Hi everyone! My name is Nicole Pramotton, I study International Business with Chinese at Westminster Business School (WBS) and I have just finished a year-long placement in the Marketing Team, here at WBS.
Well, here I am writing a blog I have now postponed for far too long. In fact, during my time at Westminster Business School, one of my duties was also to produce content for our blog and to interview students on a placement. So, I guess it’s time for me to interview myself… But, rather than answering a series of questions, I have decided to share a piece of what I have learnt, hoping that you’ll find it useful. Also, I know it’s a tad long, but if you are actively seeking a job and if you’ve just managed to read all the way until here, then you’ll love to know how this blog ends.
First things first…
Yes, how many times we find ourselves overwhelmed with things to do! Some of those are great and we are so excited about them, whereas some others are just boring and looking pointless. Guess what? The boring ones, most of the times are also the ones you’ll have to prioritize. So this is what I learnt: the importance of prioritizing. Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I had 60 minutes to cut down a tree, I would spend 40 minutes sharpening the axe and 20 minutes cutting it down”. It might sound silly right? As cutting down the tree at the highest speed possible would probably be everyone first thought eheh. So, how do I prioritise things effectively?
When I finally get to sit down at my desk with a nice cuppa, I start planning my day by writing a TO-DO list following the ‘ABC method’. In this method you go through the list twice: once to allocate an A, B, or C to each of your items and a second time through your list to allocate a sequence (1,2,3…) within each of the priorities. For example, you can use the following criteria for setting your A, B, or C priority:
A- Vital: tasks that are critically important to get done. There may be significant consequences for not completing these items on this day.
B-Important: items that are certainly important and should definitely get done, but if they slip by a day or two there may not be a significant consequence. If you are able to get to your B priority tasks each day, chances are you are operating in a productive state.
C-Optional: Activities that are “nice to haves” or may be related to projects that have deadlines far off into the future.
Time is precious!
Very similar to my previous point but worthy of having its own bullet point: the importance of time management. Whether we assign a dollar value to it or not, time is valuable to us. Think about it: How much of your typical work week do you spend stressed about not having enough time to complete a task or reach a goal? So, the answer is: you have time to do anything you want but the secret lays in dedicating your time to what (and sometimes who) really matters. I know, this does really sound like an overused expression, but trust me when I say that it’s the best cliché I have ever learnt. Time management is the key to success. It allows you to take control of your life rather than following the flow of others. As you accomplish more each day, make more sound decisions, and feel more in control, people notice. For example, leaders in your company may come to you when they need to get things done. And that increased exposure helps put you in line for advancement opportunities.
No matter how you feel…
…The moment you step into the office (or at uni), leave your problems outside the door. We live in a society where we are constantly under the judgment of others and are constantly comparing ourselves to them. It’s just how it has become: we don’t even need to step out of the house to see how rich and beautiful is that girl in our course or how expensive is the car of our successful colleague at work; it’s just there served to us on a silver plate called Instagram (or Facebook or whatever you want to call it). But guess what? We all have problems, and other people’s lives aren’t just as perfect! So, let’s just try to make it easier on ourselves and let’s not try to constantly compare our lives to others, at the end of the day, we have no idea what their journey is all about. Every person that crosses your way is going through something, in fact, if we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d probably grab ours back. So, as Regina Brett once said: “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up and never give up!“.
Value people and learn from them and… network!
The most incredible things, I can say, I have learnt them from people. Learning from everyone around me, from my teammate to my competitor to the random person I bumped into in the coffee shop this morning, is something I find increasingly valuable. You’d be surprised, sometimes even the person we’d expect it the least has something to teach. So, be a real listener but also go and talk to people, get to know them and don’t be afraid to ask for advice! I met so many beautiful people during this year, here below are just some of them:
It’s not over until is over!
For the many of you who I had the chance to have a chat with, you know already about the exhausting time I had while looking for a placement, and if you are currently applying for jobs/internship just know that you will get it! The question is: How? And the answer is: find out what you love doing and work hard for it! And this is the most important thing. Applying for 20+ roles on LinkedIn a day (perhaps the ‘easy-apply’ ones) won’t really get you too far. Ever heard of quality over quantity? So:
1) Find out what YOU like doing! This is not necessarily what everyone else likes doing or what your parents consider it to be a decent occupation, NO! You’ve heard me well. There’s this line by Steve Jobs I could not help repeating enough: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary”.
2) Polish your skills. Let’s say you are passionate about social media, how can you demonstrate that you are also better than the competition? Do your research, try some of the free online courses like Google Analytics Academy or the learning paths on Lynda.com for which you can get a free subscription just by being a student at Westminster Business School, amazing isn’t?! Indeed, the university has a number of resources available to you that ‘it’s not even funny’, use them! And most importantly, there’s a specialised team called CES (Careers and Employability Service) which can concretely help you achieve your dream job. They work with hundreds of employers to provide you with a variety of opportunities to work and develop new skills – from part-time work and work placements to volunteering, networking events and graduate opportunities.
3) Work hard for it! Wanting something so much just won’t suffice! Looking for a job is itself a full-time occupation and if you don’t have time, well, make time! Schedule 1 or 2 hours a day where you only dedicate your time to do this.
4) Go and get it but remember that it is not over until is over. You will eventually receive that long-awaited invitation to an interview/assessment day and by that time you might as well be tired and exhausted, which do not entitle you to turn up unprepared to an interview and trust me, for as much as you really want that job, this can happen (it happened to me too). So, make sure you prepare yourself adequately before you go for that interview and if you need some tips on how to do this here’s a link for you, but also do feel free to get in touch.
Wow, it sounds like a lot of things you could learn just by doing an internship, isn’t it? Well, “provare per credere” you’d say in Italian: Seeing is believing! And, if this article wasn’t just enough to learn about my experience at Westminster Business School, then make yourself comfortable and enjoy this short video, in which I was interviewed as part of the #PeopleofWestminster series.
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