Rebecca Muir, Graduate Recruitment and Events Officer in Student Futures joined ENU in October 2021. Rebecca discusses how a big decision as a new graduate allowed her to turn her love for meeting new people into a career.


Rebecca shares her career story in this Q&A

Tell us a bit about your career to date?

My career started when I was 16. I decided to apply for a job in a department store in Edinburgh (despite living 20 miles away and not being old enough to drive). I was invited to a group interview and I was the youngest in the room. I could only really talk about how I played the flute and had passed my standard grades! But the interviewer seen something in me and offered me a job as a sales assistant. And I worked in the store every weekend for 7 years, whilst I studied for my Highers, Advanced Highers, undergraduate degree and postgraduate degree. I learnt about customer service, and developed excellent communication skills. I dealt with complaints, managed stock, handled money and managed new team members. Hand on heart, working in customer service from a very young age, with people of all ages, and from all backgrounds has made me who I am today. I use all the skills I learnt in the shop nearly every day at Edinburgh Napier! 

I studied law at university and absolutely loved it. I thrived on reading and analysing cases and legislation, writing legal arguments, and looking at policy. I was lucky to secure a role as a trainee solicitor, but unfortunately, I realised that legal practice wasn’t the right environment for me. Leaving practice is the biggest career decision I’ve ever made. 

After I left the legal industry, I wanted to prove to myself that I could be just as successful in a non-legal role. I realised that meeting and working with new people was important to me and I wanted to find a job where I could use the ‘people skills’ I’d developed in my customer service and legal roles to make a positive difference. I also realised how important a good work-life balance was to me and I knew that I wanted to work for an organisation that prioritised this. 

For two years, I managed a Business Improvement District. I answered to a board of directors; advised and supported over 40 local businesses (including during COVID) and managed the day to day operations of the company. It was an incredibly varied role, where I had huge amounts of responsibility. I enjoyed working with businesses and their owners – from multi-national companies, to start ups- and felt a huge sense of pride representing their interests. 

I then worked for an employability delivery body in Edinburgh. My main responsibility was supporting the employability and recruitment needs of local hospitality and retail businesses. This was really rewarding, but also challenging as recruitment in these sectors was difficult during the pandemic. 


I then moved to Edinburgh Napier University, as an Employer Engagement Coordinator in the Placement Team! This was my first role within Edinburgh Napier University, and I loved it! It was so exciting getting to work across various schools, and trying to forge relationships on behalf of the university. I recently secured a promoted role within Student Futures, as a Graduate Recruitment and Events Officer. 

What prompted you to join Edinburgh Napier?

I loved the idea of working for a large organisation, where there are lots of opportunities for progression and development. A few of my roles had been in small businesses, and I really wanted to be able to build and grow my career within an organisation that had lots of opportunities. 

I also loved studying at university – you’d find me in the library doing extra reading! Given I enjoyed the higher education environment as a student, I thought I’d enjoy it as a member of staff. 

Tell us a bit more about your role?

I only started my role as a Graduate Recruitment and Events Officer a few months ago, so I’m still getting to grips with things.

So far, my role has been super varied. Primarily, I manage relationships with graduate employers. This involves lots of emails, and meetings where we discuss their recruitment needs and how we can help them with engaging with Edinburgh Napier University students. 

I also lead on events that relate to graduate recruitment – for example, Student Opportunities Week. This takes a lot of coordination and significant stakeholder engagement… I get a real buzz from events!

Of course, Student Futures is one big team and I’m just one piece of the jigsaw! 

What difference has working at Edinburgh Napier made to your career?

Edinburgh Napier University is such an inclusive and supportive environment.  I’ve had regular conversations with my line managers about my career plans and goals, which has been great. I feel fully supported in my personal and professional development, and I genuinely believe that Edinburgh Napier University wants all of its staff to be successful. 

I’ve also met some amazing line managers and leaders within Edinburgh Napier University. In particular, I’ve found it really inspiring to work alongside strong, female leaders. 

What is the best thing about your role?

I love getting to speak to lots of different stakeholders. I can go from having a meeting with a local charity to speaking to a global organisation. This also means that I have developed a knowledge of many  different sectors – I need to know about recruitment trends in everything from the IT sector, to the sport and exercise sector.  Every meeting is completely different and I have to be able to adapt on a daily (if not hourly!) basis. 

I also love that I am playing a small part in the future careers of our students and I get so excited when we secure fantastic graduate roles that we can then promote to students. It’s not always easy for students knowing where to start their job search, and I like to think that I’m opening doors for them.  

What difference have you made at Edinburgh Napier that you are more proud of?

I’m really proud that I played a key part in organising Student Opportunities Week 2023. This was the first in-person, university wide career event since COVID19 and it was great to have lots of employers on campus meeting our students. There was a real buzz at all of the events, and I felt really happy to see so many conversations taking place about careers. Bring on all of our upcoming career events!

What has helped you in your career?

There are lots of things that have helped me in my career and unfortunately, they aren’t podcasts or books (although I have tried!)

1) Good line management – Good line managers who have taken an interest in my career have been important. If you are a line manager, make the time to speak to your team about their career plans and training needs.

2) Looking forward, not back – When I left the legal industry, I spent a lot of time worrying whether I had made the best decision. Now, I try hard to always look forward, and get excited about the new opportunities that might come my way in the future.

3) Make conversation – Yes. It’s that simple. Build your own network within the organisation – and treat everyone with the same level of respect. It doesn’t go un-noticed. I like having quick conversations in the lift or beside the kettle – it’s good for people to know who you are and that you are open to conversation, as you never know where your next opportunity will come from.

What does the future hold?

I’d love to progress within Edinburgh Napier University! I’m still early in my career so it’s an exciting place to be!

What is your top tip for career success?

I have three top tips: 

1) Prioritise your happiness – work is such a big part of our lives, and it is so important that you feel happy.

2) Don’t compare yourself to others - LinkedIn is a fantastic professional tool, and I use it nearly every day in my role. However, it’s very easy to get sucked in and start comparing your successes to other people’s. I often found myself looking at my connections profiles and wondering if my career was comparable to theirs.  Everyone is running their own race, at their own speed and as long as you are happy, that really is all that matters (see above tip). 

3) Finally, it’s never too early in your career to put yourself out there. Whether that’s going for the job you’re not sure you’ll get, or if it’s finding a volunteering role that allows you to develop new skills! You never know what doors will open for you!

Away from work, what do you do in your free time?

I am honoured to be a Trustee for the Preston Lodge Learning Foundation, which is a charity that works to enhance the life chances of the young people in Preston Lodge High School and its wider community. I am a former pupil of the school, and I’m incredibly passionate about widening participation and inclusivity. This role allows me to give back to my community and support young people in reaching their full potential.

I’m also getting married next year, so I spend a lot of my spare time planning our big day… it’s like a second job, sometimes! So many spreadsheets and emails! 




“Don’t underestimate the power of having quick conversations in the lift or beside the kettle – it’s good for people to know who you are and that you are open to conversation."

Rebecca Muir