As part of Moreton Sixth’s Life-Skills programme, preparing our students for the world beyond school and indeed university, the Lower Sixth spent the first Saturday morning in the company of Executive Search and Senior Recruitment Specialist, Sarah Hopkins from Hopkins Longworth Executive Search, as they explored the importance of ‘Creating Brand You’.
Working at the cutting edge of the graduate employment market, Sarah Hopkins explained that employers are now looking for more than just academic achievement from the generation branded as ‘snowflakes’. Employers face a huge turnover of staff and they believe new recruits lack resilience and other key transferable skills which will allow them to thrive in the workplaces of the future. To counter this, she recommended to our sixth formers that they begin now, not only in undertaking voluntary work; engaging in extracurricular activities and pursuits such as debating, music, sport; developing a keen awareness of community and social responsibility and taking summer jobs, but also in recognising that the skill set developed in all of these areas is key to future success.
Sarah believes employers now are focusing on an applicant’s core values and interests, and are seeking individuals with the courage of their convictions. She was impressed at how her audience embraced her message and at how the school’s Life-Skills programme, leading to our Rylands Diploma, will prepare these young women for the world of work: “The competitive landscape facing these youngsters means that the ability to illustrate confidently; talking and describing their experiences – is as important to develop alongside the traditional academic achievements. They soon grasped that many of the skills required are already being developed and will be transferable, but key is to respect and evidence these skills, so they can present them to potential employers."
So how do you show a potential employer these strengths? You make yourself the CEO of your own career and track your journey, for example on a platform such as LinkedIn. Sarah explained that a good profile should capture your core values, show commitment, be broader than academic achievement and can be evidenced by photos. To illustrate the reality of this in the workplace, Sarah was joined by Miranda Jones a Graduate Rural Surveyor, with Savills. Sarah commented: “Miranda was able to provide some real insight into her recent experience of A levels, University and her first year with Savills as she works towards her assessment of professional competence, with the Royal Institution of Chartered surveyors.”
As the Moreton sixth formers then began the first stage of developing their own profiles, Moreton Sixth student Florence reflected: “I have always wanted to own a business. From being tiny I have invented crazy business ideas and presented them to my parents - my ‘flying car’ pitch was a favourite!
“Sarah Hopkins’s fascinating and interactive session definitely confirmed my dream of becoming a business person. The advice and guidance on how to brand yourself in your public image, was most illuminating. Who knew LinkedIn could be so influential? It was a thoroughly informative and well delivered morning and we are all very grateful to Sarah and Miranda for their time and for launching our journey onto the Moreton Sixth Life-Skills programme and the Rylands Diploma."