The start of the next stage.

My blogging had gone astray for a while, let’s call it writers block for good measure. I now however intent to be back and blogging my journey to from graduate to full time employee in the career I would like; marketing, advertising, pr and the creative communication industry surrounding them.

To sum up my current situation I  feel as though my full time job is writing applications and cover letters, to endless companies and recruitment agencies.  And that I live in a world of no, looking for just one yes.

My last ever university exam was on the 22nd of May and although I enjoyed a couple of weeks free time to myself just after. I do now feel after what feels like hundreds of applications, job descriptions and day time tv that my brain is melting and not to mention my spirit. I’m not entirely sure which is worse the emails of regret or the no correspondence what so ever. Anyway I shall battle on writing why I believe I would suit each job role, and not just put because I would like the job’, even though thats is what I end up thinking half the time.

I want to work, and that is an understatement. My current part time job is killing me, I do not wish to become a professional waitress, and I certainly didn’t go to university to become one either. I want a job, a career. In fact the job and the career I want in marketing. I understand the amount of graduates to job ratio is rather rubbish but I’m already fed up of not being given a chance. A chance to show how much I want the job and the career, how fast I learn and how willing and dedicated I am. This too I suppose goes for most graduates.

Everyone says university is hard, but personally I think the graduate step is. The part after university is more difficult and stressful. At least with university you know the end goal and where and what you’re doing. You were given stability and an element of certainty. But with graduation and job applications you have no idea whether you will get the job or even a reply. You have no support from lectures telling you what they expect and how well you may or may not be doing. And like I said before getting no correspondence is even worse.

This is the hardest part of university; finishing.

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It pays to prepare and plan!

What are you going to do when you finish university? A question I get asked often, my simple answer is “get a job.” Like many other soon to be graduates. So with only a couple of months left before I am thrust into the big bad world, looking for said job has already begun.

But when so many other people vying for the same jobs, negotiation and/or the understanding of the negotiation process maybe the one difference between a job and back to the application process.

One step in the process that everyone can do and could make a difference when in the interview or meeting, is the first step. Preparation and planning. “Successful negotiation is 80 percent planning.” Rich (2011) It is often so overlooked and thought of as not worth the time, but this is not the case. Rich also emphasises this in his blog. Like in battle when two side would sit and plan their course of action; it is not always those with the most men that win. The battle of Stirling Bridge (Braveheart) proves this.

The Scots may have been out numbered but they were the most prepared, they knew their strengths and weaknesses, and fought to their advantage. To eventually win the battle.

The key to preparation and planning is to break it down into different sections;

  1. Set your objectives and know your BATNA
  2. Know your strengths and weaknesses; what would you give to the company if they hired you.
  3. Know the other side; research the company, try to find if they have any strengths and weaknesses.

Give yourself a helping hand by doing these simple steps before entering a meeting or job interview.

Do you think preparation and planning is important? Do you have any other tips on preparing for an interview or meeting?

Are you listening?

Listening and active listening seem to be words and phrases throw around with no real regard for what they mean. As children we are often rewarded for speaking, articulating ourselves well, being able to project our voices or getting the correct pronunciation. Listening on the other hand is rarely rewarded, as it can be so hard to judge or mark and so it is left to later in life when we really learn to listen. And the skill to listen is often just as important as is the skill of speaking.

So what is active listening? It is the action to understand, interpret and evaluate what another person is saying. Giving yourself time to process the information, retain what they’ve said; so internalizing the information before responding. As said before it is hard to decipher whether someone is paying attention and listening, one part of active listening is to paraphrase back important parts of what the other person has stated. Thus showing you’ve not only heard what they’ve said but have retained the information. This also helps to evaluate what you may say in reply; and help avoid conflict situations.

By following these actions, not only will your colleagues, relations and other people feel as though they are being heard, but it turn you will teach them to listen more carefully and you will also be listened to. The more active listening is acknowledged and understood, the easier it is to communicate, feel as though we’re being heard and lead to less conflicts. An important skill for every part of life.