Self-reflection Focus for Student Employability Research Project

The Torrens University Careers and Employability and Academic teams have always worked closely. Together their core mission is to ensure that what students are being taught in the classroom are the skills hospitality employers look for in graduates. When the opportunity for the two teams to further strengthen their collaboration emerged, three passionate members were quick to embark on an exciting research project.

Earlier this year Dr. Mandi Baker, Dr. Zelko Livaic and Lacey Hodgert were awarded a Susan Holland Research Fellowship Scholarship for their research project “Check yourself: How professional self-reflection can improve student employability.” This exciting piece of research is not only an amazing opportunity for two exceptional teams to work together but one where student employability can be further increased.

Check Yourself will focus on three key points:

  • How the Careers and Employability team can raise the employability of students whilst studying with BMIHMS at Torrens University
  • How the Academic team is able to further teach and encourage students to become self-reflective – a soft skill needed in life-long learning
  • How students can become more strategic in the way they are promoting themselves and singular in their message when talking to potential employers

At the centre of this research project is a product called Social Check. A revolutionary technology that allows people to assess their digital footprint and take recommended actions to help improve that presence.

With 91% of recruiters having turned down someone purely on their social media presences, there is an ever-growing importance that people take the time to ensure their online presence is the best it can be.

“Recruiters will ditch you if there is something not quite aligned with what they are looking for. Being overly negative on social media may result in you getting passed over as a short-listed candidate,” says Dr. Baker.

The research project will commence in Term 3 2017, with Year 2 and 3 students from selected classes. Students will be given the opportunity to complete a Social Check test, with the results being returned to them, complete with recommendations to improve their presence. This alone will help to make students more attractive to employers and increase their employment prospects.

The research team will conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data obtained from each Social Check report and a debrief with students about the results obtained. The focus of the debrief will be how the results made students feel. The research team will be conducting a follow-up survey to better understand how students reacted and will be looking for self-reflective practices exhibited by the students.

Dr. Baker says “All the research says that people who are able to be self-reflective – sit and be critical of themselves and learn from the feedback they get from experiences – is the best way to learn. People who can learn from critical feedback – ‘self-reflective practices’ – go onto be the most successful. They are able to shift and grow from their experiences.’

Self-reflective practices forms being part of being a critical learner. Something that is often not necessarily explicitly taught but, something Dr. Baker believes, can make you a better learner and professional.

Torrens University’s focus on employability makes this research project relevant for so many, making it that much more special. Students involved will be able to increase their employability and the Careers and Employability team are able to provide the hospitality industry with savvy and thoughtful graduates. Thirdly the research team are able to conduct  research that will hopefully lead to the incorporation of Social Check being implemented into classes, supporting students in becoming self-reflective and graduating as critical thinkers.

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