Without my languages and cultures, I would have struggled to make an initial impression for the roles I have had.

SLC Alumni Conor Bryan
Connor Bryan
HR Service Desk Advisor, Burberry
BA Modern Languages and Cultures
Connor works as a HR Service Desk Advisor for Burberry Ltd, having studied on our BA Modern Languages and Cultures degree.
SLC Alumni Conor Bryan

What is your current role and your main responsibilities?

My current role is HR Service Desk Advisor for Burberry Ltd. My main responsibilities are providing support to UK and EMEIA based employees with up-to-date and accurate HR support. I support with German and Dutch speaking regions of the company as well as the UK based employees.

Please summarise your overall career since graduation, but in particular, what was your first relevant role to the area in which you work now and how did you secure that position?

After graduation I began a year as a trainee teacher doing a full-time PGCE. After six months I decided it was no longer a career I wished to pursue. I started looking into German speaking roles and began working as a customer service specialist in the automotive division for Sherwin Williams. After 6 months I relocated to Leeds and found my current job with Burberry. I secured this position because of my focus on foreign language which they needed in order to provide the correct level of support to those regions of the business. My time at Sherwin helped me gain valuable experience within office-based roles and provided relevant insight into the German and Dutch speaking regions of the business world, which helped me land my role within Burberry.

How has your qualification helped you in your career?

Both of my jobs over the past year have required fluency in German, with a preference for those who also speak Dutch. Without my languages and cultures, I would have struggled to make an initial impression for the roles I have had.

Which modules did you enjoy the most and why?

The modules I enjoyed most were the Dutch Studies cultural modules as they were creative and different. For example, in my final year we worked with an author and a translator to translate a Dutch text into English and prepare it for publication.  It involved translation, group work, editorial tasks and it was for real: our translation was published. This project helped build confidence in my translation skills, it improved my research and creative abilities as individual words and phrases don't always have like for like translations. It was an all-round confidence boost and gave a clear insight into how you can apply your knowledge and skills in the ‘real world’.

How has studying these modules helped you in your day-to-day work? Please give an example.

It is all about gaining confidence and learning to rely on your own decisions. I learnt to work independently and trust my own ability to produce quality work without always questioning myself.

What is an average day like for you in your current role?

An average day for me begins with organising my tasks for the day between cases, emails and time set aside to focus on larger scale projects I have been assigned to. I would begin focusing on time sensitive cases that require my urgent attention and then move onto less urgent matters as the day progresses. I can be supporting the Employee Services team one day and then spending more time focusing on systems related queries if we have a high influx of those types of matters. It varies a lot from day to day but it is never boring or dull!

What do you think is the most exciting thing you've done as part of your current role?

The most exciting thing is working on overhauling some processes we currently have in place in order to optimise and refresh them for our users across the globe. When a method or process can be tweaked or improved, we try to find ways to suggest adjustments and move the process forward. This can take significant planning and support from other teams but it is exciting to work in an environment where we are constantly striving to move forward with all of our approaches.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

As I am still new to the role it would be hard to pin down my ‘greatest’ achievement but being able to work on bigger projects with a wide range of teams definitely feels like there is a proud achievement waiting to happen.

What advice would you give to current students who are interested in pursuing a career in your field?

HR is a lot bigger than it seems. There are administrative tasks but there are so many unique avenues to explore that it is definitely a career worth looking into.

What were your previous academic qualifications?

2:1 Honours in German Studies with a distinction in spoken German 3, A levels A-C, 10 GCSCEs A* - B.

What were your career aspirations when you were younger?

To work with animals.

What impact has attending University had on you?

I love different cultures and languages and I am a people person. University made me realise who I was and that I need a career I fit into as opposed to fitting myself into one.

What advice would you give to young people considering University?

If you want to be with like-minded people and study a course you are truly passionate about then I implore you to go.

Why did you choose Sheffield? / What sets Sheffield apart from other Universities?

The city feels like home and everyone is so friendly

What other elements of University life/extra-curricular activities helped you to achieve success?

Having a good support system of friends through my department and my social societies helped me when I needed advice and support.

What did you most enjoy about your time at Sheffield?

Making friends for life and four years I can fondly look back upon

Why would you recommend the University of Sheffield as a good place to study?

Sheffield is a prestigious University with some of the nicest and hardworking people I have ever come across. Green spaces as far as the eye can see and the best Students Union in the country.

In one sentence, how would you describe the impact Sheffield had on your career and life after University?

I wouldn't be me if I hadn’t gone to Sheffield.

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