professional

Embarrassment May Come Before Impressive. That’s Great! – TUB-Thump 031

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I had stuff going on in the house. I was looking after the baby. I wanted a cup of tea.

“The kitchen has a lot of echo,” I thought. “What a perfect time to record an episode of TUB-Thump.”

The idea was to hit record on the device in my pocket and start talking about how easily we can do whatever we want.

It doesn’t always feel easy.

Sending a photo or video to a mate on Snapchat seems easier than publishing a video to the whole world. Having a conversation about your interests is okay in private, but it’s another thing to broadcast it globally.

Or is it?

Episode 31 of TUB-Thump is simply a nudge in the right direction for you to start your quest for awesomeness today.

Don’t let a lack of professional resources and equipment stop you.

Reid Hoffman, who founded LinkedIn, said:

“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”

Let the embarrassment in, otherwise you may not let anything out.

And the world needs you. We need you, darn it! Even if you’re busy being responsible for a little human being and you’re standing in a kitchen with an echo.


Here are the show notes for the 4-min episode:

  • 00:50 – Reaching out, publishing content, creating a portfolio…It’s all possible today. The entry requirements are very little.
  • 01:30 – If I can record in a kitchen with an echo, on a phone or entertainment device, when holding a baby, what production value issues are stopping you?
  • 02:00 – Production values don’t matter at first. The better they are, that’s great. But the bigger deal is creating value and being present.
  • 02:30 – What can you do today? Perhaps you’ve been putting it off or you think you need a better setup before you start. Bottom line…You can probably do it now.

Music for TUB-Thump is Life, by Tobu, which is released under a Creative Commons license. Check out more of Tobu’s great sounds on Soundcloud, YouTube, and his official site.

TUB-Thump is part of the Learning Always Network.

Keep being awesome!

9 Tips to Prepare for Jobs and Careers Long Before You Graduate

It’s never too early to think about what you’re going to do when you graduate.

Everything is a preparation. You’re not meant to wait until you finish your degree before preparing for the future. Make your time count.

You may not even be at uni yet. No matter. The longer you give yourself, the more chance you have to jump in and get comfortable.

Cat Ready (photo by kissro)

It’s all about preparation. Get ready to pounce… (photo by kissro) CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Here are 9 things you can do early on in anticipation of what’s ahead of you when you leave university. Why wait?

1. Get involved in relevant professional associations and groups

This is easier than ever. With an Internet connection and a bit of time to search, almost everything is at your fingertips. This is a recent development and worth pursuing.

For the most important associations, do consider paying for student or basic membership. It’s worth the cost if you get some kind of recognition and if membership gives you various other benefits that you can tap into. Do your research and see what’s on offer. You may be pleasantly surprised.

2. Join LinkedIn groups, subscribe to blogs, and follow Twitter users in your field

Another recent development and easy to implement. Spend just a few minutes each week following a few key accounts and you’ll build up a great source of content in no time at all. You can then reach out, comment, and even offer advice as you go along.

As a recent Jisc article mentions, “The recruiters are there. The employers are there. So why aren’t the students?” There’s a lot going on!

3. Write, record, and video stuff

Most of us consume content, but how often do you produce it? You can make an impression even if you make something about your search from nothing. You can still impress when you publish basic information for absolute beginners. You’re making the effort and making it public. That speaks volumes.

People will value your content. We all have to begin from somewhere, so don’t worry that you’re being too simple. Your information may be exactly what someone else is looking for.

4. Show up where you’d like to show up

The more you get involved, the more you will be seen. And as your exposure increases, you’ll be offered other opportunities to increase your exposure yet more. It’s like a snowball effect.

Seek out free events, find cheap student tickets (or free press tickets if you are writing prolifically enough now!), and find what your university and local area have on offer as far ahead as possible.

5. Tap into alumni

Speak to your alumni office to find out what they have to offer. Some universities provide a lot of help and contact after you graduate, including professional development and networking opportunities.

6. Your careers service is your friend

Many students are using careers services earlier on in their degree. Gone are the days where you don’t bother thinking about it until just before final exams. Whether or not you know what jobs and careers you’re interested in, you’ll find a wealth of information and advice on offer to you. Use it!

7. Speak with your tutors (if applicable)

This works best when you want to remain involved in a field directly related to your degree subject or if they can impart specialist information. If so, your lecturers and other uni staff are a great potential source of leads and contacts. They’re a great place source for quality leads that they themselves endorse and rely upon. For that reason, plan ahead with questions and requests that aren’t easily available elsewhere. Make the contact count.

8. Keep an ear to the ground

Read the latest news in your line of work and look out for where people get their trade information from. Over time, you’ll build up loads of valuable resources that require very little effort keeping on top of. Imagine having to start from scratch only after you’ve graduated. Save yourself time and give yourself the upper hand with everything at your fingertips as early as possible.

9. Find direct links to businesses you’re interested in

By building up connections not just with people, but with companies, there is a much greater chance that you’ll be known as a matter of course. Picture making a name for yourself while you’re still at university. Forget waiting, interact with companies and individuals you love right now.

Find ways to offer value and impart your knowledge to those who would appreciate it. A small gesture that takes five minutes of your time may prove more useful than desperately seeking an internship post. You can’t compare them like for like, but the small gesture is something you can do right now. Make contact and provide value when you see the opportunity.

A few minutes out of every day is all it takes to make a huge difference. Schedule it into your day. Commit to quarter of an hour to do one small thing, write a short piece, or make contact with someone. Whatever you do, don’t expect a miracle in isolation. Keep preparing so you don’t have to play catch-up later.

A few minutes. No big deal. Preparation is best when it’s spaced out, regular, calm. Make a start today.

Find and Highlight Your Transferable Skills

You develop at uni in so many ways. It just happens. You won’t notice it the whole time.

Not being aware of all the skills you’re acquiring makes it difficult to talk about those skills. But these are important for the future, especially when you’re looking for work. As Prospects explains, “Every vacancy requires a unique set of competencies but some transferable skills are commonly requested”.

Paintbrushes (photo by Viewminder) CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

So much potential, so much choice, so many stories to tell. (photo by Viewminder)

To get you thinking about what you have already achieved and what else you might achieve over these years, here are a few thoughts on those common transferable skills and how you can point them out:

Willingness to learn

You’re working off your own back. The more you put in, the more you’re likely to get out. There’s more to uni than grades. What other activities did you invest time in to learn and develop from? How did you go about discovering new things?

Initiative

University offers so much in one place. But it doesn’t come to you. Think of it as a bunch of opt-in stuff, not opt-out. No matter what some people might say, students aren’t spoon-fed. That’s nonsense. The most successful students are generally the ones who take their actions into their own hands and seek out new things. Take time to point out what you opted in for at uni, what drove you to it, and how you achieved in that guise. This required initiative.

Communication

Words, gestures, and listening. Yes, even listening is communication.

Words: Your coursework, presentations, and exams improve your relationship with words. Blog posts and articles in the student newspaper are useful too. The more you read and write, the better you will communicate.

Gestures: How you present yourself at uni (and on social networks) is important. How people see you interact with others makes a difference.

Listening: The world doesn’t revolve around you. University is a place of debate, discovery, getting involved, and having fun. That requires a population of more than one. Be ready to ask questions, and also to stay quiet and let others do the talking. Your voice needs to be heard, so long as you show an interest in hearing other voices in the mix.

Self-awareness

Spending all that time on study off your own back requires a teeny tiny bit of self-awareness. You need to understand what makes you tick, how to push yourself harder, and where you fit in within the grand scheme of things. A lack of self-awareness means you can’t separate your ‘super powers’ from your ‘kryptonite’.

Teamwork

The big bad ‘real world’ requires a lot of working with other people. And, believe it or not, people are brilliant and helpful and kind and necessary. When you gel with people, from a simple smile to some complicated coursework, you go places. Positive places. Whenever you have worked with other people and achieved something, highlight how your team was awesome and how you were awesome within the team.

Leadership

A successful leader does not act like a leader. Your uni years aren’t about managing people, but you have many opportunities to lead the way through teamwork, as mentioned above, and through the projects you get involved with. Be proud of this; it’s not boastful, it’s identifying your ability to follow and be followed. A useful two-way process.

Interpersonal skills

Living with others, communicating with others, involving yourself in the plans of others, welcoming others into your own plans… It’s hard to go through uni without dealing with other people. If you ignore everyone else as you study, you’re missing out on a lot, even if you come out with a shiny First Class Honours. A degree isn’t personal. People are.

Customer service

All this working with other people means you get to know what other people want and how other people act. Hopefully!

We’re all different. We all like to be treated in a particular way and to be listened to in an appropriate way. Give people the feeling that you have their interests at heart and not just your own.

Trampling over others may show a type of strength. But holding them up with you is a sign of both strength and support. Again, make it two-way. Show that you’re looking for win/win situations.

Flexibility

Things don’t always go our way. That shouldn’t be the end of the world. Hectic plans and last minute changes require a willingness to adapt. University is a great place to find out just how much you need to adapt, because you don’t know what’s coming around the corner.

Housemate problems, low grades, conflicting schedules, surprise tests, illness, too much partying… There’s no end to the stuff that can bite you on the bum. You can take charge of difficult situations, but you cannot control them.

When you take charge, you take change in your stride. Not because you know what happens next, but because you’re being flexible. Think of a time when you were faced with a dilemma that altered the direction you thought you were headed. How did you deal with it? What helped you shine, despite the problems you faced?

Commitment/motivation

Three or more years of study shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your involvement in clubs and societies should be taken seriously (even the fun groups!). The links you make within Students’ Union activities and with university staff need constant nurturing. Your part-time job can be more than just a way of making a few quid.

When you’re not motivated by what you do, it shows. Enthusiasm is hard to fake.

Most of the stuff you do at uni should be because you want to do it. That way, even the tough stuff has a purpose. You’re willing to see it through. This level of commitment will put a spring in your step and a sparkle in your eyes. When people see that you take pride in what you do, your value shines through too.

When it comes to careers, your commitment will be clear by what you have done in the run up to your applications and introductions. Don’t just say you love what you do, prove it!

Problem solving

Where do I begin with this one? How much of your life at uni DOESN’T require problem solving? Lateral thinking is a big deal. Creative ways of getting from one place to another are just as helpful as the practical ways. Check out these links for more information:

You can highlight your strengths and transferable skills in numerous ways. You have so many stories to tell. Which stories are you telling?