6 Effective Communication Skills To Develop In 2020

Effective communication is one of the most highly sought-after skills. Not only does it allow you to understand other people and situations more fully, but it can also enable you to create more positive conditions for problem-solving and collaboration.

Here are 6 communication skills you need to develop in order to succeed in 2020.

1. Active Listening

Listening is perhaps one of the most important aspects of effective communication.

Truly successful listening is not simply about the mere act of hearing the words being spoken, but of listening with attention and being able to understand what is being communicated. This helps create an environment in which people feel comfortable expressing their ideas and opinions, as well as promoting and building deeper relationships.

Active listening takes practice. Ultimately, it requires you to take time and pay close attention to what the other person is saying. It can also be helpful to repeat back to the person what they have said so that they can see that you have understood them correctly.

Mindtools YouTube channel

2. Pay Attention To Non-Verbal Communication

According to research by Salesforce, about 93% of all communication is non-verbal. Non-verbal communication refers to all wordless signals we make.

From facial expressions to body language, eye contact and even the way we breathe. Tone of voice and attitude are also forms of non-verbal communication.

“Being able to fully understand the non-verbal communication signals of others is an important skill for helping you to connect with other people more meaningfully.

Equally, by understanding your own non-verbal signals, you will be better placed to convey your thoughts and ideas more efficiently to others,” says Dean Hupp, a communication manager at State Of Writing and Essay Services.

8 Examples of types of non-verbal communication

  • Facial expressions
  • Gestures
  • Paralinguistics
  • Body language and posture
  • Proxemics
  • Eye gaze
  • Haptics
  • Appearance

3. Empathize With Others

Empathy is a valuable skill when it comes to developing effective communication. Being able to successfully understand another person’s point of view is essential.

It’s even more important to consider and respect other points of view when they differ from your own. Showing respect to others and actively listening to their opinions will help you to communicate with them more sincerely. 

4. Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

Having good control over your emotions is an important skill to learn to develop.

Developing emotional intelligence takes time, but it is important for allowing you to develop greater self-awareness and self-management. It will also allow you to become more socially aware and therefore improve your relationship management skills.

“By being able to master your emotional intelligence you will be more likely to understand others more effectively. You will also gain better control and awareness of how your non-verbal communication affects the understanding of others and of the messages you are trying to send,” explains Kimberly James, a business writer at Eliteassignmenthelp and Revieweal.

“Ultimately, by developing better emotional intelligence you will be a more effective communicator, be better able to reduce stress and be able to overcome challenges more easily.”

5. Consider Your Tone Of Voice

Tone of voice is part of non-verbal communication and is informed by your emotional intelligence.

Using an appropriate tone of voice and volume for each situation is important for creating the desired mood for a conversation.

When trying to influence and effectively communicate with others, aim to speak calmly, confidently and in a friendly manner. This will help to set a positive tone for the forthcoming discussion and will encourage the person(s) listening to respond in a similar manner.

6. Ask Questions

Using open-ended questions is a successful strategy for encouraging others to talk in greater depth. It also helps the conversation to flow more easily, leading to better outcomes.

Asking probing questions about specific points can be a useful technique when you need more information or more detailed responses. Moreover, asking relevant and insightful questions also shows you are paying attention and have an interest in what is being discussed, helping to foster more positive relationships.

Summary: developing effective communication skills

Effective communication is about ensuring that messages are communicated clearly and concisely.

Prepare your thoughts ahead of time and carefully think about what it is that you want to say.

Try putting yourself in the position of your listeners and prepare for conversations by considering different or potentially negative responses. Remember to actively engage with others by asking questions and listening attentively to their responses. Above all, be open-minded, friendly and approachable.

This is a guest post by Beatrice Potter.

Beatrice Potter is a successful marketing specialist at Paper Fellows and OX Essays. She specializes in supporting clients to build their personal and professional brands, especially in fast-changing markets. Beatrice runs workshops and seminars at Top essay writing services UK, where she helps clients to work on their communication, team management and confidence skills.

7 Tips for Working Remotely

The Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a surge in the number of people working remotely across the globe. It is expected that many employers will allow their staff to continue working from home even after the pandemic has ended. In this post, we will share essential tips for working remotely.

One key concern many have when it comes to working from home is maintaining productivity levels.

#1. Create a workspace 

It may sound simple, but your psychological devotion to work will improve if you have the space to do it. 

Make your workspace ergonomic

Your employer has a legal obligation to protect you from injury while at work.

Therefore, when you are in the office, you will often be provided with a good desk, chair and other equipment to promote good posture.

These measures help to prevent conditions such as repetitive strain injury from forming.

Now that you are working remotely, it is very important that you create a healthy workspace to prevent injury.

Here are some top tips for creating a healthy workspace when working remotely:

  • Ask your employer if you can borrow equipment from the office. You may be able to borrow a desk or office chair if you do not have access to one.
  • Ensure that your back is supported to reduce the risk of developing back pain. Do this by adjusting the height, back position and tilt of your office chair. If you do not have access to an ergonomic office chair, a temporary solution may be to use a back support. Back Care Solutions offers a range of posture supports to attach to your chair.
  • Rest your feet flat on the floor. If necessary, use a footrest. Posturite offer a wide range of footrests and leg rests for use whilst at your desk.
  • Ensure that your computer screen is at eye-level. If you are using a laptop, consider using a laptop stand.
  • Find a location that has good natural lighting during the day. If required, use a desk lamp. The desk lamp by Lumie, helps to treat the symptoms of SAD, whilst boosting concentration.
  • Consider using a standing desk if remaining seated for long periods of time is not ideal. 
  • Avoid screen glare from your desktop. If required, invest in an anti-glare solution.
  • Take regular breaks. If you find it useful, practice The Pomodoro Technique. An app like Focus To-do may help you to take regular breaks and boost your productivity.

Read: The NHS guide to sitting at your desk correctly.

#2. Create and stick to a routine 

Sticking to a routine will benefit both your productivity and mental wellbeing when working remotely or from home.

Ensuring that you set boundaries and schedule in downtime will really help to promote your wellbeing and avoid burnout.

Here are some top tips for creating and sticking to a work routine:

  • Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day. If a traditional alarm clock isn’t effective for you, there are a range of alternatives available. For example, Ruggie is an alarm clock mat that will only switch off after standing on the mat for a minimum of 3 seconds.
  • If you are able to work flexibly, wake up at a time that suits you best. Find out your chronotype and adjust your work schedule accordingly.
  • Once you have your working hours sorted out, you could plan snack and meal preparation. Time is easily wasted when it is lunchtime and you haven’t planned what to eat. Have a sufficient break time laid out in the morning and afternoon, it is good for you!  
  • Get dressed every day! When working remotely, it can be tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day. However, getting dressed for the day every morning will help your to maintain your routine. If you want to wear something more comfortable, purchase a few loungewear items! Retailers including Boohoo, ASOS, Missguided and Pretty little thing are offering a range of loungewear items.
Image Credit: Ekaterina Bolovtsosa

For the sake of good mental health, don’t spend all day glued to a screen. If you live with somebody else try and do something together, even if it just going for a walk. Doing so will help to reduce feelings of isolation or loneliness.

#3. Ensure you exercise 

Of all the tips for working remotely, this is amongst the most important.

The lockdown has presented a fantastic opportunity for many people who feel they don’t exercise as they never have time. 

If may think that work commitment has restricted you from exercising, or maybe balancing work with family. Now, whether working from home or elsewhere beyond the office, that has changed. 

Whilst working remotely does mean just that, gone is the time spent on commuting, or perhaps venturing out for food. That lost time is now yours to occupy in a way you see fit.

Work out at home

Joe Wicks has seen an enormous boost in popularity during the lockdown period. Most of his workouts can be done from home.

If you are feeling stressed, consider yoga. Glo is an online yoga platform that offers over 3000 yoga videos online. You could schedule in a yoga session during your lunch break!

Here is an example of a 30 minute home workout session that does not require any additional equipment.

If you would like to advance your home workouts you could invest in equipment such as resistance bands, a yoga mat and weights.

If you still find it difficult to find the time to fit in a workout session whilst working remotely, one tip is to consider getting an under-desk exercise machine. Alternatively, you could try deskercise!

YouTube: Study with Jess

#4. Enjoying video calling 

Although it takes some getting used to, many a workday will now consist of conference calls. Try and turn on the video for a call, even if you don’t like showing yourself.

YouTube: Tina Young

It can feel a bit awkward at first speaking with headphones on to several people all on your screen at once. But make an effort to overcommunicate! Talk about your opinion on a matter, what you have been up to, what challenges you in lockdown.

Proving that you can cope with working from home is a strong statement. Ensure if you meet new people that you connect to them via LinkedIn. Even lockdown has proved a good time to network!

Being positive and displaying this attitude is what people want to see. Be it the rest of your team, a recruiter, your friends. 

It can be initially very difficult getting used to the lockdown. The lack of face-to-face interaction with your colleagues is testing. So make sure you chat to people as much as you can, especially if not work-related!

To enjoy video calling and make the most of it, make sure you have an excellent setup:

#5. Look at courses 

Another blessing of the lockdown is the time afforded that you previously didn’t have. If you are job hunting or looking ahead to the end of university this is definitely important. 

At university, there is understandably rather a lot of distraction in between set work. But in lockdown, you can use the time to potentially improve your CV ahead of other graduates. 

Are you are interested in digital account management, SEO or digital marketing? We here at Graduate Coach offer several courses and seminars in these career markets. Technology and digital work is becoming increasingly popular in the graduate world and is well worth considering. 

Need other suggestions? Think about tools that employers like to see. Microsoft Office is an expected criterion for many employers. Yet many courses at university don’t give you much variety involving Microsoft Office. Look at websites such as Udemy, where there are excellent courses on Excel. 

Alternatively, you could enrol in a programme such as Jolt. Jolt is for startup employees, freelancers, entrepreneurs, team leaders and more who would like to brush up their skills in:

  • Management and leadership
  • Marketing, sales and customer services
  • personal skills and self-development
  • product management
  • Data
  • Finance

#6. Keep up your favourite tips for working remotely

The lockdown working life can’t last forever. Eventually, many remote workers will be recalled on a full-time basis to the office. 

But just because this happens, don’t forget the best remote job tips you discovered. If you develop a good routine, try and transition that the best way possible to office life. 

If you feel yourself feeling mentally stronger after exercising, keep it up! Try not to revert to old habits you left behind before lockdown. Remembering your progress and ensuring it continues is as important as implementing it to begin with.  

If you missed the workplace buzz, then going back is something to look forward to. But it doesn’t mean you need to drop everything you started doing if it was beneficial! 

#7. Avoid social media 

A big tendency of people who are meant to be working is to be distracted by your phone. It is all too easy to flit through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at the touch of a button. 

Consider uninstalling the applications off your phone, it will no doubt save you many pointless distractions.

Try to remember that during working hours, you should work! TV and social media can wait!

We hope that you found this blog post on tips for working remotely helpful in any small way. Although these are strange times, and quite daunting, they also present a lot of opportunities. 

It might not seem like it now, but once you commit to bettering yourself you will see the difference. 

Even if you aren’t sure any of this will help, try the first step of creating a workspace. Notice the difference, then move on to the next step. 

If you have any questions or need one-to-one tuition, we are here to make a difference and get you a dream job. Check out the rest of our blog on other top tips!

How to Develop a Growth Mindset

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right” –  Henry Ford

Ford is right, we are the ones who determine whether or not we are successful through how committed we are to the idea that we can succeed. Those who believe they cannot do something will not prevail.

We can apply what Ford says to the job market as thousands of eager students prepare to dive headfirst into an increasingly uncertain and congested market.

All graduates will be desperate to convey as many of their talents and natural aptitudes to their potential employers and this is behind their success in the past and will be so in the future.

Whilst many graduate CVs will go into great detail about their organic abilities and how they have honed in on their God-given talents over their life, it is equally important to emphasise your ability to adapt and grow in order to learn any new skills.

By nurturing this ‘Growth Mindset’ you can bring success by constantly looking to improve your abilities and not relying on what aptitudes you already have to succeed.

By showing your capability to grow and thrive off challenges, employers will recognise this yearn for constant improvement and place you ahead of those who work with what is called a ‘Fixed Mindset’.

What exactly is a Growth Mindset?

Photo by meo from Pexels

The idea of the Growth Mindset was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University.

Dweck has spent many years exploring the psychology of success and how motivation, personality and development are integral to this success.

The theory suggests that there are two distinct types of human mindset which can be used to explain our approach to challenges and indeed failure:

1. A Fixed Mindset – This mindset adheres to the belief that our skills come from an innate ability to perform certain tasks.

This mindset, therefore, will view failure as an inevitability as you believe you simply do not possess the skills required to be successful.

Dweck described the goal of the Fixed Mindset individual is to “look smart all the time and never look dumb”.

2. A Growth Mindset – In contrast, a Growth Mindset is based on the individual believing that they can acquire the necessary skills required for a particular task through determination and hard work.

Possessing a growth mentality hinges on the belief that the brain is not fixed and it can continually learn to grow.  

A more detailed exploration of Dweck’s theory explains her belief in the benefits of possessing a Growth Mindset.

What do you need to have a Growth Mindset?

1. Effort – When a student with a Fixed Mindset is confronted with a difficult task, that student may consciously put in less effort because they believe they lack the inherent skills to be able to do it.

Whereas an individual with a growth mentality will acknowledge that in order to overcome the difficulty of the task, a greater level of effort needs to be applied for you to be able to master it.

If you are struggling to put in the effort at home then stick to this seven-step guide to help you study effectively at home.

2. Positivity – A lot of the Growth mindset can be down to your attitude. Not being overly self-critical and being optimistic in your approach can help to obtain this positivity.

Keeping positive whilst searching for your graduate career is a necessity as you are very likely to experience rejection in your pursuit of employment.

It is natural to feel these post-interview blues, and here is how can remain positive in the face of being rebuffed for a job.

3. Courage – The ability to actually face these challenges with confidence is key to being able to have a Growth Mindset.

The challenge of getting a graduate job at the minute is undoubtedly tough and one that requires this outrageousness.

Here are ten essential tips on how to get a graduate job in the current climate.   

Do you Have a Growth Mindset?

If you are wondering on which side of the fence you are currently sat with regards to your mindset.

You should consider what you perceive your skills and talents to be, and most importantly think how you would react to difficult challenges.

The London Academy of IT’s interactive quiz can help you to realise the type of mindset you currently have, and what elements of your attitude to work you need to improve the most

7 Ways to Develop your Growth Mindset

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

1. Learn how to Learn – There is nothing that cannot be learned through dedicated long hours of learning.

The time needed to be spent on mastering a subject varies from the traditional view of 10,000 hours to a more modern view of just 20 hours.

Whilst the length of time may be in dispute, there is no disputing that in order to properly learn something you need to devote a significant amount of time to it. Moreover, developing a technique that suits your learning is key to developing your Growth Mindset.

The Seven Learning Styles show that there is no singular method for your learning and it is certainly never too late to learn how to learn.

2. Focus on your effort, not your ability – Don’t bathe in the glories of your own ability, instead reflect on your success by focusing on the effort you have put into achieving it.

The more you begin to count on your own ability to succeed, the less effort you will begin to apply to your work. Don’t just believe in your ability but believe that your ability can always be enhanced by effort.

3. Use Constructive Criticism to your Advantage – This is perhaps the most overused piece of advice when it comes to bettering yourself, but there is a reason for that.

Being able to respond to criticism and use it to make yourself better can aid in your development of a Growth Mindset. The more criticism you listen to and take on board, the greater chance you have to improve yourself.

Opening yourself up to other people’s ideas and advice will help your mindset to grow.

4. Learn from other people’s mistakes – Likewise, listening to where others have gone wrong and heeding their advice can help you to improve by knowing what you should avoid.

5. Value the experience over the result – Those with a Fixed Mindset will avoid trying to learn something if that means they can avoid failure. The Growth Mindset thrives off the idea of a challenge and views failure as simply a launching pad for you to grow your learning.

Learning by doing even if it leads to failure is much more beneficial to your skills than believing your ingrained abilities mean you will never be able to accomplish something outside of your normal talents.

You should always emphasise the growth enabled by the experience of your work over the speed you are doing it at.

Being a fast learner can be a good trait but it can mean you don’t have the in-depth knowledge of someone who has really learned something in great detail.

6. Don’t be Complacent – Even if you think you have really begun to excel at a certain subject/skill, you shouldn’t start to think you have mastered it too soon.

You should constantly create new goals to allow you to improve yourself in a measurable fashion. Those who are successful never allow themselves to become complacent, they are instead constantly developing themselves and their ability to adapt.

7. Cultivate Grit – This is perhaps the most important step towards creating that Growth Mindset.

This is because putting in the effort is the biggest factor behind what we achieve as it prevents us from quitting when things are difficult and thus relying on our Fixed Mindset of skills. Here are five specific ways to cultivate your grit further.  

How will a Growth Mindset help you to secure a graduate job?

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

Being able to demonstrate to a potential employer that you possess a Growth Mindset and you are able to apply it to your work, will stand you in great stead when it comes to job interviews.

Spending an interview listing off your many varied natural skills may sound impressive, but to be able to signify that you are constantly looking to improve yourself and expand your abilities will be far more impressive.

Indicating to an employer that you have that restless will to succeed and better yourself is exactly what employers will want to see in a graduate.

Someone who rocks up to work every day whilst believing they can rest on their laurels and rely on their natural ability to carry them through any obstacles that may surface compares unfavourably with those who believe that hard work and effort override natural ability when it comes to success.

You may never have been the sharpest tool in the box, but by allowing yourself to continuously grow your mind in the pursuit of achieving, will demonstrate the kind of willingness to learn and improve that will be incredibly appealing to employers.

So when you come to writing your CV or being interviewed, you should consider just how much of a Growth Mindset you currently hold.

Summary: How to Develop a Growth Mindset

We hope you’ve enjoyed this post on how to develop a growth mindset!

By analysing your own psychological approach to how you work and adopting this mindset it will enable you to have a career where you are always striving towards greater levels of success.

The trait of being fervently keen to learn is far greater than any trait we believe comes naturally to us.

If you’re a graduate who is finding it difficult to find a graduate job, contact us for some one-to-one coaching.

Written by Paddy Drew

8 Steps to Write a Successful Email to Your Potential Employer

Are you feeling a bit of “email anxiety” when thinking about emailing our potential employer?

Yep, ”email anxiety” is a real thing

The main reason behind it is the uncertainty about the response. 

“Will they see my email?” 

“Will the employer respond at all?”

“Is this the right position for my career?”

That’s why writing and sending a cold email to an employer is a common scenario for email anxiety. 

It shouldn’t be that way, though. 

First and foremost, you’re doing the right thing. Email is the best way to deliver a personalized, professional message that makes you stand out in a pool of candidates. 

Second, by emailing potential employers, you’re expanding your range of choices. This means making a step in the right direction to making better career choices. 

If you need help writing that email, we’ve got you covered. Below, find eight steps on how to write a compelling and personalized email (or LinkedIn InMail) to your dream employer. 

Step 1: Research the Position 

Okay, here, your academic research skills can really shine. 

Before you start writing the email, you need to know how to personalise it.

Email personalisation shows you’ve taken the time to research the position well and tailored your outreach. That’s a great sign for employers.

Besides, it might help you find the signs of a great company while you’re at it. 

So, here’s how to do it right.

As always, start by researching useful info to mention in your letter. Keep in mind that the job description isn’t the only place to get it. 

Let’s suppose you’re considering writing an email about this developer position at Google. 

Okay, so the qualifications and responsibilities are clear…

Hold on a sec. You’re not sure about some terms in the description…

“Google Stadia” is one of them. Even if you already know something about it, you need to know the latest news about the folks who work on it. 

Make a simple search to get them (sometimes the best things are simple). 

For example, in just a few clicks, I found Stadia’s blog for developers with lots of great info.

So, again, make sure to research the position. 

This way, you can find something to mention in your letter and make it more compelling for employers. 

Read: Small and Mighty Ways to Ge Employer’s Attention

Step 2: Write an Interesting Subject Line

“An inquiry?” – not engaging.

“I’m interested in your job opportunity?” – too general. 

When writing a subject line for your email, consider the following tips:

  • Use the findings from company research. Include a project a company is working for or mention a specific need of the company, e.g. “I’d like to contribute to [Project name]”
  • Provide value. What would provide that additional motivation for an employer to open your email? What makes you a great asset? A specific skill? Experience? Even basic value-adding phrases like “Content manager, interested in helping your content team” is totally fine to mention
  • Get personal. This means including the name of the recipient in the subject line.

Step 3: Use Appropriate Tone and Language

This one can be a little tricky.

The formal tone and language is the best bet in most cases. However, some companies prefer to communicate more casually, and even look for the same in candidates.

The ultimate choice depends on what you find during company/position research. 

For example, if you find that the job description is written in a formal tone and the recruiter’s LinkedIn post activity suggests the same, chances are you can write to them in a conversational tone. 

The critical thing is to be super respectful and friendly, regardless of the tone and language. 

Pro tip! While studying at university, many students adopt a very wordy academic style. While it’s great for essays and research papers, it’s not exactly the best idea for an email to an employer. 

The problems with the academic style include passive voice overuse, long words, unnecessarily complicated phrasing, and others. 

These won’t impress the person reading your email, so try to:

  • use more active voice, e.g. “I completed this” instead of “This was completed by me”
  • don’t be afraid to use “I” more often. While commonly discouraged in the academic writing style, “I” could help you to turn passive sentences into active
  • avoid industry buzzwords. This is a good idea even if the employer understands them because if you’re a fresh graduate, you might not completely understand what you’re talking about. 

Step 4: Mention the Position You’re Applying for

Can you tell what’s wrong with this letter?

“Dear Mr. Thompson,I’m glad to learn that your company has recently opened new positions in the marketing department. I’m writing to apply and would be grateful if you would consider my candidacy.  The prospect of joining the department would be an exciting challenge.”

What do you think?

While the content is quite okay, the sender hasn’t mentioned the job they’ve applied to. This leaves the employer guessing. 

The lack of details can discourage them from reading the CV altogether. So, please make sure to include the official title of the position to avoid having your CV ignored.

Step 5: Explain Why You’re a Great Fit

This is the most important thing to include after the short intro. 

Basically, you need to answer these questions:

  • “Do I need the eligibility criteria?”
  • “Do I have any additional relevant experiences?”

To give a potential employer a quick overview of your education, qualifications and experience without having too many details, try including the most relevant info.

If you were applying for a marketing-related position, for example, try mentioning:

  • your educational degree
  • foreign language skills
  • relevant internships
  • online courses
  • accomplishments. 

Try limiting this section to 4-5 sentences to the easiest reading experience. 

Step 6: Invite to Open Your CV

It goes without saying that your outreach email should contain the CV as an attached file. A bad application email never tries to convince the reader to open it. 

Feel free to use these call to actions to invite the recruiter to check out your CV:

  • “My CV is attached for your review”
  • “I’m enclosing my CV so you could review my experience”
  • “Please feel free to review my attached CV for additional information regarding my experience and qualifications
  • “Attached is my CV, which contains details about my qualifications and experience.”

Important! Don’t include any other documents besides the CV. Let them read it and then provide more information if requested. 

Read: Courses That Make your CV Stand out From the Crowd

Step 7: Let Them Know About the Follow-Up [Optional]

If the employer doesn’t respond in a week or so, feel free to send them a follow-up email. However, you should mention this in your first message.

You can do so with a sentence like this:

“I will follow up next week to verify the receipt of this letter.”

Including a notification about the follow-up is a common practice and a good opportunity to contact the employer once again. That’s why set up a reminder on your smartphone so you don’t forget about it, just in case. 

Read: Following Up After a Job Interview [4 Steps]

Step 8: Run a Quick Grammar Check

It’s very easy to make silly mistakes that can ruin your chances to get a job. So, to be on the safe side, use an online grammar checker. 

Tools like Grammarly, for example, check for grammar, tone, and spelling mistakes and give recommendations to avoid passive voice. 

Checking your email may take a few minutes but make a difference for your image as a candidate. 

A Successful Email for a Potential Employer: Summary

If you write a relevant, personalized, and to-the-point email, there’s no reason for “email anxiety.” The employer will notice that you did your homework and spent time researching their company’s needs. 

The tips above suggest the following email structure:

  • Greet the recipient
  • Identify the position you’re applying for
  • Give a concise overview of your education and qualifications to explain why you’re a great fit for the position
  • Have a call to action inviting the recipient to take a look at your attached CV
  • Let them know about a follow-up.

Of course, don’t forget to research the company and the position to know which skills and qualifications are the most relevant for the employer. 

Good luck!

Author’s bio. Daniela McVicker is a career and business communication coach, helping future job applicants to write business emails to help them achieve success on their career paths. She is also a contributor to Topwritersreview and Essayguard.

25 and no career path: Transform your career prospects

So you’ve turned 25 and you feel as though your career hasn’t gone in the direction you’d hoped. 

Perhaps you feel like you are stuck in a dead-end job or maybe you haven’t been able to secure yourself a graduate-level role as yet, despite graduating a few years ago. 

Whatever the case may be, there’s hope. With the right help and professional careers advice, you can transform your career prospects at 25.

In this post, we will provide some actionable tips on what to do if you are 25 years old and need some career direction and guidance.

All is not lost, career success is not a linear trajectory

Before we share our tips, we’d like to reassure you that your career path is not a straight line. Whilst you may feel that by 25 you should have your career path sussed out, this is not realistic for everyone. 

Throughout your career, you will experience many highs and lows. Your career path is essentially a journey of personal growth and self-discovery. It is also a journey that is completely unique to you. 

Right now, at 25, you might be reflecting on your career so far and feel as though you have nothing to show. But give it 5 years or so and this stage of your life will make much more sense. 

How we navigate the low points in our careers builds our character, resilience and self-motivation. 

The fact that you typed “25 and no career path” into Google to find this post shows that you want more from your career and are determined to be the best you can be. 

So without further ado, here are some top tips if you are 25 and are unsure of your career path and prospects.

#1: Reflect positively on your life experiences so far 

Right now, perhaps you’re stuck in a rut and spend a lot of time thinking about how successful you should be by now. 

This way of thinking isn’t helpful. It won’t help you to progress. 

Instead, reflect on everything you have done so far in your 25 years. 

Think about your:

  • Education. What did you study at university? Was there a part of your degree you enjoyed the most? What did you hate? Which skills did you learn at university?

  • Extracurricular activities. It might seem like a while ago now, but what else did you do at university? Did you run a society? Fundraise? Play sports? These activities helped you to develop your soft skills more than you might realise.

  • Employment. Did you do any internships or placements at university? Did you enjoy them? What did you dislike? Since graduating, have you had any jobs? Reflect on all of the skills you have developed so far. 

Use the STAR method to give an example of how you have developed your skills so far. This will help you to conduct a self-assessment of your competencies and level of employability.

STAR interview technique

#2: Get some professional careers advice from a graduate coach 

A graduate coach specialises in helping graduates to successfully navigate their early careers and to lay the foundations for a highly successful career. 

Getting expert advice will help you to discover your career path, understand the job market, and ultimately help you to land a good job. 

You might feel apprehensive about hiring a graduate coach to help you. But think of it this way – if you wanted to get really good at swimming, you’d get a swimming coach. If you wanted to learn how to drive, you’d get a driving instructor.

This is no different. If you want to land your dream job and thrive in your career, invest in expert help. 

As you progress through your career, you will quickly realise that coaching and mentoring will play a huge role in your career development. 

Here at Graduate Coach, we have helped hundreds of graduates who came to us feeling lost, confused and even depressed about their career situation. 

Through our rigorous coaching programme, we have helped them to transform their career prospects and get their career on the right track.  

Career coaching case study:

We recently helped a 25-year-old who graduated from Leeds University with a BSc in Geology/Earth sciences. He came to us after working at a supermarket for over two years for professional advice on how to get a graduate-level job.

We enrolled him on our six-stage one-to-one coaching programme. On the program, we discovered his aptitude for a career in digital marketing and helped him to become highly employable in this field. Then created his achievement-based CV and taught him how to perform highly in interviews. 

He is now gainfully employed and thriving at a leading digital marketing agency in London in a programmatic display role. 

Find out more about our coaching successes here.  

If you are 25 and feel completely lost with your career direction do not hesitate to contact us. Regardless of what you studied, how much work experience you have or how long ago you graduated, we can help. 

Alongside coaching, we also offer self-help career books and online courses

25 and no career path

#3: Upskill 

We can’t emphasise enough how important your skills are. If you have a good degree, that it great, but won’t impress graduate recruiters and employers. They are looking for work-ready graduates who will add value to the company. 

Make some time to develop your skills. One way to do this is to take online courses and to work on personal projects. 

Here are some platforms for developing your skills online: 

Online courses are a great way to take control of your own personal development. It is a good idea to focus on developing tech, digital and IT skills as there is an increasing demand for digitally-skilled graduates. 

It is really important that you understand the demands of the graduate job market and ensure that you have desirable traits, skills and competencies. This will help you to become much more employable. 

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

#4: Consider your career options 

Even though you are 25, you still have several different career options available to you. Remember, people, change careers at all ages and stages of their careers. 

You could:

  • Apply for a structured graduate scheme 
  • Get a good graduate-level job 
  • Complete a graduate training program 
  • Do a paid internship to gain more experience
  • Look into Graduate apprenticeships 

Before deciding on changing careers, adopt an open-minded approach and consider all of the career options available to you carefully. 


#5: Leverage the experiences you have gained so far

Now that you are 25, you have probably had a few jobs (even if they have been part-time). You have probably also gained some life experience from travelling, socialising and pursuing hobbies. 

These experiences combined have shaped you into the person you are today. Employers are interested in hiring people that will fit into the company and make an impact. 

Having these experiences will help you to stand out in the competitive graduate job market. 

#6: Improve your interview technique 

Regardless of which career path you choose, you’ll need to master the art of interviewing.

Knowing how to interview really well, will open up several doors for you to secure opportunities that will help you to advance throughout your career. 

Many people experience anxiety and fear when it comes to interviews. This usually hinders people’s ability to perform well. 

There are two main ways to improve your interviewing skills. The first is to learn from failing several interviews and learning from your mistakes and feedback. The second way is to get interview coaching to learn how to succeed in any type of interview. 

#7: Build your network 

Sounds cliche, but your network is your net worth. 

If you are looking to change your career at 25, you’ll benefit from having a network of professionals that can help you to find opportunities and share with you what they wish they knew when they were 25. 

Take action: 

  • Optimise your LinkedIn profile
  • Expand your network on LinkedIn 
  • Reach out to family and friends and stay connected
  • Connect with alumni from your university
25 and no career path
Photo by The Coach Space from Pexels

25 and no career path: Transform your career prospects: summary  

It is really common for people to reach 25 and to reflect deeply on what they have achieved so far in their lives. Careers play a big part in everyone’s lives, therefore, if you don’t feel as though you have achieved in your career as yet, it can be concerning. 

However, you still have plenty of time to transform your career prospects and land a career that will fulfil you and your career aspirations. 

Don’t lose hope or motivation. Get the right help and be proactive as you strive towards landing your dream job. 


Is it too late to start a career at 25?

Absolutely not. At 25, you will know yourself better and have a deeper understanding of what your interests and aspirations are.

Leverage these insights to launch your career in your mid-twenties. Remember, people, change careers at many different ages and stages throughout their career. There is no “prescribed career path” your career journey is unique to you. So it doesn’t matter if you start your career at 15, 25 or beyond. 

How improving your sleep can boost your career

Could a great night’s sleep be the key to nailing that job interview or securing a promotion? Phil Lawlor, a Sleep Expert with mattress specialist Dormeo, certainly thinks so. In this article, Phil explains why good sleep hygiene is fundamental to career success and shares a few tips on how you can wake up refreshed and ready to face the day. 

We all know that we feel much more energetic after a solid night’s sleep. But, did you know that getting enough rest every night could be the key to career success? According to a study carried out by researchers at UC San Diego and published on the Sleep Doctor, participants who increased their sleep by just one hour each night enjoyed salary increases of 16% — a pay increase that would usually require over a year of education or training to achieve. So, it’s not just about the hours you put in at work: prioritising your sleep can have a big impact on your performance, too.  

Here, I’ll outline how healthy sleeping habits can help boost your performance in your new role or during job interviews, as well as share my top tips for getting better rest. 

The benefits of quality sleep  

But first, what’s the science behind our sleep, and how can it help you to perform better during interviews or at work? Getting the right amount of sleep has four main effects on our brains: 

  • It boosts memory and recall skills: Quality sleep is essential for memory consolidation because it helps our brains to store and organise information. So, if you need to memorise lots of answers for an important interview, be sure you’re not skipping valuable sleep to do so. 
  • It improves judgement: It’s easier to make rational and logical decisions when you’re well-rested. This is especially important during those crucial early years of your career, when you need to be able to think on your feet during graduate job interviews, or when you’re trying to stand out in your role to land your first promotion.
  • It makes it easier to concentrate: According to a UCLA study, our brain cells communicate less effectively when we’re sleep deprived. That’s why concentrating on a complicated task seems so much harder when you’ve had a late night. 
  • It boosts your mood: As anyone who’s ever been a bit grumpy before their morning coffee will know, feeling well-rested can help you to have a positive attitude and outlook in the workplace, which is something that employers will be on the lookout for during placements and grad schemes.

To sum it up, sleep pays dividends in the workplace, because a well-rested brain is more productive, alert, and focused. So, it really is essential that you’re taking the necessary steps to achieve a healthy sleep pattern. 

woman sleeping in a bed
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

How to optimise your sleep habits to boost your career

Whether you’re a recent graduate hunting for a job, or you want to succeed in a new role, good sleep hygiene can help boost your chances of career success. Here, I’ve shared five things that you can do to improve your sleep habits.

Aim for 7–9 hours a night 

First things first: you need to try to make the time for the right quantity of sleep. The Sleep Council recommends that adults get around 7–9 hours per night. Generally speaking, younger people need more sleep than older age groups, so don’t be surprised if you need closer to 8 or 9 hours to feel well-rested. 

That said, we’re all individuals, so listen to your body. If you feel energetic and well-rested with just 6 hours every night, and struggle to sleep in longer than this, there’s no point stressing yourself out trying to get an extra hour so you can hit the ‘ideal’ amount each night. 

Stick to a sleep schedule 

Once you’ve worked out how much sleep you actually need, set a time for going to bed and waking up each day — and be strict with yourself about sticking to it. This trains our brains to feel sleepy at the same time every evening, allowing you to drift off quickly and stay soundly asleep through the night. Plus, sticking to a consistent sleep schedule will make it much easier to wake up early, meaning you’ll feel bright and refreshed in the morning, rather than tired and groggy. 

If you’ve spent the last few years at uni sleeping in late, pulling all-nighters in the library, and partying a little more than you should have, suddenly shifting your body clock to meet the demands of a 9–5 job can seem like a tall order. But learning to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day is perhaps the most important thing we can do to improve our sleep hygiene. So, while it might be tough at first, being strict about going to bed at the same time every night will soon start to pay off. 

Create a bedtime routine 

If you’re finding it difficult to drift off at your appointed bedtime, you may need to think about what you’re doing in the hour or so before you go to sleep. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine — and sticking to it — will help to train your brain to switch off at the same time each evening. So, find something you can do to get yourself ready for bed each evening, like reading a book with a cup of herbal tea, taking a hot shower or bath, or even doing some gentle yoga before bed. 

herbal tea with a lemon slice
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

Perfect your sleeping environment 

The ideal sleeping environment is dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable, so make sure your bedroom is optimised for a great night’s rest. Outside light — either from streetlights or the sun during the summer months — can seriously disrupt our body clocks, so it’s well worth getting some blackout blinds or curtains fitted to create a perfectly dark environment. If you’re in rental accommodation and that’s not possible, try using a good quality sleep mask, instead. Ideally, the temperature should be 16–18°C, so open a window or use a fan if it’s a bit warm.

You’ll also need to make sure your mattress and pillow provides enough support to keep the spine in alignment. If you’re stuck with an old, lumpy mattress in your rental, adding a mattress topper can be a simple yet cost-effective solution that won’t damage your deposit. 

Banish blue light before bed 

Most of us are glued to our devices 24/7 these days — it’s pretty much a fact of modern life. But, electronics like phones, TVs and laptops all emit a form of bright blue artificial light that can be very disruptive to our sleep. This is because the LEDs used in screens imitate bright natural daylight, which confuses our body clocks and interferes with our natural circadian rhythm — even after we’ve turned our devices off.

The easiest way to counter this is to ditch your devices in the hour or so before bed. So, if your usual bedtime ritual involves bingeing Netflix or scrolling on your phone until you fall asleep, consider swapping them for a screen-free activity, like reading a book, or doing some meditation. If this isn’t always an option for you, you could also consider buying blue-light filtering glasses or installing apps that reduce the glare from your phone or laptop screen. This way, you can still use your devices to prep for a big day (or finish one last episode of your favourite show) without it taking a toll on your sleep. 

While getting 8 hours of sleep is unlikely to result in an instant pay rise overnight, there’s certainly a lot of evidence to suggest that a healthy sleep pattern can give you the best possible chance of doing well in your career. So, take my tips on board and you’ll be ready to impress at an interview or in your new role. 

12 Tips for working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak

As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, Boris Johnson has advised the British public to work from home, in a bid to contain the Coronavirus outbreak.

It is hoped that working from home will slow down the spread of COVID-19 through employees gathering in offices and on public transport. 

Whilst working from home definitely has some benefits, if you will be working from home for the first time due to the Coronavirus, there are some things that you need to take into consideration. 

In this post, we will share top tips on working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak. These tips will help you to maintain your productivity and to keep up your spirits!

1. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time

When working from home, it can be really tempting to stay up later than normal and to have a lay-in in the morning. 

However, it’s a good idea to stick to your normal sleep pattern when working from home. 

This is because if you deviate from your normal routine, you may start to feel tired during the day. Feeling tired will hinder you from functioning as normal and you may be tempted to take an afternoon nap on the sofa! This will have a negative impact on your productivity. 

For more advice on getting a good night’s sleep, read this post by The Sleep Foundation sharing healthy sleep tips.

Tip: Set a bedtime alarm on your phone that repeats every evening at the same time.  

2. Get dressed in the morning 

When working from home, it can be really tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day. 

Whilst your morning routine won’t need to be as elaborate as if you were going into the office, it is important to get washed and dressed. 

Doing so will help to improve your state of mind and psychologically prepare you for your day of work. 

Tip: Once you have finished working, change again into your house clothes or PJs. 

3. Stick to your normal working hours 

Maintaining a work-life balance is very important for your mental well-being, especially when you are working from home. 

Some people struggle to maintain their productivity when they are at home, and end up working past their normal working hours. 

Take on board all the tips in this post to boost your productivity when working from home, and set boundaries with your working hours. 

Also, it is a good idea to structure your day like you would if you were in the office. Not doing this could reduce your focus levels or result in you burning out. 

Plan out your day in advance, stay on schedule and take breaks regularly throughout the day. 

Tip: Whilst working remotely, don’t forget to communicate any issues with your workload to your team. 

4. Take your lunch break at the same time as your colleagues

It is a good idea for your team to take their lunch break at the same time when working from home. Doing this helps to maximise the amount of time that all team members are available for collaboration and communication. 

Boris Johnson announced that whilst restaurants will be closed, in an attempt to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, restaurants can still offer delivery services. Deliveroo has implemented its safe place drop-off service to avoid contact with delivery drivers.

Tip: If you use software such as Slack, you can switch your status to “lunch” so that everyone knows that you are having your lunch break. 

5. Create a comfortable workspace or home office 

The idea of working from the sofa sounds great, however, doing so could reduce your productivity levels. 

Tips for setting up a temporary office space at home: 

  • Ensure that you have a comfortable desk and chair, with available plug sockets. 
  • Pick an area of your house that is well lit and free from distractions 
  • Keep your workspace decluttered and clean 
  • Ensure that your workspace has a strong wifi connection

Also, ensure that your workspace at home is as ergonomic as possible to reduce back pain and posture problems. 

  • If you can, adjust your chair height so that you can use your keyboard and mouse whilst keeping your wrists and forearms straight. 
  • Rest your feet flat on the floor or use a footrest at a level that is comfortable for you. 
  • Place the screen of your computer directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away, with the top of the screen roughly at eye-level. 

Tip: For more advice read this post on how to sit at your desk correctly

working from home

6. Ask senior members of your team to share their tips on working from home 

If you will be working from home for the first time, it is a good idea to ask some of the senior members of your team and organisation to share some tips and advice. 

Write a list of questions and any concerns and ask the senior members of your team to share their insights. 

You may want to ask:

  • How will your development be tracked whilst you are working from home.
  • If they have any tips on staying connected with the team and working collaboratively remotely. 
  • How they maintain client communications when they are out of the office.  
  • What tips they have for remaining proactive and taking on new responsibilities whilst working remotely.  

Tip: Ask them to share their insights in a weekly newsletter or via Slack so that your colleagues can also benefit. 

7. Ensure that you will have access to the internet at all times 

Having a poor internet connection when working from home could have a severe impact on your productivity. 

You may need to contact your internet provider to see if they can do anything to speed up your internet speed. 

Also, bear in mind that as a result of the coronavirus and people working from home and with children staying at home the internet could be affected. 

Tip: As a backup, if your internet goes down, you could consider temporarily using your personal hotspot on your phone to connect to the internet on your desktop to continue working. However, this will use up your data. 

8. Get familiar with using remote software 

Many companies have started using software to facilitate remote working. 

Some examples might include Slack, Trello, G Suite and Zoom. 

If you find yourself struggling with technology, do not hesitate to speak with someone from your IT department or ask a colleague for help.

Tip: If this is the case for you, take some time to familiarise yourself with the software. There will be several informative video tutorials on YouTube.

9. Tell your family members that you are working from home 

As schools and nurseries have been ordered to close due to the coronavirus, you may find yourself working from home whilst looking after children, or you may get distracted by other members in your household. 

Let your family members know when you will be working so that they don’t distract you throughout the day. 

Tip: if you have video or telephone calls scheduled throughout the day, make sure that any children in your household are with another responsible adult, to avoid distractions. 

10. Do a workout at home 

The public has been advised to stay at home. However, for your physical and mental wellbeing, it is a good idea to get some exercise. 

During your breaks, get up, walk around and do a few stretches. 

Once you have finished working for the day, you could do a workout at home for 30-60 minutes. 

As well as ensuring that you get some physical exercise daily, be sure to eat healthily, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and reduce your stress levels.

Here is a useful article by the Mental Health Foundation on looking after your mental health while working during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Tip: If you have a garden, spend a few minutes walking around in the garden to get some fresh air. 

11. Stay connected with family, friends and colleagues 

It is common to feel quite lonely when working from home and as many of your family, friends and co-workers will be staying at home you may begin to feel a bit isolated. 

To stay connected, maintain good communication with your team, have frequent meetings via video calls and keep in contact with your friends after work. 

12. Stay updated but don’t get distracted by the Coronavirus news 

News about the global pandemic has taken over the news and social media. 

Whilst it is important to stay informed with the latest news and updates on the Coronavirus outbreak try to limit the number of times you check the news throughout the day. 

Tip: Pick a few credible sources to get your Coronavirus updates from such as the NHS and the World Health Organisation. 

We hope that this post has been useful for you if you will be working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak! The spread of COVIS-19 has resulted in many of us making drastic changes to our daily lives, however, this too will pass! 

If you are considering finding a new job, be sure to check out our post on searching for a job during the Coronavirus outbreak and do not hesitate to contact us here at Graduate Coach for help.  

11 Networking Event Tips For Students

It can be daunting to dive headfirst into networking events when you’re a student, especially if you haven’t had much experience. There are very few students who have a natural ability to network, but with the right preparation and practice, anybody can learn the skills required to boost your profile at the right occasions which, in turn, can be an invaluable aid when it comes to job searching during and after your degree.

A staggering 60% of respondents to a recent American survey had referred a friend or contact to their current employers, with 35% of those surveyed having received their current job through their professional or personal network. Fortunately, we’re on hand in order to provide some basic networking event tips for students to help you start networking like a pro at career fairs, insight days, and other social gatherings, throughout your academic career and beyond

Networking can often feel like a dirty word, and studies have shown that people often consider themselves to have been ‘dirtied’ by engaging in it, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Rather than it being a means to an end, consider networking as a valuable experience in and of itself. Not only do you get to meet people who have interesting and varied life experiences from whom you can learn a great deal, but it’s also an opportunity to practice vital soft skills during your student years which can make all the difference once you start attending job interviews. 

So, without further ado, here are our 11 networking event tips for students:

1. Treat every event as a networking event.

From lectures and seminars to meals and parties, every instance where you spend time with other students or have the opportunity to meet new people is a perfect time to practice your networking skills.

 Remember that the first steps of networking as a student is purely to meet new contacts. You never know which of your fellow students are going to go on and excel in a field that you find fascinating, nor which of your lecturers have had experiences from which you can learn. Once you understand that anybody can be a useful addition to your network, meeting people changes from a chore to an opportunity. 

The vast majority of people spend most of their time at events talking to people they already know, even if they go with the explicit intention of meeting new people, so if you’re able to make even one new contact at every event you attend, your network will grow at an exponential rate.

2. Practice and preparation prevents piss poor performance.

Although it sounds like a cliché, it’s worth practising your soft skills with friends, family, or even in front of the mirror! 

Small details like a friendly demeanour, maintaining eye contact, and a firm handshake can make all the difference to those vital first impressions according to Psychology Today.  Practising these can help you figure out where you can improve. Although social skills are widely considered to be innate, with enough practice and preparation anybody can become a master at leaving a great first impression.  

Signing up for our interview coaching sessions will not only help you to nail the art and the science of interviews. They have been designed to teach you how to present yourself in a professional manner, which will come in handy when you attend networking events. Our interview coaching is suitable for students who are keen to get a job before graduation, ambitious graduates and career changers. 

3. Keep your online profile up to date.

As we all know, a huge amount of our social lives is conducted through the prism of social media. There’s no point in cultivating excellent networks of professionals and students alike if you don’t have the online profile to back up your face-to-face skills. 

Whilst obviously an up-to-date LinkedIn profile is very important for professional connections, it is vital to cultivate a professional social media personality overall. 

Check out our blog posts on how to make recruiter-friendly social media profiles and how to boost your online profile.  These are excellent resources if you’re unsure where to start.

networking event tips for students

4. Be genuine, be yourself.

One of the words that comes up the most when discussing networking is ‘inauthenticity.’ 

Many people assume that the best approach to meeting people is to take the scattergun approach – littering networking events with business cards and trying to reach as many people as possible. But the truth is that one authentic connection is worth twenty inauthentic ones. 

As mentioned above, focus on making one genuine connection at each event rather than making as many connections as possible.

Once you’ve met a few people, your social network will start to snowball as your connections can introduce you to others, and vouch for you. Those who attempt to meet twenty people in one night will often end up not growing their network at all.

5. Don’t hard sell – student networking is for the long run.

Too often, students assume that networking is about getting your name out there, proving your ability, and showcasing your talents to recruiters. 

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Networking as a student is about long term investment in people who can help you grow as an individual, and who may be able to help you with your career later in life.

Most importantly, networking is an opportunity to listen to others. Not only do people love talking about themselves (who doesn’t?) but listening is the only way you can learn. From conversations over coffee with professors or industry specialists to casual hangouts with fellow students, remember the old maxim that you have two ears and one mouth, so ensure that you listen twice as much as you talk.

6. Don’t pass up opportunities to build skills.

University is an excellent time to build up a variety of skills. Whilst your studies should obviously come first, it would be a shame to miss out on the plethora of options for cultivating your skills and hobbies.

Join any and all clubs and societies that interest you, from having a kick-about with a 5-a-side team to joining the model UN, the wide array of different societies provide you with an opportunity to network amongst people who have similar interests to you. 

Furthermore, whilst at university, you have a golden chance to apply for summer internships which can help you gain those professional contacts which are so vital for after your studies.

7. Go to networking events.

Whilst this may sound like a no-brainer, universities host excellent career-oriented networking events where you will have the chance to meet with some of the brightest minds and leading lights, and plenty of recruiters, in more-or-less any industry of your choice. 

Whilst the vast majority of your networking will take place outside of these specialised events, once you’re confident in your abilities these events can be a gold mine for growing your network, especially with an eye to your time post-university.

Many students are unaware of this, but recruiters build up a pipeline of students who they deem suitable for their graduate schemes and jobs.

In order to achieve this, recruiters engage with students in many different ways including: 

  • Being active on social media, particularly on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Visiting universities to give talks and attending career fairs on campus. 
  • Hosting events at their offices such as open days and insight evenings 
  • Hosting webinars online

Whilst you are at university, it is wise to take every opportunity you can to engage with graduate recruiters and your future potential employers.

A great networking event tip for students and graduates who are hoping to land a graduate job is to give employers your contact information. Once they have your email address and add you to their talent pool, they’ll keep you up to date with opportunities such as internships, placements and graduate roles.

Companies that advertise networking event opportunities for students

  • Bright Network. Bright Network has partnered with 300+ top employers who hire graduates every year. They host several events each year that give students and graduates the opportunity to network with employers. Check out the Bright Network events page, and consider becoming a Bright Network member. Also, read their post on how to network at careers fairs.

  • PwC student careers. PwC is one of the top graduate employers. They regularly host events to help students and graduates to make informed career decisions. They hold networking events in their offices nationwide, virtually via webinars, and on campus. Even if you do not wish to pursue a career in the professional services sector, the advice and tips you’ll get from their recruiters will be useful. Check out PwC’s networking events for students.

8. Reach out

Do not be afraid to contact people who you haven’t met yet would like to speak to. Many professors and industry specialists are more than happy to make the time to go for a coffee to talk to you about their experiences, especially if you offer to buy the drinks!

Prepare some questions about their company and experiences before meeting up with them, but don’t be afraid to go off-script and ask them to elaborate on details that interest you. Remember to apply the other tips from this list, in maintaining a strong first impression and listening more than talking. 

9. Follow up.

Once you have met somebody, either at an event or after reaching out to them, it is vitally important to send follow-up messages to maintain your connection with them. A simple email to thank them for their time, along with a little bit about what you learnt from spending time with them, can make all the difference to how your contacts think about you, and how willing they will be to share their knowledge and experiences with you further down the line.

Top networking event tip for students: Be sure to maintain the relationships that you have gained through networking. Follow them on social media and send them a message every now and again to see how they are doing. 

 10. Use university career resources.

Universities career centres can be useful for figuring out what kind of career you would like once you finish. Make it a priority to visit the career centre at your university and talk to those who work there as soon as possible.

Expanding your network to the support staff, especially in the career centre, can offer you an invaluable resource for when you start applying for jobs in your last year.

You may even be able to network with some of your university’s alumni, who may work in the industries or companies you are interested in. 

11. Give a speech.

For those of you who are less socially confident, a great way to push yourself and learn how to better engage with people is to really put yourself out there and offer to give a speech or talk at an event. 

Not only is it a fantastic opportunity to make yourself known to a bunch of new people, but it can help you build the skills required to then have those follow-up coffees with the key individuals who you’d like to add to your ever-growing network. Trust me, once you’ve given a speech to 100 people, it’s never quite as daunting to have a one-on-one!

If you are interested in developing your public speaking skills, check out Toastmasters International. By joining your local Toastmasters community, you’ll gain the opportunity to develop your public speaking and communication skills in a friendly and non-judgmental environment. 

Man holding mic

Networking event tips for students: Summary. 

We hope that you have found our post about networking tips for students useful. If you are hoping to land a graduate-level job, it is important that you network as much as possible. 

It’s not just about who you know in life, but more about who you get to know! So be proactive, and seek out networking opportunities whilst you are a university student. 

If you enjoyed this post on networking event tips for students, you may also be interested in this post about completing an internship whilst you are at university. In this post, we collaborated with Springpod to bring you some expert insights.  

Before you go, be sure to check out The Student Book. It was written by the founder of Graduate Coach and contains everything you need to know to get the job you really want! 

From dead-end job to living your dream

With over 60% of each waking day spent at work, can you afford to feel stuck in a boring, dead-end job? It can be demoralising when a job that once sounded so promising hasn’t turned out the way you wanted, leaving you feeling uninspired and unmotivated. You may be tempted to chuck it all in and run off into the sunset – but let’s not be hasty. There are plenty of things you can do to re-ignite the fire in your belly and make positive changes to your professional life. But it does take a bit of work. 

Are you ready? Then let’s take a look at your options!

➡️Editor’s note: we collaborated with HR professional and independent writer Dakota Murphey to put together this post.

1. Redefining your role

When you’re unhappy, stuck in a rut at work, you do have a choice. Should you look for another job or change careers completely? Or could you redefine your current role with your current employer? It may be worth being completely honest with your boss and see whether any alternative arrangements can be made to accommodate your changing needs and ambitions.

If you choose this approach, make sure you are well prepared so that you appear credible, solutions-focused and, ultimately, employable – no-one likes a moaner. Do your homework and work out what energises and drives you, and what your best skills are, and try to weave them into your work as much as possible. That way, you have relevant proof and experience that you can ask to be formally incorporated into your current role, or a new, more suitable role created for you. Go on, what have you got to lose?

2. Learning a new skill

If you’re getting stale at work, maybe the dissatisfaction comes from the fact that you can do the job standing on your head, with no challenges left and no company training in the pipeline that would help you progress. Your line manager should be your first port of call to see if your employer is willing to invest in training or coaching you to help you become a more valuable asset to the company, and with better prospects.

But even if professional training is not readily available, you can still learn a new skill. The downside is that this will have to be done in your own time (and with your own money) but, on the upside, you can choose freely how you wish to develop. You might choose to pursue a professional qualification in your chosen field, go back to university (many UK universities now offer online degrees), sign up to a presentation skills workshop or a digital marketing course. Investing in your own professional development can be a powerful agent for change that will allow you to progress.

3. Working with a mentor,  life coach or career coach

Sometimes, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees or to know where to begin first. That’s where coaching can be immensely helpful. Unlike specialist careers advisers who can provide a list of suitable career options following qualification, or detailed information packages on various career paths, a life coach can help you understand yourself from a psychological perspective. “Our approach is to help you explore and discover, through facilitating your own innate sense of what will work best for you. That way, we can help people find the career that is truly made for them,” advises Maggie Morrow from KlearMinds, an experienced life coach in Central London.

A strategy to change your career path is often not sufficient to change deeply ingrained habits, behaviours and thought patterns. But with support from someone who can help you shift your perceptions and perspective, it is possible to make positive changes and progress in the direction that is right for you.

If you are feeling as though you are stuck in a dead-end job and would like to change your career path or role you could look into hiring a career coach.

A career coach will help you to assess your skillset, interests and aspirations to help you to get a job that is in alignment with what you would like to achieve in your life.

Here at Graduate Coach, we help students, graduates and career changers to ultimately get their dream job and thrive in their new roles. We achieve this by offering one-to-one career coaching, interview coaching and workshops

Many of the graduates we coach come to us after not being able to secure a graduate-level job and as a result, are underemployed. They often feel as though they are stuck in a dead-end job with little or no room for progression. If you are in this position, do not hesitate to contact us.

4. Have a career break

Are you fed up to the back teeth, stuck on a hamster wheel, stressed and burnt out? When did you last properly relax or take some time off? We all need a break sometimes and when anxiety and stress take their toll, one of the first positive changes you can make is to admit to yourself that life is getting on top of you, and to have an extended break.

Long-term unhappiness with a career is often caused by a fundamental conflict between personal values and organisational goals. This can be a particular problem in historically vocational roles such as medicine and teaching where professionals are being asked to add a managerial priority to their already demanding workload. 

Many people feel the need to get away, putting distance between themselves and their unsatisfactory career situation. Taking a long holiday, a sabbatical, or a complete career break can be a great way to reflect on your professional life and your personal priorities, enabling you to gain a new perspective.

career break

5. Start a side hustle

Finally, the concept of a ‘side hustle’ is now gaining a foothold in the UK as well as in the US – and it’s an option that deserves serious consideration if you feel as though you are stuck in a dead-end job. As a combination of a hobby and extra money-earner that you do in your spare time, a side hustle has many benefits. The most important one is that it can strengthen how satisfied you feel at work, by doing something much more meaningful and completely different from your day job when you get home.

Best of all, if you pour your passion into your side hustle, the venture may grow and become commercially successful, allowing you to quit your regular job altogether. And if you’re sceptical about this prospect, be reminded that Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Yankee Candle are just some of today’s hugely successful global businesses that started out as a side hustle.

Thanks for taking the time to read our post! If you feel as though you are stuck in a dead-end job and not meeting your full career potential, we urge you to take action sooner rather than later.

Author Bio:

Dakota Murphey has more than a decade of experience in a range of HR and Marketing roles. Since becoming a full-time mum, she enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge through her writing and connecting with like-minded professionals. Follow her on Twitter: @Dakota_Murphey