UCL Careers


Alumni profile: Harmony Jiang

Meet UCL MSc Dementia: Causes, Treatments and Research (Neuroscience Pathway) alum Harmony Jiang. Harmony talks to us about her career journey and offers critical advice on the road to employment.

A front camera image of alumni Harmony

1 November 2022

Degree programme: MSc Dementia: Causes, Treatments and Research (Neuroscience Pathway)
Graduation year: 2018
Current job role: Research Assistant

Please share a brief introduction to your career path, from graduation to where you are now.  

Straight after my masters I moved back to my parent's house where I applied for numerous roles. After a few months I eventually started volunteering in my local NHS mental health trust, helping with activities in the research department, such as helping to man the 'Join Dementia Research' stand in the local community. I was offered a full-time post as a Research Assistant in the department. Since then I have worked as a Clinical Studies Officer and Research Assistant in two more NHS trusts.

Provide a brief summary of your core duties and describe what skills are important to your role?   

I recruit participants, collect data, analyse data and help to write-up papers for mental health research studies. Being empathic is a really important one when working with mental health patients.

Being organised, self-motivated and a good team-player helps massively when working in research.

How did your time at UCL prepare you for the workplace?

I think it was really during my MSc research project at UCL that I realised that I wanted to work in research. Being part of a quick-paced but close-knit research team was really exciting and inspiring to me. It was an invaluable insight into what working in research might look like.

Were there any challenges in your job hunt?  

Yes! After my masters I applied for so many jobs and got a lot of rejections. I tried to ask for feedback, especially for any interviews I had. I used and crafted material from my previous applications so that my CV and personal statements gradually improved. I believe that a strong support network is important here: my parents really helped to keep me motivated and optimistic in my in my job-hunt post-masters.

Top tips for current students: List up to 3 short quick tips that you would like to share with current students.

  • Rejection is dedirection!
  • Twitter has its limitations but I found that many people tweeted advertising research assistant/PhD positions.
  • You will most likely not get your dream job immediately. Be open to other opportunities which might not have been in your plan originally.

Need help with your job applications or CV? 

Get free access to VMock - an online tool that can provide immediate tips and advice on how to improve your CV. After this, don’t forget, you can book a 1-2-1 appointment with our dedicated team of friendly Careers Consultants. Find out more here.