August 3, 2018, by Carla

Why the Nottingham Advantage Award Is More Than a Great Addition to Your CV

By Leon Man, MSci Hons International Relations and Global Issues (2017) 

I made two decisions at Nottingham that made me more attractive to employers: studying abroad and taking the Nottingham Advantage Award. You see and hear that the Award is great for your CV, adds to your transcript, and offers new skills and exciting experiences.

But there’s more.

I believe the true value lies in helping you to cultivate three mindsets, and these mentalities will ‘future-proof’ you as a person and serve you for years to come.  

1. The ‘responsibility mindset’

Chances are, your life so far has been guided by a structured ‘programme’ of education. One thing you will learn quickly when you graduate is that you are free to make your own choices. The flip side to this autonomy is you cannot rely on others to make those choices for you. This is what ‘position of responsibility’ means on job adverts! In my current role, I am expected to lead in my policy area, drive it forward, and brings others with me too. It makes sense to be prepared and comfortable with taking responsibility for your own future, and this is a habit worth developing. 

The Award empowers you to take responsibility from the outset. How? For a start, it is optional. But by reading this blog, you have taken the first step. Looking through the various modules and matching them to your interests and the skills you want to develop is the next. And step by step, you are starting on your journey of thinking ahead, planning, and getting ahead. 

2. The ‘reflection mindset’

You can’t take responsibility effectively without developing an innate mentality of reflection.  Fundamentally, reflection is about asking powerful questions to identify powerful answers.  It’s about examining your actions and circumstances to inform your decision-making and boost your confidence in those decisions. Reflection helps me in my career daily: I need to evaluate policy and interpret other’s actions. I also need to consider what I like and what I’m good at to plan my career properly.    

By taking the Award, you will be practicing the art of reflection – often without realising! Reflection is built into every Award module, helping you to reflect by finding ways to get constructive feedback. My advice is to recognise when you are reflecting and take it seriously.

3. The ‘growth mindset’

Yes, it’s good to take responsibility and to reflect, but what for? The growth mindset provides the purpose. It means recognising that we must keep learning to thrive, embracing the idea that you can be better tomorrow than you are today. Curiosity and the genuine desire to learn and improve is in short supply, and employers can easily tell the difference between someone who naturally exhibits the growth mindset and someone who pays it lip service. 

The Award offers the opportunity to demonstrate to employers that you took responsibility for your own development early on; reflected on your strengths, weaknesses and interests; and stayed the course to complete the Award. 

If you’re able to develop these three mindsets, then you are well prepared to take on the exciting opportunities and challenges ahead of you. 

So what are you waiting for? For more information about the Nottingham Advantage Award visit the website here.

Applications for autumn and full year modules are now open, apply on workspace here.

Posted in Alumni StoriesChoosing Your CareerThe Nottingham Advantage Award