THOMAS COLE
POLICY OFFICER, EUROPEAN COMMISSION
From the UoE to the EU
Thomas Cole
MA History & Politics 2006
Presentation overview
1. My career to date post-graduation
2. My role in the European Commission
3. Jobs in the EU institutions
4. Careers' hints and tips
1. Post-Edinburgh life: beginnings
 Graduated in 2006
 Master's Degree at the LSE in Global Politics
 EU Delegation to the United States
1. Since 2008: tough but possible
UK Magazine Industry
EU-wide public affairs in Brussels
European Commission
since April 2012
2. European Commission?
I work in the Directorate-General focusing on
Enlargement – countries wishing to join the
EU
• Currently 27 EU member states, who is next?
• Current candidates are Croatia, Iceland, Turkey,
Montenegro; Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo, FYROM,
Albania, (Northern Cyprus)
• I focus primarily on Iceland
Applied in 2009, negotiations started in 2010 - ongoing
2. European Commission?
My role:
– Political background briefings
– Liaising with diplomats (ICE, MNG, etc)
– Negotiations on agriculture, environment, budget
Useful Skills:
– IR + EU interest
– LANGUAGES
– Flexibility, analysis, quick-thinking, own ideas,
team player, culturally aware
3. EU jobs - internships
"Bluebook Stage" – internship
– 5 months, based in Brussels
– Either Oct-Feb OR Mar-Aug
– Very competitive, €1100 per month
"Delegation Stage" – internship
– Up to 5 months in an EU Delegation (embassy)
– Very global (US, Russia, Japan, China, India, etc)
– Usually unpaid but less well-known
3. EU institutions - JPD
 Junior Professional in Delegation Programme
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–
–
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2x 9 month placements in Delegations
Strong competition (only ca 80 candidates every 2 years)
Masters' degree required
Fantastic opportunity at an early career stage
3. EU institutions – non permanent
Temporary agents (TA)
– Open to all; high expertise required
 Contract agents (CA) - me
– Exams held ad-hoc, either 3 years contracts (in
Brussels) or unlimited (Delegations) – good
starting point in EU institutions
Interim positions
– To fill short term gaps (very short contracts)
3. EU institutions – Officials
Officials ("functionnaires")
– Full time international civil servants
– Have to be from an EU member state
– Options to move across policy areas
– Options to move across institutions (Commission,
EEAS, Parliament, EU Delegations)
3. EU institutions – how to start?
EPSO – European Personnel Selection Office
– Exams 1x per year for functionnaires (like UK civil
service fast stream)
– Revise, revise, revise!!! (online practice/exam
books)
– For all other positions, exams/openings on an adhoc basis
– If at first you don't succeed, don't worry, exams
are held every year
4. Hints and Tips - general
Have a career goal in mind (UN, FCO, EEAS)
Always try - never give up
dare to live your career dream
Ask others for feedback and advice
Be patient
There are many paths to your goal
4. Hints and Tips - personal
What has been useful for me in my career:
– Languages
– travel
– Good education (Edinburgh)
– Networking
– Living abroad
– Support from friends and family (Edinburgh)
– Volunteering (see next slide)
4. Hints and tips – volunteer!
 Voluntary project in Peru
 Edinburgh Global Partnership project in Swaziland
 Lib Dem Campaign trail at 2009 EP elections
 LSE alumni society - events + contacts
 Edinburgh Brussels society – talks + events
 YPFP – Ambassadors, diplomats, public speaking
4. Hints and Tips – practical 1
CVs/Resumés (always re-read!)
– Always tailor the CV to the job
– Max 2 pages (Precision and focus)
– Easy "verbal" language + 1 line bullets
– Online? Linkedin very useful
Cover letter/e-mail (always re-read!)
– Focus on the job
– 1 page max + bold key points if necessary
Follow-up with a phone call, if necessary
4. Hints and Tips – practical 2
• Example of cv: (always have top line summary)
4. Hints and Tips – practical 3
• Example of online CV:
4. Hints and Tips – practical 3
Networking is important
– Go to careers' events
– Introduce yourself to people
– Chit-chat + small talk
Helps if you are on the ground
– meet people in the area where you want to work
– Informal coffee meetings (get to know people)
– Ok, it's timely (& expensive)…but it works!
Useful EU careers' websites
 EPSO http://europa.eu/epso/index_en.htm
 EC traineeships http://ec.europa.eu/stages/
 JPD programme
http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/jed/
 Euractiv http://jobs.euractiv.com/
 Eurobrussels http://www.eurobrussels.com/
 W4MP
http://www.w4mpjobs.org/SearchJobs.aspx?search=all
jobs
 CVs/Cover letter advice
http://www.eurobrussels.com/cv_guide.php
Thank you! – Any questions?
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From The UoE to the EU - The University of Edinburgh