Four weeks on and the Get the Digital Edge day seems remote but it was as exciting day with a genuine buzz around what we were doing. Here’s an overview of the sessions:
Using social media for job search
I attended the talk ‘Using Social Media to Job Hunt’ which was presented by Aimee Bateman. Aimee Bateman, who is founder of Careercake.com and has over ten years’ expertise in employment, talked about personal branding and the use of social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter for job hunting. I have always been interested in this subject and I was pleased to have the opportunity to attend this talk. It was a highly interactive session, with many examples and lots of questions from the attendees. The importance of social media in recruitment was highlighted at the beginning of the talk where we heard about the high percentage of employers who form their decision on recruiting an applicant by searching the applicant’s presence on social media. Aimee talked about the personal brand and personal statement and also on the importance of the avatar, the visual representation in the social media. It was very interesting to see the different media employers use to search for information on an applicant. The talk was focussed mainly on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook where we were given lots of tips on how to develop our online presence with these media. There was lots of interest from the attendees on the subjects discussed and I enjoyed the talk as I learned a lot about the use of social media for improving employability.
Social media and reputation: what you can learn from big companies
Andrew Rigby is a Consultant with The Group ‘Digital Agency of The Year’ are the UK’s leading online corporate communication agency. They design, build, host and manage web sites and reports, but also help companies understand and monitor their online reputation. With huge and increasing numbers of people using online media e.g. Facebook, with more than 200 million active users, to comment on, not just large companies, which is their main concern, but anything and everything including individuals. For students entering the workplace, online reputation can have a huge impact. Andrew provided an entertaining and relevant talk illustrating how large companies have both fallen foul and benefited from online media, emphasising how it has more and more relevance in all aspects of our lives and that it is important not just to connect, but to monitor your reputation and betterunderstand how your social media activity may affect you.
Managing your online identity made attendees think twice about what is publicly available about them. Frances Gow gave some very useful tips on how to check this, for example looking yourself up on people search engines such as peekyou.com and social-searcher.com. What appears when people search your name on Google is also very important to consider, as this is essentially your online CV. The dangers of how much can be revealed about someone who hasn’t managed their online identity correctly were highlighted in a video “I know what you did five minutes ago” by Tom Scott. By the end of the session, one student had already changed his Facebook settings and another was planning on changing her profile picture.
Researching your companies online for your job interview
This session was delivered by two Academic Liaison Librarians for Business, Ellie Murphy and Sara Goddard. The idea behind the session was to show students how to make the most of the resources available to them to get the edge at interview. While students may be used to using these resources for academic work this session aimed to show them how they can be utilised to find potential employers and to do effective research before interview. In the first part of the session Sara showed students how to use FAME to search for potential employers and create a mailing list. Ellie then described how you can prepare for interview using Mintel and Passport to research a company or industry. Sara finished the session by demonstrating Factiva which can be used to keep up to date by reading global newspaper articles.
Ellie Murphy and Sara Goddard
Learning from media change
Here’s what Jim Mclellan had to say about his contribution to the day:
IT training opportunities at the University of Westminster
Kevin Lawley and Jemma Perrin are IT Training Specialists at the University and did a talk regarding the IT training opportunities, which focused on the certification programmes facilitated by the IT Training Team. The Microsoft Office Specialist and Adobe Certified Associate programmes are free of charge for students and alumni of the University. The session was positively received by attendees; with all agreeing that with the continual need for excellent IT skills in the workplace. Making the most of the IT training opportunities provided whilst at University is both beneficial in supporting academic work and important, if not essential to enhance employability.
Recently I attended a talk by Peter Chatterton future -gazing on Higher Education and libraries in 2020. A couple of ideas struck me as particularly relevant now to the DigitISE project.
The first was to focus on capabilities rather than skills. It made me realise that our terminology had slipped backwards; our thinking prior to this project had been about graduate attributes. I suspect that the reason is that the word “skills” has more meaning to us (those engaged in the project), particularly those of us engaged with “information skills”, but as we know from experience and our research it doesn’t necessarily mean much to students. Perhaps we should challenge ourselves and try to define what we mean by skills?
Peter also broadened the depth of what graduate capabilities might include – problem identification rather than just problem solving. Critical thinking, communication, collaboration and change – the graduate capability lying in understanding these processes and using them to lead for change. This again had strong resonance, as a constant theme of the digital skills project research and of the DigitISE day has been that students know how to use the tools, they just don’t always understand the context or where the information has come from or goes to – in terms of the digital literacy definition we have been using – the locate, organise understand and evaluate information element.
“Digital literacy is the ability to locate, organise, understand and evaluate information using digital technology. It involves a working knowledge of current high-technology and an understanding of how it can be used. Digitally literate people can communicate and work more effectively, especially with those who possess the same knowledge and skills”.
Peter also talked about the future of learning being the capability to engage with or lead “Communities of practice”, and this is very much what the DigitISE project has been about. Engaging with academics, students, senior managers, learning technologists, careers, librarians, IT trainers, the Student Union and employers.
Until Peter’s talk the discussion has been of “collaboration” and “working collaboratively”. Earlier this year I attended a faculty teaching and learning symposium where a discussion point was “collaboration to improve the student experience” (generated from module feedback). I realised that my understanding of collaboration (more closely aligned to communities of practice) was very different to that of the academics. Academics had immediately thought of collaboration as creating cross-faculty modules. I had thought of collaboration as working together to utilising the skills of the different areas and departments and stakeholders of the University. Perhaps “building communities of practice” is the middle ground where the different professional viewpoints can meet.