4 February 2020

Alejandra Zimmerman reports on the Business School's Employability Skills Expo 2020.
Employability Expo Audience Participation | Photo by Eoin Carey
Today we have the ability to understand individuals and their talents on a level that was not possible before. This new idea will have a profound impact on our institutions—instead of viewing talent as a scarce commodity, schools will be able to nurture excellence in every student, and employers will be able to hire and retain a wider range of high-impact employees.
Todd Rose

I have just started reading this book (Todd Rose's The End of Average) and have never been pushed in this way to challenge my own paradigms about averages. When did the world start comparing people and concluding in "average" results? How come every human being brings different points of view to the table but we still, at the end of the day, compare ourselves with one another, or seek for the "normal thing"? Can we change this? Can we focus on every particular individual? All of these questions made me think about other topics as well. What makes us unique? How do we bring our distinctiveness to our professional environments?

Too reflective? No worries, I will return to planet earth now. I have a point to make, I promise.

Employability Skills Session | Photo by Eoin Carey

Semester Two started more rapidly than Fast and Furious and on Wednesday 15 January we had our very first Employability Skills Expo. Plenty of companies such as Amazon, RBS, EY, Enterprise, OVO Energy, iZettle, and Turner Townsend came to our campus with very inspiring people that gave us amazing first-hand insights into mock interviews, CV writing, job applications, networking skills, and personal branding. We ended the day with Gavin Oattes and his inspiring magic, sharing his thoughts about 'purpose'. I was amazed with the tailored approach of the Expo and the amount of detail and focus there was on each of us.

After a few hours of talks and workshops where I discovered the weirdest answers given at interviews, cracked cases at mock assessments, and was amazed by the amount of ways you can approach your CV and cover letter, I realised that job-hunting season has definitely begun. Although this may cause anxiety to invade our minds for a few seconds, it is actually a very exciting time for all of us, and as Troy Bolton states in High School Musical (Zac Efron, 2006), "we are all in this together" (and "we're all stars" #throwbackintended).

Employability Panel Speakers | Photo by Eoin Carey

I noticed that every employer in the Expo, when their time was up, had amazing takeaways for us, and I decided to jot them down for future sharing:

  • Be able to answer "so what?" after you state something
  • Always ask questions
  • Take every opportunity, and if you don't have any, manufacture them
  • "Do the scary things": Go for the things that are going to challenge you
  • Ask yourself: Why do you do what you do? What is your purpose?

And my personal favourite: Why are you here? To inspire the world.

While living in a world that tries to automatise and standardise processes, it is important that we never forget our essence. The employability skills expo was a pause (although we had a non-stop day) to zoom out and reflect on our uniqueness, and be confident that applying for jobs is simply showing your true, most beautiful, and distinctive colours.

Alejandra Dancuart Zimmermann

Alejandra Dancuart Zimmermann is from Peru and is studying the MSc Human Resource Management.