You’re already up to your eyeballs with course work, so why would you want to take on more? I get that, I know the feeling all too well. But maybe there’s a different approach?
Having completed both an undergraduate and a postgraduate course previous to my time at City, I have come to the conclusion that involving yourself more in activities outside of your course work will actually improve your academic performance. For me, a major component of this more productive approach to university life was working towards the City Employability Award. Learning about better time management, gaining a better understanding of my chosen field and attending career workshops, all fed back into my course work and increased my motivation to study. Working towards gaining the award enabled me to continually refocus on the big picture - becoming a journalist – and what personal and professional skills I would need to become the next Robert Fisk.
The Employability Award really helped me build a practical skillset for my new career. If the industry you wish to work in is competitive, and most of them are these days, then it’s an excellent way to prove to a future employer that you’ve developed a range of skills and competencies that are applicable to the workplace. In my previous life as an IT manager my biggest concern when hiring people was never whether they could technically do the job, but whether they could engage fully with the role, self-manage, and most importantly, work well with others. These are difficult skillsets for employers to assess, so gaining an endorsement for the same from an esteemed institution like City University was invaluable for my CV.
The workshops opened a door to City’s excellent career service and my CV and interviewing skills are vastly improved from where they were a year ago. The Employability Award, for me, is a message of intent, showing your completely committed to working in your chosen industry. It’s proof for employers that you not only have the academic skills but also the personal and professional skills that they’re seeking.
Was it hard work? Not really! I got to meet loads of really great people, thoroughly enjoyed volunteering and attending really interesting workshops, all the while documenting my activities - just like keeping a diary. It’s learning by doing and great respite from the academic intensity of your course while still contributing to your ultimate career goal. Trust me, as someone who’s always a little sceptical starting out – an unfortunate trait of any journalist – the City Employability Award has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my time at City and will be for you too. Go for it!
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