The Art and Importance of Self-Reflection………..

Whatever extra-curricular experience you’re involved in, it pays to think more deeply about (and record) what you’re doing and, more importantly, how you are doing it.

Getting into the habit now of writing down, in detail, what you’re doing will be of huge benefit to you when you’re applying for jobs, internships or other opportunities. Throughout the recruitment process you will frequently be asked to describe and analyse what you’ve done in the past. This is based on the idea that past behaviour is the best way to predict future behaviour.  So if you can talk about a time you solved a problem really well, then the interview panel can see how you could solve a different problem in the future.

If you start recording your evidence now as you move through your time at university, you won’t be scrabbling around for ideas when it comes to applications and interviews.

So, take 5 minutes at the end of each day or week, to reflect on what you’ve done in your part-time work, volunteering, clubs, society, vacation job etc. Maybe try using one of these structures when reflecting on your work.

1. STAR

Situation / Task – what was the situation, was there a particular challenge, who was involved. Try to get quantifiable detail down e.g. if  you delivered a presentation – how many people was it to?

Action – What specifically did you do? What skills did you use? How did you manage the situation?

Result – What went well? What did you learn? What would you do differently?

2. What? So what? Now what?

What?

  • Record what happened.
  • Think about what it means.

So What?

  • Why is it important?
  • What can it tell people about the way you behave and the skills you have.

So What Now?

  •  ‘OK, based on this,  what have I learnt/what would I do differently?’

By writing down  your reflections on what you’re doing; what you enjoy, what you don’t, what you’re good at, what you’re not, what went well, what didn’t  – you can start to identify patterns which can help you with making bigger career decisions in the future, and evidence of skills and strengths for future applications and interviews.

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