5 Ways Your Part-time Job Helps Your Graduate Prospects

5 Ways Your Part-time Job Helps Your Graduate Prospects

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When you enter the world of graduate jobs without career specific work experience, it can be pretty daunting. But don’t despair, if you’ve done part-time work during your studies it can vastly improve your chances after you graduate.

It’s always important to employers that you have the kind of skills that they know will be useful in a professional environment. Displaying this experience in your CV or in an interview is a great way of providing proof of the skills you’ll bring to the role.

So if the only work experience you’ve got is in a coffee shop, on the telephones or in the student union bar, here’s how it’ll help your chances of getting shortlisted for those all-important graduate jobs.

Communication

As a new graduate working in a business, you’re always going to need great communication skills. If you’re in a client-facing role, the skills that you will have learnt from dealing with customers either over a counter or on the phone will be impressive to a new employer. At the very least, it’ll show you have the ability to communicate professionally with your new colleagues. Ensure you make it clear that you were dealing with customers on a daily basis in a professional way and they’ll know you can communicate.

Team Work

If you’re competing with someone else for the same type of graduate job, one of the most important things that will set you apart is your ability to fit into a team. Make it clear that you were part of a close knit team and they’ll know you’ve got the personality to slip right into the office environment at their company.

Organisational skills

If you’ve juggled an academic, social and work life at university, you’ve already proven yourself to have superior organisational skills. Companies looking to hire a graduate will see this and know they’ll have someone who can manage their time and responsibilities successfully.

Problem Solving

Have you ever had to deal with a customer complaint at a bar or found yourself on the other end of the line from an angry caller on the uni phones? Then you’ve already had plenty of problem solving experience. Prepare yourself for this question in interviews, and think of a time you’ve had to deal with a potentially disastrous situation, acted calmly and found a solution. You’ll find this kind of critical thinking is a valuable skill across a whole range of graduate jobs.

Responsibility/Honesty

If you’ve been given any extra roles at work, especially if it had anything to do with money, make this clear on your CV. Simply stating that you’re honest or responsible in a profile is unlikely to send a very strong message, while proof that you’ve handled money or more advanced roles with integrity will scream that you’re somebody they can trust.

How to get a £35k graduate internship – Amelia’s Success Story

How to get a £35k graduate internship – Amelia’s Success Story

Amelia Dabell
Amelia Dabell

‘I’m an arts student, doing a £35,000 internship at Macquarie Bank. Two weeks ago I knew nothing about finance.

How did I get here?
While I was at Leeds University I felt the need to add to my CV. I wanted to do something to help my future career prospects, but I had no idea what career prospects to aim for.

In my second year I was on the committee of a fundraiser and loved it, so when the opportunity to apply for director came up, I went for it. In this role I organised one of Leeds University’s biggest charity events; we sold 1600 tickets, and raised £11,000 for Dying to Keep Warm (check out the charity’s amazing work here).

After graduating, I felt lost. I had no inkling of what kind of work I wanted to do, or what range of graduate job opportunities were out there. And I now realise that that’s okay. How are we expected to know, at 21, what we want to do for the next 10 years?

I did have my LinkedIn profile set up well, and through that I received interview offers for jobs I thought I would love. I went to the interviews, but they didn’t feel right. I couldn’t imagine enjoying working there, so I declined – which was terrifying! Afterwards I worried about whether I’d made the right choice or not. ‘Maybe I should have just accepted that job.’
I continued treating finding a job like having a job, which is something I recommend to everyone. Keep working on your CV until it’s absolutely perfect, and spend a lot of time on every cover letter.

Other important advice: be patient. Be willing to say no to jobs that don’t feel right. If your circumstances allow it, give yourself a few months to find the perfect job for you.

I had expected to be employed in August, so by September I was starting to panic. I felt stressed and anxious. I approached Inspiring Interns, and they got me interviews really quickly. I love drama, so doing the video CV was fun for me. I’m glad I made the most of my opportunities at university, because the fundraising event gave me great experience to talk about in my video CV.

Inspiring interns convinced me to go for an interview at Macquarie bank, and after the ensuing five weeks of interviews, I somehow managed to land the job! I am now two weeks in to my internship, and learning a huge amount of new information every day. I really didn’t know anything to do with finance before I started!

I never imagined I’d work at a bank, and without Inspiring Interns I wouldn’t be doing this incredible internship, which could turn into a permanent position if I decide stock broking is for me. So be open, you never know where you may end up! And get help from a graduate recruitment agency. Inspiring Interns can make your job of finding a job a whole lot easier, and they could find you your dream job that you didn’t even know existed.’

Amelia Dabell

Start before summer: 5 ways students can spring into action

Start before summer: 5 ways students can spring into action

Life after university ain’t easy, but you can make the career decision-making process a little easier with the following tips and advice:

Any request on write my papers, any level, any urgency – our professional writers can hold everything! we are the service you can rely on!
1. Use the free tools available

You may be unaware, or unsure, of some of the services on offer in life after university careers services and on-hand tutors. Recruitment agencies can be an asset to job-hunting graduates; opening your eyes to new opportunities, or matching your education and experience to roles in companies you didn’t previously have access to.
(Here’s a snapshot into the kind of company culture you can expect at Inspiring Interns HQ!)
Make the most of a service that is not only free, but tailored to your needs and requirements. Finding a company culture that matches what you’re looking for is equally as important as an employer wanting to find the right fit for their business; it’s a two-way street! Aside from agencies, there’s a wealth of information online whether that’s a blog series offering advice or a free online course to teach you how to code. CV-boosting activities such as these are incredibly useful, particularly when your relevant work experience (as a graduate) is likely to be limited.

2. Apply to internships

The summer rush to secure that dream graduate job or scheme is just around the corner, but if you’ve already said “see ya!” to university, why wait? There are opportunities available now that could put you ahead of the competition. Undertaking an internship in spring could ensure you’re employed full-time by the host company come summer. Enhance your employability as a direct result of relevant work experience; check out our latest vacancies for inspiration.

3. Volunteer

Still a student? It’s not too late to offer your time to university societies or charities and make your job application shine at the same time! Volunteering looks great on your CV and it’s a great feeling to be able to give something back to a community or cause. In between exams and making the most of the last few months at uni, it’s great to get involved. Remember, employers want to see flashes of your personality in job applications and they will be interested in activities you’ve been involved in outside of the office or classroom.

4. Research requirements

It’s okay to be unsure of the demands of certain industries or who the “ideal candidate” really is, but there are ways you can find out. For starters, check out the graduate reading list for industry-specific advice on which websites to check out and publications to read. Next up, it might not sound like the most exciting thing you’ve heard all day, but reading job specifications will give you an insight into the qualifications and characteristics required for different roles. You can also expect to discover more about the type of companies hiring and the perks different roles have to offer. Look out for career progression opportunities, fun activities and super smart team members to learn from.

5. Make connections

If you think you know which career direction you want to go in, start reaching out and trying to network with the industry insiders. Try to stand out, but be professional at the same time! Basic etiquette when it comes to phone calls and emails, and common sense are important here. It sounds obvious, but acknowledging that people are busy and showing appreciation for any help or direction they can give, can open doors. Network, email, enquire and establish relationships so when it comes time to sending an application, you have a way in.

For undergrads looking for summer work experience, check out this brand new APSCo recruitment internship, available in locations across the UK. Click here to apply!

Katie is a digital marketing executive at Inspiring. A dancer, sport and health & fitness enthusiast, she likes to move, tweet and blog.

Seven reasons your CV was ignored

Seven reasons your CV was ignored

By Liam Weaver

It’s a frustration regardless of which stage you’re at in your career; sending your CV in and never hearing back is the proverbial of throwing yourself into a black hole. Of course it’s even worse if you’re a graduate.

If you’re reading this you’re probably at the stage where you’re on the lookout for graduate roles and are firing out CVs left, right and centre. Regardless of how it’s going, here are a few things to consider from the eyes of a recruiter.

Image via Pixabay

1. You didn’t sell yourself
A CV shouldn’t just be a piece of paper with a few stats and contact details, you need to sell yourself, but in a convincing way. Be selfish and boast about where you believe you really stand out. It doesn’t have to be charity work or public speaking; think about instances from your course. Did you consistently get work in early? Were you top of your class; think, think, think!

2. You overused the business mumbo-jumbo
Knowing what you’re talking about is always an advantage if it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for, but knowing when to hold back is another skill entirely. Don’t encumber your CV with phrases like: ‘command and leverage the businesses personnel to meaningfully navigate a pressing company project’. What does that even mean?

3. You were too generic
Even if you’re applying for 15 roles a day, be prepared to tailor your CV to each job. Take time to read through the role you’re applying for and chop and change certain skills where necessary. If you’re going to be in a customer facing role, highlight previous part-time jobs in retail/bars, for example.

4. You deemed previous experience ‘irrelevant’
You’ll likely be entering your first full-time job so it’s easy to see yourself as having no relevant experience, but don’t neglect what you have done. Some of your old part-time roles, clubs, or positions in university societies may highlight skills you’ll be using in your new graduate role!

5. Your CV was too long
This is definitely one of the most common problems. Your CV should realistically not exceed one or two pages at graduate level. A seasoned professional’s CV will be about two pages, so don’t overload your CV with non-essential information. Employers will be faced with hundreds of CVs daily so if they’re presented with one which is 3-4 pages long, it’s likely to be discarded.

6. Overuse of clichés
When it comes to naming qualities, traits and skills keep them simple and if you can, back them up with evidence. Nobody wants to read endless lists of ‘passionate’, ‘motivated’ and ‘team-player’- get to the point!

7. Wipe the slate clean
A graduate role should be a stepping stone into the world of work, so use this chance to get a new professional email address and refresh any social media profiles.

Remember that your CV is the first hurdle in the job race, nailing it at the first attempt will save you valuable time in the job market.

This article was written by Liam Weaver from WeAreAdam. You can connect with Liam on Google+!

How to use LinkedIn to find an internship

How to use LinkedIn to find an internship

Since you’re reading this blog, I’m assuming that you’ve already set up your LinkedIn profile and filled it with information about you and what you have achieved. If not, it’s time to back track a few steps; click here for some advice.

Optimise your profile

An example of a profile summary
The first thing to do is make sure you have announced that you are looking for an internship. If employers only spare a CV eight seconds of their attention, you can be certain that they’ll spend much less time on your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn’s pop-up profile summary feature also gives you the opportunity to capture any prospective employer’s attention, so give yourself a catchy headline. Fill the rest of your profile with keywords you have seen listed on vacancies you are interested in, but try to avoid generic, boring keywords.

Make connections
Sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised how many people just stick to connecting with their friends. If you’re not interested in branching out and e-meeting people on LinkedIn, stick to Facebook. This is about networking; nobody talks to the person sat on their own in the corner of a party, don’t be that guy or girl. Get yourself out there; introduce yourself to someone when you connect with them and don’t hesitate to ask if they have any internship vacancies when you connect.

Join groups
Groups are a great place to find like-minded people on LinkedIn. Join your university’s group and be part of the conversation! It’s a great way to showcase your profile and put your opinion across on a variety of topics. Many groups also send out weekly messages to their members with the latest updates. If you’re looking for an internship and you receive the latest vacancies straight in your inbox, this will make your life even easier. Inspiring Interns run the internship group Interns and Internships in London – see you there!

Be social
I’ve mentioned this already, but network! Send messages and make use of the update facility. This is exactly like the Facebook status – broadcast to your connections that you are looking for an internship. Follow companies you might be interested in interning for – it’s a brilliant way to find out information about the company that often isn’t broadcast on the company website and could come in handy in the interview. It’s social experiment time – add me on LinkedIn, and include a message. Let’s be friends, and you never know, I might be able to help you find an internship…

Alex, or Towners as he is affectionately known, has been at Inspiring since December 2010. He enjoys sport, cinema, sharks and supports Arsenal. Alex occasionally blogs on plainhelvetica.com and tweets @agtownley

5 bizarre and unusual hobbies

5 bizarre and unusual hobbies

Any careers advice you read will talk about the importance of having extra-curricular activities on your CV. Conventional careers advice has been to list key activities which directly relate to the job you are applying for, but many employers are now scanning CVs for more offbeat interests as evidence of creativity, personality and enthusiasm. An intriguing list of hobbies can also go some way to make up for the lack of work experience on your CV.

For many a hobby will include sports, crafts or baking but why not stand out from the crowd and take up one of these bizarre hobbies:

1. Owling, the new Planking
If you thought Planking (people lying face down in strange locations on various things) was a weird enough hobby then Owling is going to blow your mind! In recent months apparently Planking has become increasingly mainstream and less popular so hundreds of young people in America, Australia and now, Britain, have taken up the new Owling craze.

It consists of crouching down on various objects in unusual situations and staring into the distance, just like an owl. Owling enthusiasts then take photos of themselves and post them on various social networking sites. Each to their own!

2. Extreme ironing
I don’t know about you but I will try anything to avoid ironing! However, there are some people out there who have taken up ironing in unusual locations as a hobby.
Extreme ironing is both an extreme sport and a performance art in which people iron items of clothing in unusual locations. According to the official website, extreme ironing is, “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.”
Some locations where such performances have taken place include a mountainsides, a forest, in a canoe, while skiing or snowboarding, on top of statues, in the middle of a street, underwater (no idea how this would work), in the middle of the a motorway, whilst parachuting (again no idea how) and under the ice cover of a lake.

3. Guerrilla Gardening
Guerrilla Gardening is planting shrubbery on property that does not belong to you. Most people interested in Guerrilla Gardening simply want to transform neglected urban areas. So, most guerrilla gardeners find areas that are run down, overgrown and in need of sprucing up. This hobby is technically illegal, but is actually performing a kind of public service.

4. Appearing on TV
It is always pretty exciting when you get mentioned in the newspaper or appear on TV (as long as it’s for the right reasons) but South Londoner Paul Yarrow loves it so much he has turned it into a hobby. Whenever a news camera crew gets set up in a public venue, he hangs around in the background to get on camera. He has appeared in the background of live news reports on BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News in various locations. Allegedly, Paul wants to become a cast member on Big Brother.

5. Taphophilia
Taphophilia describes an individual who has a keen interest in or passion for cemeteries. This hobby includes researching, writing and reading epitaphs, making gravestone rubbings, cemetery photography and other art and reading up on cemetery history and famous deaths. Little bit creepy!

How to cash in on your hobbies while at university

How to cash in on your hobbies while at university

By University of Birmingham graduate, Michael Tefula. His first book, How to Get a First, is due to be released later this month.

When I was at university I had three major interests outside of academia: (1) music production, (2) the internet and (3) writing.

With a bit of luck and persistence, I managed to make money in all three areas and only ever worked part-time for one out of my three years of study.

In this post, I will share with you some of the key ideas that helped me earn extra cash on the side while having fun and making my CV more interesting.

1. Cultivate your skill

First things first: You need to be pretty good at whatever passion you may have. You don’t have to be the best, but just a bit better than average.

For example, I started making beats and music when I was 13 years old. By the time I got to university, I was reasonably good at it (good enough to win a few remix competitions and polished enough to have a placement on a major record release).

If you hope to cash out on your talent as a magician, writer, comedian or dancer, only attempt to do so if you are at least good enough to impress your friends with your talent. If you are not, you’d better get practicing!

2. Showcase your work

Now that you have the skill, it’s time to flaunt it. The best channel to do this, I have found, is the internet. Set up a blog, Twitter, Facebook fan page, YouTube…anything to showcase what you can do.

For my music, I used YouTube. As the views racked up into the hundreds of thousands, I started getting emails from people who wanted to pay me to create beats for them.

So, if you have a knack for story-telling, or are a bit of an actor, how about creating short films for YouTube that can showcase what you can do?

If you are then lucky enough to bump into someone who could help you get work, you could easily share with them your talents. And this brings me to my last point.

3. Connect with industry people

Let’s say you are passionate about PR and would love to do some work for big brands in your spare time. Now, do you have any phone numbers or email addresses of PR managers at such brands?

If not, get searching immediately.

Connecting with industry people is one of the quickest ways of finding work (provided you can impress them with your skills and portfolio of work).

How can you get their interest? Ask the company if they offer work experience placements or internships where you can both develop your own skills and prove your value by impressing the company with fresh ideas.

So there you have it. Three simple but highly effective tips to get you on your way.

The more creative you are in these three areas the higher the chances of making money from your hobbies. And to top it all off, once you do some proper work, you can put it on your CV!

You can follow Michael on Twitter here or visit his website.

Awesome free tools for organising your job search

Awesome free tools for organising your job search

By Ashlee McCullen, staff writer for ApronAddicts.com.

If you are in the midst of a graduate job search, you may be sending out a dozen or more CVs a day, be setting up interviews, calling back on leads, and making countless versions of your CV and cover letter.

A formal system to track all this can prevent you from forgetting tasks like sending e-mails and making phone calls, and can help you feel more organised and less stressed.

I recommend the following tools to help you make sense of the chaos of so many applications, and to stay organised with as little effort as possible. Each is free and available on Macs, PCs, iOS and Android.

Evernote

On the surface, Evernote is a fairly simple program. You make notes, and refer back to them. However, with a bit of ingenuity, you can use it to keep track of all your job search tasks, or at the very least hang on to important notes.

Use it any of the following ways:

  • Take notes during phone interviews. This works best when you’re sitting before a desktop computer with a keyboard.
  • Save links to great “how-to” articles and career resources.
  • Take notes at any lecture or event you attend related to the job search.
  • Record phone numbers and other contact information (that you may not want to overwhelm your personal address book).

Another idea: create a separate Evernote note for each job you’re interested in. Include a link to the job posting, the text of the posting, contact information for that job, and a to-do list to track your progress. You can furthermore add tags such as “To Apply,” “Application Sent,” “In Progress,” and “Inactive.”

Wunderlist

While I suggested using Evernote for keeping track of applications and projects, you can also consider a fully-fledged task manager app.

Unlike Evernote, an app like Wunderlist will actively inform you when tasks are due. Plus, it’s easier to see what tasks you have on your plate at any given time, and to keep a “Someday/Maybe” list for those wild ideas that strike you. (For more in-depth tips on organising your tasks, look into “Getting Things Done”).

And if you need a record of your job search activity (such as for receiving unemployment benefits, or double-checking whether you filled out a particular online form), you can refer back to Wunderlist.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a fantastic online storage service that is extremely easy to set up and use. It acts like a normal folder on your Mac or PC, but it quietly uploads files online.

With Dropbox, you can begin working on a cover letter on your home PC, make a few changes on your smartphone while you’re riding the underground, and finalise the document using your laptop at a café. It’s seamless and easy, and is ideal for those with super-fast 4G phones.

I recommend keeping all of your job search files in Dropbox, and considering an app like QuickOffice Pro (paid) to access and edit your files on an iPhone or Android phone.

Ashlee McCullen is a staff writer for ApronAddicts.com, a site about fashionable aprons and kitchen style.

How to use your work commute effectively

How to use your work commute effectively

With more and more people prepared to travel long distances to work the commute can often take up a significant amount of our day. This journey can be a stressful experience for most workers and time sat on public transport can feel wasted.

The commute need not be time wasted – you just need to look at it from a different perspective. Thinking about your commute in a more positive and practical light will allow you to get the most out of your trip and ensure you start your working day on the right foot.

The traveling can be exhausting and come Friday all you want to do is roll up your coat to make a pillow and have a snooze. However, don’t be tempted as morning naps have little benefit and can make you feel groggy – not the best way to start the day!

Here are our tips on how best to make use of this time:

  • Learn a new skill or complete a course. Sitting on a train is a great time to learn a new skill such as a new language. There are many online courses or apps that you can complete in small sections on your commute. This will be a great way to enhance your career prospects in the future.
  • Catch up with people or network. It is often hard to find time to catch up with old friends and family members so why not use this time to contact the people you love. It may go against British thinking but take time to talk with a stranger on the train (but don’t be invasive). You don’t know who you could meet and it could lead to some amazing contacts.
  • Get reading. Reading in general is a great way to spend your commute, but if possible try and read a text relevant to your work. You could teach yourself something new and gain more insight into your own industry. You should also read the news, it is important to keep up-to-date with general news and developments in your industry. To know what is going on in the world is important in a working environment as it is not only a conversation starter but allows you to join in with others.
  • Make plans and write lists. Why not get a head start on your day by writing your to do list. This could be a short term plan of action for the day to prioritise your tasks effectively or it could be a longer term plan of what you want to achieve in the next week, month or year. You could also write yourself a shopping list. A mundane task, yes, but by planning your meals for the week you could save time and money.
  • Read emails and draft responses. Save time when you are at your desk by reading emails from the evening before and drafting your response.
  • Update your social media. Use the time to Tweet about a relevant issue, respond to Tweets or create a personal blog and write posts.
  • Get organised and do some research. Think about places you would like to visit and plan your next holiday or start looking for houses if you are planning on moving out. You could also get ahead for the working day by conducting research for an article you are going to write.
  • Apply for a new job. You could use the time to research new jobs, make a shortlist, update your CV, write cover letters and send off applications.
  • Cheeky little stay in bed tip! Eat your breakfast or put your make-up on on the train (this does take some skill).

Be proactive and practical on your work commute and you will soon find that you are gaining time not losing it.

9 ways to make a great impression at careers fairs

9 ways to make a great impression at careers fairs

Careers fairs, at university or otherwise, are an important resource for job seekers. They offer an excellent opportunity to introduce yourself to potential employers and market yourself in your chosen industry. Even if you don’t get a graduate internship or job as a direct result of the fair, they can be valuable in expanding your network, learning about the industry, gathering company information, honing interview skills, building up your confidence meeting potential employers…the list goes on.

To make the most of careers fairs and the connections you make you need to ensure your first impression makes a memorable impact.  It is important to remember that anyone you meet at the fair could be prospective employer, so you want to stand out in a positive way.

Here are a few tips on how to maximise your chance of success at a careers fair:

  1. Prepare for the event. Write and practise a short marketing pitch about yourself so when a recruiter asks about your background you will be able to answer confidently. Think of some questions you can ask and also come up with some answers to questions you may be asked.  For example, “Why would you like to work at … Company?”
  2. Do your research. Research the companies attending the event so you can impress the recruiter with your pro-activity and knowledge, be able to communicate effectively and present yourself in a way that relates to the needs of the company.
  3. Dress appropriately. This doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a suit but do make sure that you show you take pride in your appearance and look smart. Recruiters will recognise and appreciate if you have taken time to dress appropriately and will focus on listening to you and your potential with the company.
  4. Make a strong first impression. Approach the recruiter confidently, with a smile, look them in the eye, offer a firm handshake and introduce yourself confidently, “Hello, my name is Jimmy, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
  5. Have business cards and CVs at hand. Make sure your CV is updated, error-free and highlights your skills and experiences in a broad way that can apply to many positions.
  6. Don’t be shy. As with all forms of networking, it is daunting to approach strangers to chat about your careers opportunities, but you will almost always be met with a friendly response.  Make sure you speak clearly, do not interrupt and ask open-ended questions that will help you gather information and show you are interested in the company.  Remember to ask for a business card!
  7. Take mints but avoid chewing gum. No one likes smelly breath, especially your future boss but avoid chewing gum, this is not a good look!
  8. Be open to new opportunities. Careers fairs offer a great opportunity to find out about companies and jobs that you may never have even considered before. So keep your mind open to new opportunities, you never know what you might discover!
  9. Follow up. After the event, if you obtained any email addresses, send a thank-you email to any employers you feel you had a positive meeting with. This will ensure that the employer remembers you and makes another good impression. It will show your professionalism and interest and maintains an open line of communication. Keep it professional, to the point and remember to proof read it. Thank them for their time and express that you have a keen interest in working for the company and mention why this job is such a great fit for you.

So next time a you are planning to attend a careers fair make sure you remember to do your research, update your personal profile and practise those handshakes and marketing pitches. Easy!