February 11, 2021, by Matthew Lumley
How to make your mark in the Advantage Award prize process
By Vishnupriya Prathap, MPharm Pharmacy, fourth year
Winner – Contribution to community prize supported by Teach First
The Nottingham Advantage Award allows you to develop professional skills. You also get to meet highly motivated students from diverse backgrounds across the University.
I completed modules in volunteering, employability and project management. Following these, I thought why not gain extra recognition by applying for an employer supported prize?
Being awarded the Contribution to community prize supported by Teach First has given me a confidence boost. It has encouraged me to continue pursuing ventures favouring causes that I strongly believe in, whilst also growing both personally and professionally.
Filling out application forms and attending interviews conducted by globally renowned employers may seem daunting. However, hopefully the tips below will put you at ease.
Focus on the prize
It can be tempting to apply for a prize supported by an employer for which you have always wanted to work or that inspires you. However, it is extremely important to ensure that your skill set matches with that prize.
I would highly recommend reading the ‘What we look for’ section in the prize descriptions. This will guide you on how to tailor your application to match the desired skill set.
Additionally, applying for a prize that best suits you makes it easier to prepare for the interview. It is much simpler to reflect on your motivations, strengths, weaknesses and future ambitions. Even if you do not envisage a career with that particular employer still give it a go.
Build your commercial awareness
Now, this is a tip you will have seen on most application and interview pages. It is tremendously useful.
Take your time to learn about the employer sponsoring the prize – their mission, vision statement and core values. Understanding why the employer supports the Award will demonstrate your interest in the prize. It will also show them that you recognise the importance the prize holds to their company.
Reflect on your journey so far
Reflecting on your strengths, weaknesses, achievements and goals will enable you to put forward a well thought out and structured application. This will also allow you to provide anecdotal evidence of how you have aided your development.
It is important to be prepared for an interview. However, try not to over-rehearse otherwise your responses may not sound natural. Concentrating too much on remembering your perfectly prepared response may mean you do not actually answer the question being asked.
One tip I would want you to take away from this article is wear your confidence well. It is important to not be overly confident, but do not under sell yourself. Be proud of your achievements.
Seize the opportunity to showcase the lessons you have learned, skills you have gained and what the prize means to you. Remember to illustrate how the Award and your extra-curricular activities have contributed to your continuing personal development.
Go for it
Regardless of the outcome, the prize process will be a worthwhile experience. You get to practice writing an application and hopefully attending an interview. This will give you an insight into the recruitment process, supported by internationally recognised employers. You will also receive constructive feedback that will prepare you for future interviews.
Each prize winner receives a certificate. On top of this you will also receive either money, vouchers or for some prizes shadowing days and training sessions. These insight days will allow you to network and hear from industry experts.
By taking the time to read this article, you are already halfway there. So stop thinking about it and apply!
Visit the Advantage Award prizes page to find out more.
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Want to speak to one of the Award team then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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