A review of the MyAdvantage events I attended last month
So, I have repeatedly been saying in my past few blogs how I’m going to many careers/skills events this term. I thought I should put together a quick review of the events that I attended in January so you guys might be able to get an idea of what they’re like. If you have any questions about any events, please feel free to ask me.
1. Quick Release: assessment centre and mock interview for science students: this was an event exclusively for science students that entailed a presentation on how assessment centres work by people from the ‘Quick Release’ company. It was a great presentation because they had videos to supplement their presentation making it more engaging. I wanted to cancel my mock interview because I was getting a bit scared as I hadn’t had the time to prepare but when I went on MyAdvantage, I discovered that I could no longer cancel it so had to go. As much as I was dreading it, I cannot describe how helpful it was in boosting my confidence. This time I decided to walk in being very honest about what sort of person I am and received constructive feedback after the interview session as well as detailed feedback via email afterwards. I also have the emails of the people I met – the point I’m making is that sector specific events can be very helpful when it comes to making contacts / networking so make the most of them! I don’t think I fully understand what Quick Release is all about but at least I now know people who have said that they would be very happy to help with recruitment processes or any other queries.
2. Job search advice session: I got my CV checked by a careers advisor. It was a super helpful session and I cannot believe I was sending the same CV to everyone and didn’t realise. I knew that your CV must be tailored but I was going with the mindset that you don’t have to tailor it if you have everything on it which explains why the 2-page CV was unsuccessful everywhere (don’t laugh guys, this is my first time doing serious job hunting). I have fixed it now and let’s hope it is not too late. The advice was super helpful and the advisor and I looked at a job description and she explained to me exactly how to analyse a job description so that I am able to identify the skills and competencies that employers look for. I was only looking at the chemistry side of things and presuming that everyone is looking for the same skills but clearly that is not the case.
3. Mock assessment centre: I had been recommended to attend this session by a friend during Sprint. I wanted to get the opportunity to develop my team working skills and get talking to people as I am a quiet person but I discovered a lot of new things about myself. I was able to better focus on the group task rather than the tasks that were to be done on our own. There was way too much noise in my mind for me to be able to process the information whereas in the group, everyone else was openly talking whilst I was absorbing the information. I did speak twice; and both times had points to make. I am quiet and when in awkward situations, my voice goes really soft as well which doesn’t help but I am glad I went to the session because I feel better aware of what such days could involve.
4. Inspiring Women Student Series: this was the first one I went to after reading a post by another student blogger which really made me want to check out this event and I’m so glad that I did! It was such a great talk by a great speaker and it was so empowering and so inspiring and I have written all my thoughts in my diary and I will certainly go back to them from time to time. The experience was very personal so I don’t want to share it but I think every women would get out something different from the event where the objective should always be to get something out of it. So please do visit these events because we can all learn from one another and when you see one woman do it, it suddenly all seems possible to you as well.
5. Introduction to Academic Writing: this year for my economics module I need to write a project proposal and a policy brief. I was hoping to pick up some skills from the event but it was all focussed on writing essays. Nevertheless, I would say it was fun and I enjoyed seeing how essays are structured at university and learning more about how they’re written and so on. And who knows, one day this knowledge might come handy! Especially if I don’t get a placement for next year and pick the third year ‘Communicating Science’ module that I think involves an essay.
6. Introduction to emotional intelligence: I remember my experience from Sprint and therefore like to build on the many things I’ve learnt. This was a great event – I enjoyed learning about different concepts especially the one about taking ownership of your feelings. This means saying "I feel angry because of what you did" rather than "you have made me angry by doing…". This is just a kinder way of expressing emotions where at least you’re not accusing someone. Often the people we feel comfortable expressing our emotions to are those who are close to us. Therefore, they probably didn’t mean to hurt you in the first place therefore this approach to expressing emotions would just hurt them a little less.
7. Getting a job in government or politics: I was walking to the Humanities building wondering if I just need to find a better hobby in life than going to random MyAdvantage events. I mean, what was I even doing there? All they had to do was mention ‘negotiation skills’ and I was already in a different universe. Nevertheless, it was a very interesting event to attend. It was just over six months ago that I found out what civil servants actually do therefore I felt it was imperative for me to attend this event to learn a bit more about how the government works on the inside. It was interesting to see it all and if you’re interested in government/politics/EU/UN or anything similar, this event provides a good overview.
8. Delivering effective presentations: I did one presentation this year for chemistry and passed it with a good result but nevertheless cannot deny that they are one of my greatest fears. This session was very good practice; I really liked the tutor and how we were encouraged to first try little things like gestures and projecting our voices and then at the end delivered a one minute presentation. I felt surprisingly comfortable but I think it was because I had been working with the people for a while therefore felt comfortable but my nerves didn’t kick in when I was standing in front of everyone! (although that later happened in a seminar 🙁 ) But there is hope guys that with practice one day I can deliver presentations without too much concern about my own presentation skills and be able to focus on the content more!
I also attended the Matlab training session for beginners. This is not a MyAdvantage event but a session offered by the IT Training Services. It was very useful and I really enjoyed it! Last year we did a lab based on Matlab and despite the fact that I did fairly well in the postlab, I remember that I didn’t fully understand the meaning behind the codes. The session served as a great introduction!
With the events you attend, if you remember to sign the register, you get sent the slides from the sessions via email so you can sit down and only listen and perhaps make a note of things that are said but not written on the slides.
These events are a good way to broaden your horizons and learn a bit more about the outside world in terms of careers but also learn more about recruitment processes so definitely make use of them!