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Network and hone your public speaking skills through volunteering at Sheffield Hallam

Wednesday 09 May 2018

Oli Constable graduated from Sheffield Hallam in 2016 having studied Journalism. He now works at BBC Radio Sheffield as a Digital Broadcast Journalist. Oli returned to the University in February to be part of an event which gives our current students the opportunity to hear a graduate perspective on life beyond study. The event is just one example of how our alumni can give their time back to the University and in the process gain valuable public speaking skills, as well as the chance to meet fellow alumni.

Departments across the University have guest speaker opportunities where you can return and be part of a panel, telling your story of where life has taken you since your course. We know that this inspires and informs students and it allows you to enhance your CV with guest speaking experience at the same time. Every year the Media Arts and Communications department host Grad Talks, a popular event in the student calendar where a panel of returning alumni share their individual stories of life beyond Sheffield Hallam.

We caught up with Oli and asked him what the experience of giving back, gave to him:

"I attended Grad Talk as a student and remember sitting there, hearing about the jobs that people had, and thinking' I can do this, I can carve out my own opportunity and take what I studied into a different direction that suits me and what I want to do. In my experience there is no 'normal' path to follow.

"I work in radio now - I sit in a tiny studio and talk into a microphone, my audience are not sat in front of me. Even when I am out newsgathering I may be talking to one or two people at a time. But at the Grad Talk session I experienced talking to a room full of students, directly to my audience and yes it might make you nervous but it gave me the experience of a completely different kind of speaking.

Grad Talk is also about networking, and not just for the students. I got to network after the talk and this had led to me linking up with alumni in my industry whom I didn't know. I've since linked with them on social media and I see these interactions as potential opportunities for the future."

Mentoring is another way to give back and gain experience. Alumni make particularly valuable mentors as you have often had similar learning experiences to the student you're advising. This makes it easier for you to relate your experience and career path to the student and provide practical advice.

You are one of Sheffield Hallam's alumni which means you can benefit from access to resources and support, you're eligible for exclusive discounts and you have opportunities at your fingertips which benefit both you and our current students:

Discounts on print services, Sheffield hotel rooms, physiotherapy, Hallam Active gyms and room hire at the University.

Support and resources you can tap into include: access to UniHub to view and apply for hundreds of graduate vacancies and access to Wednesday Webinars, 1:1 careers support in person, by Skype or phone, self-employment advice, library access at both collegiate and city campus and lifelong membership of the Student's Union.

If you want to find out more about any of the opportunities or support you can access, contact the Development and Alumni Relations Office.

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