November 4, 2019, by Leah Sharpe
How to Boost Your Employability With the Advantage Award
By Matt Lumley, Nottingham Advantage Award officer
For the past 10 years our team have been helping you make career choices and stand out to employers. Our employability scheme is designed to showcase your extra-curricular activities and prepare you for the recruitment process.
You have until you graduate to complete up to three of our modules. However, if you only do one it will still be listed on your degree transcript and look great on your CV.
So here’s why you should take part.
1. Make career choices
This can be a difficult decision to make. Do not worry if you feel lost. Whether you have no idea or too many ideas about your future career the Award can help.
Know what you want to do next? – Find opportunities to boost your skills and experiences in that area.
Have a number of options? – Try them and see which one you prefer.
Absolutely no idea? – This category is where most of our students sit. We provide many opportunities – so just give it go. You may find something you love that was never on your radar. Conversely, sometimes it can be beneficial to cross things off you never want to do again. Better to realise that now before entering the job market.
We understand that sometimes things do not work out. That’s why you can withdraw from our modules without any adverse consequences. Just let the module convenor know you cannot fit it in.
2. Get recognition
Practically all extra-curricular activities around the University – and beyond – can be used towards the Award. Think about activities you want to do – get a part-time job, volunteer, join a society committee – there is a module for all of these.
You’re doing half the work. Why not join a module and get some extra recognition on your degree transcript? Any Award modules you complete will appear – even if you only do one out of the three.
We also have prizes sponsored by employers and the Vice-Chancellor. Another way for you to showcase your achievements.
3. Get skills and experience
You may have received employer interview feedback – ‘you interviewed well, but other candidates had more experience’. The Award can help you find it.
There are over 100 opportunities in the UK and even more in our China and Malaysia campuses. We provide bespoke activities to develop your skills in a practical setting.
Through our assessments we encourage you to reflect on your roles. This allows you to identify the skills you are developing whilst also providing evidence of your experience to employers.
4. Get connected
Employers are at the core of many of our activities. Over 400 have contributed to the Award during the past 10 years. They support us through running modules, workshops, mock interviews and sponsoring prizes. Approximately one third of large recruiter opportunities are filled by those who have already worked for the organisation. Meeting employers on the Award can help you gain this internship experience.
However, it’s not all about employers. It is a great way to meet students outside of your course. Immersing yourself in the University community could also provide opportunities with staff in your School, the Students’ Union or Widening Participation.
5. Prepare for the recruitment process
When you complete a job application or attend an interview you will face competency-based questions. Describe a time you have shown excellent communication or when you have needed to overcome an obstacle. It can be difficult to motivate yourself to keep a record of these skills and experiences.
Our modules encourage you to reflect on areas such as your strengths, weaknesses and greatest achievements. You will then have ready-made responses to use when applying for jobs.
When you complete two modules we provide chances to help you articulate your experiences.
You could apply to our prizes that mimic a recruitment process. For each prize you need to apply, attend an interview – with an employer – and even get feedback on your performance.
We also run workshops to help you showcase your achievements on your CV and prepare you for the transition into work.
So what next?
Applications for spring term are now open and you can explore all of the modules on offer in our module catalogue. Once you are accepted onto a module then you are on the scheme.
If you would like to find out more then you can attend one of our information sessions.