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Planning a better future
Planning a better future

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4 What are my main achievements?

In Activity 4 you were asked to note down your particular achievements – things that you view as personal successes. These could be work-related, to do with relationships or things you do in your spare time. For example, passing all your exams first time may say that you’re an excellent student; whereas passing your driving test on the fifth attempt may say a lot about your staying power and determination. Remember, this is about what you view as being a success, because you are best placed to understand your personal circumstances and the obstacles that you have had to overcome to reach a certain goal.

Activity 5

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Looking back at the lifeline you created in Activity 1, the roles you’ve played and the experiences you’ve had, go to the template for this activity in the resource pack [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   and note down the achievements you’re most proud of. Then think about the knowledge and abilities you applied in order to achieve what you did. Perhaps you had to learn a new technique, or used or developed a skill you already had?

Table 1 is an example of a completed table.

Table 1 An example of your achievements and what they say about you
What I achievedSkills, knowledge, personal characteristics and attitudes used/required
Passed my driving testHad to demonstrate that my driving skills met the required standard. Had to be confident in my ability to remain calm under pressure. Had to pass a test of my knowledge of the Highway Code.
Became a qualified youth football coachHad to learn coaching skills (theory and practical). Have to be able to communicate with young people and their parents effectively. Gained a first aid qualification. Have to promote a positive attitude among team members and lead by example.
ParenthoodHad to learn about what babies and toddlers need to keep them happy and healthy. Developed knowledge about good nutrition for youngsters and how to handle common childhood illnesses. Needed to become more organised when planning outings, etc.
Raised £6000 for cancer charity by organising a charity auctionHad to arrange a venue. Promoted event and sold tickets. Had to use my network of family and friends to obtain items for the auction. Had to provide catering and entertainment for the evening. Had to manage the budget so that the event produced the target donation required. Used basic IT skills (Word, Excel and the internet) to organise the various aspects of the event. Had to be very motivated and determined to make a success of the event and demonstrate good interpersonal skills to persuade people to become involved in helping me out.
Got a place at collegeMade redundant from dead-end job and decided I needed to change my career direction. Got some careers information, advice and guidance from the job centre, my local library, and careers service. Decided I wanted to be involved in the sports and leisure industry, and to make a career of it. Learned that I would need some qualifications to get in at the right level, so researched relevant courses locally and applied. Had to attend an interview and persuade the interviewer that I was really committed to the course (my youth football coaching experience helped me here). Needed to show confidence in my ability to do the course and demonstrate good communications skills during the application and interview process.

Which of the skills or qualities you’ve listed could be used in a work situation? The chances are that you’ve highlighted some ‘transferable skills’ (such as administrative/organisational and communication skills) and qualities that would be useful in many kinds of work.

How do I provide evidence of my achievements?

Now that you have identified your capabilities it would be useful to think about what evidence you can give in support of these. On an application form you are often asked to give an example of a time when you effectively used a particular skill or to demonstrate knowledge in a particular area. If you claim to have certain capabilities, you are expected to provide supporting evidence.

When thinking about evidence it can help to think of using a variety of sources, including your studies, work (paid or unpaid) and hobbies. In order to structure what you write in an application form, you could use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Actions, Result).

Activity 6

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Here are two examples, using a couple of the achievements identified in Table 1, showing how you could use the STAR method if you were asked about your administrative/organisational and communication skills when applying for a job:

  • Administrative/organisational: While involved in raising money for a cancer charity (situation), I organised a successful charity auction (task): hiring the venue, creating a schedule for the event, securing donations for the auction from friends, family and local businesses, and managing the budget and ticket sales (actions). The event raised more than £6000 against a target of £5000 (result).
  • Communication: In my role as youth football coach (situation), I have to communicate effectively with different groups of people; players, parents and officials (task). It is essential that I am clear with the players about what is expected of them in terms of tactics and behaviour before, during and after the game. I also have to deal sensitively with arguments that sometimes break out among parents in the heat of the moment and calm down situations. I communicate with officials in a professional way and make sure that they are treated with respect (actions). My effective communications skills mean that games are played in the right spirit and the fact that my team won the fair play trophy last season provides evidence of that (result).

Now it’s your turn. Look back at your list of achievements and associated capabilities. Think about how you could present your achievements in an application form or at an interview using the STAR method if you were asked to present evidence of transferable skills such as effective communication. Write a paragraph using the examples given above as a model.

Remember that recognising and providing evidence of the capabilities you have to offer is key in being able to market yourself to an employer.

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You've now completed Section 4 - well done! We hope that you have found your study useful and are motivated to carry on with the course. Remember, if you pass the quiz at the end of each block you will be able to download a badge as evidence of your learning and you can download a statement of participation that recognises your completion of the whole course.