Talenthouse competition – Join Billabong’s official photography team in LA

Inspiring Interns are pleased to announce that we have partnered with Talenthouse, the world’s platform for creative collaboration. Talenthouse works with established artists and iconic brands to host global online campaigns that gives creative individuals the opportunity to win great prizes and life-changing experiences. In the coming months we will host a variety of Talenthouse competitions on our blog across film, fashion, music, art/design and photography.

This time we’re looking for ambitious photographers to take part in Billabong’s #dreamincolours competition. For information on how to enter and for information on prizes for the winners, scroll below! You can enter right here on the Inspiring blog.

Winning a competition like this and the international recognition that comes with it could propel you to the forefront of an employers’ minds, helping you to secure an internship or graduate job.

If you know any budding photographers, do share this blog post with them on Twitter, Facebook or link back here from your own blog and help us spread this competition!

Paris Brown and Twitter: a lesson for students and graduates

Last week, 17-year-old Paris Brown was appointed the UK’s first youth police and crime commissioner. She was due to represent young people across the country, assisting Kent’s PCC Ann Barnes. Over the weekend it emerged that she had posted offensive (and potentially illegal) material on her Twitter page, when she was between the ages of 14 and 16. This led to a major media storm, with Paris appearing on the front pages of national newspapers and featuring regularly on the 24-hour news channels.

Paris offered a tearful apology on Sunday in a BBC interview but that did little to quell the storm around her new job and, today, she offered her resignation.

I won’t go into the rights and wrongs of her stepping down (although for the record I don’t think a responsible media should hound a 17-year-old girl in this manner), but there are lessons to learn here for all students and graduates.

Although we use Twitter, Facebook and other social sites to communicate with friends and you may think no-one of note will be watching, you must always remember these are public forums. Anything you publish on them, ever, will be available to access in the future. A bit of banter with mates on Twitter might be funny at the time but would a future employer approve?

Of course, the vast majority of you will never come under the media scrutiny Paris Brown has experienced in the last few days. But companies are increasingly scanning digital footprints for reasons why they should – or shouldn’t – hire you, and anything on your social media profiles that could be construed as illegal, tasteless, offensive, or even unprofessional might lose you an interview or even a job.

There will inevitably be more cases like Paris Brown’s, as a generation that has grown up communicating in very public forums starts to move into the public eye and into positions of responsibility. Unfortunately for Paris Brown, she has found this out the hard way. Learn from her mistakes: watch what you say online, delete questionable posts from your past – and remember, someone will be watching.

Andrew James Scherer was thrust into this world in 1986 and from the moment he was born knew he was destined for the top…of the marketing department at Inspiring Interns. Scherer somehow persuaded Inspiring to take him on in November 2009 and has been immovable since. Can be found @scheza on Twitter and intermittently at andrewscherer.co

SEO internships – part 1: a smart career choice

So, you’ve heard about SEO, but want to know more. What exactly does it entail and are the long-term career prospects good? Do you have the skills it takes for a role within this exciting industry?

In this short series of blogs, Ed Hallinan, former Inspiring Intern and now web-editor for digital consultancy InterGreater, will be giving some insight into why internship seekers from a wide variety of backgrounds are well-suited to a career in SEO.

What is SEO and why is it important?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. In the simplest terms, this is the art of helping websites rank as highly as possible for ‘natural listings’ on search engines. To help explain what natural listings are, see the example below:

Here, we have searched the term ‘graduate jobs London’. Indicated in red are the ‘paid for’ listings. In order to get their websites placed in the paid for areas, businesses pay Google for each click they get (pay per click or ‘PPC’ advertising).

In blue are the natural listings. These listings are free and although they are lower down the page, they are estimated to receive 80% of all user clicks. Clicks through from google with no advertising costs understandably get companies very excited. After all, more and more business is done online, and the internet creates the potential to reach out to millions of target customers.

Like many other companies, at InterGreater we provide SEO consultancy services to help businesses rank as highly as possible for important search terms for their business (known as ‘keywords’). As the trend towards online commerce builds momentum, and competition increases, the demand for SEO continues to grow.

How does SEO work?

SEO is all about building and marketing critical content. There are also risky, non-recommended shortcuts that can be taken to achieve quick results. However, Google is constantly evolving its ranking algorithms to discredit these ‘darks arts’ of SEO (referred to as ‘black hat’ techniques).

For safer, long-term SEO results, a business must create genuinely informative content that appeals to its target customers. If this content is interesting, unique, and well-promoted, other websites will be encouraged to link to it in a ‘natural’ way. In turn, Google sees these links as votes of confidence and the more high quality links achieved, the higher the site and specific pages will rank. This is why strong strategic blogging is so important.

Content promotion is also critical as this can kick-start the process of key third parties finding and linking to content. Social media promotion via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other key networks can be particularly effective. The more these networks grow, the more credit Google gives to social links.
These are just some of the ‘white hat’ techniques we use at InterGreater. Unlike typical SEO agencies, our focus is on training businesses to understand and implement these critical practices.

What skills do I need?

When embarking on a career in SEO, the most important attributes are:
• research skills
• writing skills
• creative thinking
• analytical skills

As such, the role suits people from a wide range of backgrounds and is certainly not just limited to IT graduates. For example my degree was achieved at the Royal College of Music! Whilst working my internship with InterGreater (achieved via Inspiring Interns), I continued to work part time as a freelance musician. Through the tools and thought processes I was taught to use, I was able to work out that optimising my website for the term ‘bridal wedding music’ would be great as it has lots of searches, but low competition. I then went about writing related content and finding ways to market that content to achieve key links and improve my rankings. So although I trained in music, the research, creativity, writing and analytical skills I had developed were all combined as part of my successful SEO internship.

Alternatively, someone with an English degree might be excellent at blogging and writing interesting posts that people would want to share. Scientists or mathematicians with analytical skills can use online tools such as Google Analytics to see where in the world site visitors are clicking from, and use the data to plan a keyword strategy for the future.

In short, if you can think laterally and are able to apply knowledge from your degree in a relevant way, you have the potential for a career in SEO. With a little research and brushing up of web skills (there are many helpful introductory articles out there) an SEO role would be a wise choice for the future.

I’m interested how do I learn more?

This is the first article in a short series of blogs on SEO. Coming up we’ll be discussing:

• how to write great content
• how to get those all important links
• how to win that vital internship

In the meantime, if you want to take the next steps and start building up a more in-depth understanding, I recommend reading the SEOMoz beginners guide to SEO. This was the first detailed material I was directed to at InterGreater and it really helped me build some initial know-how.

Why not browse our latest SEO internship here!

Seven ways to keep motivated whilst graduate job hunting

We’ve all been there. Reality has hit. The wildest three or four years of your life came to an end a few months ago and you’re staring rather blankly at the very bottom of your career ladder. It’s a well-known fact that graduate job hunting is not a simple, quick or painless task. It takes time to find the perfect position, and for some it can take months. Whatever the case, the key is to keep motivated. Below are a few tips that I have put together to help you through this short period of darkness and into the light…

1. Establish goals: Set yourself a few targets, daily or weekly, to give yourself a sense of achievement when fulfilled. Perhaps aim to find and apply to at least two jobs that actually interest you each day, or ensuring that you tailor your applications to meet the requirements of every role you apply for.

2. Get yourself into a routine: It may sound silly, but waking at the same (reasonable) time every morning will provide you with some much needed structure to your day. It will also reduce the shock to your body when you begin the 9 to 5.

3. Exercise: Your mind, body and soul. Get out of the house and get some good British fresh air into those lungs. Whether it’s a ten minute walk around the block, a half hour run around the park or a friendly game of Korfball; whatever floats your boat, get your blood pumping and release those endorphins.

4. Change of scenery: Hours spent staring at a computer trawling through job listings can often do more bad than good. Mix up your day, take frequent breaks, and don’t feel guilty about socialising. Meeting a friend for coffee can easily double-up as a practice interview.

5. View your CV as an open book: Use the spare time that you have to strengthen your skill-set where possible. Volunteer work is a great way to improve communication skills and keep you busy, so check out charities in your local area to see where you can help. Employers will recognise and appreciate your use of initiative.

6. Brighten your day with music: Music is the medicine of the mind, so stick on your favourite radio show, an upbeat playlist or decent podcast to lift your mood.

7. And finally, reward yourself: Remember to take time-off. Everyone benefits from regular down-time, so ensure that you always have something to look forward to. Positivity is key. Believe in your abilities, and keep checking the Inspiring Interns vacancies page for career opportunities!

Hannah is a Digital Marketing Intern at Inspiring. She tweets about all things golden here: @hlcroberts and pins all things pretty here: gildthelilly.

Inspiring Interns infographic: The graduate journey

We used our own research from surveys we have conducted along with findings from ONS and IntaPeople to create this infographic about the graduate journey between leaving university and finding a graduate job.

We reveal the salary difference between graduates who have completed internships and those who haven’t, the amount of graduates keen to work in London, how many graduates are vying for each graduate job, and more.

Check out our infographic: The graduate journey below:

Hannah is a Digital Marketing Executive at Inspiring. She blogs about food here: datedinners.com and tweets about food here: @misshana_. She squeezes in time for graduate careers advice and commuting rants too.

How to start a business at university

This article was provided by Adam Grunwerg, founder of Graduates.co.uk – the website for graduate news.

There’s no secret recipe behind starting a business because each and every business out there is different. There are however five crucial stages that you’ll have to go through at some point when it comes to starting a business at university. These are:

Deciding to start a business and coming up with an idea: Some people know from an early age that they want to start a business, other people just spontaneously start a business and end up running it for the rest of their days. Before you can start a business you have to want to do so – you also have to have a great idea. Decide whether you want to start a business and find an idea that’s going to be profitable – without the drive to start a business or an idea to exploit, you can’t get the ball rolling.
Finding the funds to kick things off: In order to get your business started you’ll need some money – this covers the purchasing of stock or equipment, as well as a marketing budget and those other little niggling expenses. Starting a business is not cheap and 99.9% of businesses need an upfront cash injection. As a student the best way to rustle up this cash is to set aside a chunk of your student finance. That being said, I know many people that have started businesses at university on a shoestring budget. The Government’s latest £2,500 start-up loans may also be an option for you.
Selling your products or services: Once you’ve got an idea in place along with stock to sell, or machinery to provide specific services, you need to actually draw in customers and clients. If you have no customers you’ll have no turnover – and a business with no turnover won’t get very far. Often the hardest part of starting a business is getting word out there that it exists.
Fulfilling your products and services: Once customers start to flood in you need to keep up with the orders for products and services that you’re offering. You can’t take people’s money and not come up with the goods. Plan systems and processes to ensure that fulfilment is done properly.
Rinse and repeat: Once everything’s up and running and you’ve got your first few customers it’s a case of rinsing and repeating your marketing strategy and your fulfilment strategy. Businesses tend to start small and snow ball over time.

Starting a business at university is definitely possible – it’s not easy though and it requires a lot of focus. If you’ve not got a part time job to hold down then why not think about starting a business on the side? By the time you’ve finished university your business could be big enough for you to live off comfortably long into the future. Honestly, I’ve written quite a lot about it on my blog Graduates.co.uk, university is one of the best times to start a business. Think about it, you won’t get many opportunities in life where you have the time, resources and advisory services to start a business and promote it to a wide audience easily.

The taxman

There’s a myth that plagues students – this myth is that students are exempt from paying tax. When you start a business make sure you keep your books in order from day one – catching up on your books at a later point if you fail to capture records is a very, very tough task indeed.

In the UK the taxman goes by the name of HMRC – and he’s extremely unforgiving. Our advice is to make a daily revenue sheet – keep a close record of all money you’ve got coming in, and save all invoices for money that’s going out. You can then keep a track of total turnover very easily – you can also keep a track of total expenditure too.

Once your revenue hits £77,000 in one year (on a rolling basis), you need to register for Value Added Tax (VAT). Once registered with VAT you must charge 20% VAT on all of your prices.

Once you start hitting a high turnover around £50,000 it’s worth looking into hiring an accountant to keep your finances in order for you, and to advise you where necessary about tax. Trading as a sole trader will see you landed with much higher tax bills than if you trade as a Limited company (if you’re taking £30,000 or more typically) – so don’t be shy to seek professional financial and tax advice.

Starting a business might seem easy but it’s not. Once you’ve got an idea you need to work out how to kick your business off – and once your business is kicked off you need to do everything possible to keep financial records in check so that you know exactly where you’re at when it comes to settling up with HMRC for any tax or National Insurance payments that are owed.

The world’s weirdest job titles

When we leave university we’d all like to think that we’d walk into our dream job. Many graduates will look for careers in medicine, law, marketing, designing and writing, among other popular vocations. However, if you don’t want to follow the crowd and would rather spend your life doing something a little more niche then how about becoming a Smarties expert, MILF Commander or bride kidnapping specialist. Yes, these are real job titles!

Following on from our blog post on 10 of the most bizarre jobs in the world, here are some screenshots taken of the oddest job titles to appear on documentaries and news programmes around the world:

1. Chocolate Beer Specialist
Who wouldn’t want to be a specialist in chocolate and beer or even chocolate beer?

2. Pork Rind Expert
I wonder how exactly you become an expert in a snack product?

3. Head of Potatoes
I would love to know the responsibilities of this role…

4. Bride Kidnapping Expert
I’m intrigued to know how exactly you become an expert in bride kidnapping? And how much work he actually gets…

5. Writer/Wizard/Mail Santa/Rasputin impersonator
This guy has not one but four job titles, three of which are pretty unusual.

6. Pornography Historian
Who knew the world needed one of these?

7. Smarties Expert
With all that sugar in their systems it must be a right party when all the Smarties experts get together!

8. MILF Commander
I wish I could get hold of a job description for this role…

Have you ever noticed any weird job titles when watching TV? We would love to hear them!

Hannah is a Digital Marketing Executive at Inspiring. She blogs about food here: datedinners.com and tweets about food here: @misshana_. She squeezes in time for graduate careers advice and commuting rants too.

The top 5 blogs of 2012

As the end of the year fast approaches, we would like to give you a quick run-down of our best blog posts of 2012.

Check out the blog posts below for our most viewed blogs of this year covering everything from careers advice, weird and wonderful facts, Inspiring office antics and graduate news.

1. 10 of the most bizarre jobs in the world
This list of bizarre jobs was our most viewed blog post of 2012. With professions like snake ‘milker’ and fortune cookie writer making an appearance we aren’t really surprised it was a popular read. Maybe some of you even discovered your true calling…

2. 8 successful student businesses started at university
In second spot is our list of successful business ideas started by students. From world-dominating giants to a thriving ice-cream parlour started by London Business School students, we compiled 8 of the most intriguing businesses started at university.

3. The coolest offices in the world
We like to think that Inspiring HQ is pretty cool but these offices, with their underground lairs and astroturf carpets, just blow ours out of the water…

4. Why being a graduate in 2012 is a good thing
This positive outlook on 2012 was written by Corin Jackson. With a constant barrage from the media saying it’s near enough impossible to get a job, Corin reminds us that being a graduate in 2012 is actually pretty awesome…

5. 5 ridiculous ideas that made millions
Who doesn’t love a million pound idea? This list of ridiculous ideas that made millions came in at number 5 for the most viewed blog in 2012! Have you ever been flicking through a catalogue, browsing online or out window shopping and thought; ‘what a simple idea, I could have come up with that’? Some of the world’s most popular inventions came from very silly ideas that turned into million pound businesses…

Here’s to 2013 and whole lot more blogging fun!

Happy New Year,

The Inspiring team!

Hannah is a Digital Marketing Executive at Inspiring. She blogs about food here: datedinners.com and tweets about food here: @misshana_. She squeezes in time for graduate careers advice and commuting rants too.

Stay positive in your job hunt

By Kate Magrath. Read Kate’s blog here!

I finished university last June with the thought that I would find a graduate job easily and everything would just fall into place. Little did I know that it would require much more effort than merely submitting a CV with ‘2nd class honours’ plastered across the page. With the determination not to move home I made plans to move to Bristol – a very spontaneous decision influenced greatly by my boyfriend. The city would better my chances of finding the career in media that I dreamed about – location is important and I strived to keep my independence.

I found a job in retail pretty easily and moved into a little flat in the city centre. I then discovered the meaning of working and living on a minimum-wage budget. Between shifts I put my efforts into applying for anything media-related. The rejections are difficult to accept sometimes, especially when you are really interested or have your heart set on a particular job. But my advice would be to keep an open mind and treat job hunting as a job in itself.

Working long shifts at unsociable hours meant that my sleeping pattern and diet suffered immensely and job-hunting became more of a chore than an exciting prospect. It is important to stay positive and not get dragged down. Family and friends is a great support network to use at times like this. Remember that there is ALWAYS someone that has been in or is in the same situation; so sharing advice is very helpful. And don’t feel guilty for having a week off occasionally from searching too, it helps to take a step back and reassess. Keep a note of where you have applied to and contact details in order to follow up applications.

My inbox suffered a bit of drought for 2 months and I was close to just giving up. It is so hard to stay motivated when it seems like everything you do doesn’t work. Try agencies, either register online or go into the office and show your face. It will take some of the workload off of your shoulders and allow somebody else to do the searching. It might feel that you can memorize every job site from top to bottom; so another pair of eyes might find something you’re missing.

I started a LinkedIn account so that I was able to connect with professionals and other media groups that eventually opened more doors. I contacted a family friend who worked in recruitment in London, who gave me some invaluable advice and helped to ‘re-vamp’ my CV. My Dad has always said that ‘it’s not always what you know, but who you know’ and this has strangely been true more times than not. Twitter is another good social media platform to use for job hunting. Follow all companies and job agencies relevant to the job you want to find and watch for job adverts, even try being bold and asking them outright for a job or placement. Funnily enough there have been lots of success stories!

A year since graduating, I have just accepted a job as an Online Community Executive for a media events company in Bristol and I couldn’t be happier. It is an absolute dream come true and it feels like all my hard work has really paid off. I really believe that if you put your mind to something and believe, things will go your way.

I wish you all the luck and success and remember, stay positive always!

Kate is a self-professed baker, lover of all things girly, happiest when amongst friends and family. Read her blog and follow her on Twitter @KateMagrath

Locations to increase job searching productivity

After sending out one personalised and carefully crafted application after another and getting no response, the job hunt can become repetitive and dis-heartening. It is difficult to keep your spirits high and your motivation up especially when sat in the spot day after day combing through various job sites. Being alone at your desk and starring at the same stuff everyday can be frustrating and inevitably, your productivity will suffer. With net books and tablets to carry our work for us why not try getting out and interacting with the world?

Check out these locations that could help you increase your job hunting productivity:

Libraries
Libraries are ideal for independent work and are the perfect spot for someone wanting to be out of the house but still needing peace and quiet to concentrate on their job hunting. Many libraries offer free Wi-Fi access so you can search through job sites to your heart’s content. Another advantage is you’ll have access to reference materials, printers, and copy machines which could come in useful.

The downside is that sometimes library Wi-Fi can be a bit spotty and there is sometimes limited table or desk space.

Cafés
If you like being around people and feeding off their energy then a café could be the perfect place to go to get out of the house. You will be able to overhear conversations, chat to staff and people watch from the window. These small things will keep you both social and sane from the isolation of your desk.
Job hunting in a café won’t be free, you’ll be expected to buy some food or drink for the privilege of using their Wi-Fi. Some cafés even ask that customers make a minimum purchase every hour they spend in there.

To get around this you could try to find an internet café that charges for internet access. If you are paying for your time then you will be able to stay as long as you like without concerns about taking up space or drinking one too many cappuccinos.

J.K.Rowling once said in an interview for HILLARY Magazine she said,

“It’s no secret that the best place to write, in my opinion, is in a café. You don’t have to make your own coffee, you don’t have to feel like you’re in solitary confinement and if you have writer’s block, you can get up and walk to the next café.”

A friend’s house
If you are struggling with the job hunt then chances are you will have friends in a similar boat. Why not arrange a job hunting day where you can help each other with your CVs and applications and suggest useful job sites. You can also take it in turns to make the tea!

Just make it clear before the dedicated day that you both know that you are there to job hunt not to gossip.

Go outside
Obviously, this one is weather permitting. Getting some natural light and fresh air will really improve your mood and many smart phones can work as a hotspot, enabling you to work outside. So make sure your laptop is fully charged, grab a blanket and head to the park.

There’s no harm in a change of scenery every now and again and it could definitely help boost your job searching productivity. It is important to not only change up your environment but to take regular breaks and exercise to keep your mind fresh and motivated.

Which locations are productive for you?