This is a guest post from Hélène Fyffe, an undergraduate starting her final year at Edinburgh Napier University, having spent a year on placement with Microsoft UK Education as part of her course.
How do students stand out at assessment centres?
Whilst spicing things up in the classroom, Office Mix can also help pack a punch in the interview room. With graduate schemes, placements and internships becoming increasingly more competitive, students need to find ways to differentiate themselves from their peers.
We're beginning to see more and more creative CV's entering the workplace which exposes a new interpretation to the saying 'grab their attention'. However, we've perhaps not heard as many examples of quirky assessment centre presentations. When prospective graduates or interns are asked to prepare a presentation about themselves and what they could offer, the standard trend is for students to make a PowerPoint presentation and/or to bring in an illustrated A3 poster. By no means should this tactic be undervalued as an effective demonstration of preparation, but what Office Mix could add is a creative flair to help assessors to clearly remember the student.
The dreaded Assessment Centre
Perhaps one of the most daunting application steps for many students is presenting to a board of potential employers. The stress of being individually scrutinized is at boiling-point as all eyes are on you and there is nobody to make you look better (and thankfully not worse). Every little fidget and overly pregnant pause will be noticed and students are very much aware that assessors will compare their efforts to their peers' to source out the best.
With so much pressure to stand out from the competition, students are increasingly looking for ways to differentiate themselves but the issue is how much time they have. Everyone knows that final year is the most demanding time of the academic life-cycle and not all students have hours at their disposal to create videos or graphic posters for assessment centres.
How can Office Mix help?
Office Mix is effectively a ready-made toolkit to help students feel confident in their presentation pitch and make a statement without too much hassle. There are a couple of features in particular that will enable students to engage their audience.
Within their PowerPoint presentation, they can integrate videos which can be a powerful way to share snippets of work experience, acquired skills or extra-curricular activities, such as: interviews they've given, a creative film or advertisement they've made, a play or musical performance they've featured in, or an extract from a game they've designed. Examples of content are exhaustive as are the ways students could manipulate this feature to illuminate their presentations. For those with a little more time on their hands and a creative mind-set, they could even create their own video specially for the assessment and then demonstrate it within Office Mix.
Another bonus is the ability to integrate web content into slides! Rather than spend an agonising few seconds of clumsily switching slides to webpage, students can integrate web pages directly into their presentation with Office Mix's web page feature. This means students can easily show off multiple records of achievements or work experience that are based online, such as social media pages they have managed, a business they've started, blogs they've written, websites they have developed or articles they've been featured in.
These are just a few snippets of how Office Mix could give students that extra edge in the recruitment process, which I hope will inspire teachers and lecturers to share the Office Mix PowerPoint download with their classes.