Nicola Struthers

"When completing application forms, or writing your CV, relate your skills to those outlined in the job description"
About my career

Having spent several years working in a museum, I explored ways in which I could progress my career and felt obtaining a relevant degree would be beneficial: MMU was the obvious choice as it ran a CILIP accredited degree course in Information and Library Management. The topic of information retrieval, how to structure and find information, appealed to my organised nature while the production of Mediated Messages gave me an appreciation of the way the media works, both of which have influenced where I have ended up today.

While studying for my degree I continued to work with my employer at the time, Manchester United Museum, and implement some of the skills and knowledge from my course. I also undertook a placement at the National Media Museum as part of my master’s in Film Studies with Film Archiving.

I believe placements help you understand what work you enjoy, provide the opportunity to put theory into practice while gaining valuable experience, and enable you to make contacts within your field of your choice, which can be helpful when looking for work. In fact, this is how I managed to secure my current job!

The BA (Hons) in Information and Library Management provided me with the knowledge and professional qualification required to progress my career. Learning about the organisation and retrieval of information was a core part of my study. This has enabled me to undertake my current role managing the descriptive metadata about ITV’s Product Catalogue, so we know what we have, we can find it, report on it, deliver, re-use and exploit content.

At MMU, my confidence in both written and verbal communication improved, and these skills have been essential in my role for many tasks such as being able to write Metadata policy and process documents, and in communicating these to the wider business. Feeling confident presenting information to people in a clear and concise manner is essential, and I would recommend students take the opportunity to practise this during their studies. Also, being organised and able to prioritise workloads will help you achieve goals on time while being proactive in identifying ways to improve current processes/ act on your initiative is an asset in the workplace too.

My top tip for students is…

When completing application forms, or writing your CV, relate your skills to those outlined in the job description. If you are providing a CV, this may mean having different variations for each job you apply for. Also, try to attend events run by relevant professional organisations and network! By talking to people, you never know what opportunities may come from making these connections.

I’m inspired by…

Archivist Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan, previous mentor when studying for an Archives and Records Management Diploma by distance learning, always exuded such enthusiasm and passion for the sector and really did inspire me to pursue my career further. All staff that taught me while at MMU were very encouraging, in particular Professor Dick Hartley, who was my dissertation supervisor. That support continued after I had finished my degree when I needed references for work and further study.

Why I love Manchester Met

Being in a friendly, supportive environment where people really knew their subject areas.