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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Advantages of Temping

Flexible, local, experience for your CV, learning new skills… just some of the advantages of temping.
It’s a bit of a catch 22 though, temping agencies like to use people who have experience of temping, so how can you get experience in the first place?! This is where any experience that you have gained through StudentGems ad hoc projects can be invaluable. Add it to your CV so you can demonstrate your skills and knowledge to temping agencies.

There are obvious parallels. StudentGems jobs are temporary. They are paid. They require you to have good business standards and commercial awareness. These are all the things temping agencies will be looking for.
As soon as the summer exams are over, go to a couple of agencies and see which ones you like best. Sign up early so they know they can count on you over all those long summer holidays. The great thing is you can be available when all the regular office workers are flying off for 2 weeks in the sun!

Office Angels have some guides to temping here.
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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

And the winner is…

Congratulations to Janine Johnson, a 2010 graduate of Liverpool John Moores University, for winning our competition. She will very soon be the proud owner of a shiny new Lexmark Genesis S815 printer. In the opinion of the judges, Janine’s 140 character entry was the best.

Competition winner Janine
It’s so nice being able to deliver good news, so on a lovely sunny day telling someone they have just won a great prize is a very positive way to spend part of the afternoon!

Janine is absolutely thrilled to have won and said: “I would just like to say thank you to everyone at StudentGems and Lexmark, when I first saw the competition I thought it was an amazing prize and knew I had to enter. I never actually expected to win so I am absolutely over the moon and so shocked. I can't wait to use this fantastic printer, it is going to make such a difference to me since I am just starting out as a freelance writer and this will make my work look very professional. Thank you to everyone who judged this competition it really means a lot to me.”

Well done Janine and best of luck with your career.
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Monday, 23 May 2011

HR Departments Need to Manage Talent

HR needs to be more innovative in its management of talent, according to UK HR professionals. A better approach is needed to both retain and attract talent. By being more effective at identifying and managing talent, organisations will build a strong foundation for future development.

This was the opinion expressed by top HR professionals , when they came together to discuss the future of the profession in a series of roundtable events held by specialist recruiters Badenoch & Clark.

That’s not news to us here at StudentGems – we see the level of talent of our students and graduates on a daily basis and it is pretty impressive. We would like all HR departments to consider using students and graduates for projects to see what they could be missing.

If you know any HR managers, point them in our direction please!
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Monday, 16 May 2011

2012 Olympics are fast approaching… are you involved?

It seemed such a long way off when, in 2005, London was confirmed as the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games. Now, six years later they are just around the corner. Have you bought your tickets?

If not, maybe you can still go. Have you thought about working at the games? Adecco has been named the official recruitment service provider for the 2012 Olympics in London and have said that the total workforce needed for the London Games will reach 100,000. With an on-site team of 13 already working on 269 permanent roles and 129 Games time roles, Adecco are set to grow their team as they build a diverse workforce of 6,000 temporary and permanent roles.

Additionally, a new scheme was launched last week to encourage at least 20,000 college and university students across the UK to participate in activities related to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Podium, the FE and HE unit for the 2012 Games, joined forces with the NUS to launch the 'Be a Champion' scheme, which is being funded by Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola and the Higher Education Funding Council For England (HEFCE).

More than 100 students' unions are expected to appoint a Student Ambassador under the programme to highlight the opportunities available to learners, ranging from sport volunteering, to culture and community participation.

We think these opportunities will be snapped up, so if you are interested act now!
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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Top 10 Tips for Completing an Application Form

Sounds easy huh? You might be surprised at how many basic mistakes are made when completing job application forms. When employers are looking at a pile of forms they will instantly dismiss those which are incorrectly completed.  Make sure yours is not one that heads straight for the bin by following our top tips.

1. Take a Photocopy of the Blank Application Form
Keep the original safe and clean (no coffee cup rings or creases) and use a photocopied form and a pencil. If the application form is online, write your draft in Word and then copy and paste it into the application from.

2. Read the Form First!
Read the instructions thoroughly from start to finish before beginning your application and then follow them carefully. This will show the employer that you are able to follow instruction and that you pay great attention to detail. Many handwritten forms state ‘use black ink’ – so whatever you do, don’t use blue!

3. Eye for Detail?
Make sure you use the right company name and job title throughout your application, especially if this is one of many applications you are submitting. Copying and pasting can be dangerous!

4. Provide Evidence
Employers often say exactly what they look for when finding a candidate for a specific role but don't just repeat these requirements. Make sure you know what is needed in each question, identify which of your skills is relevant and then back up your answer with evidence or examples.

5. Answer All Questions
Sounds simple, but check that you haven’t missed out any questions. You should answer all questions, unless instructed otherwise. If a question really does not apply to you, write n/a (not applicable) clearly in the box.

6. Why Are They Asking Me This?
It is very tempting to dive straight in and answer a question at face value but this may result in superficial answers. You will be more convincing if you relate the question to the job tasks, your skills and what you know the company requires.

7. Write Legibly or Word Process
Use block capitals, black ink, or type: whatever the employers want. Word processed applications look much smarter and most are completed this way but beware – is this a test of your handwriting skills?

8. Write Formally
Avoid abbreviations, acronyms and write in full, for example, write wouldn’t as would not and don’t as do not.

9. Check Your Completed Form Thoroughly
First impressions count and no matter how brilliant the content, grammar, spelling and punctuation errors can result in your application landing in the bin. Beware of computer spell checkers - get someone else to proof-read your document. Actually, get two or three people to proof-read it if you can.

10. Keep a Copy of the Completed Form
As part of your job hunting process you will probably fill in numerous application forms, so you need to methodically keep copies of each one. Then when you get an interview you can easily look back at what you told that particular employer.

Good luck!
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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

When do you first need a CV?

We recently conducted a survey to find out when students put together their first CV. The results were very clear with more than three-quarters preparing a CV whilst still at school/sixth form and a further 10% during their first year at university.

That’s really great to know, because it clearly shows how keen students are to embrace the world of work and that they realise the importance of self marketing with a CV. Although many job applications ask for some sort of application form to be completed, either online or offline, at some point in the recruitment process most employers will ask to see a CV.

What is really important, however, is to keep your CV up to date. It isn’t a document that you can think ‘Yes, done that, tick the box, don’t need to do it again’. Try to keep it updated regularly, particularly after you have done any kind of work experience or project which has highlighted your skills.

You might think you will always remember what you did in that short stint at Widgets Incorporated, but in six months time will you really remember the detail of the responsibilities you were given? Will the precise dates of your last few jobs all merge into one?

As much as anything, keeping your CV up to date will help when you come to complete full-time job applications when you graduate and also with any internship applications for summer jobs. These days the process for internship applications is as time consuming and lengthy as for a full-time job. Having all the information you need on your CV can really help with completing the details.

Then there are all the ‘competency based’ questions which are all over application forms. They’re the ones which are styled something like ‘tell me about a time when you…’ These are crucial. If you have kept your CV current with all your achievements, training and development, the basis for the answers to those tough questions will be right there in front of you.

That’s not to say that your CV needs updating every week, or even every month, but don’t make the mistake of writing it while you’re in the sixth form and thinking it will still be acceptable a couple of years later!

Not sure what format a CV should take? Have a look at our advice pages for more info.
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