Tag Archives: blogging

My Dream Job – Winning Blog Post: Create. Write. Work.

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John Sharp won the blogging competition which was part of our recent Create. Write. Work. employability event for English and Creative Writing students back in April. Here is his winning entry:

I followed a Facebook advert a while back, which led me to an “author’s” Amazon page.  He had released about 40 books on kindle.  They were £3.99.  I read a few of his many reviews.  They said the same.  Good quality, but £3.99 was too much for 80 pages of story.  And that was when I realised there was a market for novellas in Genre Based fiction, advertised using social media.

The idea.  I write a novella, every month, sell it on Amazon for £1 (first one is free, of course) and pay for a Facebook advert.  Could that work?  What difficulties might I face?  Content – can I write enough, to a high standard?  Yes.  I write well, and am disciplined.  The Fickle nature of Facebook – and the inconsistent advertising capability – a real problem, but one that can be mitigated through networking with reviewers and other self-publishing kindle writers.  Snobbery – its kindle, advertised on Facebook – Definite problem, but one that is mitigated by the fact that I only need a small fraction of people seeing the advert to click.

Self-employed life as a writer beckons, so long as I remain committed.  So I shall.

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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. 

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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.

 

Call for Writers!

Are you interested in a career in journalism? Do you love writing? Well, this is your chance to get involved with the careers blog, and gain some writing experience along the way! 

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The careers blog is packed with interesting articles and useful information to help you – not just in your future career, but in finding part-time work while you study too!

We would love for our students to contribute to the blog, so if you would like to gain some writing experience, have an idea for a post, or just want to find out more, then simply email careers@cumbria.ac.uk.

You can write about anything at all – as long as you can relate it to careers! We are particularly interested in success stories from our Alumni (not just UoC alumni, but from our legacy institutions too!). Have you set up your own business? Landed your dream job straight out of Uni? Get in touch and share your experiences with us!

Email careers@cumbria.ac.uk to get involved!

9 Tricks to Write a Blog Post in Less Than 30 Minutes

For all you bloggers out there, our regular student contributor Sam has written this helpful post with some tips for getting a blog post out fast!

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Writing a blog post can be notoriously time-consuming. In the present era, with ever tightening deadlines and increasing expectations, time is a precious commodity. So to help in your writing, here is a handy list of 9 ways of how to write a blog post in less than 30 minutes.

1. Let it come naturally

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Although it’s useful to have a plan of some sort prior to writing a blog, it is good to be flexible and not stick to rigidly to it. The key to doing this is letting things come naturally and just writing what you feel without thinking about it too hard.
This way you are not overthinking what you write and you can always correct any errors in flow or consistency later on. Writing naturally is often more fun than sticking to a pre-defined plan and normally results in a more genuine response than something which is artificially constructed. Just let it come…..

2. Write a bullet pointed plan before you start

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Following on from the previous bullet point, it is useful to have some sort of plan before you start. A simple bullet-pointed plan can be much more effective than copious amounts of planning. All you need are a few key words to get your writing juices flowing and you’re away……..

3. Give yourself a time limit

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It’s well-renowned that humans work better under a deadline. From personal experience, this is true! All those all-nighters I pulled writing my essays at University worked well. Well, they certainly boosted my productivity, knowing the essay had to be in the next morning!
On a serious note, having some sort of deadline to work towards (say 30 minutes……) can really focus your mind and get you bashing out the words at an accelerated speed. It gives you a target, an end-point, but most importantly a finishing line, which necessitates that you say everything you want to before time runs out. Hurry, the clock is ticking!

4. Have a list post

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These types of posts normally have the title of ’10 weird food combinations’ or maybe ‘9 tricks to write a blog post in It may be as simple as summarising the fundamental points of a topic or something like ‘Everything you need to know about Banking in 60 seconds’. A blog post like this can also be of a high quality as it is concise and gets to the point straight away. Furthermore, you might be more motivated if you are crossing of each bullet quickly, thus accentuating your efficiency.

5. Have a definite beginning, middle and end

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Linking with tip 2, it is useful to have some sort of structure if you are writing a blog post. It is only a rough idea of a beginning, middle and end. This can help focus your writing, whilst making sure you don’t waffle on too much. It can also improve the flow of your writing.

6. Eliminate all distractions

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Procrastination is almost a sport these days, it is that popular! It is unsurprising with the amount of distractions around, Facebook, games consoles, mobiles, TVs… the list goes on.
However, if you want to write a blog post in less than 30 minutes, you are going to have to make a conscious effort to get rid of these distractions.
Your blog post should be the only tab you have open on your computer. Furthermore, if the place you are working in is tidy that can also help as your mind goes into efficiency mode and there is no excuse to tidy things if they are already tidy…..

7. Check all your typos and errors at the end

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Everyone makes typos, it’s just a fact of life. Even the most experienced writers will make plenty of errors in writing a blog post.
However, correcting all your errors at the end of a text is a lot less time-consuming than editing your blog constantly all the way through, which becomes a bit laborious. So if you make an error, just keep typing and correct it at the end.

8. Chunk the paragraphs up

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Just as having a definite beginning, middle and end of a blog can help the speed of your piece, having that for each paragraph is useful to. You know the structure you are following, which makes compiling a blog post a lot easier.
If you keep to the same structure all the way through, it can increase the lucidity and coherence of your post and ultimately make it more readable.

9. Write from the heart

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Bloggers often write about the things they are passionate about, whether it be politics, food or sport, everyone has got a passion. If you are writing about something you care deeply about, the words tend to flow faster and more naturally, with a more heartfelt response.
Often if you write from the heart about something you have more to say which reduces time planning and allows you to be more spontaneous and subsequently faster in writing a blog.

Hopefully all these tips will boost your productivity and allow you to write a blog post in 30 minutes. If you combine all this advice with hard work and desire, there’s no telling how far you could go.

Remember, everything seems impossible until it actually happens…… you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it, including writing a blog post in less than 30 minutes!

By Sam Curran

Sam has his own proofreading business. He charges from £3.00 per 1,000 words. He can help with style and content as well as grammatical and formatting issues. Sam has proofread for 6 years and has proofread pieces of work from Undergraduate to PHD level as well as editing CVs, job applications and personal statements. The business has its own Facebook page ‘Efficient Editing’ which you can contact Sam through. You can also get in touch with Sam by emailing him at samcurran@live.co.uk

Social Media Coordinator – Friday’s Featured Vacancy 13/06/2014

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Job Title: Social Media Coordinator

Company: JTL Training

This position is for a fixed term of ten months.

Do you know your tweet from your status update? Could you coordinate an existing marketing calendar with online activity, optimising our visibility and relevancy? Are you able to track our social media influence and monitor how we are perceived as a business?
JTL, established since 1989, is the leading work-based learning provider in the building services engineering sector across England and Wales. We`re a not-for-profit charity offering advanced apprenticeships in electrical, engineering maintenance, and now mechanical engineering services comprising plumbing, heating and ventilating and refrigeration air-conditioning. We serve approximately 6,000 apprentices and 3,500 employers in 7 regions across England and Wales.

We need someone to join us and take charge of our already busy social media profile. On a day to day basis, as you can imagine, you will be updating our profiles with relevant and engaging messages. But this role also offers you scope to get involved in so much more, from contributing to the development of innovative media content across web, mobile and email platforms, to reporting usage statistics to the marketing teams and interested staff members.

You will also be responsible for maintaining and organising an image and picture library and assisting the team with print and digital projects as required. It goes without saying that you will need a solid understanding of social media engagement, excellent IT skills and be happy working on multiple projects at once. More than this, you will get to use your design software skills and knowledge of wordpress/umbraco or similar CMSs.

To discover more about this role – and the attractive rewards and prospects that go with it – please visit http://jobs.jtltraining.com/jobs/head-office-orpington-kent/social-media-coordinator/812/ and apply online.

You can find hundreds of jobs on the University’s JobShop at http://cumbria.prospects.ac.uk

Five Transferable Skills We All Have

What do you do when your work history doesn’t match the skill set for the job you are applying for? Use your transferable skills! An important part of your time at University is getting your degree; that goes without saying. But employers will look at extra-curricular activities to differentiate the run-of-the-mill applicants from those they can see as a good fit with their company. Use them!

Volunteering

This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to get some extra experience on your CV – volunteer with a company, and you not only help that company, but help your employability as well. For example, if you are studying towards a career in law, volunteering as an Independent Custody Visitor through http://icva.org.uk/ will gain you valuable skills and knowledge in the judicial system.

Travelling

Have you been back-packing around the world on your gap year? Have you spent the summer working in a Summer Camp or driving across the USA? Travelling shows prospective employers that you are flexible, cultured and independent. Demonstrate the skills you used on your CV: Did you learn a new language? Did you have to organise yourself and others? All of these skills enhance your employability.

Part-time work

Think that your student job in a bar while you were studying has no place on your CV now that you are applying for a graduate job? Don’t be too quick to wipe it! A part-time job while you were studying shows employers that you have good time-management skills, are not afraid of hard work, and have well-developed interpersonal skills to boot!

Blogging

If you have something to say, then say it! If you are passionate and knowledgeable about a subject, but don’t have a lot of experience, then starting a blog can demonstrate to employers that you have the skills and knowledge required. It’s a great way to demonstrate your writing skill as well as helping you to develop your own voice.

Interests (not hobbies!!)

Make the most of the ‘interests’ section on your CV by highlighting how your interests make you the perfect fit for the company. Any interest you have, be it photography, playing the violin, sports or even bird-watching, can prove that you have one skill or another; motivation, passion, a drive to succeed. As long as you can link your interest with a skill that is required by the company, include it on your CV!

What transferable skills do you have?