#MondayMotivation: A Week of Celebrations!

Mon Motivation

This week at SOAS Careers is all about celebrating the awesome achievements of SOAS students – both past and present! It’s no surprise that all of you have been actively changing the world for the better, so take a well-deserved (short!) break from those ever-looming deadlines and exams and get inspired.

Come along to get lifted and celebrate everything that makes SOAS the wonderful place it is…

  • Make a Difference Awards: Wed 2 May, 6pm, Atrium, Paul Webley Wing: Find out all the incredible volunteering and enterprising initiatives SOAS students have been involved in! The first hour will be a networking reception with charities and NGOs close to SOAS’s heart along with academics from across the University.
  • LBGTQ+ in the Workplace: Panel Discussion: Thurs 3 May, 6pm, Atrium, Paul Webley Wing: SOAS Careers is massively excited to host our first ever LGBTQ+ in the Workplace panel event! Come along for an evening of empowerment & a wine reception.

And a final bit of good news – SOAS Careers is also open as usual every day this week, with drop-ins with Careers Consultants available every morning from 10am, application and CV checks from 1pm and bookable guidance sessions from 3pm!

Alexis Fromageot, Marketing Manager


Give your Career a Liza-lift!

Liza - GIF 7

Known best for her role within the iconic Cabaret (penned by Christopher Isherwood, who was ‘over it’ way before Paris Hilton), Liza Minnelli is the fountain of wisdom we’re lapping from today! As well as being an eccentric and eclectic singer and actress, Liza has had a fair few quotable moments in her time that can be used to accelerate you along in your careers journey.

Liza GIF 2

“Reality is something you rise above.”

Sometimes reality can feel like a real kick in the teeth, the post-graduation job application process in particular. No matter how motivated and driven you feel going into it, after hours and hours filing out online application forms even the best of us feels defeated. The trick is to elevate yourself above it all. Make sure in your down time you’re not stressing over it all. Watch your favourite show, loose yourself in a book, have a drink (or three) – do things that take you out of it all. It can be too easy to feel totally submerged but if you make a conscience effort to take care of your wellbeing you’ll be in a much better headspace for making those applications.

Liza - GIF 3

“You have to work hard for it, but first you have to want it, and then you have to dream on it.”

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Hard work is one thing, but really wanting something is what keeps you driven and moving forward. More than that, really visualising something is so important. We’ve all really wanted something before, only to get it and be disappointed in the end. If there’s a career path you’re contemplating, can you really visualise the day-to-day? Looking at profiles of people doing similar jobs (there are loads floating about online) will help stimulate your imagination.

Liza - GIF 9

“If we had a hard time, my mother would sit me down and we would talk about it, and she kept talking and kept processing until we started to laugh about it.”

Talking things over with somebody is a really important part of any decision-making process. Things often don’t feel real until you’ve articulated them, when you’ve organised your thoughts and put them out there into the world. If you want to have a chat about any aspect of your career journey then pop into SOAS Careers (SL62, Senate House) between the hours of 10am and 5pm and one of our glamorous careers consultants will talk things over with you.

Liza - GIF 6

“I love finding talent. Just to encourage people is a good thing. Every night, the audience encourages me. I’m just passing it on.”

Just like Liza, you gotta find people who will build you up, who will encourage you. We all remember that one teacher who gave us encouragement, or that person at work who took us under their wing. Whilst we don’t all have an audience of adoring fans, if you really think about it there are a number of people in all our lives who encourage us: whether it’s your mum or your professor. The important thing to remember is to pay it forward! Encourage those around you and really want for them to do well, and it’ll make you feel really good. A good, positive headspace is the best way to get the best out of yourself.

Liza - GIF 5

“I’m not a very good singer. I just know how to present a song, and honey, I think I’ve been through enough to do it right.”

This one is a personal favourite of mine. Whether it’s your career or your studies, we’ve all been in that situation where we’re asked to do something we don’t feel 100% confident doing. In those situations the trick is to put your own spin on it. Each and every one us has unique talents, skills, or perspectives – bring these to bear on the things you do and you’ll really shine! Liza might not be the best singer in the world but her performances are legendary for a reason.

And remember! If somebody says you can’t do it, those are some…

Liza - GIF 10

James Hallett, Volunteering Advisor


I Bet(te Midler) you’re eager for some more career advice!


This week we’re looking at what the multi-talented Divine Miss M has to say that we can apply to our career journey. As a singer, songwriter, actress, comedian, and film producer, Bette Midler is no stranger to success. Known for her quick wit, sharp tongue and eccentric nature, Midler proves that confidence is key! Sadly a great many quotes did not make it in for obvious reasons but below are the some of the most socially acceptable things she’s said and how you can use them to maximise your success!



“I firmly believe that with the right footwear one can rule the world.”

Whilst they might not be the be-all-and-end-all of career success, a snazzy pair of shoes can have a big impact on your confidence and make a great impression. If you can strike the balance between function, comfort and style with your footwear then you’ll really be on top of the world.



“I have my standards. They’re low, but I have them.”

Keeping your standards higher than Bette is advisable (a quick search on the web’ll tell you where her career began) but be pragmatic. Sometimes you need to lower your standards in terms of salary or responsibility in order to get the experience needed to progress. Thinking about things in the long-term will keep you motivated. Jobs that seem mundane are often opportunities to really develop essential workplace skills.



“Cherish forever what makes you unique, ‘cuz you’re really a yawn if it goes.”

Don’t be embarrassed to stand out. Nurture qualities, interests and skills that set you apart from the rest. If you have a niche skillset or ability it might feel like it’s not useful but there will be an opportunity for you out there – fret not! Don’t let what sets you apart slip away – be proud of all you can bring to the workplace.



“People are not the best because they work hard. They work hard because they are the best.”

For most people, The Divine Miss M most of all, success doesn’t come easy! Each and every one of us has a natural talent – something they excel at with ease. It could be maths, or making people smile. It doesn’t matter. Find out what you do the best and work hard doing it.



“A person’s life is a journey, a road. Sometimes you go off the road and sometimes you stay on all the way through. But you are the only one on that road. It’s your road.”

Like a road, there are bumps along the way. Try visualising how far you’ll have travelled in a year, five years or thirty years when the road gets tough and you are feeling stuck. No matter how slow you feel you are going, you are making progress. Each day brings with it new experiences and a chance to develop your skills and abilities, and if you see it like this then you can maximise what you get out it and soon you’ll be cruising along!



“You have to think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, but you have to know that you’re not.”

A healthy dose of confidence can go a long way, yet the line between being confident and being arrogant can be pretty slim. Knowing yourself is an important part of projecting confidence. Know your flaws as well as your strengths, and work to develop those areas you’re weaker in and you’ll be well on your way to being as self-actualised as Bette!



“When I finally did stop and look at my life, I realized that I had done what I’d set out to do. In my pitiful little way, I had climbed the mountain I had chosen. And there I was, on top.”

It’s important to turn around and take stock of all that you’ve achieved – whether that be an academic, a personal or a professional achievement. We’re all success stories in our own way but increasingly people minimise the things they’ve accomplished. Be proud of what you’ve done no matter how small it seems as it’s these small victories that form the foundation of the mountain. Setting long-term goals can help keep you climbing when the incline is steep.



“You gotta have some friends!”

Cheating a bit here, as it’s technically a song lyric but the sentiment stands. Friends will get you through the down days, will be there to celebrate the successes, and above all they’ll keep you sane when work is tough. Find good friends and keep them close!


James Hallett – Volunteering Advisor

(Dolly) Pardon me, You Look Like You Need Some Careers Advice

Dolly Parton is known for many things but is perhaps not the first person that comes to mind in terms of career advice. A Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, author, actress, producer, businesswoman and philanthropist as well as being something of a motivational speaker, Parton has a wealth of experience that she shares with her audiences through softly her spoken Southern witticisms.

Below are a collection of some of her most pertinent quotes and how they can help you along with your career journey!


“Storms make trees take deeper roots.”

Sometimes you have to weather the storm to build resilience. Job hunting in particular can feel like a thankless task. Dozens of applications sent out, painstakingly completed only to receive no reply. Yet that rejection can be a source of strength for the future. It will force you to re-evaluate and assess where your strengths lie you will be in a stronger position moving forward!


“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”

All-in-all, we all spend a lot of time at work, which is why it’s important to do something that you feel passionate about. If your current trajectory isn’t making you happy then take steps to change it – look at small measurable ways you can alter your situation and start ‘paving’ another road.


“I thank God for my failures. Maybe not at the time but after some reflection. I never feel like a failure just because something I tried has failed.”

Failing at something can feel terrible but actually can be an incredibly positive and fruitful experience if you think about it in the right way. People rarely make the same mistake more than twice because failure compounds what works and what doesn’t in a given circumstance. Reframe failure as an opportunity to grow and develop yourself via reflecting on what went wrong and how it could be avoided. More than this however, don’t be afraid to fail!


“When I’ve got somethin’ to say, I’ll say it.”

Dolly’s never been one to mince her words, and there’s a lot to be said for speaking your frank and honest mind. If something doesn’t seem right to you, call it out; if something seems like it could be improved then don’t keep it to yourself!#


“We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.”

Being adaptable is another keystone of success! Being flexible in your approach to things reduces stress, increases productivity and often leads to personal and professional development opportunities. Sometimes something you think you’ll hate, or be bad at, turns out to be enjoyable or you discover plays to your strengths. Dolly’s career goes to show that being flexible in your approach to things can have positive results!


“It takes a lot of money to look this cheap!”

Arguably the most famous Dollyism, what’s worth taking from this is that you need to invest in yourself. You gotta sink time, effort and sometimes money into self-development in order to succeed. People rarely see the massive amount of substance that goes into success and instead focus on the goal – keep in mind all that goes into making a success of anything!


“Find out what you are. And do it on purpose.”

Only you really know what makes you happy, what you enjoy and what you excel at! Find out what you love to do, do it well and succeed! For most people it takes a long time to figure out exactly where their talents lie but take the time to do so – it can take weeks, months or years, and is a continuous process – and success will be yours!

If you’re feeling inspired, come by the Careers Zone in SL62, Paul Webley Wing to start discussing your next steps after SOAS – whatever they may be.  

James Hallett, Volunteering Advisor


#MondayMotivation: The SOAS Students Changing the World

December saw the launch of ‘Change the World’: where SOAS Careers encourages you to get creative with fundraising for a charity that means something to you! Thanks to funding from Santander, the idea is to find original ways to raise some serious cash to change the world.

SOAS students applied for a lump sum of £25 to get the ball rolling with their fundraising. The mission is straightforward: grow this as much as they can, in any (legal) way! All the money raised (including the initial £25) will then be donated to their nominated charity. SOAS Careers will also match the amount raised (up to a max of £500).

Want to get inspired this Monday? Here’s a run-down of how the students who’ve joined the campaign plan on raising some world-changing cash…


Nasra is fundraising for The Mix, a youth mental health charity which aims to promote the mental wellbeing of 13 – 25 year olds. She’s getting involved with bake sales, bucket collections and asking staff around SOAS to donate an hour’s worth of their salary to the cause!

Dilan & Nelam

Raising life-changing cash for Aids Orphan is Nelam and Dilan, who are organising a ‘Dare Day’. Keep an eye out for them as they’ll be asking you to donate every time they complete a challenge you set them! All the money raised will go to the grassroots charity, who provide support for those affected by Aids or HIV.


Rubab’s getting creative in raising funds for Action Aid UK, an international charity working with the poorest women and girls in the world. For Rubab the sky’s the limit, and she’s going to be running bake sales, film screenings, working with other societies, inviting speakers as well as bringing it all together in an awesome storytelling social media series.


Here’s Vanessa representing the SOAS East Africa Society, who are fundraising for The Disaster and Emergency Committee’s appeals for East Africa and Yemen. They’re encouraging people to donate an hour of their pay as part of their ‘One Hour to Fight the Famine’ social media campaign.


Nazihah, Shanjida and Tania are changing the world by raising cash for Maternal Aid Association – an organisation that helps mothers in Bangladesh by focusing on improving maternal health in resource-poor settings. They’re hosting a Bollywood movie night and selling South Asian snacks – giving everyone a taste of the region!

Everyone involved will be documenting their fundraising and reflections on successes and challenges as they go, so keep a look out for that! All their efforts will be celebrated at the Make a Difference Awards in February at SOAS. The charities involved will also be invited along so we can all find out exactly how the funds are helping to change the world…

Alexis Fromageot



Learning expands great souls ~ Namibian proverb

Come along to our massive range of events this week to learn all about how you can shape your next steps after SOAS! Get booked on via MySOAS Student here.


10:15 – 10:45 Top Tips for Beginning your Career Journey, SL62

11:15 – 11:45 Part-time Work, SL62

14:15 – 14:45 Top Tips for an Effective CV, SL62

15:15 – 15:45 Top Tips for Interviews, SL62



10:15 – 10:45 CV for Masters Students

11:15 – 11:45 Volunteering – Top Tips to Make it Work

14:15 – 14:45 Top Tips for Beginning your Career Journey –

Where to Start

15:15 – 15:45 Part-time Work



10:15 – 10:45 How to get an Internship and Why

11:00 – 12:00 Benefits of Volunteering with Reach Out

11:15 – 11:45 Employer Session: Reach Out

13.00-16.00 Part-time Work and Volunteering Fair



10:15 – 10:45 Top Tips for an Effective CV

11:15 – 11:45 Using Social Media in your job-hunting/research

14:00 – 15:30 Volo Presentation about Volunteering

14:15 – 14:45 Employer Session: VOLO



10:15 – 10:45 Volunteering: Top Tips to Make it Work

11:15 – 11:45 Top Tips for Interviews

14:15 – 14:45 Part-time Work for International Students

15:15 – 15:45 Understanding Networking

Get involved!

Alexis Fromageot

Thinking about volunteering this summer? 


Have you thought about volunteering but not sure what or how? Would you like to find a volunteering opportunity for the summer?

SOAS Volunteering Unit is hosting an event this THURSDAY 1st June 2-4 in the Cloisters, Paul Webley wing designed to help YOU!

Come along to:

Sign up to volunteer over the summer

Listen to volunteers’ stories in our Speaking Library

Find out about upcoming training at SOAS

Share your own volunteering opportunities


Book your place!

Emma Frampton, Volunteering Intern