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
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
Career planning Language skills Student blogger Student experience student success Student success stories transferrable skills Uncategorised

Student Success: Órnaith Ní Fhearghail

Órnaith Ní Fhearghail

Blag

Órnaith Ní Fhearghail is ainm dom agus is mac léinn mé in Ollscoil na Banríona. Tá mé i mbliain na céime, ag déanamh buncéime i gCaidreamh Idirnáisiúnta agus sa Ghaeilge. An seimeastar seo, bhí deis agam modúl úrnua a ghlacadh mar chuid den chúrsa Gaeilge, Gairmeacha le Gaeilge (CEL 3010). Cuireadh an modúl ar fáil den chéad uair riamh i mbliana, agus is iontach an deis í do mhic léinn a bhfuil suim acu a bheith ag obair trí mheán na Gaeilge sa todhchaí.  

An modúl  

Gach Aoine, téann an rang uilig ar thaithí oibre sna háiteanna éagsúla atá roghnaithe againn, agus gach coicís, bíonn seimineár againn le comhordaitheoir an mhodúil, Dr. Síobhra Aiken. Sna seimineáir seo, bíonn plé á dhéanamh againn faoin taithí oibre go dtí seo, faoi dheiseanna fostaíochta atá ann agus an Ghaeilge agat (mar shampla, bhí ceardlann faoin aistriúchán againn leis an Dr. Órla Nic Ruairí, a oibríonn san Aontas Eorpach), agus faoi na scileanna éagsúla a bhaineann leis an domhan ghairmiúil.  

An próiseas cuardaigh  

I rith an tsamhraidh, bhí ar an rang uilig ár dtaithí oibre féin a eagrú go neamhspleách le gnó éigin a mbaintear úsáid as an Ghaeilge ann mar theanga oibre. D’aistrigh mé mo CV ón Bhéarla go dtí an Ghaeilge agus sheol mé ríomhphoist chuig áiteanna oibre éagsúla a raibh suim agam a bheith ag obair iontu, agus murar sheol siad freagra chugam, chuir mé scairt orthu. Ba thaithí ar leith í an próiseas cuardaigh féin, agus bhí sé tábhachtach a bheith daingean.  

Sa deireadh, shocraigh mé le Raidió Fáilte – an stáisiún lán-Ghaeilge atá lonnaithe i mBéal Feirste – go ndéanfainn mo thaithí oibre leo.  

Raidió Fáilte – cad chuige?  

Roghnaigh mé Raidió Fáilte toisc go bhfuil suim ar leith agam sna meáin, agus chun fáil amach an bhfuil oiriúnach do phost sna meáin Ghaeilge. Anuas air sin, ní raibh mórán muiníne agam as mo chuid Gaeilge labhartha, agus b’iarracht í an taithí oibre seo feabhas a chur uirthi.  

An sórt taithí a fhaighim  

Níl mo thréimhse i Raidió Fáilte críochnaithe go fóill, ach fuair mé neart deiseanna agus traenála ann cheana féin. Bhí mé beo ar an aer mar agallaí dhá uair sa chéad lá a bhí mé ann, baisteadh tine gan amhras! Ach taithí mhaith a bhí ann, agus ón tseachtain sin amach, bíonn seans agam (agus ag an chailín eile atá i mo rang agus a dhéanann a taithí oibre in éineacht liom) a bheith ar an aer i rith an chláir ‘Beo ar Maidin’. Ar dtús, bhí muidne mar agallaithe, ach le déanaí bhí deis againn a bheith inár n-agallóirí – bhí sé sin i bhfad níos deacra, ach ba thaithí thábhachtach í, más rud é go mbeidh mé ag leanúint ar aghaidh le cúrsaí na meán amach anseo. Is deis foghlama í gach aon mheancóg a dhéanaim!  

Chuir mé mo chlár ceoil féin le chéile fosta – d’fhoghlaim mé caidé mar a bhaintear úsáid as na cnaipí uilig agus as an chóras atá in úsáid ar ríomhairí an stáisiúin. Ní shílim go bhfuil mórán suime agam sna gnéithe teicniúla sin, ach tá sé riachtanach an buneolas sin a bheith agam, agus úsáideach, cinnte. Bíonn mórán saoirse agam mo smaointe féin a fhorbairt maidir le cláir; faoi láthair tá mé ag obair ar chlár a chuir mé le chéile liom féin faoi roinnt ceoltóirí Éireannacha éagsúla a bhfuil Gaeilge acu (mar sin bhí siad ábalta agallaimh a dhéanamh liom). Ba mhaith liom clár eile a dhéanamh faoi thionchairí na Gaeilge chomh maith, ach seans mór nach mbeidh an t-am agam roimh chríoch mo thréimhse i Raidió Fáilte.  

Tairbhe an mhodúil  

Tá mórán buntáistí a bhaineann leis an mhodúl seo. Mar a luaigh mé thuas, bíonn neart deiseanna foghlama ar fáil san áit féin a ndéanann tú do thaithí oibre ann, agus faigheann tú léargas ar an tslí bheatha a bhfuil suim agat inti. Sna ceardlanna, faigheann tú léargas ar shlite beatha eile nach mbaineann leis an taithí oibre atá roghnaithe agat, ach, b’fhéidir, a bhfuil suim éigin agat iontu. Is féidir leat tuairim níos feasaí a bheith agat, mar thoradh, faoi na poist a bheidh uait amach anseo.  

Bíonn deiseanna aga naisc a chruthú, fosta, le daoine ón phobal Ghaelach a mbuaileann tú leo i rith na taithí oibre. Ní hamháin go bhfuil na naisc sin úsáideach faoi láthair agus mise mar bhall de choiste an Chumainn Ghaelaigh, ach beidh sé tábhachtach amach anseo gan aon agó.  

Blog

My name is Órnaith Ní Fhearghail and I’m a student at Queen’s. I’m in the final year of my undergraduate degree in International Relations and Irish. This semester, I had the opportunity to take a brand new module as part of my Irish course, Gairmeacha le Gaeilge (Professions in Irish; CEL 3010). The module was made available for the first time ever this year, and it’s an excellent chance for students who are interested in working through the medium of Irish in the future.  

The module  

Every Friday, the whole class goes on work experience in the various places that they’ve chosen, and every fortnight, we have a seminar with the coordinator of the module, Dr Síobhra Aiken. In these seminars, we discuss our work experience until now, employment opportunities that are available when you can speak Irish (for example, we had a workshop with Dr. Órla Nic Ruairí, who works in the European Union, about translation), and the various skills relating to the professional world.  

The searching process  

During the summer, we (the class) had to organise our work experience independently, with businesses in which Irish is used as their working language, I translated my CV from English to Irish and sent emails to a variety of workplaces that interested me, and if they didn’t send an answer, I rang them. This searching process was a particular experience in itself, and it was important to be determined.  

In the end, I decided with Raidió Fáilte – the Irish-language radio station situated in Belfast – that I would carry out my work experience with them.  

Raidió Fáilte – why?  

I chose Raidió Fáilte because I have a particular interest in the media, and I was hoping to find out whether I’m suitable for a job in Irish-language media. On top of that, I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my spoken Irish, and my work experience was an effort to improve it.  

The sort of experience I get  

My time at Raidió Fáilte isn’t finished yet, but I’ve already gotten a wealth of opportunities and training. I was live on air as an interviewee twice on my first day there, a baptism of fire without a doubt! However, it was a great experience, and since that week, I get the opportunity to go on air during the programme ‘Beo ar Maidin’ (as does the other girl in my class who does her work experience there with me). At the start, we were the interviewees, but recently we’ve gotten to be interviewers – that was a lot harder, but it was an important experience, if I’m to continue on in the media in the future. Every mistake I make is a learning opportunity!  

I put my own music show together as well – I learned how to use the buttons and the sound system that’s used on the station’s computers. I don’t think I have much interest in the technical aspects, but it’s necessary to have that foundational knowledge, and useful, of course. I have a lot of freedom to develop my own ideas relating to shows; at the moment, I’m working on a programme I put together by myself about a few Irish musicians who speak Irish (which meant I was able to interview them). I would like to put a show together about Irish-language influencers, but chances are I won’t have time for that before the end of my time at Raidió Fáilte.  

Benefits of the module  

This module has a lot of advantages. As I’ve discussed above, a range of learning opportunities are available in the place where you do your work experience, and you can get an insight into the career of your interest. In the seminars and the workshops, you get an insight into the other careers that don’t relate to your work experience but, maybe, still interest you somewhat. You can have a more informed opinion, as a result, about the jobs you’d like down the line.  

You get opportunities to create links, too, with people of the Irish community that you meet during your work experience. Not only are these links useful to me right now while I’m a committee member of An Cumann Gaelach, but I have no doubt that they’ll be important to me in the professional world, too.  

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
Employer Engagement Employers transferrable skills

Why Queen’s Produces The Best Graduates: Transferable Skills

COMMERCIAL AWARENESS AND IMPROVING BUSINESS PRACTICES

 “We actively encourage our students to research their target industry to develop a commercial understanding and a big-picture focus of the challenges an employer is facing – so they are better placed to communicate how they can actively contribute to improving business performance,” says Sandra Scannell, Head of Employer Engagement at Queen’s.

Courtney Ward, a Quality Team Leader at Randox adds: “Commercial awareness means having a real understanding of all the key companies operating in a specific industry or sector, a knowledge of the different products that those different companies sell, what services they offer. We demand graduates who have done their market research, and know who the key players are in their area.”

EMBRACING WORKPLACE SYSTEMS & TECH

“Even outside the tech sector, employers are demanding graduates who can embrace innovation to maximise performance,” says Sandra. “Queen’s students not only understand, but they ‘live’ technology.”

Dermot Murray, Senior QA Engineer at Version 1 says: “In terms of innovation and bringing a fresh perspective to companies, Queen’s graduates are at the forefront of theoretical thinking. We demand graduates who can apply this knowledge into the real world and be the catalysts for leading change.”

THINKING LATERALLY: PROBLEM SOLVING & CREATIVITY

“Problem-solving abilities are essential in virtually any graduate role,” says Sandra. “Employers want to know graduates can think strategically to tackle challenges and that they can use creative thinking to develop innovative solutions.”

Leona McGirr, a Team Leader at Fusion Antibodies says: “We want graduates who can think ahead and see the bigger picture; see how one little thing can impact another. It’s about having a different viewpoint and a different perspective on a problem. That’s key.”

WORKPLACE CULTURE: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND RESILIENCE

“In the global graduate job market, employers value cross-cultural sensitivity and emotional intelligence,” says Sandra.

“Employers want to know that graduates can respond well to change, and that they have the ability to identify and deal with their own emotions and to recognise and understand the feelings of others.”

Rebecca Sinclair, a Student Talent Advisor at EY’s London office says: “Emotional intelligence is particularly valued in professional services, in the roles that you’re working with clients, and you’re building those relationships with clients. We value graduates with that emotional intelligence skill, who are able to collaborate really well with colleagues or with clients and build positive relationships.”

FUTURE LEADERS: INFLUENCING, PERSUADING AND TEAMWORK

“The mark of a leader is getting true buy-in from colleagues, clients and bosses.  It involves good communication, persuasion and negotiation – but ultimately, it’s about graduates with the ability to sell their vision for the future,” says Sandra.

Viktorija Mikalauskaite, a Senior Associate in the Legal Department at FinTrU says: “Influencing is a combination of communication and persuasion and negotiation, but it also involves confidence, which is an extremely important factor. We value graduates who can flex their communication style, according to their audience.”

 Read next: Why Queen’s produces the best graduates

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
British Council Global Opportunities student success Student success stories transferrable skills Virtual internships

Inside my Virtual Internship with the British Council

Daniel Tunstall, a Liberal Arts Master’s student completed a four-week summer internship with the British Council, analysing feedback and data from the International Schools Exchange Programme. Here is how he got on.

Did you know that the transferable skills gained on an Arts degree can lend themselves to a career in data analytics? Just ask Daniel Tunstall, an MA Liberal Arts student from Queen’s who recently completed a four-week summer internship with the British Council, analysing feedback and data from the International Schools Exchange Programme. His communication skills and eye for insight helped him visualise the data to uncover the story. Read his blog to find out how he got on:

What did the internship involve?

Over the course of four weeks, I have completed an internship with the British Council where I developed skills in analysing and displaying qualitative data so that it can be effectively used in the future to understand the successes and weaknesses of the programme. 

What soft skills did you develop?

This internship introduced me to the processes of working within a team of a global organisation where people are focusing on different tasks and how these teams work together to ensure that all tasks are done efficiently to the required standard. This opportunity provided me with an insight into the specific skills needed to work well in a team and allowed me to develop my understanding of adaptability and resilience in collecting feedback of my work and using it to improve it and fulfil the expectations. 

What practical skills did you develop?

This internship has also developed my ability to analyse data due to the requirements for me to look at the feedback for the programme and identify gaps in the data which need to be further explored in the future. Within this process, I conducted thematic analyses of the data and identified the possible improvements that could be made within the programme to ensure success in the future. Through creating two further questionnaires to collect more data, I had to use the knowledge from my analysis to isolate these improvements and allow participants the opportunity to offer recommendations. 

How did the experience develop your understanding of workplace culture? 

The British Council invited me to attend global events that they were holding such as Windrush Day, a celebration of immigration to Britain. By being invited to these events, I was able to understand how they host global events and the extent to which the organisation runs on an international basis. 

How has the experienced influenced your future career plan?

I have thoroughly enjoyed working within this organisation as an intern because I have developed valuable skills in data collection and handling which are specific and difficult skills to develop. Furthermore, this opportunity has provided me with a unique experience into understanding how international organisations operate which will influence and impact my future decisions when it comes to employability considerations. 

If you are wondering what you could do with your degree, and where your transferable skills could take you, catch up on our Industry Insight series and explore what industry are growing and how you can ride job market trends. 

GO.QUB.AC.UK/INDUSTRYINSIGHT

Categories
CVs Degree Plus DegreePlus employability Interviews part-time job Student blogger student success Student success stories transferrable skills

How your part time job is improving your employability

Our student blogger Maeve McDermott, an International Business with Spanish student explains why employers love to see part-time jobs on graduate CVs and why the skills you learn at a part-time job can kick-start your graduate career.

A university degree can provide you with excellent academic skills – you’ll become a pro at writing essays and studying for exams and gain a lot of course knowledge. However, with thousands of students graduating with identical degrees every year, a degree alone isn’t likely to be enough to impress employers. While firms don’t expect graduates to have years of work experience and be experts in their fields, they do want students to have transferrable skills that can are beneficial in the workplace. When applying and attending graduate job interviews. you will be asked questions based on your skills and abilities (often in answers to competency-based interview questions) and part-time jobs can often provide a valid source of examples as internships. Part-time jobs are something a lot of students do alongside their studies, but the skills they gain are often played down. After starting a part-time job in Queen’s Student Guidance Centre in 2018, I’ve gained an abundance of transferrable skills, most of which are without even thinking about them! Here are some examples of how part-time work may relate to transferrable skills you can discuss at interviews. 

Time management 

Juggling a part-time work rota with deadlines, presentations and lectures is a skill in itself. You might have to work an all-day shift the day before a deadline which means you have to learn fast how to plan your workload in advance. Learning how to manage your time and prioritise tasks is a very important skill and one you can showcase to employers, as they are likely to value candidates who can work on various projects simultaneously with varying deadlines. 

Communication skills 

Almost all jobs require good communication skills – either verbal or written. For instance, I spend most of my day helping students and members of the public with queries of all sorts – from advising students on how to book a careers consultation to helping lost tourists to locate the Lanyon Building. Be sure not to underestimate the importance of dealing with customer complaints, writing formal emails to clients or colleagues, and communicating effectively with team members. These are all vital in developing proficient verbal and written communication skills which will undoubtedly be useful in your future career and valued by employers. 

Adaptability 

In my job as a Student Assistant every day can be different. Pre-pandemic, my role would vary from generating social media content, to helping students with queries, to hosting Western-themed careers fairs featuring cowboy hats and live alpacas (yes, really!). Having to adapt to different tasks and environments demonstrates adaptability, so think about how you’ve had to adapt to changing environments in your own part-time job – for instance, having to face a changing role due to the pandemic. Employers value employees who can successfully cope with changes in the workplace and greater adaptability often means greater productivity, and that you’re more equipped to face challenges.

Self-discipline/resilience

While working on Excel spreadsheets doing data entry mightn’t be the most intellectually stimulating of tasks, it can still demonstrate important transferrable skills. Even if some of your responsibilities in a part-time job are somewhat mundane and repetitive, if you can maintain focus and accuracy while performing a repetitive task, this can be a good display of your self-discipline and resilience – something that employers will greatly value. 

Problem-solving 

Being able to come up with solutions to problems is something that is very important to employers, and something that almost always crops up in competency-based interview questions. Problem-solving requires you to use logic and imagination to make sense of a situation and create a working solution by thinking outside of the box. In fact, the best problem solvers actively anticipate potential future problems and act to prevent them or to mitigate their effects. Problem-solving skills also relate closely to analytical skills and innovative and creative thinking as it is necessary to analyse a problem to come up with a useful solution and thinking innovatively or creatively can often lead to the best solutions. Maybe you’ve come up with a more efficient way to count stock in a retail job, or had to think on your feet to overcome a double booking in a hospitality job. No matter how insignificant problem-solving experience may seem, it can almost always be made relevant and applied in interview questions. 

Part-time work throughout university isn’t only a way of earning a few extra pounds alongside your studies. Having and sticking to a part-time job can demonstrate that you’re committed, and CFO of Liberty Global Charlie Bracken told the UK 300 that he was “more impressed by someone who has done a part-time job throughout university than someone who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro”. No matter how irrelevant your part-time job may seem to your degree, chances are it’s developing your transferrable skills significantly, and often without you even noticing.  

Degree Plus can help you formally recognise the employability skills you have built up during extracurricular work as student. Self-nominate by filling out the Combined Experience application form in MyFuture, evidencing two or more relevant activities – part-time jobs, clubs and societies and volunteering can all count.

Good luck!

Deadline: 1 April 

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