Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Why picking the right degree is a must!!

Please take some time to read this very interesting article from the guardian.


Its detailing how the competition for top ranking business universities like Warwick and LSE want more then grades and acknowledgement of extra curricular activities. Students now need to apply this knowledge and understand how these activities have shaped them. Most importantly what have them learned from them!!

 Please see quote below from the article.

"Critically reflective essay writing skills are also important for a business studies student, says Corvi, so if you studied an essay based subject like English, history or economics, do mention your knowledge in this area.
The University of Warwick wants to see that students are able to formulate a rational argument and write it to length. Corvi says: "Some of our strong applicants are missing this skill." 

Extract from the article above.

Universites want you to really have a passion for the subject that you are going to study!! It says in the article that there are more students applying then places available so they need to choose people who understand what they have learned not just from acadmic achievements but non acadmic too.

Universities want you to have your own voice and most important be fully responsible for your own study and time. Remember your degree is an independent learning experince.

Please see the video below made for you about "Choosing the right degree". Before you make any decisions think carefully about some the the things I talk about here.

Wishing you all the best for those of you who are choosing and thinking about your degree options. 

All the best


Monday, 17 June 2013

Is a lack of motivation stopping young people getting their dream job??

 The definition for motivation as cited by a online dictionary.

"The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way" or
"The general desire or willingness of someone to do something"

Motivation is a concept that we all need to keep on going its a means to ends. The media have criticised  the number of NEETs in the UK for being unemployed. One of the many things that could be missing from the teenage mind set could be a lack of motivation. This lack of motivation could not only be affecting their job hunt but also affecting their future careers.
My experience of working with teenagers as shown me a few different things. If a young person really enjoys their course they will work hard and a sense of will power shows. They need to be interested in what they learn and not distracted. When this notion comes into play the teenagers I have worked with continue with their course and do well. However there are still some students out there who are on the wrong course for them. I remember some of the Art students I worked with who enjoyed some aspect of the course mainly the practical side but not the written side. So why the lack of motivation if you truly love a subject you should have motivation right? In theory this may not always work as we can't like or be motivated by everything. However what I have seen is many teenagers want a easy solution to the acadmic areas of their work. Sometimes this can't always be a solution because well if you want to pass an exam you have to study.
If we put this motivation into play with those job hunting. Can a lack of motivation stop young people finding a job? Maybe especially if its not there dream job. Remember most teenagers are dreamers they think getting their dream job is easy but this isn't always the case as we all have to start somewhere. The thought of applying to Burger King or Primark isn't always appealing to a young person and why would it be its properly not their dream job but what if they realised that having a job rather then being unempolyed would benefit them in the long run.

There are lots of reasons why young people are unemployed motivation is perhaps only one of the many factors. Other factors may include lack of qualifications, problems at home, childcare or perhaps getting invloved in youth related crime too early. Also another factor to consider is the benefit system can having benefits sometimes prevent people from actually getting a job.

The government have recently said they want more young people to start their own businesses and schemes such as the start up loans company could be a good platform for this. This is a great idea but what happens if a person as a young person starts a business and then they are unable to keep it going? Please see site http://www.startuploans.co.uk/ for further info.

At the end of the day motivation is a key factor in helping us find a job but it isn't the only factor out there. The reality for most young people is they can get a job and through time they can go further up the employment spectrum if they continue to work hard and seek qualifications in something they ultimately enjoy. Its just the realisation that sometimes it takes a while to get there that may hither this.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Degree or not to be?

If you are currently thinking about going to university you may want to think what is the drive behind you doing your degree. Sometimes people who decide to do a degree pick a subject which they think will be "easy" and are surprised by how much reading,research and independent study in general is required. If you really want to do a degree make sure its for the right reasons and you choose a course you actually enjoy. In some cases if you realise the degree you picked isn't for you in the first few months you can change your subject. Some people altogether quit and realise that the degree itself just isn't their cup of tea and then pursue a more vocational route. It isn't important if you have a degree but it is important that you love doing what you are going pursue. 

Some decisions to think about before you decide to think about picking your degree:

Whose decision is it to do the degree? - Make sure that if you want to do a degree it's because you chose to do one. If your family are putting pressure on you to pursue a degree be honest about this. There a number of courses that may suit you more if don't want to go down an academic route such as an apprenticeship or internship etc.Also don't copy your friends chances are all your friends are unlikely to go to same university as you so don't do a degree just to follow the crowd this won't help you in the long run.

 Pick a subject you actually like? - Some degrees may help you pursue a particular career such as a Medical or teaching degree. However many degrees such as English, History, Politics etc can open up many doors for you. Pick a subject because you want to and don't feel influenced by anyone to follow a particular career. If you don't enjoy your chosen subject this will make you time at university more difficult. Also if you actually study something you like you will want to know more and a true passion should come shining through :)!!

Research your subject- If you haven't ever studied the subject you have decided to do as degree do as much research into this area as possible. For example subjects like Law,Linguistics etc may be something you haven't ever had any first hand experience of in school. One of the best ways to find out is to go to a taster class, most universities offer these during the summer holidays. This is a great way of also seeing what the subject involves and if you think if its for you. Another way to research is to actually speak to students studying the subject you want to do or someone who is a graduate and working in a related field.  

Is the degree format right for me? - University education is described as independent learning and unless you have been to a further education college you may not grab to this concept straight away. When at university you won't have a lecturer reminding you that work needs to be handed in or an exam is coming up. The key word here is motivation and this also leads back to enjoying your degree if the enthusiasm isn't there for that subject you many not study at all!! Not only does independent study require motivation it also requires discipline. So if you feel this amount of freedom and independence isn't for you and someone pushing you motivates you instead a degree may not be right for you.

Lastly have you thought about what you are going to do after your degree? Not everyone thinks this one through. I am not saying if you study English you have to be a writer or journalist but if you pick a subject also look into how many doors it can open to you? Having a broad subject like English or Psychology etc can make it possible to work areas in Human Resources,Teaching, Marketing and much more. If you know what you are doing after you degree you won't be left in limbo. The ideal time to think about this is after your second year of your degree. If you already have a plan in focus that's great but remember sometimes when we study and grow our perceptions of things also change so this may also happen with your future career and job aspirations.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Some tips on thinking about what you don't like! When thinking about your future career

If you are thinking about what future career to pursue you may always be asked what subjects do you like? What are good at? What interests you etc? Such questions are a great way of scoping out what you like which is great but what about the things you don't like!! If you know that love science and what to doing something linked within this field great but if you find reading and analysing huge amounts of texts for subjects like English and History you know that critical analysis isn't for you.

Things to consider when thinking about what you don't enjoy or like:

- What is it about a particular subject you don't like?
- Do you prefer practical subjects or subjects where you read text and evaluate it?
- What kind of environments don't see yourself in working i.e office, school, hospital etc and why?
- What jobs or careers would you not consider looking into?
- What would be your worst nightmare job or have you had experience of a job you really disliked and why did you not enjoy it?

These suggestions may seem a bit strange but what you need to consider is if you know what you definitely don't want to do it allows you to focus on the positive things you do want to pursue.

For example I had a student who I advised. When I asked him where he saw himself working in a few years time he said he wanted to work in a leisure centre. This student clearly stated they had no interest in working in a office they felt this environment would not suit their personality. They wanted to pursue a career in sports and fitness industry and have a job which he classed as "practical".

So by thinking about what you don't like or enjoy it really makes your future career ideas that much clearer. So you can channel into what you do like more and what makes you tick and you think about how you can get there with more clarity! Remember if you only think about only one career path this isn't right either. Sometimes a future career or job could change so always think about a few different types of industries and job types. Once you have spoken to someone like a careers adviser etc you can then look at whether these ideas are achievable and take it from there!! Good luck.

Friday, 15 March 2013

The Bad interview experience what can I do next??

The title for this blog may not be very positive but at some point a bad interview may of happened to some of us! I want to explore ways in which you can think about how to spin that negative experience into a positive interview for the next time.

Let's look at some of the three things you could do before you go to your next interview: 

Positivity-If one interview doesn't go according to plan don't worry remember to remain positive in your on-going job hunt and interview process. If your positive attitude and enthusiasm shines through in a interview this will demonstrate to the potential employer that you really want the job!!

Interview practise - If interviews make you nervous then practising answers could help you. You can't always tell what a potential interview could bring but if you have a good grasp of the job specification and have looked through it, this can give you a fair idea of what they could ask you. So making a list of potential questions linked to the job specification and then practising the questions either out loud or with someone can then help you assess how much you are actually answering the question.Getting feedback from someone else could help see where you may be going wrong. For example: what kind of skills and experience would you bring to this role? Think about all the skills you have communication, team work, time management etc.Then give a specific example of how your experience could benefit you in this future job role. Stick to what is being asked and try not to elaborate too much.

Preparation-  If you go anywhere for a job interview you need to make sure you have researched the organisation or establishment before hand. This shows you have an genuine interest in your potential employer. Make sure you think about your research and look through your job specification so that you can then make a list of questions you could can ask at the end of the interview. For example how does your company support staff with training? This type of question shows the employer you are willing to learn and go further in your job role and you are enthusiastic about working with them etc.

Aimee Bateman a renowned employment expert give me her input on the bad interview experience its really positive advice. 

"It is essential in these situations to remain 'present'. Don't focus on the past moments, or the future (what they be  thinking or what they will say when you have left the room). Stay present and focus on the moment you are in.

Also remember that jobs and companies are only ever as good as the people. So even if the job description and company looked perfect, it wouldn't have been so perfect if your colleagues were so negative."

Remember your interviewers should also come across as being professional and being interested in what you have to say otherwise you wouldn't be sitting in the interview room in the first place. Think about if you did accept the job role how the atmosphere of the work place would be?  Can you see you self working there? Most people have a sense of if they got the job when they leave the interview room. If it's something you really want, go for it but if your instincts tell you the environment isn't for you don't feel pressure to accept etc. Remember remain positive and you may go to a number of interviews but persevere and you will get something that will suit you!! Good luck.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

New graduate empolyee make sure you know your employment rights!!

If you are a recent graduate who is looking for work or have been recently been employed make sure you know what your employment rights are!! You may start in a junior position but everyone is given a job contract this includes basic rights like pay,annual leave and sick leave , number of working hours etc . If you feel terms of your work contract aren't being met bring this up with your manager first and then your company's human resources if necessary. Please see link below about employment rights


If you feel you are being overworked, or feel you are being treated unfairly by any superiors don't jump in at the deep end straight away. Firstly note down anything that feels inappropriate to you look over it a few days later and perhaps discuss it someone who is outside your work environment who may give you a more impartial view on the situation. If your work or people at work are really making you feel unhappy its best you talk to someone as soon as possible. Being stressed at work can sometimes effect your mood socially. At the end of the day we all have to work but make sure you are able to separate between the two in a healthy manner and don't let things get on top of you.
 See links from gov.uk webiste

Also have a look at the general website if you are interested in any further info regarding your workers rights.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

What kind of graduate do you want to be?

This may seem like a strange title to you but if you are currently doing your degree or finished your degree have you got a ultimate goal or know what you would like to do? If not maybe start to think about this now. Just looking at some of things I have observed about people who have graduated please see some examples of what could happen. Everyone is different so I am not generalising but hopefully it will give you guys a clearer picture of what you exactly want as a graduate so you know where you are going and where you want to be. I am also writing this post with the firm belief that what ever job you enter into you should be happy. Yes we all need money but if you don't like what you do, even if this doesn't affect you at the beginning it may affect your future. Long term affects of being unhappy at work could result in stress, high blood pressure and general bad health please see these articles to verify this.

There are many graduates and university students in the uk but what type do you want to be? What I talk about here doesn't cover everyone as that would be impossible but hopefully it helps encourage your dreams in this current period of high graduate unemployment. Not all dreams can come true but if you have passion in what do you do should work at your best.

1. The unemployed graduate- If you are a graduate who is unemployed there may be many reasons for this. You want a career specifically catered to the degree you have studied i.e Sociology,Geography etc. There may not be many jobs linked into those subjects and a lack or no experience could be another factor. If a potential employer sees little or no experience they won't call you for a potential interview. I am not trying to shatter your self-confidence but its the plain honest truth. Another reason why some graduates are unemployed and remain so is sometimes they have no idea how to start their job search. Where can they go for advice? Did they know where to go for guidance whilst at uni for many the answer to this would probably be no or they didn't have time to go and use the university careers service.

2. The Graduate with work experience but not a great degree- This type of graduate is someone who may have a retail job that helped support them whilst at university. They have built on their skills as a worker team player, communication etc. However unfortunately they didn't achieve the grade they wanted in their degree and this may result in them working in retail indefinitely. Or doing a job that doesn't match what they wanted to do.

3. The Graduate who had the great degree but no experience - This graduate could be a perfect student they may of gone to LSE or Queen Mary but a lack of no experience is limiting their progression into the workforce. This may seem a bit far fetched as in some cases the university you go to can sometimes help employment prospects but not always.

4. The graduate who seems to have it all but why aren't you happy!!- This graduate is someone who may of done a sandwich course got a job through their placement and then discovered that its not what they ever really wanted. This can sometimes be a big reality check for many Finance and Law students who realise that much hard slog is required and its not all fun and games. They work to pay off their student loans but don't actually love what they do. The saying of money doesn't make you happy could be true here.

5. The graduate scheme graduate - This graduate is trained up has a great degree and given a golden ticket of opportunity. Graduate schemes are great but make sure its something you really want to do. Talk to others who have done one. One danger of this type of graduate is they are likely to stay in that same company. Its not always the case but it can happen.

7. The graduate who has a job they hate- This type of graduate is someone who is smart and prospectively very employable but in a job they dislike. One of the things I have noticed about this type of graduate they may go from job to job because they need the money. Its a means to end and they end up working for various different places. From telesales marketing to retail to anything in between that. Many of these jobs give on the job training and give you that monetary asset you need but it doesn't always give you job satisfaction. If you are bored at work and disinterested in some cases this will impact on your personal life.  

The term Graduate is only a term the main point I am trying to make through these examples is the frustration many people feel when they graduate. University is an exciting time for many people it can empower you and help build on you social skills and so much more. I am not saying your career will ultimately be that way too. Everyone works for different reasons but at the end of the day isn't it better for you to come home at the end of the day with a smile on your face because you truly love what you do. Rather then keep on looking at your watch counting the number of hours you have left till the day ends.