Building your personal brand

Did you know that you have just seven seconds to make a first impression? William Richards reflects on this insightful Birkbeck Futures event and the importance of honing your personal brand.

Have you ever thought about your personal brand?

On Monday 8 February, Birkbeck students were treated to a specialist talk on ‘Personal Branding’ by Jenna Davies, Employability Consultant in the Birkbeck Futures team.

The talk sought to enhance students’ understanding of their individuality and their personal mark, whether in their studies or beyond. It can often be hard to define our own individual strengths and weaknesses, especially when such topics can be difficult to discuss. While we may not typically think of ourselves as ‘brands’, it can be eye-opening to do so!

By giving ourselves our own personal brand, Jenna explained that students will be able to make themselves more easily understood and more successful within a pitching environment.

Recent studies have shown that humans will make a first impression on someone within the first seven seconds of introducing themselves. By making the most of these precious moments, we can dramatically affect others’ understanding of who we are and what we stand for.

We are each unique beings with unique strengths and it’s never too late to celebrate and uplift our own individualities. What are the unique selling points that could help you stand out to employers or collaborators? Let us know and help inspire others in the comments below.

A big thank you to Jenna and all of those who made Monday’s session a success.

Birkbeck Futures is Birkbeck’s own in-house career support team. If you would like to learn more about employability opportunities or are looking to enhance your presence on platform such as LinkedIn, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Understanding the ‘Global News’ Paradigm

Birkbeck’s William Richards reflects on this School of Arts event exploring the evolution of English-language journalism.

In an era of ever-increasing digital compartmentalisation and division, what really is global news?

This was the question asked by Dr Justin Schlosberg, Senior Lecturer in Birkbeck’s Department of Film, Media & Cultural Studies at a fascinating talk entitled ‘The Global News Paradigm’.

Hosted online by the School of Arts on Monday 25 January, the event began with the hypothesis from Dr Schlosberg that global news is in flux and in content evolution. For better or for worse, broadcasters steeped in the Western liberal tradition of professional journalism have faced increasing competition from English-language news channels around the world.

Throughout this talk, the hegemony of the BBC and CNN was analysed in the context of its rising challengers; the likes of Al Jazeera English and RT (formerly Russia Today). Indeed, says Dr Schlosberg, this raises all sorts of complex and critical questions about the nature of journalism as a fundamentally truth-telling practice, and the potential impact of disinformation and counter-disinformation on global news agendas.

Seeking to evaluate these questions, Dr Schlosberg carefully examined and discussed the ways in which international news stories have been covered by competing English-language news channels.

It is often very easy to get carried away by buzzwords of ‘Fake News’ or ‘bias’ when discussing the media in this day and age. Nevertheless, what constitutes stories of importance within the contact of ‘Global News’ remains open to to debate and interpretation.

A recording of this event is available to watch on YouTube.

A big thank you to the School of Arts and Dr Justin Schlosberg for his presentation. We look forward to hosting similar, thought-provoking talks in the future.

Further Information:

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Work, worklessness and wellbeing – COVID19 and beyond

Dr Gail Kinman, Visiting Professor of Occupational Health Psychology introduces a series of webinars to support organisations and their employees through the COVID19 pandemic and beyond.

The Covid19 pandemic is having a major impact on the way that we live, and how and where we work. For many people, it has been a time of setbacks and loss as businesses close, redundancy looms, and the effects of inequalities become ever more apparent. The post-pandemic future is uncertain, and little is yet known about its long-term implications for individuals and organisations. It is therefore crucial to help organisations and individuals maintain health and wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond and to encourage policy makers to consider how to meet the key challenges they are facing.

Public Health England have commissioned a series of seven webinars and associated resources to support organisations and employees by providing practical guidance on key issues of concern during these challenging times. With the Society of Occupational Health, I have been commissioned to organise these webinars and prepare follow-up briefings. The project is guided by a steering group that includes leading experts and employers’ organisations.

The webinars are free of charge and designed to support employers and employees from businesses large and small; professionals working in health and social care, public health, occupational health, and human resources; the community and voluntary sector; and policy makers.  The webinars are, however, open to everyone who has an interest in work and wellbeing. We have attracted a wide range of high-profile speakers from organisations such as MIND, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Business in the Community, the British Psychological Society, the Health and Safety Executive, the Centre for Better Ageing and the Carnegie Trust and there will also be presentations from leading academics working in the field of work and wellbeing.

Upcoming webinars:

  • 28 January 2021 (2 – 3.30 pm) Refreshing your approach to workplace diversity and inclusion post 2020
  • 4 February 2021 (2 – 4pm) Managing job insecurity and creating better quality work
  • 11 February 2021 (2 – 4pm) Managing stress, burnout and fatigue in health and social care
  • 24 February 2021 (2 – 4pm) Promoting workplace health and wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond
  • 3 March 2021 (2 – 4pm) Developing a COVID-secure health and wellbeing strategy
  • 10 March 2021 (2 – 4pm) Managing change – from restricting and redundancy to implementing home working.

Our first webinar, ‘Support for business to build back better: the benefits of age diversity’ was held on 21 January, attracting around 120 people from a range of sectors and with very positive feedback from attendees. Watch a video recording of the event on YouTube.

We look forward to seeing you at the forthcoming webinars. More information on each webinar and booking can be found on the Society of Occupational Medicine website.

Further Information:

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“Without Birkbeck’s disability service, I wouldn’t have finished my degree”

Ryan Wilson recently graduated with a First in BSc Economic and Social Policy, after overcoming a number of adversities, including leaving school with no qualifications and becoming seriously ill after a drug trial went wrong. Here is his #BBKgrad story.

Ryan Wilson

Ryan was born and raised in Islington and describes his background as “working class and economically deprived”. He came out of school with no GCSEs. In a bid to earn money, he took part in a drug trial in 2006 which went catastrophically wrong. Suffering multiple organ failures, as well as loosing parts of his fingers and toes, Ryan now faces his legs being amputated in the future. Ryan explains, “I felt at the time my whole life had been wiped away from me, and I’m still not over it and to be honest never fully will be. I had planned for years to become a plumber and could no longer pursue this career path due to my injuries.”

A few years later, in 2012, Ryan had a son. He describes this as a pivotal moment: “I just wanted to prove to my son that anyone can change their life circumstance if they try hard enough. I believe everyone has potential, just for a lot of people its untapped. I’d been wanting to study economics for a number of years but hadn’t had the confidence to and being a student was a different world to the one I knew. I started researching how to become an economist and saw I had to get GCSEs, A Levels and a degree. So, in 2012, I started studying for my GCSEs. I managed to obtain an A* in English and a B in Maths so I progressed onto study Economics A Level. I’d never studied so much in my life but my hard graft meant I achieved an A. I had the most amazing teacher, who encouraged me to apply to Birkbeck, saying that they’d consider my application.”

In 2016, Ryan started his part-time BSc Economic and Social Policy degree, alongside working as an independent prison monitor, ensuring the decency of prisons and humane treatment of prisoners. He explains: “I had textbooks glued to me throughout my degree and entered a wormhole of reading. I worked so hard and loved the lectures – my favourite modules were Economics and Public Policy, and Macroeconomic Theory and Policy. I struggled in my second year with studying for my degree and overcoming some personal hurdles, but the support I received from the disability team and the mental health service really increased my confidence and drive to succeed. Mark Pimm, the Disability Service Manager, gave me hope in a sea of uncertainty. He encouraged me not to quit and without him and his team, I wouldn’t have completed my degree.”

Ryan graduated in November, winning the prize for the best final year Economics and Social Policy student. Describing his future plans, he says, “I want to work in politics and next week I’ve got an interview for my dream job in the civil service, working for the Department of International Trade. I’m busy writing a book about my life journey and how policy impacts the lives of people. In the future, I want to get into motivational speaking because I want to help others and be a voice for the under-represented groups that I’m part of.”

Further Information

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