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How to prepare for a future career during the studies?

The students showed that they can organize a webinar, crossing time zones and cultures. The event involved people from different industries and environments.


Eva Holmberg

Yrkeshögskolan Novia

Annika Konttinen

lehtori, matkailuliiketoiminta
Senior Lecturer, tourism business
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Published : 22.11.2021

As travelling and meeting project partners have been off the table for the past 18 months now, the people working in the SUCSESS project have had to come up with other ways to keep up the spirit. One way to engage people is to make them come together through digital means – this time we chose a webinar for the mode of connection.

Find your why

The main objective of the SUCSESS project is to enhance employability and work readiness of South African university graduates especially through intensifying the collaboration between students, academic staff and industry partners. Thus, the speakers of the webinar were asked to come up with advice on how students could prepare themselves for their future careers already during their studies.

The first speaker was Rosalie Clarke, a South African based in Australia (giving her talk at 2 am Australian time!), who talked about finding your why and the competences needed in the future of work. Rosalie stressed that students should combine specialisations offered at university to create a unique profile in order to stand out in the job applicant crowds in the eyes of potential employees.

Towards a hybrid work environment

The second speaker was a Brussels-based consultant, Pauline de Clerck, who gave practical tips on CVs and how to make them impressive. Keep it simple, was her advice: A good CV can be as short as one page and no picture of the applicant is needed. Pauline stressed the importance of reviewing and spell checking, and making sure that you tailor the CV to a specific job. Students lacking work experience were encouraged to include their extra-curricular activities along with the transferable skills they have learnt through their hobbies. Doing sports is considered positive, as it reveals the competitive side of an applicant.

It takes recruiters just six seconds to look at a CV and decide if a candidate is a good fit for the job, said Pauline. Nowadays, as recruiting companies get hundreds if not thousands of applications, artificial intelligence (AI) is also used to look for key words in CVs. Pauline also recommends that candidates check out the LinkedIn profiles of the recruiter and the company website before an interview. It is crucial to make an impression!

The final speaker of the webinar was Scott Russell, a Scot based in Finland, who shared his insights on the trends and requirements needed in workplaces today as well as the skills and equipment needed to involve the audience in remote meetings. His insights were useful considering the hybrid work environment that the students will be entering. Being able to use technology efficiently and conduct online meetings smoothly are key competences for all university graduates both in Europe and South Africa.

The aftermath: We are all learning together

All in all, the students showed that they can organize an event, crossing time zones and cultures, involving people from different industries and environments, to share insights about a topic of interest. Projects like this offer students opportunities to find their own paths and strengths, to create content for their CVs, and to develop their online meeting skills – key topics identified by the speakers of the webinar for a successful post-university career.

The third semester students of Tourism and Event Management at Haaga-Helia Porvoo campus got the task of organising a student workshop and a webinar which took place on 27 October 2021. The students from Haaga-Helia took care of all the arrangements and used their contacts to invite guest speakers. They also hosted the session and engaged the audience with Q & A in the chat. The students got to learn important skills for the future of work: communication, collaboration, initiative and cultural awareness, among many other things.

The audience of the webinar, i.e., the project partners and their stakeholders, was spread out across Finland, the U.K. and especially in the target country of the project, the Republic of South Africa. The planning of the project had to consider multiple time zones and countries, six universities and around 60 participants.

Read more:
Project description on Haaga-Helia website
SUCSESS project website