Goodnight Blog!

I’ve now stopped writing on this blog (if you hadn’t already realised!)

My new blog is located at why don’t you pop over and check what I’m doing there?



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Curriculum Vitae

I have miraculously found myself sitting in the role of a recruiter this past week as I try to find a replacement for my position.  Now this has driven me to create this post as I am horrified at some of the things I have seen so far, especially with the influx of CVs I have had over the weekend.

I am the first person to say that a CV doesn’t necessarily give you the opportunity to truly express what you are capable of and I now have a whole new level of pity for recruiters.  In the past I have helped a number of friends and family with their CVs to bring them up to standard which has enabled them to have greater success with their job hunt; it may just have been luck and nothing to do with my tinkering though…

Finding a job isn’t easy but I can rest assured that some of these job seekers are going to be looking for a job for a long time. From twenty-five applications, there are three which I am going to call and consider suitable for the position.  There are at least another five who would have been suitable had they bothered to put the effort in.  And there are a couple more who would be suitable but live in a highly inappropriate place to be applying to an immediate start, intern position – including one application from Greece and a number from people without the right to work full-time in the UK…I mean come on!!

There is one CV which has made me VERY angry and it is on this I am going to focus my rant.  To start with they have put a twitter account on their CV which would be great….but they haven’t tweeted or done anything with it.  What is the point in including this? It is a waste of time for the recruiter.  Secondly they have included the link to their personal Facebook account.  Bit of a strange one as I would rather a potential employer didn’t see my personal Facebook account (or at least had to hunt for it) but the profile picture didn’t exactly inspire me to hire them.  In fact it made me think they would be even more inappropriate for the job.

The big thing that got me with this CV though was the spelling errors.  I was actually horrified.  The grammar they used was awful and I swear that they have less understanding of where and when to use a capital letter than my six-year-old brother.  But the icing on top of the cake was the following spelling errors, all taken from the same paragraph:

Callender, ameture, coleugues and Dagree

To be fair I’m quite surprised they managed to get a degree considering they can’t even spell it…

Rant over.

Posted in degree, graduate, Internship, Jobs, working | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Friend or Foe?

So anyone who knows me well will know that I have a habit of putting my proverbial foot in it. Which has got me to thinking about how people’s private and work lives can differ.

At work I tend to be cool headed, make well thought out decisions and stay out of trouble.  Not to say there haven’t been confrontations at work but in those cases I have attracted them instead of caused them – to give a little bit more light on that, females seem to take issue with me in the workplace.  In one job it has happened with 80% of the females I have worked directly alongside which is a rather overwhelmingly large percentage!  I have been assured from three jobs (and numerous positions in them) that it is only because I am good at my job and that they are just jealous. I don’t know but it is kind of annoying.

In my personal life everything rather turns on its head.  My brain seems to be wired to jump past the rational thinking and instead makes a decision for my mouth to go right in there.  I couldn’t even think of a more different approach to that in my professional life.  These moment of madness, as I have come to think of them, often wind up with me regretting them.  They also tend to put me into sticky situations.

For example, more often than not I have not actually done the ‘wrong’ thing.  I am merely commenting on what someone else has done but this tendancy of going about it in the wrong way always results in me apologising.  This apology only seems to go so far and things wind up fractured for a long time.

This has gone off on a bit of a tangant but my point basically was how different people can be/behave in different situations.  If only I could bring my two personas more hand-in-hand then perhaps life outside of work would be as easy as within it.  However, I somehow feel that my passion for those around me will prevent this happening, because ultimately it all comes down to caring too much.  Benefits do tend to come out of it but unfortunately are only reaped by other people; generally I have ruptured things too much to go back.

So please, if you do experience one of these outbursts at some point in time, don’t necessarily take it the wrong way.  It will most certainly be firmly routed in caring about something or someone and my intentions are generally good and don’t intend to appear selfish. And for any potential employers reading this post, don’t worry, you won’t see any of this! My passion, drive and energy will all be driven into the task at hand (I can’t acconut for the other females though)!

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University Working Time

Back in the day on a Saturday morning at 10am I was pretty easy to track down.  I could be found in Loughborough’s Sainsbury’s Supermarket on a checkout, more than likely a little worse for wear.  This was the time of day when the rather barmy locals filled the shop before making a quick exit so as to avoid the rising of the student population rose from the depths of Hangover Central.

For me this was the case during term time for all three of my years at Loughborough University.  Yes getting to work for 10am on a Saturday morning (after one of the biggest nights at the Student Union) was at times a struggle.  Yes having to deal with the ‘locals’ at that time of day was often a challenge and Yes I am happy that I did this.

I scored pretty lucky on the whole with my job.  Having already worked for Sainsbury’s throughout my A-Levels, I had a dual store contract which meant that in term-time I worked in Loughborough and in the holidays, I worked at home.  It certainly helps knowing that you’ve got a guaranteed job all year round and eases the financial worry.  Of course it was at times a challenge to keep up but I am going to explain now why it was undeniably worth it.

University is not cheap.  I was pretty unlucky when I started since it was the year that the last fee hike went up.  I can’t quite imagine how it must feel starting alongside this new set of hikes.  But fees have become somewhat irrelevant these days as you can simply get loans for them, which add them onto that pile of non-real feeling debt which you accumluate.

I never really understood how people survived at University without working.  I did a mere 12 hours a week but that made the World of difference.  I only paid my accommodation fees for the second year of my degree, as I was fortunate enough to receive help from my parents the rest of the time.  My earnings from working 12 hours a week, covered my rent perfectly in this year, freeing up my loan for living.

Now a maintenance loan is hardly the most amount of money in the world and so I fully struggle to understand how people manage to live off it, without a job or any help from your parents.  if you did this then I would love to hear from you because you are obviously a thriftier person than I!

Personally, I left Uni without a huge student overdraft which is probably the main financial benefit that I got from working at University.

But this was not the main thing.  It is no longer enough, if it ever was, to simply have a degree.  Experience of being in the working world is fundamentally becoming key to securing a job after University.  Of course, it is helpful to have industry experience for the sector in which you want to work but showing you have held down a job throughout your studies, helps you to develop workplace skills and dedication.  These could prove key to your success in the future.

As a result of my University job I gained management and teamwork skills.  I gained experience accross a retail environment, which can be tough as I am sure anyone who has worked in retail will agree.  This job has added a whole other dimension to my CV showing that I have dedication, initiative and tip-top communication skills.  I honestly believe, that I wouldn’t be in the place I am today without having held this position and I cannot believe that people turn down the opportunity to work while studying.

For me, the benefits far outweigh the cons.  Don’t agree with me? I’d love to hear your thoughts as always…..

Posted in degree, graduate, Growing up, Jobs, Student, working | 2 Comments

What Happened to Manners?

My apologies in advance because this is indeed a ranting post!  Not about anyone in particular but a state which seems to have set in across many situations.

I have to admit (and anyone who has worked for me will agree) that if I’m thinking about lots of things at once then I’ll forget to say please.  Thankfully there’s always someone on hand to nudge me in the right direction! But I’ll always say thank you where it is due and I will always acknowledge work, people and effort.

So that’s what this post is about really, it’s about acknowledgement.  The acknowledgement in question is receipt of your CV when you apply for a job or the information that you have been deemed unsuitable for the position in question.

I haven’t really done a great deal of job applications recently but today I sent one on behalf of the better half.  In response to sending his CV, I kindly got an acknowledgement of receiving the CV but that due to numbers of applcants they would be unable to contact unsuccessful applicants.

This bugs me.  At least in this situation, they have acknowledged the application and also set a timescale (14 days) as to when you can expect to have heard from them by.  At least you can be certain after that period of time that you haven’t been lucky.  But normally there is just silence.  Not even a pindrop.  How do you even know they have received your CV?  Many recruitment consultants aren’t exactly helpful and don’t tend to be polite when you call them to ask about your application (especially if you aren’t the first such call of the day)…why should it be taken as done that you haven’t been successful?

A recruiter, be they agency or in-house, knows more or less straightaway if you are suitable or unsuitable…how much would it take to have a template which you send to unsuccessful applicants?  Upon opening and looking at their CV when it was first sent through, you could just hit reply and paste this template in.  Wouldn’t take two minutes.  If they are unsure about suitability and want to wait and see if anyone better comes along, the CV could just go into a waiting pile (as it will anyway) and then the template can be sent at a later date if necessary.

I am not suggesting that recruiters should provide feedback to each candidate…god knows they would never fill any posts…but just provide a little bit of courtesy to save all us job hunters sitting waiting.

I get recruitment.  I work in the marketing team of a recruitment agency and am surrounded by recruiters every day.  These people that surround me are nice (yes I did just use that word!) people, they value their candidates much more than many I have spoken to personally.  I understand that time is money and until a recruiter fills a position, they are working for free.  I have no doubt that your CV will go onto their database of CVs (beneficial perhaps to you…unless you find a job and they then decide to ring you with your dream position) so why should you just get ignored in the whole scenario?

I actually got to a point where I got excited about getting a rejection and I’d estimate that you will get a response for about every one in ten applications sent (if your lucky).  To me that isn’t right and I think we should all start a petition to change this!

What have your experiences been?  Do you get as excited as me to get a rejection email into your inbox just because it is at least some form of acknowledgement!?

Posted in graduate, Jobs, Uncategorized, working | 1 Comment

Short-term win, long-term gain?

I have been thinking a bit more about my Living in a Dream World post following some events which have happened over the past week or so.  I have been thinking about the bigger picture and about how something may give you what you want now…but in the long run will you be happy with that decision?

This was the reason I didn’t take the aforementioned copywriting position.  Yes, it provided me with the money and a more desirable location…for now.  But in the long run did it take me a step up the career ladder to where I want to be?  No.  Would I enjoy my work and look forward to getting up in the morning? No.  Would the extra money make up for all that? Perhaps to start with but not for long.  The result? Short-term win, long-term fail.

This, I feel, is a recurring theme which is happening around me.  As people are getting more desperate for work, money, comfortable living conditions…they’re giving up on what is going to make them happy long term.  Material gain will not have you in the place you want to be ten years down the line.

Take a couple of examples, one which gains my approval, the other not so.

Having encountered a minor setback, one of my friends seems to be giving up on their dream.  They are now searching for full-time employment.  Okay, right now this dream isn’t taking them to the place they need to be but at what point should you give up hope on your dreams?  If we give up now after one minor setback, will we look back, ten years down the line, and regret giving up so easily?  Or will we sit there and realise we made the right choice?  Its a tough one and I guess you are your own biggest critic in this scenario in this situation is yourself.  Its all about being able to cope with the guilt of knowing that you gave up on yourself, that your dreams never materialised because of a decision you took for a short term gain.

Another friend of mine has her mind set on working as an in-house PR person within the beauty industry.  as I’m sure you can imagine these sorts of vacancies (especially entry-level) are very few and far between.  Following the end of her internship, she realised that she was going to have to broaden her search up, albeit not much.  She’s now interning with a Beauty PR agency.  In this instance she isn’t getting a short-term win but she will no doubt gain in the long-run.  Working in an agency will give her experience of a different working environment, the opportunity to work on a variety of brands and makes her more employable as she is showing her flexibility.

This short term winning, long term losing thing is something that I lose A LOT of sleep over.  Since finally feeling like I have a place in mind that I want to be in the future, I question every decision I make against this.  Which is why, as I’m sitting here in a reasonably well paid job, with reasonably good editing/journalism experience, in a reasonable enough area, I’m thinking I’m taking steps backward.  Eventually I’m going to have to short-term lose (work for free) in order to long-term gain.  Anyone want to join me in this dive into oblivion?

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Lunch+Networking=Bad Idea

I recently attended an open lunch for a graduate scheme.

This lunch invovled a presentation from the Managing Director and other staff members, a chance to mix with them and as would be expected….lunch!

Now in theory this was a great idea.  It gave us the opportunity to learn a bit more about the company and hear from the horse’s mouth what it is like to work there.  From the employer’s perspective, when it comes to interviewing candidates there is no reason for anyone being involved who doesn’t understand the role or the company nor who hasn’t done their research; after all it has been handed to them on a plate!

In practice, it was a slightly awkward affair.  Don’t get me wrong the opportunity to network and learn was great.  The problem came in when lunch was introduced into the equation!  I’m not sure if you have ever been in a situation where you are trying to communicate with people and eat at the same time…it isn’t easy!  Add to the equation that you are actually trying to do more than communicate.  You are trying to impress these people you are talking to and make a lasting impression upon them.

I was so terrified that the impression I was going to make on them was to trip and spill my lunch over someone, choke on what I was eating, have to be informed by someone there’s a bit of food caught between my teeth or (perhaps the worst) spit my lunch over them!

Fortunately none of this happened…mainly because I barely touched the food on my plate but never mind!  Lesson learned: networking to impress/where you actually want to communicate with people and eating lunch don’t work.

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