Sonya Harvey works for the Careers and Employability Department and heads the Student development Award here at BU. Sonya’s role is to support our students in achieving the BU Student Development Award that recognises the transferrable skills students develop from their experiences while involved in extra-curricular activities. The Award enables them to create a high profile e-portfolio showcasing all their activities which they can then share with potential employers in their CV, job application and on LinkedIn. The reflective writing they do for the Award requires them to think about the skills they used in specific activities and write about what they did, what happened and how they overcame the challenges involved – things like problem-solving, intercultural awareness, collaborative working and many more that employers look for in suitable applicants. These pieces of writing provides them with ready-made answers to the essential and desirable aspects of the person specification, taking the stress out of completing job application forms when they are looking for Placements and Graduate roles. They also have the opportunity to stand out from other candidates at interview when they are confident in articulating their experiences so employers can visualise them working in their organisation. Along with the tools and resources available to them in MyCareerHub, the Award takes our students on a journey to success at BU and beyond.
Sonya uses a number of tools to help the students to identify, explore and write about their achievements including a Mind Map and a Critical Thinking Model.
Sonya says a Mind Map is a great tool for use in many areas of work and personal life. Use one to plan and organise an event; set goals and highlight milestones; match skills and examples of experience for job applications; set out elements of a task to monitor progress and much more. Mind Maps often go hand in hand with Critical Thinking techniques.
The Critical Thinking Model is useful when you don’t know where to start with a report or when you get stuck on an idea or project It can be a particularly useful tool in helping you to structure your thinking. When you ask yourself an open question, your mind will search for the answer and help you get the thinking process started – What was I doing? Where was I? What happened when…? What did I do after…? Why did I choose to…? What if I had…? – After this, you will usually find that your thinking becomes clearer and thoughts and ideas flow more easily, helping you put together the writing you need for the task in hand.