Graduate skills


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Graduate skills

  1. 1. Graduate SkillsFutures: Graduate Skills 1/37
  2. 2. INTRODUCTIONWelcome to Graduate Skills one of the series of Futures workbooks, whichhelp students choose and prepare for their careers. Like the otherworkbooks in the series you can dip in and out doing the exercises which aremost relevant to you. You might want to include the exercises or the outputin your personal development plan or e-portfolio.The aim of this workbook is to introduce you to the concept of graduate jobskills and enterprise, looking at which career path you decides to follow. It’snot just about starting a business; enterprise skills or attributes are as usefulin employment as they are in self employment.CONTENTSWHAT IS ENTERPRISE?.......................................................................................3? ARE YOU ENTREPRENEURIAL?.....................................................................5OPPORTUNITY SEEKING.....................................................................................9INITIATIVE..............................................................................................................9CREATIVITY...........................................................................................................9SELF CONFIDENCE..............................................................................................9PERSEVERANCE..................................................................................................9NETWORKING.......................................................................................................9JUDGMENT............................................................................................................9SELLING.................................................................................................................9SKILL ONE: OPPORTUNITY SEEKING..........................................................11SKILL TWO: INITIATIVE......................................................................................14SKILL THREE: CREATIVITY...............................................................................19Futures: Graduate Skills 2/37
  3. 3. SKILL FOUR: SELF CONFIDENCE...................................................................20SKILL FIVE: PERSEVERANCE..........................................................................24SKILL SIX: NETWORKING.................................................................................25SKILL 7. JUDGEMENT........................................................................................28SKILL 8. SELLING...............................................................................................31SUMMARISE........................................................................................................34Produced by Debbie Adams, Laura Dean and Ted SarmientoWhat is enterprise?"Enterprise is purposeful active behaviour, which can take place in anynumber of contexts, business being only one. Enterprise is making thingshappen, having ideas, and doing something about them, taking advantage ofopportunities to bring about change"(SEC 2000 Scottish Getintoenterprise programme)Enterprise is often referred to as the act of starting and developing abusiness. However the skill of being able to spot new opportunities, having a“can do” attitude and the determination to take ideas forward to success notonly applies to budding entrepreneurs but can be a vital part of your ownpersonal development and ability to progress in any career.Why do I need to think about this?It’s all about employability!“to be employed is to be at risk, to be employable is to be secure”(Dr P Hawkins)Enterprising graduates will tend to have more career success as their skillsand adaptable attitude can be transferable to any employment situation.Graduate employers see enterprise skills as essential when recruiting andneed to see evidence of students flexing their entrepreneurial musclesthrough work experience, participation in projects, sports, competitions,volunteering and so on.Futures: Graduate Skills 3/37
  4. 4. Whether you plan to get a job, freelance, travel or set up your own business,you can use this workbook to help you assess your job skills now and learnhow to develop those skills to take you to where you want to be.How to tackle this workbookThroughout this workbook, we examine eight key “enterprise skills” and foreach skill we provide examples, definitions, advice and practical ways to helpyou develop these skills over a period of time. • Feel free to dip in and out of the workbook, focusing on those skills you are keen to develop • Continually reflect on your activities and learning and make use of the pages designed to help you write up your experiencesFutures: Graduate Skills 4/37
  5. 5. Are you enterprising enough?“Enterprise is a state of mind, or an attitude to life. You don’t stopbeing enterprising when you are at play, at home, at school or work”Source: Enterprise InsightHow well do you know yourself, your behaviour or your motivation? Are youenterprising? Are you entrepreneurial? Many graduate employers now lookfor enterprise skills in their new recruits, for example graduate recruiter 3Mquote..“We look to bring innovative products to the market that succeed. To do thiswe need out of the ordinary thinking, challenges to the status quo andcalculated risk taking – all characteristics of entrepreneurs”Dr P A Kennedy, 3M UK LtdEqually the skills, behaviour and drive of the individual responsible forstarting and running a new venture has a major impact on its level ofsuccess.It seems logical therefore to do a spot of naval gazing and assess whetherwe are already enterprising and identify any gaps where we can work ondeveloping and nurturing our employability and/or entrepreneurial attributes.Have a look at this basic entrepreneurial test on the following page, whichconsists of 25 statements in total.For each of the statements in the test, select the number on the scale thatmost closely describes your personal feelings. Remember, there is no right orwrong answer, so be as honest as you can.Try to use the full range of the scale. If you always answer a "2" you will notget the maximum benefit from this test.How true are these statements of you? Scale: 1 = not at all true, 2 =sometimes true, 3 = mostly true, 4 = very true.You just need to remember that this is simply a tool. It is fun to take and funto interpret, but you should keep it in perspective.Futures: Graduate Skills 5/37
  6. 6. 1. Im persistent. I am persistent. 1 2 3 42. I believe my success will be dependant on me. 1 2 3 43. When theres something I want, I keep my goal clearly in mind. 1 2 3 44. I examine mistakes and I learn from them. 1 2 3 45. I keep New Years resolutions. 1 2 3 46. I have a strong personal need to succeed. 1 2 3 47. I have new and different ideas. 1 2 3 48. I am adaptable. 1 2 3 49. I always give the best of myself. 1 2 3 410. I am intuitive. 1 2 3 411. If something cant be done, I find a way. 1 2 3 412. I see problems as challenges. 1 2 3 413. I take chances. 1 2 3 414. Ill gamble on a good idea even if it isnt a sure thing. 1 2 3 415. To learn something new, I explore unfamiliar subjects. 1 2 3 416. I can recover from emotional setbacks. 1 2 3 417. I feel sure of myself. 1 2 3 418. Im a positive person. 1 2 3 419. I experiment with new ways to do things. 1 2 3 420. Im willing to undergo sacrifices to gain possible long term 1 2 3 4 rewards.21. I usually do things my own way. 1 2 3 422. I tend to rebel against authority. 1 2 3 423. I often enjoy being alone. 1 2 3 424. I like to be in control. 1 2 3 425. I enjoy meeting new people and networking. 1 2 3 4 9 15 1 Column Total: 18 45 4 Total Score:Futures: Graduate Skills 6/37
  7. 7. 67 print screen is of an entrepreneurial questionnaire to assess my skills.According to this questionnaire I have got a good foundation on which todevelop my skill. It is important for me to now my strengths and weaknessesfor being and entrepreneur because I can use my strengths to my advantageand improve on my weaknesses to help me be better all round.I found that my strength in both questionnaires are that I am persistent. Thisis a key skill for being employable because if you aren’t hard working then itdoesn’t matter how good you are at the skills you are you won’t get forbecause you won’t use them because you are persistent enough.I found that the main area I want to improve is that creativity. I didn’t scorehighly in either questionnaire in this area. I feel that it is an important skill aswell because without this it is a lot harder to be successful at opportunityseeking. I am going to improve this skill by making more ideas in groupmeetings, realistic or not so people could work of the ideas if there is a bit ofthe idea that could work.Futures: Graduate Skills 7/37
  8. 8. If you scored over 75: ENTREPRENEURIALYou are a success already! Your powers of creativity and imagination willensure that you go through business (and life) without a care, making aroaring success out of everything you do. You want to be in control and areprepared to cope with anything that stands in your way. Good luck and don’tforget to keep on learning!If you scored between 59 and 75: ENTERPRISINGYou are well on your way to developing a true entrepreneurial mindset andwill easily be able to adapt your skills and attributes to any employmentcontext. You demonstrate a positive way of thinking and would prove anasset to any organisation large or small. To become a successful businessowner you may need to consider how you might handle insecurity and risk.If you scored between 47 and 59: EMPLOYABLEYou certainly show signs of being able to identify your own skills and havemany that would be valuable to employers. You have potential to run yourown business but need to push yourself if you want to demonstrateentrepreneurial capability. You may want to identify and improve your skillsin areas where you lack confidence.If you scored less than 47: UNSATISFACTORYSelf-employment is probably not for you. You will probably be happier andmore successful working for someone else and being told what to do.However even working for someone else means you need to demonstratemore of the above attributes. Work on becoming more self aware and reflecton the skills you need to become more employable and more enterprisingand take action to develop them.There are alternative entrepreneurial self-assessment tests on-line at: Graduate Skills 8/37
  9. 9. Sharpen your enterprise skillsHere at Leeds Metropolitan University, we feel that there are eight key skillsthat can be practiced to demonstrate and/or enhance your enterprisingbehaviors and attributes. The following are the enterprise skills that thisworkbook aims to help you put into practice. Entrepreneurial Description To work on Skill this skill turn to page1 Opportunity Opportunity seeking and grasping. 9 Seeking 10 (27) Action orientation. Preference of 67.5% learning by doing.2 Initiative 1 (3) Taking initiatives to make things 12 75% happen. Achievement of ambition.3 Creativity 7 (16) Creative problem solving. Putting 15 57% things together creatively.4 Self confidence Managing autonomously. Taking 18 10(28) 70% responsibility for and ownership of things. Self confidence and self belief High internal locus of control. Holistically Managing business/projects/situations. Strategic thinking5 Perseverance 6 Seeing things through. 21 (18) 75% Hardworking. Determination.6 Networking 1 (3) Networking effectively. 24 75%7 Judgment 3(7) Using judgment to take calculated 27 78% risks. Intuitive decision making under uncertainty.8 Selling 2(6) 75% Persuading, Negotiation, Proposing. 30Futures: Graduate Skills 9/37
  10. 10. STARHaving looked at the skills on the previous page, can you identify those skillsyou would like to develop?One way of identifying which of those skills you need to develop and work onis by trying to evidence each skill in a STAR format.Imagine you were in an interview and your prospective employer asks you togive an example of a time when you have displayed this skill. What examplecould you give?Think about your experiences in university, school, work, social or anysetting where you have been able to demonstrate this skill.SituationDescribe the situation you were in. What was the specific event or set ofcircumstances in which you found yourself?TaskDescribe the task you needed or wanted to accomplish. What was yourstrategic goal or mission, what did you want to achieve?ActionDescribe the action(s) you took and keep the focus on you and yourcontribution even if it was a team activity.ResultWhat happened? What were the outcomes – positive and negative? Whatdid you learn?As an example look at the following extract from Duncan Bannatyne’sautobiography “Anyone can do it: My story” published by Orion Books2006.Futures: Graduate Skills 10/37
  11. 11. Skill One: Opportunity SeekingAn example….SituationI noticed that most of the kids at the high school had bikes and, as the only kidwithout one, I felt incredibly left out. I had been asking my dad almost all of mylife for a bike but his answer was always the same – we were still poor – so Idecided that if he couldn’t buy me a bike then I’d have to buy one myself. I knewa couple of kids at school had paper rounds, so I thought I’d get one and save up.The local paper shop was known as Jenny’s newsagents, after its owner, I went inand asked for a paper round but Jenny looked down her nose at me and said,“there’s none available” I didn’t believe her and instinctively knew that shethought I was a scruffy urchin who couldn’t be trusted. I also knew there werepeople in Clydebank who wanted a paper delivered because my mum was one ofthem.TaskSo I told Jenny, “My mother wants a paper delivered but no one delivers in ourstreet.”“Well you can’t create a paper round for just one house” she replied, “How manyhouses do you need?” I asked, Jenny looked me up and down, and thought for asecond about a number that would put me off. “One hundred” she said. And thatwas it. I made my mind up that I was going to find a hundred households thatwanted a paper delivery. From that moment on I was a small boy on a mission tobuy his first bike and I rushed home to get a pencil and paper.ActionI wrote my mums name at the top of the list and then started knocking on doors,asking if anyone wanted a paper delivery. I started with the neighbours who allknew me, and when they said yes I grew in confidence and carried on knockingon doors until the evening. I ended up in streets I didn’t really know, cold callingcomplete strangers, not that I knew it was called cold-calling in those days. I hadto knock on about 150 doors to get my 100 names, but by the time it was gettingdark I had them.ResultAs soon as I woke up the next morning I went straight back to Jenny and askedagain for the paper round. This time she had no option but to say yes. It was myfirst taste of entrepreneurialism, and looking back, I can see that it was also myfirst mistake in business: I now realize that my list of names was very valuable toJenny and I should have sold it to her rather than giving it away. Still we live andlearn.Futures: Graduate Skills 11/37
  12. 12. Skill One: Opportunity SeekingHaving an open mind. Exploringeverywhere…all the time. Actionorientation. Questioning.“An enterprising person is one who comes across a pile of scrap metal andsees the making of a wonderful sculpture. An enterprising person is one whodrives through an old decrepit part of town and sees a new housingdevelopment. An enterprising person is one who sees opportunity in all areasof life”Creating Opportunity by Jim RohnThere are opportunities everywhere; all you need to do is get into the habitof looking for them. As you go through your daily routines – bus, train, work,university, gym, pub, shops etc – think a little deeper about what is aroundyou. Think about the products and services you and your friends and familyencounter…Ways to practice… • Ask some of your family and friends for their list of complaints about university, accommodation, their jobs, services they have been unhappy with, products they cannot find etc • Pick one or two you agree with and try brainstorming with a friend or mind mapping to generate some ideas of how to address these issues (see page x for further information on mind mapping) • Write down everything you think of – no matter how crazy it may first appear – then review and refinePractice these opportunity spotting skills constantly for a set period of time.Make some notes as you go along to remind yourself when you havepracticed spotting opportunities, regardless of whether you think you havefound a new opportunity or not. At the end of this time, write up yourexperiences in the STAR format (Situation, Task, Action, Result).Futures: Graduate Skills 12/37
  13. 13. Skill: Opportunity Spotting I recognised that there was a swimmingSituation competition at my local swimming club. ThisDescribe the situation competition would be a charity event to tryyou were in. What was and raise money. The competition is calledthe specific event or Swimfest but wasn’t well known. I decided toset of circumstances in make a point of sale for Swimfest.which you foundyourself? I wanted to make there be more people toTask know about the competition so more peopleDescribe the task you will attend. It would also count to my A levelneeded or wanted to design technology practical assessment so Iaccomplish. What was wanted to get a good grade to.your strategic goal ormission, what did youwant to achieve? I would have to go to the manager of theAction Swimfest and update him on the ideas, designDescribe the action(s) of the point of sale and he also came to visityou took and keep the will I was making the point of sale to makefocus on you and your sure was how he wants it.contribution even if itwas a team activity. I made the point of sale to the way theResult manager wanted so he was happy and I got aWhat happened? What good gradewere the outcomes –positive and negative?What did you learn?Futures: Graduate Skills 13/37
  14. 14. Skill Two: InitiativeTaking the lead to make things happen.Achievement of ambition.You can use your initiative in any situation and it can be defined in a varietyof ways such as: “a beginning or introductory step” or “readiness to embarkon a new venture”.( a look at the following example.SituationMary was interested in research right from her undergraduate diploma butfound her work as a nurse and later, after retraining, as a midwife did notprovide many opportunities for research. However she saw the need foralternative treatments and interventions for new mothers.TaskMary needed to work on her own initiative to find alternative ways ofpursuing research, whilst continuing her current job.ActionMary found a series of funders, including the NHS Executive ResearchFellowship Scheme, and by the Smith and Nephew Nursing Foundation Trust.Mary adds: Its not easy looking for funding; youve got to believe in yourselfand your ideas. You might have some doors close but you just find one thatwill open. Mary also needed to persuade her managers that a short termsecondment was practicalResultMary’s research has been fruitful in changing practices and in developing newtreatments/interventions. One of her ideas: a Maternity Cooling Gel Pad,used to alleviate perineal trauma associated with stitches after childbirth, isnow a commercial product known as the femepad and is available forwomen from most high street chemists, Mothercare and the NationalChildbirth Trust.Futures: Graduate Skills 14/37
  15. 15. Ways to PracticeThink of some occasions when you have shown initiative. These may be inuniversity, work or at home and may be times where you have gone aboveand beyond what was expected of you.Think about situations you have been in that have prompted you into actionor given you an idea that you have implemented. For example someoneworking part time in a bar may show initiative by suggesting a new processthat means customers are served more quickly.In a job interview situation, employers will often ask you to describe asituation where you have used your initiative and what the outcome of thatsituation was.For a set period of time make some notes as to remind yourself when youhave shown initiative, regardless of whether you think the outcome waspositive or negative. At the end of this time, write up your best experience inthe STAR format (Situation, Task, Action, Result).Futures: Graduate Skills 15/37
  16. 16. Skill Two: Initiative I used to work for my parents making the eggsSituation ready for selling to do this they had to beDescribe the situation grade to separate the different size stampedyou were in. What was and then boxed into boxesthe specific event orset of circumstances inwhich you foundyourself? I had to do all this work so it was ready for theTask eggs to be soldDescribe the task youneeded or wanted toaccomplish. What wasyour strategic goal ormission, what did youwant to achieve? I made the layout more effective so that itAction would be a lot quicker and easier for the jobsDescribe the action(s) to be doneyou took and keep thefocus on you and yourcontribution even if itwas a team activity. The work as done a lot faster with less hassleResult of getting things muddled upWhat happened? Whatwere the outcomes –positive and negative?What did you learn?Futures: Graduate Skills 16/37
  17. 17. Skill Three: CreativityCreative problem solving.Putting things together in a newway.Creativity is the ability to do old things in a new or different way, or to seenew solutions to problems. The more creative you are, the more good ideasyou generate and good ideas are vital for business success.Creativity Myths… • Creativity is rare? o Everyone has the capacity to be creative, but creative expression is less common. • Creativity is for high IQ’s? o Intelligence is not necessary for creativity • Creativity can’t be learned? o Everyone can learn to express greater creativity by developing skills and competencies.Lessons from Creativity research… • Learn to pay attention to and preserve your ideas • Failure is invaluable, because it causes ideas to compete • Broad training is important so that diverse ideas can compete • Well designed physical and social environments can stimulate ideasWays to practice and develop your creativity• Avoid negative “self talk”. If you are continually saying that you are not creative or you have no imagination, then these words will turn into a self fulfilling prophecy. Be conscious of the fact that you have ideas within you – they just need to be uncovered.• Be “unlimited” - Get into the habit of seeing no boundaries; decide that there are no taboos. Have the belief that with a bit of focus you can find a creative solution to all of your problems. This is the foundation for a creative thought process• Be Future-Focused - Creative ideas invariably come when you ‘look’ into the future. Have a go at mind mapping your future – both short and long term. Take a blank piece of paper and start with your goal in the middle, e.g. become a millionaire / run a social enterprise / achieve work/life balance etc. See over the page for an example of mind mapping the problem of how to make more money. Go to for more help.Futures: Graduate Skills 17/37
  18. 18. • Capture your ideas – carry round a small notebook and pen with you at all times. If you are struck by an idea, you can quickly note it down. When reviewing your notes, you may discover about 90% of your ideas are daft or unworkable but dont worry, thats normal. Whats important are the 10% that could be brilliant.• Exercise your brain by reading a lot, talking to lots of different types of people and disagreeing with people – arguing/ debating can be a terrific way to give your brain cells a workout.• Decrease your stress levels, stressors such as noise, interruptions, clutter, routine and mundane tasks can all seriously decrease your ability to be creative. Try to minimise these and allocate time in your day for relaxation, free thinking, and daydreaming.• Get out of your comfort zone. Expose yourself to a variety of new activities and situations that are different to your usual routine. By giving yourself a change of scenery, you give your creative, right brain a chance to rejuvenate. Car boot Visit Business Visit E-bay Link friends Sell some Start a of my stuff business How can I make some money? Mum? Get a part- Borrow some Dad? time job money? Visit Job-shop Get a student loanExample of a mind mapHave a go at practicing some of these ideas for a set period of time. Makesome notes as you go along to remind yourself when you have been creative,regardless of whether you think this creativity will turn out to be useful in thefuture. Think about projects where you have worked differently to improvesomething. Bear in mind that this skill is about more than having physicalcreativity - it’s about thinking of how things can be done differently. You candemonstrate this by giving examples of times when you came up with newinitiatives, which challenged existing practices.At the end of this time, write up your experiences in the STAR format(Situation, Task, Action, Result).Futures: Graduate Skills 18/37
  19. 19. Skill Three: Creativity In design technology for my practical I had noSituation brief so I could design anything as long as IDescribe the situation found a client and it was new. I designed andyou were in. What was made a trolley/cart with one big wheel to helpthe specific event or move rugby equipment easily quickly and haveset of circumstances in easy access to themwhich you foundyourself? I had to make the cart/ trolley that was newTask innovative and practical for the moving on aDescribe the task you rugby pitch, fold up and fit in the boot of a carneeded or wanted to and also to be able to carry the heavy weightaccomplish. What was of the equipment.your strategic goal ormission, what did youwant to achieve? I only used one big wheel so it is moreAction manoeuvrable and is easier to move on grassDescribe the action(s) pitchesyou took and keep thefocus on you and yourcontribution even if itwas a team activity. The end product was successful and I used itResult on a few pitch and it was a lot easier thanWhat happened? What moving things like prams etcwere the outcomes –positive and negative?What did you learn?Futures: Graduate Skills 19/37
  20. 20. Skill Four: Self confidenceManaging autonomously.Taking responsibility for and ownershipof things. Self belief. High internal locusof control. Holistically managingbusiness/projects/situations.Self confidence is a key entrepreneurial skill for success. It is about the beliefin yourself and your own abilities and that belief will enable you to makedecisions, explore new ventures and take calculated risks.Ways to practiceBuilding self confidence at any stage in your life is based on success andpositive experiences. Here are some ideas to develop your self esteem overtime:• Firstly write down what self confidence means to you by listing all the things you will be able to do once you have the confidence you need. These should be positive statements and relate to something tangible, like making a particular phone call, saying something to a particular person, giving a presentation, speaking up in a situation etc• Then allocate some time to sit and write down all your key achievements and skills gained over the last five years – include educational, sport, social – anything that has happened in your life that you are proud of or that you feel you have learned something from.• Seek positive feedback by asking friends, family, peers, colleagues etc to each name three positive things about you. It might sound embarrassing but you’ll be surprised at the good things you will learn about yourself. Once you recognise these you can start to use them to help you. Positive reinforcement of your behaviour, attitude and abilities will help support your own self belief.• Once you have been through the above three activities, you should be in a position to see where the gaps lie and areas where you need to develop. Please refer to the Futures Workbooks ‘Your Skills’ and ‘Personality and Values’ for further help with this.• Set yourself a small, realistic goal in line with the above, keep this goal attainable and contained and don’t overextend your expectations of yourself the first time out. Then achieve that goal and feel good about it.Futures: Graduate Skills 20/37
  21. 21. • Next, set a slightly larger goal, something a bit bolder and enough of a stretch to put you slightly out of your comfort zone. Achieve that goal and feel even better. And so forth until you’re in a slow and steady forward march, building self-confidence step-by-step.Practice some of the methods above, or some of your own, for a set period oftime. Make some notes as you go along to remind yourself of the situations,regardless of whether you think the outcome was positive or negative. At theend of this time, write up your experiences in the STAR format (Situation,Task, Action, Result).Skill Four: Self Confidence In a big national cup game for my rugby teamSituation I said that I would play in a position that I hadDescribe the situation only played there twice were in. What wasthe specific event orset of circumstances inwhich you foundyourself? I had to play I a completely different positionTask to what I am used to but I had the confidenceDescribe the task you that I will be good enough to do well in thatneeded or wanted to positionaccomplish. What wasyour strategic goal ormission, what did youwant to achieve? I played the whole 80 minutes of the matchAction and the coaches were very impressed withDescribe the action(s) how well I did play especially because theyyou took and keep the said before the start of the game that I willfocus on you and your probably only play for half the game in thatcontribution even if it positionwas a team activity. the coaches were very impressed with howResult well I did play especially because they saidWhat happened? What before the start of the game that I willwere the outcomes – probably only play for half the game in thatpositive and negative? positionWhat did you learn?Futures: Graduate Skills 21/37
  22. 22. Skill Five: PerseveranceSeeing things through. Hardwork.Determination. A project champion.Perseverance…“Dont be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs.Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If youdo the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care ofthemselves.” ~ Dale Carnegie • Learn never to give up! • If at first you don’t succeed, try try again… • If at first you don’t fail, you won’t succeed o In the USA, banks often look for a number of previous business failures before granting new loans to potential entrepreneurs.The power of perseverance should never be underestimated. Many peoplehave achieved great success in the face of huge odds by refusing to give upand by continuing regardless towards their goals.Here are some facts about a well-known man who used perseverance toovercome the odds and finally achieve his goals!Beginning at age 31 up until age 60, this man failed in business twice, wasdefeated in legislative races twice, survived the death of a loved one,suffered a nervous breakdown, lost three congressional races, lost twosenatorial races, one vice presidential race and was finally elected Presidentof the United States at age the age of 60.This man was Abraham Lincoln – and his fighting spirit epitomises the wordperseverance!Another example closer to home is writer Joanna Rowling, author of theHarry Potter books, who persevered against the odds. She wrote her firstbook when she was a penniless single parent with a small daughter, living onbenefit. She wrote her book by hand, sitting day after day over a coffee in acafé while her daughter slept in her pushchair next to her. When she finallyfinished her book, after many months, she sent it off to an agent whorejected it as being too long for children. Joanna’s reaction was not to changeher book; she simply sent it off to other agents until she found one wholoved it. The rest as they say is history and Joanna is now one of the richestand most successful women in the UK.Ways to practice…Futures: Graduate Skills 22/37
  23. 23. • Stay up late (or get up early) and get an assignment done before it’s due (use the extra time to make it better instead of finishing it off) • Try a sport or activity which requires perseverance (walk to University, go for a bike ride, a run, climb a hill, do an hour-long gym class) • Read an entire book that you feel will be useful for your future career, cover to cover, in one week or less. • Pursue any ideas or innovations you may have had with friends, family, tutors or work colleagues. Persuade and influence them of your great idea and work on achieving your goal no matter how small it may be.Practice your perseverance skills by the methods above, or some of yourown, for a set period of time. Make some notes as you go along to remindyourself when you have persevered, especially when others have given up,regardless of whether you think the outcome was positive or negative. At theend of this time, write up your experiences in the STAR format (Situation,Task, Action, Result).Futures: Graduate Skills 23/37
  24. 24. Skill Five: Perseverance In rugby I played for the men’s age groupSituation because they were low on numbers. There wasDescribe the situation a lot of injuries in that game so we didn’t haveyou were in. What was any replacements. The game was very closethe specific event or and important because of the rivalry. Tenset of circumstances in minutes into the second half I got hit by a lazywhich you found which broke my nose. I played on till the endyourself? of the game with the broken nose because there was no replacements We wanted to win the game because it was anTask important game. I had to stay on becauseDescribe the task you there was no chance that they could win withneeded or wanted to one man downaccomplish. What wasyour strategic goal ormission, what did youwant to achieve? I played for 30 minutes with a broken nose inAction game that was full of injuries because theDescribe the action(s) game was very tenseyou took and keep thefocus on you and yourcontribution even if itwas a team activity. I played on and we ended up winning theResult gameWhat happened? Whatwere the outcomes –positive and negative?What did you learn?Futures: Graduate Skills 24/37
  25. 25. Skill Six: NetworkingA supportive system. Informalinteraction.Increased access to opportunitiesNetworking…Networking is an essential skill for employment and self employment.Networking is the process of building contacts and support networks to assistyou at all stages in your career.Ways to practice…. • Try talking to someone new, spark up a conversation with someone on the bus or standing next to you in a queue, find out a little bit about them: how many siblings do they have? What is their job? • Draw up a mind map of your current contacts (sometimes called friends!), how many are you in touch with right now? How many do you need to get back in touch with? Send them a short email or letter getting back in contact. • Join the professional body for your chosen occupational area, go along to one of their meetings or events and meet some new people. • When you wear a name tag make it visible so when you shake hands, the nametag is right there next to your face so that it can be read easily. • Consider joining an e-networking platform and then invite friends, family and colleagues to join. • Use other electronic forums: Facebook; myspace and blogs to sell your skills and get to know new people. • Use work experience and volunteer work to meet new people, don’t be frightened to ask for new contacts. If you have a part time job while you are studying it may be useful to find out how the company operates as a whole, not just your section. Appear interested and enthusiastic to learn about what other job holders in the company do.Whenever you get the opportunity practice your networking skills for a setperiod of time. Make some notes as you go along to remind yourself whenyou have tried to network with someone regardless of whether you think theoutcome was positive or negative. At the end of this time, write up yourexperiences in the STAR format (Situation, Task, Action, Result).Futures: Graduate Skills 25/37
  26. 26. Skill six: NetworkingSome examples..In self employmentTom Savage, creator of Blue Ventures and Bright Green, is a socialentrepreneur who after leaving university worked as an innovator of ethicalentrepreneurial ideas supporting community based conservation. He feelsthat using established on line networks such as MySpace and Facebook is acrucial part of becoming and being an entrepreneur. For more informationabout Tom go to:www. job hunting“I spent a month doing work experience at several different broadcastingcompanies, and whilst at the BBC I was offered some freelance workanswering the telephone. I also offered to spend one day a week workingvoluntarily as a Researcher and then after a few months began to be offeredpaid work as a Researcher. Everyone told me and its true- work experience iskey. It will help you build up a list of contacts that can give you advice, letyou know of job opportunities or even recommend you for a job.”2006 Graduate of Bristol University. Source: Careers Service, University of BristolSimon has recently completed a postgraduate course in Film and Television.He attended a one day job hunting course run by the Careers Service. Duringthe course students talked to each other about their aims and objectives andwhat they were hoping to achieve. Simon was sitting next to an Americanpostgraduate student who had just completed an MA in BusinessAdministration. The American student was from Los Angeles and had workedfor two film studios before coming to England. He had numerous contacts inthe industry and during his time there had worked in casting and HRdepartments. He had seen hundreds of CVs from hopeful applicants. At theend of the job hunting course he suggested they both went out for a drink sohe could talk about his experiences and share ideas about CV preparation forthe film industry. Simon has now added another useful name to his networkof contacts.Source: AGCASFutures: Graduate Skills 26/37
  27. 27. Skill: Networking I have had to make an e portfolio on personalSituation development profile. This is where everythingDescribe the situation will go to show what I have doneyou were in. What wasthe specific event orset of circumstances inwhich you foundyourself? I had to choose three different skills toTask improve from three different areasDescribe the task youneeded or wanted toaccomplish. What wasyour strategic goal ormission, what did youwant to achieve? I went into detail of what the skills are that IAction needed to improve how to improve them andDescribe the action(s) why I need to improve themyou took and keep thefocus on you and yourcontribution even if itwas a team activity. My course leader said that it is the best eResult portfolio he has seen in the whole time of himWhat happened? What teaching PDPwere the outcomes –positive and negative?What did you learn?Futures: Graduate Skills 27/37
  28. 28. Skill 7. JudgementUsing judgement to take calculatedrisks. Intuitive decision making underuncertainty.How do you make decisions?It is important to understand and be able to reflect on your approach tomaking decisions. Are you very intuitive or impulsive or do you agonise overthe options and alternatives? Maybe you take a different approach dependingon what the decision is and what impact the outcome of the decision willhave on you and others around you.Entrepreneurs are often cited as being very intuitive and able to makedecisions with no fear of the risk involved. Often this is far from the truth andit is the “calculation” of that risk that determines the decision.Analyse your own styleTake two or three different types of decisions you have made over the lastfew months and answer the following questions.Example Decision: To come and study at Leeds MetWhy did you make that Because it is big university and I was verydecision? impressed with the campusHow did you make that I came to one of the opening days and I wasdecision? very impressed at all of the university campusWhat processes did you I looked at different campuses and leeds metsgo through to make that was the best by fardecision?Who did you talk to? I talked to my family and friends to find out theFutures: Graduate Skills 28/37
  29. 29. general opinion of leeds and leeds metWhere did you get the By talkinginformation needed?How did it feel? GoodAt the end of this time, write up your experiences in the STAR format(Situation, Task, Action, Result).Refer to Futures Workbook – Decision Making and Problem Solving for morehelp, activities and exercises to support you in this skill developmentFutures: Graduate Skills 29/37
  30. 30. Skill: Judgement The last move of the game in rugby it was aSituation scrum and we were in the quater final of theDescribe the situation cup. We were losing buy 4 point so we neededyou were in. What was a try.the specific event orset of circumstances inwhich you foundyourself? We had to score a try or we would looseTaskDescribe the task youneeded or wanted toaccomplish. What wasyour strategic goal ormission, what did youwant to achieve? I chose to call the move and I said that IAction would be the person who will get the ballDescribe the action(s)you took and keep thefocus on you and yourcontribution even if itwas a team activity. I went through the first tackle and off loadedResult the ball and we scored to win the matchWhat happened? Whatwere the outcomes –positive and negative?What did you learn?Futures: Graduate Skills 30/37
  31. 31. Skill 8. SellingPersuading, Negotiating,Proposing.Sales… • Face to face selling will be a vital skill for you in the future, whether or not you go into business for yourself. • BUT….You do not have to be a sharp-suited, fast talking ‘salesman’ or ‘saleswoman’ in the conventional sense. • You do need to be comfortable to persuade others to be interested in you /your product /your service.Ways to practice… • Car boot sale, sell some stuff at University • Part-time job which involves selling or promoting • Have a look at some of the many hundreds of books, tapes, websites etc. with loads of advice on how to sell. • Practice “selling” yourself e.g. for real at a job interview or pretend with a willing friend who will challenge you. Visit the Careers Service and use “The Interviewer” DVD to give you real life practice.Two most important rules for negotiating…Rule # 1 • Everything is negotiable.Rule # 2 • In business you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.Ways to practice… • Ask for student discount in places you don’t think they offer it yet (but should!) • Next time you buy something, try to negotiate a little (price, delivery, after-sales support) • Go to shops who are willing to haggle (independents as opposed to big chains)Futures: Graduate Skills 31/37
  32. 32. An Example from a Leeds Met student…SituationAfter being fed up of being skint I wanted to make some money and quick. I alsowanted to try my hand at entrepreneurship and to see if I could do what Sir AlanSugar did – which was to double my money in a matter of days.TaskTo achieve this goal, I needed to track down a product which was (a) accessible,(b) cheap to purchase and (c) something of value to students. After 20 minutesof Google searching, the penny dropped and Flash USB memory sticks becamethe obvious answer.ActionNow that I had my product, all I needed to do was understand and eliminate mycompetition. Co-incidentally the university was also selling USB memory sticksand for the prices they were charging, this may as well have been day lightrobbery. On this basis, given that I had done well to negotiate a good unit pricefor the sticks, I was able to undercut the university and in return make a healthyprofit.ResultAlthough, I did not double my money in a matter of a day, I did come close toachieving this in a matter of weeks. This goes to show that entrepreneurship isn’tjust all about business forecasting and extensive market research, but is actuallyhaving the courage to take that initial risk. If I did lose my initial investment, yes,it would have been a shame but whilst going through this process I picked upsales, negotiation and planning skills. These are skills of which that make up asuccessful entrepreneur.Whenever you get the opportunity, practice selling & negotiating for a setperiod of time. Make some notes as you go along to remind yourself whenyou have tried to sell someone something, or negotiated, regardless ofwhether you think the outcome was positive or negative. At the end of thistime, write up your experiences in the STAR format (Situation, Task, Action,Result).Futures: Graduate Skills 32/37
  33. 33. Skill: Selling Before university I used to deliver eggs for mySituation parents. We used to deliver to a lot of pubsDescribe the situation and shops. On the way delivering I got a callyou were in. What was saying the a big order wasn’t having their eggsthe specific event or and there had been a mistake with the amountset of circumstances in of eggs so I had to sell the eggs to otherwhich you found people.yourself? I had to sell more eggs to people that hadTask already ordered a set amountDescribe the task youneeded or wanted toaccomplish. What wasyour strategic goal ormission, what did youwant to achieve? I persuaded them in to buying moreActionDescribe the action(s)you took and keep thefocus on you and yourcontribution even if itwas a team activity. I sold all the eggs to people that had alreadyResult agreed to only take the set amountWhat happened? Whatwere the outcomes –positive and negative?What did you learn?Futures: Graduate Skills 33/37
  34. 34. Developing Your Plan of ActionWhere are you now? What are your attributes, skills, experiences, values inrelation to enterprise?Go back over the eight skill areas and identify the main skills where you feelconfident and competent at. Summarise these in the spaces below: I feel confident and competent in these enterprise skillsThe skills that I feel confident in are networking, perseverance, judgment andinitiativesEven though the score says that I scored most in judgment I feel that mymain strength is perseverance. I feel this because I am very hard workingminded and determined. I feel I am confident in networking because I am onsocial networking sites like facebook.Where would you like to be in the future? Now think about the enterpriseskills that you feel need some improvement. Summarise these in the spacebelow and say how you will go about doing this. I would like to improve these enterprise skillsSkill How I intend to do this By when?creativity By adding new and innovative ideas to group April the 15th meetings even if they aren’t practical April the 15thopportunity By improving creativity I will be able to chooseseeking more opportunities that probably wouldn’t have come up if hadn’tFutures: Graduate Skills 34/37
  35. 35. Now you have made some steps to improving your “enterprise capability”you may want to think about the bigger picture.Create an action plan to achieve both your long and short term goals; o Are your goals SMART? Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely o Do you have a contingency plan? o Review your plan regularly.My long term vision is….to be more creative in making ideas if they are realistic or not. Runco(2007) suggests that to be creative original and effectively expressiveThe steps I need to take to achieve this vision are:Action By When? Who will How will I support me know I’ve in this? succeeded?Now a little bit about the The day before The group If I have ideasbrief so can think about group meeting that match torough ideas the briefNo innovative ways on The day before The group If I have ideasdoing things group meeting that match to the briefSome useful websites for action planning and goal setting to Futures Workbook on Action Planning for more advice or visit yourcareers service for a one to one appointment to discuss your plans.Futures: Graduate Skills 35/37
  36. 36. Resources and further informationAssociation of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS), Duncan, Anyone Can Do It: My Story, Orion 2006Enterprise Insight: Creating an Enterprise Culture 2004Leeds Metropolitan University Business Start Up Metropolitan University Careers Service Metropolitan University Futures workbooks 1-6 Metropolitan University Institute of Enterprise Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship www.ncge.comParks, S (2004) Start Your Business - Week by Week London: PearsonBooks.Prospects Windmills Programme, M (2007). Creativity. London: Elsevier inc.Other Topics in the SeriesThere are several topics in the Series of Futures workbooks looking at self-assessment, job selection methods and effective communication withemployers. They are available to download Graduate Skills 36/37
  37. 37. Assessing Your Skills Other Your Selection Personality Methods and values Decision Graduate Making and Interviews Skills Problem Solving CV’s and Letters to Job Search Employers Work ExperienceFutures: Graduate Skills 37/37