The post university reality check

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.

Job application tips

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.

Time Management Tips

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:

Little changes I've made to become healthier

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.

Blogs I read every day

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.

Being a German in England

Having lived in England for about five years now, I've basically become British, but when I first came to this rainy country there were quite a few things that annoyed/confused me. Some of these are just stupid little things that I simply wasn't used to and some are slightly bigger, but I thought it would be fun to write a post about them.

1. Holding open doors at school. I don't know if this was a private school thing, but if you saw a teacher/prefect/anyone higher in the door opening hierarchy across the quad, you had to stay and hold open the door for them. Even if it meant awkwardly standing in said door for a minute. In contrast, at my school in Germany the teachers had to physically push through the students in the morning to get to the door.

2. Efficiency. You don't really appreciate German efficiency properly until you've lived somewhere else for a while. 

3. Informality. This was actually weird at first because when I was at boarding school our interactions with the teachers were very formal and we'd call them 'Sir' or 'Miss', which I wasn't used to. However once I left college and went to uni and started working, I realised that British people are actually a lot more informal than Germans. I would never say 'hey guys, you alright?' to people I don't know in Germany, yet it seems quite common here to do it in shops, etc. British people also use first names a lot more, whereas in Germany you usually wait until the person says 'by the way you can call me by my first name', which is quite a milestone in your relationship.

4. Drinking. It's funny because Germans seem to have that beer drinking reputation, but Germans actually don't drink that much compared to British people. We definitely don't have the same kind of drinking culture where your local pub is basically your home.

5. Letter boxes. You just don't appear to have them! It baffles me that most houses here just have a hole in the door and the letters just get put through and you find them when you open your front door. In Germany you usually have a letter box that has your name on it and if you go on holiday for two weeks, you probably need to give the key for it to your neighbour so they can take the post out because otherwise it'll overflow.

6. Door handles and toilet seats. They're so much lower in England! I don't know if this is because British people are on average a bit shorter than Germans (or at least I think they are) but every time I come back to Germany now I reach far too low when looking for the door handle and it's very confusing.

7. Bathroom light switches and plug sockets. I remember the horror when I first went into someone's bathroom and couldn't find the light switch- little did I know it was the random piece of string hanging from the ceiling! British people seem to be very scared of being electrocuted in the bathroom because there are no plug sockets to be seen either so you have to dry your hair somewhere else.

8. Driving. It terrifies me a little to think how little you have to do to get a driver's license in England. In Germany you have to do four hours of lessons on the motorway, four hours at night, eight hours on country roads, ten hours of theory lessons, a first aid course and countless more lessons. The thing that baffles me the most is that in England you aren't allowed to go on the motorway until you've passed your test, which makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever and I have friends who are just terrified of motorways because they never learned how to drive on them- I guess that shows how much more Germans love cars and driving!

Things I want to do before leaving Brighton

It's now officially one month until I leave Brighton, and England, for the foreseeable future. In the least seven years Brighton has become my home, it's where I did most of my growing up and where the majority of my friends are, so leaving is going to be incredibly hard especially seeing as I'm not going where I thought I would. There are a few things I want to do before I leave (they're pretty food heavy) so here we go:

Ways to improve a rented home

Ah, renting. What a joy. There's nothing I love more than yellow walls and single glazing that costs more than a kidney on the black market. Okay I'm not sure where I was going with that, but you get the point- renting can suck. Obviously you can rent beautiful places and you can get really lucky, but the reality for most of us will be something like what I described above. Obviously the changes that you can make to a rented home are often extremely minimal (if they weren't I sure as hell wouldn't have yellow walls!), but there are a few things you can do to make it feel more like home.

Keeping your wardrobe edited

The biggest problem I have with decluttering is that somehow the clutter always seems to find me again after a short while. I declutter my closet, get rid of lots of things and then use that as an excuse to buy new clothes and before I know it I'm back where I started. This isn't just frustrating, it's also really bloody expensive, so I've devised a system to beat this habit!

Things I've learned in my 22 years on this planet

1. You can't please everyone
2. Travelling alone is an incredibly scary but rewarding experience
3. Always back up your files

Taking time to reset

Sometimes life just gets so crazy, you get caught up in all the things you need to do and sort of lose all those habits and routines you worked so hard to get. I know this definitely happened to me over the last few months because I was finishing my master's degree and am now looking for jobs, all while working on an extremely irregular schedule. It has certainly taken its toll on me, my skincare routine has become non-existent, my flat is a mess and I've gained weight, so I decided to use my six day trip to Germany to reset and get back to the old me.