MODULE 3: Connecting your employability development to the workplace > 1: Realising your employability > Your employability narrative
- ANNA We’ve told you that it’s really important to learn from experiences and figure out how those experiences contribute to your personal and professional development.
- If you stick with thinking of your employability as being all about individual experiences that generate a ‘toolkit’ of skills and attributes, you won’t be able to fully realise your employability, that is, you may have difficulty pulling it all together to sell to an employer.
- You create your employability narrative or ‘brand’ as you study for your degree and develop through a range of experiences.
- As you move through your career, your employability story will change and grow as your experiences continue to contribute to your personal and professional development.
- How have your experiences prepared you for the demands of that industry? How can you use the elements of your employability narrative to perform effectively in roles in that industry? Here’s an example.
- If you have been involved in sport, you should add what you have learned from working in a team in that context to your other experiences of team work such as group assignments at university or working with others in a casual job.
- Consider how your experiences have contributed to your overall employability- what makes YOU employable? What is your narrative? Your employability is not just a collection of individual experiences.
MODULE 3: Connecting your employability development to the workplace > 1: Realising your employability > Student employability narratives
- KAHLIA My employability story is really centered around the research experiences that I’ve had. Doing summer research here at UQ and then going overseas and presenting my research internationally and taking on research internship at CSIRO.
- One of the really key skills that I’ve gotten out of that that I can bring to an employer is my ability to analyse data and to think really critically about data.
- That’s really important because I want to work in a policy-based environment.
- In order to make good policy, you need to be able to digest really large amounts of information quite quickly, and then come up with the best solution to a problem in a really short space of time.
- I’ve always prided myself on being able to step out of my comfort zone, and being really willing to push myself and do things that are a bit out of the box.
- I always try and respect the job that I’m in, the people that I work with, and really just give it my best shot.
- Stepping out of my comfort zone and giving really 100 percent to everything, are hopefully my employability narrative.
MODULE 3: Connecting your employability development to the workplace > 1: Realising your employability > Same experience, different learning
- I definitely think employers will be able to recognise that I threw myself completely outside of my comfort zone.
- I definitely think that working under pressure-I think they’ll be able to see that I can do that as well.
- Definitely, living in another country, where you have to speak in another language, you find yourself in situations where you don’t have the vocabulary or you don’t know that grammar, but you just have to give it a go anyway.
- I definitely think they’ll be able to recognise that.
- I definitely think becoming more aware of what is out there in the world and understanding how people do things differently, how systems work differently, organisations.
- I definitely think I have developed this appreciation of global diversity and what is out there, and what I can bring to the world as an Australian, and the wonderful amazing things that I can take from other countries around the world, and use them in my career, my job, my personal life.
- I definitely think that I learned to just push myself.
MODULE 3: Connecting your employability development to the workplace > 1: Realising your employability > Graduate identity
- KAREN Employability is important because it’s helping a student think about their own identity.
- What makes you unique? What makes you special? What makes you attractive to an employer? LEN The basic idea about graduate identity is that in order for a graduate to be able to gain entry to any employment, any job-and therefore the career prospects that follow on from that-they need to be able to present themselves to those who are what we might call the ‘gatekeepers’ to that job.
- They need to, in effect, persuade them that they are the kind of person who can do the kind of things that would constitute the graduate job that they’re applying for.
- The kind of person that can do what is required to pursue a career in the particular area they’re applying for.
- So I think to engage in the process of persuading them that they are such a person, it’s not just that they have the degree certificate, it’s that they can persuade them that they are the sort of person that can do the kind of thing the job requires.
- Primarily I would regard it as being a matter of persuading-what I call ‘warranting’ their claim-being able to justify the claim they are making to be the kind of person that the recruiters are looking for.
- Of course they have a number of identities, we don’t just have one identity, we have different identities in different contexts.
- So it’s the way in which they interplay between those different identities and their aspired-to professional identity that they need to address.
- Certainly for somebody who comes from a family background which they have, perhaps, parents, siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts who are engaged in some kind of professional managerial work-they have seen them, they can identify with them-that would provide them with what we might call role models for them to follow.
MODULE 3: Connecting your employability development to the workplace > 2: The workplace context > The workplace context of your employability
- One is the identification of the skills or qualities that they have developed as a result of an experience, especially if the experience is not a workplace one.
- ANNA If someone asked you to describe what communication skills look like in the workplace, you’d probably say things like: being able to get your point across effectively to colleagues, clients or patients, being able to write professionally, choosing the right language for the situation and so on.
- What about attributes like proactivity or initiative? What do they look like in the workplace? These may be harder to visualise.
- REA Even if you understand the definition of proactivity that it means to act in advance in order to deal with an expected difficulty – it is a bit harder to figure out what a proactive person looks like in the workplace.
- What does a proactive person do? What do they say that shows they are proactive? If you have been on an internship, you may have a better idea of what workplace proactivity looks like simply because you have been in a professional environment.
- If you haven’t had that opportunity yet and your proactivity has been developed through other means – for instance studying abroad or volunteering – then it may be harder to understand what proactivity looks like in a workplace context.
- You may still struggle a little with understanding what those skills look like in a workplace context.
MODULE 3: Connecting your employability development to the workplace > 2: The workplace context > My employability in practice
- When you’re standing in front of a bunch of teenagers, you definitely need to have confidence in being able to manage their behavior, but also not just with the students, I think with other teachers as well; because I think as a new teacher just starting out, I’ll be facing many challenges that I’ve never come across before.
- I definitely think that I’ve learnt that confidence also means the confidence to ask for help.
- If I need to walk into the principal’s office or my mentor’s office and ask them a question, I think it’s really important that you’re using your communication and your communication skills and your confidence to do that, because if I ask for help and I know what the problem is, and I know the outcome that I would like to get from the interaction that I’m about to have, if I walk into the office with confidence and can articulate my ideas, I think that’s going to be really useful.
- Definitely I think I’ll be trying to prepare as much as I can before going into my classes when I just start out because that also helps with the confidence: If you know how you want your lesson plan to go, if you have back-up ideas, then you can’t really go too wrong, hopefully.
- Definitely, I think with initiative, there’s going to be so many obstacles that I will face that I didn’t even think were possible, that I probably wouldn’t even think of.
- Do you think even though you’ve talked about communication in a classroom or communication with colleagues, teaching colleagues, the experience that you had in giving a presentation to a large audience and also when you went on your internship, do you think you can see how those skills that you’ve developed in a different context would be replicated in the workplace and see how that learning helped you with that even though it’s not exactly the same situation? EMMA Yes, definitely I think those kind of skills are transferable skills.
- You think you’ll be able to draw on those things when you go into the workplace and think about the situation you were in when you were at university and how that helped you as you go into the workplace one? EMMA Yes, definitely.
MODULE 3: Connecting your employability development to the workplace > 3: Your employability in different professions and organisations > Employer expectations in context
- Let’s think for a minute, these things might look different depending on the professional field or organisations.
- We know that being a good lawyer means having comprehensive understanding of your area of law, great communication skills, and well developed research and analytical skills.
- As you can see, being a lawyer and being a veterinarian require different skill sets.
- They both require communication skills and resilience, for example.
- These skills and personal qualities look rather different in these two professions.
- There are general elements of good communication skills that are required in all professions.
- In law, the particular type of communication is around working with clients, arguing a case, and preparing legal documents.
- In veterinary science, communication is mostly about talking to the owners about the medical condition of their animals.
- How you communicate to clients in a community legal aid office would be quite different to the way you communicate in a corporate law firm.
- What this all means is that you need to think really carefully about the skills and qualities that are important in field you want to go into.
- There are top level aspects to the qualities that employers expect; after all, communication is communication, right? But it’s the HOW of communication and the situation you’re in that makes communication something that is highly contextual-contextual in terms of the profession, organisation and role.
- I hope it is clear to you now that you’ll need to think about what you have to offer employers in a GENERAL sense but you’ll ALSO need to think about your skills and qualities in terms of the INDUSTRY, AND the type of role you would like to undertake.
- This understanding will allow you to best match your skills and qualities with EXACTLY what employers are looking for.
MODULE 3: Connecting your employability development to the workplace > 3: Your employability in different professions and organisations > Insight into professional and organisational expectations
- We do understand that they don’t have all of the knowledge required, but they need to be able to draw on different sources to get that knowledge.
- We bring graduates in because they have new ideas and new solutions, but we also need them to understand that other people will have different opinions as well.
- A well-rounded graduate, for me, is someone who is just as comfortable sitting at their computer, researching a particular market, and having the curiosity to go and find out as much as possible, and actually using their brain to work out all the different places where they can go and find that information, as well as having someone who is able to work on their own and work in that way in a little bit of an unguided way.
- Then I also need someone who can find the 40 characters that you need to put together a really phenomenal tweet.
- I’m looking for people who can bridge between all of that, and scale down to the detail when they need to, and then actually transfer to being very, very quick-witted when they need to.
- DAMIAN What does an employable graduate look like? They’re actually going to look different for different businesses.
- The organisation fit we found is clearly reflecting the needs of a specific organisation.
MODULE 3: Connecting your employability development to the workplace > 3: Your employability in different professions and organisations > Graduate employability narratives
- CRAIG There’s a lot of people in my industry within the digital marketing space, who essentially what you’d fit into that I.T. geek, nerd type sort of category of cliché.
- What I’ve always tried to bring to the skillset is a wider business perspective and being able to work with people across a range of different industries, to be able to work with people across the range of different backgrounds, and be a little bit more that all-rounder that can essentially solve wider business problems than just the one that’s sitting in front of me.
- I’ve won work from being able to sell myself in that way.
- I’ve got a natural ability to build rapport with people and then build that relationship beyond just the initial connection.
- On the one hand, I have a lot of experience in business, the corporate world, and the reality of executing inside complex environments, and I’ve been managing people for 15 years.