Month: February 2013

Quote of the week

“People who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it.” – George Bernard Shaw

Never let anyone limit you this week. The sky is not even the limit. Go hard!

J

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Property event

Hi,
I would like to personally invite you to my property event being held on 21st March 2013:
How to get onto the property ladder in the current economic environment?

The UK economic environment has forced a growing number of young people to abandon dreams of owning their own home as it has become increasingly difficulty and frustrating for first time buyer to climb onto the property ladder.

Experts have warned recently that millions of young people may never be able to buy their own home as it’s an ‘unrealistic assumption’, or will have to wait years before it is possible.

We have selectively invited a panel of experts with a wealth of inside knowledge and experience (collectively over 20 years) in the property industry to share first hand advice and exclusive tips on how to overcome challenges as they explore a number of different avenues onto the property ladder for first time buyers and breakdown the home buying process.

Whatever your aspirations are, whether you intend to purchase a property to live in or simply invest for capital gains or cash flow returns, an educated investor will always do better than an uneducated one. If you haven’t yet considered purchasing a property, this is a great opportunity for you to enhance your knowledge and set some goals for 2013.
Please note, we have limited spaces and there has been a strong interest expressed for this event, please purchase your tickets ASAP to avoid any disappointments. Tickets can be purchased using the following link: http://propertyevent.eventbrite.com/

Writing an Effective cover letter

It is important to know how to create a good first impression. In essence, we only get given one chance at doing so, and unfortunately there are no reverses or going backs. So make your first impression count!!!

This is your opportunity to attract the right attention, and sets the foundation for any relationship that is formed between you and your potential employer.

Your cover letter brings your CV to life, almost like the icing on top of the cake. This personalised written document that is sent alongside your CV, will explain your credentials and your interests in the relevant open position. A good cover letter alongside a strong CV can go a long way to ensuring you obtain an interview, and highlights the fact that you are the right person for the role.

With any document, having a clear structure is important. It allows your reader to follow your thought process, and highlights that you know the job you want and that you are the right person for the role. Developing a strategic framework for your cover letter will keep your cover letter relevant and to the point. Here I will provide you with a basic guideline on how you can do this;

  • Introduction
  • Why the company?
  • Why the role?
  • Why me?
  • Conclusion

Introduction

Address the letter to a named person if possible. Make the person who reads it feel special, by addressing it to them personally and not making it seem that your application is being sent out to 10 other companies. To find out their name, research your target organisation until you have the name and gender of the person who will be reading your application.

However, this may not always be possible, so you may have to rely on a generic greeting.

Sir/Madam will be the most appropriate in this case.

Provide a brief introduction stating what you’re applying for and when you are looking to start.
“I am applying for the TV and radio summer internship position at the firm starting in the summer of 2013”.

 

Why the company

Here you can include your knowledge of the company you are applying to. Focus on their ethos, reputation, and any corporate social responsibility they are involved in (charity work). Make sure you show to them in your cover letter what attracted you to applying for a role at their firm. Try not to give them a generic answer, and dig deeper to find out something that differentiates the company from the competition.

Why the role

You need to provide evidence of the role, understanding of the role you are applying for, and how you fit the criteria required. You can talk about why you have decided to apply for that role specifically, and how you will benefit from the opportunity. Focus on why you feel you are most suited to that role with regards to your academic strengths. An example of this is that a trader is expected to be highly numerate, so you would aim to highlight your strength in mathematics. You can also relate certain skills that you have, to the job you are applying for.

Why me

Once again, sell yourself!

Why should the company hire you ahead of the thousands of applicants for the same role?

What can you bring to the company that will interest them?

Will your future work colleagues enjoy sitting next to you for ten hours a day?

Is there more to you than just a strong academic background?

Make sure your answers are tailored to each role you apply for. A cover letter for an opportunity at a media company will be different to the cover letter for an accounting firm. Don’t make the mistake of having a ‘one size fits all’ cover letter because experienced recruiters can read right through it. 

The main aim is to reflect your personality and how that goes hand in hand with the ‘personality’ of the company. Use key words which help to imply how you are as a person. For example talking about a particular piece of group research you conducted with your class mates at university tells the reader you are analytical and a team player.
 

Conclusion

Mention when you would be available for an interview, thanking the employer and telling them you wish to hear from them soon. End with yours sincerely if the persons name is not known and with Yours Faithfully if you know the name of the person you are sending the letter to.

The art of passing exams

Examinations alongside interviews can be two of the most daunting experiences one can go through. The ability to be able to handle pressure applying your knowledge of a particular subject, especially within a given time limit is vital. When this important factor isn’t taken into consideration, it can be the main reason for people not to do as well as they hoped for – alongside a lack of preparation. I will begin to share my personal top tips which I consistently used throughout my years of education.
 
Lecture notes/seminars

The key here is making sure you are fully prepared! Ensure you have gone through the lecture notes provided (more than once), and produce further detailed notes alongside this. The reason for this is because the lecture slides can be extremely vague and may only enable you to obtain a bare pass. However, the people that do well are the people that dig deeper into the topic at hand.  You want to be able to impress you’re teacher with your answers, and going past the bare minimum is a good way of starting. With this in mind, work through any seminar questions or case studies, not just focusing on the first ones on the sheet, but challenging yourself by working through the harder questions, as these are the ones that are more likely to appear in the exam.
 
Past exam papers

Put yourself under exam conditions when attempting these past exam papers, doing as many as possible. This will enable you to become familiar with the different types of questions that could potentially come up in the exam. This method is also a good benchmark which can show you how well you would do in the exam at that point in time, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses. At this point, you’ll be able to address your “problem areas” before the actual exam.

Always take your answers to your teacher/lecturer to ensure you are answering the question correctly, and also obtain tips from them on how to answer the question at a higher standard. Never be content with anything less than 100%
 
Exam rota

Having a detailed exam rota is essential, and if you stick to it, you’ll grasp the concept of effective time management. Effective time management will allow you to assign specific time slots to subjects as per their importance. Focusing your attention on modules which you aren’t as confident in, will eventually increase your ability to perform at a standard above which you thought wasn’t achievable. Once you maintain the discipline you will not shy away from the challenging modules, as you force yourself to revise the topics. A common misconception made by some of my colleagues is to just focus on your strengths to “beef up” your weaknesses. This technique is dangerous, the reason being that if you don’t do as well as you would have hoped in these modules, it may end up being a disappointing exam period.
 
Time your paper

This one is quite self explanatory. Weight the amount of time you spend in the exam in relation to the amount of marks available to the question. It’s easy to lose focus and spend half the time on a 10 mark question, leaving yourself rushed to pick up the rest of the 90 marks. Before starting the exam write any relevant notes/formulae and check the mark structure of the exam. This will help you build a mental plan of the best way to tackle the exam. One thing that helped me here was having a watch on my desk to help me keep track of the time.
 
Tutor

During my time at university, I had a part time job at Tesco. The income I received here primarily went on two things; my driving lessons and getting a tutor when it came to exam time. I felt that this was crucial to consolidate and re-enforce what I had been taught.

It’s also easier for a tutor with a greater wealth of experience to go that extra mile to give you more than just a standard answer to a question. The short term pain I had to endure doesn’t compare to the long term gain- achieving a 1st class degree that can’t be taken away from me.

Tutoring students from Key Stage 1 up to and including University level is something which my colleagues and I have enjoyed doing. Covering a range of subjects, we essentially get to witness outstanding results; hence this continues to encourage us all. We have been able to celebrate with our students, after intensive revision and exam preparation, so they can all achieve the results they deserve.
 
For any further advice on anything shared above, or would like to find out a bit more about the tutoring, feel free to send me an email; Joshua.bright@live.co.uk