Hey everyone, My name is Happiness Omochere; I’ve been asked to share my graduate story. I’m very grateful for this opportunity, and here it is.
I graduated with a 2:1 in International Law from Maynooth University, My first and second year in college were not unique at all. I did not join any clubs or societies. In theory, I did, but I never attended a meeting unless it was the annual AGM, and I wanted to get some free pizza. However, I did focus a lot of time and energy into getting an internship in one of the top-tier law firms in Ireland, Arthur Cox, Matheson, A&L Goodbody, Mccann Fitzgerald, etc. I spent most of my time during college working a full-time retail job. I would attend lectures in the morning and then go straight to work a full shift. This did not help my applications in any way as the retail experience was not exactly the kind of experience they wanted when looking to recruit for an internship. I know what you’re thinking, the irony of needing experience before getting experience. I also was not an active participant in any law soc or debating soc, so I could not exactly talk about those either.
I finished first year and second year, having not gotten any internships; I didn’t even get an interview. At this point, I knew I couldn’t afford to go another summer without an internship; otherwise, it would be pretty impossible to land a graduate job when I finished college. I had lost hope in getting any experience in Ireland; therefore, I decided to study abroad. Firstly, to diversify my degree, to make myself stand out to recruiters, and lastly, to gain some international experience, preferably legal.
Fast forward to third year, and I was having the time of my life in the sunshine state Florida. I worked as a Social Media Assistant for Rollins College for 12 hours a week and as a law clerk in a trusted American Law firm for 8 hours. That year I applied for summer internships again, and I got an interview for Matheson, Mccann Fitzgerald, and Eversheds Sutherland.
That year I had also won runner up in the A & L Goodbody’ Bold Ideas’ student innovation award. You can already imagine that I was over the moon with how my study abroad experience was going already. However, the best was yet to come. One day, while I was working at my desk, I got a message from a Facebook recruiter telling me that they had seen my LinkedIn profile. Because I had experience in Social Media and Law, they thought they had the perfect position for me. If I was interested, then I should send her my CV. I was a bit sceptical at first and thought maybe it was a scam. I was not used to getting messages on LinkedIn, and I did not believe a company like Facebook included LinkedIn in their recruitment process. However, I always wanted to work at Facebook or Google and fun fact I had it on my vision board in my room. Like many people, I did not see how I could ever make it into a company like that. Anyway, of course, I sent in my CV. I did 3 interviews, and finally, I got the position as a summer intern. I did not end up getting any offers from the law firms I had interviewed with, so I guess it was always meant to be. Summer 2019, I interned with Facebook as a Digital Rights Operations Intern. I loved it, and I got offered a full-time position to come back after my degree and work as a Privacy Operations Specialist.
To end, my advice to students or graduates is to spend a year abroad. Studying in a new country exposes you to increased career opportunities. Try to pick a country that you know will have great opportunities in your field of study. Not only will you look appealing to recruiters when you return but also to recruiters in that country. Often, organizations hiring international employees want to see evidence that candidates can thrive in a global environment. The mere fact that you’re studying abroad and are now looking for a job tends to be all the evidence they need for the type of valuable skills you have. It allows you to show future and current employers that you have the open mind, resourcefulness, and drive needed to adapt to a different environment. It makes you more competitive in the workforce. Many companies look for people to employ that they know can thrive on an international business trip. Lastly, you also build your connections. Some connections can even lead to career opportunities, including internships, job offers, and business partners. Studying abroad can be overwhelming, but the challenges you overcome can help you become a more mature person and gain skills like leadership, communication, and cross-cultural awareness. Skills you will most definitely need if you plan to work for some of the world’s biggest global corporations.