Battling the elements by Fiona Paterson

I attended CILIP in London’s career and reflective practice workshop on Monday 28th October. This was the infamous day that saw train chaos due to strong winds but the course went ahead with minimal delay.

My fellow attendees seemed to be from a mix of sectors and were in varying stages of their careers. The morning consisted of a presentation from TFPL, which started with a look at the current job market. We looked at the skills needed to compete in said market and how these can be presented both through CVs and interviews. We also had the opportunity to examine our own skills using something called a skills matrix. This saw us rating ourselves in several areas and then plotting the results on to a graph. It is a visual way of highlighting any strengths and also weaknesses, which can then be addressed according to the direction you want your career to go in. An important aspect of the course was sharing experiences, for example, hearing the sort of time management tasks that can come up in interviews. There was also the opportunity to have your CV looked at by an expert, which was valuable.

The afternoon saw a session on reflective practice given by the charismatic Paula Nottingham from Middlesex University. Reflective practice is looking at something you have done and thinking about what you would do the same or differently next time to improve the outcome and then putting this into practice and repeating the process. We started with concept drawings, which are a way of visualising ideas using abstract imagery. For example, my representation of growth:


I think we all struggled with this initially but they are a really good way of getting thoughts out of your head and on to paper. The last part of the session saw us reflecting on something we had done in the past few months and sharing this with our peers. I think this is certainly a worthwhile task, even just to free your mind but it can be challenging to find the time to sit down and do it. I would recommend this session to anyone undertaking chartership, as it would really help with this process.

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