This month we caught up with event rider and country girl Charlotte Clarke, who is on a quest to find employment. Find out how she got on.
To give you a brief background, I am a graduate with a degree in Agriculture from The Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester. I am the eldest of 4 sisters so life has been varied but always busy. I left school having gained 10 GCSEs and 3 A-levels, took a gap year which I spent working in Ireland and Suffolk, completed my 3 year degree course and finally spent a year working in Australia. I have recently had the opportunity to relocate to West Cornwall from East Suffolk.
Relocating to Cornwall
Relocating was a fantastic experience, however, since moving to the Penzance area, job hunting was my stumbling block. Post-moving I had settled into full time employment, however I felt that I had more to give and needed a new, more engaging path. Naturally I Googled “jobs in Cornwall, jobs in Penzance, jobs in the south-west” etc and a majority of what I found was not quite what I was after; care work, shop assistant, farm labouring. I then stumbled across a website www.unlocking-potential.co.uk/jobs which I wished I had found earlier.
Stand Out From The Crowd Course
My research resulted in a phone call and introduction to Unlocking Potential’s Stand Out from the Crowd course. It was explained that I would get the following from the course; confidence, sense of direction, presentation skills, CV and interview help to name but a few. The course ran over 9 half days in business locations across West and Central Cornwall. The locations varied in environment to help us try and figure out where we might feel most at home; Francis Clark, Etherington Meats and Trelissick Gardens are examples.
On day 1 we were thrown into the deep end and had to plan and present an introduction of our neighbour to the rest of the group. On reflection it was the best challenge Nicky could have set us as it gave her an insight into confidence levels, communication skills and got all of us talking pretty quickly! Turns out the 12 of us were all mildly terrified but ready to get stuck in and get the most out of the ensuing days.
Day 4 was a big milestone for me. It consisted of discussions surrounding presentation skills, public speaking, pitching and social media. The social media expert was a real eye opener as she helped me recognise the impact your activity on these platforms can have on you as a job seeker and potential employee. The day concluded with an impromptu individual presentation on anything that you are passionate about. We all took on board what had been discussed earlier in the day/week and presented with more confidence and charisma than day 1. This was an excellent approach to breaking down personal barriers and to get to know each other better; it was the first time we really felt like a group of friends and not strangers in the same room!
The first week passed quickly and with so much information to digest and names to remember my brain was working over-time; I couldn’t sleep. Even early on, doors had begun to open and light was being shed which was allowing me to view the job market and myself with a new sense of purpose.
The second week began with a team building day at an outdoor adventure park which allowed everyone to “break down any personal space barriers”. It was an excellent way to start the new week and allowed for some people to break out of their shell. It was also interesting to see what different roles people would adopt; leader, evaluator, team worker.
The final 4 days were to culminate with each of us preparing and presenting an individual pitch entitled Me, Myself, The Product. We had been briefed about this on day 1 but at that point day 9 seemed like an eternity away; it came around all too quickly! Names were drawn out of the hat and an order of service set. I was the penultimate ‘act’. It was incredibly helpful to sit and listen to everyone’s different interpretations of the title, to watch their individual pitches and to listen to the feedback from the panel of ‘prospective employers’.
Some talked quickly, some slowly, some used a PowerPoint, some didn’t, some moved around and were mobile, some were very stationary and well anchored; the pitch and tone of voice varied hugely and the stories told were so very different. What was consistent across the group was the improvement in public speaking since days 1 and 4.
Looking back it was funny; here we were a group of friends preparing to speak for 5mins in front of one another about a well-rehearsed subject and we were terrified. We were not being marked, graded or judged but it meant a lot to all of us to do well and show the team what we had learnt.
Stand Out from the Crowd helped us all do exactly that. We were a mixed bunch; some of us were fresh graduates, some career changers and some with a wealth of career knowledge.
Having now completed the course, I think I speak for us all when I say that we understand ourselves better; our goals, our aims, our values, we know our strengths; both work related and interpersonal and we know how to read the job market and adverts with a sense of purpose and an air of confidence. We know what we want from a job and we now have a far better understanding of how to achieve this.
At the beginning of the course we were all asked to write down something different about ourselves; we had a trainee pilot, a mountaineer, a HGV driver and a football fan to name a few. Our reasoning for being there; our love of Cornwall, our goal for the end of the course; to find career paths which enable us to remain in this beautiful part of the world.
Stand Out from the Crowd has made this all the more possible so thank you. Having read this, if bells are ringing or any of it sounds familiar then please do not hesitate in getting in contact with the team at Unlocking Potential; we only wish we had sooner!