Be realistic

You’ve found your dream job, the one you’ve always wanted – it is just perfect. Are you sure about that, or are you overlooking some important detail? How do you respond when a few potential problems emerge?

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Photo credit: TotalWomensCycling.com

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Elements of a great placement

I have often been asked what makes a great placement, and although I’ve not published this before, the list below is a combination of the best practice I have witnessed and recommendations I propose.WorkPlacementsDoneWell Continue reading

Don’t be deterred by contractual obligations

Employers – Are you thinking about starting a placement scheme? Great! Are you worrying about the long-term commitment? Don’t!

Organisations considering running a program of undergraduate placements sometimes worry that it will be a long-term commitment. Such fear can completely destroy any prospect of creating a placement scheme. It’s good to remember that these things don’t have to last forever.

Man Signing Contract

[Image courtesy of forbes.com] Continue reading

“The End”. It never is though…

On 4th August 2012 Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins woke up as Olympic champions with gold medals reminding them that a day earlier they had won the final race in the Women’s Double Sculls at Dorney Lake. But now they felt empty, lost and on unfamiliar ground. For every day of the previous four years all their plans had been about working towards 3rd August 2012. Everything they did in training, every little detail they planned was all about delivering their best performance on that one occasion – the final – with no second chances. The only deliverable which mattered to them was a gold medal on 3rd August. All their plans ended on that date. It was as if 3rd August was the last day ever, and nothing existed after it.

GraingerWatkins winning gold_2 Continue reading

Breaking the cycle

It’s still only mid-September but I’ve already started to see signs up outside restaurants and hotels urging us to Book now for Christmas“. Heck, just three weeks ago I was still enjoying my (late) summer holiday, and Christmas is nowhere near the top of my To Do List.

But this has reminded me of the cyclical nature of our calendar. As day follows night, and summer follows spring, so many of our schedules repeat annually if not more frequently.

header-image-christmas[Image courtesy of LancasterLondon]

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A new approach to recruitment – UnRecruitment

As with so many great ideas, I am left wondering why nobody has though of this before. Its simplicity, sustainability and sheer elegance offers so much that it’s easy to fall into the trap of looking for the catch – there must be one, surely. But no. There’s no catch.

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[Photo: The Spring Project] Continue reading

It’s time to take more risks when hiring young people

Followers of this blog will know that I am completely passionate about giving young people an opportunity to stand out, to shine, stretch and extend their capabilities. I find few things more inspiring than helping young people develop their skills, enabling them to achieve outstanding results.
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Be different – stand out

One of the questions I am most frequently asked when I’m speaking to students, is “How do I stand out from all the other students? We’re all applying for the same jobs, and we all have the same qualifications“. It is a fair question to ask – with supply exceeding demand employers tend to be picky. Very picky.

Be-Different-3 What practical steps can a student take? Actually, it is surprisingly easy. Continue reading

Confidence – the magical ingredient

I recently spent a day with a group of second year undergraduates – from different universities, on a broad range of courses. They were bright, happy, enthusiastic and optimistic about their individual futures. That’s not to say they knew exactly what they would be doing after graduation 18 months from now – in most cases they had no idea. They weren’t oblivious to the current economic climate, and they knew that many people are facing a tough time. But they were optimistic.

Probing a little into their optimism, I found it was based on the most magical ingredient – confidence.

When tempered with humility, and in the absence of arrogance, can there be a more alluring characteristic in young people than confidence?  Confidence enables people to open doors for themselves; it allows them to explore, and reach out further to extend their experience, knowledge and understanding; it gives them a basis for further personal development. And better than that, it is self-perpetuating, providing an ever-increasing baseline from which to develop. Continue reading

A radical alternative

I recently met a young graduate who had submitted 850 job applications – yes, eight hundred and fifty – over a period of three months. That is quite an impressive submission rate.

Graduates and recruiters appear to be stuck in a vicious circle.

The odds appear to be loaded against graduates, with too many chasing too few positions. Recognising this, they play the numbers game, applying for far more roles than they can possibly care about.

The recruiters, seeing ever more applications hitting their inboxes, retaliate by applying more (automated) filters to reduce the numbers to more manageable proportions. As a consequence graduates pedal even faster, pushing out ever more applications in the hope that one will breach the recruiters’ defences and result in a job offer. Or at least an interview.

From my experience of talking to graduates, 850 applications is unusual; 200 to 250 applications is more “normal”, but even that represents a lot of time spent applying. Or does it? Is the process too simple? Is it just too easy to Copy/ Paste “standard” text before hitting the Submit button? Continue reading