Finding Inspiration Online

Rael Choi watching MYOB presentation

When level 4 lockdown sent us into our bubbles, AUT accounting student Rael Choi decided to look for inspiration through online employability events.

“I decided during this lockdown, I would challenge myself to do new things that I haven't done it before because if I do nothing, then nothing will happen,” explains Rael.

And she found the inspiration she wanted from a zoom presentation by MYOB NZ Education Manager Shailan Patel about personal branding and LinkedIn.

“He said we should not undersell ourselves. If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will. If you don't shout out about yourself, no one else will.”

This resonated strongly with Rael, who says as an immigrant she tends to underestimate herself.

What a great message! Shailan’s presentation reminds me that I’m a valuable person in this community. So I've decided I have to stop underestimating myself.”

Rael says his comments also made her see that it is important to stretch out beyond her comfort zone.

“I really got a new perspective through the presentation.”



  • Put an image of yourself in – a decent one.
  • “Everyone has a phone camera and can find a bit of white wall space. It is not hard to get a simple headshot of yourself. Instantly I see someone’s picture, I have a connection. I don’t with a black dot,” says Shailan.
  • Make connections. You’re there to build a professional network, not a private golf club. (Sorry, that’s taken from a poster Shailan had in his presentation) but it is a really good point. Shailan recommends starting with a couple of connection requests every now and then, particularly if you’ve been at an event with someone. Be thoughtful.
    “Think about why they would want to connect with you? Think what your goal is and add a note to explain why you’re interested in connecting. IfMYOB NZ Education Manager Shailan Patel you’ve been in an event, then that is an easy reason to ask to connect,” advises Shailan.
  • Cleanse your social media before you get started. Think before you post. Check your privacy contacts.


  • You never know when you’re going to be in front of someone who might be a potential boss, says Shailan. "So always be confident, positive and authentic to people you meet."
  • Have a different pitch for different situations.
  • Be clear of what you’re wanting to achieve when you give your elevator pitch. If it is practised, you’ll sound confident and prepared.
  • While in lockdown, do some research into organisations and people in careers that interest you, then develop a pitch.
    "It is clear when someone has done their research and know what they want."


  • Be aware of how you act and react in situations. Make sure you are visible and authentic. Don’t have too many personas.
  • Who are you and how do you want to be known, asks Shailan. "What tribe and community do you want to be part of?"


Shailan's presentation was organised by the AUT Employability and Careers team, who are continuing to run regular presentations and workshops throughout lockdown, as well as offering one-on-one zoom appointments and online job search and careers chat. You book right here on elab online. Sign in using your AUT user name and password, then look for 'Events'.