The benefits of having a break these holidays – Janet talks to the NZ Herald

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IMG_9907As we come to the end of the year. there is an opportunity to take a breath and reflect back on 2015 to see what we have and haven’t achieved and set goals for 2016. But is this the best time to do this? Janet has contributed to a recent Herald article on the benefits of taking a holiday to rest and wind down, to take a break from technology, and allow ourselves to recharge and refuel for the year ahead. Read the complete article here

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A Bachelor of Arts – by any other name……

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Often when working with a client, a real bias emerges against a Bachelor of Arts (BA). As career specialists we work hard to counter these ideas, as they are often based on misinformation. So we thought it time to do a big shout out for the often maligned BA.

bachelor-of-artsIn recent years there has been a strong focus from government on the value and need to study the STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, because they ‘appear’ to provide an immediate gateway to a job. Of course these are important subjects, but the consequence of this particular focus has resulted in less funding available for Arts subjects and pressure on students to study STEM in lieu of Arts, regardless of their interest and ability. This is contrary to the importance of pursuing a subject because of your interest in it.

Blogging for The Huffington Post in 2012, Westminster College President George Forsythe said, “The important challenges of contemporary life are not confined to academic disciplines. They are global issues. When students are only trained to focus on a very specific skill set, they miss the larger picture and their evaluative skills suffer as a result.” He also adds that employers can provide graduates with the necessary specific training, while the role of higher education institutions is to develop them as lifelong learners.

Victoria University’s Careers and Employment Service conducted their regular Employability Skills Survey this earlier this year. The goals of the survey were to:

  • Identify the top ten skills and attributes which employers look for in new graduates and students
  • Explore the level of competency expected for each of these skills and attributes at the time of hiring
  • Identify employer satisfaction with the levels of competency that Victoria students and graduates demonstrate for the skills and attributes identified as the most important.

The top skills and attributes identified by the 346 eligible responses from local, regional, national, and international organisations were:

  1. Work Ethic
  2. Verbal Communication
  3. Energy & Enthusiasm
  4. Analytical & Critical thinking
  5. Problem Solving
  6. Team Work
  7. Interpersonal Skills
  8. Written Communication Skills
  9. Self-management
  10. Initiative and Enterprise

For a 21st century graduate to survive in our continually changing technological world, regardless of what subjects they study, they will need skills beyond those specific to any one subject. The real door openers to good jobs and meaningful employment are skills that aren’t solely associated with the STEM subjects.

In fact, many of the critical employability skills sound very much like those that are developed in a BA course of study. So what are some of the skills that a student will gain while studying towards a BA?

  • Critical, lateral and independent thinking – the foundation for learning and success in any field
  • Communication, both written and through presentations
  • Awareness of cultural and political differences and global awareness
  • The ability to understand, assess and evaluate issues
  • Thinking and acting creatively
  • Organising workloads and working to deadlines
  • Reading text and picking out the essential points
  • Retaining and absorbing large amounts of information
  • Writing well in a variety of formats
  • Conveying meaning in a precise way
  • Conducting research and evaluating sources
  • Leading and participating in discussions
  • Working alone and taking initiative
  • Developing opinions, proposing ideas and theories
  • Being objective
  • Debating and persuading others about a point of view
  • Being confident in your opinions
  • Developing lifelong learning skills and intellectual curiosity

We are not suggesting that BA subjects are better or worse than subjects that are specific to the STEM subjects, but we want to emphasise the VALUE of studying a BA.

In a NZ Herald article in 2013, Bob Jones claimed that his company only employs history or classic graduates because they demonstrate curiosity and independence and are easy to teach.

Steve Jobs has famously stated that for technology to be truly brilliant, it must be coupled with artistry. “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough,” he said. “It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing.”

Employers are increasingly recognizing the value of Arts subjects because they develop the very skills that are so desperately needed in the challenging work environments that exist today. So please don’t rush to condemn the BA as a course of study. It might be the very thing that opens doors to the job of your dreams.

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NZ Occupation Outlook 2015

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The Ministry of Innovation, Business and Innovation have recently published the 2015 Occupation Outlook. This is a fantastic place to research different career options, as it gives details on the education, employment and income information on 50 key occupations in New Zealand, based on their size, popularity, and potential for future growth.

Click here to find out moreScreen Shot 2015-01-27 at 3.49.54 PM

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Get a Career Head Start – Caroline recently contributed to the NZ Herald – Education+Careers publication

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Get a Career Head Start

Caroline recently contributed to the NZ Herald September publication Education +Careers about understanding the key ingredients of making good decisions about your career.

“It comes down to knowing yourself…..when you understand what makes you tick you can make some good career decisions and decide on what’s out there that fit you. There are lots of career decisions made without the person thinking ‘Is this right for me?’ I see a lot of people who have not made good decisions and they are miserable at work”.

Once you know yourself it is important to research the occupations you are looking at – through the internet and finding people who are doing the job you are thinking about. Have a conversation with them – find out the reality of what the job is all about, and then you can figure out whether it is something that fits well with you.

Career Clinic offers a range of tools to figure out who you are. Contact them to book an appointment

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How to become more Career Resilient

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What is Career Resilience?

In a world where sometimes you just don’t know what is around the corner, the development of career resilience to be able to cope with the unforeseen is important to not only protect yourself, but to also make the most of the unpredictable circumstances that come knocking.resilience

Career resilience is the ability to bounce back after a knock, change, pressure or threat. It is also about adapting to adversity and making use of your experiences and relationships to help guide your decisions. Grabbing opportunities, taking planned risks, coping effectively with unexpected changes, and working to a broad plan that best suits your interests and experiences is the result of career resilience.

So how can you build your own resilience?

Reflecting on what has happened is an important part of being able to grow in the future. So if something has happened in your career that has set you back, take time to reflect on what happened. Although not always easy, try to be objective. Identify up to three things that you would do differently, but make sure you don’t spend too long on this stage – moving forward with this knowledge and learning is the key.

Develop a good support network amongst family, friends and colleagues, and accept and give help and support as needed.

Accept that change is part of life and that you will need to continually adapt to changing circumstances.

Sometimes moving forward and achieving goals can be overwhelming. Set small, regular and realistic steps that moves you forward. Confidence is built on the wins in our life, regardless of how small.

Ensure that you put time into the things that resource you. What do you do to relax, to energize? Reading books, going for walks, talking to friends – whatever it is, make sure that you keep it as part of your routine. When we face change, we need to be well resourced to stay resilient.

Remain hopeful and optimistic. Visualising what you want is a powerful tool to moving you towards it.

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