October 12, 2015, by Andrea Ranford

Show don’t tell – how the Award can help you!

Show don’t tell’ is the advice given by many careers advisers to students preparing for interviews. Your covering letter may include statements like ‘I’m a keen team player’, ‘I possess proven skills in leadership’ or ‘I adapt easily to change’, but unless you can back them up, statements like this will be left hollow. Taking part in the Nottingham Advantage Award programme is one way of ensuring you are in a position to validate those statements and demonstrate to future employers exactly just how much of a ‘team player’ you really are.

What is the Nottingham Advantage Award?

The Award offers around 250 extracurricular modules every year. These range from learning a new language, to volunteering within the local community; you can even  develop a project for Boots, which was the winner of the 2014-15 Module of the Year. You can even accredit the work you do at the Student’s Union or your Sports activities. Modules are offered in Nottingham, Ningbo and Malaysia, each earning you either 10 or 20 credits towards the 30 credits necessary to gain the Award. Most modules are delivered face-to-face but some are offered online. The Award is accredited which means you will need to complete some form of assessment at the end of each module. These include collaborative activities – group presentations, contributing to a group forum – and quite often involve reflective tasks in the form of blog posts, journals or portfolios of work.

New NAA FB cover

What’s in it for you?

Graduating from University is not just about academic achievements and getting the right grades, it’s also about making sure you are work-ready. Through the Award, you will develop the kind of transferable skills necessary for the workplace – problem solving, the ability to work in a team, project management, time management and cross cultural awareness. Preparation for interviews and CV writing also feature in many of the modules offered, several of which are dedicated to your specific sector. If you are a little unsure of your direction post-graduation, the Award lets you test the water first – whether that be gaining classroom experience in a local school, or working with some top employers, such as Capital One and Page Group. The programme will allow you to identify and further develop your strengths as well as help you work to improve your less practiced skills. Ultimately you’ll gain confidence and build on employability skills which you can then offer potential employers as you set about promoting yourself on the jobs market.

What’s in it for employers?

University of Nottingham graduates are the most targeted amongst The Times Top 100 graduate employers, according to Graduate Market (2014). That said, competition is still high and you need to be sure you’re the one gaining that proverbial edge. Employers are always keen to meet well-rounded graduates; someone who not only achieves the grades, but is also capable of getting the job done and fitting in with the existing team.  Potential employers are also interested in your motivations. Participating in the Award, reflecting on the reason behind your choice of modules and what you have learnt from doing them, demonstrates your thought processes and your commitment to a particular project, yourself and to others.

Engaging with the professional world while still at University will help you establish that advantage over your peers. In addition, not only will you be able to ‘show’ your personal attributes – leadership qualities, adaptability and teamwork skills – with solid examples during the an interview, you’ll also be able to demonstrate them in your new position from Day one!

Interested to know more?

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