Pick up a copy any time you choose

Over the Easter break I undertook a four week placement with my local paper and news website back in Devon. Although being close to home, I still had to travel by train each day to the head office in the city of Exeter. Even with the short journey time the prices of rail tickets soon added up and without the University’s Bursary there is no way I would have been able to commit to such an extended period of time.

The placement itself – with devonlive.com – the new “digital first” online approach of numerous Devon papers including The Express and Echo and The Herald Express was incredible and completely invaluable to me in regards to my future career plans. Wanting to go into journalism a placement of this kind showed me the practical basics of how to find a story, research it and put the copy together. I also got to interview members of the public on local issues such as bus prices increasing and on charity events (skydives, bake sales, sunflower growing competitions) that they were planning. This improved my confidence and communication skills as I no longer hesitate to ask difficult questions or push for more information. I also got the chance to write for different sections of the publication ranging across news, property and events. For example, I compiled a list of places to find cheap prom dress and even bargain Easter eggs! This was amazing as I got to combine my love for fashion, chocolate and writing – the dream!

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Top 5 Benefits of Starting Your Career at a Smaller Company

Over the past few years there’s been a noticeable shift in the type of jobs that graduates apply for after leaving university – over 50% now say they would like to work for a startup or SME (small and medium-sized enterprise). Working for a smaller company can be a great way to kick-start your career; startups and SMEs can offer first jobbers opportunities that simply wouldn’t be available at a corporate. Here at TalentPool, we’ve rounded up the top 5 benefits of working for a smaller company to help you decide whether it’s the right decision for you.

The ability to have a true impact on the business

You can really see the impact and value of the work you’re doing when you work for a smaller company. This is both exciting and incredibly rewarding. The fast-paced life of a smaller company means that things are changing all the time, and your ideas and hard work definitely won’t go unnoticed.

The opportunity to develop a wide range of skills

Working as part of a small team usually means that you’ll be involved in several different functions within the company where you’ll pick up a whole new set of skills as you’ll really be expected to get stuck in and contribute. You’ll receive a huge education about how a business truly operates, which is harder to grasp when working in a single department of a larger company.

The chance to work closely with entrepreneurs

Particularly at a startup, you’ll most likely be sitting across or even right next to the founders of the business. This gives you a unique opportunity to soak up all their knowledge and experience. This kind of exposure is especially valuable if you think you might like to start your own business one day.

The high levels of responsibility you’ll be given

From the word go, you’ll be given levels of responsibility which you simply wouldn’t have at a corporate. Working in a small team means that there’ll probably be nobody else in the company with the same skill set as you or doing the same thing as you. With little time for micromanaging, you’ll really be expected to take your own initiative!

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Top Tips for Acing That Big Presentation

 

Whether it’s as part of an interview, or you’re simply delivering information to your colleagues, presentations are an almost unavoidable part of modern working life. If you’re a student, delivering presentations may also form part of your course. Either way, presenting can be a nerve-racking experience.

Our biggest piece of advice is to prepare as thoroughly as you can. We can’t stress enough how helpful it can be to simply read through your presentation out loud before you deliver it. It’ll help you notice any woody wording or lengthy areas, and will help you establish a flow, which can help your audience better understand what you’re saying. It’ll also help you include natural pauses in your presentation, which is important for helping your audience retain the information you’re presenting.

Thankfully, giving presentations is something that gets easier with practice, and each one offers you the opportunity to learn from the experience. Remember: everyone gets a little nervous when giving a presentation! It’s perfectly natural to feel a little worried before and even during your presentation. Try to remain calm and concentrate on what you want your audience to learn. Thorough preparation is also key to increasing your confidence before the event.

We love a good presentation at Viking, so we thought we’d put together a little guide to help out anyone planning a presentation. Take a look and see if it helps you ace your next presentation:

Do you have any top presentation tips? Get in touch and let us know on Twitter at @viking_chat.

It’s Only the Beginning

“The one thing all famous authors, world-class athletes, actors, singers, business tycoons and celebrated achievers in any field have in common is that they began their journey when they were none of these personalities – and yet they began.”

My 10 week summer internship at the Development Office, University of Kent has been a real experience, which I will treasure for many years to come. During my internship, I was part of the Fundraising and Prospect Research Department; working as Fundraising Research Intern. Working at the Development Office was not a normal 9-5 shift. In fact, I got to be involved in real projects – ranging from fundraising campaigns to filming videos and working at the congregation.

I started off my internship looking into the Telephone Campaign where I was involved in preparing recruitment and training materials, as well as preparing the annual report for the Autumn 2015 Telephone Campaign. Being an undergraduate in a scientific field, the report was perfect for me where I could utilize the statistical and analytical skills that I had learned from my studies. This year, the Telephone Campaign, which is one of the biggest fundraising campaigns carried out by the university, was successful in raising over £90,000. The funding is used to facilitate projects such as Kent Opportunity Fund, Hardship Bursary, Postgraduate Scheme and Student Projects in order to promote student experience by facilitating students. In order to promote the Telephone Campaign, I represented the Development Office at the Freshers Fayre stall by designing flyers and distributing them to the students. Alongside the campaign, I had the opportunity to get an insight into the footstep project, a fantastic avenue for the alumni to connect with the university by providing donations to support various projects run by the University and in return, have their personal message engraved in a brick.

One of my shining moments was designing website content for the Student Sport Scheme, a new student project that focuses on enhancing the student experience in the sports sector. Being a student myself, I appreciate the sheer importance of sports in the wellbeing of a student.  My role allowed me to design and compose the website content for this scheme. This involved researching previous alumni, such as Olympic Gold Medallist Susannah Townsend, who received financial support from the university to succeed in their chosen sports whilst studying. It was an invaluable experience to have the privilege to look into their work in sports and how they benefitted from the university. This is evidence of the important role I was provided with, as the content I prepared has now been published on the university website.

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I was also trained in prospect research, including how to carry out various research on Kent alumni, trust organisations and remarkable personalities. I thoroughly relished wealth rating and developing my knowledge of the Raiser’s Edge. It was astounding to learn about the efficiency of the database, which unequivocally helps in carrying out stewardship. Prospect Management and New Leads are also another aspect of the prospect research that I developed my interest in throughout my internship.

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Start me up! Essential Tips for Startup Success

Entrepreneurial spirit is strong in universities. Some of the greatest business success stories come from students. This is an encouraging sign for the future of UK business. This is why Innovate UK have put together a few essential tips that’ll ensure your startup is given the best chance of success. So whether you’re bringing your idea to market while you study or simply building a plan for when you graduate, here’s some essential advice.

Evaluate Your Idea Objectively

You need to have at least one strong USP which you can leverage against the competition. If you can’t find a unique selling point, it’s time to re-think your business idea. When considering this, you can’t rely on friends or family. You need an entirely impartial and unbiased evaluation of your concept.

Track down some target consumers, tell them about your product or service and get some honest feedback. A free trial is a great way of enticing people to take part in this early stage market research. Be wary that people are generally nice so may want to ‘sugar coat’ their feedback. If you’re still struggling with this, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you offering something useful?
  • Does it satisfy a need?
  • Are you solving a real problem?
  • What’s in it for your customers?
  • Will someone pay for it?
  • Are you passionate about it?
  • Why would anyone else care?

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I’ll stand by you

I’ve spent the past 11 months of my sandwich year working within the Older Adults Psychology Team in West Kent (Maidstone & Sevenoaks), gaining clinical and social skills.

I have had the opportunity to observe and co-facilitate post-diagnostic groups, conduct and disseminate service evaluation audits and projects, observing and taking part in therapy and neuro-assessment sessions, and much more.

I have taken away so much from this placement and I’d like to thank all the community staff throughout the Trust who have supported and welcomed me during my time there. This opportunity has supported me in deciding on my career path and has given me the opportunity to work with some amazing and inspirational people.

I have left my placement with a better understanding of the client group I was working with, a better understanding of dementia and an understanding of functional disorder presentations as well.

The B-KEW Bursary has been very beneficial as travelling to Kent everyday via trains can be quite expensive and tedious. Their support has allowed me to relax a little in regards to the cost of my travel so that I could focus on the work I had to do on my placement.

– Blessing Bakare, final year Applied Psychology student