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Campus Life

Improving your presentation skills

By | Campus Life, Graduate Recruitment | 2 Comments

Can you remember what you were doing at 6pm on Tuesday 12th November 1991? I can.  I was standing in a lecture hall in the University of Sheffield waiting for Logica’s milkround presentation to begin.  And for the first time I was part of the presentation team, not part of the audience.  And I was terrified. OK, I had to look in my diary to remember the actual date, but I can still remember the fear.  The thought of standing up to speak in front of a room full of students had me trembling in my boots. 10 years later I finally conquered that fear when I started working in graduate induction, presenting to groups of students every week.  It is a skill that has served me well, running events for the AGR and pitching business cases to the senior team at City University, but it is something I’m always…

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Presenting your best side: how to engage your audience

By | Campus Life, Graduate Recruitment | 3 Comments

I’ve really enjoyed supporting Smart Resourcing Solutions’ excellent assessment centre simulations over the last few weeks.  The events are a great way for students to experience the realities of the graduate selection process, and it has been interesting to see how they approached the presentation exercise in particular.  Some of the undergraduates were understandably nervous, but others (from Hertfordshire, Coventry and Kingston) were very impressive – much better than I would have been at that stage. I’ve always been interested in what makes a great presenter.  My first boss at Logica had the ability to really hold the room, and taught me about the importance of pace to help the audience understand key points.  More recently I’ve enjoyed watching Charlie Reeve’s excellent TEDx talks (@creeve76), Carolyn Parry’s compelling career coaching sessions (‪@CareerAlchemy‪), and Matthias Feist’s innovative use of technology and social media when he speaks (@matthias_feist). I’ve delivered many presentations…

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Real collaboration happens when your challenges overlap

By | Campus Life, Graduate Recruitment, Strategy | No Comments

I’ve had some interesting conversations recently with graduate recruiters and careers services, with both sides wanting to understand how they can engage more effectively with the other. I think the secret to great collaboration – and by this I mean more than just sponsoring a careers service handbook with your logo on the back page, or inviting an employer to come and deliver a workshop to your students – is about looking for overlapping challenges.  When a recruiter and a careers service work together to solve a problem they both face, good things happen.  And I think these overlapping challenges are more common that we might imagine. If you are working in a careers service, your university’s Access Agreement might mean that you need to think creatively about how to reach out to students from underrepresented backgrounds, who might not even know what a careers service does.  You might be…

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How often do you wear the VC’s hat?

By | Campus Life, Strategy | No Comments

I have been working on an interesting project recently, helping a careers service to make sure that they are positioned effectively within the political landscape at their university. This apparently simple objective presents a number of challenges: Understanding the landscape and the key players (internal and external) that influence it; Getting your agenda onto the senior team’s radar; Having a clear strategy and a “sticky” message that describes what you do; Making sure every person in your team understands and buys into the principles that drive your service. Here are a couple of ideas that might help you to tackle these challenges: To understand the wider political landscape, investigate your university’s approach to managing risk. Knowing what is on the risk register will help you focus on what matters to your senior team. Understanding the steps that are in place to manage each risk will show you what is on the agenda…

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What’s Your Story?

By | Campus Life, Graduate Recruitment | No Comments

I have run some skills workshops recently to help students think about how to stand out from the crowd in the graduate employment market, something that I really enjoy doing. My talk is based on observations from my time as a graduate recruiter, and builds on the premise that the best candidates know how to tell a compelling story about themselves. In my experience, a good story has three important elements: It is distinctive, because the candidate has developed plenty of examples that show why they are ready for the workplace. It is engaging, because the candidate tells their story in a way that catches the recruiter’s attention and makes them want to hear more. It is tailored, because the candidate has done their research properly and uses this knowledge to target their applications, making their story relevant to a specific role in a specific company. Sounds simple really. And…

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Two sides of the same problem?

By | Campus Life, Graduate Recruitment | No Comments

The conversations I’ve had with careers services and graduate recruiters over the last couple of weeks have made one thing very clear: both groups are trying hard to solve the same challenge, they are just approaching from different perspectives. What is the common challenge? To create an environment where the right kind of students meet the right kind of employers, at a time which is right for both, and with both sides having a good understanding of the other. What are the different perspectives? For university career services, they look after a huge, diverse range of students who are studying different courses and who are at vastly different points on their journey towards employment. They spend a (small?) percentage of their time with employers, and have to use this knowledge to inform the advice they give students. Many services work with their students from well before they arrive at university…

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What have I learned during my time at City?

By | Campus Life, Graduate Recruitment | 2 Comments
With three weeks to go before I launch Graduate Transitions I’ve spent a lot time reflecting on my experience at City University London, thinking about what I’ve learned during my four years as Director of Careers. I’ve been fortunate to work at City during this period. The university remains very focused on graduate employment and investment has seen the careers service grow considerably since 2011. I’ve had the chance to witness first hand major changes in the Higher Education landscape: the introduction of increased undergraduate fees in 2012 and the changes to the undergraduate and postgraduate recruitment processes have all had a tangible impact on student expectations, and the behaviours they exhibit as a result. Universities have had to respond to meet these changing demands and this is creating new opportunities for employers. Campus life feels very different to that which I remember when I ran my first skills session at...
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