A Personal Reflection ON Employability after University

I've been a student at the University of Essex for the past two academic years with the intention of graduating with the necessary information and skills. I've matured and learned in ways during my stay that I never would have imagined. I knew when I transferred from Taylor's University that business finance and economics was where I wanted to work. I knew what I desired because I had studied some introductory material in my first year at Taylor's University. The exposure I have received up to this moment has opened my eyes as far as my career is concerned. I have learned to know who I am. I have learned how handle tasks using business language, how to assess situations on my own and ways of researching and solving questions that I may not have a ready answer for. Most of all, I have become aware that I can become much better than I currently am, I can exploit all my strengths and cope with my weaknesses, I can make decisions just by sensing that what I am doing is right, I can handle stress by taking on duties that are tough, I know how to seek out rewards that improve my self-motivation and most importantly, I have developed employability skills that I never had sometimes back. For this reason, I have confidence that I will have no problem securing a well-paying job after completing my studies.

When I started at Taylor’s up to the time I came to Essex, I had imagined that all I would be doing was reading financial theory, doing calculations, and then responding to financial papers. As a person, my thoughts were rather fixated. Indeed, anyone enrolling for courses in Business and Finance would share the same opinion. What I have come to realize however is that there is so much more to it. With a good attitude and determination, I now know that I can fit in any setup with ease. Direct careers options that I have include being: an accounting technician, an actuarial analyst, or a chartered management accountant. Indeed the prospects for business and finance graduates in 2017 are bright and so is the pay (Highfliers.co.uk, 2017). If that fails, I could even end up in starting my own business. After all, business courses train people to be creators of wealth rather than just partakers. I understand why it is important to have experience as you pursue career aspirations. As a preparation step, I have worked as a freelance promoter in a pharmacy, a sales assistant at Essex Student Union bubble tea shop and last year, was an intern working in finance and business development for three months in GoBear (Malaysia), here I was lucky to engage in financial analysis, accounting and reporting on daily sales. In addition, I had the opportunity to discuss business collaboration between two companies. This was an awesome experience to me and an eye opener.

The extrovert in me gives me confidence in interacting with people. I am an outdoors person, I am generally inclined to interact with other people and share with them knowledge in the hope that I will improve mine too. In this regard, I have always wanted to specialize in an area that will offer me satisfaction and a decent income. This is why a job as an economist would suit me well. I have a role model too: Adam Smith, a celebrated economist, and an author. Given my love for wide reading, I intend to explore my writing ability in the fullness of time. I have thought of my interest in economics this for a while and my argument is premised on the fact that such a job gives one the latitude to be more of a think tank than a strict office worker. I know that in such a position I will be able to explore my abilities fully and achieve to the best of my ability.

As a student and potential employee, I am aware that getting a job nowadays is not a walk in the park. Today’s academic world produces literally thousands of graduates in most careers. In a flat world like this one (Friedman, 2009), we compete not just with ourselves but with highly trained professionals from around the world for the same few jobs. I would not want to engage in a fruitless chase after I graduate. My training in Essex has reinforced the key skills of sending applications and attending interviews to select places. In this regard, the size of an organization, its recruitment policy, overall business image and the job image will be my main considerations even before I forward an application. In addition to this, I have been taught that I have to look at demographic factors, the labor market in the place, the unemployment situation in the place, labor laws and legal considerations as I consider applying for any open position. I have a strong belief that my potential is high and therefore, I want to offer my services where I believe, they are required.

Given that I have set for myself such a high threshold, sitting on my laurels waiting for the perfect job is not an option, my training demands that one does more. I have already done some investigation and although I meet some of the desired skills for research and job finding, there are others that I’m yet to look at. As I look for the perfect job, I will: Reflect on what I am really passionate about, then explore career profiles, read on working professionals, use social media and similar tools among others to get mentorship on my area of interest, after this, I will target. By this I mean I will be more keen to know the geography, motivation, industry, type of organization and the skill set I want to develop. This will lead me to engage with my current network and communicate with others outside my network in roles that are in tandem with my target. Through networks, I will engage working professionals. In the same breadth, I will strive to attend conferences and events because I know that some opportunities are not even posted online. I will also use sites like Twitter and LinkedIn among others to get some relevant contacts.

This will lead me to prepare. I know this might sound funny but I will actually congratulate myself if I do all these and is conserved for an interview. Without rushing, I will check that my requirements have been met, then I will talk with someone who can advise me correctly. In case I get several offers, I will rank all of them from top to bottom in order to see how each of these aligns with my desired job elements. Such an amount of meticulousness will help me secure that chance I will have applied for. My training dictates that I work to the best of my ability and update my Curriculum Vitae as part of my personal development. This means I will have all information related to my achievements at my fingertips. Reflection will continue to be part of my everyday activities. This will be an opportunity for me to continue building my network for future goals.

In filling application forms, I know I will not disappoint, my training can vouch for me. The reality that having a good personal statement, answering competency and awkward questions, keeping answers sharp and keeping the details of spell checking, following set rules, avoiding to leave blank spaces, attaching documents to emails and verifying my online presence will be key. I wouldn't like a comment I posted on Facebook or any of these other social sites be the one to deny me an interview.

For the interview, I will keep in mind that I cannot take second chances; therefore I will ensure that I practice nonverbal communication –eye contact, firm handshake, standing straight among others. I will also be well groomed depending on the company culture and dress code. To listen I will, talking too much I will avoid. I will also not become too familiar to the interviewers since it is a job interview. I will stick to professional language and be modest in all instances. On questions posed I will strive to answer all of them. I will also ask a question if given a chance. The only thing I will not do is to appear desperate. Interviews are very important and a key to the securing of any vacancy.

Apart from the normal school schedule, I have a life which is fulfilling and I enjoy every moment of that. I am a polyglot, with a mastery of English, Malay, and Mandarin – in which I can comfortable use Hakka and Cantonese dialects. This means I can easily do a job in places where these languages are spoken. I am also an avid dancer, a badminton player, a singer and a piano player. When I am not in class, this is what I do and I am happy to report that this, has kept me fit and stress-free for as long as I can remember.

Despite my rich experiences at Taylor and Essex Universities, and the other opportunities I have had, I know I have a long way to go before becoming perfect. However, with the great guidance from my lecturers, an excellent environment for developing wholesomeness, I am convinced that I have the necessary employability skills to secure employment and will be a resourceful employee as soon as that opportunity arises.


Friedman, T. (2009). The World is Flat. 1st ed. [Bridgewater, NJ]: Distributed by Paw Prints/Baker & Taylor.

Highfliers.co.uk. (2017). High Fliers. [online] Available at: http://www.highfliers.co.uk [Accessed 2 May 2017].

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