Category Archives: social networking

Summer Career Fix: Follow people in your sector

What are you doing this summer to help you stand out from the crowd?

Gary’s bags are packed and he’s ready to jet off to places far sunnier than Cumbria. But he’s not off for a lazy beach holiday – he’s going to be doing one small thing each week that will help in his future career. He doesn’t know what that career is just yet, but that’s ok – most of these things can be done even if you aren’t 100% sure what you want to do. And if you need some help finding your path, you can always email the Careers & Employability service for some advice and guidance: careers@cumbria.ac.uk

So what’s Gary doing this week?

He’s finding relevant people and organisations and following them on social media.

This is a really quick and easy way to improve your career prospects. Instead of mindlessly scrolling Twitter, do some searches to find influential people in your career sector. Follow them and try to get involved in conversations.

This will build up your commercial awareness skills – one of the most important graduate skills that employers look for. Commercial awareness is basically knowing what’s happening in your sector.

So for example if you are an Occupational Therapy student or graduate, search for local NHS trusts to follow, find out who are the influential voices of OT on social media, and also find out about any Twitter chats you can get involved in (#OTalk for example).

This will help when you start applying for jobs as you will have greater understanding of what’s happening in the sector and the important issues happening now.

Come back next week for another #SummerCareerFix 

Support is available from your Careers and Employability Service with career planning, CVs and applications, interview skills, practice interviews and more. Contact careers@cumbria.ac.uk with your careers queries.

Summer Career Fix: Social Media Audit

What are you doing this summer to help you stand out from the crowd?

Gary’s bags are packed and he’s ready to jet off to places far sunnier than Cumbria. But he’s not off for a lazy beach holiday – he’s going to be doing one small thing each week that will help in his future career. He doesn’t know what that career is just yet, but that’s ok – most of these things can be done even if you aren’t 100% sure what you want to do. And if you need some help finding your path, you can always email the Careers & Employability service for some advice and guidance: careers@cumbria.ac.uk

So what’s Gary doing this week?

He’s doing a social media audit!

If you want to get a professional job, you need to present a professional image on social media. The majority of recruiters will google applicants before inviting them for interview so it’s vitally important that you make sure what is online reflects you in a positive and professional way.

There are a couple of things you can do:

  1. Google yourself! See what comes up when you search for yourself online. Any old accounts pop up that you had forgotten about that you can close? What about news articles and images too?
  2. Look at your accounts: Check all your social media channels e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Yello, Flickr, Bebo, MySpace – check them all! Are your security settings locked down? Are there any posts that would be damaging, for example, drunk photos, swearing, negative posts about your employer – these would all be warning flags to a potential employer.
  3. Take a look at your network and start conversations. Remember that anyone you meet could know about your perfect job, so make those professional connections and use them! Send messages out on your channels about what you’ve been doing to enhance your employability. Let people know you what you are looking for and see where it takes you.

If you would like to find out more about carrying out a social media audit, and why it’s important, you can read this article.

 

Support is available from your Careers and Employability Service with career planning, CVs and applications, interview skills, practice interviews and more. Contact careers@cumbria.ac.uk with your careers queries.

Fancy a career in fashion? We’ve got tips from Urban Outfitters

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The fashion industry is notoriously difficult to break into, so gaining a little advice from someone who has already managed to do this can prove invaluable.

Sonia Aguado, the editorial copywriter at Urban Outfitters, has worked at several fashion retailers during her career and has given us some helpful tips on how to get your foot in the fashion door.  

sonia at urban outfitters

What is your background? How did you become an editorial copywriter?

After sixth form I went to UCA Epsom to study Fashion Journalism. At the time, I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do, but I was interested in fashion and writing, so it was the perfect course for me.

After my first year, and having been exposed to so many areas of the industry I didn’t even know existed, I felt a bit like a lost puppy and didn’t know where my place in the industry would be.

During our second year, we were required to complete an internship – I interned with the press teams at New Look and ASOS and absolutely loved them. I then thought PR was what I wanted to do, but again, this changed.

After graduating, I worked part time at a small PR agency and didn’t enjoy it at all. At this point, one of my uni friends, who was a copywriter at ASOS, asked if I wanted to freelance with their team and I jumped at the chance; this was how I got into the world of copywriting.

 How did you find your job?

I got my job by knowing people in the industry and being in the right place at the right time. After I started freelancing at ASOS, another of my uni friends joined the team. She then got a job at Urban Outfitters as a copywriter, and when she was there she brought me in to freelance with them too.

I got to know the team really well and when the other copywriter announced she was leaving, I was put forward for the position. After being there for a few months, I was given the chance to become a junior editorial copywriter, instead of doing product copy, and from there I was promoted to editorial copywriter.

I think the best way to look for jobs in this field is by networking, freelancing, and getting to know people who could then put you forward for any roles that would suit you.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I enjoy the creativity that comes with my role, the people I work with, and working for a company that I loved before I was even a part of it.

What do you least enjoy about your job?

 We have deadlines to adhere to, but everything works in a chain reaction, so if one team is running behind with something, it then affects you and your work. Also, getting the dreaded writer’s block!

What takes up most of your time?

Writing copy for the website/the customer newsletter.

Are specific qualifications essential to work in your field? And if so, which ones?

A degree in fashion or writing is helpful, as well as experience in the area.

What skills and qualities are needed to be successful in your field?

Being able to write, attention to detail, proofreading skills, being able to work under pressure, and creativity!

Do you have any advice you could give to an aspiring graduate who is keen to get a foot on the ladder?

Make the most of your contacts and don’t underestimate the relationships you make at uni. The industry is very small and you end up knowing someone wherever you go. My friends at uni are the ones who put me forward for the roles I have had, and a recommendation is always going to be a lot more effective in getting you an interview than a cover letter that gets lost in someone’s inbox. Intern as much as you can and try to get some freelance work to build up your contacts.

Do you have any interview tips for a prospective applicant?

 Always research the company. Read their website, their blog, sign up to their newsletter, get to know their tone of voice, and get to know what they’re doing on social media etc. Have examples of your writing available, whether that’s a portfolio, a website or a blog.

If you would like to hear more about the career opportunities at Urban Outfitters, visit their careers page here.

 

 

5 Common Regrets of University Graduates

two paths

When a major life chapter comes to an end we often find ourselves in a state of reflection. What went well? What would I do differently, if I had the chance?

Ideally, we would soak up wisdom from those who have been there, done it and got the t-shirt and do things differently as a consequence.

This post by Francesca Turner is about just that! If you are a prospective or current university student then read on to find out what graduates are saying they would do differently if they could do it all over again.

1) Network more; we are all potential work colleagues

This is simply about getting to know the people you are studying with. They are quite possibly entering the same field of work as you and could help in the future by;

  • Introducing you to employers and job openings
  • giving you a personal recommendation on Linked In

That guy you don’t speak to in your Global Business module might be the CEO of that company you really want to work for in 10 years’ time. They won’t have a great impression of you if you blanked them for 3 years!

Plus, getting to know new people is actually fun! University is a chance to mix with people you might not normally meet and this often leads to lifelong friendships.

2) Spend more time with peers sharing good practice and learning from those with experience

 Many tasks in the real world require team-work so university is a great chance to learn about your strengths and developmental points in this area.

We all process information differently and a classmate might be able to describe Contemporary Social Theory to you perfectly in a way you understand, whilst you pick out holes in the arguments in their Human Rights essay.

Maybe one of your peers has relevant real life work experience in the field you are studying and could add a lot to your understanding of a topic area.

3) Get stuck into some voluntary work

Research shows that students are more engaged with their studies if they are applying knowledge alongside academic work.

Don’t worry if your course doesn’t include work experience as there are loads of volunteer opportunities out there (try www.do-it.org) and local companies are often happy to hear from students willing to offer their skills.

Even if you are unsure what you want to do in the future then any work experience which interests you can build your transferable skills, open you up to new career areas and provide you with a bank of examples for interview situations.

4) Realise what a privilege it is to be able to study a subject you love

Many students report they feel that they rushed through their degree’s and wished they had taken more time enjoying their subject.

Only once the experience was over did they wish they had viewed their degree as a chance to read a subject they loved rather than a means to an end.

Think about the following (avoiding career/ salary related reasons) and write down your thoughts;

  • why did you choose your subject?
  • what do you love about it?

Pin it up somewhere you can see it every day. This can help you re-connect with your subject and reignite your passion.

5) Find out which support services are available

Many students report they discovered these when it was too late but recognised thier value.

Services usually on offer are;

  • careers and enterprise
  • disability
  • study skills
  • health and wellbeing
  • counselling

A search online on your university website will provide you with further information and contact details.

 Reflections

  • If you are a graduate what would you do differently if you could have your time again?
  • Current students- has this changed your perspective in any way?

UoCCareers

5 Common Regrets of University Graduates

How to write your LinkedIn profile

When creating your LinkedIn profile you need to keep in mind how the professional networking site will work best for you. Will you use it to create new business connections and opportunities? To help promote your business and services? To network with your colleagues with the hope of progressing through the company? You may use it for multiple purposes, but it’s wise to establish what these are before you build your profile. Here are some useful tips to get you started.

Be Approachable

If it’s obvious by your LinkedIn profile that you’re going in for the hard sell, people are going to be reluctant to connect with you. Including sales pitch terms or calls to action in your bio, for example: ‘If you’re looking to save money get in touch with me today’ are very off-putting and best avoided. Instead, write about your role in a matter-of-fact way, such as: ‘I currently work with a range of clients, helping them to reduce their spend’. This sounds a lot more professional and less forward.

 

Be Consistent

Your LinkedIn profile should be harmonious with the company you currently work for and the role you hold. For instance, you should include key phrases that your company uses to describe its message, products or services. This will help establish you as an expert in your field and cast a good impression on anyone who is scouting staff in this particular industry.

 

Be Succinct

Realistically, no one is likely to sit there and read your entire profile – especially if it’s very long. If you want people to take an interest in you, write short and well-worded descriptions of what your main tasks are, what you are currently focusing on and what your contribution to the company is. This can all be done in one medium sized paragraph. It’s better to capture people’s interest with bite-sized chunks of information rather than putting them off with endless waffle.

 

Be Selective

There’s no need to include every role you’ve ever done in your work history. It’s perfectly acceptable to select the most important ones and those you are most proud of. However, be careful of leaving significant gaps as this can create doubt in employers’ minds as to what you
were doing. It’s wise to fill in your history up to the point where you started on your career path – i.e. there’s no need to include your early jobs that weren’t very relevant to how you ended up in your current role.

 

Complete Your Profile

Conversely to the previous point, a profile mostly left blank looks pretty bad. It casts the reflection that you were either too lazy to fill it out or don’t have much to offer. Show that you’re dedicated to your career progression by taking the time to complete most of the fields. After all, people will not be interested in your profile unless they can actually find out more about you from it. Finally, make sure you add a professional profile photo as this helps potential employers put a face to a name and connect with your profile.

 

From Issue 16 of Career Savvy – subscribe for free at www.careersavvy.co.uk

Social Media and Recruitment Infographic

You know how much we love a good infographic here on the University of Cumbria careers blog, right?! This infographic from Staff.com has some useful information about how recruiters use social media, including some top tips for students – like checking what’s on your social media profiles – even if you don’t list them on your application, 75% of recruiters now check social media profiles, and a third of employers have rejected candidates based on something they found on their profiles.

You have been warned!!

Staff-infograph_Social-media-recruitment

Ones to Watch: Helen Statham

I bet you’ve been looking forward to part three of our new ‘Ones to Watch’ series all week, haven’t you? This is a (relatively new) series in conjunction with the University of Cumbria’s Alumni team. We think all University of Cumbria graduates are amazing, and are proud of each and every one of you. Occasionally we get to hear about certain individuals who are already making a huge impact, despite only graduating recently. Those who have really applied themselves whilst still a student; taken advantage of every opportunity and worked exceptionally hard to get where they want to be. 

HelenStathamCircle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helen Statham

BA (Hons) Events Management

Helen’s name constantly comes up in conversation regarding our fantastic students! Tutors have nothing but praise for her; she’s an exceptionally hard worker, very motivated and determined. Helen squeezed every opportunity possible out of her student experience and achieved excellent results in all her assignments leading to a first class degree and her dream job offer straight out of uni.

We are all so proud of Helen and rate her knowledge and experience so highly that we asked her to be part of our ‘expert’ panel in a recent creative alumni/network event alongside industry insiders who have been in the business for years! Helen is highly deserving of a place on our ‘ones to watch’ and we have no doubt that she will go very far! Here’s Helen in her own words…

 

Course: FdA Performance, Festivals and Events and BA (Hons) Event Management top-up

Campus: Brampton Road

Graduation year: 2014

Hometown: Northumberland, orginally, but I’ve lived in Carlisle for ages

Current job: Online project co-ordinator. I run the website Cumbria Live (Cumberland newspaper), writing stories, running the social media, interviewing musicians, artists and comedians heading to the region.

What made you choose the University of Cumbria?

I already live in Carlisle so it meant I would save on things like travel and accommodation. I couldn’t afford to go back to uni in a different city, so studying close to home gave me options of working and earning money around my timetable.

Why did you choose your particular course?

I’d got as far as I could in my previous job and wanted to study for a degree so it would help me in a change of career. My husband owns his own company which has strong connections to the events industry. The more I read about events, the more I realised it was a hugely versatile industry with so many different career options.

Although it’s possible to work in events without a degree, an event management qualification gives you more opportunities and the chance of faster career progression. UoC has a great reputation with a lot of links to local and national businesses, which are especially relevant to events. I knew that studying here would help me to make valuable industry contacts as well as learning from experienced people currently working in the events industry.

What did you like most about your course?

My personal tutor, course leader Laura Baxter, was amazing. She encouraged everyone on the course and it helped build our confidence throughout the three years. In the first semester of year one she handed round information on an internship opportunity and told me just to go for it. I did and couldn’t believe it when I got it. After that I applied for just about everything else I found out about which eventually led me to my current job.

What was your favourite experience at university?

I had an amazing three years studying at the University of Cumbria but my favourite experience was probably getting my final mark and knowing that it was all totally worth it. How corny is that?!

Do you have any particular memorable/funny stories to share?

I got married on a Friday and started uni the following Monday – coming to UoC was pretty much my honeymoon.

How did coming to university change your life?

I’d tried uni the first time around after finishing sixth form and it just wasn’t for me. Nearly ten years later I came to the University of Cumbria and it completely changed my life for the better. I studied the most interesting subject, with amazing people and I was taught by inspiring tutors and lecturers. After finishing my course I bagged myself my dream job – sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

Did you make use of university career resources? How did these help your career?

I definitely made use of the university resources. I don’t think I would be where I am now without the valuable work experience I gained through the Unite Placements. The first one was working as an events assistant at the Whitehaven Festival (so hard, but so worth it!), the next with Lake District Hotels working as a digital marketing assistant (I learned so much there), I worked as a market research person with designer Lydia Leith (she’s the one that designed the royal sick bags!) and then I worked as a social media advisor with a local legal company. Even just applying for those jobs was great experience.

University was the perfect time for me to take part in a few work placements. I found out what I enjoyed (and what I don’t) which was so useful when I was thinking about what I wanted to do after uni. When I finished my events management degree and I totted up all of my work placements it came to a total of about two years worth of experience. That’s a huge advantage when you’re looking to apply for jobs.

What were your career ambitions when you started studying and do you think that you have achieved them?

When I started I thought I might work with my husband when I finished uni, but I soon abandoned that idea. Ultimately I just wanted to be working in a job that I enjoyed. I’m definitely doing that.

Would you be where you are today, without your degree?

No way. Although my job isn’t really to do with events, without my degree I wouldn’t have had the confidence to even attempt it. Having a degree has opened so many doors for me.

How did you get your current job?

In my first year, one of the events I helped to organise was a fashion show with some of the costume students. I was looking for a bit of press coverage and met Tom Little, who was in his final year studying journalism. It turned out he also did a student section of the local newspaper, the News & Star.

Well, the event wasn’t much to write home about but I kept in touch with Tom (see – I told you it was all about networking) who eventually went to run the business website incumbria.com. In the summer before I started my final year Tom told me about a blogging competition that was being held on the entertainment website Cumbria Live. He knew I had a fashion blog and asked if I fancied giving it a go.

I had to write about events and gigs happening in Cumbria with a chance win an ipad. I didn’t win (I think I came fourth – boo!) but I was asked if I wanted to do a bit of work on the website over the summer. Turns out that was way better than winning an ipad anyway. I worked on Cumbria Live all through my final year and I was lucky enough to be offered a full time position once I finished my degree.

What are you most proud of?

Cumbria Live is on the shortlist for an O2 media award this year – wahoo!

As part of my final degree I had to stage an event. I was working on Cumbria Live all the way through my final year so decided to tie it in with that. I was really interested in social media (which was the subject of my dissertation) and my editor and I came up with the idea of #cumbriaweekend.

We’d utilise social media to showcase the best the region had to offer with a huge ticket giveaway worth £5000 and encourage everyone to get out and about and share their favourite things about Cumbria and the Lake District on social media. It was amazing and worked really well.

You can read more about it here or see the tweets here.

How did you stay motivated to pursue your dream when studying hard and enjoying the University lifestyle?

The main thing that kept me motivated throughout the three years was thinking that I was so lucky to have the chance to study. I knew I wouldn’t have the chance to do it again, so no matter what, I had to study hard.

What advice would you give to today’s freshers and prospective students about making the most of their time at university?

Easy – say yes to everything.