January 28, 2021, by Matthew Lumley

How completing the Advantage Award gave me an edge with employers

By Hannah Edmondson, BA Theology and Religious Studies and MSc in Psychology alumna

After finishing my Masters, I spent a year working in a variety of settings to gain experience of different working environments. This included:

  • The Visas and Immigration team on University Park
  • The Education Centre team at the Queen’s Medical Centre
  • As an Assistant Director at a local tuition company called Explore Learning

Following these, I started on the Boots Commercial Graduate Scheme. My current role is as the Assistant Buying Manager for First Aid, Specialist Skincare, and PPE within the Trading team at Boots Head Office.

During my time at university, I completed the Nottingham Advantage Award. I was also fortunate to be the winner of the Advantage Award Leadership Prize supported by Mars.

I wanted to highlight how participating in the Award was hugely beneficial for me, how it helped me transition from university into the world of work, and how I believe it can benefit you too.

Here are the top three ways in which the Nottingham Advantage Award helped me.

  1. Steered my career decisions and helped land a job I love

Let’s face it, the courses I studied do not particularly lend themselves to a specific career path.

I was always keen to study subjects I enjoyed that kept my career options open. However, after graduating, I still did not really know what I wanted to do.

By completing the Award, I was able to build and hone a crucial set of transferable skills outside of my academic work. These included time management, teamwork, and leadership – all of which are essential in the workplace. I began to explore careers where I could use these skills. Ultimately, this led me to my current role, which is a job I absolutely adore.

  1. Enabled me to better articulate my experiences during the recruitment process

Now you have worked out what job you want – or not quite yet. So, how can the Advantage Award help you to land that role?

There is no doubt that attending an interview can be nerve-wracking, especially if, like me, you are worried that on paper your degree does not appear to be the ‘correct’ subject for that field. However, in reality, most employers do not mind the degree you studied. They care more about who you are as a person and how you demonstrate you have the right qualities to be a great employee.

The majority of my Award module assessments required me to engage in self-reflection. Therefore, I became better at articulating my experiences clearly and concisely, which was vital during interviews.

  1. Gave me formal recognition for my extracurricular activities

Did you know that even if you only complete one Award module it will still be evidenced by the team? Personally, I undertook three very varied modules:

Something I remember vividly was walking into my interview at an assessment centre and seeing my CV on the desk. The only point highlighted was where I had written that I was the recipient of the Mars Leadership Prize. Having formal recognition for all the things I was doing outside of my academic work helped validate my experiences with the interviewers.

Start your Award journey

No matter where you are in your university career, I would encourage you to view the Award module catalogue. You can plan which modules you would like to take to build your skills and broaden your experiences.

I gained so much both personally and professionally from my time completing the Award, and you can too.

In the words of American author Harriett Jackson Brown Jr: “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” The Nottingham Advantage Award gives you the edge that employers want.

Apply for a prize

If, like Hannah, you want a chance to win one of our Nottingham Advantage Award prizes then you can find out more here.

Contact and Follow us

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

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

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