Embarking on a career journey can be both exciting and daunting for university students. With the ever-evolving job market and increasing competition, it is crucial to gather insights from experienced professionals who have successfully navigated their own career paths. Recently, we had the privilege of hosting a panel discussion with industry experts, Gavin Annon, Claire Brannigan, Connor Diamond, and Steve Lazars, who shared valuable advice and personal anecdotes about their professional journeys.
Embrace Mistakes and Take Risks: Gavin Annon, Sales & Marketing Director at Mount Charles Group, emphasized the importance of making mistakes and taking risks. He encouraged students to step outside their comfort zones, as normal is no longer the norm in today’s competitive job market. Gavin stated, “Please do go make mistakes because nothing’s perfect…you’ve got to make those mistakes and take risks.” Embracing mistakes allows for growth and learning, ultimately helping individuals discover their true capabilities.
Define Your Own Path: Claire Brannigan, Founder of Skinakin Ltd, highlighted the significance of intentionality in shaping one’s career. She emphasized the need to be intentional about where you’re going and what your why is. Claire shared her own experience, stating, “It was only when I started to take a step back and say, ‘What do you want to do? What’s your interest? What are you good at?’…things started to change.” By aligning your career choices with your values, interests, and strengths, you can find fulfillment and success.
Develop a Diverse Skill Set: The panelists emphasized the importance of developing a diverse skill set. Steve Lazars, Director & Founder of Ethnic Minority Employment & Entrepreneurship Network, urged students to broaden their horizons and gain experience across different sectors. He shared, “Putting myself out there actually gave me certain tools, contacts, and understandings about bringing solutions to the product…find some innovative ways of finding solutions.” A diverse skill set enhances adaptability, problem-solving abilities, and brings added value to any role.
Focus on People Skills: While technical knowledge is important, the panelists stressed the significance of people skills in career growth. Claire Brannigan stated, “The things that will really help accelerate your career is the human side of your skill set…being able to communicate effectively, negotiate, and understand different cultural norms.” Developing strong interpersonal skills, such as effective communication and adaptability, can set individuals apart and open doors to new opportunities.
Embrace Curiosity and Continuous Learning: The experts highlighted the importance of curiosity and continuous learning. Connor Diamond, Head of Digital Insights & nijobfinder.co.uk at Mediahuis Ireland, encouraged students to continually set and review goals, both professional and personal. He emphasized the value of pursuing hobbies and interests outside of work, as they can bring joy and enrich one’s life. Steve Lazars added, “Stay curious, join the dots across different domains, bring value back…always be a detective and solve problems.” Embracing curiosity and a thirst for knowledge can lead to innovative thinking and contribute to career success.
Summary: The QUB Careers Event provided invaluable insights for students navigating their career journeys. Panellists emphasised the importance of taking risks, finding the right environment, developing a diverse skill set, staying true to personal values, and fostering a positive attitude. These key takeaways will empower students to make informed decisions, adapt to a changing job market, and embark on fulfilling and successful careers. Remember, embrace mistakes, seize opportunities, and let your values guide you.
As a student, you are on a journey to build a foundation for your future career. However, being future-ready is more than just getting good grades or completing a degree. It requires a set of skills and competencies that will prepare you to thrive in the workplace and make a positive impact in the world. Here are some tips to help you become future-ready while at Queen’s University Belfast.
Curiosity is a key driver of learning and growth. It helps you to explore new possibilities, discover innovative solutions, and enhance your creativity. To nurture your curiosity, be open to new experiences and perspectives. Take advantage of opportunities to study abroad, attend workshops and conferences, or engage in extracurricular activities. Stay curious about the world around you, and never stop learning.
Empathy is a fundamental human trait that is essential for building relationships, fostering collaboration, and creating positive change. To develop your empathy skills, practice active listening, express appreciation and gratitude, and show compassion towards others. Build a supportive network of peers, mentors, and advisors who can help you navigate the challenges of university life and beyond.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to change, and overcome adversity. It is a critical skill for success in the workplace, where you will face numerous challenges and obstacles. To develop resilience, practice self-care, seek support from others, and learn from your failures. Challenge yourself to take on new tasks and responsibilities, and use them as opportunities for growth and learning.
Foster your creativity
Creativity is the ability to generate new and innovative ideas that can solve problems, inspire change, and create value. To foster your creativity, engage in activities that inspire you and allow you to express your unique talents and perspectives. Join clubs and societies that align with your interests and passions, and collaborate with others to develop new projects and initiatives.
Learn to work in teams
Teamwork is a fundamental skill that is essential for success in the workplace. To develop your teamwork skills, seek out opportunities to collaborate with others on projects, volunteer in your community, or participate in extracurricular activities. Learn to communicate effectively, listen actively, and contribute to a shared goal. Take on leadership roles where you can guide and support others towards a common objective.
Action is the ability to take initiative, make decisions, and achieve your goals. To inspire action, identify your passions, strengths, and values, and pursue them with purpose and determination. Take calculated risks, learn from your mistakes, and seek out opportunities to make a positive impact in your community and beyond. Be a role model for others by demonstrating integrity, honesty, and ethical behaviour.
In conclusion, being future-ready is a journey that requires continuous learning, growth, and development. By adopting these tips and strategies, you can prepare yourself to succeed in the workplace and make a meaningful contribution to society. Remember, your time at Queen’s University Belfast is an opportunity to build a strong foundation for your future, so make the most of it!
The European Student Exchange Information Session took place on 2nd February 2023
Erasmus is the European Higher Education programme which enables students, already enrolled at a university in Europe, to take time out from their own institution and spend one or two semesters at a partner university
Here are the top 3 takeaways from the session:
1. Experience a new culture, city, language
2. Over 200+ study exchange destinations across Europe
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR REPRESENTATIVES OFFERING ONE-ON-ONE CHAT:
Each representative who has been set up in the employer virtual booth for 1 on 1 chat will see a red “View Chats” box icon appearing in their MyFuture account against the relevant fair one hour before the fair goes live. Click on this to enter your unique 1 on 1 chat area and familiarise yourself with items explained her n this and other guidance.
Remember that you will be using the MyFuture built in video chat to meet students for 1 on 1 chats only, so make sure to accept this option when you go live and do not use Teams, Zoom or other conference meeting software alongside this.
When you are ready to meet students, switch your chat Online, if you need to take a break, switch to Busy (do not switch to Offline until you are permanently leaving the event.
Once the VCF goes live at the start time (not before), students will begin to join 1 on 1 chat queues These will show in the “Upcoming” tab in your chat view. You will see the “Start Chat” option is red for the student at the top of the queue (click on that and follow join instructions).
While you are talking to a student, you will also see Icons to open text chat and share screen under the incoming video. You will also note a meeting time countdown. When this reaches 0 the meeting is automatically closed. However, employer reps (not students) will also see an option to extend chat by a further 2 minutes when the 2-minute point is reached.
When chat is completed, click “End Chat,” make any notes (students do not see these) and start chat with the next student at the top of the queue.
Note re: student behaviours at VCFs: Some will join 1 on 1 chat immediately, others elect to go to group or other 1 on 1 chats first. Should you invite a student into a 1 on 1 chat, and they do not accept within 2 minutes, you can click “End Chat” and move to the next student (you will see the meeting timer starts to countdown just before they join you to let you know that they are about to come on screen.)
AFTER THE FAIR:
· Switch your status to “Offline.” You will still be able to view your “Completed” chats and notes. Employers also receive an emailed CV pack and 1 on 1 notes relating to students who elected to share their CV and/or the notes from completed 1 on 1 chats.
PREPARE FOR THE VIRTUAL ELEMENT OF THE SPRING FAIR:
SET UP YOUR VIRTUAL BOOTH AT LEAST TEN DAYS IN ADVANCE OF THE FAIR:
One representative sets up the virtual booth by logging into their MyFuture account and going to “Events & Fairs”>Virtual Event at Career Spring Fair>”+ Register”.
Complete the fields to set up your Standard booth. We advise that 5 minutes is suitable chat time for 1 on 1 (there is also option to extend time during a live chat).
Note that 1 on 1 video chat is built into the MyFuture VCF
You can add more than employer representative for 1 on 1 chat to help to move students through the busiest employer queues more quickly. Those who do not already have a MyFuture employer account will receive an auto-email with access to a limited account to enable them to join the live fair – ask them to look out for this.
Set up your Group Chat instructions by using the HTML text formatting tools to advertise a time schedule of short talks (max 20 minutes) with hyperlinks to Teams/Zoom or other connected virtual meeting that a colleague, who is not simultaneously involved in 1 on 1 chats will deliver. This chat type is very popular with students and can be repeated at scheduled intervals during the event.
Once you have set up your booth, click Review and Confirm, followed by Confirm to save and submit for approval by Queen’s CES. Should you wish to adjust your virtual booth later, go back into “registration,” scroll to the bottom on the page and click “Modify,” before reviewing and confirming again.
You and your colleagues (please communicate/share invite and guidance to them) will also be invited to a 30-minute training event (will be recorded). The following 2-minute video also provides a useful overview for participating employer representatives on how the 1 on 1 video chat works.
CLICK ON “MEET THE EMPLOYERS”, CHECK & EDIT YOUR PROFILE:
Browse the employer booths to check on who is coming, star your favourites and set up your profile (Tip: Upload your CV via your profile to share it with relevant employers).
AT THE LIVE FAIR:
CHAT WITH EMPLOYERS VIA LIVE VIDEO CHATS – YOU HAVE TWO OPTIONS:
GROUP CHATS: Just click on Group Chat for the relevant employer in the list to view instructions/click on meeting links.
ONE-ON-ONE CHATS: Some employers are offering both 1 on 1 and Group chats. You can join up to three 1 on 1 chats at a time. Make sure to check your progress/wait time through 1 on 1 queue(s).
TIPS FOR MANAGING YOUR PROGRESS IN ONE-ON-ONE QUEUE(S)
JOIN QUEUES WITH DIFFERENT WAIT TIMES. MyFuture will keep your place in each of these for you. When you see your wait time is down to 5 minutes – you are next and could be called in at any moment! You can check on your progress up through 1 on 1 queues via the tab beside “Meet the Employer Exhibitors”.
STAY ALERT TO A QUEUE WHERE THE WAIT TIME IS DOWN TO 5 MINUTES OR LESS. When the employer is ready, you will see a “come in and meet me” invite from them on your screen in their queue. Just click it and follow the join instructions to take you into the 1 on 1 virtual meeting room.
WARNING: If you do not accept/click on the invite within two minutes, the employer will move on to the next student in the queue.
YOU CAN ALSO MANAGE YOUR TIME BY ATTENDING A GROUP CHAT IF YOU ARE WAITING FOR A 1 ON 1 QUEUE WITH A WAIT TIME OF MORE THAN 20 MINUTES
YOU CAN ALSO BROWSE THE EMPLOYERS JOB ADVERTS AND PROFILE VIA THEIR VIRTUAL BOOTH (including during the days before the fair goes live)
NEED SOME TECHNICAL HELP DURING THE 3.30PM TO 6PM ONLINE ELEMENT OF THE SPRING FAIR?
Technical help will be available to students for the duration of the online element of the Fair via the Careers Service booth Group Chat.
“What do employers look for in students and graduates for employment?”
“Its very much understanding what each individual has done with their life, not just their academic life. So, its understanding where they have worked in teams, being able to work with different people, how they have been able to manage projects” – Mark Shimmings, Deloitte
“It’s really important for students to try their best to speak to as many employers, putting themselves out there and see if they can do volunteer days, work placement opportunities different things like that because it really gives you a great idea of the industry that you want to go into and the different people you can meet and also helps to build your confidence with talking to different people and professionals” – Eilish Crickard, ESO
“A lot of our interviews as about your collaboration, your teamwork, your communication skills” – Claire Brennan, FinTrU
“We look for people who can put into practice what they’ve learned and can take a practical approach and a very personable approach to what we do” – Brian Moss, Worthingtons solicitors
“You see a lot of amazing CVs but its not really just about what you’ve studied and what you’ve done its about being able to apply those skills, being able to communicate with people… its really important to try different things and put yourself out there and just try build your CV because lots of people have a degree nowadays so its trying to find that niche that will make you more attractable to employers” – Eilish Crickard, ESO
“Obviously, a degree is important in a lot of the roles but not all of them but yes additional to that, its how they utilise what they’ve done through their life as well as their degree and can align the skills that they’ve learnt in order to use those in their roles moving forward.” – Emma McCourt, NIE Networks
“We don’t expect people to have working experience but there are so many transferable skills from the clubs, societies.” – Niamh Heaney , FinTrU
“Extracurricular activities such as the, you can see everywhere here about the clubs and the societies that’s very important for us at Baker McKenzie as well, we have so many clubs and committees, so if they have any information like that on their CV, again just makes them stand out a little bit more.” – Sarah Fowler, Baker McKenzie
“Why do employers come to QUB campus for recruitment?”
“Queen’s produce some really excellent graduates and it’s the range of graduates that come out of Queens within Deloitte we are looking for a wide range of skills and Queen’s equips the students with those range of skills, not just academic but softer skills that we are looking for” – Mark Shimmings, Deloitte
“The reputation the university, the quality of the teaching is all huge positives for coming specifically to Belfast, and to Queen’s.” – John Paul Cooney, Bank of America
“There is a number of Queen’s students that are already working for us and that their dedication, enthusiasm and desire to work for our business is just amazing and we love having them on the team, they’re great fun and absolutely know their subject” – Helen Sayers, Cooneen Group
How to overcome environmental and personal barriers to let your creativity flow.
What is creativity? “It’s new and useful ideas in any domain,” says Roisin Macartney, Queen’s Careers Consultant, who adds that there are barriers that limit our own creativity.
“These barriers can be from your own thinking, and from environmental [factors] and the environment that you are in. If you do what you’ve always done, don’t make changes and just accept the status quo, creativity will suffer. Challenge, ask questions, take risks to keep expanding your creative thinking.
So how do we start to open ourselves up to being creative and thinking creatively? Roisin has these top tips:
Give yourself space
“One of the things I would suggest is starting with a blank page. I think you have to give yourself time to be creative,” says Roisin, who add that this doesn’t necessarily mean scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest. “I don’t mean that you can’t be inspired by other people’s creativity, because you certainly can, but you do have to give your brain a time out, basically.”
She adds: “To be able to generate your own creative ideas, it might be that you take a walk, or you lie in a bath, or you basically stare at a blank page and give yourself the room and the time to be creative.”
2. Challenge the norm Another way to channel your creativity is to challenge your assumptions. “Always ask yourself if something must be done this way. If it must be this way, how could it be different? So that could be, you know, an assignment that you’ve been given. It could be a work assignment, it could be just something in your everyday life. Does it always have to be done this way? How could you be creative and think differently about it?”
3. Stay curious. Remember that child that you once were always asking why and driving your parents crazy? It’s time to channel that child and ask why why why! “Try to keep that curiosity alive because it’s not only good for your creativity, it’s also good for your wellbeing. “Don’t lose the art and the joy of playing: rediscover the joy of getting out the Lego, the colouring pencils, or anything else to start playing and getting creative. It’s not about what you create while playing,” says Roisin. Adding, “It’s about letting the mind be creative, so allowing yourself to be open.”
4. Try something new. “It might be trying a new recipe every week. It might be learning how to use a new function on your software package…. Just keep trying new ways of doing things and that’s you being creative as well,” says Roisin.
5. Get inspired. While it can be good to have time out on your own to generate new ideas, it can also be good to work with other people, who also want to create, especially if there are particularly creative people that you can work with. “ You can bounce and generate new ideas from each other,” adds Roisin.
6. Flex your creative muscles. “There are some techniques that can help you to keep stretching that creative muscle. It can be doing something to keep your brain active, like Sudoku or crosswords. Learning a new word every day, perhaps in your own language or in a different language, and what you really want to be doing is helping your brain to make new associations and build those new connections. So, you can encourage your brain to be the sort of brain that makes connections and sees patterns and therefore becomes more creative,” says Roisin.
7. Try mind mapping. “Start with a central focus, whatever your theme is going to be, you start with that focus. You then put down main themes and coming off that central focus as branches from the center. You might sort of get creative using colour and using pictures and things like that, especially if you’re good at artwork and it can be really nice to do it that way. And you keep adding to it. And in terms of creativity, it’s likely to be the things around the outer edges where the creative thinking comes into it.”
8. Get brainstorming. You’ll certainly have used brainstorming in the past and the key thing about brainstorming is that all ideas are equal and valid, and they’re not challenged, explains Roisin. “Brainwriting is when people individually write out their ideas first. So, whatever the question or the problem, rather than everybody shouting it out for somebody to write, you all write it out. And then you share those, so everybody’s ideas all go up, and that can spark other ideas. And that can mean that people are not limited by other people’s ideas or louder characters or challenges.”
9. Scamper. “Scamper is based on the reasoning that everything new is just an addition or a modification of something that already exists. So, this technique gets you thinking about ways that you can build on that idea of change and changing something to create something else,” explains Roisin. “For example, I was writing this last year, but at the time there were some coffee bags being advertised on the TV. And clearly that’s just coffee and tea bags, you know, combined together. And they often sort of do that with things like chocolate bars, you know, Cadbury’s will come out with some new addition to the chocolate, just to make it a little bit more of a novelty to us so that we might want to go and get that and try it out. So, what can we add? Somebody decided to add balm to tissues, for example.” Linked to the Scamper technique is reversal. “Problem reversal is about reversing the problem that you might have. It’s a different way of looking at the challenge. So instead of looking at the challenge in terms of what do you want to do, you reverse it and say what you don’t want to do. For example, say you want your company to sell more pencils. Instead of saying how can we make our pencils better, the reverse thinking might be along the lines of: we want pencils that don’t break as soon as you begin to use them. And of course, that leads you to what you actually want to do to make the pencils better. “
10. The lawbreaker technique. The lawbreaker rule asks: What do we assume or believe to be true? And what if that were not so? “Lawbreakers are all about challenging those assumptions that we all make, says Roisin. “For example, the burger has to be inside the burger roll. What happens if it isn’t? If we can forget about those assumptions, then what changes would we make? Things like putting the cheese into the crust of our pizza, you know that’s challenging the law of pizza; it’s challenging our idea of what we thought pizza was.
11. The great minds technique. This involves: what would [insert person] do? “Generally, it should be somebody that you respect and in this regard someone who is creative. So, what would that creative person do with this problem or issue? It can be an actual person, maybe somebody like Greta Thunberg or Marcus Rashford. You know, it doesn’t even have to be a specific person. For example, you might say, well, what would a 7-year-old boy think about this because again, as we know, the younger people are often very creative. So, what would a child think about this? What would you know, a character or like? What would Superman do?
Dermot Murray, Senior QA Engineer at Version 1 gives his top tips on embracing workplace systems and tech.
Why would you say enthusiasm to embrace tech is important in graduate roles?
It’s very important. Just in terms of the kind of innovation and bringing a fresh perspective to companies. So, like graduates are at the forefront of theoretical thinking. And what we’re looking to do is actually apply this knowledge into the real life and into the work industry. So, like if you take for example, a lot of kind of, you know, hardware and software, you know, the iPod Touch, for example, let’s say you know, it’s quite redundant nowadays because things change very quickly. And what we’re looking at is innovation and more efficient ways of working in industries, so, you know, one thing that companies can fall in the trap of is, you know, being reluctant to change. And actually graduates can be the catalyst for leading change. An example I can give would be, you know, the pandemic, for example, working from home. This is the kind of new normal that everyone’s really in, but you know, your university experience user being at the forefront of this, and how did you adapt and overcome these challenges? You know, the initiatives you use brought in terms of communication, engagement, socialising? These are all the things that need to be transferred into the industry. And these are things that we’re looking for. So it’s extremely important for enthusiasm and embracing change.
In what ways does your business rely on tech to maximise performance?
So it’s no surprise that for Version 1, it’s absolutely essential. So, we are consultancy, and we do specialise in supporting the digital transformation for clients. So we bring people through a journey using various technologies, what we try to do is use the cutting edge to deliver for our clients. But internally, so that’s the probably technical side. But you know, what we actually do ourselves is we use it to communicate and standardise. I’ll give a few examples of, you know, some of the kind of tech initiatives that we do, we have a podcast, you know, once a year one in which we have conversations within the industry. On our website, we’ve got webinars, blogs, white papers, news articles, and these are things you know, to engage with the industry and engage with many different people, social media platforms, that Instagram that I’m on right now, we’ve also got Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. You name it for contact. And internally, as much as maybe you know, us, us and university, we’re using teams to communicate with clients. And finally, then, you know, we’ve got like a SharePoint with a widevariety of tools, for using timesheets, you name it, so absolutely essential, yes indeed.
How would you go about proving ability to use common programmes and apps in an interview?
That’s a good question. It’s hard to kind of slide that into the question, how you’re phrasing that. I think the star approach is quite interesting. So, you know, kind of being concise and what that really is – situation, task, action and result. And maybe within the action, you could incorporate these kind of common tools and what you’ve done. So maybe an example that I could give would be that, say, one of your modules, and you’re required to do presentation, will, the action in which you can provide could be, you know, using PowerPoint efficiently and effectively, to relay the information to your peers, to you know, everyone, like the ultimate result being you know, like you achieve top marks. And also, there’s definitely ways of fitting into the question tools in which you know, you can, you know, provide results for if that makes sense.
What examples can you use of innovating to maximise technology?
One example could be for a solution, there could be an alternative tool or technology that could be used, or maybe you could extend in a technology. So for example, that’s you know, we’re on a Teams meeting, Microsoft Teams, and we’re trying to kind of collaborate together, you know, some project, there’s a tool – Slack, which can actually be used for sketching. And that’s quite useful for like, you know, drawn with feedback, kind of in sketching, going through walk walkthroughs so you know, instead of using teams, maybe you could migrate your kind of communication to Slack. The point on expanding then is, you know, using it in additional scope as well, slack also has like a kind of app directory as well. So you can add in polls, you know, chatbots news feeds. And there’s different ways of just, you know, not kind of following what is set in front of you, but actually using your initiative and, you know, embracing the tech really, and, you know, leading on further so I suppose.
How would you advise a student to show their passion for tech when they don’t have a tech background?
So, I suppose from my perspective, I have to put myself out of the mindset of being in tech. But that’s, I think, a good way of kind of, you know, showing your enthusiasm can really be through hobbies and interest, really. So that’s dependent on the person, but I’ll give you an example, maybe of a few kind of hobbies and interests that I have, you know, if I’m reading a book, for example, you know, I’m interested in reading, specifically, one of the books I’m reading right now is on the stock markets, flash boys are called, and it’s on high frequency trading, and the kind of idea of being closer to the stock market servers. Think sports, you know, we’ll play a bit of football. And I’m kind of using, you know, stat sports. So it’s kind of integrate and, you know, heart monitor, kind of initiatives and all that stuff. And then Sports Science again that podcast I’m interested in, there’s one, dark net diaries, but just kind of cybersecurity focus. So even though I’ve kind of got my technical job, if you picked up the side, there’s a whole wide range of kind of, you know, industry within tech and these tech tools in which you can like, kind of, take your hobby, and maybe think of, you know, some kind of innovation in tech tools that you can use to, you know, showcase that. So, just a few points of my interest might not be to impress everyone here.
How can you show that you have the ability to adopt and use technology in an interesting way?
Yeah, so I think you could maybe think about how you can use it an interesting way, think about, like, what you’re currently using stuff for the think of like, you know, your smartphone, for example. It’s got so many applications in which you can download, as I mentioned, with your hobbies, you know, Strava, being able to, like, you know, detect your matrix of roaming, for example, everything, these are kind of, you know, common applications that you don’t really think that you’re using, but you’re actually using, think of maybe, you know, smart appliances, for example, around the house, you might have kind of smart TV, or smart lamp, and how you can actually then, you know, showcase that and help people. So I’ve got family that always asked me ‘Dermot, how do you do this, do that.’ And I’m always kind of demonstrating to them, but also by kind of, you know, using this tech, you understand it more, and you can actually demonstrate it to other people. And that really helps with your show of skills with kind of, you know, leadership, it helps for what the industry is really looking, you know, you’re looking a community of practice people who share, collaborate and transfer knowledge together. And just by getting cool, and getting stuck in really kind of corny, it’s not.
How can you embrace technology and help others to do so?
I’ve really touched on that and for example, of maybe helping, you know, that’s, you know, like, update the latest software on his phone or laptops, for example, some security plan says, and my mom dad’s face, you know, helping them kind of just stuff yet. And that’s kind of you know, one of the things really just by getting involved and getting stuck in even necessarily you don’t quite understand that at the time but by getting involved in that tool, and helping other people you know, you’re helping yourself as well. And I think it’s just kind of a stage of getting involved really is the best way to do that.
How important what would you say, is practical experience of workplace technology.
So, I do think it’s kind of very important, you know, you’ve got the theory behind it, and you want to kind of, you know, put it practical. So that’s the kind of stuff you know, with uni, you’d want to take into the industry and kind of get stuck in. And that really is the word kind of get stuck in. I never imagined myself kind of growing up to be a software tester. But getting involved in the IT industry, you see kind of what opportunities arise. And not even just within the kind of tech sector, think about the other different industries, in which you don’t necessarily know what you’re getting involved in, but by you know, utilising tech tools and, you know, embracing innovation, think of that as the bigger picture rather than, you know, specifically just tech related, but innovation. Going back to kind of, you know, tech, there’s a lot of open source tools that you can use, and they will be free to use in terms of, you know, try and find the right things, there’s a lot of free trials of stuff. So for example, maybe like Photoshop or video editing skills, if you need some experience, but then in industry, or within a kind of, you know, hobby that say, I don’t know what but you can maybe use that for like 30 days or seven days, and that might be sufficient to kind of pick up your skills. Finally, as well, like, there’s, if you’re going technical, there’s, you know, Azure has free courses for students, and it also has a free account where you can get, you know, up to 200 pounds, etc, you know, that kind of sandbox and play with kind of technical tools. And, yeah, I think as well, one important thing is even like the practicalness of social media is so important, and a lot of kind of students and people forget, you know, how important it is for companies. So even just, you know, you’re you’re getting full freight and with kind of social media, and that practical way of applying your skills.
How can you demonstrate that you have developed key workplace skills, and technology?
Yeah, so the demonstration then is kind of, by providing and showing examples of how you’ve kind of came up with that, I think, like, by demonstrating as well, you need to kind of understand, firstly, that it depends on the role. Or at least, like, there’s a lot of opportunities in which you can actually, you know, enhance your skills, I would give examples of, you know, on LinkedIn, if anyone’s involved aon LindkedIn, there’s a lot of webinars in which you can kind of do get involved within tools and tech and understand kind of components. As well as that specifically within your industry. I think like one or two personal references, which I used to be Udemy. And it’s good for kind of, you know, harnessing and developing skills, and then being able to present them and relay them back into work back into my CV and back into kind of, you know, day to day skills as well. So there’s a lot of opportunities out there. And there’s a lot of kind of free things that you can view online and just taking upon each of the applications as well, such as meetups really, like might be a bit hard during the pandemic, but embracing the change, maybe you know, Slack or, you know, Teams might be a good solution for that. So webinars. Yeah.
What soft skills would you say go hand in hand with tech skills?
There’s, there’s a lot really like, one thing to think is, is well, that, you know, technology skills are just tools of making your soft skills more efficient than effective. So like numeracy skills, for example. I mean, that that’s really given within the IT industry, you know, you could talk about coding performance or all aspects, but not just specifically with the IT industry, like you can think about, you know, your communication skills with putting this many times but social media, using teams, you know, creativity skills as well. creativity to complex solutions, like my job is doing quality assurance, and it kind of plays into analytical thinking and problem solving. And by problem solving, you have to be very creative on you know, there’s a lot of constraints to the problem and how you fix that. So there’s there’s definitely ways to express willingness to learn as well. So embracing the technology which is the key point of everything, being able to, you know, go into new skills and new tools and test new systems up correctly. And even gone non technical within the IT industry, you know, there’s a lot of project masters and kind of, you know, Scrum masters etc project manager sorry that, you know, we really focus on organisation and there’s a lot of kind of tools that are available to you know help kind of do that, calendars, JIRA for, you know, management. So, they’re inextricably linked, really in my opinion.
What would you say you should include in the IT skills section on your CV?
Yeah, that’s a good question. I suppose it’s dependent on the possession and the industry, I mean, you should really do your research on kind of, you know, what type of roles you’re applying for, and kind of think about that, I think, but whenever you were talking about the common applications in the office 365 suite, you know, there’s always, you know, opportunity ability to kind of show that, and that’s, you know, applicable across any industry. Think about the bespoke software on which you can use, might go back to, you know, if you’re doing some design with somebody with a website in Photoshop could be useful, you know, five years from now, that could be a tool your skill to be included. But going back, then definitely have a look at the industry standards in which you’re applying for. So if I go back to my kind of key position, I’d be looking for kind of buzzwords with selenium, kotlin, cucumber, postman, Java, just you know, as an interfere. And if I just see that within an application, that would pique my interest, and you know, like, that would be the same thing that you need to think then is going to position like, take up the industry standard tools, and learn a wee bit about that. So whenever you go into, you know, an opportunity or an interview, you’re able to kind of, you know, demonstrate ‘Yes, I know what that is certainly’. Also, it’s always nice to kind of add in any certifications that you’ve got within your university – Udemy courses, as well as other mentions. And definitely, as well, like, you can also maybe use going back to the kind of soft skills that you’re mentioning, you can maybe then use IT skills to support your soft skills. So I’m good at communication. Here’s a reason. So evidence based as well so it’s ready and can be used really.
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