Due to the coronavirus and how life has changed lately because of this, I was not able to attend my last three workshops while in University. I took part in a few workshops in Birmingham in September and then did a CV workshop not long after before falling ill for a few months. It was definitely a challenge to work from home with my usual work but the fact that we could now take some workshops online by watching these CareerCake videos was actually very useful for me as I was not fully recovered and back in Uni as it was.
CareerCake is a great resource for employability and building skills with CVs, social media presence, and a range of other skills that could be very useful for the job hunt and how I present myself online. This was the first video I had watched by Aimee Bateman, who I gathered from the video was the creator of CareerCake and features in a lot of shorter clips too that I will be definitely be checking out for the little tips that could help out massively.
The workshop began with the question: What is your personal brand? What three words would you use to describe yourself as a person?
I thought about this a lot, as a surface pattern designer I would definitely say a key word for me is creative, I also thought about jobs that I have done or how I have moved through school and University, and I have always been hard-working. I also thought about the moments where I have felt for people, or helped people, whether it’s family, friends or strangers, and I think I am compassionate.
The idea of the course is to understand what personal branding is and why it helps in your career path, create a strong and unique brand statement and learn about how to leverage social media.
Something that I picked up on that I thought was interesting was the difference between a strength and a skill, which I suppose before I did consider to be the same thing. Aimee described a skill as something you are good at, and a strength is something that you really enjoy and feel passionate about. I think an example of me is that printmaking is a skill for me, I can do it well when I do it, but I do not enjoy it and I try to avoid it if there is another way to do something. I really enjoy stitching and construction, I am good at these and I enjoy it, so I think I really try again and again to improve it and produce pieces I am proud of, so I would consider this a strength.
A part of the workshop was to ask others what three words they would use to describe you, I asked my boyfriend, my friends I live with in Uni, and my friends from school who study at different unis to me now. My boyfriend said ‘Kind, Loyal, Honest’, which was lovely to hear. My Uni friends said ‘hard-working, ambitious, creative’, ‘imaginative, insightful, warm-hearted’ and ‘thoughtful, artistic, understanding’. Again these were nice things to hear, I consider the people that I asked to be honest enough with me that they would tell me something negative if I was asking for the feedback, it was interesting that the closest to my words are from my friend Elin, who lives with me and also studies the same course as me in our creative field.
It was pointed out that we possibly see qualities that we shared and values that we share with the people we choose to trust with these kinds of questions, this is not something I would openly post on my social media pages and it makes sense that I spoke to the people I did, as I see qualities in them that do match my own.
An important question is why do I do it? Why do I do what I do?
I really enjoy it, I love being creative and watching something turn from a blank canvas, page or space and becoming something to be proud of. There was always an expectation of me throughout school because I got good grades, that I was going to be something that my parents considered important, but I have never felt passionate about anything in school like I did for art, textiles and photography. I took all three at A level with ICT, and did not drop one for my second year because I really did enjoy them all for the different reasons. My work now tends to combine all four of those subjects. I also do it because I want to be independent and own my own business.
The values lesson was interesting, the first question posed was what are your top five pet hates in relationships? I thought about this and one thing that affects how I feel towards a person in any level of relationship is disrespect, in terms of work I think unprofessionalism can get annoying very quickly while at first maybe seeming like you could have an easier time with a relaxed boss but ultimately there needs to be a level of professionalism there. I also think dishonesty is hard to deal with, you need to know that your friends and the closest people to you will be honest, even if you will not always like it.
The next question was what situations make you feel annoyed or angry? I think mostly for me I find issue with personal space, I do find myself getting very annoyed if my workspace is disturbed in particular.
The next part covered what kind of employer would I want to work for? I have never really thought about this before beyond the field that I may want to work in, but thinking about it I think I would like someone who is passionate about the work, someone who wants constant improvement and is open to suggestions about this, the worst thing is seeing an obvious problem in the way things are running and no one bothered enough to fix it. I also think professionalism is important but also flexibility, having anxiety I am very nervous that an employer would not understand if I was having a bad day, ideally I would love an employer who would trust me to work from home sometimes if this helped me, as long as I was still getting the work done. I believe too that if I was in a job that I really enjoyed, I would take the work home with me, I have never just kept my school or Uni work confined to the campus, I have always spent nights and weekends working on things.
The next section covered the personal brand statement, which is 1-2 sentences covering what I am best at, who I serve, how i do it uniquely and why I do it. This is something I do not want to rush at all, I want to think about this as my branding continues to develop and come up with something good for this.
The social media lesson was probably the most insightful, the key points touched on the importance of privacy on the internet, by googling yourself you can see what an employer might see when they google you too. It is important to lock down Facebook, it is not a good platform for networking so does not need to be open or available for everyone to see. My Facebook is rarely used anyway, I mostly use it to keep in touch with my friends and watch cute dog videos. I think a little to-do list with my social media is needed, including updating my LinkedIn and posting more content, restarting my twitter, again sometimes I rarely use so there is not really much point having anything on it as it has nothing to do with me or my work. My youtube has a little bit of my work content that I uploaded to my blog here, as I have to show my work on here for Uni and you cannot upload videos directly I had to create a Youtube account to show these. Maybe I could find a way of putting more of my work on there instead, like time lapses of me drawing or something.
Some final notes about the workshop was the importance of email addresses being professional, consistent photographs across social media and even photo of me doing my art as the picture which is something I do not have an image of, and also email signatures, which is something I have not considered at all but may be useful for me to spread my instagram for example.
Overall I really enjoyed the workshop, it was not just sitting and watching an hour of a video, it was engaging and interesting and has definitely made me enthusiastic about building more skills and watching more content on CareerCake too.