I Got Hired: Research Content and Discovery Assistant

Posted on: 7 June 2022 by Richard Finch in Graduate stories

Recent graduate Samantha Smith talks about her new Kickstart role based in the University of Liverpool Library.

Can you please state what your current job title at the University is and explain what your role involves?

I’m currently working as a Research Content and Discovery Assistant within the Open Research Team in the University Library. As part of my role, I analyse data to identify trends, conduct audits and write reports. I also help with other administrative tasks.

What were you doing prior to Kickstart?

Before Kickstart, I had graduated from university and was working in a local supermarket while exploring my career options.

What challenges have you faced whilst on placement and how have you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges for me was analysing and interpreting numerical data as I had come from a Humanities and Arts background. I took a LinkedIn course on Excel and asked for advice from my colleagues. Through trial and error, I gained more confidence in my own ability to interpret numerical data.

Another challenge for me at the start was balancing work from home and my personal life. When I was at university, I found that remote learning and independent study often blurred into my personal life, as I was able to access Teams and my emails from my phone. To ensure that my work life didn’t blur into my personal life, I made sure that I only worked and checked my emails within my working hours from my work laptop, rather than my personal laptop.

What have you enjoyed most whilst working at the University?

I’ve enjoyed the inclusivity of my team, and how they have offered me opportunities to learn new things in order to boost my employability. For example, my line manager gave me a small task to create a web page for the library which allowed me to learn a bit of HTML coding.

What employability skills will you be leaving your placement with that you didn’t have at the start?

Prior to this placement, I lacked some technical skills required such as using Excel, which is a vital tool to use in almost any workplace. I was quite apprehensive about it at first as I hadn’t used it since school and only for basic functions. However, with the help of my colleagues and by taking an online course, I have become more confident in my own ability to use it. This particular instance has also made me realise that I am my own obstacle and that I am capable of doing things that I previously thought I couldn’t. This idea of growing my mindset has given me the confidence to tackle new challenges, or find new approaches to solving a problem. I think that this is a great mindset to have when starting any new role.

What are your next steps when you complete your kickstart placement?

My next steps when I complete my placement would be to continue working, ideally within the heritage sector or possibly marketing. While I am considering returning to university to do an MA in Museum/Heritage Studies, I think I would like to continue working first and possibly do some voluntary work to gain further experience within the heritage sector.

Would you consider staying on in your current role or continuing to work in higher education?

I would be interested in continuing to work in higher education, possibly within marketing and events or another role within Museums, Libraries and Galleries. I think my current role has made me realise that I would like to do something creative in my next role, to make use of my Humanities and Arts background.