It's only a dissertation, right?

Posted in: Advice, Applications, Tips & Hints

Yesterday I saw lots of students for CV checks - par for the course at this time of year. And I have noticed a common theme. With the final years, I hardly ever see any mention of their Final Year Project or Dissertation. It always surprises me that this really important piece of work is left off. I get some quizzical looks from them when I ask what they have chosen to focus on and they will answer me, indulging my curiosity.

Granted, I am a really nosey person and I love hearing about the extended pieces of individual research that our students have got up to. I used to be a researcher and was always fascinated by the research others were doing. So when I've heard about what they have done, or are planning to do, I ask them why they chose to leave it off. And almost always the answer is that the students think employers will not be interested in something so academic, as it is not related enough to the 'real world'.

I would beg to differ.

It is one of your best chances to show off an area that interests you. And for some, that will be a really good match to your desired career and for them, mentioning their research on Change Management in a complex organisation fits very well with their desired career path in HR, for instance. Even for those who don't have so obvious a match, there may well be skills and techniques you will develop that would be useful in your chosen career. A FYP in lab physics might seem far removed from a post in science communication. However, the language that student chooses to describe what they have done is a really good test of those communication skills they are so keen to use in a job.

So don't hide your dissertation or final year Project away. It might even turn out to be the part of your application that clinches the deal.....

Posted in: Advice, Applications, Tips & Hints


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