MyKindaFuture Employability Event 2015
Thursday, 3rd of December
For the fourth year in a row, we recently hosted our MyKindaFuture Employability Event at Aston Villa Football Club. The event brought together school pupils, university students, employers and careers services from all over the UK to discuss how young people can make themselves more employable in the ever-changing job market.
The event kicked off with a highly engaging presentation from our keynote speaker - Jennifer Holloway: best-selling author of ‘Personal Branding for Brits’. This extremely interactive session was a very simple yet effective way of highlighting the importance of first impressions. Jennifer spoke about the fact that we are all judged based on extremely simple things such as what shoes we wear, how we smell, or something as trivial as to whether your phone screen is cracked or not! This session was definitely an eye opener for many of the students attending as the basic gestures which we never think about - such as shaking someone’s hand - can make all the difference on whether you are offered a job or not.
There were many opportunities throughout the day for all of the students to engage with the many employers in attendance. We were delighted to welcome companies such as Bechtel, Accenture, M&S, Vodafone and KFC, to name but a few! The opportunity for students to engage with representatives from some of the largest UK companies was invaluable - not only were they able to ask questions face to face, they were also able to gain and create valuable contacts for the future.
During the afternoon session, whilst the school pupils were working together on a number of projects such as building towers out of paper and writing raps based on their career options, the university students took part in two short workshops. The first session was about ‘Pre-Boarding’ where the students discussed the importance of the period of time which falls between when a candidate is offered a job and when they start employment which can be anything between a few weeks and several months! The second workshop, entitled ‘Maximising your Profile on LinkedIn’ was a session full of practical tips on the importance of having an online presence and how to make the most of LinkedIn.
For those of you who missed the event, we have included our three top tips from the session for you below:
1. Be professional! Ensure your profile picture on LinkedIn is one that you would be happy with potential employers viewing. This does not include a cropped photograph from a recent night out! You should also ensure that you always use your full name - no nicknames - and try and be creative with your headline as this is automatically filled with your current job title - using this to differentiate yourself can reap great rewards when trying to make yourself stand out!
2. Share your experience, not your job descriptions! One of the most common mistakes that LinkedIn users make is that their 'Experience’ section is often full of job descriptions. Most, if not all, employers will be aware of what your role titles will involve. Instead, you should provide some detail of your roles – there is no need for in-depth descriptions. Be careful not to make the mistake that most people make of just listing your activities. Instead you should focus on your achievements and responsibilities.
3. Be alive online! Like many things, there is no point of having a LinkedIn profile if you are not going to use it fully and be active on the platform. There are many ways to ‘be alive’ on LinkedIn including sharing updates, liking posts, commenting on discussions, joining groups and publishing posts; to name just a few. By joining groups you will be linked with people from the industry of your choice and this will help to grow your online network. You will also be able to consult those within your network for any advice about the industry of your applications.
The event concluded with an interactive panel made up of school pupils, university students, employers and entrepreneurs - such as Oli Monks, founder of Bagsee. This was a great platform for students to ask any questions they had which they had not had the chance to ask previously.
Oli Monks (Entrepreneur) and Gabby Power (Channel 4)
The feedback from all of the attendees was excellent and we have included some of their comments below:
• "It was a wonderful day and it has definitely motivated me to use my personal brand to get a graduate job" (Arooj Rashid, President of Greenwich Bright Futures).
• "The schedule of the day and the content was great. The students at our table were genuinely engaged. I think it helped them to realise the number of opportunities that are available to them and how to improve their chances of getting them!" (KPMG)
• "This event has helped to shed light on what I want to do in the future and how to get there. It has also allowed me to learn new skills. This experience has taught me to step out of my comfort zone" (Students from Moseley Park School).
• "Great day, interesting and very different from the other events we’re involved in" (Tesco).
• "We really did enjoy the Employability event - it was great. The students had only positive things to say about the opportunity to ‘mingle’ with such top name employers" (Michelle Poole, Careers Advisor at Birmingham City University).