If you are curious about the 21 Days career learning programme, why not watch this short video introduction to help get you in the picture about it. It’s my walk-through of the programme and is about ten minutes long. It details the structure and some example posts and activities are introduced.
Effectively, we have created a career learning programme that you can work through at your leisure. It is primarily designed for graduates but of relevance to many others.
We don’t all have the same definition of success and it can be liberating to think about this when talking about careers. It’s easy to get tied up in knots about earning more or having a certain status but success can be much more subtle than that. We’ve called our 21 Days to Career Success programme deliberately to get you as graduates to think about what success really means to you.
What does ‘career success’ mean to you? Get yourself in the mood to think about this by viewing these YouTube clips (source Kerr Inkson – Understanding Careers) which show different ideas about success. Getting rich, developing as a person, overcoming adversity, winning and being the best, recognition of creativity and making the world a better place come out of these songs. Which one do you identify with the most, or do they all leave you cold?
Dominika Piasecka graduated with a Journalism degree in 2016. She rapidly realised that the skills she needed to build relationships and contacts to get stories for her course were also valuable in finding jobs.
“My name is Dominika, I’m a journalism graduate from the University of Salford and am currently working as Media and PR Officer at The Vegan Society. When I moved to the UK almost 7 years ago, I didn’t know anyone and had to start forming relationships with people from scratch. I first understood the importance of networking at the beginning of my university course when I had to find interviewees for my assignments. The people I knew were more than friends or acquaintances; they were contacts. They helped me to find and connect with people I had to talk to. Online networking makes it all so much easier these days, especially LinkedIn which is a great platform to connect to people professionally. I would add everyone I met during my course and ask relevant people for references and endorsements to build my profile.”
Now that the ’21 days to Career Success’ has come to an end you should be much better equipped to sort out your work-life. Hopefully you have learnt lots of new things about the world of work and maybe about yourself too? Whether you have followed the posts methodically or just dipped in to top up your existing knowledge we hope you have found it useful.
So here is a short recap of what you need to do:-
Take a look at yourself. What have you got to offer? What do you want? What is important to you? What do you feel has been stopping you from success so far?
Get to know the world of work. Be curious and proactive. Don’t just rely on the internet… get out and talk to real people too.
Make sure that your practical job-finding skills are doing your justice (CV writing, interviews, online presence) and if not, get help!
Some of the graduates I have talked to recently have said ‘I didn’t realise it would be this hard to get a job!’ They feel frustrated and find it hard to keep on trying.
If you feel like that, even just sometimes, then today’s post will help you.
When the tough times hit hard some people crumble and yet others seem to grow stronger. But what makes the different between being a ‘hero’ or a ‘victim of circumstance’? And how come some people will be amazingly tough-minded in one area of their life and yet easily beaten in another?
This fundamental question has always interested me. How can we get over the hurdles we encounter throughout life? A key to this question is something called ‘RESILIENCE’. Let’s consider what resilience is and how you can get more of it. Improving your resilience means you can more quickly and easily ‘bounce back’ from disappointments which is good news for your happiness and your health.
Or do you believe that your future success and happiness is completely down to fate, luck, chance, god, serendipity or other people’s actions? Some people do.
In reality, whichever of those is right (and we could have a long philosophical debate about this) a pragmatic approach might be to suppose that the truth lies somewhere in between. There are probably things about your situation you can’t control and there are certainly things you can. Feeling that you have control, autonomy and agency over your own life can help to boost your self-esteem when things are going well BUT the flipside of the coin is that, when things go badly you may overly blame yourself. Similarly, if you believe nothing is within your control then when things don’t go your way you can easily blame someone or something else BUT this belief can stop you from taking action to make things happen!
SO… you complete an online application and then you get an invitation to do some assessments online or attend an assessment centre. What can you expect and how can you give it your best shot?
What is an Assessment Centre?
An assessment centre is not an actual physical PLACE but a format which is used in recruitment (though obviously it happens in an actual place). It is designed to get lots of information about job applicants so that the company can make well informed decisions and hopefully select ‘the right’ people for the job.
Why do employers use them?
They are much better at predicting future job performance than interviews alone. From your point of view a great thing about an assessment centre is that you can be sure you have had lots of chances to show your stuff!
Job interviews evoke mixed emotions – anticipation but also dread. If you are invited to an interview, very well done, this means your written application is good and you are on the next step towards getting the job you want. But most of us worry about job interviews while also being delighted to have one. This is natural, so the secret is to manage your nerves by preparing effectively and viewing the interview as your opportunity to impress and even enjoy talking about yourself!
Fail to prepare and prepare to fail
It is critical to prepare by researching the employer and the role you are going for fully. Nothing can rule you out quicker than showing you aren’t really sure about what the job is. Also, get the small stuff right – make sure you know where you are going and allow yourself time to arrive in good time. Plan carefully what you are going to wear – follow the dress code that’s normal for the industry you are going for, e.g., for industries such as Law and Accountancy, dress codes are smart and conservative, whereas if you are going for a job in Advertising or Media, you can probably risk adding a bit more colour to your outfit.
Is it a good one?
These are two questions I often ask students. Even those who answer an emphatic ‘yes’ to the first question often seem less sure about the second. And maybe their CVs are amazing but how would they know? It is also quite natural to feel slightly embarrassed having to write about yourself (and maybe even brag a little). So how can you make your CV as good as it can be? And more importantly how can you make it work for you?
I had a message from an ex-student the other day. He was frustrated because he felt he was being really proactive, sending his CV out to lots of companies he would like to work for. He wasn’t getting anything back, not even an acknowledgement. I asked to see his CV and I could see why straight away. It wasn’t bad. The basic information was all there and it looked neat. BUT it was just a little bit…. Bland. I explained that there was no point spending time and effort sending mediocre CV. We improved it and within a couple of weeks he had a new job.
Where do you go to find suitable vacancies to apply for? It can be a challenge to know where to actually find the right kind of opportunities for you. Google is good but may just overwhelm you with possibilities! Developing a productive job-hunting strategy can really help. What worked for you as a student getting part-time work might not for finding a job that will take you in the right career direction.
Did you know?
Graduates find jobs in all sorts of ways and all kinds of places. Here is a list which shows how 2015 graduates nationally said how they had found the job they were doing (data collected as part of the national graduate destinations survey 6 months after finishing university).