Monday, 10 October 2016 20:57

How does my Toastmasters portfolio improve my university application?

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I would suggest rephrasing the question to “How can my Toastmasters portfolio improve my university application?”

When it comes to applying for a job or an educational pursuit I believe that nowadays it is more important to illustrate what you can do, rather than what you have done.

My understanding is that many institutes of higher learning are looking for candidates that give back to their community as a way of life, rather than a way to manipulate a system for personal gain. I have seen this with colleagues who have applied for entrance to medical and pharmaceutical university. There are a lot of qualified, brilliant applicants out there. You need to position yourself so you stand out from the rest.

Your Toastmasters profile, more precisely the skills you have learned while a member and your increased self-confidence is marketable. I’m a firm believer in the power of self-promotion. It has taken me a long time to get to this point though. After all, if you don’t blow your own horn, who will?

I would suggest crafting a self-promotional piece that illustrates projects that you have undertaken in Toastmasters and that leads to showing your reader what you are interested and capable of doing in the future. Whatever you create will have to fit into the amount of room that you are allotted on the application form.

As an example of self-promotion, here is my promo from my Linkedin profile. Bear in mind that I’m not looking for employment and am not afraid to utilize a tongue-in cheek approach. It can be very challenging in creating self-promotional material.

Toastmaster Extraordinaire

Rae has been very active in the Toastmasters International organization for over 20 years. He has taken on progressively more challenging leadership roles and opportunities while honing his communication skills at the same time.

He has recently retired from serving as the District 21 Toastmasters Webmaster for the past eight years and has rebuilt the district website a couple times to keep up with ever-changing technology. As an experienced leader he serves as Toastmentor and mentors fellow Toastmasters at all levels of the district.

Attitude Equals Altitude was Rae’s theme in 2007-2008 as the District 21 Governor where he oversaw and directed the daily operations of a volunteer leadership team of 90 members located throughout the province of B.C. While serving in that role he developed and monitored the District’s annual operational budget (approximately $150,000.00).

Additional responsibilities included overseeing & directing the organization and delivery of two District conferences (budget $40,000.00 per event);  overseeing and directing the organization’s communication processes i.e. mass e-mail communication, conference calling and the District’s website (co-webmaster responsible for content and trouble-shooting). As District Governor he was a member of an International leadership team of peers located throughout the north western USA, collectively striving for success of their districts.

In May of 2014 Rae served as Conference Co-Coordinator, organizing a Toastmasters conference for some 200+ Toastmasters in Kelowna at the Capri. That role involved leading a team of volunteers. Over the past decade, Rae has actively participated in some 16 conferences in role or another. The latest one, in serving as the Registration Chair for the D21 Fall Conference 2015 held in Richmond B.C.

For more information on Toastmasters and Rae visit Toastmaster Extraordinaire.

Rae is currently the President of Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters Club #723. 

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In conclusion, I strongly suggest leveraging your Toastmasters experience on your university application. I would also suggest that you are prepared to speak about your experience when you get to an interview. Your interviewer may not know anything about Toastmasters, or they may very well be interested.

Good luck with your application and your educational pursuits! Thanks for the question.

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