Dale Choudree

Current Job: 
Career Development Advisor

How did you obtain your current position?

Having worked at UCT in varying capacities, I was familiar with the space and had established a good network of professional relationships. I was alerted to the job being advertised by a colleague, who thought I would be a great fit.

In what way does your qualification relate to your work, whether directly or indirectly?

Being a Social Science graduate gives me the insight into understanding of individuals and the ways in which they organize and orient themselves in society. Gender studies and in particular feminism and decolonial thought has given me a consciousness that engages inclusivity and critical analysis of the way things get done within the structures of UCT.

All of these theoretical insights allow me to listen , advise and engage the students by meeting them where they are (figuratively speaking) instead of expecting the students to meet me at the level of my lived reality.

What are the key skills that have contributed to your success thus far?

-Listening skills
-Organizational Skills
-Project Management Skills
-Emotional Intelligence
-Communication Skills

What are your day-to-day activities?

My days are organized around consultations with students , in one-on-one consultations. In addition, I build relationships with faculties and corporates through which we collaborate and deliver career educational programs.

I also try to spend a segment of my working day reading and educating myself on trends in the recruitment industry and what makes graduates employable- this is vital for me to be able to advise and assist graduates in building a successful career.

How did your extra-curricular involvement while at UCT add value (transferable skills) to what you offer the world of work/your degree?

I was not involved in any extra-curricula at UCT. As a student, I worked part-time in retail and managed to secure shifts whenever I had time outside of lectures. I also volunteered at Triangle Project's evening clinic. These work experiences developed my administrative skills, customer service skills, time management and communication skills.

As a postgrad student, I tutored in Gender Studies and as part of my scholarship with The Ford Foundation, I was involved in an international comparative research project, which developed my research and writing skills as well as my adaptability and ability to work as part of a diverse team.

How best should students use their time at university to give themselves a competitive edge in your field?

Set goals and manage these goals. Prioritize these goals, with your primary goal being to complete your degree in the minimum required time.

Seek opportunities that will develop your people-skills: tutoring , mentoring, being part of a team etc.

Explore your passion for the development of people and education. Find people whose views and values you admire and follow them on social media, you-tube , books, blogs. To be a career advisor , you have to stay tuned to what is current, what is relevant and how best to manage and assist other peoples hopes and aspirations.

In retrospect, what advice can you give to students about how to approach their own career development journeys?

Spend time discovering yourself ! Know who you are beyond your academic qualification.

We sometimes assume that our qualification is our brand in itself, but to be 'employable' we need to be clear about what value we bring to any organization. Reflect on your experiences, your passions , your interests and hobbies and be prepared to market the ways that this has developed you personally and professionally.

Oprah Winfrey once said 'There is no such thing as luck, there is only preparation meeting opportunity' - this has become my mantra. When we know our own value and what we have to offer, we are able to recognize the right opportunity for ourselves and to seize the opportunity with confidence.

Do you have any advice for a new graduate entering the world of work?

Do not assume your degree entitles you to work opportunities beyond your work experience. Learning and growth is a continuous cycle that will continue throughout our working lives and beyond. Remain humble to that process of learning and growth.