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Thursday, 2 April 2015

Easy ways to supplement your student income

We all know that being a student can be something of a financial headache. With the rising costs of tuition fees, expensive textbooks and all of those enticing entertainment options, it can leave us feeling a little stretched!

However, there are some ways that you can earn money as a student without necessarily having to take a full-time job. It’s about finding a balance between your studies and getting work that is flexible enough to fit around your schedule.

So here are a few ideas that could bring in a bit of extra cash.

Freelance writing

Photo - Wikimedia
There are many firms out there that offer good incentives for students to become freelance writers for a variety of projects. By being able to work when you want you’ll be able to focus on your studies, and the writing projects will also give you a little bit of practice with your essays. This article provides a little more information about freelance writing.

Online activity

Whilst it may seem like a bit of harmless fun, spending your time online wisely can hold real financial rewards.

Whether it be through using your knowledge to provide handy Youtube tutorials that can then be monetised through Adsense, or even creating a blog that reaches a specialised audience, there is real money to be made online.

If that sounds like too much like hard work, then it’s important to understand the importance of mixing business with pleasure. Going online and checking out some live casino games where the action is broadcast directly into your home is a great way to unwind. You could even be working and have the live casino open in another window on your PC, so that you can always keep up with the gaming action!


And then there’s the somewhat more traditional way of boosting your student income – babysitting. This can be a reliable and stimulating method of working. There are helpful government websites that can help you understand the process of becoming a registered child-minder, and also provide you with links to professional babysitting associations.


Another traditional way for students to enter the working world easily is that of tutoring. Student tutoring is in high demand as younger students will always be keen to learn the study methods of those who have successfully navigated the examination process.

This has led to a boom in home tuition as 23% of 11 to 16 year olds in the UK now receive home tuition. So not only can this earn you as much as £40 per hour session, but it can act as helpful revision tool too!

Friday, 27 March 2015

5 Jobseeking Pitfalls

In today’s competitive market, finding a job can seem harder than ever. Employers often receive hundreds of applications for the same position, placing even more importance on the need to make yourself stand out from the crowd. To increase your chances of securing the right role for you, here are five common job seeking pitfalls and how to avoid them.

1. The passive approach

Rather than actively seeking out opportunities, many job-seekers make the mistake of sitting around and waiting for the perfect position to fall into their laps. This can lead to wasted potential and valuable talents, skills and experience going unutilised or undervalued.
To bolster your chances of finding your next job, it’s useful to take a proactive approach. The Anglo Technical Recruitment can help make finding a suitable job easier. You might also want to consider attending organised networking events to speak to people in your chosen industry. And of course, completing freelance jobs and projects through StudentGems will help you develop your portfolio and your network of relevant contacts.
importance of building a strong network of professional connections cannot be overstated as you never know who will be able to help you find the perfect job for you. For example, developing relationships with recruitment specialists such as

2. CV mistakes

All too often, people send their CVs to employers without thoroughly checking them for errors. Even if you are applying for roles where the ability to write well is not an essential skill, spelling mistakes, grammar errors and inconsistencies may signal to an employer that you are negligent and cannot be trusted to complete a task properly. Even a single error may result in an employer casting your CV aside in favour of that of someone who has shown due care. Before applying for a job, it’s crucial to proofread your CV and cover letter several times. Remember that even grammar pendants can make mistakes now and again so it’s worth getting someone else to check your application too.

3. Forgetting to research the employer

Even if you have an impressive CV, a lack of knowledge or understanding of the organisation you’re applying to work for may cause you trip up at the interview stage. To put yourself in the best position for success, take the time to gather as much information as possible on what exactly the company does, how it operates, how it has evolved and what direction it is moving in. Take the time to study the organisation’s website and make use of resources such as downloadable ebooks, guides or leaflets or other such materials to ensure you are well versed on the firm. It’s also worth exploring the organisation’s social media page in order to get a good feel for the business.

4. Not reading the job specification

Casting the net too wide and applying for jobs that you are not qualified for is a sure fire way to ensure your CV is ignored. That’s not to say you shouldn’t reach out and apply to a number of different jobs; just try to make your search as focused as possible. For each role, take the time to thoroughly read the job description to make sure you fit the criteria. While you may not have every ‘desirable’ skill, experience and qualification the employer lists, you should ensure that you meet the essential criteria as employers and recruiters are likely to dismiss applicants that do not have the basic qualifications or experience to fulfil the role.

5. The ‘one size fits all’ approach

Using just one CV for every application is one of the most common job seeking pitfalls, and one that is easily picked-up by employers. If you want you to get noticed, it’s important to make alterations to your CV for each job to show that you are interested in the specific role. However, be careful not to exaggerate the truth to fit the job description - always keep your CV as honest and accurate as possible.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Studying Engineering? This one’s for you…

If you’re an engineering student or graduate, here’s a brilliant infographic for you from Stem Graduates:

Monday, 2 March 2015

Over half of the British Isles is superstitious

Survey reveals most people living in the UK and Ireland still believe in at least one superstition

· More than half of people still have a superstition
· Parents are passing their superstitions on to children – but trends are changing with time
· The biggest factor in which superstitions people have is where they live
· Men are more likely to rely on lucky clothing than women, though both genders favour lucky underwear

In a time where a slab of pocket-sized plastic can provide the answers to any question about the
world, it seems unlikely that traditional superstitions would endure. However, they have not disappeared, surviving through the same oral traditions that have kept them alive throughout history.

New research by Ladbrokes Games into superstitions held by people who play online games aimed to find out what people did to bring them good luck, or avoid bad luck, when they played. Carried out on behalf of the betting expert by TLF, the survey found that over half of people in the UK and Ireland (54%) still believe in at least one superstition, mostly inheriting them from their parents. It is also rare for someone to just have one; people believe in an average of five, if they are advocates in the first place.

The UK’s top ten superstitions are:
1. You touch wood for good luck 54.0%
2. If you walk under a ladder you will have bad luck 51.6%
3. Opening an umbrella in the house is bad luck 49.6%
4. Breaking a mirror will bring you seven years of bad luck 46.3%
5. Friday the thirteenth is an unlucky day 43.6%
6. To find a four-leaf clover is to find good luck 39.4%
7. The number 13 is unlucky 34.1%
8. Horseshoes are lucky 32.7%
9. A groom seeing the bride's dress before the wedding day is bad luck 32.4%
10. Crossing your fingers helps to avoid bad luck 32.4%

Parents vs. children

Parents are usually to blame for passing on superstitions. 46% of people surveyed reported that their parents had instilled their superstitions in them, compared to 14% receiving them from grandparents and 26% subconsciously picking up superstitions from ‘tradition’. While as many as 71% of over-65s still have superstitions, the numbers fall to 52% of those aged between 35 and 44.

Millennials are about 10% less likely to believe in superstitions than their parents; 40% of those under 34 are superstitious, with a preference for lucky clothing (45% of 18 to 24 year olds, much higher than any other age group) over traditional dos and don’ts. Research suggests parents pass along a tendency to be superstitious rather than actual superstitions, which are changing over time.

Out with the old?

Superstitions that have remained strongest are simple and timeless – 54% believe in touching wood for good luck, whereas 52% believe in receiving bad luck for walking under ladders. Half of all people avoid opening umbrellas indoors for the same reason.

Superstitions that may be considered a little more dated today are on the way out – only 13% would still carry a rabbit’s foot and just 32% believe a groom seeing the bride’s dress before the wedding is bad luck. Only 8% of people still believe that the Irish bring good luck, but this superstition oddly endures the most in Ireland – 19% in Northern Ireland and 14% in the Republic of Ireland believe their very presence is all the luck they need.

Regional differences

Levels of superstition change in different areas of the British Isles. The least superstitious city is Dublin; only 39% of residents hold even one superstition. Southampton, on the other hand, is the most superstitious thanks to 69% of its residents' beliefs.

Superstitions vary by region more than any other factor. Capital cities, for example, inspire reliance on a lucky item of clothing; 30% of Belfast residents have one – more than anywhere else – as well as 27% in Edinburgh and London. The South West of England is the most superstitious area, whereas Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are the least.

However, the few superstitions that the Republic of Ireland have stuck with are fairly unique to them – black cats, rabbits' feet and a lock of loved one’s hair are much more common in the ROI than anywhere else.

The survey found the top ten cities in the UK and Ireland by the percentage of residents who believe in at least one superstition:
1. Southampton (69.2%)
2. Bristol (68.9%)
3. Leeds (68.5%)
4. Nottingham (68.4%)
5. Cardiff (65%)

The five least superstitious cities were also identified:
1. Dublin (39%)
2. Birmingham (50%)
3. Edinburgh (51%)
4. London (52%)
5. Belfast (54%)

Lucky pants

Women are much more superstitious than men – 59% compared to 47%. The main superstition that splits the genders is seeing the wedding dress; 41% of women believe it is bad luck compared to 19% of men. However, men are not immune to clothing-based superstitions; one in five people own a lucky item of clothing, but that increases to 29% for men alone and falls to 15% for women. Regardless of gender, though, it’s most likely to be underwear that brings good fortune.

Still a numbers game

Men are also more likely to believe number-based superstitions than women – 47% of men believe Friday the 13th is unlucky compared to 42% of women and 34% of men believe that the number seven is lucky (only 27% of women agreed). Seven is still the UK and Ireland’s luckiest number, with one in five making it their go-to choice for games and lotteries.

Commenting on the findings, Alex Donohue at Ladbrokes, said: “The figures show that we’re still a superstitious bunch in the UK and Ireland, and our beliefs are definitely changing with the times. Even as we leave old methods behind, we’re finding new ways to improve our luck.”

Monday, 23 February 2015

Looking for a career solution as student? Try freelancing

Looking for a career solution as student?

After the recession, many people who had previously only known life as an employee were forced to diversify. This resulted in a workforce alive to the possibilities of freelancing, aware of their talents, and willing to capitalise on them. It also meant that companies had to adjust their attitude to outsourcing work. This increased flexibility has benefitted both parties. The good news for students is that you might not necessarily have to don a crusty apron and dish out cappuccinos for the next few years to supplement your student loan: there are now plenty of opportunities to freelance. So what do you need to work from home, and what needs to be remembered?

The set up

In order to freelance successfully, you don’t need any specialist equipment; just the basics. First and foremost, you’ll need reliable, affordable internet, so explore the broadband and phone deals on offer to your business premises (okay: crumbling student flat!) and be prepared to negotiate for the best price. It will stand you in good stead for when you’re trying to negotiate your fees with clients. You’ll also need a cheap but reliable laptop, and, crucially, some clients with which to negotiate.

Prospect, hard

Compile a list of viable companies that might need your services, and apply speculatively. Whether your skillset is in writing, graphic design or programming, know what you can bring to a potential employer, and make sure you can articulate it, fast. Phone first in order to introduce yourself and identify the person in the company to whom you should direct your enquiry, and if you can, speak to them directly. Follow up immediately with an email. If you’re meeting with some resistance, offer to complete your first assignment pro-bono, and include samples of your work to back up your claims.

Prove your worth

Congratulations: you’ve received your first assignment. Now the hard graft really begins. It goes without saying that you should treat freelance work as you would any employment. Complete the tasks at hand in a timely manner, and you will excel, and win more work. Slack off, fail to meet deadlines and prove yourself unreliable, and the damage to your earnings can be catastrophic. It’s up to you.

Keep yourself on the right side of the law

The great thing about working while you’re a student is that you probably won’t have to pay taxes on your freelancing work. However, you still need to declare your earnings and keep records of your business incomings and outgoings. This is excellent business practice, and will equip you with a gamut of skills like accounting and invoicing with which you can impress future employers after you graduate.

With a bit of hard work, networking and a good internet connection, you will find yourself escaping the dreaded student overdraft quicker than you first thought.