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Thursday, 4 June 2015

University rugby clubs: The path to professional rugby?

Whilst university rugby players don’t always have the best reputations, playing in college games can lead to being talented spotted. This isn't surprising given the wealth of training support and specialised programmes which university clubs offer those who are good enough to be selected. As some of the best rugby players in history got their break on the university team, perhaps this is a good way to transfer from amateur to professional rugby.

A good way to get noticed

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Whilst most players will maintain a lifelong interest in the sport after playing at university, checking Coral for the latest fixtures that they can perhaps place a bet (or two) on, a lucky few will use their time with the University club to gain exposure. Professional rugby conditioning Coach Ben Wilson offers invaluable advice for those wanting to become a professional rugby player. Amateur clubs, for Wilson, are brilliant places to get noticed once you are over 20 years old as they offer the opportunity for players to “excel at the lower levels and then be invited to train with the professional teams and thus go on to win a contract”. Of course, Wilson is quick to point out that this will require dedication to the game through a rigorous training and fitness programme but if you are good enough university clubs are a perfect spot to be scouted.

Will Greenwood’s history with Durham University Rugby Club

Will Greenwood, Charlie Hodgson and Will Carling (among others) have all played with Durham University’s rugby club; unsurprisingly, the standard of players picked is very high but once selected the club offers access to “some of Britain’s finest and most experienced coaches” as well as weekly specialist clinics for players. In an interview, Will remembered his days with the club at Durham with fondness saying “We had a small group of players who really made the most out of ourselves. We never had any floodlights, so we used to pull all the cars up to the touchline and turn the headlights on to train.”

Joe Ansbro shone under the varsity match spotlight

After making his debut with the Cambridge University rugby senior team against an Australian University’s team back in 2005, Ansbro found himself well on the way to his professional rugby career with the likes of London Irish and Northampton Saints. For Ansbro, it isn’t just the talent and potential to succeed which is important for success but also the ability to play under pressure, and the varsity match can provide an excellent initial introduction to the sensation of participating in a big match for the players, speaking back in 2013 Ansbro stated that players should “never underestimate the Varsity Match.” And whilst an unfortunate injury caused a premature retirement from the game, Ansbro still remains involved and interested in rugby.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Is it too late for a career change?

You might assume that once you’re past your first flush of youth, you’re too long in the tooth to alter the course of your career.  However, this simply isn’t the case. It doesn’t matter what age you are, it’s never too late for a career change.

Retraining may be easier than you think

For a start, retraining might be much easier than you think. Even if you have financial or family commitments that mean you can’t return to full-time study at school, college or university, there are other options out there. For example, distance learning gives you the chance to study at a time and place that suits you, and there’s no shortage of these courses on offer either. If you’re interested in completing GCSEs, IGCSEs or A levels, you can visit websites like to check out your options. There are also a variety of degree-level or vocational training courses available.

By opting for a distance learning programme, you should be able to fit your studies around your
existing schedule, minimising any disruptions to your life and earnings.

Take inspiration from the stars

It does require courage to take the plunge and embark on a new career path, but there are lots of examples to follow. Cartoon legend Walt Disney is one of those who dramatically changed his work. He once held a position at a newspaper, but things didn’t go quite to plan while he was there and he eventually found himself fired from his role. Amazingly, according to his editor, he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”.

Another celeb to have changed direction is comedian and TV personality Ellen Degeneres. Before making it big on screen, she once worked as a paralegal. She also tried her hand at waitressing and was even an oyster shucker.

Seek some sage advice

Before changing your career, it’s wise to seek advice from people who know what they’re talking about and who can provide you with useful guidance. If you know someone who’s been through a major career change, chat to them. The will probably be happy to share their experiences and they should have some words of wisdom for you to bear in mind. You can also find plenty of information and advice online, and you might benefit from speaking to a professional careers advisor.

The benefits of starting a new chapter

There’s no getting around the fact that starting a new chapter in your career can be a daunting prospect. However, by making the effort to change your working life, you could dramatically increase your job satisfaction and you might find you’re much happier and more fulfilled overall as a result. It’s certainly well worth investigating your options.  

Monday, 1 June 2015

Why choose a career in sales?

If you’re in the process of choosing a career, it’s well worth considering sales. It’s true that these roles aren’t suitable for everyone, but as long as you have the relevant skills and qualities, working in this field could bring a whole range of rewards. Here are just a few of the reasons why it may pay off to pursue a career in sales.

The satisfaction of success

One of the best things about these roles is the sense of satisfaction they can bring. Using your powers of persuasion to land a deal can be a real thrill. Meanwhile, as well as the pride and enjoyment you can get from individual sales successes, you’re bound to feel an extra boost when you make any targets set by your employer.

There’s another way in which sales roles can offer fulfilment. You might also get a good feeling by helping your customers to buy products or services that will have a positive impact on their lives. For example, if you are a contractor associated with field marketing specialists such as Appco UK, you may be involved in selling home efficiency solutions such as boiler replacements and solar panels. As well as benefiting the environment, these property improvements can bring down consumers’ utility bills.

So, if you’re the sort of person who thrives on meeting targets and you want to make a difference on a daily basis, sales could be the ideal route for you.

Impressive earning potential  

Then there is earning potential to consider. Sales roles often come with competitive salaries, and when combined with commission and bonuses, they can be highly lucrative. If you’re prepared to work hard and to hone your skills, you could earn a very good income. After all, effective sales personnel are highly valued by companies because of the direct benefit they have on their bottom lines.

On a related point, you should have plenty of opportunities to progress within this field. With a strong record, you should stand a good chance of landing management positions.

Varied working days

Unlike many other jobs, sales roles can be highly varied too. You’ll get to speak to different people on a daily basis and, depending on the type of roles you take, you might get to deal with a range of different products and services. You may also have the opportunity to travel. Many sales personnel find that no two working days are the same. They experience an array of different scenarios and challenges that help to keep their roles interesting.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the reasons why it may pay off to start a career in sales. However, it should give you an insight into why these roles are so popular.

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

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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.