Friday, 24 September 2010


One of the best tips I ever got was from a book called “What colour is your parachute” many moons ago. And it was this. In telling your story through your CV you should relate your achievements in particular posts as opposed to merely describing your duties. So instead of saying,

“Taught a range of post-graduate modules

I would say,

“Developed two new modules in consultation with employers and amended the assessment on another in order to make it more relevant to students’ intended career path”.

The second statement demonstrates a more active approach to work and therefore is more appealing to an employer. Crafting a CV is a vitally important task. It’s getting your foot in the door and it demands that you spend a great deal of time working on it.

Showing instead of telling

While I have not got a CV to hand at the moment, the details of my employment history and education are there for all to see on the LinkedIn site. The LinkedIn site does offer some insight into my career. It provides links to both my tweets and to slideshare where my slides are on public view. Showing my slides could be considered as part of my portfolio. This shows what I can actually do as opposed to merely stating it on a CV.

If you have the opportunity to present a CV digitally, you should consider embedding digital examples of your work as a showcase of what you can do. Nigel Boyce is an actor who has appeared in a range of productions. He has produced a video clip which clearly demonstrates his range of work.

Patrick O'Kane is another actor who has put his CV on his agent's site with a an example of his voice. There is a long list of productions he has appeared in. The two modes of presentation are in sharp contrast. It would be interesting to hear which you think more effectively showcases their professionalism to the greater effect?

Reflection & CV

Producing a CV should encourage self reflection. What is the message you want to convey about yourself? Critically review your own CV and consider how a potential employer might view you. For instance, I am aware that my own CV shows a higher than average number of employers. Anyone reading it might assume that I have itchy feet. Or that I am not very committed. Or even, maybe, that I had to move on. I am aware of these so in telling the story of my work history I try to convey a sense of achievement. And this is actually true. In the process of self-reflection , I conclude that I like starting new things, I thrive on a challenge and I love learning. When I have mastered something new I have tended to move on and start afresh.

The experience of working in a variety of organisations, with different cultures has been very useful as I can bring to a new organisation things I have learned elsewhere as well as the confidence to deal purposefully with a wide range of abilities. It has been a privilege to have been a part of so many great organisations and to have seen how they operate from the inside. Not only did all this experience benefit me in moving from job to job (and usually to a better one), it solidified my academic interest in organisational culture. I was curious to learn more about what makes organisations tick? This led me into my first academic role, teaching Management at Post graduate level. After some time I changed tack again and became interested in the notion of Leadership. This led me into thinking about the difference between Management and Leadership. And this has led to my current interest which is biographical data and uncovering the language (or discourse) of leaders. Carrying out a series of biographical interviews has then led me into evaluating this as a methodology for inquiry.

Hedgehog or Fox?

Isaiah Berlin
was a philosopher who wrote a famous essay called the Hedgehog and the Fox about the pursuit of knowledge. The hedgehog knows a lot about one big thing while the fox knows many small things. I believe my work history shows that I have leanings towards the fox.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Photos on Flickr

When I got my digital camera a few years ago I began to store the pictures on my computer and decided to build up an image bank. A few months ago I uploaded some of my photos to the flickr resource. Here is a sample of my photos. I found it useful to organise them into themes; hence I have this set which I have entitled "Adult Learning" and I have one on "Transport" and so on. I have used my images in my professional practice in slide shows which I have developed as learning tools. Another good use I put my images to is the creation of my unique calling cards through Moo - which is relatively inexpensive. Doing this has made me realise how valuable the digital camera is and I make sure I have it with me as much as possible. When I am taking a close up photo of people I ask the subject if they mind if I take their photo. Mostly, people are ok about it but occasionally, they refuse. This I fully respect. Thinking about an image bank has made me look around me a lot more when I am out and about. It has also made me more aware of the everyday events close at hand. A camera is not just for holidays: it's for life!

Those times I do not have my camera I use my mobile phone. In fact, I was so pleased with this image I took on my i-phone that I used it for my calling / business card. I like the fact that it's the confluence of three textures / structural materials. It's taken in my hotel room in Barcelona when I was at a conference there last year. I am sure I was influenced by my god-daughter who had just completed architecture and listening to her talk with enthusiasm about building materials made me look at structures and buildings with a better informed eye.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Learning Resources Quiz

This is open to all students on the BA Professional Practice programme in the School of Arts & Education, in Middlesex University. Please e-mail your answers to before 12.00 on 30th September. The winner will be drawn and announced at the Campus Session on 1st October, in MODA at the Cat Hill campus. When you e-mail your entry please put Chocolate in the subject line. The prize is a large bar of Green & Black chocolate and a copy of Getting Started with University Level Work Based Learning edited by Alan Durrant et. al. The best responses to the last question will be posted on the blog and a special prize will be awarded. Enjoy discovering the Learning Resources at Middlesex.

1. What year was the most recent book by Alan Durrant in the library published?

2. What shelf mark is Performance Art at?

3. What do you need in order to log on to the Middlesex University Web Help Desk?

4. What year did the design and arts index begin?

5. How many titles are in the essential bibliography on the theme “Reflective & Experiential Learning”?

6. The key to electronic resources shares its name with a European capital. What is it called?

7. In the DVD/Video section of the Dance Subject Guide how many minutes does the DVD “Dance Salsa with Sanchez Puerto Rican style” last?

8. Complete the following sentence in no more than 15 words – Learning resources are ....

There will be a special prize for the best response to the last question with a selection posted on the blog. Enjoy discovering our learning resources.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Free Guide to Punctation

A good day's work for Beckett, allegedly, was to place a comma in his text. His next day's work would be to remove it; carefully.

If he were around today, he may have found the free 184 page book called, "Improve your punctuation", included with today's Times newspaper of help. All those squiggles and lines which interrupt our words in the page are de-constructed with explanation. The necessity for the practice of punctuation is clear from the following example in the introduction:

I hate habitual liars; like you, I find them detestable.

I hate habitual liars like you; I find them detestable.

Same words, different punctuation, different meaning. Get it, if you can, today. Glancing through it, it's entertaining, useful and breezily written. It comes from the Collins stable of publishers.