But no matter how good your CV is, how flawless your interview technique is, there could be one thing stopping you from getting a job. Bray & Bray have put together this infographic on social media and the workplace – and it’s a really interesting read.
I personally have (I hope!) a really clean online presence. My Facebook is private bar a few posts I’ve deliberately set as public, there’s no drunken photos (a benefit to hardly drinking!), and my blog shows me in a good light. Whilst my blog doesn’t necessarily list my (rather unique) name, it is relatively accessible thanks to a few campaigns – so I make doubly sure my posts aren’t overly controversial. I know from experience that employers will and do have a google of names, so it’s really best to have a clean up every now and again to make sure you’re not sharing something that could damage your career…
Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own as always!
Have you altered the way you appear on social media due to employment prospects?
My degree and it’s aim are very straight-cut. It’s a very specific degree aiming at a very specific job. I’m perfectly happy with that, as it’s the career I’m aiming for in the sector I want to be in. But I know a lot of people are put off by universities pushing employment opportunities at them, at failing to recognise the importance of working for yourself.
In a time where more and more people are looking at self-employment options, it’s important for graduates to be able to make informed decisions. As someone who has definitely been feeling the pressure of obtaining a graduate job I found this study and infographic by PolicyBee really interesting.
I was shocked that such a high number of universities never mention freelancing at all. I fully admit I’d not heard it mentioned in my course, but assumed that as it is aimed at a specific profession it was an exception to the rule – but apparently not!
*Sponsored post, all opinions are my own as always!
What was your experience at university? Were you pushed towards traditional employment?
There’s so many different ‘keys to success’ when studying it can be hard to know what to do. Don’t do this, don’t do that, and half the time this and that are the same thing.
IAB sent over this fab infographic with their tip tips for study success, and I think it’s great. Everything’s in one place, nothing seems to contradict another, and they are all very sensible and easily-used suggestions;
I’m particularly pleased that organising your notes is in there – that’s the thing I most often advise to new students. I know I for one would be forever behind without keeping my notes organised, taking half an hour to sort them each week really does make a difference.
Disclaimer: Post sponsored by IAB, all opinions are my own.
I’ve written a few times about what to take to university, I’ve written about my tech essentials, and now it’s time to share what other students feel are essential.
Way back in the summer Currys PC World asked me to contribute to a mini-guide on tech essentials for students. It’s now finally available for me to share with you – here’s the free download.
I thought a little outside of the box for my contribution and went kitchen-based. I’m not a huge user of tech within the kitchen (I don’t even use an electric whisk – beating eggs is a tough job in my house!) but there are a couple of things I think of as essential for me.
The first is a slow cooker. For me this is essential in creating stews and so on – things I actually eat an awful lot of. It’s not exactly economical to have the oven on all day, but slow cookers are much more efficient. I find them far easier to clean too!
The second is a mini food processor. Now I’m not claiming either of these things are essential for most students, but if you like to cook then they are pretty cheap items that I reckon you’ll get a lot of use from. I use my mini chopper at least a couple of times a week – more so now my new version also acts as a mini blender (it’s perfect for one-person smoothies). I’ve also discovered it makes turning biscuits into crumbs a ten second job, perfect for making a chocolate fridge cake… It also allows me to make my own pesto, whizz up a curry paste, even blend up nut butters. Not bad for such a tiny machine!
Of course there’s other techy essentials too.
I couldn’t live without my portable hardrive, especially now my free unlimited Dropbox has ended. And of course there’s the laptop issue – and getting one that’s the right combination of light-weight and heavy-performance. I also have a Chromebook as well (perfect for weekends at W’s as my four-year-old laptop is SO heavy), an ASUS tablet and the mobile.
The less obvious, smaller bits of tech are just as important. I’ve found having at least two extension leads is crucial at university, as you can guarantee plugs are in the most difficult of places. A kettle is pretty much designed for students – how else would I survive on tea?! And a microwave means you can make mug cakes and scrambled eggs. Speakers are pretty important for those pre-drink evenings, and having a HDMI cable means you can attach your laptop to a larger screen before jumping onto BBC iPlayer.
I found when I first moved to university I concentrated on the more practical things I needed – the kitchen bits, the bedding, the study materials. I know I definitely overlooked needed an extension cable!
What do you think are essentials for students? What couldn’t you live without at university?
I’ve loved doing this post each year, and this year I’m super proud of my room. In my first year I made my halls rather homely, in second year I filled my huge room up as much as possible. I didn’t really get to personalise my third year room, as I’d rented it through Spareroom and lived in with my landlady. This has only resulted me going all out with my room this year!
And it just so happens that I’m also in the tiniest room ever.
My placement year room was small, but it was also full of furniture. This year my room is crammed with a double bed, side table and wardrobe. No room for much else, I’d really prefer a single bed and a little more space, though I have squeezed in a fold-up desk. It actually turns out that I love my little space, it’s a lot cosier than the rooms I’ve had before!
I’ve squeezed in a lot of stuff, I’ve even got an empty drawer at the moment! I’ve picked up some great hints and tips for storage, I don’t think my room has ever been this organised…
My favourite buy has got to be this shower caddy from Wilko. I’ve put in on a coat hook above my desk and it’s the perfect fit for my stationery. I’ve also turned my bags into a bit of a feature – popping my leather tote on the hooks (and using it as storage), and also my mini-satchel on other hooks on my wardrobe.
Speaking of my wardrobe, I’m super proud of how tidy and organised it is! I picked up an organisation system from Sainsbury’s (£10 – bargain!). I’ve used the two shelf racks in my wardrobe to store just about everything – I’ve found that storage solutions are so key when living in a tiny room! Literally every single item of clothing I have with me is crammed in here! There’s no space for much else, hence the spending ban I’ve put in place…
I’ve got a few nick-nacks, but I’m definitely gone a lot more minimal than previous years.
Another great buy was the slim wicker drawers, again from Wilko. They are a perfect size for hiding away bits and pieces – though most of them are storing my makeup. Whilst I love having acrylic drawers, I’m also enjoying having things hidden away.
I couldn’t resist showing you around our not-so-little house either. We’ve actually rented one in a little village just outside of Canterbury so it’s super quiet, a little cheaper, and still only a ten minute walk onto campus. The stroll in often involves saying hi to the local horses, I’ve even filled my freezer with blackberries. We have a gorgeous original fireplace, which we’ve decorated with candles and fairy lights. I had some gorgeous flowers delivered from Appleyard too – the Hot Toddy bouquet* fits in wonderfully with our living room and just adds the finishing touch. If only we could afford fresh flowers all the time!
The house is lovely, my housemates are even lovelier – it’s going to be a great end to university!
Have you done a room tour post? Link me if you have – I’m so nosey and love them!
Another week, another guest post and today it’s coming from Georgia of Taking New York. She’s going to be talking about common misconceptions relating to university and let me tell you – it’s a fab post! I wish I’d read it before going to university all of those years ago as it would have definitely eased the nerves a little!
Hi I’m Georgia from over at Taking New York and this week I’ve been given the pleasure of guest posting here on Chloe’s blog! The theme recently has been all about starting university and, as a student entering my third year, I thought it was about time we addressed some of the common university misconceptions.
First off, the whole ‘University is the best time of your life’ myth.
I’m not saying it won’t be the best time of your life (by all means I hope you enjoy every moment of it) but the problem is when that pressure becomes so huge that you feel like a failure for not enjoying every second.
During your three years of studying, I’m sure you will have moments that eventually show up in your highlight reel but not every day will feel like the best time of your life and that is very much okay.
Whilst university involves a certain amount of fancy dress and alcohol, people often forget that it demands a hell of a lot of hard work too; something that isn’t always a barrel of laughs.
On those nights when you find yourself crying in the library because you just can’t see the end of the essay you’re working on, remind yourself that it is okay to be stressed, it is okay to question what the hell you’re doing and, most importantly, remind yourself that this is just a temporary glitch during the ‘best time of your life’.
Next up, one of the biggest worries students seem to have before starting university is:
You will be expected to go out and drink every single night.
This is not true.
If that’s what you want to do then trust me you won’t struggle to find people to do this with and you won’t struggle to find a decent club on a Monday night. But, if this isn’t your idea of fun then don’t panic.
Whilst the university year typically starts with ‘Fresher’s Week’ which is admittedly very much alcohol-orientated, if you give it time, attend lectures and join societies you will soon find other like-minded souls whom would also rather swap tequila shots for a night of movies and pizza, a day in the Lakes or even punting in Oxford.
‘Getting a first is the single most important thing’.
I know this seems like an odd thing for me to include as a ‘misconception’ but bear with me.
During A-Levels the most important thing is to get the best grade you can in order to meet university entry requirements. However, once you graduate, employers are looking for much more than just a degree on your CV.
Instead, they want to see you have transferable skills, interests and experience too. Regardless of whether you have a first, if you have nothing more to offer a potential employer then there lies a problem.
Instead of putting all your effort into achieving that elusive first, my advice would be to develop a number of other skills too. Skills that will show employers that you can do more than just sit an exam, you can hold down a part-time job, captain the netball team and write for the paper too; a much more interesting and well-rounded person if you ask me!
Now for a ‘rule’ that seems to circulate university and pops up in almost all advice posts:
‘Don’t get with your flatmate’.
I broke this rule and will happily admit that the first time I met my boyfriend was on the first day of Fresher’s Week, just as we were both unpacking our belongings into adjacent bedrooms.
Though the misconception is that it is bound to go wrong, bound to end in tears and bound to make it awkward for everyone in the flat, two years later and we’re still going strong and very happy.
Perhaps if you’re looking for something ‘casual’ I would agree and say look further afield but, if like me, you genuinely like someone, don’t let this ‘rule’ ruin what could ultimately be pretty special.
Lastly, they say you make your friends for life at university and for once, I agree.
University is no different to school in that there will always be people you like and people you dislike, but, because university is so much larger, it is ten times easier to remove yourself from them. In which case, you can happily spend your time forming friendships with those who matter and those who will potentially go on to become, like they say, ‘life-long friends’; one of the very best things about university.
This for me is so true – I met some of the best friends I’ve ever had at university, and I can’t imagine not knowing them. Told you this would be a great post! If you want to guest post over here please email me on [email protected]!
What do you think are big misconceptions about university?
Insurance is something I feel quite strongly about. Having experience in the industry meant I’ve heard plenty of claims stories. Obviously I can’t divulge, however I will say I will now NEVER even go for a short car journey without a seatbelt and I’m VERY careful walking to/from the top deck on buses. Student contents insurance is also very important to me. Whilst I’ve not actually had anything important go missing, I know friends who have had houses broken into – and probably most beneficial for me is the accidental damage cover.
Bobatoo have asked me to put together a post based on their guide to student contents insurance – they provide a lot of basic info guides so I highly recommend having a quick glance at their site.
Put simply, student contents insurance covers the bits and pieces you bring to university against loss, theft or damage. Thanks to the joys of a long distance relationship I travel a lot on trains, so I always make sure my policy covers loss/theft of suitcases whilst travelling too.
Because unfortunately loss, theft and damage does happen. This might be accidentally dropping water over your laptop, smashing your phone into a puddle (guilty), or even if your university halls catch fire (true story – it happened at my university whilst I was away on placement). I know people who have claimed after all their food and kitchen equipment disappeared from their kitchen. I know ground floor rooms have bee emptied when the occupier nips to the toilet. I myself have had vouchers taken from my post.
There’s a couple of options regarding how to insurance your stuff. The easiest is to see if your parents can extend their policy to cover an additional address. The ‘cross your fingers’ approach is to just go with the insurance provided by your accommodation – which is likely to be limited to only pay out when things like a fire cause damage, and possibly only covers a small amount. This option is definitely not sensible when you are living in privately rented houses! However in a private house it may be possible to chip in with friends and get a whole house polices. However in my opinion the best way is to get specialist student contents insurance. This is more likely to cover all possible eventualities, and you’ll virtually definitely get the cover you need.
Check everything is covered. I’ve found I have to insure my camera as a separate gadet so it’s covered when I take it out and about.
If you’re privately renting its often worth adding in accidental damage cover – it may help protect your deposit if something does happen.
Double check the policy limit and excess, to make sure you know exactly what’s covered and what you need to pay.
This guest post is one I’ve been really excited for! Louise from Thrifty Lil Pixie is almost finished with a whopping eight years of university (four years undergraduate, she’s now in her final year of four years of postgraduate!) and is going to share everything she’s learnt. I’ve just started my fourth year and can’t imagine carrying on for so long – respect to her! Here’s the eight lessons she’s learnt during her eight years at university…
If there’s one thing I know a lot about, it’s going to college. I went to college at 18 to study Biology, I completed 4 years of undergraduate studies with a first class honours degree and after a week off began postgraduate studies in Biology. I’m currently in my final year of a 4 year PhD.
There is no shame in working hard.
Yes college is amazing fun, there’s so much going out to do, friends to make, parties to attend…but partying aside you go to college for one primary goal: to learn. You may not learn exactly what you thought, you may learn more than you ever dreamed, you may learn that college isn’t for you. Whatever you learn college is hella expensive so make sure that learning is high on your list of priorities. I was never embarrassed to admit I studied hard in college; I studied for every exam and worked hard on every assignment. I worked hard to get there after all so I wasn’t going to waste it. Don’t be the person who brags to everyone they did no work whatsoever and then gets 90%, nobody appreciates that, trust me. If you’re lucky that hard work might turn into a funded PhD, where they pay you to go to college instead of the other way around!
You learn much more than your chosen subject
Yes, you’ll learn loads about your chosen area, but you’ll also learn loads of valuable skills like researching, public speaking, budgeting, house hunting and networking, plus how great Primark is…
Follow your heart
When I was in school my exam result suggested I should study Art or English in college, so it seemed strange when I choose Science but that’s what I really wanted and it worked out great. Again when I was in college we were able to specialise in either biological or biomedical science. Biomedical was way, way more popular but I’ve always loved the environment so I opted to do biological instead and I ended up getting a PhD position in the area. Follow your heart, you’re the only one that has to live your life, so live it your way. Clearly happy to be doing research that lets me work outdoors!
College isn’t for everyone and there’s nothing wrong with that
College is amazing for some and not for others and that’s not something to apologise for or be embarrassed by. There are countless jobs and careers out there, many of which college is not necessary or doesn’t prepare you for. Don’t feel pressured into college if it’s not what you want, it’s not essential for living your life. More and more people are creating their own jobs like professional bloggers and youtubers, app developers. There are no rules for how you have to live your life or what career you choose.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You’re paying plenty of money for an education so if you are struggling or don’t understand something, always ask for help. Also if your worries stretch beyond your next assignment you can still look for support. Many colleges provide study support centres, counselling services, financial advice and medical centres, so if something is stressing you out reach out for help.
Living away from home is a learning curve
Learning to live on your own is probably as big a learning experience as college itself. There’s finding accommodation, paying for it, managing bills and shopping, not to mention living and getting along with all kinds of people. You’ll learn the arts of budgeting, management and diplomacy. Or if diplomacy fails and you end up with all-out war, you’ll definitely learn something too.
There are bargains to be found everywhere
You will learn to stretch your money as far as possible. Use your student discount everywhere. Go to Tesco in the evening to buy all the discounted food. Stores own brand is as good as fancy brands. Takeaway and alcohol are amazing and expensive so try and make some veggie pasta bake instead when you can motivate yourself too. Join college clubs and societies for subsidised holidays; I went on a super cheap scuba diving holiday to Lanzarote this way! Scuba diving on a student’s budget
Scientists don’t have to look or dress a certain way
To be honest this was never something that played heavily on my mind as I dress how I please but with many people there is a certain expectation about how people in certain professions should look or dress. A while back I was invited to contribute to the tumbler sartorial-science.tumblr.com which shares profiles of people who work in science with an interest in fashion, with the aim of challenging stereotypes of what scientist wear and should look like. It’s a great site, with a great aim, so no matter what you choose to study in college don’t think you have to look a certain way or have particular interests just because of the classes you attend.
Thanks so much to Louise for sharing her experience and lessons over here – I particularly liked the last point! As a maths student I’ve often been told I “don’t look like a maths student” which I think is a good thing…?!
What did you learn at university? Ignoring all the academic bits and pieces!
Not being able to make calls sucks. Not being able to send a text is heartbreaking. Not being able to access the internet is terrifying. This is all especially true (to me at least) during university term. I might need a late night taxi home from the station or Dad’s guidance on how to work the washing machine, emotional support when squishing a spider, or just a chat with W. And check when my next lecture is, obvs.
I’m not exactly the most…sensible…of people with my phones. During the first ever term of university I fell out of a taxi (completely sober having finished a late shift at work), sending my phone crashing into a puddle. I’ve also not had the best luck tech-wise, with three faulty Samsung and a dreadful HTC in the last four years. I’ve recently upgraded to a lovely new phone and I’m determined to keep it as safe and unblemished as possible. For me that involves not putting it in risky situations.
Three are keen for me to #MakeItRight and show you just how important having an emergency phone is. They sent me over a Lumia 530 to take out and about where my new phone would be ‘at risk.’ Whilst I’m not a fan of clubbing, one of the best things about this is that it’s a lot smaller than my actual phone making it the ideal exercise companion. It fits in my hand far easier than mine so it’s perfect for taking on a run. Not that my fitness routine is getting much action since my experience with a tick in Devon…!
Perhaps even more wonderfully, they also sent over a battery pack. As someone who consistently forgets to charge their phone this goes a long way to easing my bad habit. I can see this becoming an absolutely godsend on Friday night travels up to Will’s, but it’s equally as helpful when I’ve spent gaps between lectures having a Pinterest binge…
I’d never really considered having an emergency phone as a university must-have, but having one has pretty much changed my mind. With a Three SIM-only deal I’ve found that I can top up as and when I need to, always remaining in contact with friends and family. Touch wood I’ve not had any accidents with my actual phone, but it’s always good to know I have a backup plan!
Oh yes, and university post on a Tuesday?! That’s partly down to scheduling problems meaning this didn’t go live on Sunday, and partly because being back at university means I’m having to post less often. And don’t have the budget for fashion/beauty posts every week…
Do you have an emergency phone, or would you consider having one?
Guest post time, and this week I have Heather from Of Beauty & Nothingness (one of my favourite blogs BTW) talking about her university experience and giving some of her top tips. I love getting others to share their experience with you all – as obviously it is different for everyone! Here’s her story…
Since I was a child, going to university was just the thing to do and I always received good grades so it was inevitable that I would go to university. However, when I didn’t do as well as I needed to to get into the university I wanted (and the only one I applied for), I ended up looking through clearing which wasn’t the quickest process and it did leave me feeling a little disheartened.
However, thankfully I was able to get into a small campus which is part of the University of Huddersfield which was only a fifteen minute drive away from my house so I didn’t have to move out; also the tiny campus didn’t even have student accommodation.
I’m generally a shy person and I do worry about anything and everything so a smaller campus was definitely the best choice for me personally and as it was small, there was so much more interaction with lecturers so I was able to ask questions and really be part of the lecture which I don’t think would have been possible in a large/main campus with one hundred or more students.
I studied psychological studies as I loved my psychology A levels and it was the topic I was best at and I’m so glad that I did take the time and effort to go through clearing and gain a place at such a great and friendly university. Even though my first day was filled with stomach turning nerves, it was a fairly relaxed and friendly day, apart from the damning lecture on plagiarism and Harvard referencing.
I am really proud of my first class BSc (Hons) degree and even though I now want a career within different field, I do think that it was worth the time, stress, money and effort as I genuinely loved my time at university and I missed it from the moment I found out my final grade.
However, if you are thinking about university, make sure you not only choose a subject that you are good at and enjoy but one you could consider yourself having as a career in the long term. Also always keep your options open! Here are a few of my university study tips:
– Always double check your references, it is worth the extra time!
– Scheduling revision/reading/essay writing time and relaxing time will definitely help you feel less guilty when you do want to relax and binge watch Netflix…
– After writing an essay go back to it a few days later as you always spot silly mistakes!
– Help out your class mates – group revision can be useful and it won’t seem as boring or stressful.
– Before an exam always make sure to eat and drink, you don’t want to be worrying about stomach gurgling noises in a silent exam room, that always happened to me!
These are some great tips, I definitely agree with the last point! If you want to share your university experience here then please get in touch at [email protected]!
What are your top tips for university?