Saturday, 27 September 2014

Outstanding careers advice

Our Upper Sixth are busily preparing their university applications at present and one of my favourite activities is being a mentor to a dozen of our pupils.  Advising them on how to make the best application and which courses and universities to apply to is a very rewarding process, not least because you see how their experiences to date have shaped their plans for the future.

At King's we put a lot of focus on careers advice and university applications and provide lots of opportunities for our pupils to engage with people from a variety of career paths and receive training on areas such as CV writing, interview techniques and networking skills.  We have established a website called The Jobs Network to act as a hub for current and former pupils at King's and it has transformed the level of support available, especially for former pupils who may be embarking on their careers or looking for change or development,

As part of this, it is always good to welcome Old Roffensians (as our alumni are called) back to King's and yesterday we had a visit from Joanna Odeyiran OR who spoke to the Sixth Form about her career and most importantly about the mindset and key decisions which have shaped her fascinating and successful life to date.

Joanna is currently a programme manager for South Sudan and Sudan at the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA). She previously worked as a Senior Human Rights Officer with the United Nations in Darfur, Sudan and Gaza. She has also worked as a researcher for Amnesty International, where she researched and wrote reports on human rights Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Iraq and so had plenty of interesting insights into global politics.

Joanna's top tips for our Sixth Form pupils provides an excellent summary of the key attributes needed for a successful and fulfilling career and life.

  • Keep questioning who you are and what you want out of life.
  • Expect a portfolio career not a linear one.
  • Networks are vital - especially professional.  Make sure you maintain your reputation within them,
  • Don't worry if you find you have come to a dead-end in a particular job.  There is nothing so liberating as resigning from a job you hate - it's more enjoyable than getting a job you want.
  • Do things that feel scary.  Always challenge yourself to play at the top of your game.
  • In a competitive jobs market, work out what skills others lack and work on developing them.  It's amazing how few people can really write well and put together a concise, analytical report.
  • The world is full of diabolical managers.  Develop your skills of managing people.
  • A good education means nothing unless you use it.  Too many people walk past opportunities.
  • Be ambitious, be willing to work hard and anything can be achieved.