Monday, 8 February 2016

The 'Yes' Pile

Experience. It’s that little phrase that we all dread the most, and as a student, I have experienced this first hand. Of course we all want to do well in life, but sometimes University lectures and coursework is more than enough to keep us occupied for 3 years. Not to mention the nights out and the long lay-ins. But that’s beside the point.

As nerve-wracking as it seems, one day all of us hard working students must face the fact that somewhere out there is an employer, sorting their job applications into ‘yes’ and ‘no’ piles.

Amelia painting pug, Clarence, in August 2015
So how are we supposed to avoid that dreaded ‘no’ pile?

The times are changing.

Listen up students, because sadly a degree from a top class university like ours, even paired with a bit of experience, will not necessarily mean that you have a guaranteed spot in that ‘yes’ pile.

So, what next? Students need to discover how to guarantee their spot in those interviews that we all want and need. The key word is ‘enterprise’. We all need to be enterprising. But what makes a person enterprising?

An example of why I would consider myself an enterprising character is my newfound drive to do more with my time at university and make the most of the opportunities that are right in front of me. I have always had a passion for painting, stemming mainly from my father’s influence and my primary school. After I finished A Level art, I thought that I had to continue this somehow. So one day, to make use of my old blank canvases, I decided to paint my cats as a little outlet allowing me to break from my University essays. After posting these on social media, I gradually got responses from followers and friends, asking me to paint their pets too. I realised I had to make the most of this, and considering it was something that I enjoy so much.

From one commission to another, I realised I needed to make a website and official social media pages to help me get more commissions. This website turned into business cards and flyers, which I posted on vet noticeboards, pet shops and pet grooming parlours. All these things have led to me owning my own pet portrait business, for which I get commissions every so often, and it’s a perfect way of continuing with something I have a passion for. My imagination and drive to advertise and brand myself is what I believe makes me an enterprising character.

I do believe that I can carry this on always, having it as a side-job throughout my career later in life. It connects me to the creative side of things, and refreshes me from time to time. I must admit, that even though pursuing this idea was one of my best decisions, I need to be much better at balancing my priorities. I can’t forget about the university grades I really want to achieve, which is so important for all of us. But trust me, taking out a few hours of your busy day to do something different is so worth it in the long run.

Getting involved in something with a proactive approach is the new ‘work experience’ to employers, and this is what they want you to prove you can do. So, in short, my advice is to pinpoint what you love doing, and get out there and make it happen. Try starting up that business you always dreamed of, carry out those surveys, volunteer at that charity or create something new that makes a difference, and your spot in that ‘yes’ pile will be closer than you think.

Amelia Lowe

Student PR Team

*NOTICE* Do you want to get experience? Here's how!

Try starting a business at University. Even if you don't have a business idea, Careers Network is seeking individuals who want to make the effort and get involved in something like experiencing start-up. Career Network's B Start-Up Bootcamp will help you to form teams and learn how to come up with winning ideas for a real business - with fantastic training and support from Virgin Start-Up and IBM. Sign up now. 20,21,22 Feb 2016.

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