January 31, 2020, by brzkl3

Advantage Award prizes – How the experience helped me achieve more

Our Advantage Award prize applications are now open until the end of February. We have seven prizes this year recognising areas such as personal development, leadership and work in the community. These are sponsored by employers and the Vice Chancellor to give you that extra recognition. You can find out more and to apply here.

In this article Leon Man, one of our Highly Commended prize winners, talks about how the experience helped him.

Contribution by Leon Man, Award completer and Highly Commended prize winner

I have always considered myself to be rather thrifty and good at making the most out of opportunities. Which Boots meal deal combination provides the best value for money? What is the quickest way from Hallward to Coates Auditorium? How do I get that last bit of ketchup out of the bottle? These sorts of questions keep me up at night.

But applying for the Advantage Award Prizes was not one of them. You can gain a lot by investing only a small amount of time. It allowed me to reflect more deeply on what I had learned, gain interview practise under pressure and share my achievements with others. Oh, and the opportunity to win an employer-sponsored prize that would look great on my CV too. It is a no brainer!

Road to success

Even though I was runner up and did not win the overall prize I still benefited a lot from the process. I feel it contributed as a stepping-stone to being successful at the Diplomatic Service Fast Stream interviews.

The Civil Service and the Foreign and Common Office values diversity of thought and your experience. It was important to demonstrate this during their recruitment process. The Award modules already offered me that diversity of experience, but the recognition of an employer prize gave an extra endorsement of those experiences.

I benefited from rehearsing for interviews and preparing my responses to the competency questions we all love and relish. More importantly, I received feedback on my interview performance. Did I look comfortable? Were my responses robust and relevant? Every opportunity you have to prepare for interviews is invaluable.

Choosing your prize and preparing for interview

The application process may not be for that end goal of a job, but it is still important and good practice to plan well. Think carefully when selecting the best prize to apply for. It is not necessarily about picking prizes with the most “appealing” employer or reward being offered. The prize should be the one that is most relevant to you and your experiences. When I read the prize descriptions I immediately recognised “that’s me.”

Why is this important? Because it is much easier for you to talk enthusiastically at interview if you are passionate about that category. I shared my anecdotes and these stories can be infectious. I have been an interviewer before and you can easily tell when something sounds forced and fake. However, a candidate who lights up when talking about their experiences appears much more genuine, likeable and ultimately, successful.

Consider what your interviewers are looking to hear from you. They are most interested in how your experiences relate to your Award modules and the category to which you have applied. You are free to refer to examples outside of the Award to support your interview responses. However, try to ensure they are relevant to the question and the prize. The interviewers are excited to hear how the Advantage Award has made a difference – to you and others – so do not be afraid to share your success.

If you have landed on this blog article, then chances are you have already committed much time towards completing your Award modules. Did you learn something new? Did you find it valuable? Did you make an impact that you are proud of? If your answer is yes to any of those questions, then why not showcase your achievements and apply today?

Applications close at 11pm on 29 February. You can find out more here.

Want to speak to one of the Award team then please contact us at nottingham-advantage-award@nottingham.ac.uk

You can keep up-to-date on the Nottingham Advantage Award via social media, so please like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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