How I became an Operational Meteorologist at the Met Office

Posted on: 26 October 2020 in Graduate stories

Jess studied Ocean Science at the University of Liverpool and graduated in 2018. She is currently working as an Operational Meteorologist at the Met Office.


What is your job? How did you end up in your current position?

-        Operational Meteorologist at the Met Office.

-        Forecasting the weather, answering enquiries and producing products for different customers so they are aware of the weather and any particular hazards they may be interested in for their operations. At the moment I work in defence so am stationed at an RAF base and provide meteorological information for local operations as well as tasking all over the world, other people work with civil airports and with other, non-aviation customers who are interested in met.

-        I applied during my 3rd year at university. I was never completely sure what I wanted to do after my degree but having studied ocean science I wanted to do something related and some of the climate modules I found really interesting. I attended an assessment day first and then got invited for an interview.

-        The assessment day involved a written test (maths and physics based) and a group assessment in which we were given a task and had to demonstrate teamwork/ leadership in completing the task in a time frame. The interview involved me doing a short presentation as well as the usual interview questions.

-        The training took about a year total, with 6 months of training similar to university in the way we would have classes and exams at the met office college. Then 6 months on the job training where I was posted to an RAF base (different to the one I am at currently), after qualifying I worked there for a couple of months before moving to my current position.


What were you doing during your degree to prepare for transition into the workplace? i.e. any extracurricular activities

-        I was involved in Luemos and a few different sports societies (tennis, cricket and hockey briefly). I think meeting as many people as possible during your university experience is great in subconsciously learning how to interact with different people in different situations. 

-        I think employers like to see that you get involved in things as well.

-        In terms of my degree I think definitely making the most of improving presentation skills and confidence in public speaking.

-        General time management


Did you face any challenges along the way?

-        Not knowing where or when to start with applying to jobs – where to look for jobs and what type of jobs I actually wanted to apply for.

-        MANY of the jobs I was applying to in third year were saying I didn’t have the relevant experience or not getting back to me completely. I think a lot of people experience this.

-        Getting the invitation to the assessment day the date was during exam season, although luckily didn’t clash with any exams on the day!

-         During the training course at the Met office I did have a few exams which didn’t quite go as well as they should have – I found the course difficult at times due to the minimal physics I had done.


What was your experience like of applying for jobs?

-        There are a lot of situations where you apply and don’t hear anything back or get rejected but just persevering and knowing there are a lot of other graduates in the same situation as you. It is just hard.

-        The more applications you do the better you get at them, thinking of more examples for the questions they ask and getting to know the structure of applications.


Did you know what you wanted to do for a career?

-        I didn’t, I knew I enjoyed my degree and wanted to do something similar.

-        Sometimes you don’t know what you want to do until you know what you don’t want to do. This might take a bit of research and trial and error.


How has your degree helped you?

-        I needed a relevant degree to qualify for the job – as well as A level maths and physics (I didn’t have A level physics but the maths and physics module I did during my degree was sufficient)

-        Presentation skills, confidence with public speaking

-        Time management skills and meeting deadlines.


What advice would you give to final year students?

-        If you really are unsure about where to go after graduating I would say apply for a lot of different things, take the time to write a good CV and cover letters. I think even if you are applying for something you don’t think is your dream job give it a go as any experience is good experience especially when it comes to application processes and interviews.

-        Come across confident even if you don’t feel it, research the company, make sure you have a couple of questions in mind for the end of any interview

-        Talk to people and research jobs as much as you have time for to find out the type of thing you do and don’t want to do. Can be hard to know what jobs are out there.


What makes you stand out as a graduate of marine biology?

-        Experience – I studied ocean science and was lucky enough to spend some time in Thailand on an internship in the summer of second year. This put me in touch with like-minded people and I had the chance to get involved in a climate study on the effect of climate change on the coral reefs around the island I was staying. It involved taking and monitoring data from the water and from a simple weather station.

-        General interest in the subject – anything that is extra to your degree.


Now that you are in a job, what skills do you think you have developed the most?

-        Confidence with public speaking and communicating with customers in an informative, efficient and professional manor.

-        People skills