Loughborough team win innovation award to help job applicants stand out

A team of Loughborough University students and graduates from the Department of Politics, History and International Relations has been awarded £5,000 of funding in the Summer of Student Innovation competition.

Their winning project – Video CV (VCV) – allows students to communicate their skills, experience and, crucially, their character and initiative to potential employers in a much more personal way.

The team comprised postgraduate student Laura Scott, undergraduate Thomas Goodacre, and graduates Emily Clews and Laura Crawford.

The Summer of Student Innovation competition – run by Jisc, who work with universities to provide digital technologies for education and research – offers students the chance to create technology solutions that could improve education, research and student life, and change the education landscape forever.

Laura Scott, who led the team's application process, explains the thinking behind the Video CV project.

“In the current job market, it can be extremely difficult for students to ensure they stand out from the crowd. Often they don’t have any face-to-face contact with their potential employers until the latter stages of the application process. The VCV offers students the opportunity to express their character at a much earlier stage in the process. They can demonstrate their initiative, creativity and IT skills in a memorable and much more personal way,” said Laura.

Video CVs are still in their infancy and Laura believes the timing of their project is perfect.

She said: “At the moment students either have to produce their own video CV, which can mean they sometimes lack professionalism, or they have to pay a private company to produce one, and these don’t always reflect the student’s individuality. Our project aims to bridge this gap, providing the advice and tools students require for free, but allowing them to make their own formatting and content choices.”

The team have developed a guide that can be run either in a face-to-face workshop format or online. There is an introductory presentation to outline the potential for VCVs as employability tools, sample VCVs and a step-by-step guide to help students plan and create their own.

The project will be piloted at Loughborough University, with the aim of then rolling it out to other universities and colleges and even school leavers and job-seekers.

The team will use the funding from Jisc to buy equipment to enable them to produce high quality video footage and fund the team’s promotion of the project around the country.

For the Summer of Student Innovation competition, entrants had to submit a two- to five-minute video pitch on the Jisc Elevator website, along with a short summary and a 300-500 word description outlining the benefits of their idea and its impact on research and education.

Their entry had to hit a target of 250 votes. Anyone could vote, but the votes had to come from 15 different further and higher education institutions.

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