Retro revision breaks with 90’s Cartoons!

In general,  students who are currently at Masters or PhD level are born in the 90’s/ late 80’s. And I bet I can guess that none of them –including me – let an academic year to pass without having breaks during their studying!

Some of the more typical revision breaks might include going shopping, meeting with friends, exercising, or cooking – just generally spending time away from the books and notes! But the one thing that all the students do is watch a TV series (Netflix and cry anyone?!). And what better way to ignore all your revision (sorry, I mean take a break from..!) than to take yourself back to your childhood with some classic cartoons?!

So what childhood cartoons do I recommend?

  1. Totally Spies

Nobody can forget the adventures of three teens from Beverly Hills; Clover (red catsuit) , Sam (green catsuit) and Alex (yellow catsuit), who work as secret agents for WOOHP (World Organization of Human Protection). Their missions were dedicated to saving the world, while keeping their identity a secret from their peers. The main supporter of the girls is Jerry, their employer, founder and chief administrator of WOOHP.  The French-Canadian series is produced by Marathon Media Group and completed six seasons in total, while it is enhanced with a combination of action and plenty of humor! You can watch Totally Spies online at:  http://www.toonova.com/totally-spies

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  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT or Ninja Turtles)

Who can forget these guys?! The main plot is based on four fictional teenage anthropomorphic turtles that are named after four Renaissance Italian artists, who try to stay hidden from the society. Their trainer is an also anthropomorphic creature, a rat sensei who taught them the art of ninjutsu. The ninja turtles battled around New York with criminals, mutated creatures and alien invaders. You can watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles online at: http://www.toonova.com/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-2003-season-1-episode-19

 

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  1. Animaniacs

I am pretty sure all the kids who are now my age watched Animaniacs every day between the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The main characters are Yakko, Dot and Wakko. Animaniacs was a variety show with short skits featuring a large cast of characters like Pinky and the Brain, Slappy Squirrel and her nephew Skippy, Dr. Otto Scratchansiff the studio psychiatrist and his assistant, Hello Nurse. The episodes are accompanied by music and are enriched with plenty of comedy satire! Watch Animaniacs online at: http://www.toonova.com/animaniacs

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  1. Looney Tunes

Looney Tunes is actually a  much older cartoon series, as it was launched between 1930 and 1969. The starring characters are Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, the Tasmanian Devil (Taz) and many others. Its success was huge in lots of countries and Looney Tunes eventually became a worldwide media franchise, spawning several television series, feature films, comic books music albums video games etc. Watch Looney Tunes online at: http://www.toonova.com/looney-tunes-golden-collection

 

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5. The Tick

The Tick was a character designed in 1986 as a newsletter mascot for the New England Comics chain of Boston area comic series. In 1988 the character spun off into an independent comic book series and gained mainstream popularity through an animated TV series in 1994. According to the plot, Tick escapes from a mental institution and thereafter he acquires a sidekick too, Arthur. Watch The Tick at:

http://www.toonova.com/toon/search?key=the+tick

 

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My first few days in Germany (year abroad)

Hello, everyone! Here I am writing a bit more about my incredible time that I’ve had on my year abroad, but this time round with great deal of focus on my first week.

Going on a year abroad might seem a little scary or challenging and in a way it will be… However, I am sharing with you some of the things that I did in the first few days and how I managed to get over that moment of slight culture shock, in order to actually make the most of my year abroad.

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The journey begins with the arrival’s day (2 October 2014), my first day in Konstanz. After taking a direct train from the Zurich Airport to Konstanz, the year abroad adventure was ready to fully kick in.

I should mention that upon my arrival I was assigned a buddy, who was simply a student at the University of Konstanz and that was really helpful in answering my questions.  I was really lucky to have someone to give me a little insight on how it is to study in Konstanz before I actually arrived there. Even if you do not have access to something like this before going on your year abroad, I highly recommend looking up the buses that go to the university, how to get to your accommodation and print yourself a little map to help you out for when you are there. In a new place, it is very likely that you will get confused about where you are, not to mention tired from all the travelling, so having on hand a direction guide with useful information is essential.

Back to my first day adventure… with lots of luggage, I get onto the bus heading to the university and when I get off  the bus I realise that I actually went a bit further than I should have gone. After asking someone passing by, I figure out that I need to find the bus stop in the opposite direction and get off at the right place. I should say that everyone that I  asked for information spoke really good English and they helped me out quite a lot. So do not be afraid to ask for help, we’re all humans and we cannot possibly figure everything out from the very start!

At that point I was constricted by time, because I had to arrive to my accommodation by a certain time in order to pick my key. In the end, I make it to my accommodation and get the key in time.  When I get in front of the door of my house, a student welcomed me in and helped me with my luggage. It was nice to see a friendly face and have a quick chat. I found out that the shops and supermarkets weren’t too far away and the location of our accommodation was actually very close to the university too (15-20 minutes by foot).

That day ended with me unpacking all of my things and going to buy some necessary things from the supermarket. Little did I know that the next day it was going to be a bank holiday (Day of German Unity) and that the shops were all going to close! My advice is to do a holiday check and see which bank holidays are coming up for the country that you are now living in, so that you will not ending up being very surprised like I did.

For the next day, I ended up going to discover the city of Konstanz and having more of a relaxing day. The rest of my flatmates arrived later that weekend and we all sat down to have a chat, get to know one another, and find out what we study.

The next week came quickly by and on the 6th of October all of the international students were starting an orientation programme, in my case called OriPro.  The university of Konstanz offers 3 different orientation programmes and it is up to you to choose which one you would like to take part in. Between the 6th and 10th of October, I was involved in a series of activities preparing me for my year abroad in Konstanz. From that time I remember we had to deal with filling a lot paperwork, which was not the most pleasant thing in the world to be doing, but it did take the pressure off our chests having the documents all sorted out. During this programme, I met some of the other international students and this is how I started to make friends. After each day of our programme, we would go to have lunch, coffee at the canteen of the university, or go to city in order to have a walk across the Rhine while eating some delicious ice-cream.

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I remember being terribly excited during that week and all the activities that I was involved in were making me even more keen to discover what was coming up next. It really was a great experience and, from experience, I can tell you that it’s really not as scary as it might sound!

 

My Top Tips for Choosing Modules

Choosing modules can sometimes be difficult considering there are such a wide range at Essex. If you have core modules, then they are compulsory and you do not get a choice, however optional modules you are free to choose.

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In my first year I had all core modules that I had to take, but in my second and third year I had a mixture of core and optional modules.

Sometimes you can choose modules from outside of your department, for example I study Management and Marketing, however I got the choice in my second year to choose any module such as Sociology or French. If you want to do something different and broaden your knowledge, then this is a great way to do that.
Here are my top tips for choosing modules:

  • Choose modules that sound interesting and that you think you will enjoy, this way it encourages you to attend classes and lectures more and hopefully get better marks.
  • Check out what the module involves, for example if you do not like doing presentations or group work but the modules involves this as a method of assessment, then that module may not be right for you.
  • Think about if you prefer coursework or exams. Some modules are 100% coursework based, some are 50% coursework and 50% exam and there are other various percentages. Pick a module that has the right balance for you.
  • Your future career prospects may help you to choose a module. For example, if you know in the future you want to go into Brand Management then you can take Brand Management as a module.
  • On the other hand, if you are not sure of your future career prospects, it may be better to do a wide range of modules to help you make a decision as you can decide on what you enjoy the most.

Here is the link to the University of Essex’s module directory. Here you find all of the modules that the university has to offer and you can see what you might be interested in. https://www.essex.ac.uk/modules/

I hope this helps and good luck making your choices!

Why Essex feels like home and what I’m going to miss the most about it!

In preparation for my upcoming year abroad in a few months’ time, I recently attended the yearly pre-departure conference for all students going away. The conference was a really good opportunity to find out stuff about being safe abroad and meeting people who are also going to the same University as me.

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A picture of everyone at the pre-departure conference for year abroad students!

This made me realise about how much of a great time I’m going to have and that I can’t wait to embark on what will hopefully be a brilliant adventure!

However, it also got me thinking about what I’m leaving behind at Essex and how settled I feel here at University! For the past year and a half, I’ve had such a great time at Essex and it’ll be sad to go for a while!

Here’s the things which I’ll probably miss the most about the place…

 

The Campus!

One of my favourite things about the Colchester Campus is its atmosphere! It’s so friendly and intimate that it feels like I’m back home, where I live in a tiny village! You see people that you know all the time, whether it’s just to say hi or have a conversation with them; it’s hard to walk to your classes and not talk to or see anyone that you know!

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The Squares during the annual “Winter Fayre”, organised by the Societies Guild

Also, we always have something going on at the main hub of the University campus -the Squares! Not only is this a place where you’re likely to cross pass with your friends, you’re also likely to see something really cool going on! Whether it’s our market on a Thursday, a society doing a flash mob, or the Christian society singing, the likelihood is that there will be something that will turn your head!

The people!

I know this could happen at literally any University, but the people that I’ve met at Essex have had a real impact on me (in a good way!) The people in my classes, my society and the people that I’ve lived with, have all made my life at Essex completely worthwhile and made me have a great time!

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Me with just some of my friends who I’ll miss during my year abroad!

To be honest, I was quite apprehensive about doing a year abroad, as I would not only be leaving all of these people behind but I would also have to study for an extra year without them being there! However at the end of the day, I didn’t want to lose out on taking advantage of such a fantastic opportunity!

The Theatre!

Being a Drama student, the Lakeside Theatre is, for me, my little gem of campus! Whether it’s seeing a production or working on something in there, there’s very rarely a week goes by without me stepping in the doors of the Lakeside!

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The cast and crew of “A Number”, a play which I produced at the Lakeside Theatre

I absolutely love going to see a theatre production most weeks and with £5 student tickets it’s hard to resist! I get to hang out with my friends and see something creative at the same time, which is a really nice way to relax after a long day’s studying!

All of these things make me happy to call myself a student at the University of Essex! I definitely feel at home whilst I’m at Essex, because I’m quite simply having a brilliant time here and I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

The Benefits of Going to a Campus University

Although it was a while ago now, I can remember when I attended all the open days for different universities and was pondering the important question “would I prefer a campus based university or city university?”.  After visiting both types it was clear to me that I would much prefer a campus, due to the friendlier atmosphere and how close everything is (not that my laziness has anything to do with it..!)

I’ve complied a small list containing a few (of the many) reasons why I think it’s great to go to a campus university:

  1. Everything is closer together – no having to wake up at 6 am to get to your 9 am lecture (well, you could if you really wanted to)! At the University of Essex, the majority of our accommodation is a five minute walk away from the central campus, which is great if you love a lie in…and don’t want to look like this guy!Sleep
  2. It’s harder to get ‘lost in the crowd’ – what I mean by this is there are a lot of job opportunities available to students who want them and you’re competing with far less students for different roles. Not only that, but they are advertised EVERYWHERE, so you are far less likely to miss out on great working and internship opportunities. (Below you can see some of our students on their volunteering abroad placement in Tanzania).volunteer abroad
  3. Our Students’ Unions tend to be better (especially ours!) – okay, so Colchester isn’t exactly a cool city like London, but to compensate for this our students’ union makes sure there’s lots going on all the time so students have things to do whilst they’re here.  So how is this better?  Well, everyone involved in these activities are fellow students, so you quickly begin to make a lot of friends of similar ages and interests.SU
  4. SAFETY – this one is SUPER important!  When I’m on campus I feel like I’m in a bubble, this is because of all of the security and support we have available on campus.  I know that if I ever felt unsafe, I could easily call the campus security, who are on patrol 24 hours a day, every single day of the year (even including the vacation periods).  As well as that, there are lots of support services on campus, so I know there’s always someone to talk to should I ever feel a bit under the weather.Security
  5. Jobs – for those of you that have read some of my other posts, you will know I talk about this a lot, but on our campus there are soooo many job opportunities, which is something city university’s can’t offer on the same scale (i.e. student to job ratio).  This is great because student jobs are much better than ordinary jobs, because they priorities your studies and are much more flexible in terms of hours and vacation periods.50 pound sterling bank notes closeup view business background

So they are my key points on the matter, but I could honestly go on all day!  The best advice I can give is to find out for yourself by attending open days to find out what will suit you best 🙂

P.S. we have our own campus cat…

Good luck!

How O-week in Australia compares to Freshers

This week I am going to be blogging about how O-week in Australia compares to Freshers in the UK, however I feel that it can be very different for every uni. O-week stands for Orientation week and, like Fresher’s week, this happens at the beginning of the year, before the academic side of uni begins.

O-week, Melbourne, Australia.

At my university in Melbourne I have a O-week hosted by my accommodation, where you buy a wristband and have a different event on every night at a different club in the city. They arrange themes, such as a Rubix’s Cube party or Anything but Clothes party, where you have to make your own costume out of anything but clothes. During the day they also put on events, for example we went to the trampoline park one day and also we have events going on in our accommodation courtyard.

The university itself in Melbourne also has it’s own O-week, however as no one actually lives on campus, it is a very different experience to Essex. The university only has events going on in the day, such as free food, drinks and performances from students. They also have welcome talks for new or international students. They don’t really offer any night events for students, as most students live at home and have to commute into the city, so they sometimes struggle to get public transport home.

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Freshers, Essex

The University of Essex Freshers offers two weeks of nights out in Sub Zero, the night club on campus. It is a great way to meet new people from your accommodation and to make new friends who aren’t necessarily on your course.

Generally, there are also events going on in the squares on campus during the day. There is the Fresher’s fair, where you can go along to find out about and sign up to any clubs or societies that you wish. If you are part of a club or society already, then it is also great fun to go along and encourage people to sign up! There are also lots of freebies given out on this day, which is always good!

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O-week and Freshers are both great ways to meet new friends. I would definitely recommend getting a wristband and enjoying it, before the university work begins!

How I dealt with homesickness

For most of us, going to university is the first time we live away from home for a long period of time. Growing up I was always the one to avoid spending too much time away from home, I even refused to go on that week long school trip to the Isle of Wight in year 6 because I couldn’t face even one night away from my family, let alone a week! Skip to September 2013, arrivals day at the University of Essex, and my first night away from home. Honestly, I was an absolute mess that night and I cried for ages and ages, both alone in my room and on the phone to my mum. That feeling passed incredibly quickly, and I went on to having some amazing experiences and created very special memories. Although throughout these three years the homesickness feeling does appear at times, I have found three effective ways to deal with it, and that is what I would like to share with you all today.

Socialise!

The most effective way to combat homesickness has to be just socialising. It distracts me from missing home and allows me to have fun and meet new people with similar interests! Anything from having a chat with a flatmate, to going along to society social, to joining a sport works amazingly to lift up spirits! Have a look at the SU societies, sports clubs, Just Play and Whats On pages here to find something that works for you 🙂

Sports: http://www.essexstudent.com/sport/

Societies: http://www.essexstudent.com/societies/

Just play: http://www.essexstudent.com/sport/justplay/

Whats on: http://www.essexstudent.com/whatson/

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(Take up a new activity, like rock climbing!)

Call or visit home

For the times when I am feeling intensely homesick, I find that just picking up the phone and calling home and just having a chat with my family is enough to make me feel better. I also have friends who go home for a weekend now and again when they are really missing home and they come back feeling refreshed. I do recommend getting in touch, whether it is a call or a visit, because most of the time you’ll find you are being missed at home too, so getting in touch won’t just help you, but will also help your family too!

Keep busy!

Most of the time when I am feeling homesick it is mainly because I’m just not doing anything, and being bored makes me miss being with my family at home. In these cases, just going out and doing something helps, whether it being a shopping trip or getting some uni work done, or just even just going for a walk or a run. There are plenty of beautiful places to explore, so find something you like doing and keep occupied! You’ll find that you won’t have the time to miss home if you are busy and then the time will fly until your next visit home!

I hope these three little tricks will help you if you’re feeling a little blue!

Things to do when you need to relax

It’s no secret that university can be stressful, especially when the exam period comes around. I have 8 exams coming up over the next few weeks and so, unfortunately, stress is never far away from me. But I feel like (for the moment at least) I am dealing with the stress and managing to relax every now and again. So, here are my tips on things you can do, or places you can go when you need to relax.

Exercise

I’ll admit I’m not one to go to the gym, but going for a jog or doing some yoga is a great way to clear your mind. Exercise will increase your serotonin levels and give you a lovely boost of happiness when you’re stressed. Try doing ten minutes of exercise in the morning to wake you up and help you battle the stress.

Go for a walk

Just going outside and getting some air can be a good way to relax. I would recommend going somewhere with a bit of greenery so it is more peaceful. If you’re around campus, then walking around the lakes or near Wivenhoe House should clear your head. If you feel like going further afield then Highwoods Country Park has a mix of woodland, open spaces, meadows, a lake and a pond.

Take the 61 from the University all the way up to Turner Road then get off at the second stop and Highwoods Country Park will be on your right.

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Cook

Cooking can be a relaxing experience, as it takes your mind off of what is stressing you out. If you’re revising then making sure you are eating properly can be difficult, so take a look at this post if you would like some cheap but healthy recipe ideas.

Clean up

Make sure you’re not feeling stressed because you’re surrounded by mess. I know that I feel most stressed when I have my revision notes strewn all over my flat. So, even though it can seem like piling more stress on yourself to clean up, just spend 10 minutes to make your surroundings a little more relaxing. You can put on your favourite music to make you feel a bit more motivated and to speed up the cleaning.

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Reward yourself

Sometimes when I am really stressed I just need to get into bed and watch a film. I know this is easier said than done when you have a lot of work to do, but make sure to reward yourself after a long day working. Whether that is watching a film in bed, going shopping or heading to the pub, it’s up to you.

Go visit family or friends

Spend a day with family or friends to allow yourself time off and time to relax. Sometimes home cooking or a meal out can be a great treat and can help take your mind off anything that is stressing you out, even if it is just for a few hours.

 

Good luck combating any stress you have at the moment, remember to give yourself a break every now and again!

Derby Day 2016

On Wednesday 20th April, our University’s biggest rival; the University of East Anglia (UEA), came to the University of Essex to compete in our annual Varsity event… Derby Day!

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Essex and UEA competed against each other for points in over 25 sports, from American Football to Swimming, in an attempt to become Derby Day champions! 1 point was awarded for a win and ½ a point for a draw, with the university with the most points winning overall.

I had personally been waiting for this event to come around all year! I went to Derby Day last year when it was hosted by UEA at their campus in Norwich and it was a brilliant event! Although we lost on that occasion, the team spirit amongst Essex fans was amazing and it was a really cool day to watch some sport and have fun with some friends!

So here’s a few highlights from my day at Derby Day 2016!

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The Women’s Basketball match

Futsal

Unfortunately, I had a class AND a deadline on the day of Derby Day, so I could only get involved in the afternoon. However this didn’t stop me from enjoying myself and as soon as I handed in my coursework, I headed down to the Sports Centre to catch the Male Futsal match with some of my friends.

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Essex scoring in the Futsal on their way to victory

I hadn’t seen Futsal being played before, but it was such a great sport to watch! It’s like indoor football with a smaller ball and pitch from what I gathered! It was fast paced and, perhaps more importantly, Essex won!  This was made even better because it meant that we were still neck and neck with UEA for the title!

Chilling out on the Squares

In between events, we made sure we spent some time on the Squares. On the day this was a hive of activity, with medals being awarded on an outdoor stage and people everywhere having a great time. People were having a drink, grabbing some food and generally enjoying the amazing weather that we were treated to on the day!

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The outdoor stage with the Derby Day Cup and medals

Rebel, the Student Union’s media outlet, was also producing content throughout the day, including a live scoresheet which detailed the results as they were happening throughout the day. Even though we couldn’t be everywhere at the same time, by keeping track of the action online, me and my friends knew exactly what was happening and how the Essex Blades were doing.

Men’s Football 2nd

Later that afternoon, we made our way down to the Men’s Football 2nd Team match on the playing fields. The pitch was absolutely packed with fans from both sides and chants encouraging either team could be heard from everywhere.

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A shot from the Football

To say that I and my friends got into the action was an understatement! We were chanting at the top of our lungs supporting Essex and when we finally scored a goal, everyone went totally crazy with people running onto the pitch screaming and jumping up and down.

Unfortunately, UEA managed to bag a late winner in the match to win the match 3-2. This along with a few other results going to UEA, meant that our rivals were beginning to break off from Essex and establish a lead. However, there was still lots more events to go and lots of chances for Essex to snatch the win!

Pool

I, like many of my friends, were a bit sceptical about going to watch the pool match in the evening of the day. After the excitement of the football, we thought that it might be a bit slow paced and mundane in comparison.

How wrong I was…

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Me and a my friends showing our vocal support for Essex

We could have been back at the Football match for all I knew! There was loud vocal support from both sides throughout the match and the action couldn’t have been more tense. The action ran for over three hours and there were dozens of games played, each one as entertaining as the last! Essex managed to win the Pool, winning all 3 points from all three categories (men’s 1st, men’s 2nd and Women’s), putting Essex closer to winning the title.

End result

After the whole day’s action, there could only be one winner and this time that was…UEA!

The final score was a narrow 34-30 win to UEA.

Sadly we didn’t win, but the day was much more than that! It was a great day to have some Essex spirit and enjoy an awesome day of events at the same time!

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The Essex Dance team during one of their winning performances

However, next year we’re coming to get you UEA 😉

Interview Tips!

Hello again !

I know that many of you are looking for part-time jobs or are graduating this July (eeek)! Therefore, I thought it would be great to put some interview tips together to help you get through the nerve wracking stage of the job application.

  • Always prepare!

Whatever company the job interview is for, make sure you do your research on that company. You can do this by looking at their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. When you speak to the interviewer, it is good to know extra facts about the company to show that you have a keen interest in them and the job.

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  • Dress appropriately for the interview

If the job is very formal, for example an office job, then make sure you dress smartly. Boys could dress in suits and girls in a smart dress, skirt or trousers and maybe a blazer. However, if the job is less formal, for example a part-time job in a fashion store, then they might like you to dress fashionably so that they can see you have an interest in fashion. However, always try and look neat, tidy and presentable.

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  • Be prepared to talk about the skills and experiences that you have had

Employers are always keen to know what you can bring to the job and how you will benefit the company. Skills such as leadership, communication, team work, organisation, and time keeping are some good basic examples to prepare. Experiences such as previous jobs, volunteer work or experiences relating to your academic work are good to talk about so that employers know that you are able to work in particular environments.

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  • Be ready to ask a question about the job

At the end of the interview employers tend to ask if you have any questions about the job. This is your chance to find out anything you wish, as you also want to make sure that you will be comfortable within the role. It also doesn’t look great if you don’t have any further interest in the job, or company itself. Try to think of at least three questions to ask.

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  • Don’t turn up late to the interview

It is really important to be on time and is best to turn up a few minutes early. This shows that you have good time management skills, otherwise the employer may think that you could turn up to work late due to not being organised.

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  • Don’t worry

The more you worry, the less confident you will come across in the interview. Many jobs require confidence, therefore you need to make sure you put this across in the interview and sell yourself.

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  • Be careful of what you post on social networking sites

Many employers search you name either on Google or social networking sites. If there are inappropriate comments/photos then it will not put a good impression of yourself across to the employer. LinkedIn is a really good social networking site to become a part of. It shows employers your education and exactly what skills and experience you have.

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I hope these basic tips help! Good luck in any interviews and jobs that you may have lined up! 🙂