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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What your hobbies and interests tell employers about you

When you’re putting together your graduate CV, your hobbies and interests section may seem fairly insignificant, right? Think again.

What you write about in this section can tell a prospective employer a lot more about you than you might think. Often, hobbies and interests suggest a lot about your personality, qualities, what you can offer an employer and what you might be like in the workplace.

The hobbies and interests section of your CV is even more important if you don’t have a lot of work experience (which is not uncommon for graduates). This is because employers are more likely to use it to build a better picture of you and your skills.

As a result, it’s important that you use your hobbies to showcase who you are and what attributes you have. Generally speaking, here’s what employers think about your hobbies and interests.

Travel

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It’s not uncommon for graduates to spend a few months or a gap year travelling, either before or after university. But what do employers think of grads who travel?

The good news is that most employers like to see a well-travelled graduate. This is because travelling usually helps you to develop key skills and character traits that are transferable to the workplace. These include independence, being adaptable and great communication skills.

If you have been travelling, it’s definitely worth talking about it concisely on your CV and mentioning the skills and qualities that it has helped you to develop. Globe-trotting grads tend to be perceived as open-minded, curious and resilient which are all great things to bring into a workplace.

Sport

Playing sport shows employers that you have some fantastic qualities that may include being:

  • Driven
  • Competitive
  • Motivated
  • A team player (depending on the sport)
  • Dedicated
  • Passionate

So many job roles and companies value these qualities so you would be silly not to mention your sporting achievements on your CV.

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Charity Work/Volunteering

From helping to build schools in Africa to walking dogs at your local animal shelter, many graduates have gotten involved in volunteering opportunities. Obviously volunteering is a fantastic thing for communities but it can also help your job application stand out.

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Call the law and hold the applause

The University of Kent Work Experience Bursary gave me the chance to join my colleagues and a couple of great lecturers on a tour of the UK Supreme Court in London on Wednesday, 1st March 2017. In the Media and Free Expression module, which I’ve been taking at the Centre for Journalism, we’ve gone through different aspects of the workings and mechanisms of justice system in the United Kingdom. Arguably, it’s one of the most progressive, objective and comprehensive legal systems in the world, which more often than not makes serious attempts to ensure no citizen is discriminated against on the basis of their faith, national or racial belongings, sexual orientation or political views. On higher levels, to protect the public interest, it deals with broader national and international cases with as much care and caution as possible.

I’ve tried to review different legal structures, including that of the United States, and also that of countries, which follow the Civil Law system, as opposed to Common Law. That’s what makes me enthusiastic about the legal arrangements in the UK. The Supreme Court’s staff have been exceptionally welcoming, articulate and friendly and elaborated on the different sides of the structure of legal and judicial system to us on this visit. Without this visit organised by the Centre for Journalism, which happened thanks to efforts by our media law lecturer, Mr David Acheson, it would have been almost impossible for me to acquire this close understanding of how the Supreme Court functions, and especially how it works closely with young journalists and international students.

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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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Volunteering vs. paid work: which should you choose?

If you are thinking about working for a charity, you are not alone. Thousands of students make the decision to look for charity work each year, but many don’t know where to start, or what kinds of roles are available to them.

There is also a common misunderstanding that charities are only run by volunteers: this is quite simply not the case. There are a great number of paid jobs available in the charity sector, on CharityJob you can see an average of 4,000+ roles available each month!

All of them could lead to a very lucrative and rewarding career. Many graduates find that working in the charity sector suits them better than working for a private business and there are an increasing number of graduate opportunities, training schemes and internships available to students as charities seek to employ the best talents.

However, it is important to determine what kind of charity work is right for you. It may be that a voluntary role for a short period of time better suits your needs. Whether you want to learn new skills, make new friends or try something new, you can choose a role that fits you best as there are plenty of opportunities available, in nearly every category (marketing, finance, project management, education etc).

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