“Define what success means to you”

Oracle’s Senior Client Solutions Associate, and former Henley student, Richard Hopkins, returned to college to give career advice to current business students.

College lecture room, with a screen at the front and a man in his late 20s presenting.

Richard studied A Levels in Business, English Literature and Politics at The Henley College and then went on to study Retail Management at Bournemouth University. Richard is currently Senior Client Solutions Associate, at cloud technology company, Oracle. 

Richard chose a “sandwich degree” at Bournemouth, meaning his degree took four years to complete as it involved a year’s placement in his chosen industry. This kind of degree course is beneficial as it gives students valuable work experience, and they often go on to secure graduate jobs at their placement company. 

“Define what success means to you” was Richard’s main piece of advice for the students. If your version of success is having a good work-life balance where you can spend time with your family, then factor that into your career plan. He also suggested that students create a bullet proof plan of where they want to be in one, five-, and ten-years' time and make a rough outline of how to get there. Review your plan regularly and be realistic; you are very unlikely to get your dream job straight away, instead you will need to work towards it, identify the different skills, and experience you need to gain to get there. 

Richard also spoke about the importance of having a plan that is unique to you. Forget the lives that other people are presenting on social media and concentrate on what you want and what is best for you.  

Richards top tips: 

  • Create a professional LinkedIn profile, with a professional photo (for example, don’t use pictures of you in a hot tub on holiday or on a night out!) 
  • Employers are looking for people they can get on with and work successfully with so work on your soft skills, and be a team player
  • Be passionate and interested in the jobs you are applying for and provide evidence (reference any research you've done, work experience, podcasts and TED Talks you’ve listened to) 
  • Part time jobs don’t have to be relevant to your dream job but do show that you can show up on time, take instructions, be trusted, and use your initiative, so talk about them in interviews or applications 
  • Tech is one of the fastest growing industries and the pay is often above average compared to other sectors, so it is worth considering even if you aren’t tech minded. There are lots of different opportunities within large businesses for people with different skill sets and interests
  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses define how you can use your strengths and how you can improve on your weaknesses. 


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