Be The Recruiter - 8 applications, 10 mins and a hard hat


Regardless of their attendance at application writing workshops, students continue to struggle with writing an application that goes beyond what’s in it for them. The challenge to get students to match their skills and experience to what employers want, persists. This experiential activity allows students just 10 minutes to wear the recruiter’s hat. In that time however, students demonstrate that “aha” moment and testify to new insights about what it is that employers are seeking. As in most experiential activities, deeper learning comes in the debrief that follows. This presentation will provide you with a useful resource and share a range of activities that can be simulated and incorporated into your own practice.

Be The Recruiter compressed.pdf

Demonstrated benefit to tertiary students, graduate employers and/or tertiary institutions

Be the Recruiter is an experiential activity which builds skills and facilitates students’ learning about writing job applications. This activity utilises real life application samples (complete with real mistakes) which have been re-identified with apologies to popular culture. The position description/job advertisement has been chosen because it is generic and because the selection criteria reflect typical graduate attributes. Such authentic tasks help students to contextualise their learning and engage more deeply and productively with the material. When required to think like a recruiter, students readily adopt an objective perspective and construct new knowledge around what is required in the application process. Teaching students how to write applications is one of our most familiar tasks. Utilising a real life resource that helps students to experience the process for themselves helps the learning to stick. By putting on the hat of the recruiter, students are encouraged to step out of their own space and provide analysis and comment. This is far easier than critiquing one’s own work, and they usually engage freely. Once students have experienced the recruiter’s perspective they can more readily take this new knowledge and apply it to their own practice. “Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience” (Kolb, 1984, p. 38). This activity provides a model for a resource that gives authentic, real world learning which can readily be utilised by those seeking ways to incorporate WIL activities into the curriculum. Academics love it and testify to their own learning using this experiential process! In the short space of 30 – 40 mins the activity plus an essential debrief about student’s choices and rational for the choices, provides the opportunity for students to reassess their own application practices and start to apply some of the learning they have gained.

Potentially or currently benefits the NAGCAS organisation, its members and the career development industry

This is a useful resource that can be utilised by NAGCAS members to improve the quality of student applications. It can be used with large or small groups and can be customised to various cohorts by reproducing applications from different disciplines. Resumes can model a range of different experiences which can suggest possibilities to the reader. Developed with generic employability skills in mind – the criteria being assessed are transferrable to a wide range of roles and occupations. The complete package of attachments includes facilitator instructions, resource booklet and worksheets – the work has already been done! Happy to share in Word to enable branding to other universities (with acknowledgement to WSU for development of the resource).

A degree of innovation

Fun and engaging – use of fun character names which reference popular culture allows the presenter to make the workshop engaging whilst not losing the ‘message’. Job application workshops are often dry and don’t engage students in the real process of analysing what makes a good application. By turning the tables, students experience for themselves what an employer is looking for. This innovative use of the Case Study represents exemplary learning and teaching practice.



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