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Sussex alumni and students defy snowy conditions to turn out for inspiring careers fortnight

Over 40 Sussex alumni returned to campus to share their career stories and top tips on job-hunting with more than 650 students during the University’s annual Make it Happen! fortnight.

Panels of Sussex graduates shared their job-hunting and top career tips across seven different industry sectors at ‘Careers in …’ events.

The sessions, organised jointly by the Careers and Employability Centre and the Development and Alumni Relations Office, gave current students the chance to ask questions and network with the panellists.

Alumni from global and national organisations such as the Save the Children, the Financial Times, Amnesty International and Grant Thornton joined fellow graduates from local companies including Brandwatch, Thrive Wearables and Sirius Analytical.

The most common advice to students was to be proactive, network, be confident, don’t give up, be persistent and to follow their passion. Another top tip was not to focus solely on applying to large companies and household names, since smaller local organisations offer many opportunities and career flexibility.  Alumni also provided reassurances that the road to success is not always a straight line, and that it is ok to change your career or job if you find you are not enjoying it.

The panellists all gave their time for free and delivered inspiring, insightful and amusing anecdotes about how they got where they are today. Students enjoyed the opportunity to speak to panellists individually during the networking after the session.

For the first time one of the events was broadcast live on Facebook, with the Careers in Media and Communications panel discussion attracting over 2,000 views.

This year, the University also hosted a bespoke event for students looking to enter the music industry, with alumni Geoff Taylor (Law 1987), Chief Executive of the BPI, and Ben Cook (Geography 1992), President of Atlantic UK, returning to campus to talk about their own experience and pass on useful tips.

Warner Music UK Press Officer Bee Thomas (English 2010), who volunteered as a panellist at the Careers in Media and Communications event, said: "It was so nice to come back and see the campus and how’s its changed over the last few years – and stayed the same in many ways! It was also really inspiring to see so many students taking an active interest in their careers and plans after university."

Industry sectors

Industry sectors showcased across the ‘Careers in …’ event series are: media and communications; development, charities and not-for-profit; business, finance and marketing; government, public services and heritage; creative and digital technologies; life sciences, engineering, computer science and physics; and law.

Sussex Connect career networking and ementoring

Sussex alumni based around the world who are willing to help students by providing industry advice and top career tips through email and eMentoring can now join our new, members-only networking and ementoring platform, Sussex Connect. Launched first to alumni and recent graduates, Sussex Connect will be available to students later in the year.

You can read more about this new initiative here.

If you would like to be considered as a future Make it Happen! alumni panellist, please email

By: Tom Furnival-Adams
Last updated: Monday, 19 March 2018