HOW TO FIND A JOB AFTER UNIVERSITY: HOW THEY DID IT

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734555_10151982423626746_1200457055904533975_nWhat did you study at University?

I studied BSc Social Policy (2001-2004)

I studied MSc Social Work (2010-2012)

What are you doing now?
I am a social worker working for a new private sector business that arrange care for people in later life.

What did you do to work towards landing your present position?

Voluntary work in nurseries whilst growing up gave me an interest and passion for children. This lead to almost going down the education route but I felt this was not for me in the end so I managed to get a job in family support, which I loved. When all the cuts hit (2009-10) I felt my job wasn’t secure enough so I decided I wanted to train as a social worker, a profession that will always be needs and there would be opportunities to use my qualification abroad. After my masters, what helped me were the sectors of social work I chose for my placements during my masters. Having had a substantial work history with children and families, I decided I wanted a challenge and broaden my experience by choosing adult social care placements. This did make my first children’s social work job a much bigger challenge because it felt like I was repeating my practice placement year but it was actually the real thing. However, it’s paid off because I have more choice in the sector of social work I work in. Specialising too soon can limit your options.

What was the biggest challenge to you leaving Uni and trying to find a job?

Working out what I wanted to do. Social Policy is such a broad subject and doesn’t really relate to a particular job like social work or teaching. When I finished I was desperate to earn some money and do something unrelated to my degree subject. I just needed a break. So got some temp work at an insurance company. I was there for 3 months and was soul destroying! When my contract came to its natural end I decided it was time to focus on my career but having applied for several jobs it became apparent that I needed more work experience. Having gone straight from A levels to uni, I didn’t take gap year to work but I had had Saturday job since I was 14 and had done some voluntary work at school too. I didn’t, however, have a job at uni at all, which was a regret of mine (but I had a great time instead!).

I ended up doing about 6 weeks of work experience in a nursery, which I loved and earned me a valuable reference. This then lead to a part time job as a play worker at an after-school club, which then lead to a full time and well paid “proper” job as a Child Development Worker in a residential parenting assessment unit. This was all in the space of a year and was not an easy ride. However, once I landed myself a “proper” job looking back it was well worth it.

What was the biggest challenge to you leaving Uni and trying to find a job?

The biggest challenge leaving uni as a Social Worker was the fierce competition and employers who were recruiting Newly Qualified Social Workers. All social workers around the country were graduating at roughly the same time so you had to really stand out. I decided to increase my chances and widen my job search so I applied for jobs in London and Bristol. I also looked in Leeds and Brighton where friends and family lived. I’m not sure I would have considered moving anywhere I didn’t know anyone at all if I’m honest. I was persistent with my application forms and did a lot of cutting and pasting into new application forms. I made contact with old managers and subscribed to job alert.

I found out from a social worker friend in Bristol that they were welcoming newly qualified’s so I applied and Bristol won! The only downside was I was on a lot less pay compared to London but my attitude was to get at least a year, preferably 2, in statutory social work, pass my assessed and supported year in practice and then the world would be my oyster. Two years down the line I’ve done just that – I’m still in Bristol but doing something different now. And in a very happy place.

How useful would you say your degree and Uni experience was to you getting your present job? and why?

My BSc degree was very useful. I refer to it a lot. In my current job it is essential I keep up to date with social policy, particularly with regards to care in later life, which is a massive issue given our ageing population and current economic climate. My social work training and work experience has given me communication and interpersonal skills to work with people, especially those going through hard times. It has also given me an awareness of anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice, as well as being able to understand and implement the law.

What advice would you have given yourself before graduating, in terms of finding a job, knowing what you know now?

Work work work as much as you can. The more relevant to your chosen career path the better but unrelated work still gives you many employability skills. Employers love voluntary work too. Whilst at uni think about the options you’re choosing and if there’s an opportunity to do work placements take it with both hands. Be prepared to do anything in your chosen sector, even part time work – you never know what opportunities are around the corner. Getting your foot in the door is an excellent start!

Are there any useful resources or motivational tips you can share that would help others in their journey to find a job?

Think positively. Focus on what you want and “how” you want to get there.

Be open to do anything. You never know where your path might lead you. Be as flexible as possible.

Don’t see rejection as failure – instead learn from it and see it as feedback.

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HOW TO FIND A JOB AFTER UNIVERSITY: HOW THEY DID IT

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550885_10150954996814631_153116084_nHelen Kelly, 21
University of Leeds: Broadcast journalism
What are you doing now?
Features Intern at ELLE What did you do to work towards landing your present position? I spent time researching the companies I wanted to work for, how to gain work experience there and the best way to contact them. During university I spent time building my portfolio of work by writing for blogs, newspapers and gaining work experience at TATLER.
What was the biggest challenge to you leaving Uni and trying to find a job?
It mostly that it’s very competitive and you have to tailor your application to suit the job and the company you are applying to. You also need to have a lot of experience as well, which is why I’m still interning.
How useful would you say your degree and Uni experience was to you getting your present job? and why?
I would say it helps but at the moment I’m not sure as to the extent of which it has helped. The university experience helped with my confidence, making contacts and gained a wider understanding of the journalism industry I wanted to enter.
What advice would you have given yourself before graduating, in terms of finding a job, knowing what you know now?
Just to get as much experience while at uni as you possibly can because after uni you want a job rather than to spend more time gaining experience. Other than that I pretty much knew it was going to be tough getting the job I wanted.
Are there any useful resources or motivational tips you can share that would help others in their journey to find a job?
Be tenacious. You think it’s tough and it probably will but you have to be prepared to wait and work for what you want. Gain as much experience as you can. Learn as much as you can. Ask questions – talk to people who have the job you want because that way you learn which route to take to the career you want.

How to find a job after University: How they did it

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Completing any form of education and entering the job market can be a daunting prospect. For those who have graduated University or decided to take other routes to finding a career the realisation that finding work is no easy fete can be demoralising. You’re wondering how to find a job after University? Instead of listing tips for finding a job, I thought I would share the testimonies of others who have been in your very same job hunting shoes, in the hopes of spreading some hope and advice. Their stories will motivate and inspire you  in your own journeys to a career or job.

Over the next few weeks these posts will be featuring the testimonies from young graduates and non-graduates on how to find a job after University. Check out the University section for more advice.

10681761_10152614547956480_139514571_nIsabella Silvers, 22

University: English Language at University of Sussex, graduated with first class honours in 2014
What are you doing now?
I have moved to London and am working at my local Topshop, a position I transferred from home, to university, and now to my new city. This week I am part of the Fashion Scout blog team, writing for their website at LFW. I also hold the position of Online Editor for Brighton Fashion Week, as well as Producer for BFW’s ShowReel. On top of this, I write freelance.
What did you do to work towards landing your present position?
I am proactive in looking for work experience, internships and opportunities, constantly searching online and Twitter for positions. I try and apply to as many as I can, and have been interviewed by a few places already. I always look for resources such as blogs, articles, books and magazine, that have advice on my chosen career (fashion journalism), and keep note of any tips. I attend career workshops and talks, write my own blog and freelance in order to build up my portfolio, and try and attend fashion related events in the hope of making contacts. I have been working towards this for the past six years, but especially so after finishing university – I started to really push myself as soon as I’d finished my exam at university. As much of my work is unpaid, I was persistent in gaining a transfer from Topshop in Brighton to London, ensuring I have at least a little bit of income while I work unpaid.
What was the biggest challenge to you leaving Uni and trying to find a job?
Realising that no matter how tough you thought it was to get a job, it’s 100 times tougher. The competition is fierce and it’s likely I won’t find a job for at least two years. People still expect me to work for free when I now have no student loan, and moving back in with family means that I have lost the quiet haven that was my bedroom in my student house. You go from being a student to just being unemployed (which I kind of consider myself, as my retail job isn’t something I see as a career). You can wonder what the last three years have been for.
How useful would you say your degree and Uni experience was to you getting your present job? And why?
My degree in English Language certainly puts me ahead of others in terms of spelling and grammar – this might sound silly but the amount of mistakes I have seen in other writers work is a bit scary. In terms of my degree leading straight to a job, my degree hasn’t been useful at all. I haven’t chosen to follow the traditional Linguistic paths of speech therapy, academics or translation (to name just three), but then again neither did I choose to do a fashion journalism degree, which may have led to more opportunities. However my university experience and living has been INVALUABLE. I think being proactive and persistent meant I made the most of all the connections available to me in Brighton, and with it being a relatively small city I was able to get really stuck in. Those contacts have helped me gain further opportunities and offered me so much support. Being close to London was also a huge benefit. What advice would you have given yourself before graduating, in terms of finding a job, knowing what you know now: Never say no to an opportunity, use your holidays and free time to get as much experience as possible, be ready with business cards and professional Twitter/LinkedIn/Blog/ Portfolio. Make the most of student media.
Are there any useful resources or motivational tips you can share that would help others in their journey to find a job?
It’s ok to make mistakes, just learn from them. Be persistent in a professional way, but always follow up and don’t expect just one e-mail to get you the position. Support your friends and they will support you!!!! This is something I feel passionately about, especially in the creative industries. Also, don’t give up. There will always be someone better than you, but if you get lots of experience there will always be people not as good as you as well. More specifically to fashion journalism, build up a portfolio, be present on social media, have a Twitter account, know writers in the industry and who you like to read, know the media landscape, competitors etc. On Twitter, follow @UkFashionIntern, @ArtsThread, @GoThinkBig, @FashionWorkie, @mediamuppet, @JournoGrads. Follow influential people in the companies you want to work for, as well as that companies Careers page. A lot of people are telling me they’re finding a lot of jobs on LinkedIn too. I do a weekly (if I get time) career advice post on my blog www.HellForPleather.com so they can follow me to find out what I’m doing if they like, this isn’t just a plug I promise!

Freshers on a Budget!

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Freshers week, your initiation into University life and that short window of freedom before the onset of course work. Drinking games, silly outfits and club nights you cant remember the names of will become as familiar a pastime as scrolling through your Facebook feed. It all sounds great but how do you tackle it without breaking the bank? How do you take on freshers on a budget?We all feel like a boss we get that lump-sum but after all your student finance has to last the next 3 months right?  I mean beans on toast sounds good now, but after a few weeks you might find your housemates  side of the fridge starts looking mighty tempting. I have some bad and good news, fortunately I Have 5 tips to help you save money while missing out on none of the fun, the bad news is there is no telling what will happen when the realisation of freedom and lure of cheap booze hits you.

1. Costumes

For most outings a costume will be essential, so think Kirstie Allsopp or Mary Poppins. Always go DIY, for the art of a great costume is not dishing out a tonne of money on a readymade one, it is in creating one. Think of your favourite celebrity, 9 times out of 10 you will have something ready in the wardrobe and it is just a case of adding a bit of makeup here and styling your hair there.Think Miley Cyrus at the MTV Music awards, two pigtail buns, red lipstick and a teddy bear. Failing that, buy a bag of balloons, blow them up pin them to yourself and go as a bunch of grapes, you might come home suffering from shell shock but it’ll be a conversation starter.

2.Travel

When considering the cost of traveling, walk whenever possible. If the pub is 5 minutes down the road there is no need to book a taxi just because everyone else wants to. Take the bus, the bus is often underrated but this is sometimes where the party starts. On the bus is where you could possibly meet other people on your travels, make friends or bond with the people you are already with.

3. Drinks

First let me say I do not promote binge drinking, but we all know there is nothing wrong with having a few supermarket bought drinks before an outing in the comfort of your flat/dorm. This way you can more realistically set a budget for the night ahead. DO NOT go out with the intention of having someone else pay for you drinks, this is dangerous  and unnecessary.

4. Freshers Fair= Free 

Make time to head down to your freshers fair, companies use these fair to promote good and entice students with cheap deals or giveaway. A free meal never hurt anyone. This is also a great chance to check out what your university has to offer, look into societies, volunteering or  job opportunities, the early bird catches the worm or sometimes one of those coveted union jobs.

5. Say no to the Takeaway

Remember that takeaways are not your friends, they will call to you at the end of the night like sirens through the chicken shop windows, but you must abstain! Make a large  dinner and eat a second plate when you get home. Make sure its something you really like so it’ll be all you think about on your way home. Trust me it will be cheaper in the long run.

Well now that you have your tips for doing freshers on a budget, go on then, go enjoy yourself!

Check out the University section for more advice.

Protective Styles : DIY Curly U Part Wig

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Recently I have been struggling with the fact that, whilst I love leaving my natural hair out, it takes up too much of my time. I know I know, complaining about doing my hair is a natural hair cardinal sin. But when times get busy you have to reach for the easier option sometimes and that doesn’t mean you have to neglect your natural tresses. Far from it.

Out come the protective styles, code word, ‘give you and your hair a break styles’. There are many protective styles out there as you know whether it be Marley Braid, cornrows, Crotchet braids, wigs or U part wig.

This time I was looking for something a bit more ‘natural looking’.  A style that would look like my own hair to the naked eye. I stumbled on the holy U part wig, now don’t get scared by the wig part. If you’re looking for something lightweight, low maintenance, affordable and most importantly oh so fierce its for you.

Check out the video below. I go through how to pull off an effortless looking curly U part that’ll have everyone guessing.

Follow me on twitter @zoetcampbell