University degrees are becoming ubiquitous, but employers are increasingly underwhelmed with the quality of graduates. What can you do to stand out from your peers?
The job market is improving, at least for the time being. A growing number of people are awarded first class university degrees. Yet increasingly, employers find graduates deficient in key workplace skills, such as oral communication and critical thinking. Perhaps employers have unrealistic expectations of graduates. It’s also likely that the university system needs a complete overhaul. This may take decades to change. In the meantime, what can you do to obtain the ‘real world’ skills that many apparently lack?
Stirling’s Public Speaking Society is ensuring their members can take on situations that would challenge even the most seasoned professionals. Taking a slightly different format to the society’s usual activities, this week’s session involved a mock press conference using real world examples. Explaining the new approach, SPSS’s President, Calum Murdoch, said
“we try to challenge our members in new and unexpected ways. By doing this we help to boost their confidence and enable them to realise their potential in an unfamiliar setting.”
Whether representing BP post-oil spill crisis, or defending FIFA in the wake of the 2015 corruption scandal, each group faced gruelling questions from “the press” (aka their fellow society members). Members within each group assumed specific roles, ranging from Ethical Officer, to Safety Officer, and the highly coveted Executive Director. The emphasis was on your power to convince, rather than knowledge of the events.
While this scenario may sound like some people’s version of hell, it all takes place in the light-hearted and fun atmosphere of the society. Although it can be challenging, everyone takes part so there is a strong sense of empathy. Feedback is always supportive and constructive. There’s no better place than this non-judgmental environment to develop your public speaking and interview skills. It’s these skills that improve your confidence, and may even help secure you a job.
Still not convinced? When else do you get the chance to assume the role of some of the most powerful people in the world?! Jump-start your route to becoming CEO in your own right by joining SPSS. Meetings are on Monday evenings and further information can be found on the society’s Facebook page or via the Student’s Union website.
Finally, here’s a great example of how not to handle a press conference: