Monday, March 11, 2013

The Employabiltiy Award

Loughborough student, Ali Materna is back with another blog, this time discussing her involvement in the Employability Award and how she sees it will benefit her in her future job hunt. 

As most finalist students would probably agree, this year requires us to consider the inevitability of our future. After two or three years of focusing on university and all it has to offer, suddenly we are faced with the frightening concept of the real world, without the comfortable cocoon uni provides for us. This provoked me to do something, anything, in order to ensure I was employable.

Participating in the employability award at Loughborough University allows me to hone my employability skills and, hopefully, receive an award to show this, signalling to future employers that I am an applicant worth pursuing.

The award is no easy feat. Initially, I applied for it with the idea in mind that it would be quick and simple; I would fill in a few forms and it would be completed, however, now I am at the stage of nearly completing it, I realise my naïve and lazy approach was wrong. But I am extremely glad I was wrong. At first I was encouraged to put time aside to complete the award and not just sit down and do it in a day. This did take time and concentration, but it has made me incredibly aware of my strengths, weaknesses and the covetable skills that employers will find positives in. Without realising it, by doing this I have already established some answers to potential interview questions. This will save me future time and planning, but will also make me consider the jobs that I may be more suited for when bearing in mind these qualities.

It also made me aware that actually, there are many things I had already done that make me employable. For instance, the fact that I am a TARGETjobs blogger in the first place! I used this to contribute to my ‘activities’ for the award, as each activity gains you points to help you achieve the award. Whilst I am still awaiting the number of points I will gain for being a blogger, it fits perfectly into the ‘employable’ categories they are looking for to give points away as being a blogger means I can communicate my ideas lucidly (hopefully!) and work to deadlines. This contributes to time management skills. After all, you must have evidence when you say you’re ‘organised’ or ‘good at writing’ as whilst writing this sounds impressive, though generic, it is your unique experience that suggests your employability.

Whilst I have only delved into one of the activities I have submitted as part of the award, there are numerous things that can be used. Good examples could be previous work experience you have done, a committee position at university, the fact you are a member of a sports team or theatre group or an example where you have participated in charity or volunteering work. I am sure most university students will have done one of those extra-curricular activities.

Finally, if your university has an equivalent of the ‘Employability award’ I would strongly recommend participating in it. Not only has it opened up my mind to my own strengths and weaknesses, but also it has assisted me in establishing what career path I wanted to pursue even though I had no clue where I wanted to end up. If your university doesn’t have one, maybe mention it to the careers department, or use this blog to help you recognise that, in fact, you are more employable than you think!

Thanks Ali, and good luck for your future, we have no doubt you will be very successful. 
If you too want to write for TARGETjobs please do get in touch with me: 

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