Categories
Skills transferrable skills work experience WORK EXPERIENCE AND PLACEMENT FAIR

Top 4 Takeaways from “Want to Find Work Experience?” Session

The Want to Find Work Experience? Session took place on the 27th January 2023.

A session for Year 1 & 2 Sociology, Social Policy, Criminology & Social Work students on exploring career options and how to access relevant work experience opportunities and internships.

Students will be encouraged to reflect on their own interests and values to support exploration of work experience opportunities that align with their career goals.

Here are the Top 4 Takeaways from the session:

1. Reflect on your main interests 

2. Consider what you want from an internship

3. Register on MyFuture for internship updates

4. Attend employer events

Categories
personal skills Skills

Top 3 Takeaways from SHE LEADS – Inspiring Future Women Leaders

SHE LEADS – Inspiring Future Women Leaders took place on the 24th January 2023. This session looked at:

Developing your self-acceptance and self-belief and learn to acknowledging your own agency. 

Stop letting self-doubt hold you back. Delivered over three days, our new She Leads Programme for Women is designed to help you develop and acknowledge your potential as a confident leader. 

Discovering your unique strengths, values and behaviours and develop your sense of agency as you learn to assert yourself, improve your communication style and limit self-doubt. 

Learning from women leaders and build a support network of like-minded peers as you set yourself goals and challenges and learn to take advantage of opportunity.

Here are the top 3 takeaways from this session:

1. Managers get the job done and leaders move things forward

2. Know your values to be your authentic self

3. Find a leadership role model

Categories
Future-Ready Skills personal skills Skills transferrable skills Uncategorised

Top 3 takeaways from Future Ready Bitesize Session – Negotiating and Influencing Skills

Future Ready Bitesize Session – Negotiating and Influencing Skills took place on the 16th January 2023. This session looked at stages of a negotiation, negotiation styles, win-win solutions and influencing and persuading tactics.

This session is one of a series of short online sessions based on various aspects of the 12 Employability Skills.

Here are the top 3 takeaways from this session:

Understand the difference between influencing and negotiating

Negotiation is the act of coming to a mutual agreement, whereas influence occurs when an individual has an effect on his or her opponent during the act of negotiation.

Employ different influencing styles/channels based on scenarios

  • Authority Channel – Heavily uses authoritative rules to influence work settings
  • Rationality Channel – Relies on data and logic to persuade others
  • Vision Channel – Persuading based on shared purposes
  • Relationship Channel – The longer the relationship (in the workplace) has lasted the greater the influence you have on them
  • Interest Channel – Referring to interests, needs and incentives as a mode of getting things done
  • Politics Channel – Understanding how the organisation works and using this as an influencing channel

The ‘wants’ method may help you to negotiate

The process of negotiating is important to ensure it as maximally effective as possible. To do this, it may be helpful to employ a method. One such method is the ‘wants’ method

Categories
Business Skills Stock Market Challenge Technical skills transferrable skills Uncategorised

Five things you need to know before the Stock Market Challenge

Any tips and tricks that previous winners have used?

The key to a profitable investing is good research. The thing to remember when working in Finance Lab is that every piece of information you receive will have an effect on the share price of the investments you hold. Don’t ignore the news feed!

Common mistakes people make?

The most common mistake investors make is thinking that price is the main indicator of how well a company is performing. But of course it’s not an indicator of how well a company is doing in its own market, with its customers, with regulators or within its sector. A share price can be high at the same time as a company is performing poorly. A price fall will come; knowing when is the key.

What makes the game exciting?

Like all good games, it is the pressure of competition that makes the process exciting. In Stock Market Challenge you’ll be competing against other investors who want to come out on top on the night. There are some exciting opportunities to win so the stakes are high!

How not to lose your nerve.

Commit to the game, invest in the process and act methodically and with certainty to ensure you are in control of your actions. You control the market; don’t let the market control you. You will only lose your nerve when you don’t know what you are doing.

What ways can you prepare (even if it’s just binge-watching Industry on BBC iplayer!)?

Binge watching Industry will do no harm. It might even give you an insight into what not to do! The main skills are understanding what kinds of factors affect share prices. The most important thing is to keep an eye on the business news.

It’s not always obvious how actions affect share prices. When Donald Trump was banned from Twitter, investors decided to sell Twitter shares and its share value took a hit. The expectation was that the hit would be temporary, and the price would recover. But was that what happened? You may think as an investor that you’ll hold on to your shares (or buy more now that the price is lower) or dispose of them. Both strategies can be correct, depending on the market context. Following the news carefully is the key to successful investing.

Register for the Stock Market Challenge via our events page here

Categories
Alumni Development Insight into Management Leadership Skills Student experience student success Student success stories

Eimer’s Story: My Experience with Insight into Management

Portrait of Eimer Henderson, Queen's alumna and Insight Participant.
Eimer Henderson

Working as a team

Insight into Management is a program that allows you to experience and understand what it’s like to work in industry. You’re given a case study and told to come up with a product that will solve a problem. It’s a great opportunity to work with people from a diverse range of University degree backgrounds on a common goal, in order to solve a complex problem that interests you and your team! 

Getting creative

It’s a chance to be creative, express your ideas and learn from other people’s ideas that, you don’t usually work with on University group projects from within your own degree area so, you really get an insight on how other people think and approach problems.

Perfecting your sales pitch

The highlight of the program for me was the sales pitch at the end of the program. Sales pitch sounds like a scary word, but it was more like an exhibition where you got to see what all other teams had been working on for the past few days. It’s also an opportunity for you and your team to come together one last time to create your stand to show off what you had been working on too!

Solving problems

The programme was challenging, but in a good way that will definitely help you to grow as an individual. You learn so much, from being able to quickly establish a common ground with people you’ve never met before to solving a problem within a quick timeframe.

Learning to manage

I developed lots of skills during the programme. The title ‘Insight into Management’ is very well fitted as I feel you 100% develop the skills required to manage a team and a project as well as skills that leaders have; active listening, creativity, team building, communication, patience, empathy, flexibility, product development, innovation, persuasion, time management, presentation skills to name a few.

Using the skills after Uni

I’ve used the skills I developed on Insight into Management many times since I finished the programme. Firstly, it helped me with my final year project as my final year project required me to work as part of a team and develop a solution to a problem. In my job now too, I work with other companies on projects, and this requires me to be able to understand other people’s points of view and not be shy when meeting new people. I regularly present in my job now too, so having to do the final sales pitch in the programme helped me develop presentation skills in front of people who I may not know. I think all the experiences and skills you learn through this programme will help you in one way or another in your future career.

Advice for students

Give it your all for the 3 days! Be immersed in the programme and try develop the skills that you may not be so confident in because it’s the best place to do it. Be open minded and learn from people who you might not usually interact with (people with different degree backgrounds to yours).

Find out more about Insight into Management and other development programmes offered at Queen’s Careers Service.

Categories
communication skills Employer Engagement personal skills Skills transferrable skills

Eight Soft Skills You Need to Develop

Stay ahead in the competitive graduate job market by developing your core skill set. Here are some of the top skills employers will look for in 2022.

1.Active Listening

It is no secret that our attention spans are a lot shorter than previous generations. We are so used to consuming hundreds of messages at record speed that we no longer know how to fully focus on one message at a time.

Active listening involves understanding what the other person is saying, as well as truly hearing it.

In terms of customer service, you hear their problem, but you also understand why it is a problem for them and what solution they are looking for.

2. Written, Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication

How we come across in emails, the language we use to talk to those around us, and how we use our body language are all forms of communication.

Understanding how you communicate and how you can adapt it to suit different audiences shows maturity and empathy.

It also suggests that you would be a good leader – traits all employers look for when recruiting.

3.Collaboration

Collaboration is similar to teamwork.

It is the ability to work with others to complete a task or project. 

Employers assessing collaboration skills will be looking at if you can bring a team together, how you support your colleagues and if you can develop an idea by offering constructive feedback or by building on it.

4.Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence indicates how well you understand people, and this comes in twofold.

The first is with your colleagues. Today’s world wants a peaceful workplace where everyone thrives. Having employees that can see when someone is struggling or having a difficult time and has the emotional tools to help them creates a workplace of trust and collaboration. 

The second is with consumers or customers. Products and services are driven by consumer needs and motivations. Understanding what motivates a person or what problems they need resolving will help you develop innovative products/services that will sell.

5.Critical Thinking 

Critical thinking is the ability to analyse data and form a judgment. 

With AI technology, a lot of today’s thinking is done for us. An algorithm works through whatever information you provide and offers a selection of options to choose from.

But not all information should (or can) be analysed by a computer. 

Having this skillset shows employers that you can:

  • Understand data 
  • Draw out common factors 
  • Apply those factors to the market/person/situation you are working on
  • Make an informed decision

6.Problem-Solving and Decision Making

This deals with how well you can work with others to find a solution. 

Everyone has their own opinion, but the skill lies in working with others to think the problem through and come up with a solution that benefits the company.

7.Conflict Resolution

Again, workplace norms are changing, and behaviour that was tolerated previously no longer is. 

As such, conflict resolution is sometimes needed. If someone in your team is making offensive comments or not pulling their weight, you should have the skills to gently resolve the situation before it escalates. 

This skill is desired among all employees, particularly those going into HR or leadership roles.

8.Professional Attitude and Self-Motivation

As a generalisation, there is a lack of accountability among new graduates. 

How many times have you blamed something on technology rather than taking responsibility? Missed appointments or been late because you didn’t get your reminder notification. Forgot to pay something because it wasn’t in your calendar?

Employers want to see that you are motivated and that they can depend on you. They want to see that you have a career plan, can manage multiple commitments, that you show up on time and have initiative.

Though image isn’t everything, employers also want to see that your clothes are clean and ironed and you are somewhat groomed.

It may sound shallow, but to employers, it shows you can look after yourself and, therefore, their company.

Our programme of Careers events and activities is designed to help you develop your soft skills. View and book upcoming events here

Read: Top Skills Employers Will Look for in 2022

Categories
Creative thinking Creativity employability personal skills Skills transferrable skills

11 Ways to Channel Your Creativity

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:

  1. 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?

You can access more resources on thinking creatively on our website. 

Categories
Advent Calendar advice Employers Interviews personal skills Skills

Gradfest 2021: Personal Skills Audit

Personal skills

Organisation

Time keeping 

Time management

Planning 

Self-motivation

Work quickly/ accurately

Using initiative

Coping with stress 

Self-awareness

Working to deadlines 

Multi-tasking

Prioritising

Working under pressure 

Assess and evaluate my own and others work 

People skills

Team work

Customer service skills Leadership

Interpersonal skills Communication (oral and written)

Presenting/ Making speeches

Networking Negotiating

Handling Complaints

Management/Supervisory experience

Persuasiveness and influencing

Technical Skills

Collecting and analysing data

Foreign languages

Technical skills/ Knowledge specific to industry

Use sign language

Write reports 

Occupational area specific knowledge/ information

General skills

Problem solving

Decision making

Numeracy

Arrange events and activities 

Business/Commercial awareness

I.T.Skills

Identifying/evaluating options 

Editing/summarising information

Identifying problems (troubleshooting)

Qualities Sought By Employers

Enthusiastic/willing to learn 

Honest Reliable/dependable 

Resilient

Creativity

Can accept criticism 

Hardworking 

Conscientious 

Sensitive to others

 Assertive 

Friendly/likeable 

Outgoing 

Driven/ambitious 

Independent

Proactive

Cooperative

Trustworthy

Fair 

Patient/Calm 

Energetic 

Socially confident 

Optimistic 

Respectful

Polite

Original

Detail orientated

Adaptable/flexible

Able to take responsibility

REMEMBER – when saying you have certain skills you need to be prepared and be able to demonstrate HOW you have EFFECTIVELY used this skill

Some sources of examples:

Placements/internships

Part time Jobs/ holiday work Voluntary work

DegreePlus

Practical/Technical knowledge Project/ research work Student representation

Clubs and societies Enterprise programmes Courses and Seminars

Sports

Music

Drama

Travel Languages Charity Interests

Anything that involves teamwork or skill will be highly desirable

Find out more about how you can develop your personal skills on our website. 

Categories
Advent Calendar advice Commercial Awareness personal skills Skills

Careers Advent Calendar: Understanding Commercial Awareness

Employers often look for commercial awareness in candidates. Here are three things we learned from the Open University’s free Commercial Awareness course:

1. How to understand an organisation and how it creates value

When researching an organisation, you shouldn’t just look at what an organisation does, but how it does it; explore the activities and processes within an organisation. From the outside, two organisations may appear to be delivering equivalent services or products in the same way. They may have broadly similar suppliers and workforce sizes, their location and other large-scale features may even be comparable. Yet the costs incurred by processes inside these two apparently similar ‘black boxes’ may be vastly different. So, although what goes into each organisation and what comes out may seem pretty much the same, the ways in which they create value could be radically distinct.

2. How to understand an organisation’s value

An organisation is a machine for adding value. In its simplest form this means it takes an input at one value and, if successful, converts it to an output at a higher value.

The concept is seen most clearly in manufacturing, where raw materials are worked on to produce finished goods that customers value and are prepared to pay a premium for. Whilst the raw materials or components already had worth, the process of manufacturing added more value.

Commercial awareness means being aware of how change to one aspect of an organisation’s system can have disproportionate, far- and wide-ranging impacts on many other components.

3. Where you fit in in the value chain

The course mentions three components in the value chain: 

  • creativity: coming up with a new product or process
  • manufacturing: churning out the product (this is the tangible part of the chain but it adds less value than you might think)
  • marketing, branding and advertising.

When it comes to applying for a position within an organisation, ask yourself

  • Does your role fit neatly and exclusively into one of these three stages?
  • In terms of a value chain are you closest to the ‘inputs’ or the ‘outputs’ of your organisation? (Roles close to the input end might be procurement, enquiries, goods received, etc., those nearer to the output end might be invoicing, delivery, after-sales services, etc.).
  • We talk of a value ‘chain’ – but to what extent does a linear chain (receiving work and passing it on, with added value) represent your work situation? 

Reflecting on the above will help you demonstrate your commercial awareness to a potential employer. 

Access more useful resources to build your commercial awareness on our website

Categories
Advent Calendar Leadership personal skills Skills

Careers Advent Calendar: 15 Skills That Make a Good Leader

  1. Honesty and integrity

2. Confidence

3. Inspire Others

4. Commitment and Passion

5. Good Communicator

6. Decision Making Capabilities

7. Accountability

8. Delegation and Empowerment

9. Creativity and Innovation

10. Empathy

11. Resilience

12. Emotional Intelligence

13. Humility

14. Transparency

15. Vision and Purpose

Read more about the 15 leadership skills here

Discover more about leadership on the skills section of our site.