Moving on from the MSc

So I got my results for my dissertation earlier in the month and I have to admit, I was more than a little disappointed when I first read them. I got a Merit, which although I know is a great grade and something I should be proud of, I had hoped for a Distinction and was disappointed I hadn’t achieved this. I had averaged comfortably over 70% for the rest of the course, but knew that anything less than that in my dissertation would bring my overall mark down. Frustrating to get so close, but not quite there.

I debated during my research project whether I should take the voluntary extension to give me more time to gather better data and improve my report to ensure I got the grade I wanted, but had decided that finishing on time and getting it done was the priority. With hindsight, I should have recognised that I would not have been happy with a lower mark – I’m ambitious and can be a perfectionist, but I have had to learn over the years that getting something done on time to a ‘good enough’ standard is sometimes preferable to taking longer to reach perfection. Of course, I will never know if I could have got that better grade had I taken the extension, but I do kinda wish I had tried.

Two weeks on and I’m feeling less negative about my results and am just glad it is over. I know no one else is likely to care what grade I got in my master’s and that the important thing is I’ve got through it and achieved the qualification I set out to get just over a year ago. I have enjoyed the course and am glad I returned to study. I was surprised to find it easier than I had initially expected and really learnt the value of my own work experience. Confirmation of my upgrade to associate member of the CIPD should come through soon and I intend to apply for an upgrade to chartered member as soon as I can, although before that I need to secure my next role.

I’m still in the search for the right opportunity. The last few weeks have been busy, with quite a few interviews which has been encouraging. I’m still waiting for news from a couple of these, but so far I’m yet to accept an offer. Feedback I’ve received along the way has been helpful and it is all useful experience, so I am hoping that something will click soon.

The job search process is a frustrating one, full of highs, lows and considerable boredom as you go through the same steps many times. I hate applicant tracking systems – the technology should enable, but so often feels like a barrier. Perhaps strangely, I enjoy the process of preparing for interviews. It is great to find out about a new organisation and to try to understand what they are looking for. Rejections hurt, but I’m learning to not take them as personal failures and know that the experience is helpful. I keep telling myself the right opportunity will come along. That can be hard when you get rejected from a role you think would be a good fit and the feedback is generally positive, but I do believe that I will find the right role in the end. Patience and resilience needed to keep going, but I’m sure it will pay off eventually. If you know of a role which may be a good fit for me, please do get in touch or pass on my details.

Aside from searching for my next role, I also found time to go to Manchester Digital‘s Digital Skills Conference, which was a really interesting day. I live-tweeted many thoughts during the day, but will try to find time to write some more in due course. Generally my main takeaway was that events like this are great, but more collaboration is needed to tackle these skills gap challenges. I felt that a much wider audience needed to be there and that more companies need to be involved. Digital skills shortages are not just an issue for the digital agencies of the world, they are a universal business issue and getting more industries and employers together would have made the event more impactful.

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