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Study

Setting Goals

We’ve all heard that setting goals is important and that it helps to keep us focussed. But the reality is that setting goals is essential for progress, and there are ways you can make your goals stretch you yet also be attainable.

  1. Write them down
    Goals are better when they’re visual. If they’re written down, especially in your own handwriting, then they become more solid and your attention to them expands. This goes for small tasks you might put on a ‘to do’ list such as errands and everyday things, all the way to bigger life goals. It’s even better if you can put them somewhere you see them regularly, or review them on a regular basis.
  2. Work out the steps it’s going to take to get there
    Setting a goal is great but it’s also important to consider what it’s going to take to get there. If it’s a really big goal, then it might be worth breaking it down into manageable smaller steps. If it’s a small task you’ve been putting off, try and make the conditions easier – for example if you need to do laundry, do you have detergent, have you got space to put the clothes horse out, have you set a timer so you know when you need to hang it up rather than forgetting and leaving it in the machine, etc.?
  3. Set a time limit
    An important way to keep yourself on track with goals is to put a time limit on them. For certain things this will be predetermined, like the date an assignment is due at college or uni, but for other things you’ll need to set that time limit yourself. If you set a time limit, you can then use the steps you’ve made to get to that goal and perhaps set focussed time periods on those too. It’s going to make your goals become a reality more easily as you’ll know exactly what is needed of you AND when it needs to be done.
  4. Make sure you know WHY you’re doing it
    In order to stay motivated and committed to the goal, you need to have a reason for doing it. You can then use this as something to remind yourself why you need to get it done, and then you’ll be more likely to get moving on it. It doesn’t matter how big or small the task is, have a purpose and know why you’re aiming to get it done.

Applying for a Job

Applying for a new job can be a really daunting and draining experience, whether you are looking for that all-important first job, or you are just looking for something new, there are certain things you can be doing to get yourself ahead of the game.

  1. Do your research
    There’s loads of industries to choose from, and it’ll take time to choose which one you’d like to be in, and also what kinds of roles within that you’ll be qualified for. There’s several ways to go about it – you can look at the websites of specific companies you’re interested in working in, you can read up about industries you think you’d be interested in, or you could look at people who are already doing the job you like and figure out how they got into the role they’re in.
  2. Sign up to job sites
    Job sites are a great resource to get you started. You can upload your CV, create a profile, and most importantly sign up to receive emails every week with the kinds of jobs you’re looking for. It’s a really great way to keep yourself on track with your search as you’ll be reminded to complete applications or at the very least look at jobs when the emails come through.
  3. Consider using an agency
    Using an agency can be a fantastic way to speed the process up massively. It’s especially good if you’re really in need of a job as soon as possible, an agency can do the searching for you. If you want them to, they can even handle sending over your CV and details, and setting up interviews on your behalf. If you don’t want to dedicate much time to going through job sites yourself, it’s an efficient alternative to help you find a new role.
  4. Keep your searches and applications focussed
    There’s a lot of roles out there to choose from, but it’s better to do fewer more focussed applications than it is to do loads of applications you don’t really feel invested in or don’t even want. Don’t waste your time, it’ll only make you lose motivation. Focus on the jobs you like the look of the best, and prioritise them to meet the application deadline dates.
  5. Make your cover letter as strong as it can be
    Getting your cover letter right is going to be essential and it is one of the things that’s going to need to change slightly and be tailored to every single application you send out. Make sure you use the job specification for the role you’re applying for as guidance for the things to include in your cover letter. You need to show the employer that you’ve got what they’re looking for, so give examples of how you’ve used the skills they want in your previous roles – and make sure you are as specific as you can be.
  6. Proofread your application
    When your application is all ready to go, it’s important to read everything through and make sure there’s no grammar errors. Potential employers will want to see a high quality application without any obvious mistakes. It’s the very first impression you get to make, so do your best to make it a good one.

Interview Tips

So you’ve managed to land an interview? Well, what happens next?

After all the hard work it’s taken to apply for jobs and get yourself an interview, it is of paramount importance to do everything you can to perform at your best on the day. There is no way to guarantee yourself the job, but there are definitely things you can do to give it your best shot.

  1. The preparation
    – One of the main things we would advise in terms of preparation would be to read up on the company. A great place to start is the company’s website, where you’ll almost certainly find an ‘about us’ section. Take your time with this, and give yourself the best idea you can about the company’s aims, ethos and vibe.
    – Make sure you have something to wear. If it’s your first ever interview, it may well be that you need to buy some smart clothing such as suit trousers and a shirt. However, if you’ve already got what you need, make sure it’s clean, ironed and ready to go. It’s probably a good idea to have the prep for your clothing done the day before to avoid any last minute stress.
    – Calculate how long it’s going to take you to get to the venue, where to park or how far from your public transport stop it is, if you have to pay for parking, etc. It’s always a good idea to be as prepared as possible, so if you can have a look at the location on Google Street View, we’d definitely recommend it to get a really good picture of where you’ll be going.
  2. On the day
    – The best thing to do on the day is to follow how you’re feeling. If you aren’t in the mood for breakfast, don’t force it. However it’s going to be essential to keep hydrated, especially if you won’t be eating anything before you go in.
    – You may already have been advised on what to bring with you by the company, but we would say it’s a great idea to bring a copy of your CV printed out just in case you need it.
    – Arrive in plenty of time. Leave more time than you need, you can always wait in the car or grab a coffee nearby if you’ve got enough time, but you can’t undo that first impression on your potential employer if you show up late.
    – When you arrive at location where your interview is due to take place, we would definitely recommend greeting Anyone you pass could potentially be someone that works in the building you might soon be working in, whether that’s the cleaner or the CEO. So smile, say hello and put your best foot forward, no matter who they are.
    – Ensure that you put your phone on silent. Ideally, don’t have your phone in your hand at all once you’re in the building. Wear a watch if you need to check the time regularly, but keep your phone in your bag – it will help you to present yourself as professional and able to focus on the task in hand.
  3. In the room
    – Get the initial handshake right. It’s almost inevitable that you’ll have to shake the hand of the person conducting your interview, so make sure you look them in the eye and shake their hand confidently (not too hard, not too weak!)
    – When they ask you questions, speak clearly and don’t rush. You can take a few seconds to consider your answers. Try and avoid coming across too jokey, as you want them to know you’re taking the interview seriously. Avoid being too colloquial and definitely don’t curse or use any kind of rude language at all – seems obvious but you need to make sure your professional image is clean and smart. It’s also a good idea to avoid talking excessively – keep your answers focussed and don’t waffle too much.
    – If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask them. Try and stick to questions about the job itself, and avoid asking about paid holiday and other details that will be confirmed further down the line and are irrelevant to the role and what it involves.

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