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About this book

Whatever stage your students are at, it’s never too soon for them to be thinking about their future. Competition for jobs is fierce, and having a degree is no longer enough. This indispensable guide helps students to create their own personal development programme and develop the skills and capabilities required by today’s employers. Step by step, it takes students from the initial stages of setting goals and defining success through to the application process for their dream job. Internationally acclaimed study skills author Stella Cottrell provides students with the ingredients they need to create their own recipe for success.

This versatile resource is ideal for students on personal development modules from foundation through to postgraduate level. It can also be used independently by students from all disciplines.

Table of Contents

Introduction: taking charge of your life, learning and career

Introduction: taking charge of your life, learning and career

Abstract
Your time as a student is a major step in your professional career.
Stella Cottrell

Self-management

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. The vision: what does success mean to you?

Abstract
Everybody wants to be successful — but in their own way. We each have our own versions or definitions of what ‘success’ means, for ourselves and for others. The kinds of success characterised by Barack Obama, Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé, J. K. Rowling, Lionel Messi, Aung San Suu Kyi or Shah Rukh Khan, are all very different, but no less valuable to the people concerned.
Stella Cottrell

Chapter 2. Know yourself

Abstract
This chapter focuses on how your life story so far, and the narratives that you construct to make sense of your experience, contribute to your uniqueness. It encourages you to investigate how your personal history, attitudes and beliefs about your ability might be influencing the way you do things now and your current achievement.
Stella Cottrell

Chapter 3. Understanding your personal performance

Abstract
In the previous chapter you considered your own life journey and how you characterised yourself within this by using metaphors such as ‘the hero’ or by exaggerating elements of your story to form caricatures.
Stella Cottrell

Chapter 4. Successful self-management

Abstract
Self-management encompasses a very broad range of skills, qualities, attitudes and experience. It can include some or all of the following:
  • • being able to analyse your situation, identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis)
  • • identifying resources and sources of support
  • • managing your time
  • • adopting attitudes that support your aims
  • • taking a solution-focused approach to managing problems
  • • managing your own emotions
  • • coping when in distress
  • • managing change, uncertainty and confusion.
Stella Cottrell

People and task management skills

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. People skills

Abstract
‘People skills’ are a combination of good interpersonal skills (being able to work well with others) and intra-personal skills (being able to manage one’s own attitudes and emotions). ‘People skills’ are now critical to success in a wide range of careers. They are as important to the modern economy as are knowledge, information and technical skills.
Stella Cottrell

Chapter 6. Successful problem-solving and task management

Abstract
Problem-solving is highly valued by employers. They want graduates to ‘hit the ground running’, able to apply skills to new situations and deal with new tasks with minimum supervision. Almost every activity, task or problem will draw on the following set of processes and skills:
1
Strategy: tactics and an overall plan.
 
2
Techniques: methods to use.
 
3
People skills: working with others in appropriate ways to achieve the goal.
 
4
Self-management: managing your time, personal issues, feelings and performance.
 
5
Creativity: finding ideas that contribute towards a solution.
 
Stella Cottrell

Extend your thinking

Frontmatter

Chapter 7. Thinking outside the box

Abstract
Learning is a natural process. Our brains are set up to learn — they consist of approximately a hundred billion neurons, which are linked in elaborate networks. These neural networks enable us to:
  • • transmit information from one part of the brain to another
  • • form associations between new information and what we already know
  • • make sense of what we experience
  • • encode information for memory.
Stella Cottrell

Chapter 8. The art of reflection

Abstract
If you have a fleck of bright green paint between your eyes, or egg on your chin, you cannot see them as they are too close to your eyes to be visible to them Without a mirror or a comment from other people, you could pretend there was nothing to see. This won’t, of course, prevent others from seeing what you cannot.
Stella Cottrell

Employability: enhancing your career prospects

Frontmatter

Chapter 9. What do employers really want?

Abstract
It is natural, when looking for a job and reading job advertisements, to look at how each role would suit us Matching the job to our own needs is, of course, important, at least where there is some choice, and this point is addressed in Chapter 10. However, you are more likely to be offered a job if you are also able to consider new roles from an employer’s perspective Aim to balance your interests with the business needs of the prospective employer.
Stella Cottrell

Chapter 10. Getting the job you want

Abstract
Applying for jobs is an art in itself. It is no longer sufficient to send a CV to a host of employers and hope that one will notice you. The quality of your application is more important than applying in bulk: tailor your application to each employer and role.
Stella Cottrell

Chapter 11. Maintaining good personal records

Abstract
It’s never too early to start planning for life after university and you can save yourself a lot of time and effort if you record your achievements as you progress through your course. Chapters 1 and 2 focused on an analysis of yourself, and the vision and goals that should be informing and inspiring such advance planning, in order to assist your career development.
Stella Cottrell

Chapter 12. Drawing it together

Abstract
Personal planning is not simply about making a ‘plan’ and following it. It is a developmental process that each individual moulds to suit their own needs and interests over time. It is about getting to grips with issues such as:
  • • who you are and the kind of person you want to be
  • • the life you want to lead and what you want from life
  • • what matters to you and what you want to achieve
  • • the steps you will take to achieve your goals
  • • recognising changes in your interests and charting out a new plan in line with those changes.
Stella Cottrell
Additional information