Everyone tells you that university is the gateway to a better future, and I guess in some ways that is true. What they don't tell you is that leaving university sucks. When you're at uni you have so much freedom and (almost) no responsibilities and if you're like me, you have lots of amazing plans for the future and can't wait to leave. Well unfortunately, as I am very painfully finding out right now, those plans don't always work out too well.
I've been reading a lot of CVs recently as we've been hiring at my work and have also been applying for a lot of jobs myself, so I thought it may be useful to give some tips on job applications from things I've spotted in other people's and mistakes that I know I've made myself.
Always adjust your CV
I think some people make a CV once and then just leave it and send it out with every application. It's so incredibly important to adjust your CV for the role you're applying for. I have a retail CV which highlights my experience in customer service and doesn't focus on my education and marketing experience so much, and I have a marketing CV which is the exact opposite. Before you send off your application, have a quick look through your CV and see if you have highlighted all the skills they are looking for.
Simplicity is always better
I have seen so many CVs where the applicant has written paragraphs about each job, and it's great that they have made that effort, but no one is actually going to read that. Always try and go for a simple layout that flows well and makes it easy for the hiring manager to scan quickly. If they can glance over it and see the main skills and experience they are looking for, then they will come back and read it in more detail. If they are faced with a large block of text that they have to spend ten minutes sifting through, they probably won't bother.
Put the most important information on the first page
Your CV should never be longer than two pages but I'm a firm believer in having the most important information on the first page. My CV starts with my contact information, a short profile highlighting my main skills (this is literally only two sentences) and a summary of my education. Note: you do NOT need to list all the GSCEs you did, this just takes up valuable space and it's something that I see a lot. If you feel like you should mention your grades, go for something like 'Five As and three A*s including mathematics and biology'. Chances are if you have a degree, people won't care about your GCSE grades at all so there's no point including them for the sake of it. After my education summary I have a section called 'Relevant experience' where I list all the experience that is (you guessed it) relevant for the job I'm applying for. Organising things this way means that the first page isn't cluttered with things like my current sales job, when what I'm applying for is a marketing role. All my other experience is then listed on the second page, along with some interests (I always think this adds a nice personal touch and makes you more interesting), my language and IT skills. This way the recruiter can see the main things they need at a glance but can still see all my experience if the first page has piqued their interest.
A good cover letter goes a long way
We've covered the CV, let's talk about the cover letter. It's an extension of your CV where you can really highlight your skills and tell the company why you would be the best person for the job. I usually like to start with a short paragraph about why I want to work in that specific company and then delve into my specific skills and how I could apply them in that job. I do have a template for my cover letter because obviously I tend to mention the same things, but it's incredibly important that you review this for every single job to show them not only that you're the person they're looking for, but also that you have a genuine interest in working for their company.
I know what you're thinking... 'why is she trying to tell us about time management, she didn't even manage to keep her blog running the past few months'. Well hear me out. I've always been absolutely terrible at time management and never really got anything done. However, over the past few months I have become incredibly busy and had to juggle a master's degree, a part time job, being part of a society committee and a social life, so I've started to become a lot better at time management! Here are a few things that I learned along the way:
Being healthy is a topic that everyone talks about because let's face it, most of us are trying to eat better, drink more water or do more exercise. It can be hard and god knows I've stuggled with it, which I will be going into more detail about in a weight gain/loss journey post soon. But for now, here are some little things that I've been doing to be healthier.
Shot from the street
I only recently discovered Lizzy's blog and YouTube but I absolutely fell in love with her style because she is so effortlessly stylish and also a really relaxed person who is easy to relate to. My favourite posts she does are probably her week in film, where she posts the photos she took on an actual film camera. I think it's such a lovely idea because blogs tend to be so glossy and perfect these days so it's nice to see some moments that were just quickly captured. She also recently did an interview with her mum about her experience with gender inequality, which I thought was really amazing and inspiring.
It's no secret that Jaye is one of my favourite people in the world, but that's not the reason I read her blog. Her content is always so inspiring but still real at the same time. She posts about life as a creative and freelancer, good places to get coffee and food in London (you're starting to understand why I love her right about now), beauty bits and sometimes just her general life through photo diaries. I think the best way to describe her blog is that it's as if your best friend was writing a magazine just for you.
Oh the infamous Vix... if you don't know about her blog then where have you been? She's not only the queen of list posts but also the person who will always tell it exactly how it is. I would describe her as a relationship and dating blogger but she throws some other stuff in there too sometimes because let's face it, life isn't just about boys! I don't recommend drinking hot beverages while reading her posts because you will most likely chuckle and either spit them out or choke.