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summer internship

How to Capture a Late Summer Internship Now!

We’ve all been there. You had three exams to prepare for, a long piece of coursework and at least 17 pressing social engagements that you had to attend. One week led into another and before you knew it, it was the end of the term and all of the summer internship schemes had closed. Your more organised friends have started making you feel guilty.

But don’t fear, that summer internship isn’t necessarily a pipe dream. It might feel like you’ve missed the boat, but there’s still plenty you can do to gain experience, bolster your CV and learn some important skills.

Start looking smaller

Many of the larger companies and top graduate employers will have long, drawn out application processes for their summer internships. The same can’t be said for all businesses.

Employers can leave things until the last minute too. Small businesses or start-ups are far more likely to still be looking for people to work for them late into the summer.

They are not likely to benefit from the kind of established university relationships that allow the big employers to push prolonged hiring drives. The number of people they chose to take on is more likely to reflect and react to sudden changes within the business or in the wider world.

As a result, you’d be surprised at how many employers are still listing short internships right into late summer. You just need to broaden your search.

Search a range of job boards, as well as utilising LinkedIn and other social media where smaller companies are more likely to advertise their roles. Companies with smaller advertising budgets are also more likely to use niche industry job boards too. Consider asking for help from your university careers service. They will know who has historically been hiring right until the end of the summer break.

summer internshipConsider charities

If you’re at a loose end and are lucky enough to be living rent-free for the summer, a good compromise could be offering to volunteer for a charity.

This way, you’re able to work for a cause close to your heart, while gaining essential skills and experience in a role that you’re interested in. Whether applying for an official short-term placement or approaching a local charity to offer your services, there’s a wide range of roles that you can do which will boost your graduate CV.

For example, many charities require engaged, savvy university students to help with their marketing and PR teams. You could also put any data skills you have to use in an analytics position or get involved in communications and editorial work.

By working for something you believe in, it makes the entire process much more manageable. The training, achievements, and recommendations you get from the process could really help you in applying for another internship in the future or for a full-time position once you’ve graduated.

Get a DIY summer internship

Be bold to land your ideal summer internship. Start with a list of dream companies who you’d love to work for. Look round at local businesses who might have something to offer you.

From here, start getting in contact, whether by sending an engaging cold email, simply ringing up, or even dropping into their office. The key is to personalise each response. If these are companies that you truly want to work for then it’ll show.

The reason why you want to make sure that you’re personalising each response is that 10 amazing applications are much better than 100 inadequate, copy and pasted ones. Given that you’re approaching people unprompted, many might not get through. Once they do you want to make sure that you engage with whoever you’re dealing. Demonstrate what you can offer to a company and show how you’ll be an asset to the business.

Many managers will appreciate the tenacity involved in approaching them spontaneously. That’s why this approach can also be a great way to build future connections to put in use once you’ve graduated.

Don’t jump at any opportunity

When you’re getting a little desperate, you tend to lower your expectations. That’s Ok, but remember that you get to assess every offer too. Make sure you know your employment rights as an intern.

Work out why you want a summer internship in the first place. Fear of missing out is not a good enough reason alone and neither is getting your parents off your back. Think about your career after university and what skills and experience are necessary. Look at a dream graduate job specification to see what you need to complete by the time you graduate.

Faced with a less than ideal internship, develop your own skills and look at other ways of gaining relevant experience. Consider just taking some time out to organise your priorities and prepare for your next year of study.

It’s not all about the internship

Whether you’re not sure if an internship is for you or you really are still drawing a blank, remember that it’s not the only choice.

Your options are still very much open. Consider a temp office job instead of taking that part-time job in the café. Even a purely administrative role will show any future employers that you’ve got experience in an office environment. It’ll give you have a basic level of understanding that’s integral to succeeding in your graduate job.

You will have been taught certain systems and software. You will have a handle on some of the finer parts of working in an office. For example, negotiating office politics and dealing with management to how best to email your co-workers.

If money’s not a priority, then you might be better dedicating some of your summer to developing key skills. If your interest is in analytics, brush up on key Excel skills with Mr Excel. For coding, consider Coding Academy. It has a range of free online coding courses across different coding languages for all levels. There are all sorts of websites to improve your design skills, writing or website development.

Get in earlier to avoid missing the boat landing a summer internship with a top company for next year. Most applications will already be open, so start now!

Matt Arnerich works as a content writer at graduate recruitment agency Inspiring Interns. Whether you’re looking for graduate jobs in London, or graduate jobs in Manchester, they can help! If you want to read more of their graduate careers advice, check out their blog.

commercial awareness

Commercial Awareness: How to Get Consciously Competent

Employers want young people entering the workplace to have some commercial awareness. David Shindler talks with Nick Palmer of Bizenko on what it is, why it matters to employers and how you develop it in the latest Learning to Leap podcast. Nick has worked in the business world for over twenty years running his own company and in a variety of commercial organisations in the UK and overseas. He brings to our conversation his real world experience of start-ups, entrepreneurship, recruitment and business management as we explore what’s at the heart of employer expectations.

commercial awareness

Click here to view and listen to the podcast

In our chat, we cover:

  • Nick’s career journey and the role of commercial awareness in plotting a career course.
  • The part commercial awareness plays in building self-confidence.
  • The question he asked that flummoxed a group of graduates studying to be lawyers.
  • The surgeon and the offer to her students they chose to refuse.
  • The Employer Petition that Nick promotes to hold employers to account as role models.
  • The value of an entrepreneurial attitude and how you can develop your commercial awareness.
  • Why his company is called Bizenko!

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. Donald Rumsfeld

Young people venture into the world of work not knowing what they don’t know. One of Nick’s concerns is that students and graduates underestimate or don’t know the importance of commercial awareness to employers. That’s why he set up Bizenko to help job applicants understand  employers’ needs and to specialise in commercial skills training. Check out his Crowdfunding initiative and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Look out for another Learning to Leap podcast next month!

Mindsets

Mindsets and Skills: What is the Difference?

Jargon often gets in the way when we’re seeking clarity. The language and terminology used in the workplace can be a minefield. This post is about digging under the surface of some common personal development and workplace words and labels. What are mindsets? How do they differ from skills? What is the difference between soft skills and hard skills? What are talents and strengths? Let’s dive in.

Mindsets

Your mindset or attitude is your angle on things, your unique lens on the world through which you see and navigate life, a state of mind based on what you see, think and believe.

It’s internal and gets shaped by yourself (personality), your circumstances (education, economic, social, political) and other people’s perceptions and expectations (family, friends, teachers, employers). You can shape how you see the world and how the world sees you – to be more employable.

For example, Reed Recruitment CEO, James Reed, says having a global mindset is about

how far you see, reach and go to understand the everyday challenges and issues.

Carol Dweck talks about the difference between fixed mindsets and growth mindsets: 

In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.

Skills

A skill is an ability or activity you learn. The workplace jargon is a competence, often to an accepted standard. It differs from an innate talent which is something that comes naturally to you. Strengths are skills and talents you have grown to a higher level through lots of practice. 

Soft skills tend to refer to behaviours – for example, the ability to work in a team or to influence. Hard skills tend to be about a functional or technical ability – for example, the ability to use a spreadsheet. An example of a talent is picking up an instrument and playing by ear without being able to read music.

mindsetsYour ability is a mix of what you can do (and how well you do it), what you know and the mindsets you bring which influence how you behave.

Take parapenting (yes, that’s me). Skills include taking off, turning and landing; knowledge involves emergency procedures, wind speed, technical equipment; mindsets and behaviours include responsible,  courageous, calm in a crisis and prepared.

Mindsets trump skills

Mindsets are more important than skills, say employers. In a global survey of employers by Recruitment company, Reed, 96% picked mindset over skillset as the key element in those they seek and retain. You are three times more likely to get or keep a job because of your mindsets rather than skills alone.

Employers are hiring for attitude and training for skill. For example, when Sky Digital hires graduates, they do not fuss if you haven’t learned Java. Their interest lies in how you will fit into their agile, autonomous project teams. Graduates update their technical skills through Boot Camps once employed.

You can teach a bubbly person to repair shoes but you can’t put the personality into a grumpy cobbler. John Timpson, Chairman of Timpson’s Shoes

The global research by Reed found the top six mindsets employers want are:

  1. Commitment = effort, energy, aligned sense of purpose
  2. Honesty = open not closed, genuine, authentic, no agenda
  3. Trustworthiness = integrity, doing what you say you will, good intent, reliable
  4. Adaptability = fitting into the culture
  5. Accountability = the buck stops with you, deliver results on time
  6. Flexibility = willing to change your mindset, stepping in to support colleagues, give and take about your role and responsibilities, doing something new

Check out your mindset with Reed’s free assessment.

What mindsets do you bring to work? What might you need to develop or change?

young professional

How To Be A Young Professional Of Substance

We all know people who bull****. The ones who speak with ease and with endless reserves of confidence. Nothing shakes them when they are challenged as they have an answer for everything. They sound convincing. Their sureness instils doubt in your mind about your own view. They get rewarded by those who don’t pay close enough attention. Scratch the surface and their front can be exposed for what it is – bluff and bluster, and sometimes dishonesty and manipulation. What does the opposite look like? What are the qualities and behaviours of someone of substance to which a young professional can aspire?

Commentators and ex-footballers justify stopping another player deliberately and illegally as a ‘professional foul’. In that context, professional describes an action that is expedient, a lesser evil than letting in a goal (‘taking one for the team’) and an acceptable part of the culture. The same mentality pervades other areas of public life, including politics and the world of work, for example, large organisations screwing down small business suppliers on margins and payment terms. Professional is what professional is perceived and permitted to be. Time for a paradigm shift.

Here are 6 elements that I believe make a young professional of substance in the 21st Century:

The real deal with integrity

Authenticity has become an over-used word today for a reason. It’s absence. A soundbite, short-attention-span, and technology-driven world often fuel shorthand approaches to communicating complexity. The downsides are superficiality, loss of nuance and a lack of critical challenge. It makes it harder to discern what is real and genuine. How do you recognise someone who is the real deal?

The clues lie in depth, consistency, and alignment – they own their deeply-held beliefs, they have defined personal values and principles, they act and behave consistently in ways that align with what they stand for, and they have reliable and validated evidence to back it up. They don’t just talk to, they engage with, deliver and achieve. You get what it says on the tin.

Purpose-driven and inspiring

Passivity and lack of conviction are anathemas to being a young professional of substance. Having a sense of purpose fuels your direction and actions. It helps shape how you take other people with you. Purpose-driven professionals know and articulate their why. They express it from the head, heart and gut, and use it where and when it matters. They engender emotions in others that make those people step forward to be alongside them willingly and to do the same in their own way. Their drive inspires others to be fellow travellers and creates momentum. They lead.

Ethical

Ethics can be sacrificed on the altar of expediency and the bottom line in the world of work. We have numerous examples in recent times from the banking crisis to self-serving politicians, the BHS, Sports Direct and South Yorkshire Police debacles to name but a few. A young professional of substance carries their moral compass with them at all times. They use it to guide them through uncertainty and ambiguity, and under pressure when they are the minority view. They stand up for what is right, knowing the consequences of their actions may have adverse implications for them. Behaving ethically requires resilience and mental toughness. Find out your ethical awareness and reaction style here.

Open and honest

Being open and honest is as much about mindset as behaviours. It often involves a judgement call. How open and honest are you when things go wrong? How do you approach giving bad news to your boss, colleagues, customers or users? A young professional with substance considers the impact on the other person of being open and honest. They think about if and how their actions are going to lead to the response they want. They are open and honest about what they are willing and able to do, and what they are not. They dare to dream and are not afraid of failing. They temper this with optimistic realism. They share their ethos, what they expect of others (including their manager) and what people can expect of them.

Outward-looking and curious

Learning is lifelong and lifewide. A young professional gains more substance and depth through looking beyond the boundaries of their existing experience and circumstances. They seek new knowledge, insights and alternative perspectives by embracing difference and new experiences. They are curious and questioning. Their sources of learning and inspiration come from a whole life perspective. They bring their whole person to work. They have a hinterland.

Emotionally intelligent

Work gets done with and through people despite the increasing automation of jobs and roles. A young professional of substance builds and maintains relationships of substance. They take an interest in other people and seek an understanding of their world. They invest in their self-awareness and seek out feedback on their strengths, weaknesses and how they come across. They use their natural talents to get on with people and consciously work on managing themselves. They constantly reflect and practise.

These are not the only things that make a young professional of substance. However, I guarantee you will make a difference to yourself and the world if all you do is focus on these ones.

Young professionals are influenced by their peers and need role models. If not you, who?

Community

HE And Employers: How To Build A Community Ethos

Higher education and employers are constantly seeking ways to engage more closely in an era of student fees and with employability high on the agenda. Leeds Trinity University is no exception. This thriving institution is 50 years old this year having started out as a Catholic teaching training college. It has built on its heritage by putting its community ethos at the centre of its relationship with local employers. I caught up with Jess Sewter, Head of Partnerships and Placements, to find out more for the latest Learning to Leap podcast.

Community

Click here for the podcast

Jess’s background is in teaching, marketing and development within further and higher education. Her global outlook was shaped by several years travelling the world. Here’s a flavour of what we discussed:

  • The changes in the HE and employer landscape Jess has seen in her 9 years at the university.community
  • Professional work placements for both first and second-year students (the only UK university to offer this).
  • Introducing Higher Apprenticeship Degrees at the university.
  • The highly successful Leeds Trinity Business Network community that celebrated it’s 5th anniversary last week.
  • The co-location of businesses and students on campus in the Trinity Enterprise Centre.
  • Why being a good citizen is at the centre of their employability strategy.
  • What Jess loves most about her job and Leeds Trinity University.

My job is a great way to feel connected to the city I’m in. Jess Sewter

I know you will find this podcast beneficial if you work in HE or you are an employer wondering how you can engage with your local university. Please feel free to connect with Jess on LinkedIn, directly via email – j.sewter@leedstrinity.ac.uk – or give her a call on 0113 283 7182.

Until next time!

emotional intelligence

Emotional Intelligence: How To Deal With Tough Love

Employers are questioning young people’s resilience for today’s workplace. How fair is it? One school of thought is that they have the equivalent of a boxer’s glass jaw, have grown up mollycoddled and can’t hack it. The alternative view is that young people have had a rotten deal in a post-recession world and they want something different from the late 20th Century model of being managed. Employers and young people are both unhappy with the status quo. This mismatch of expectations plays out in myriad ways, for example, in how tough love is being used by managers and is perceived by young employees. Building emotional intelligence capability in young people can help.

Feedback on personal performance is part and parcel of most jobs. The benefits depend on how well it is given, how well you receive it, and the extent you take actions and they have a positive impact. Managers struggle with performance conversations and it’s a common development area. Employees also need to be able to receive feedback well. Done badly and badly handled is a toxic mix.

Honest and Caring

On the job learning happens when things go wrong or you fall short because of inexperience or lack of confidence. A good manager helps you develop and grow when you don’t know what you don’t know. Part of that involves feedback on your performance – what you do well and need to do better or differently. They are honest about what they expect from you and the realities of the job. It’s tough to hear, especially if you’re not used to it. Yet, tough love means being straight, not being mean. It’s having your best interests at heart. The aim is motivational, to test you out and to prompt a positive reaction. ‘Let’s learn from this and go again. I know you can do it and I’m here to help.’

7 ways to respond to genuine tough love

Managing yourself well is part of emotional intelligence. Here are ways to respond to genuine tough love from your manager:

  • Listen to understand first. You cannot hear if you are preparing to defend your position at the same time.
  • Be open-minded. What is demonstrably true? Does the specific evidence given about your performance stack up?
  • Look at it from the other person’s perspective. What would you say if you were in their shoes?
  • Pause before replying. Managing strong emotions is hardest in the first few seconds, the danger zone for uncontrolled and unhelpful reactions that you later regret.
  • Recognise your feelings. Are you angry, upset, surprised, flushed, composed or indifferent? What is your body language telling you? Use that self-awareness to inform how you respond.
  • Acknowledge the feedback. Summarising it back allows you to hear it in your own voice. It gives you space to think rationally.  ‘Can I check my understanding? So what you’re saying is…’
  • Take it on the chin. ‘I accept what you say and I’m grateful for your honesty with me. I want to learn and improve and I’d like to talk about how I can do that with your support.’

The culture of an organisation is heavily influenced by behaviours. It is not tough love when your manager blames or patronises you, vents their own frustrations, looks after their own back, uses their status or position to belittle you and doesn’t support you with information, resources, training or coaching. It’s sink or swim without explanation or genuine care for you as a person. ‘Man up or else’. I’ve come across that kind of lack of emotional intelligence plenty of times in predominantly middle-aged male, hierarchical, highly-directive, results-are-all-that-matter organisational cultures. And we wonder why employee engagement is at an all-time low.

Responding to phoney tough love

Use your emotional intelligence if feedback is badly done and tough love masks a poor manager by:

  • Being assertive. Own your thoughts and feelings. ‘When you talk to me in that way, it makes me feel….’  If you disagree with the feedback, say so and back up your argument with specific evidence. Calmly say what you believe and want. Stay in tune with your personal values.
  • Asking questions. ‘How does your feedback help me to improve?’ ‘How will you help me develop?’ ‘What works for you?’, ‘How can I help you?’

Poor managers are one of the main reasons why people leave organisations. Your attitude and behaviours are within your control alone. Develop your emotional intelligence by managing yourself well through conscious practice. Then there’s a better chance of influencing your manager’s attitude and behaviours even if you can’t control them – that’s their responsibility.

If things don’t change, remember, it’s more about your manager than it is about you. Choose to make a change internally or externally, but give it a go first. Effective relationships at work are a win-win because you are more likely to stay and develop and the organisation has a more productive and engaged employee.

mentoring relationship

What Makes A Brilliant Mentoring Relationship?

I’ve had three informal mentors in my working life. They appeared at distinct life stages and professional transition points. In each case, they were pivotal to my development and career direction. What did they do to have a positive impact on me? How did they make me feel? What makes a brilliant mentoring relationship?

Check out this lovely poem by Portia Nelson that captures the essence of what mentoring is about. Watch this short video to see the benefits for students at a local university. They are pairing up with alumni mentors to help make the transition from degree to work.

The experiences of a mentoring relationship have been some of my best times. Brilliant mentoring depends on the quality of the relationship between the two people involved. My first real mentor was Stan, who was nearing retirement when we met. He took me under his wing in my early 20s working at a professional institution. He had a wealth of experience working with committees, running events and looking after the membership. He helped me develop an ability to write in a professional environment and gave me confidence in public speaking. We remained in contact by letter and postcards for over 30 years until his passing aged 90.

Another mentor was Gill, a more senior manager than me when I worked within the police service. I’d hit a ceiling with opportunities to progress and she could sense my frustration. Gill always had my best interests at heart. She spotted my emerging strengths in training and facilitating. She encouraged me to explore a role in consultancy in the private sector once I got a Masters degree. Despite initial reluctance, I’ll always be thankful to her for nudging me to take action. It changed the course of my career for the good.

My third mentor was Doug, a Principal Consultant at the company I moved to from the police. He helped me overcome my fears of taking over a high-value, complex leadership development programme. His wisdom still informs how I do things and how I handle myself today. He believed in me when I doubted myself.

Here are some of the things that I believe make brilliant mentors and mentees:

Brilliant Mentors…

  • Like and care for people
  • Are self-aware and manage their self well
  • Are committed and make time willingly
  • Are credible in the eyes of the mentee
  • Put their mentee first, believe in them
  • Are open and trustworthy, keep confidences
  • Listen with empathy, provide emotional support
  • Act as a critical friend and sounding board
  • Ask questions that stretch their mentee’s thinking
  • Don’t hide from the realities of situations and challenges
  • Share what is unwritten or unsaid, are organisationally savvy
  • Encourage their mentee to see new perspectives
  • Tell stories to light fires
  • Connect their mentee to people and resources
  • Support their mentee in planning and taking action

Brilliant Mentees…

  • Are motivated for change and development
  • Are respectful
  • Are open and trusting
  • Are curious and ask questions
  • Listen to understand
  • Take responsibility for their learning and actions
  • Are prepared to be vulnerable
  • Seek feedback, are open to ‘tough love’
  • Are courageous, willing to experiment and step out of their comfort zone
  • Discover through both think-do-think and do-think-do
  • Make their own decisions

What are your brilliant experiences of a mentoring relationship?

sales

Sales: Breaking The Taboo, Myths And Truths

We need to talk about sales.

As a recruitment agency, Inspiring Interns has plenty of brilliant graduates walk through its doors every day, but many of them caveat every conversation with ‘so long as it’s not sales…’.

For many graduates, sales is seen as a last resort – something you fall into because you’ve run out of options,  telling your friends that it’s just short-term, or making up a strange job title to make it sound like you’re doing something else.

Why? What are the myths of sales, and what’s it really like?

Truth: Sales is a career with longevity

With the increasing fear of automation, many young people are concerned about getting into a career that could become obsolete. But we’ll always need humans to sell because innovation results in new products and services. The World Economic Forum of business leaders identified sales and data analysts as the two roles that will be needed across all sectors and fields by 2020.

The charisma and relationship building skills necessary to be successful in sales can’t be replicated by a robot. There will always be plenty of opportunities if you fall in love with sales.

Persistence, persuasion and resilience are all a huge part of succeeding. They’re skills that you can carry across to almost anything, whether you want to start you own business, move up the career ladder or switch industry altogether. You’ll certainly know how to sell yourself to a potential employer.

Myth: It’s all just cold calling

Once upon a time a lot of sales jobs were about sitting with a directory and ringing everyone from Adam Anderson to Zachariah Zaal. The internet has changed a lot of things, and now all sales teams are able to be highly targeted. You could also be dealing with warm leads and returning customers.

There’s such a huge array of different roles and different ways of working that any job will be a variety of calling, emailing and social selling. As a result, product knowledge and building relationships with people has become much more important. These are skills sought after by employers in almost any organisation.

Truth: You’ll build resilience

Resilience is one of the most important things you’ll learn as a salesperson. No matter how good your product is, you will be rejected from time to time and sales will fall through at the last minute.

However, so long as you see this as an opportunity to learn and not allow it to get to you, you’ll build up resilience that will benefit your career. Resilient people tend to be more ambitious, positive and unafraid of trying.

Myth: You end up peddling rubbish

People don’t like to be sold to. Graduates’ experience may well be people selling them PPI claims, bad mobile phone contracts and injury lawyers.

However, the chances are that you’ll be selling a great product to people who will actually want it due to the targeted nature of search. This is good for your success rate and will help you with rejection.

Truth: You can work in a field that interests you

One of the best things about sales is that almost every single industry requires sales people and so you get to work in an area that you’re passionate about. Getting to sell a product or service in an area you love makes the job much more pleasant and you get to learn and talk about your passion every day.

You can also choose to use the skills and experience you learnt in your degree to work in a relevant field, finding out more about the industry and potentially putting yourself in a position to transfer across into a different area. That’s more than 58.8% of graduates can say!

Thanks for this post to Matt Arnerich of Inspiring Interns – the UK’s leading graduate recruitment agency finding graduate jobs in London and graduate jobs in Manchester. For more graduate careers advice, or if you’re looking for an internship, take a look!

public speaking

Public Speaking: How To Use Your Head And Heart

Public speaking from the heart sounds like it ought to be intuitive. However, skill and technique play a part when we do it in front of groups of people in professional situations. We need our head to temper the excesses of our heart to be effective. Experience is a wise tutor for the pitfalls and what works for each of us. Young people who lack experience but bring unfettered enthusiasm and hunger can soon learn to leap in communicating from the head and heart with a bit of guidance. This post is combination of their tips and mine for public speaking.

public speakingI’ve been working with a motivated, energised and committed group of youth ambassadors at Youth Employment UK aged 17-24 to develop their confidence and skill in speaking from the heart in public. Their laudable mission is to inspire other young people with their stories of overcoming barriers to employment and to enable the voices of young people to be heard by employers and politicians when making decisions that affect their lives. Despite their obvious passion, it can still be daunting to stand up in front of hundreds of school students, parents and teachers or run an employer day with their local MP.

Here are our collective public speaking tips when the cause really matters to you:

Preparing for public speaking

Practise so you have internalised and timed your content. Don’t try and learn it word for word because it will come across like you’re reading from a script. Have a clear structure in your head and let your points come out naturally in the moment. Ensure you know where and when you have to be. Get to your venue in good time. Check the equipment is working and you know how to work it. Have a backup on a memory stick if you are using a presentation. Sometimes the technology fails. It can work in your favour with the audience (‘that could be me someday’). If you know your subject and it matters to you, trust yourself and just wing it

Managing yourself

Stick to your allotted time (especially if you are sharing a platform), stay focused and on track – it’s easy to get sidetracked and follow an impromptu line of thought that takes you down an irrelevant path for too long. Nerves are a double-edged sword – they can disable the best of us at the wrong time (affecting our flow, focus, fluency) and they can fuel our energy and excitement. It’s a healthy sign you care when a supublic speakingrge of adrenaline kicks in, whether it’s fight or flight. I know someone who does a chicken dance just before it’s showtime!

Breathing is your control valve – meditation exercises using your diaphragm are helpful. Maintain eye contact at head height, draw from the positive smiles in the room rather than the folded arms and frowns from the unimpressed. You can win the undecided over through your performance. Pretend the audience is naked! Remember, you know more than they do. It’s your hot topic, you know what you want to say and they don’t. There is a whole catalogue of advice out there about what to do with different parts of your body when public speaking!

Engaging your audience

The temptation is to over-focus on yourself rather than your audience. What do you know about them? How do you want your audience to feel? What do you want them to know? What is likely to engage them? Think visual (people notice what you show or do more than what you say), use memorable pictures rather than dull lists of bullet points, make it interactive (ask the audience, invite someone down, move around the room or among your audience), use props and humour (I sometimes use a compass and a crystal ball when talking about careers). Lead with a puzzle, question or a story. Introduce an element of surprise. Make it personal, show empathy.

Watch TED Talks for examples of brilliant public speaking. This excellent article highlights the engagement techniques of Pamela Meyer in the way she structures her opening. She immediately gets the audience’s attention, clearly identifies her subject so you want to listen more, and hooks you with why her topic is important to you.

Being yourself

Speaking from the head and heart effectively is a combination of content and performance – an emotional topic put across with calm resolve and good timing is as powerful as a rational topic put across with high energy and emotion. Play to your preferences and personality rather than trying to be somebody you’re not.

temporary jobs

Students: How To Leverage Your Temporary Jobs

There can be a stigma around signing up for temporary jobs. It leads to people holding out for the ‘perfect’ job, sometimes with little success. Many people miss out on gaining experience and are overlooking opportunities that could actually help them step onto the career ladder.

National recruiter, Pertemps, has seen the successes that undertaking temporary jobs can bring – especially for graduates and students during breaks in term time. Here is Pertemps’ list of how temporary jobs can help with your job searches further down the line:

Opens Up Connections

The people you meet during your time in temporary jobs can lead to more opportunities than the actual job itself. The right impression with other temps, clients or managers can lead to greater things whether it’s within the company or external opportunities.

Tip: Although you may only be there a short while, get into the mindset that you are there for a long time – it will help you concentrate on doing the best job possible.

Gain Valuable Experience

You will take away experiences that whatever role you’re undertaking. You’ll gain transferrable skills whether you are a cleaner, admin, receptionist or a driver. It will help you decide whether this is something you would like to consider or avoid in future roles.

Tip: Be open minded to new challenges, even if the jobs put forward aren’t in your field – you never know what you will gain.

You’ll Still Have Time For You

As a student you may not want the commitment of a stressful, permanent job during your time off – you may have enough of this in term time. Temping offers the flexibility to earn money with a company that needs an immediate resource, with the expectation that you can go back to your studies afterwards – unless you really fall in love with it!

Tip: Work hard – you may be a temp but you’re still relied upon to deliver for the company and are being paid to do so.

Bolster Your CV

Use the time you have off to bolster your CV. You may apply for jobs after studying where your temp roles have given you invaluable skills. You don’t need to put all of your previous work experience if it’s not all relevant. Even if you’re only working somewhere for 3 months, what you can learn in this time is surprising and can show your work ethic to prospective employers.

Tip: Pick and choose what experience you include on your CV if you’ve lots of temping. Don’t feel obliged to put all your roles on your CV. You may want to draw on other experiences when interviewed.

Reconnect After Each Term Time

As you start to be placed, you’ll become familiar with the culture and way of working, as well as the job role.  You may get opportunities offered to you directly. It saves the company time instead of spending time looking for other people to fill vacancies who know nothing about the business.

Tip: Always leave on good terms, you may need references and even if you’ve not had the best experience, you can still leave the door open. Don’t burn bridges.

Next time you think about what you don’t get from temp work, think about all things you could gain and where this could lead – you may just find your dream company. If you are thinking of going for temp work, then get in touch with Pertemps who have plenty of roles for varying skill sets so you’re sure to find a great opportunity.

Thanks to Nathan Griffiths for this guest post!