Regardless of whether you’re in a career, have a job or are a student. LinkedIn can be a vital resource for networking and helping you achieve your professional goals. Even if you’re unsure of what those goals are right now. Your LinkedIn profile is a place to show off all your achievements and successes. I often use it to update what work I’m doing when interning – so when recruiters look at it, they can see exactly what I’m doing.

Who are you?

LinkedIn is first and foremost, a social network. This means you can use the platform to show who you are in a professional capacity. You can post about what you’re doing in life, whether that’s a job, internship or volunteering. There’s also spaces for projects and you can add media and links. Any recruiter who looks at your profile, should be able to find out about what kind of person you are from your profile.

Network

Whenever you have a new job, new internship or go volunteering you’re going to meet new people. These people are great for you to keep into contact with, as in the future you might be able to help them, or they may be able to help you. You can also see who your connections know and ask to be introduced to others who may be able to help you in your career goals.

Visible

It’s always important to be visible online. So many people now will search you before you even get an interview. Being able to show your achievements online means that you always a presence for when you do want to start looking for a job. I’ve had some people already contact me on LinkedIn about future career possibilities so it is really useful.

Up To Date

Keeping it up to date is vital. That CV you sent out 3 months ago might already be out of date. You may have gotten an internship, a part-time job, started volunteering. Anyone who has the link to your profile will see what you’ve done since you’ve sent your CV.

Business Knowledge

There’s groups on LinkedIn and you can also follow people within the sector you want a career in. This means a lot of information can be gained directly from people or through discussions. You can also reach out to ask questions. Increasing your knowledge of the sector will ultimately help you when you graduate.

My LinkedIn

You can check out my profile here.

Rebecca Armstrong LinkedIn

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As a university student with a lot of other commitments I have to schedule my time a lot. In order to help schedule my time, I use a to-do list. I used to spend waste so much time writing my to do list’s out, every week, sometimes every day. This wasn’t working as I was procrastinating by making a beautifully organised list, then relaxing as a treat to myself. Instead I decided to get shit done and made a change where I actually complete my to-do lists. This is how I do it:

What Do You Need To Do?

I use the SplenDO app on my Samsung. Now, this makes it a lot less of a procrastination to actually write out a to-do list, which I used to do multiples times. Does anyone else always seem to lose their list? Anyway, with the app, I add every task when I get it. So if I get asked to do something in my internship, I immediately put it onto my to-do list. This works great because I can pull it up anytime and see what I’m supposed to be working on.

Prioritise

You really need to think about what is the most important thing that absolutely needs to be done. That’s always going to be your first priority. Make sure you always mark down which tasks need to be done first and which tasks maybe aren’t as important so can be done last. So for example, my University assignments take priority over everything on my list. Whereas I can leave my blog for a couple of weeks if and as needed.

Create Deadlines

One of the main things is to write a deadline for every single thing you need to-do. Even if it’s something that doesn’t have a particular deadline, make yourself a realistic deadline. This goes hand-in-hand with prioritising, set a later deadline for a lower priority task. I always feel a sense of ‘pressure’ when I’m nearing one of my pre-set deadlines, which makes me work harder to get it done. On my app, it also makes the item red if its skipped the deadline, so it’s a constant reminder that I needed to get that done and I’m behind my optimised schedule.

Making Time To Do Tasks

Now I use the app, I can start working on a lot of my tasks in my spare time between lectures. But, this doesn’t mean I just wing it. I use my Google Calendar app, and I set myself times to do the work. If I know I have Monday Afternoon free to get to work, I will set aside that time and dont make other plans over it. Being strict with yourself is important. If you have to make plans over it, then always (I mean always) choose another time that week to do it. If you start getting behind on your deadlines, you’ll start to feel really demotivated and your list will go unfinished.

 

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So it’s that time of year again where cramming information into your brain seems impossible. The looming dread of exams has already stressed me out and I have not motivation to study. So instead I decided to write blog posts and share some study tips for those who are productive.

A quiet room

Stop distractions by putting yourself in a quiet room. No friends or family to chat and gossip to. No music to sing and dance along to. Keep yourself focused solely on studying. I personally can only study in my room and without music.

 Hydrate

Make sure you drink lots of water. This is kind of an everyday tip as well, but especially important when trying to focus. Keeping yourself hydrated will keep you awake and your brain will thank you. Spending all day studying without drinking will make you feel drowsy and possibly cause a headache.

A bit of colour

When writing notes, diagrams, etc. using colours is always a good way to study. It helps you to remember more as well as making your notes look less boring to reread. I normally use a blue, black, red and green pen and use highlighters as well.

Snacks

If you’re anything like me, you cant be productive when you’re hungry. I always need some sort of snack as an incentive. If I read X amount of pages I get this much chocolate or something similar. Healthy, brain fueling snacks are good of course, but I also always go for sugary and sweet.

Taking breaks

After about half an hour, I get cranky and I need something to take my mind off being stressy about studying. So whether it’s having a stretch, grabbing a coffee, or calling your mum for a quick chat, remember to take a break so your head doesn’t turn into sludge.

Hiding social media

One of my favourite (or should I say needed?) study tips is to hide your phone. So I normally just put it on silent and turn it over so I cant see the screen when it lights up. You could also put it across the room or in a different room to stop the temptation to scroll yourself into procrastination hell.

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As many of you will know, I spent 6 months applying for placements until I finally got one. Job hunting was extremely demotivating at times, and I was exhausted by December. But, despite this, I kept applying and going for interviews and assessment centres. Eventually, I got an amazing opportunity to work for EA as the marketing communications intern and will be starting in July.

Although I found one, I know people who didn’t even try to get one due to intense competition. I also know people who have tried but still haven’t found one. I also know some people who, like me, were lucky enough to get one. So many people just gave up as it takes so long to apply and sometimes the companies dont even respond. Here are my top tips to staying motivated when looking for a new job.

Think of the positives

Applications, interviews, assessments centres and ability tests are all things which can be practiced. As you’re applying, you’re practicing the skills needed for all of these steps, so when you do finally find the role of your dreams, you can get it. If you’re still in university, it’s vital you practice before you go out into the graduate job market, so take every opportunity as seriously as possible.

Any feedback you get from companies can also help you learn from mistakes you might have made. Maybe you were a bit too quiet in a group task? Did you get a surprise interview question? You can think of a great answer for the next time. It’s all part of your personal development and learning.

Recognise achievements

You managed to get an interview? Great, that’s fantastic. Your CV must have been good enough to get the recruiters attention. Your assessment centre group was the only group for the role? Wow, you’re one of the 8-10 people out of hundreds that was chosen to attend. You clearly have an amazing CV, it probably wasn’t anything to do with you personally as to why you didn’t get the role. Just remember that you are in fact amazing, that role might just not have been a perfect fit. Remember recruiters are trying to find someone who fits the company, role and team exactly. They’re not always based fully on your work experience.

Schedule down time

One of the main things about being exhausted when job hunting, is that you seem to be running around everywhere. I had to travel down south so many times, to the point where I’ve had to learn about the London Underground and where all the connecting stations are. When you’re rushing around everywhere, please just give yourself some time to calm down. Even if it’s just an afternoon or an evening. You dont want to be interviewed when you’re sleep deprived and cranky.

Practice and ask for advice

If you’re at university, your careers service can help you with job hunting. Whether it’s helping perfect your CV or practice interviews. They are also trained to give objective feedback, whereas friends and family may be more subjective. It’s also good to practice being interviewed by someone you dont know. Take any advice given constructively and work on making yourself even better. If you’re not at university, try asking friends and family for help, but pick someone who can be constructive.

Treat yourself

Whenever I was travelling to an interview, I would treat myself to a coffee and cake from a coffee shop. I also treated myself with chocolates, a new purse, and new earrings. It’s nice to give yourself gifts because you’ve achieved something that day. This goes back to the being positive and recognising achievements points.

 

Do you have your own ways to keep yourself motivated?

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So it’s my first day back at University after Christmas (I didn’t have January exams so I got a couple more weeks off!) and I decided to do a ‘What’s in my bag post’. I’ve decided to try and be more prepared this semester and ensure everything in my bag the night before because I always seem to forget something.

I use this Carvela Handbag as it’s big enough to fit my A4 notebooks inside. As my laptop doesn’t fit I have a different bag if I need it, although this is not often as I prefer to take notes by hand.

As most people do, I bring my phone with me everywhere as I have access to my calendar, emails and my university portal with lecture notes on. My phone is used a lot to plan tasks, events and my time in general but I also have a paper planner as well. This planner is small because I only put my most important events in, this is so I know I cant change these plans. As I’m short sighted I need glasses for my lectures and seminars, although I always forget to put them in my vbag.

I like taking the traditional method of taking notes and so I have an A4 notebook to write in. Usually, this is for my quick notes and I usually rewrite them out into individual module notebooks for revision. I always bring a water bottle with me to ensure I drink enough water throughout the day. My purse is always in my bag as well. I usually buy a coffee, or food if I’m hungry when i’m at uni. I often run errands like food shopping after lectures as well so it’s important I have my money with me.

The bottom of my bag is often littered with earphones, pens, hair ties, highlighters and random change. Maybe I need a pencil case to add to my bag? For now though I keep them there ‘just in case’.

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