What to Do over the Summer

Hi everyone since we are properly into the summer holidays now I thought I would talk about what i’m doing with myself, and also things you might be thinking of doing if you have some extra free-time.

At the moment i’m in a bit of a limbo work wise having come home to Northern Ireland, this has meant putting my job in the students union on pause for the time being until i’m back in September which they are really cool about since campus is quiet over these months. I am looking for work experience although this is rather difficult for me as a film/TV student since there is much less industry here than in England but we will see what happens! If you can get experience over the summer I would definitely recommend it as it is a good way to enhance your CV. Part-time work is also obviously very handy to have over the summer to top up your account which you will definitely be thankful for if the student loan runs out mid term!

Since I have more free time I have taken to learning the piano, but i’m genuinely actually gonna do it this time because I have put off learning an instrument for far too long, but so far so good. Additionally since i’m studying film/TV i like to keep watching things all the time and what’s better than a good evening binge. At the moment i’m watching:

The Wire- HBO/Sky

The Crown- Netflix

Black Mirror- Netflix

All of which are great so far and I definitely recommend if you are unsure of what to watch. There are usually plenty of festivals and concerts on all across the UK as well if your a music fan, even Ireland has a fair bit going on in this department which is a change since there is usually sod all here! I went to see Stormzy in Belfast last week which was amazing and I would definitely recommend him if that’s your kind of thing.

The most important thing about the summer is that you do what you want to do, there’s no point going back to university feeling as tired as you left so just enjoy it, till next time.

Jordan

 

Endings and Beginnings: Starting University

Three fingers as friends

So, first of all, before you move into Edge Hill halls, you need to know what to bring! Here’s a short guide on “What To Bring To Halls”. After moving in it’s time to be “Starting University and Making Friends”, so here is a piece on doing just that! Since I was in first-year, the Facebook groups for halls have changed slightly – now, there is a group for the whole cluster of halls you’re in eg. Back Halls, Palatine Court, not for the single building. Also, instead of it being managed by Student Advisors, they’re managed by a Campus Communicator – which for half the halls groups, is me! Of course, your old friends don’t just disappear after starting and moving to university so here’s my take on “Maintaining Old Friendships in New Places”.

Three fingers as friends

If you’re not someone who enjoys the packed atmosphere of going out, then you might prefer “A Night In On Campus”, board games, movie drinking games, or perhaps an Open Mic Night! During the first few days on campus, you might notice our the lovely “Birds On Campus” – I’m pretty sure there’s now the occasional heron by the North-West lake too! (Don’t forget to say hi to the cats and corvids as well, those witch-y familiars deserve love too).

After settling in during Welcome Week, the biology students amongst you might be wondering what’s next in store. Well, the “First Year Biology Modules” are the same across all biological sciences courses… or were a couple of years ago at least! Plus, the “Biosciences Cyprus Residential” field trip should be just around the corner, with fun and science aplenty.

Additionally, it’s never too early to start thinking about extracurricular activities you could get involved with that will help you develop your CV and yourself as you prepare for postgraduate life. So have a go at “Improving Your CV at EHU” and take a look at the “Fund for Student Opportunities” to see what you could get stuck into. Don’t let this all freak you out though, I know that adjusting to university can be a big step and know you’re not alone in “Coping With University Stress”. Take a breather; watch the birds. 😉

Improving Your CV at EHU

As I’m sure you’ve been told many times before, your CV is an important document, and making sure it is well fleshed out is part of what makes a good CV. Any volunteering or part time work will show commitment, as well as any skills you’ve picked up along the way. These could be specialised (relating to your job, like for instance, waiting tables) or generalised (things such as teamwork and responsibility). In any case, you should have numerous opportunities to further bolster your CV throughout your time at Edge Hill University.

The Careers Centre on campus, currently located in the Student Information Centre (SIC), can provide assistance in acquiring a part-time job in the surrounding areas whilst at university, through the use of lists of availabilities; insight into the best places and websites to check for openings; and interview tips. Additionally, they can also help with finding volunteer work. For example, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust have a centre called the Martin Mere Wetland Centre that accepts volunteers to assist with various aspects of their conservation work, from helping in the visitor centre to maintaining the grounds.

To make sure you get some basic help with CVs and future prospects, someone from the Careers Centre comes into a lecture once or twice a year, to provide that vital information. Then you can, of course, book an appointment with a Careers Advisers for a one to one, more personal, conversation about where your future is headed.

Accompanying the campus Careers Centre, there is the careers centre website. The website has many features, from “ask a question” where you can get feedback on your CV, amongst other things, to the lists of resources and opportunities – some of which are at Edge Hill themselves.

There are numerous opportunities at Edge Hill for part time work, I myself have worked for both the Money Advice Team and the Student Recruitment Team, as well as being part of the Student Casual Bank. Then there is also the chance to work on open days, applicant visit days, and giving campus tours to prospective students throughout the year.

In short, Edge Hill provides many ways to better yourself and have that show on your CV, whilst providing you with the tools to make sure your career is heading in the direction that you want it to.

 

How to get ahead in Primary Education

As I have spoken about previously, Primary Education is a course that can be seriously underestimated. It is one of the most popular courses at Edge Hill with a cohort of around 300 students per year, meaning that it is important to get ahead wherever possible. The course is demanding but there a few things you can do to help you reduce stress and get as much of your experience as possible.

Before you even consider choosing a Primary Education or Education based degree it is important to get as much experience as possible working or volunteering with children. Some people can volunteer in one class and absolutely love it and base their career on this experience and then find themselves shocked when faced with different circumstances in different schools. Having this range of experiences allows you to see teaching from all angles and make an informed decision. As well as this if you do decide to pursue teaching the experience is excellent to boost your CV as teaching jobs often prioritise teachers who have experience in different local authorities. The more experience you can gain the better, as being in school with children is the best place to learn. It is important to get experience before you begin a course but also to consider maintaining this experience during your course. Between your placements the time you spend out of school can be considerable and you can quickly find yourself feeling a little rusty when it comes to returning to the classroom.

Once you begin the course organisation is key. I would highly recommend investing in a good planner or diary. When you are at school and college you get used to teachers telling you things multiple times or having letters given out to remind you. Once you are at university a lecturer could say something once and you will be expected to remember this and action it. This is not the case for everything but I feel it is better to record dates, to do lists and important events in an organised manner to save a last minute panic when you realise that you may have forgotten. As well as a diary I would also suggest buying folders and wallets, as a teacher you can never have too many and knowing where exactly that one piece of paper you need is will save you time and stress in the future.

As part of your organisation an important thing to consider are the dates of your assignments and the time you have between hand-ins. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is to get your library books well in advance even if you are not reading them at that moment in time. As the Primary Education cohort is so large the library can often be overwhelmed around assignment times. To overcome this plan out when assignments are due, look at the content and get your books as soon as possible. This saves you going to the library a week before the assignment and seeing a dreaded empty shelf. Once you have the books keep renewing them so you have them when you are ready to use them. Another thing to consider is that if you are living in halls or with other people who study Primary Education share books as much as possible, it means that you’re accessing two or three times as many books as you would be if you were sourcing on your own. As well as this I have wasted many hours walking up and down the library looking for books without really knowing what I am looking for. Using the library service online allows you to search for books based on release, content and type and shows you how many are available and where they are in the library. Through searching online you can spend a few minutes noting down the location and simply going to the library to pick them up saving you time.

Lastly take as many professional development opportunities as possible. As a trainee you are able to join as many unions as you wish in order to get a feel for what they offer and how they can support you as you begin your career. These unions often provide training days or lectures that are available for free to trainees. The content varies from subjects such as safeguarding to special educational needs. In addition to what the unions offer the university also has many opportunities for students to expand their experience through things such as TEL, science under the stars and volunteering to support clubs.

Overall as a Primary Education student one of the most important things to remember is to stay organised and stay calm. The sooner you can do something the better and I would recommend taking on what you can but never do more than you are capable, don’t let your academic side suffer as a result of trying to boost you experiences or CV.

How to Bulk Up your CV!

Bulking up your CV is a great skill to learn early on in your working life, as every opportunity you take should work towards this goal of making yourself more employable. So don’t wait til after university to start building your CV up, start now, the sooner the better!
In this blog post I hope to inform you of different ways you can build up your CV, bringing you one step closer to your dream job.


Getting a paid job: This is what people automatically think when trying of bulking up their CV. And yes, having a paid job is great as it’s extra income you can put towards your goal, however, you might not always find one that is catered towards what you want to do in the future. Fear not though as pretty much any job is great for your CV as it gives you time management, organisation and people skills (in most cases), which are attributes every job looks for! Just remember the job doesn’t have to be catered towards your future goal to be useful.


Just like paid work, volunteering does not have to relate to your dream job, it helps, but it’s not essential. So for an example, I’ll highlight two kinds of volunteering you can do.

  1. Catering your volunteering to your dream job: My own personal experience of this is my experience from working with a special needs charity, as I create promotional videos for their social media page. This adds to my media resume, but also helps make me more employable if I ever change my mind on what I want to do in the future. Another example of this would be a health student volunteering at a retirement home, as you would get experience in caring for people who depend on your help, communication and many other skills you wouldn’t even think of!
  2. Unrelated volunteering: I believe there is no such thing as ‘unrelated’ volunteering as every experience as key skills attached to it which can add to your dream job. My personal experience with this was in my first year with my Vibe radio ‘Reel Talk’. Each week we’d pick a theme or genre and talk about films and play soundtracks. Now, I don’t plan on going into radio, it’s fun, but not want I wanted to do in the long run. Even though it wasn’t what I wanted to do in the future, it certainly added to my CV! As I was able to say that I produced a weekly radio plan, which shows writing ability and multitasking skills, as well as getting the opportunity to host a charity fun run, showcasing charisma and communication skills and being able to talk to a large group of people.   

    Unpaid work experience is something you’re going to come across a lot when looking for a job, as many employers either can’t pay you as it’s not in their budget or they want to see if you have the skills they’re looking for in an employer before hiring you. My personal example of this is the ‘Label Recordings’ which I work for. I have talked about this in a previous post, which I’ll link here, so I’ll just give you a brief summary. ‘The Label’ is a non-profit indie record label, which I edit music videos for and am a runner for on set. Although I am not paid, I have gained a lot of useful experience from this and even opportunities such as more unpaid work as an editor for Sound City!  


    If you’ve never had a job, don’t worry there’s still ways to make yourself employable. And you can do that with one simple tip which is to treat every position as if it was a job. So, have you ever lead a big group project? Raised money for a charity? Won any relevant awards? Or held a position in a society?

For example, I’m president of Edge Hill’s Disney society (Yes, I do a surprising amount of
things in my life), which isn’t very relevant to the media job I’m working towards. However when I think about
what skills I used and developed in this position, then I can say that I gained skills in organisation, decision-making and leadership.
As long as you can make it relevant, then add it!


And finally ask yourself: do I have any skills that would be useful for this job I want? This can be anything from languages you know or your familiarity with certain computer programs. As long as it’s relevant for the job you’re applying for, add it!

I hope you learnt something from this post, as writing a CV can be hard at first but once you’ve got it sorted done and out of the way, it’s just a case of updating it from time to time.
Until next time!

Film/Show of the day: Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

To work or not to work?

Following on from Emma’s blog about saving money and budgeting during university, a great way to help with finances and give you a little extra money is to look at getting a part-time job. Not only is this a great opportunity to earn money but also help to boost your CV and help you stand out from the crowd in future job applications.

The University is excellent in advertising jobs for students in Ormskirk and around the Liverpool area. The best place to start when looking for jobs is the Edge Hill Works twitter page https://twitter.com/ehuworks that provides constant updates on local job opportunities as well as advice when applying or looking for work. If you are a student at Edge Hill there are also a range of student jobs that can be applied for. These are varied and include things such as student assistants who live in halls and provide advice and guidance to first year students, admissions advocates who are there to answer questions on applicant and interview days and jobs showing your accommodation on open days. The jobs offered at the University are in my opinion are better if you are living on campus as they are closer and they are also more flexible to your university timetable with many being on an ‘as and when’ basis. It is important when getting a part-time job you consider the commitment you are making. It is probably best to wait until you are a few weeks into your timetable to decide what would be manageable alongside your university workload as you don’t want to be in a position where you take on too much and begin to struggle or fall behind.

During my time at University I have tried many of the jobs offered for students. Due to their flexibility I was able to commit to 2 or 3 jobs and work when I needed to. As well as being beneficial in giving me that little bit of extra money to spend, going through the application and interview process keeps those professional skills fresh and increases confidence for the future.

Before applying for a job though it is important that you have an up to date CV that will allow you to increase your potential and show off to your future employer. At Edge Hill there is a lot of opportunity to develop your CV and the careers centre run workshops to help you understand how to make it outstanding. As well as this they also run a service where you can send in your CV to be checked. This can help if you are applying for jobs and don’t feel as though you are getting anywhere, they may be able to identify areas of weakness in your CV or covering letter.

There are some basic tips and advice for creating a quality CV here: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/careers/students/international-students/writing-a-uk-cv/

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/cvs-and-cover-letters/how-to-write-a-cv

As well as part-time work, volunteering can also be a great opportunity to develop confidence and add to professional development. Some courses such as teaching require experience and volunteering is often one of the only ways to secure this. Volunteering is often easy to find in the local area as people are often grateful for your interest and dedication. If you have little previous work experience and this is a barrier to getting a job volunteering can provide you with the experience required to help you progress. As well as opportunities in the local area there are so many volunteering opportunities abroad that can be very rewarding. Companies such as Camp America, Camp Thailand and Camps International offer schemes that allow for students to travel abroad to work. These companies frequently come to the university to try and recruit students and are often very popular. Often though if you research a place that you are interested in visiting you will find many opportunities for volunteering and can begin to plan your own travel. If you are doing this though I’d strongly advise checking the legitimacy of the work and any requirements for working in another country. One of the benefits to going with a company is that these factors are sorted out for you as part of a package.

To help in finding opportunities such as those mentioned above the university runs a career fair where you can find out and speak to the people behind the companies. The job fair gives you inspiration and can really open doors to your future by introducing you to things you may never have thought to apply for.

 

Finding a Job

Now that I’ve finished my studies it’s time to find a job. Right now pretty much every single relative I have feels the need to remind me of this fact whenever they see or speak to me, in fact I’m thinking about getting ‘still unemployed’ tattooed on my forehead to save time… But luckily I have a really handy resource at my fingertips, and that is the Edge Hill Careers Centre. They are able to help me with my job search for up to three years after I graduate, which is definitely useful. They also help you find any part-time work that you may be looking for alongside your studies, any volunteer work, or a summer job to keep you entertained over the holidays. I actually used their online vacancy system to find this job a few years ago!

Pretty much me right now
Me at graduation, probably

So how can they help? Well, they have a big database of jobs that they update all the time, and you are free to browse it at your leisure. They also offer a CV checking service where they will look over your CV and let you know if there is anything you can do to improve it. I used this service and it was definitely reassuring to know that my CV wasn’t a complete disaster! The Careers Centre also offer interview advice, and you are able to book a meeting with them and they will do their best to help you prepare for anything the interviewer might throw at you.

They also offer careers advise which can also be really useful. If you’re not sure what careers your degree can open up doors for, or if you’re unsure that you’ve chosen the right course, it’s definitely worth having a chat with them, which is of course confidential. I definitely got to a point in my degree where I felt like I wasn’t really sure what I was working towards any more, and I think this would have been a lot of help.

sad-grad_new_large

The Careers Centre can also help you meet employers, as they are always holding events, such as careers fairs and arranging for visiting speakers to come in. These really give you the opportunity to make connections that may one day lead to employment.

If you want to find out more, you can do so on the Edge Hill website here.