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Do students need to be more self-aware? Should we have timetabled self-reflection and career planning somewhere between watching Hollyoaks in our jammies and making questionable dating decisions? Alan ponders the pros of being pro-active…

Should I have been more concerned about gaining skills for my future employment when I was doing my undergraduate degree? Probably.

But unfortunately I didn’t even think about getting a job until it was too late. Instead I explored lots of diverse subjects and along the way discovered new ideas and passions. I had a fantastically invigorating time but the moment I realised I needed to find a proper, grown-up job was terrifying.

In truth I was actually more prepared for the world of employment than I expected but I lacked the skills to tell my own story. Amongst other things being a student taught me to focus my attention, to deal with complex ideas and concepts, to juggle (and meet) deadlines and to condense large amounts of information into manageable portions. And the list continues.

Crucially my time at university encouraged me to be pro-active because for the first time in my life, I was in control of my future. But all of this meant nothing if I couldn’t effectively translate it for a future employer and this is where I needed some help.

– Alan

PS Employability seems to be all the rage on the Guardian Higher Education website and this is obviously a sign of the times but it will be interesting to see the impact this has on universities.

Next post Alan considers the benefits of holding out for a job you love over one that will pay the bills…

One thought on “The future is a foreign country

  1. I recognise the feeling of not being ready to tell your employment-story, as Alan mentions. Personally I feel that eventhough I did build up relevant skills during my studies, most universities still make you think within a very ‘academic’ framework. I really enjoy studying and doing research but I have always known that academia was not for me.
    Does anybody else feel that maybe universities, or undergraduate degrees in particular, are a bit ‘stuck’ in academia when it comes to telling the story of your skills?

    Like

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