Making it in digital marketing without a marketing degree

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Hear top tips from Creative Writing graduate, Hannah Tomaszewski about how she got into Digital Marketing, took a risk and followed her heart to career satisfaction!

Hannah TomaszewskiHow I managed to land my dream job in digital marketing with no relevant degree and very little experience!

I graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in the summer of 2016 with a 2:1 Degree in Creative Writing and not much clue as to what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to write but couldn’t seem to figure out what route to go down. When I eventually researched marketing jobs and realised it sounded perfect for me, there was one problem – I didn’t have a marketing degree. In a world where most graduate jobs seem to require at least 2 years’ experience, it seemed impossible. Here’s how I beat the odds and managed to bag a job I’d only ever dreamed of.

What do you do and how did you end up there?

I work as a Digital Marketing Strategist for Bigfoot Digital, an award winning SEO Barnsley Agency. Worried about my lack of experience, after graduating and moving to Chesterfield, I pestered a local marketing agency to let me learn from them in exchange for witty jokes and sarcastic comments. I ended up doing some work experience with them for a month trying to soak up as much knowledge as I could. When I left, I was certain Marketing was the career for me but decided to take a break and worked in a castle hotel in Northumberland for a year – a hilariously odd yet fun experience.

I ended up back in Chesterfield and working in a marketing job that wasn’t what I thought it would be. The job was much more analysis based than advertised and I’m not ashamed to admit I was bored, uninspired and felt like I was sinking. I lasted 4 months until I took a risk, handed in my notice and left with no job lined up. I was told I was being naïve, that any job was better than none, but I followed my gut and, as I walked out on my final day, knew I’d made the right decision. I fired off what felt like millions of applications and, two weeks later, started at Bigfoot. The rest, as they say, is history!

What does an average day at work look like for you?

The thing I love most about my job is that no two days are the same. Although I mainly write content and blog posts for the website, it’s interesting to learn about the more technical aspects of digital marketing and how everyone’s roles interlink and fit together. Our office at Bigfoot is super relaxed and there’s often a background of Spice Girls to get you through the day. My colleagues all have different degrees and experience but we all share a common talent for all things marketing related and help each other out no matter what. I’m so lucky that I get to work with a load of like-minded people who genuinely get on, love their jobs and, most importantly, have a laugh!

My top tips:

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others:

It’s human nature to pit yourself against your peers, especially in a creative industry where everything is so subjective. In my office, everyone’s writing approach and styles are so different that it’s completely pointless to try and compare techniques and, often, while you’re busy being jealous of their talent, they’re thinking the same about yours.

  1. Think about what makes you different:

While I was at university, everyone was writing about serious topics while I dedicated my time to writing chick-lit, simply because I enjoyed it more! At the time, I worried that people would perceive me in a certain way, however I’ve since learnt that you should always play to your strengths. I’m proud to be individual and wrote my cover letter for my current job in my own humorous and informal voice – this is what made my boss hire me as I stood out from everyone else!

  1. Try not to panic and don’t give up.

I often still remind myself of this! The world of graduate jobs is extremely daunting! Always remember that you’re still young and no employer should expect you to know everything. When I left my previous job, I felt entirely lost and hopeless, but just weeks later I felt like a completely different person. There are great companies are out there – you’ve just got to find one!

  1. Be brave and have confidence in your own abilities:

In my first Graduate role, I shied away from speaking up and found it embarrassing to admit if I didn’t understand a task. In my team at Bigfoot, our mantra is ‘there are no stupid questions’ and it’s along these lines that I now try to live my life. Don’t be ashamed to admit if you don’t yet know something, everyone starts somewhere!

If you’re looking for marketing work experience, we’re always looking for talented individuals to join our ever-growing team so get in contact with us today!

 

Insight into publishing, my student perspective

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Kate Whittle, a first year BA English student at SHU recently attended an ‘Insight into Publishing’ event, run by Hachette UK, the UK’s most diversified trade publishing group.

“What are you doing at University?”, I sometimes get asked. Getting the most out of it, or at least trying to!

As a first-year student I initially felt a little out of my depth, I’d gotten up at half past four and travelled down to London for nine. I arrived at Carmelite House and thought “what am I doing here?”

Navigating the way to Hachette

However, within five minutes of being there I’d got a coffee in hand, a biscuit in the other and was making my way towards a table of smiling faces. Hachette UK put all the students into groups of about 8-10 to a table with a brief on it for a book, my table got the genre of ‘cookery books’ and so we had to brainstorm and work together to create a plan. This was so that throughout the day we could slowly work up a brief presentation where we attempt to sell our ‘book’ to the publishing house. This meant that everyone had to be friendly and work together to produce an original and interesting brief, they were some incredibly interesting people who I worked with and I honestly felt I learnt so much just from my table.

The day was split up by different talks from the different departments within the company, they had a director, Martin Neild who came and gave us an over view of the company and re-assured us that the book is definitely not dead! I think this causes a lot of people to not go into the industry and therefore they wanted to calm our fears and really get us enthusiastic about it. This was followed by some more senior staff who covered everything from production, to marketing, sales, publicity and so much more. To me the most striking thing about the day was just how broad the term ‘publishing’ is, it’s not just an editor and publicist doing all the work!

For example, Sarah Clay, the special sales person form Hodder & Stoughton made me realise that there is a lot more to getting the books on the shelfs past just writing and creating the physical book. She goes out to the major supermarkets, to the major bookstores, anywhere they think a book will sell. Her job role is to be enthusiastic and exited about why they would want this book in their stores, she said “it requires a lot of creative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit”. This made me realise I don’t have to use my love of books in a typical sense, I could use that love and enthusiasm to get other people into books!

Publishers names on wall by the lifts

Over all it was a truck load of information crammed into a 9-hour day. I left feeling a little overwhelmed but even more in love with books and the English language than before, I honestly think the day on a whole was a must for anyone who is even considering a job leading from English or to English. Its not just about the specifics of publishing but also the general knowledge and confidence you get from doing something out of your comfort zone, such as travelling to London alone and talking to people much older and much more experienced than yourself.

Hachette UK is an incredible company that provides opportunities to those attempting to get into the industry. The ‘Inside story’ event was perfect for me as a student to go and get a better idea of what it actually meant to go into Publishing and I wholeheartedly recommend it to any who can spare the day.

Insight into publishing

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Post by Laura Kerley, Employability Adviser for Humanities

I recently attended an ‘Insight into Publishing’ event, run by Hachette UK, the UK’s most diversified trade publishing group. The Hachette UK group includes many autonomous publishing companies, whilst providing some group level support. This combination of big and small proved a fascinating context to gain insight into the publishing industry.

Over the course of the day 60 students from across the UK heard from people working in a range of roles at Hachette and beyond. Speakers ranged from the very experienced (eg. the founder of inclusivity focused Dialogue Books ; and the literary agent of best seller ‘Girl on a Train’), to more recent graduates. But it wasn’t all chalk and talk. In groups, students were given a book genre and in between talks were set tasks to ultimately “create” a book and pitch it at the end of the day. This wasn’t as scary as it may sound – see our very own student view of the day from first year SHU English student, Kate Whittle. The day was rounded off nicely with drinks, socialising and a chance to get CV advice, with quite a backdrop view from the rooftop terrace!

Some key (and sometimes surprising) points about the publishing industry

  • It is thriving and the book isn’t dead!
  • There is an exciting array of roles available that are open to graduates from any subject. Although editing is critical (and popular), think beyond this to lesser known roles such as Design, Production, Rights&Licensing, Sales, Marketing&Publicity, Distribution and Finance.
  • There can be chances to work internationally, particularly in Sales and Rights&Licensing.
  • Competing for the ‘leisure pound’ with giants such as Amazon has led the industry to speed up, with distribution working at a particularly high pace.
  • There is no set path into the publishing industry. You can certainly spot some patterns (see tips below), but many atypical paths exist. One example is an Animation graduate turned Digital Marketing Manager with a background mainly in music promotion. Another is the founder of a Dialogue Books, who got there via bookselling/being a Production Runner/studying Politics&Anthropology as a mature student and more!

Tips to get into publishing

  • Be persistent in trying to get some industry experience via formal work experience/intern schemes and approaching publishers speculatively. However, extended periods of unpaid work experience/shadowing is not expected.
  • Paid work that is particularly valued is book selling and office experience outside the publishing industry. Blogging, using Twitter well and reading industry press are also valued.
  • Have an open mind about which work experience opportunities and entry level roles to go for. The less glamorous sounding will attract less competition and still be very useful experience.
  • Commercial awareness, organisation, team work and communication/negotiation skills are valued for all
  • When applying for opportunities don’t waste too much space telling the publishing company how awesome they are; tell them how you can help them be even more awseome!

 

How to find out more

Start by getting a fuller view of the publishing industry and roles on TARGETjobs; the Publishers Association and Creative Skillset.

Join the Society of Young Publishers (not just for young professionals – student membership is £24/yr); they run great events, an online advice forum, a magazine, a jobs database and more. They have a Northern branch that runs fantastic and reachable events.

Get some industry experience. Hachette UK run a work experience scheme and also Fresh Chapters internships. For other opportunities, follow publishers on Facebook/Twitter (the ‘Publishing’ list on @SHUCareersHums is a good place to start). Try a speculative approach with smaller publishers, including those outside London. For help with finding free accommodation for one week in London, visit the Spare Room Project. There is also help from the Book Trade Charity on offer for people looking to get into the industry.

REMEMBER, you can book an appointment with an Employability Adviser for practical support with job search and applications.

Win £100 to spend on Amazon and help Sheffield Hallam Careers and Employability Service at the same time

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Everyone at Sheffield Hallam Careers and Employability Service needs your feedback to continue to give you excellent careers support. This year we’re taking part in the trendence survey, one of the UK’s largest student surveys, and their reports will tell us how satisfied you are with your careers support and the wider university experience, as well as which employers you aspire to work for. Take the survey and you’ll be giving us valuable feedback.

In return for your help, trendence are giving away…

  • a £100 Amazon gift card (given away every week – 14 to give away!)
  • an iPad Pro (two given away at close of survey)

Click here to enter the competition!

Tell us what you think of your university course, which employers you like, and how you’re feeling about your future career. trendence will continue to use the results to put together research reports to help universities and employers across the UK, so that they know what kind of job you want.

It only takes 15 minutes (and you can take it on your mobile!)

Take the survey now: www.trendence-gradbarometer.co.uk

 

Would you like to know more about trendence? Here’s some extra information: 

The trendence Graduate study is the UK’s most comprehensive piece of research into students’ views on graduate careers and recruitment: over 62,000 UK students took part last year. trendence also powers The Guardian UK 300, so ranking your favourite employers is a great way to influence their status in the publication.  

trendence is an excellent tool for helping students to think about graduate careers: the questions require you to rank employers in a variety of ways, helping you to think laterally about your career options and why you like, or don’t like, certain companies.

Your answers are completely anonymous. You are welcome to read our data protection policy.

trendence abides by all MRS codes, ESOMAR codes and ISO 20252. We are conducting this survey in partnership with your Careers Service.

Everything you need to know before the Hallam Careers Fair

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Post by Sam Burton, BA Journalism student

Sam Burton

Employers from across the nation will be coming to Sheffield Hallam University next week for its first Careers Fair of the academic year.

A great opportunity to meet some leading employers and have a clearer view of what happens after university. To help you prepare Gradtime has all the details, expert tips, and trade secrets you need.

The fair will be at 11am – 3pm on Thursday 26th October. Almost 150 employers will fill several locations across the city campus including: The Careers & Employability Centre, Hallam Hall, Hallam Central, Heartspace, Cantor Building, and Hertha Ayrton Building.

“This will be an amazing chance to find out about a wide range of opportunities,” says Maggie Bamford – employability adviser for Photography, PR, Media and Journalism students. “They will be here to talk about graduate vacancies, placements and internships. You can find out about things you may already be interested in and also opportunities that you didn’t know existed.”

“There will be some recent graduates who were in the same position as you not so long ago, who are now working and can tell you about why they chose those companies and give advice about how to search for jobs and make successful applications.”

On the list of companies to impress at the fair is Asda, Royal Air Force, Citrix, IBM, Royal Mail, and many more organisations from across many industries.

For a full list of the companies attending, as well as directions to the fair click here.

“Build your confidence by speaking to employers who interest you less initially, and then approach your favourites”

According to Prospects.ac.uk, employers are most looking for leadership skills, good communication, planning and research skills, resilience, self-management, team working skills, and work experience.

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“A positive attitude, being polite and a friendly manner, all this and knowing something about the organisation is a huge advantage,” Bamford adds, “employers are interested in students, they are giving up their time and it costs them money to come here, so try to have something interesting to say to them.”

Before coming to the fair, Kent Roach, a careers and employability consultant at Hallam University, said students should “update their CVs and cover letters and prepare their elevator pitch. Just a 30-60 seconds speech on you, your key selling points and the role/sector you are interested in.”

And on the actual day “Present yourself well, dress comfortably but smart and professional. A smile, good eye contact and a hand shake is all you need to introduce yourself to an employer. A good starter is your name, year and subject. Tell them why you might want to work for them. Be ready with your elevator pitch”

If you don’t feel confident about approaching employers “build your confidence by speaking to employers who interest you less initially, and then approach your favourites,” said Bamford, “or attend preparatory events such as ‘I want to be more confident to talk to employers at the careers fairs’.”

You can search for workshops by clicking here.

Disability Confident Employers

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Disability Confident Employer

Sheffield Hallam University is proud to be a Disability Confident employer

Sheffield Hallam’s Careers and Employability Service recognises some of the employers taking action to increase diversity in their workforce

With over 31,000 students Sheffield Hallam University is the 7th largest university in the UK. We have a diverse student population that reflects the make- up of many major cities. It is essential therefore that we encourage employers who make a public commitment to reflect our diverse society in their workforce to attend our recruitment fair. One of these commitments is to the disability-confident-campaign

Ten of our visiting employers have pledged a commitment to their current and potential employees. An example of some pledges include – supporting positive and inclusive recruitment  –  being offered interviews. This is great news to the 12% of Sheffield Hallam students who have a long term medical condition or disability who feel encouraged to apply to such companies.

The ‘disability confident’ employers attending are: 3Squared, Dunelm (Soft Furnishings) Ltd, EY,Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Millbrook Venues, PKF Cooper Parry, QHotels, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – Finance Department, Twinkl Educational Publishing. The Fair Guide for students will identify this charter.

Lisa Cameron from EY explains why it makes business sense for them to reflect and take action to support employees with disabilities.

Employers attending the recruitment Fair on 26th October can find out more about this scheme and others that help promote diversity in employment from the Careers and Employability Service.

Karen Allan, Sheffield Careers and Employability Service 16/10/17

Future Legal Mind Award 2018 Offers £5,000 Top Prize

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​The annual Future Legal Mind Award for undergraduate law students launches this week.

Find out how to enter.

The 4th Future Legal Mind Award opens for entries this week, offering UK law undergraduates the chance to win £5,000 and a valuable work placement.

The award, sponsored by National Accident Helpline, offers the country’s brightest legal minds a head start in the highly competitive legal industry.

Last year’s Future Legal Mind Award winner, Hana Kapadia, said: “Winning the competition will undoubtedly provide a huge boost to my CV, and is a huge aid financially, giving me a sense of security towards funding my studies.

I would definitely recommend entering the Future Legal Mind Award 2018.”

Entrants are required to submit an original essay on a specific subject relevant to today’s legal profession.

This year’s Future Legal Mind essay question is:

“The personal injury legal sector is frequently attacked by government, insurers and media as ambulance-chasing lawyers seeking to promote a compensation culture. What can organisations in the personal injury legal sector do differently in order to dispel the misconceptions and bring integrity back to claiming compensation?”

Essays must be a maximum of 1,300 words, excluding footnotes and a 100-word summary and need to be submitted by January 14th, 2018.

Other previous winners and shortlisted candidates also say the award has enhanced their career prospects and has been great thing to have on their CVs, including 2016 winner Tom Phillips, who said:

“I have no doubt that winning the competition has provided a significant boost to my CV and will ultimately help me to obtain pupillage. I would encourage all law students to enter the Future Legal Mind Award – it is a unique and valuable opportunity.”

Simon Trott, Managing Director of National Accident Helpline and chair of judges for Future Legal Mind Award 2018, said: “At National Accident Helpline, we set standards for our solicitors, and we believe that it is crucial to attract the very best people to the legal sector.

“With that in mind, in 2014 we introduced the annual Future Legal Mind Essay Award, to bring recognition to young legal talent who share our passion for giving customers the best service.

“Our winner is awarded with a financial contribution towards their studies and work experience at one of our high quality legal firms.

“It’s been heartening to see the positive impact the last three years’ awards has had on our winners, and we are excited to be offering this chance to a new group of students for Future Legal Mind Award 2018.”

You can read more about the award, and enter your essay, at: www.national-accident-helpline.co.uk/future-legal-mind

How I won a £160,000 award competition for my graduate employer

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Post by 2015 BA (Hons) Marketing graduate, Liam Soloman (Marketing Executive at lovethesales.com)

Liam Soloman with the award#TEASELONDON was a Twitter competition specifically aimed at UK start-ups for London’s Technology Week. Run by a digital software company Eyetease and partnering company Verifone UK (who creat the digital advertising boards on top of London’s black cabs).

The winner would receive £160,000 worth of advertising on 200 black cabs in London. The challenge, to tweet in the reason why you think Londoner’s need to know about your start-up.

Since finding the competition through social media, I was given the amazing opportunity to come up with an entry for my employer, Lovethesales.com, and submit it through our Twitter page, using the #TEASELONDON.

Step 1 | Research

I dedicated a few hours a week looking into both Eyetease and Verifone UK, searching through press publications, previous campaigns they did with other companies to get as much background information about what they would be looking for and what type of company impressed them.

By taking note of the other entries in the competition, it appeared most start-ups didn’t fully grasp the brief given by Eyetease. Most entries tried to sell their brand, using impressive stats and numbers or pitching why their company were amazing, very much an X Factor style of entry.

Through the research and evaluation of competitor entries, I found that our best chance of winning was not showing how great our company is (which is difficult with only 127 characters) but to try and show how our advertising on their taxis can benefit different demographics on Londoner’s.

Step 2 | Implementation

I came up with a series of situations in the form of pictures, where different types of Londoner’s would need our business (see pictures of entries below). A student needing a laptop but not being able to afford paying fullprice, a mum busy with her kids not having time to go out to shop, or a girl desiring a designer dress in a shop window but finding it to be out of her budget.

In the corner of each picture I put one of Verifone UK’s black cabs with a digital advertising board on top. On the board would be a personalised lovethesale.com ad for each scenario.SLIDE

This was a succinct way of showing how we could be helpful to everyday Londoner’s whilst using an example of what it would actually look like on their black cabs, which no other entry had thought of yet.

Step 3 | Finalists

The entrants were shortlisted to 5 start-ups who would meet with the owner of Eyetease for a 15 min discussion followed by a Q&A.

There was no presentation needed, however I along with my two bosses took the initiative to create a few slides fleshing out the key points as to why we thought Lovethesales.com would work really well with their company, pointing to how we can help Londoner’s “shop more, spend less” (our company slogan).

Eyetease were extremely impressed with our initiative, eagerness and passion for what we do. Along with a few stats on Lovethesales.com’s current progression and a few anecdotes about its inception, we were delighted to be announced at London Technology week as the winners of such a mind boggling prize.

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Step 4 | What’s next?

Over the next few months I will be involved in putting together a 4-week campaign that will run over 200 black cabs in geo-targeted London locations. We expect the competition to increase traffic to the site and dramatically improve our brand awareness.

Being able to take the lead on this crucial campaign was a great feeling and one that I don’t think I would’ve been given working in a large corporate environment. The added bonus of actually winning gives me a fantastic story for my CV and great experience going forward in my future career.

I would highly recommend anyone in their first job to constantly ask their superiors for more responsibility, always be eager to take on new challenges and never be afraid of failing at a task as there is always something to learn from.

Come along and join us for a week of fun events and meet the Careers and Employability Team

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Careers Welcome Week

Monday 19th September – Freebie Fair (The Hubs 1 – 5pm)

We will be at the Students’ Union Freebie fair, so come and see us to find out what we can do for you, from helping you find a part time job to creating a winning CV! And of course pick up some freebies!

Tuesday 20th September – All the Fun of the ‘Careers’ Fair (Hallam Sq 11am – 2pm

Take part in Fairground stall games, win prizes and enter competitions.

Wednesday 21st September – Careers Market Place (Careers & Employability Centre 11am – 2pm)

Come along to our Careers Market place to meet the people that are here to support you during your time at University and see what the Careers & Employability Service has to offer you from your very first day through to graduation! Have a chat and eat some cake!

Thursday 22nd September – Volunteering Fair (The Hubs 1 – 5pm)

We will also be at the Students’ Union Volunteering fair, so come along and meet us to find out how we can support you in finding and gaining volunteering opportunities both in the UK and abroad.

Friday 23rd September – Collegiate Fresher’s Fair (Heart of the Campus 10am – 3pm)

A combination of our events earlier in the week, games, competitions, prizes, cake………….

Everyone loves Coffee, right? Every question is recruitment…

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Coffee

Did you say hello to a stranger today? Despite what ‘the elders’ told you, you’d be surprised how often you are approached by a total unknown and offer an answer either out of human decency or merely because you feel obliged.

It’s pretty difficult to go through a day without somebody asking you a question. Even those who already know you cannot resist. “Hiya?”, “The weather’s not great is it?”. You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m anti-social but believe it or not, I don’t completely avoid interaction!

Every question is a form of recruitment. People want to befriend you, make you see their way of thinking and are prepared to get on board with your thinking and offer conversation. We want to know other people’s opinions and every conversation gives you the chance to take something from it.

Today’s job market is very much the one asking the questions. To give it a personality, the job market would be a cross between the recent EU referendum and Lord Sugar. It seems to know what it wants but gives you the chance to make its mind up. If you’re in it, you do your best to make other people’s minds think that they need you. If you’re not, are you confident enough that you won’t undersell your skills the next time you’re required to prove yourself?

Whether it’s your opinion or someone else’s fact, the next time you make or hear a statement you have the opportunity to;

A) Accept it and move swiftly on.

B) Dissect it and keep your thoughts to yourself.

C) Tolerate it, dissect it, offer your take on it and watch the dust settle.

D) Pretend you’re busy and store it for later!

The sooner you can reflect on your skills the better. Take the time to step out of a situation and see the bigger picture. The simplest of thought processes can often answer someone else’s problems. You can always offer something to someone, it’s knowing what to offer and in what context that’s crucial.

So, why the Coffee question? I task you with walking half a mile from your work place and not running into a coffee shop. Like it or not, coffee now has a way of quietly (in some cases) asserting itself as a constant in our lives. Flavoursome, adaptable, open to change. Solid characteristics with a take it or leave it approach. If you take it, your sold. If you don’t, you can bet your last pound that you will still see its face not too far away from every street corner. Coffee, like or lump it, is always available.

If you take anything from this post, let it be that coffee didn’t give examples of how it prioritises a workload or remains focused whilst using its own initiative. It just gets it! Coffee knows itself to the point where if it had an opinion, then it wouldn’t matter, people would automatically take notice. Be sure of your skills.

What things have you done that someone else might value? How can you recruit people to believe in what you have to offer?

Yes, I’ve posed a lot of questions but the key to success is knowing ‘your’ best answers. I’m yet to meet someone who has the right answer to everything, so be selective about your best qualities and what you can bring to the table. We all have something to offer and a place in society, let coffee be the example! Who knows . . . being sure of your skills and being open to share your success, however small you think it may be, could see you on the right side of the table when Lord Sugar says “you’re hired”.

Post written by James Beighton, Student Employment Co-ordinator at Sheffield Hallam University. For more of his musings, you can connect with James on LinkedIn.