Assistant Reporting Officer at UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency
“It’s definitely improved my confidence in ways I hadn’t foreseen or realised right away."
Esther Luigi participated in the 2020 WIAN Graduate programme as a mentee. Based in Germany, Ms Luigi is a graduate from the University of Cambridge, UK with a Master of Philosophy in Political Thought, and Intellectual History.
Prior to joining the WIAN Mentorship scheme, Esther was pursuing a short-term programme at the German Parliament as an International Parliamentary Scholar. While Esther expressed an interest in many different career fields at the time, she remained uncertain about which specific path to pursue. In need of career guidance, advice, and the support of a network of working women, Esther applied to the 2020 WIAN Graduate Mentorship Programme.
During the 7-month Mentorship programme, Esther was paired with AC; a Doctorate holder with 10+ years of professional experience, a native German and French speaker, working with the European Commission in Belgium.
AC supported Esther to build her self-confidence, define her career aspirations and develop International Affairs industry knowledge. Monthly one-on-one sessions structured by the WIAN Programme provided suitable space for Esther and AC to dive deeper into specific areas for guidance and support. AC coached Esther on how to confidently highlight her personality, skills, and qualifications during job interviews. Esther said, “we talked through things before an interview, she talked about her tricks, interviews she’d done well and hadn’t which helped me with my interviews and made them feel less stressful. Letting your personality come through and sharing some of her best interviews where she had tried to show, even when stressed, how to be authentic and spontaneous. During my interview I did and said a lot of things I would have been scared to do and from deviating from the question. Now at my work I know they value these qualities a lot.” As a direct result of this support, Esther has secured a paid traineeship with the European Parliament.
With the support of her mentor, Esther has further improved her skills in customising her CV and writing cover letters for jobs in different countries. Strategically paired because of their language skills in French and Germany, AC supported Esther to understand the customs for job applications in France and Germany. She shared specific formats, tips and vocabulary for CV tailoring and cover letter writing. This has made it easier for Esther to tailor her CV for a job in France and prepare a cover letter for a job in Germany.
Additionally, Esther is now better at setting goals and at figuring out which career path she is interested in pursuing. She said, “Overall, it’s definitely improved my confidence and also in ways I hadn’t foreseen/realised right away. Many young women my age are insecure. I am now much more confident and assertive when it comes to linking with people in the domains I’m interested in and reaching out for conversations. All the things to do with networking. I did not use to do it beforehand and I didn’t realise how useful it was. Now I do it is really good and has made things happen".
When asked what her single most important outcome has been, Esther said, “Where I am at now, doing this traineeship has something to do with it. In general, my outlook on how to manage my career and make something for yourself. This is the thing that had really changed and will stay with me.”