Click here to go to the main StudentGems site

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.

Friday, 6 February 2015

7 Tips for Writing Marketing Papers

Marketing needs must be fresh and enticing if you really want to attract your potential customers with marketing papers. Anyone can write a marketing paper if they follow these tips. You might have seen lots of marketing material and from the writing skills you can get an idea whether you are impressed or not. Whether it is an email, a brochure, an article or anything else, writing marketing material is always a daunting process. Here are 7 tips that will help you write effectively.

1. Determine the needs of customers
First of all you will have to find out what your potential clients want. There are so many tools such as Word cracker,, Amazon and many others that will help you determine your market and your customer’s needs. These are effective tools that will help you to know what is required and after that you can begin to charm your audience!

2. Start with the headline
All marketing materials need a headline. This is one of the most important components that will introduce your clients to your content and will also build up or lose interest among them. From here the reading needs to continue. After figuring out your potential clients’ needs you can address them with the headline of your content. “How to”, “10 tips”, “you must” are going to make attractive headlines.

3. Express compassion
Your content must be clear and should be capable of showing your desires and feelings. This is one single step that is going a very long what with your readers. One of the best ways to create compassion is write a story and relate your prospects to it.

4. Offer value
Humans tend to be selfish. You can use this to your advantages by offering valuable information. Make sure that it is unique and difficult to find anywhere else.

5. Incorporate proof elements
This step is going to build more and more confidence among the prospects and you can use success stories, statistics guarantees and testimonials. This will help in getting them to an informed decision. Your services and products should provide them with the proof of why they are best in the market.

6. Call to action
There is nothing that you can assume in business and you can never assume that you know what your prospects want to do next. This is the reason where it becomes important to provide them with a direct command and also make sure that you tell them the benefits of that action in your marketing paper if they choose to take that action.

7. Lead the competition
When you write marketing papers make sure that you are not limiting them. This is not just a standalone paper but a way to attract your clients. The more you write the more they will read. You must provide them with space and explain everything about your services, products, and call them to action. True prospects are always going to go through the entire content because they genuinely want interesting and useful information that meets their requirements and needs. If you are struggling you can also take professional help with customised articles from somewhere like

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Considering London? Make sure you know your options

When it comes to choosing where you study in London, there's so much to think about. Do you want to be central, or on the outskirts? Should you decide on where to go based on the course alone? Do the institution's facilities make a difference? With so much swimming around your brain at this time of year, the London School of Business and Finance gives the low down on shopping around for the best education for you.

London - a city of opportunity, the financial hub of the country, and one of the best places to study. But with such a big city come so many options for education, but most importantly, it's your decision. Make sure you've had a look at all the possibilities, visited a few places and had a good chat with your friends and family about it too. Let's have a look at some of the options:

The Big Three

If you're looking at a bigger institution, the London School of Economics scores highly in the league tables, with Imperial College London and University College London closely following. Bigger places such as these boast thousands of students, and tend to have higher entry requirements, but the central location and academic environment attract many. Other high-scoring universities in the Complete University Guide's league include King's College London and City University London.

On The Outskirts

Deciding on whereabouts you'd like to be can often influence your decision. Choosing a campus that's easy to get to cheaply can save you money in the long run. If you want to get involved, but not too involved, in central London life, a university on the outskirts may just be for you. Brunel University is in Uxbridge, and boasts a wide range of courses. Middlesex University, in north
London, is another option if you'd rather not be bang in the middle of London, too.

Colleges and Specialisms

If you have a semi-clear idea of where you want to head career-wise, something more specific at one of London's colleges might be more your cup of tea. For example, a course at a school such as the London School of Business and Finance can give you the skills you need for the best possible start in the wild world that is life after education. London is also the home of many institutions that attract those with a clear specialism. Other examples of those providing specific sector courses include the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Veterinary College.

Opportunities for graduates is another aspect you may wish to find out about when narrowing down your choices; you can read about what some LSBF alumni thought about returning to work there after studying.

Living the London Life

Wherever you choose to spend the next few years of your educational journey, life in London is something you're sure to enjoy. Choosing a less-central institution can offer certain financial benefits, but either way, you certainly won't be bored.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Learn and earn with a degree apprenticeship

Would-be students aiming to acquire a maths degree may well be tempted to study at a university in the Middle East. Understandable, really, given the crucial role the region played in the development of mathematics, beginning some 8,000 years ago.

Of course, back then, organized agriculture began to dominate and shape society. Thus, for the first time, there was a need to divide up land accurately, work out crop yields, and then at some point collect the appropriate amount of taxes from the farmers of the day. Mathematics made all of that possible.

Golden age

Move forward seven millennia, to the golden age of science and mathematics which flourished under the Islamic Empire. This golden age, which began in the 9th century and then lasted for 600 years, saw high points such as the widespread adoption of the Hindu numerical system (1-9 and 0) and the development of algebra, the abstract mathematical language we all love and still use today.

Indeed, modern-day students embarked on a master of science in mathematics or similar degree programme might do well to spend a minute or two reflecting on the genius of Persian mathematicians Muhammad Al-Khwarizmi and Muhammad Al-Karaji, both giants of the golden age.

Government initiative

However, if homage is out of the question and the Middle East a little too far away for comfort, there's always the UK to fall back on, even although the competition for a university place gets tougher by the year. But now there could be another option open to students, the degree apprenticeship.

This latest UK government initiative, launched this month (November 2014), allows young people to complete a full honours degree alongside their employment while paying no student fees and earning a wage throughout. Sounds like a very promising idea, one which is likely to prove popular, too.

The scheme will start rolling out in September 2015 and is aimed, in the first instance, at the digital sector. It should particularly suit people embarking on careers ranging from business analysis to software development and technology consultancy.

A fully-integrated degree

And according to the government, the new programme includes a fully-integrated degree, testing both academic learning and on-the-job practical training, and has been co-created by leading tech employers and top universities.

A number of employers involved in the Tech Partnership, a group of firms working together to create the skills and jobs the digital industry needs, have already committed to offering degree apprenticeships.

These include Accenture, BT, Capgemini, CGI, Ford, Fujitsu, GlaxoSmithKline, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Hewlett Packard, IBM, John Lewis, Lloyds Banking Group, Network Rail and Tata Consulting Services.

Universities including Aston, Exeter, Greenwich, Loughborough, Manchester Metropolitan, University College London, University of the West of England and Winchester will be supporting the courses and are working with employers to offer these degrees.

One million vacancies

Tech Partnership board member and Capgemini UK chairman Christine Hodgson, said, “The government's support for this new route into employment will enable young people to build the academic and practical skills needed for success in the tech sector and will help create the talent needed to boost the digital economy.”

It is hoped the initiative will help to fill the one million vacancies expected in the digital sector in the next decade. Prospective apprentices will be able to apply to the companies offering degree apprenticeships once the vacancies are advertised next year. These companies will then work with the relevant universities to select the students most able to be successful in both the degree and their career.

Two-thirds of the costs of the training and course fees will be paid by the government and employers will fund the rest, including the wages of apprentices.

Why Freelancing is Perfect for University Students

We understand that being able to financially survive at university can be a real struggle for you students. Come the end of each term, you’re most likely picking pennies from your wallet after you pretty much drained your student finance on heavy drinking and microwave meals. When it comes to making money as a student, you tend to get yourselves a part time job in a local cafe or bar just to cover over the cracks of your damaged bank balance, but realistically you’re too lazy to get off your backside and go look for one. If this sounds like you then we're going to tell you why going freelance is ideal for you as a student.

First of all, it gets you money, that’s right you get paid, it’s money that you have earned all by yourself and you didn't have to beg mum and dad! Freelancing is a great hobby to have as it expands across many professions, from writing to design. Who wouldn't want to earn money from what you love doing? Just remember that it isn't easy money, freelancing requires a lot of hard work, organisation and determination.

Now, we are aware that you all have a lot of essay writing and revision to be getting on with, but
when you think of it, freelancing is the perfect revision tactic. For all those writers out there, it helps you practice your essay writing techniques and gives you an alternative revision method other than staring at your messy note book day in day out. As for designers, how is it beneficial you guys? Well, a stronger portfolio for starters, and your projects would be a great inclusion for all your coursework, and can put you a few steps ahead of everyone else when it comes to those all important interviews. 

Once you eventually graduate from university, the next stage is obviously to find yourself a job but, let’s be honest, you aren't going to just walk into one just because you have a degree. Many students walked out of university years ago with their qualification and are still unemployed. Freelancing may be your only option, but with your experience during university you should have no problem getting started. It’s almost like being a student full time. Writing essays, managing your own time and meeting deadlines.The knowledge you learned on your course will play into your favour and will benefit your understanding of the clients’ desires if you wish to use your degree as your specialist topic.

OK, so you’ve made the decision to be a freelancer but you may be worried about the irregularity of money in the industry. Whilst you may wish to move forward and buy that dream house for yourself or your family, the unbalanced income holds you back from gaining a mortgage. However companies such as Contractor Financials who work with contractors and freelancers will be able to financially support you throughout your career.

Freelancing is about building good relationships with your clients. If you can deliver the goods then the client will come back for more, and they may even bring a few friends into the picture. It’s about making a name for yourself, and you want people saying all the right things about you. The more you deliver then the more you’re rewarded with. For more information and tips on becoming a freelancer, check out this article from The Guardian. Oh and don't forget to keep a beady eye on the latest jobs on StudentGems as well!