TED Talks—everyone's favourite source for inspiring videos. And for good reason! TED's lectures from high-profile and well-respected individuals on topics ranging from cutting-edge research and technology to philosophical approaches to life are short, digestible nuggets of wisdom.
Which is good news for just about anyone in need of a little inspiration—including graduates on the hunt for the perfect job. We've rounded up the best of TED to help you improve your job search, plan your approach to job hunting, and help you get perspective on what you really want to do.
'When we face hard choices, we shouldn't beat our head against a wall trying to figure out which alternative is better. There is no best alternative.'
Graduates are faced with big decisions when they leave university. It's not just getting a job, you also have to think about where you are going to live, what you want to do with your life, and where you want to be five years down the line.
Rutgers University philosopher Ruth Chang takes on the dilemmas facing thousands of graduates and adds a new perspective. It's not about 'Do I want to be a Graphic Artist or an Investment Banker?' but rather, 'where do I want to be?' This will help graduates who have not yet decided which sector they want to work in.
'Thirty is not the new 20, so claim your adulthood, get some identity capital, use your weak ties, pick your family. Don't be defined by what you didn't know or didn't do. You're deciding your life right now.'
In this bold talk, Clinical Psychologist Meg Jay recounts wisdom gained through years sitting in the psychologist's chair and encourages twentysomethings to seize the initiative and take strides in their lives.
She raises the idea of earning Identity Capital, having something to your name, be it an internship or start-up attempt. This is what makes this talk so directly applicable to the graduate job search - employers want to know what you've got to offer, not just who you are, and Jay's Identity Capital is a way to do just that.
'I want to say to you, don't fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it. Do it enough until you actually become it and internalize.'
Amy Cuddy, a renowned Social Psychologist, takes a look at the fake-it-til-you-make-it approach to life and how that philosophy can be applied to the smallest physical behaviours. Ultimately, she encourages us to go one step further and fake it until we become it.
For graduates approaching the job search, this means embodying the person you want to be and letting your posture reflect that in interviews. By being confident, posed, and open, you'll start to believe you're the one for the role. (Although we'd also advise plenty of prep – read this to know what to expect in your first graduate job interview.)
'One characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn't social intelligence. It wasn't good looks, physical health, and it wasn't IQ. It was grit.'
University of Pennsylvania Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth outlines the case for making up for lost academic ground with hard work and perseverance. She highlights her experiences as a teacher, explaining that success doesn't necessarily require being the brightest, but simply having the grit to keep going.
This is an important point for those who may not have got the degree grade they want, or realise too late that they should have applied for internships or placements during uni. If you've got a 2.2 degree, or a lack of experience, don't worry! There are ways to make up for it and you can still reach your dream job.
Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success
Writer and philosopher Alain de Botton talks some sense about what it means to be successful and how the “prestige” of your job shouldn't matter.
Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career
Economics Professor Larry Smith speaks about why you're going to fail. It's a lot more optimistic than it sounds, we promise.