"It’s No Longer Enough to Have a Degree” - Francoise Hill on the importance of developing and demonstrating experience in your job search

November 28, 2018
By Chris Girardi

A struggle many students and graduates are all too familiar with, is that of not being sure of how to find the right opportunities to develop and demonstrate their skills and experience. This is something we at Paddl are looking to change through Paddl Games events like the Bunnings Paddl Games: Innovating for Bunnings. Learn how Francoise Hill, Paddl Games Alum and University of Melbourne Student  has tackled her own personal career growth head-on, while working hard to complete her studies.

Francoise first came across Paddl when she participated in the Metro Scratch Space Challenge in September 2017, having found out about the opportunity on her university’s career page. Since then she’s participated in numerous Paddl Games Challenges, including two other projects with Metro Trains, where she helped lead exciting innovation projects and an app-trial focussing on personal safety when using the Metro Trains network. Most recently, we’ve been thrilled to have Francoise join us as part of our Paddl Alumni participants during the COSBOA Innovation Games, where she helped new teams of Paddlrs innovate and employ design thinking principles to support small businesses across Victoria.

We sat down with Francoise to find out more about how she’s grown from her experiences, helping her kick off a career in the world of HR…

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So tell us, because we’re dying to know - what awesome things are you up to at the moment?

I’ve been busy with full-time studies! I’m now in my second year of a Master of Management at the Melbourne Business School, and am hoping to graduate mid-next year! I’ve also been working on developing my professional skills, and broadening my industry experience. In January, I travelled overseas to undertake a short-term consulting project for PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Singapore. I’ve also secured a 9-month contract as a Human Resources Intern at the University of Melbourne, and work as an Assessor for a global talent management firm.

That’s quite the list! How’d you wind up getting into all of that?

After finishing High School, I spent a year abroad in the United Kingdom where I worked at a boarding school and discovered my passion for travel in Europe. I then returned home to Australia to study a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne, undertaking a major in Media and a minor in Anthropology. I absolutely relished the chance to develop my critical-thinking and analytical skills! Following my graduation in 2016, I realised I was still hungry for more knowledge! I decided to continue with further studies and explore my curiosity in the field of human resources.

I think Paddl Games then enabled me to apply academic theory to real business challenges. More importantly though, the challenges have driven my personal and professional development. They prepared me with the expertise to communicate effectively, positively contribute to a team and develop solutions to real-life problems. I’ve since had the confidence to enter the job market and feel ready for professional work!

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We’ve come across a lot of people looking for ways to kickstart that sort of personal and professional development. What sort of advice would you have for them?

It’s no longer enough to have a degree. You have to prove to potential employers that you can apply your skills to real-life situations - experience is the way to do it! I think it’s important to actively seek out opportunities that help you realise your capabilities - like Paddl Games.

As students, it’s incredibly exciting to be mentored by industry experts and receive exposure to senior executives during the challenges. It’s also great to work with a diverse group of talented individuals; you don’t often get engineers, IT, law, business and design students all working on the one project! Taking up these sorts of opportunities will help you build a collection of experiences you can draw upon in your job applications and interviews.

They’ll also help you build you network! Today, a lot of opportunities are not advertised. Instead, they are filled through connections. So, initiate conversations with fellow students, industry professionals you come across, and get involved with career nights at your university!

Your Paddl Games journey didn’t stop as a participant though - we’ve loved having you back during the COSBOA Innovation Games (Victoria) 2018. How did you find that experience?

For students and graduates, the Innovation Games were a fantastic opportunity to challenge themselves, meet industry experts and gain valuable experience to draw upon in job interviews. Being an active, engaged and passionate participant also means that you might be asked back to help with future events! For SMEs, the Innovation Games connect you to top talent, exposing you to new perspectives and ways of thinking. It really is a special event, where all involved benefit!

I acted as a mentor for one of the team, assisting with the various design sprints throughout the day, and facilitating ideation sessions. I was able to leverage my own experience as a participant to offer techniques that supported students in voicing and organising their ideas. It really challenged me to practice and further develop my leadership skills!

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Do you have any advice for people looking to get involved in Paddl Games?

Paddl really sets itself apart from all other job platforms. It’s unique in that you do not have to submit a resume or make unsubstantiated claims in an interview. Instead, you actually demonstrate your capabilities through experience.

Be creative in how you approach the business problems presented at Paddl Games. You don’t need to have extensive knowledge or industry experience to be able to provide a valuable contribution. Use your education and experience to come up with new, innovative solutions! In my experience, the best teams are usually the most diverse and listen to one another; they give each member the chance to really engage!

Looking to get involved?

You’re in luck! Applications are now open for our next Paddl Games Challenge - the Bunnings Paddl Games: Innovating for Bunnings.

We’re after Paddlrs with a whole range of skills and from a range of disciplines. Log-in to your Paddl Profile (or create one now - it’s totally FREE) to find out more about this awesome opportunity, and get your application in today!