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Source: Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

01 Sep, 2020

Digital and LinkedIn guru, Ryan ‘the Lion’ Ashton, starting his LinkedIn presentation

Shining a spotlight on two vital job search tools for students was how AUT Employability and Careers team helped students refocus around the uncertainty of Auckland’s second lockdown.

The team presented CV Week and LinkedIn Week for the two weeks of the August lockdown. Schedules were quickly juggled and four employers lined up to remotely present their insights into the power of LinkedIn and the importance of a good CV.

Student Employability & Careers Manager Serena Tiaiti says it was important to give students something to focus on – with a personal focus.

“Over two weeks our team gave tips by posting vlogs from their homes, as well as running an increased number of relevant online employability events.”

As a result, there was strong attendance at virtual workshops by students, backed up by a 39% increase in the use of the feedback dropbox for draft CVs, while the LinkedIn dropbox showed exponential growth of well over 200%.

Students delighted

Communication studies graduate Gerima Singh graduated in July and was looking for a way to still have career conversations with people during Covid-19.

“Covid-19 changed the networking landscape as we know it so I was looking for a way to still have career conversations with people,” she says.

She did two workshops over LinkedIn Week, including digital and LinkedIn guru Ryan ‘the Lion’ Ashton’s presentation, and has become much more active on the platform.

“I know exactly what my profile should convey and how beneficial effective engagement is, especially to a student in 2020. All these things are essential for us right now in terms of visibility to employers, and to building important relationships with super interesting people.”

Gerima also attended the CV Week sessions, describing both weeks as an incredible initiative for students who, like herself, are feeling stressed out.

“In my case, I felt discouraged most of the time because I didn’t know where to start. These workshops gave me something to hope for, and now I am constantly working on improving myself because I know the process, I know what’s to be done.”

For AUT mechanical engineering student Zane Yee, one of the take-home messages was to share and comment thoughtfully on LinkedIn. Zane attended the LinkedIn workshop session by Ryan ‘the Lion’ Ashton to enhance his use of his LinkedIn profile.

Zane also came away with tips on improved functionality and a sense of the value of LinkedIn as a professional community.

“We need to give sensible comments – not just compliments – and connect with purpose which means being mindful about who we connect with and whether it is to offer value or seek value from others,” says Zane.

What was offered

The Employability and Careers team ran workshops every day on CVs and LinkedIn. The four organisations that contributed remotely to the event were MYOB education manager for New Zealand Shailan Patel, EY senior campus recruitment consultant Hannah Booth, BDO talent acquisition Phillipa Dale and digital and LinkedIn guru Ryan ‘the lion’ Ashton.

The next major event for students is Employability Matters, scheduled at the end of September. This a week-long event involves a diverse range of employers and leaders offering a mix on-campus and online sessions outlining employment expectations, recruitment opportunities and job search tips.