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What Employers Look For From Recently Qualified Students

Advice from IOC Member Jeremy Murphy, Kingsrock Joinery

Show your passion for wood

Showing a possible employer that you’ve an interest in wood beyond your studies can be a great help at interview, says Jeremy Murphy FIOC, Director of KingsRock  Joinery. 

“There must have been something that inspired you to take a course in carpentry and joinery,” says IOC Fellow Jeremy Murphy:  “Make sure that comes out when you contact or talk to a potential employer.

“If you’re writing round to employers tell them what fascinates you about wood.  Have a look online and do some research into what our forefathers in the trade have worked on and created.  When you’re first starting out you don’t have a track record but you can show why you’re interested in the job.  If a person shows interest and a passion for wood an employer will see that you’re likely to succeed and you’ll be good at your job. 

“You may have been to some historic houses or buildings, or you may have some in your city, town or village.  Find out how they were built and how that relates to the skills you’re learning today:  there were no plastic windows in Georgian buildings so they had to have skilled craftsmen to make them. Today skilled craftsmen and women are needed to maintain a lot of those historic buildings. 

“Perhaps you’ve been to a museum or two in old buildings.  What did you notice about the wood-craft which helped to build the building, or the wooden objects you saw in the cases?  Many more objects were made of wood in the past: there’s a fascinating history there to explore, and all of it will have some relevance to your studies.  Don’t be afraid to show employers that you’re interested in these things – it’s all part of keeping the past alive for the future benefit of our industry,” KingsRock’s Jeremy Murphy says. 

“I’ve worked in some fascinating places and no doubt you will too.  I was working once in a house in Greenwich and when I took apart some woodwork around a window that needed replacing I found an old sixpenny coin from Queen Victoria’s reign which must have been put there by a joiner of the past who installed the original.  I also had to make a piece of joinery that has to sit on top of the Greenwich Meridian line in a building that was designed and built by Christopher Wren.

“One thing I always do before I visit an old building is to research the history of the area and surrounding buildings as you can unearth a lot of interesting facts. I recently worked next door to where Paul McCartney from the Beatles lived!  There’s a lot of work in heritage joinery in Britain: it can be a really interesting career.  So carry on with your studies, and make sure you show potential employers your passion for wood.  Your mates might think it’s a bit strange, but then they won’t end up with a fascinating and creative career like yours,” concludes KingsRock’s Jeremy Murphy. 

Follow Jeremy Murphy at Kingsrock on LinkedIn for more fascinating stories and wood history.

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