get you that money sis.
  • You need to know what you are looking for before you start looking for it. Separate the jobs that are of interest to you and set aside the ones that are not of interest.

Possible job roles

  • UX designer
  • UX researcher
  • UI designer
  • UX engineer
  • Visual designer
  • Content designer
  • Front-end developer
  • Graphic Design
  • Product designer

Here is a link to a separate blog post where I carried out further research into the different career directions I can take.

Companies that have previously offered placement

  • Rapid7
  • Puppet
  • Fathom UX
  • Output Digital
  • David Henderson Design
  • White Space
  • Sugar Rush
  • Little Thunder
  • Cirdan
  • PSNI
  • Secure Broadcast
  • Core Systems
  • Global Payments
  • Qarik
  • Aurion Learning

Things I would like to have in a workplace

  • Innovation
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Growth opportunities
  • Feedback
  • Mentorship
  • Travel opportunities
  • Driven
  • Exciting
  • Learning opportunities
  • Friendly
  • High quality content created
  • Collaborative
  • Great pay
  • Focus on work/life balance
  • Learning Opportunities
  • Good fitting environment – it is important to be mindful of the environment and that you are a good fit for it.

Companies that produce great designs

As part of our IXD302 module we were tasked with the following:

  1. Find 3 examples of local companies, UK and Ireland that you admire and that represent great design/wok and that you would like to work for
  2. Also three examples of international design firms that you believe are world leading and produce exceptional work – ones you would aspire to work for.
  3. Write a short paragraph on each and show some work examples to back up your thoughts

Things I would like to have in a workplace

Before starting my search I decided to narrow down my search by identifying the key attributes I would like to have in my future workplace.

  • Innovation
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Growth opportunities
  • Feedback
  • Mentorship
  • Travel opportunities
  • Driven
  • Exciting
  • Learning opportunities
  • Friendly
  • High quality content created
  • Collaborative
  • Great pay
  • Focus on work/life balance
  • Learning Opportunities
  • Good fitting environment – it is important to be mindful of the environment and that you are a good fit for it.

Local companies I will be investigating:

To find local companies I read an article posted by Tech Behemoths

International companies I will be investigating

  • BigDrop
  • Amazon
  • Disney
  • Pentagram
  • Clay
  • Neuron
  • Firefly
  • Raw Studio
  • Milkmonkey
  • EA Mobile
  • Wandr
  • Neuron

What makes a good CV?

NI Design chat (on slack) This was used to ask experienced designers what they are looking for in placement students. This was a great help as it helped me better understand what information I needed to prioritize when creating my CV and portfolio.

Tips from experienced designers 

  • Apply to as many companies as possible as it might pay off afterwards.
  • Paudie Fearon – employer feedback – personalize your application. The ones that stand out are the ones that go through the company website/ blog and reference their work and what you like about it.
  • Be passionate the employer knows that your portfolio isn’t up to industry standards yet
  • Shylands – Make a bespoke cover letter, this will help you stand out. Students with side projects move to the top of the list
  • Rachel Burke – sometimes it comes down to personality and showing that you are eager to learn.
  • Paul – be proactive

How to make a good CV

  • Do not put your picture in your CV
  • You can design it but keep it classy doll.

Must include:

  • Short bio
  • Contact details
  • Skills
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Awards and additional info
  • References – Use Stephen as a reference here. Remember to call back and ask him to write one


  • Keep it short – it should be concise and use simple sentences; the aim is to convey information as quickly and effectively as possible. 1 page, no more than 2 sides.
  • Add page references so nothing is missed.
  • Spell check – the employer will discard it if it is riddled with spelling mistakes.
  • Work backwards – most recent education/achievement/employment first then go back. GCSE just add the grades.
  • Avoid obnoxious competency indicators – eg 80% proficient in Adobe – they do not work.
  • Use a limited colour palette – either 2 colours at most or just black and white.
  • White space – make sure it is easy to scan
  • Typography – you could use one that helps you stand out – but be sensible.
  • Keep it as its own document – 1 file in PDF format – don’t include it in your portfolio. A link to your portfolio should be in there, make it easy for them.
  • Tail it to the job were possible – read the job description and match your bio to it.
  • Be honest
  • Use a client who speaks well of you as a reference.

Cover letter

  • It’s an into to the person receiving your application, explaining what attracted you to their company, summary of what you are good at, your experience and your aspiration. Make them feel special.
  • Match the style/design of your CV.
  • Personalize it to the company and the role.
  • Find out who you are addressing it to – it goes a long way. Make it look like you are specifically addressing them – if you cant find the name use their job title. If you must call the office and ask
  • Tone of voice – Respectful and natural, not too formal. Have someone read it for a second opinion. Use active voice Use the hemingway editor.
  • Be enthusiastic – make sure you show your passion and excitement. That you are a good fit to the company and how you found them (Can exaggerate a bit here LOL).
  • This is not just an application – Cover letter are great even when sending your CV to a company that has no available posts atm as they might send you to other companies or remember you. You never know what may come from doing this. You could email them and say that you are aware that there are no openings but that you admire their work and explain that and that you just wanted to put yourself out there, also offer to let them view your portfolio.
  • Be consistent across all platforms.
  • Make an impact – maybe consider sending the company a physical letter and a physical CV, even if you also send a digital one, why not also send them a letter? This could be a postal tube? This would be an interaction they would have to do to see your work. Use your wax seal for your letter.
  • Even if it is an arranged interview send the CV in advance and a link to your portfolio as this will make an impact.
  • How am I going to stand out, be noticed and remembered by an employer?

After class I started considering how I would design a professional designer CV. Up until now I only had a word document CV; which  had served its purpose but now needed to evolve, so I started off by researching CVs of other designers and creatives, along with some info on how to create a good CV.

How to Craft a Powerful UX CV

I found this very helpful article by the Interaction Design Foundation which offered me the following tips:

After carefully reading the recruiter’s specifications, you should include everything they request in your resume. This typically includes:

  • Personal details: Your name, job title (if appropriate) and contact information (e.g., email).
  • Your photo: In a professional environment or a LinkedIn-style headshot picture.
  • Work experience: Your current and previous jobs listed in reverse chronological order (latest first). Only include relevant roles (though some non-UX activities can show valuable personality traits – e.g., skydiving).
  • Education: Only university/college/vocational-school-level achievements.
  • A self-write-up: A brief professional summary of yourself. Highlight achievements in a few, objectively worded sentences that tell your story.
  • Your skills and tools: If you have niche skills (e.g., in UX research) or are skilled in a broad range of UX tools, declare them but prioritize your skills.
  • Relevant miscellany: Mention any experience you can leverage – e.g.,
    • Teaching experience;
    • Fluency in another language;
    • Authoring of UX articles on (e.g.) Medium;
    • Relevant achievements as a volunteer/hobbyist.
  • A link to your LinkedIn profile: Recruiters consult LinkedIn to learn more about applicants. So, ensure your resume is consistent with your LinkedIn presence. You can create a viable (if generic-looking) resume using LinkedIn if you:
    1. Go to your profile;
    2. Click on the “More…” button; and
    3. Select “Save to PDF”.

Recruiters often use bots to scan resumes, so you should include valuable key words.

Overall, your resume is a story summarizing an impressive image of yourself like your achievements should speak for themselves. The words you choose portray your attitude. So, convince recruiters that you’re a powerhouse without openly declaring so, but show you know the value you can bring them. Credibility is all-important, and your resume should lead users (recruiters) to a call to action (to examine your portfolio) just like anything else you design would.

I then moved on to visual research to decide what I wanted my CV to look like. I knew I needed it to be consistent with my branding but at this stage there was wiggle room.

Here is a link to my visual research.

This was a great way of quickly finding visual inspiration to not only learn from but also to compare visual styles and what does and does not work.

This is a CV I found while researching impressive portfolio websites. I like how her CV is consistent with her website and branding. It is simple, clean and effective – everything I would like my CV to be.

I also found this graphic designer CV – this one was lovely and simple. I also thought it would be a nice idea for a physical CV.

Creating an impressive handshake profile

Speaker – Eilis Spence, Employability advisor

Topic – Prepare for the virtual fair – how to create an impressive handshake profile.


It is vital to have a good profile as employers can view it. Handshake is the middle man so the employers can interact with us. This could be the first thing an employer will see, making it very important.

  • MY profile must showcase me, my education, skills, experience and career aspirations.
  • There are 7 key areas to complete: My journey, education, work and extracurriculars, classes, projects and skills
  • Upload supporting files such as CV and cover letter.
  • Level of study – level 5 for second years. It’s very important to get this right as it will affect what job opportunities will be brought to you.
  • My journey is a short summary of yourself and what you are looking for. Its your chance to introduce yourself. It’s the first thing the employer will read – make yourself sound employable.
  • put actively looking for a job.
  • Ad your experience and add a few notes on your responsibilities and key roles.
  • When adding your cv make sure to check over the skills as handshake automatically adds things into this section that may not be necessary
  • Documents: this is where you can upload your CV and cover letter.
  • Organizations and extra curriculars  – add edge activities here also

Look up the video from yesterday on YouTube – here is the link.

Future jobs and opportunities fairs week 11-14 October:

  • Placement opportunities
  • Graduate jobs
  • Industry experts
  • Skills development
  • Skills boosting program with Allstate, ALMAC and Deloitte

Workplace etiquette

IXD302 – week 3 workplace etiquette 66680292

Considerations for the workplace:

  • show your work – be open minded
  • Keeping on top of tasks
  • Organisation
  • Time management

Basic rules for existing in the workplace:

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself – Eleanor Roosevelt

  1. the studio: be pleasant and enthusiastic – positive attitude, shield people from your negative thoughts. Get as much as you can out of placement and contribute as much as you can. Be on time – it shows respect. Dress appropriately – smart casual. Use headphones for music (at a volume that you can still hear people at) pay attention to your surroundings. Keep your own volume down. Don’t gossip. Be mindful. Don’t get caught up in other peoples grievances. Keep areas clean and help to keep the common areas clean – show that you are trying to help keep the environment nice, it can gain you respect. It shows you don’t have high opinions of yourself, that you are not afraid of the nitty gritty. Don’t bring smelly food in. Offer tea and coffee if you drink it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – even the dumb ones. Remember your colleges are just people too, they also don’t have everything figured out, this can help you connect with them and will put things in perspective. Make sure you are organised and file your work properly, saving iterations and clearly labelling work. Chances are you will be saving to a server as others will need to access your work as well. Respect your coworkers space. When entering the workplace or someone’s space, acknowledge the person by using their name when you speak to them, make eye contact and ask to borrow things. No two studios are the same, just make sure you contribute as much as you can, as long as you pay attention you will find your way.  Prove you enthusiastic to learn and improve yourself. Prove you are willing to make an effort as they will notice and put effort into you also – like teach you.
  2. Meetings: with a client of third party – greet them at the door and introduce yourself if you’ve not meet before. Even if it’s not your meeting you can get them set up for whoever is running late. Offer them tea and coffee and get them settled in to the meeting room space. Excuse yourself to go and get the team if they haven’t already appeared. How these are conducted will change from firm to firm. Some may not even have designers in them and it’s unlikely as a junior that you will be conducting a meeting. But being helpful for those that do will be appreciated by the team. However, you should pay attention during these to gain confidence for when it’s your turn. Be on time for meetings, come prepared, take notes so you don’t forget vital information. Be mindful of your body language. Don’t zone out – focus at all time, this may take conscious effort at times. Don’t be afraid to contribute your ideas in a meeting, if you are in there as a designer or part of the design team, you are there because they want to hear from you, don’t speak over people though, make sure to choose an appropriate time. Watch and learn. Be natural but also professional and respectful (this will get easier). A meeting will often start with some casual conversation beforehand. If you are shy or not good at small talk then try practicing this or having some anecdotes prepared. Watch others to see how they handle it. Meetings can be great for dealing with a complex issue or covering a lot of ground. They are also good for getting to know people in a team or third party. They can be a nuisance though, so don’t suggest unnecessary ones. Work on overcoming nerves : whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t – you are right – Henry Ford.
  3. the phone: it’s not the same as phone calls in the real world. If the phone is ringing for a while just be the one to pick it up if you are free to answer it, be the person to help out. Say “hello””good morning” or “good afternoon” state that the company name. Say your name followed by “speaking”. If it’s not for you they will tell you who it’s for. Ask as a questions “Can I tell them who is calling.” Or so,etching to that effect. Then you can transfer it to the team member, tell them who it is and ask if they want to take it. If not go back on the line and tell them that your team member is unfortunately in a meeting/not at their desk etc. (Lie) and ask if you can take a message. Take a message and their number and leave it on their desk.
  4. Email: write a good subject line (make it about the email content, nothing generic in case they need to search it later). Sarcasm does not bode well with email. Choose the right tone, who is it that you are emailing? Someone you know well or someone you have never spoken to before? Don’t hit send prematurely (you can’t get it back) if in drought draft in a text editor first then paste it and send it. Spell check!!!! Address people by name before starting – never say “hey” if it’s first time email establish a connection how do you know them? If it’s a repeat email, ask them how they are or say you hope they are keeping well. Get to the point quickly. Keep it to only one topic/point per email. Be concise, no one likes lengthy email. No one likes one liners either. Use words like “glad” “excited” “intreaged” not emoji. Use paragraphs to break up length content or use heading if necessary. Clarify why you are asking for something or making a request. Sign off with something appropriate, this could be: many thanks, thanks, all the best, best regards, best, regards, best wishes, thanks again – if you alr3dy thanked them in the body of the email. Have your details in your email signature, maybe they want to follow up with a call, it never hurts to have your info easy to reference. Don’t forget to add your attachments and make sure they are a reasonable file size. Leave it an appropriate amount of time to hear back before following up. Design: don’t use crazy fonts. Just the basics here. System fonts will display best. Your footer can be designed but it can create attachments so a simple text version is best.

In conclusions:

Watch and learn! Pay attention to what everyone is doing, not just the designers and why they do what they do.

The simple act of paying positive atttention to people has a great deal to do with productivity – Tom peters …..

Get comfortable being uncomfortable –  if you get comfortable with getting yourself out of the deep end or out of uncomfortable situations you will be able to do anything.

Task :

  • in breakout rooms: conduct meetings about the topics discussed today. You will each assume a role : note taker, meeting leader (raises points for discussions), dumb question asker, contributors (field questions/discuss points)

How it went

Meeting leader


Write a mock email in any of these subject areas (you can do it in pairs for exchanges)

  1. to manager keeping them up to date on a project progressions (use IXD301 work)
  2. To client requesting content that is past due and necessary to progress
  3. To a client who has requested info or files from you months/years after the job.
  4. Sending a link over to a manager/client to review work in progress.
  5. Asking for clarification on something you didn’t understand from a team member
  6. To request and arrange a meeting

Also continue your research blogs in the topics raised in class as well as familiarising yourself with companies of excellence and local industry – go into great detail.

What makes a good cover letter?

I found this article on the Interaction design foundation that was very helpful when researching what would work best for making a good impression for future employers. Click here to read the article.

What are UX Cover Letters?

UX cover letters are short letters or emails that designers send with their portfolios and resumes to apply for jobs. These are personalized to introduce yourself and briefly explain why you are a good fit for the business. The cover letter will give the employer the first impression of you as a designer and whether or not you would be a good fit.

“A great, relevant cover letter can make me think twice even about weak candidates—think what it can do for strong ones.”

– Joel Califa, Senior Product Designer at GitHub

A Cover letter is a way to introduce yourself and support your portfolio and CV. A cover letter is a vital when having initial contact with any recruiter. It must pack maximum persuasion into the least space and in the right words to make the best first impression. As recruiters consider applicants for UX roles, they evaluate what they declare and how. In one page, you should convince a recruiter why you’re the best fit for:

1. The UX role offered.

2. Their organization overall.

When you bring your passion and dedication to life on your cover letter, you’ll help a recruiter envision how you might be the best candidate for that role and their team and working culture. Your UX portfolio and resume should reinforce that impression. While your portfolio will carry the most weight as recruiters consider your application, your cover letter is how you get them interested enough to do so.

How to Write a UX Cover Letter

Email generally suits most situations. However, judge how formal your approach should be when you research the organization, you should:

1- Personalize your letter.

It is always a good idea to personalize the cover letter and address it to the recruiter so when the time comes to applying to roles I could even call the company and ask who would be interviewing me so I can address it to them.

Don’t begin with Dear Sir/Madam. This sounds lifeless and gives the impression you’re applying to a generic recruiter in a scattershot approach. To prove a dedicated effort to reach that recruiter, find and use the name of the contact (typically in HR). Decide whether to use a title-and-surname approach (safer) or a first-name approach to access them in a friendly, professional way.

Match your tone of voice with the company’s personality. If your recruiter is trendy and bubbly, reflect that nature in your email. If it’s a more traditional organization, a formal writing style is better.

2- Keep it short and sweet.

Use one page. Recruiters are usually time-starved individuals who won’t handle lengthy letters. This puts pressure on you to fine-tune a concise message in which you show extensive knowledge about the company and role.

3- Show why you’re a good fit by explaining:

Why you want to work for their organization. Say what they have that attracts you: e.g., their values, teamwork style.

Why you want that UX role. Ensure you show you’d love it as a valuable next step in your career, rather than somewhere to escape to because you dislike your current situation.

How they will benefit from hiring you. You should declare your strengths and interests by showing how these can add value to a team. Flip your words around to hear how you sound from their side. Try to portray a proactive problem-solver who wants to grow with team-mates.

4- Read and re-read the job posting carefully.

Provide the materials they request. To filter out inattentive applicants, many recruiters include a question or prompt to mention a word/phrase.

5- Proofread, re-read and read it aloud.

One tiny typographical error will almost certainly ruin your application. So, use your spellchecking and grammar-checking software, re-read your letter and read it aloud until you’re sure about it.

Remember, your cover letter is critical to what happens next with your application. You have only moments to represent yourself to the recruiter through it—every word must count.

I really like how simple and clean this cover letter looks. It is easy to read and view.


This one I like but the content looks a bit too heavy.

While this one is nice I worry about adding a picture of myself. It feels a bit unprofessional.


I also attended an event for Puppet – a super cool company that I am quite interested in applying for.

Here are some of the notes I took – excuse the chicken writing 🙂

I made some quick notes before-hand in preparation for the career fair to ensure I ask the right questions to get the most out of the experience.

It was a very informative event that helped me inform how to apply for future placement opportunities that may arise.


Here is a link to another blog post on Puppet.

Professional Etiquette Practice – Are you ready to meet your employer?

I decided to register for the career and placement fair as I wanted to get the opportunity to learn about the companies I am considering and also learn more about the application process

I began by attending the Professional Etiquette Practice – Are you ready to meet your employer? virtual session as I wanted to be better informed when meeting with the speakers of the different companies.

Professional Etiquette Practice – Are you ready to meet your employer?

This session students will be advised how to be prepare yourself professionally to meet prospective employers.

Speaker – Donna Caldwell

Business etiquette refers to the professional manners and rules required and enforced in a professional environment. Having clear expectations of conduct contributes to a professional, productive, communicative and respectful workplace for both employees and management (Indeed, 2021). This basically mean having consideration for the basic rules and values of the employer

Professional situations in which you should practice good business etiquette:

  • Network etiquette
  • Interview etiquette
  • Post-interview etiquette
  • Introduction etiquette 
  • Workplace etiquette

Networking etiquette

  • To build a solid network, consider what you can do for other people and what they can do for you. You should be able to help your network when they need it, and they may be more likely to offer help for you.
  • Have your “elevator pitch” ready—a summary of what you do, your experience and your goals. It’s called an elevator pitch because it should be no longer than what you could share with someone during an elevator ride.
  • When engaged in a group conversation, be sure to include everyone. Make sure each person has an opportunity to speak and share their experiences.
  • Follow up with the people you meet within two days. Try to offer them something of value instead of asking for a favor or introduction, such as a link to an interesting article they might like to read. Sample: Networking opportunity (Careers Fairs 11-14 Oct)

Interview etiquette

A good understanding of etiquette guidelines during an interview can help you make a positive impression. Here are a few etiquette tips to remember for an interview

  •  Be prepared by researching the company and the interviewer if possible.
  • Turn off your phone or don’t bring it to the interview.
  • Greet your interviewer with a smile and a firm handshake (pre-Covid).
  • Make eye contact with the interviewer, speak clearly and sit up straight.
  • Take notes and ask questions if you do not understand something. example ” excuse me, sorry could you repeat that please?”
  • Speak positively about your previous employer and anyone who works there.
  • Let the interviewer ask about salary first. One could say “Looking at the average salary for placement students in Northern Ireland £18000”

Following up with interviewers is one more way you can stand out from your competition and make a good impression. Depending on the situation, you may follow up with an email or a handwritten, mailed note. A handwritten note is more formal, but the email approach has the benefit of being much faster. Try to send any follow-up communication within 24 hours of the interview. Here are some tips you can follow when creating a thank-you note:

  • Be brief, conversational and professional.
  • Reiterate your interest in the position and why you are a perfect fit.
  • Thank the interviewer for their time.
  • If you forgot to give the interviewer relevant information about yourself and your abilities, you can explain in the follow-up note.
  • You should send a thank you note to the hiring manager even if you did not get the job. In the email, you can thank them for their time and express interest in any future roles that match your skills and abilities

Introduction etiquette

It is polite to introduce people to one another when they meet for the first time. Here is the proper way todo it:

  • If face-to-face, stand up if you’re sitting down.
  • If you’re giving the introduction, say “I would like to introduce,” “this is” or a similar phrase, followed by their name.
  • Offer some information about each person. The idea is to encourage a conversation between the two of them, so try to find a topic of common interest.
  • If face-to-face (pre-Covid, typically you would shake hands), using a firm grip and don’t extend the handshake past two seconds. Presently, elbow touching is permitted.
  • If virtual, a warm smile (non-verbal) action should be used.

Workplace etiquette

You too can practice good etiquette in the workplace. Here are some examples of good work place etiquette, you need to consider after securing that placement or graduate role:

  • Dress to your workplace’s standards. For example, you may need to wear casual, business casual or professional apparel. If you wear a uniform, make sure it follows the guidelines.
  • Arrive on time to work or meetings every day. Not only does this express your positive attitude toward your job, but it is also considerate to anyone who may be waiting for you.
  • Learn names as quickly as you can. This communicates respect and assures them you value your acquaintance with them.• Return phone calls within 24 hours, even if you do not have an immediate answer. Let the caller know that you’ll follow up as soon as you have an answer.• Keep your work area clean and tidy, especially if it is in a central, visible space or faces the public.
  • Be considerate when using break room facilities, such as microwaves and refrigerators.

How to improve your workplace etiquette:

  1. Maintain professionalism: while you’re working, it’s important to stay professional. Make sure your appearance is neat and that your apparel fits the situation. When speaking with coworkers, it’s acceptable to use a conversational tone, then use a formal tone when working with clients. Make sure you make eye contact during conversations and smile when appropriate.
  2. Respect others: you should always respect others, including their opinions and actions. During meetings, consider ideas from everyone, even if they’re different from your own. Be polite when communicating with others. Treat everyone with  show your business etiquette.
  3. Develop a skills set: there are certain skills you can practice to improve your etiquette:
  • Communication: Improving your verbal and written communication skills can make a positive impact on your etiquette. When conversing with others, speak slowly and clearly so others can understand you. Use non-technical terms when speaking with those outside of your industry. Actively listen to others during conversation. Before emailing or sending a letter, review the document for possible grammatical errors.
  •  Emotional intelligence: This skill refers to the ability to understand the emotions of others. To develop emotional intelligence skills,observe the actions and words of others to see how they react to different situations. Watch for nonverbalcommunication actions, such as smiling or raised eyebrows to determine how a person feels about an actionor statement. You should react accordingly.
  • Time management: A large portion of etiquette is arriving on time or meeting deadlines. You may need to arrive early or on time fora work shift or submit your part of a project for coworkers to complete the next step. To manage your time, create a calendar that details meeting information, project timelines and your work schedule. Consider usingan electronic calendar that sends you notifications for each event.

    4.   Ask for feedback: If you’re unsure of how you present yourself to others, ask for constructive feedback from yourcolleagues or manager. Gathering an outside perspective of your workplace etiquette can helpyou realize actions you may not have noticed before. Try to incorporate their notes into yourdaily routine to improve your etiquette. If they offer you positive feedback, continue improving in that area.

Handshake profile

  • My journey – mention what you study, achievements, and a wide range example of your journey to date.
  • Education
  • Work and volunteering experience
  • Organizations and extra curriculars
  • Classes – include EDGE activities you have completed
  • Projects
  • Skills – 4 or 5 is more than sufficient, anything you put down you must be able to talk freely if an employer asks you about it.

Plan of action for the career fair day

  • You’ll need to be more direct and have a plan of action, but still be open-minded if you encounter an employer you haven’t heard of before. You never know!
  • Look at which employers are attending (before the event) and research the ones who you’d like to have a conversation with and what questions you’d like to ask.
  • Check your tech is working
  • When attending networking events, it is key to know your professional pitch: how you’ll introduce yourself to an employer when you approach them.
  • Think short and snappy. A few sentences summing up who you are, your academic and work background and why you want to talk to them.

Getting into  the right mindset

  • • Give the virtual event your undivided attention – if you’re half-heartedly browsing while also juggling TikTok or Netflix, you won’tachieve much.
  • Set yourself up for the day – have a few questions prepared.
  • Make sure your background is tidy.
  • Dress professionally. Employers won’t love your dressing gownas much as you do.

Prefessional communication

  • First impressions count so make sure your communication with employers are professional.
  • Ensure your CV is complete and reviewed via Vmock and finally by an Employability Adviser.
  • Don’t use text speak or casual slang that you would use with your friends.
  • Be courteous and, once you’ve finished talking, thank them fort heir time and advice.

Preparing questions

  • How did you get involved in this role/company?
  • How would you describe the culture within this company?• What are the most important skills required within your job?• What kind of projects are you working on currently?• What’s your favorite part of the job?• What are your main responsibilities?• What is a typical day (or week) like for you?• What do you like least about your work?• What kinds of problems do you deal with?• What kinds of decisions do you make?

Employability advisor support

Donna has kindly agreed to review my prepared questions for my 1:1 sessions with employers –


Synergy UX Internship

Session: Group session 1 – 1:30 pm

Speaker: Eimear Corrigan

Topic: Eimear will recount her experience as a UX intern. Eimear is now working full time as a UX developer.

  • She was able to be a UX designer and developer – a hybrid role.
  • In 2019 she stayed part time with synergy learning – something they do if they see your potential within the company. They were very flexible
  • In final year they were flexible and gave her time off so she could focus on her studies
  • There was a lot of progressing and opportunity within the company.

It is a very fast paced environment.

They are experts in creating learning with impact. They create engaging, intuitive and accessible learning platforms that deliver meaningful, measurable results.

What they do

  • learning management platform
  • Bespoke development
  • UX design – understanding users, their needs and creating a result that will be useful and meaningful to them

Applying for the role

  1. Prepare your knowledge in your area
  2. Be ready to talk about you. Sell your self
  3. Learn a bit about SASS, Mustache templates with PHP
  4. have an interesting and personal cover letter in your application – have interesting answers to questions: these things will give you a better chance
  5. research our company. Understand what we do.
  6. Show that you are keen to learn and develop – they will want to help you with that

Apply online

1st interview

  • Technical section – could be a technical scenario or general questions
  • Typical interview questions
  • Knowledge of company values
  • Prepare questions to ask – show interest

Beginning the role of an intern:

  • assigned a buddy – continuous learning, mentoring to enhance you skills and help with your learning
  • get used to the systems they use: Atlassian, Slack, Asana, Moodle. Learn their platform:

Day to day as UX developer:

  • team meetings
  • daily stand up – quick catch up of projects (around9;30)
  • Git – learn this and SAS and JavaScript
  • Client communications
  • Support


  • perkbox (get this after being there 6months)

Current opportunities:

  • Intern UX developer
  • Intern QA Analyst
  • Intern Support

Where will I work? Remote/flexible

There is potential for a future career with Synergy Learning

You will be provided by the hardware and software needed to do your work.

Synergy is looking for…

Personal, engaging, tailored for the role and application. Show you have researched the company, that you know the role and that you are interested in it. Show A LOT of interest into the company . Look up their website and blog.

They do a lot of projects for charity – maybe include the fact that you like this?

They might ask you which ones of their values you can relate to most – Eimer said passionate and

Who to contact:

  • Mandy for anything to do with the company    –  Can get a 1:1 with her to ask more about the application process.
  • Dylan for how its like working while studying

How to submit your portfolio when applying:

  • web portfolio would be preferred – add as a link. If its not online yet try Google drive