20 January 2014

Grad Schemes

Although I have recently found myself a job following university. Prior to this I spent a lot of time applying for graduate schemes. Each one runs in a very similar way, and I managed to get to the final stages of some, with some still on-going. Graduate schemes are hard work, each application takes hours and is followed by tests, phone interviews, assessment centres; it takes a lot of commitment on the graduate's part without guarantee of any success. I have been rejected by or have rejected myself each company that I have applied to, some in the early stages, others after phone interviews and one after an assessment day that was one of the hardest days of my life. This appears to not make me the ideal candidate to give advice on these schemes, however I have been asked to interviews by a number of companies and rejected them myself as I cannot afford to move so far away from home. Also, I'm not going to tell anyone what to say or do with these schemes, just offer advice on how to prepare for these stages.
There are clear advantages to a graduate scheme, a defined structure to your training, the opportunity to promote yourself within a large company, a high starting salary in comparison to other positions and some schemes offer the opportunity to work within a number of sectors, allowing you to decide exactly what it is that you want to do. From experience it is hard fitting applications around your final year university work! Therefore it's best to be prepared!
These are just a few tips about the preparations you should make before you begin applying.
1. Know the kind of graduate schemes you want to apply for - do you want to be a buyer? A merchandiser? A marketer? Or do you want to work in finance, HR, logistics? It is probable that applying to more than one scheme within the same company is only going to indicate that you are unsure of what you want to do, or what you are good at, therefore how can they be sure that you are right for their job? Or that you won't want to change careers half way through the scheme. Research online the different types of positions and find which it is that best fits your aspirations and experience.
2. Start early and be organised. I spent the summer before my final year researching graduate schemes, which I wanted to apply for and when they all opened. Most open in September/October, however not all and most close in December, but some are earlier, some later and some when they feel they have enough applications.

List of Schemes
3. Have your C.V ready in a number of different formats, PDF, Word Doc, Powerpoint - different applications ask for different  formats and it's always easier and less time consuming if you have considered this in advance! Think about the design of your C.V - I have two, one creative, one more business like. The creative C.V is great for those companies who are perhaps more fashionable, or less formal and it ensures that you will stand out from those other candidates who send their simple, Times New Roman C.V. However, some applications call for the traditional C.V and therefore you need to focus on the content. Oh, and remember to spell check all of them!
4. Prepare answers for the questions that you are most likely to be asked - start a document so you have standard responses saved that can be altered to match each scheme when you apply. Most schemes ask similar questions:
   Why have you applied for this scheme? Or why have you chosen to apply for this position?
   What are you most proud of?
   Tell me about a time when you had issues when working within a team, what happened and how you solved them.
   What leadership skills do you have?
5. Write a cover letter detailing your experience for the job, as well as your answers for why you want to apply to a particular scheme. Some schemes ask simply for a C.V and cover letter, rather than asking a set of questions. Therefore you need a letter that can answer a number of these questions, even if this isn't what they asked for. As with the C.V this letter should be saved in a number of formats.

15 January 2014

Current Skincare Favourites...

1. Clinique: Redness Solutions Daily Relief  Cream

I've actually had this little pot of magic for quite a while, however I've only recently started using it on a daily basis. From day one I noticed an impact on my skin, as I'm such a pale-y I notice redness in my skin really easily. It's my ultimate goal to be one of those girls who can get away with not wearing any foundation on a daily basis, and this cream is definitely step 1. It was a bit more pricey than what I usually spend on skincare but definitely worth it, as I've never found anything that works this well!

2. No7: Beautiful Skin Overnight Radiance Boost

My other current favourite is the No7 Beautiful Skin Overnight Radiant Boost - I bought this on a 3 for 2 deal along with the Beautiful Skin cleanser and day cream for dry skin (which, by the way, are also both fab) but this is my favourite of the 3. I don't use it every night as I like to notice the difference between when I have and haven't used it, and there really is one. Because I'm such a cheap-skate I've been applying it fairly thinly but my skin still feels baby smooth in the morning! I'd definitely recommend you check the whole range out but particularly this!
What are your current skincare favs? I'm always on the lookout for new products so let me know!

12 January 2014

'How to Get a Graduate Job' Series Introduction

I want to start a couple of on-going series on the blog, so you readers know what you're getting, and I know what I'm writing! The first series will be based around my experiences trying to find a graduate job following my graduation in July 2013. It's an experience that has such huge highs and lows, and I must admit at times I found it extremely difficult and started to question my abilities and skills. I am now happily settling into a new job, but feel like I've picked up a lot of tips along the way.
I'm not professing to be any sort of expert on the subject, but will include details of lectures and talks we were given at university as well as ideas from my own experiences. Posts I have planned include graduate schemes, skills based CVs and cover letters!

Let me know what posts you'd be interested in seeing and please share your own job hunting experiences with me!

10 January 2014

New Shoes...

Yay, new shoes that I ordered in the sales finally came! Actually, I don't think they were in the sale, oops, but I did order them on Boxing Day! They're from New Look and were £19.99, I bought them for the heel height really. Since I got my first job following university in December I've been looking for some heels that I can wear all day at work, and these are ideal! The black and white style means that I can wear them with pretty much anything!

Not sure Pig was so sure about them though!

8 January 2014

Healthy Beef Curry...

It's that time again, where it feels like everyone you know is on a New Year's diet! This year, instead of making unrealistic resolution that I would probably sack off within a week, I've decided to try and change my overall lifestyle. No crazy detoxes here!
One of the recipes I've been making over and over again is this beef curry, it so easy, and because it takes a while to simmer down, I can do a workout DVD while it's cooking!

Healthy Beef Curry
Time: 50 Minutes
The quantity I have in the images is to make 4 portions (there's 2 packs of beef)

Beef (Casserole or Strips)
Tomato Puree (3 tablespoons)
Beef Stock Cubes x 3
Curry Powder (Mild) (2 tablespoons)
Fry Light

1. Chop the veg - I'm using peppers and mushrooms but you could play around, maybe add butternut squash or spinach

2. Begin browning off the beef in the frylight

 3. Add the peppers

4. Once beef is browned and pepper softened, add the mushrooms, tomato puree and curry powder. Stir together so it becomes like a paste. coating the beef and veg

5. Pour in the stock - whatever quantity it takes for 3 cubes, if there's more stock then simply increase the cooking time until it has all evaporated down. Cook for around 40 minutes or until the stock has almost completely disappeared

6. Voila!

This recipe is really, really simple (I'm not a brilliant chef!) but tastes delicious. You can change the veg to suit your taste, or use a hotter curry powder! Let me know if you try it!