Advice to graduates…..

Having attended the University of Manchester’s Computer Science Jobs Fair this year a number of students have asked for advice as an experienced Talent Acquisition Manager in a high-tech market on how to make their profiles and CV’s stand out in the sea of graduate applications. Throughout my years of working in recruitment I’ve worked with high calibre candidates of all levels from stand-out student and graduate placements to c-level executives, so I thought I’d write a quick blog that might be helpful to graduates applying or preparing to apply for their first roles.

The first thing I want to say is “Congratulations!”. You’ve successfully completed several years of intense education in a competitive market and have demonstrated the intelligence and tenacity needed to succeed. So, how do you stand out as a superstar in the making amongst your fellow graduates and career hunters?

Network, network, network: this is important on two fronts. Attending relevant events and getting to know people in your chosen industry will put you on their radar. Secondly when you add these events, seminars etc. onto your CV it shows you are a proactive networker and potential ambassador for your prospective employer. You don’t have to list all the events you attend, something like “always learning latest industry news and trends by attending tech-based networking events around Manchester” and maybe give a few examples. Websites like http://www.meetup.com are great for events in your local area.

Personal Projects / own websites / blogs: this is one of the most important things that I look out for on a graduate CV, especially on the technical / marketing side. This is your chance to show off your unique skills and what you can do to help convince me (or any Talent Manager) to pick up the phone and want to speak with you. This is even more important when you don’t have a wealth of work experience, so please, make sure you put your best work on display and be proud of it!

GitHub / Stack Overflow Accounts: this is a must for tech graduates, make sure you are active on these types of sites, have sample code on their, get involved with conversations. GitHub: https://github.com/ Stack Overflow: https://stackoverflow.com/

A picture speaks a thousand words: far too often to highly skilled graduates fail to clearly articulate their unique value because they use far too many words or dilute the impact with unnecessary buzz words / phrases. Keep your CV sharp and easy to read. Where possible, could you replace a list of bullet points with an eye pleasing timeline image, detailing your key achievements and skills learnt during your education. Or pie-charts showing how you split your time between tech-research, coding, and testing. It certainly makes it easier to read and stand out from the crowd.

LinkedIn: Your profile should always be up to date and be easily digestible, highlighting your key skills and biggest achievements. For completeness add a professional picture, and ensure there are references from respected people who have worked with you on projects, fellow students, tutors etc. Have links to your own websites, even add your CV and media to your account. Make connections to people you meet at the aforementioned networking events, connect with people at companies you’d like to work for and when you have researched what they do, contact them and reference what you have found and why you would like to find out more about life at their company.

Internships: a lot of companies are open to people interning at their companies. A number of years ago a junior android developer came to me for help, he was struggling to get his foot through the door when applying for developer roles, he had the intelligence but unfortunately no work experience. So, I put him in touch with one of my clients who saw his potential and one month after joining as an intern they offered a permanent full-time position. An internship might not lead to a job but it’s experience you can add to your CV and relationships you can build for the future.

To me, that is what makes a graduate CV stand out. Show you are passionate and proud of what you do, be proactive, and get yourself out there! Please do drop me an email if you’d like any advice around the above topic, always happy to help.

Mind, body and soul!

So in my previous post I spoke about the list of things I am working on to make me a healthier, happier Gemma.

I have nailed the new job part! The second part is my health, I am so naughty when it comes to going to the gym, or eating more healthy and being mindful! It’s so easy just to be lazy and eat rubbish food.

Here’s a list of things I promised myself I am going to stick to moving forward:

  • Going to classes at the gym & starting my running again. I hate the gym, think this is more due to the fact that I don’t know what I am doing in there, So thought classes are the way forward and running I can do outside of the gym.
  • Eating healthy, cutting out all of the snacks and bad stodgy food that I eat. Not going to deprive myself but I do need to start eating healthier.
  • Mindfulness each night, listening to inspiring Ted Talks, having time for me.

I have also started reading some really great magazines Breathe and Happinez they both have some fantastic articles in them around creating the life you want, being healthy and happy.

So here is the next step on my path to happiness!

G x

THE LIST: Looking after me!

Do you find that it’s so much easier to look after and love other people rather than look after and love yourself? Recently I have been trying to really take the time to look after me as I realised the only person who can make your life better is YOU! Nobody else will or can do it for you.
So in true Gemma style I wrote a list (love a list), a list of all the big things I wanted to change and make better to in turn make myself feel better and most positive. Then broke that list down into smaller things that I can do to reach my goals.

So I thought today I’d write about the thing that was top of the list: My Job.

For years I have worked in a number of jobs that I hated, I felt like I’d become slightly lost in the world of work and thought it was about time to take the bull by the horns and move into a role I enjoyed.

I started by updating my CV, going to networking events, meeting new people, writing my blog, putting some time into me and what I wanted from work. I applied for roles via job boards and spoke to a few recruiters really put myself out there to find something new and exciting, you know what……I did it!

I am now working in a role I LOVE, I don’t have “the dread” or that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach every morning when I wake up. It’s an amazing feeling.

Now I look back at the jobs I have had over the last four years, I actually learnt some amazing skills and met some fantastic people along the way.

So now I am grateful for those days because without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. Also, without the things I have done to get here I wouldn’t be here today so I am also grateful for ME.

There are a lot more things on the list and I will make sure I post about the changes I am making in my life and how everything goes. I am sure there will be ups and downs, things will go right, things will go wrong but as long as I have my goals I’ll get there! 🙂

G x

P.S. Let me know in the comments if you have decided to make changes to you life and how you went about it!

 

Apple WWDC – The Big Reveal

On Monday night I attended the Apple WWDC event held by Dreamr at Rise Manchester. As a non-comital Apple  fan (I do own a MAC and an iPhone) I was interested to see what Apple would be releasing in terms of new  products etc, also as someone not massively technical in terms of coding I also find these events a good way to  learn and expand on my tech knowledge.

The event started with an awesome panel debate with some fantastic panelists, Jack Barmby, CEO  of GnattaRenate Kalnina, CEO & Founder of Gratuu, Adam Mitcheson CEO of My2Be, Kate Cocker, Presenter  & Coach and James Heggs, Co-Founder of Clos Consultancy. Hosted by Naomi Timperley

Questions were asked around what the panels relationship was with Apple products, some spoke about how they  had fallen out of love with Apple a bit recently and how they felt they needed to up their game. Others thought that Apple would release something around music in terms of speakers to compete with the likes of Amazon’s Alexa and Googles Home. There was also a lot of input from the audience on how they thought Apple would step it up in terms of their products and offerings. A really fun interactive section of the night!

Following on the debate, we were treated to beer and LOTS of pizza in which we could have a quick catch up following the debate and then it was onto business, the Apple WWDC streamed live from the US.

You can check out all of the announcements here, but here is a brief overview:

A new iPod pro that has a 10.5 inch screen, I’ve never owned an iPad, however this baby does look pretty cool and powerful! iOS 11 will be released providing new features to you iPhones and iPads. There will be a new (and pretty sexy looking) iMac Pro. macOS High Sierra will be released with enhanced features and quicker performance. watchOS 4 will be more intuitive and intelligent. There will also be a new AppStore which is more user friendly and tailored to you. Then came the biggy (drum roll please) the HomePod to rival all other speakers on the market, it will be released in December and of course has the wonderful Siri included.

As I said at the beginning of this blog I am not a developer, however do have a keen interest in digital and tech, so this event and many others I have attended in Manchester are fantastic for people who come from a development or tech background, but also for people like me who want to be up to date with the latest that is going on in the world of technology and in our city. It’s also a good opportunity to see and speak to inspiring people who are building fantastic companies and ideas in the digital and tech space.

Massive thank you to the guys who organised this (and are inspirations themselves) Mylo Kaye, Jack Mason and the team at Dreamr.

Make up bag of a 30 something!

So I thought I’d do a post about what’s in the make up bag of a 30 something. I always enjoy reading blogs, seeing Instagram pages of what other people use so I can try them out. I do have a lot more than this but these are my daily “go to” products.

So for primer I use Nivea Men Post Shave Balm, this product has been all over blog and beauty pages. At first I was a bit wary with it being a product for men BUT it is amazing and actually makes my skin feel nice and fresh as well as helping that foundation to stick.  You can get it from any drugstore and it’s not expensive at all.

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Next up for my foundation I have two products that I love. My friend Claudia recommended the FITme! foundation from Maybelline (in 105 Natural Ivory) as I have quite shiny, oily skin that’s prone to breakouts (yes ladies my skin is still like a teenage girls, not sure if that’s a good or bad thing). This foundation goes on matte and stays on! However I have found now that it’s coming up to summer it’s a little heavy so I have recently switched to Revlon Photoready Airbrush Effect (001 Ivory). It’s quite lightweight and application is really easy!

One of the best items in my beauty bag is the Maybelline Instant Anti-Age Eraser Eye (Light). It’s one of my best ever beauty finds, perfect for dark circle and line cover up. This is constantly in my beauty bag! I also use Revolution Focus & Fix Concealer for any blemishes as it gives a really nice cover up.

For powder I love Liz Earle in Sheer Ivory, helps with the matte look and isn’t heavy. Bronzer I use W7 Honolulu, this was really cheap and can go on a little heavy so I tend to use the brush it comes with and use it more to contour and then blend it in. To highlight I found this little bargain from technic, which highlights without looking to over done!

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Now for the Eyes, I do have the Naked Palette from Urban Decay but my go to eye products for every day are the Terry Ombre Blackstar Colour Fix Cream Eye-shadows. They are divine. I have them in 11 – Beyond Gold (my fave), 5 – Misty Rock, 1 – Bronze Moon and 1 – Black Pearl which I used as an eyeliner for a perfect smokey eye. I use a brush to apply them to get a more defined look. They’re not cheap, but so so worth the money! Mascara I use French Connection black mascara, I love it, one of my fave mascaras I have used, doesn’t clog and you can build it up with a couple of applications.

So there you have it, my day to day go to buys! Let me know if you have used any of these products, or if you have any other recommendations.

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G x

Gin, food and friends…oh my!

So this bank holiday was a very busy but fabulous one! My friend Claudia from London came to visit, we haven’t seen each other for around a year and a half so a catch up and a G&T were long overdue. I’ve really missed her as she is such a positive and encouraging person to be around!

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We got to explore Manchester (something I’ve not had much time to do) and found some awesome places I’d not been to before. I finally explored Beech Road in Chorlton and realised it’s not very far from my house at all, had a good girly shopping spree and then lovely dinner at Australasia and drinks at Cloud23 and to finish the weekend a lovely coffee and stroll in the park.

It’s made me realise that even on your doorstep there are new and exciting things to do, so I’ve decided I am going to try and make sure I experience at least one new “Manchester thing” a week (so any recommendations welcome).

I am terrible for wanting to stay in my PJ’s and catch up on my latest Netflix addiction (which is Riverdale at the moment), it’s fine now and then, but I need to get out and about, meet new people, catch up with old friends, visit places I’ve not been before etc. Life goes by so quickly and there is so much to do and see, I want to see it all (well as much as I physically can).

As someone who moved to London and then to Manchester on my own I find it can be difficult to make friends as an adult in a new city. It can be scary to go outside your comfort zone, but it is 100% worth it. I love meeting new and interesting people and in the famous words of Amelia Earhart “The most effective way to do it, is to do it”.

Have a fab week!

G x

This Is The Place

Due to the terrible and sad events in Manchester yesterday I wasn’t sure what to write in my blog today, everything seemed so trivial. My heart goes out to everyone affected. The vibe in the city was one of sadness, but also of coming together & supporting each other.

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I went to the vigil last night which was beautiful and so lovely to see everyone standing together, also saw Tony Walsh (@LongfellaPoet) read his poem which I think sums it up:

This Is The Place
by Tony Walsh

This is the place

In the north-west of England. It’s ace, it’s the best

And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands

Set the whole planet shaking.

Our inventions are legends. There’s nowt we can’t make, and so we make brilliant music

We make brilliant bands

We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands

And we make things from steel

And we make things from cotton

And we make people laugh, take the mick sommat rotten

And we make you at home

And we make you feel welcome and we make summat happen

And we can’t seem to help it

And if you’re looking from history, then yeah we’ve a wealth

But the Manchester way is to make it yourself.

And make us a record, a new number one

And make us a brew while you’re up, love, go on

And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league

And make us sing louder and make us believe that this is the place that has helped shape the world

And this is the place where a Manchester girl named Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side led a suffragette city with sisterhood pride

And this is the place with appliance of science, we’re on it, atomic, we struck with defiance, and in the face of a challenge, we always stand tall, Mancunians, in union, delievered it all

Such as housing and libraries and health, education and unions and co-ops and first railway stations

So we’re sorry, bear with us, we invented commuters. But we hope you forgive us, we invented computers.

And this is the place Henry Rice strolled with rolls, and we’ve rocked and we’ve rolled with our own northern soul

And so this is the place to do business then dance, where go-getters and goal-setters know they’ve a chance

And this is the place where we first played as kids. And me mum, lived and died here, she loved it, she did.

And this is the place where our folks came to work, where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt and they built us a city, they built us these towns and they coughed on the cobbles to the deafening sound to the steaming machines and the screaming of slaves, they were scheming for greatness, they dreamed to their graves.

And they left us a spirit. They left us a vibe. The Mancunian way to survive and to thrive and to work and to build, to connect, and create and greater ― Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great.

And so this is the place now with kids of our own. Some are born here, some drawn here, but all call it home.

And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat, all the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets.

Because this is a place that has been through some hard times: oppressions, recessions, depressions, and dark times.

But we keep fighting back with greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, northern wit, and greater Manchester’s lyrics.

And these hard times again, in these streets of our city, but we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity.

Because this is a place where we stand strong together, with a smile on our face, greater Manchester forever.

And we’ve got this place where a team with a dream can get funding and something to help with a scheme.

Because this is a place that understands your grand plans. We don’t do “no can do” we just stress “yes we can”

Forever Manchester’s a charity for people round here, you can fundraise, donate, you can be a volunteer. You can live local, give local, we can honestly say, we do charity different, that Mancunian way.

And we fund local kids, and we fund local teams. We support local dreamers to work for their dreams. We support local groups and the great work they do. So can you help us. help local people like you?

Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes, because this is the place that’s a part of our bones.

Because greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact that this is the place, we should give something back.

Always remember, never forget, forever Manchester.

G x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project Gemma!

Recently I have been thinking about how short and precious life is and how we should spend it being happy and doing the things we love. So, I am putting it out there for all to see Project Gemma has begun!

I have decided to focus on me! Which means focussing on the things I enjoy doing that make me happy. Also, focussing on being healthy (in both mind and body), looking after myself, writing a list of life goals and the small steps I can take to reach them.

I recently saw a TED Talk by Sarah Knight, the author of The Magic of Not Giving a F***, very amusing and also very true (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwRzjFQa_Og). We’re always doing things we don’t want to because we are so bothered about what others think. Why? Why should we? I do think there must be a balance of you being happy and not upsetting people purposely just because you don’t want to do something! So, this part of the Gemma Project is a work in progress to find that right balance.

In terms of my health I am making a promise to myself that I will stop eating food that is bad for me, less caffeine, more water, more fruit and veg and generally eating well. I am not going to stop enjoying food and will be indulging in a nice meal out now and then but generally I don’t want to be putting rubbish into my body.

One thing I find difficult is exercise I HATE the gym! There I said it. Also, it can be so expensive when you can work out for free especially now it’s the summer. I am going to aim to do three runs a week, with some strength training. I have downloaded the 7 Minute Workout App, which I am going to do each day as well as my lovely shake weight. We’ll see how this goes!

In terms of my passions and things I enjoy, this blog is one of them it’s made me realise how much I enjoy writing, so I might start that book I have been promising myself I am going to write. I love spending time with my family and friends, spending time outdoors, reading, visiting new places, meeting new people and attending events. These are my passions that I am going to spend my time doing.

As I said at the beginning of this blog life is so short and I want to be able to look back on my life and say (in the words of Frank Sinatra) “I did it my way”.

G x

Confidence, I Believe in Me!

“I can’t do that”
“That will never happen”
“I can’t change my career”
“I’m too old”

I know that I have definitely been guilty of these thoughts, putting myself down and not having the confidence to do something. People do look at me having the jobs I have had and the fact I moved to two cities not knowing anyone as a confident person but I don’t feel that way a lot of the time.

So, this week I decided to attend the ThoughtWorks Women: Confidence – Clarity – Connection event, the speaker at the event was Amanda Brown from the Leading Ladies Company (@Make_LifeHappen). I was a little apprehensive as it did say it was an interactive event, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, however it turned out to be one of the most fun events I’ve been to and afterwards I felt a lot more confident about following my dreams! I’d definitely recommend checking out one of Amanda’s free taster sessions.

Confidence and following your passions seems to have been a bit of a theme this week. When I got to my parents this week I picked up my Mum’s Women & Home Magazine which had a number of articles around these subjects (think the universe is trying to tell me something). So here’s a list of things things I have learnt:

1. Each day before you go to bed, or on your commute home think of the things you achieved today that you are proud of. This can be something small like “I am proud that I made my lunch today instead of buying it”, or something huge that you achieved!
2. Think of the things you’d love to achieve no matter how out there they are and write them down. Then think of the small steps that you could do to achieve this. For example if you want to buy a house, small steps could be to look on the internet at the types of houses you’d like, look at the areas you’d like to live in and maybe visit them. Each small step is one step closer to your dream.
3. Talk about your dreams to people, when you say it out loud it makes it feel more real.
4. Step out of your comfort zone each day, again this can be something small.
5. Everything is possible, nothing it too out there or crazy if it’s your dream.
6. When you wake in the morning don’t allow bad thoughts, think good thoughts think about how awesome you are, the good things you have done the day before etc. You’re amazing!
7. Take time for yourself whether this is a pamper day, a weekend away, an hour reading a good book, take time to do the things you enjoy!

I think building my confidence is definitely a work in progress but even after a week I feel a lot more empowered and energised to work towards my dreams and to enjoy living life.

G x

It’s raining men…..or is it?

So being a single girl in her 30’s is an experience to say the least, with most people asking, “when are you going to settle down”, “are you dating anyone”, “when are you going to have kids”. I remember one friend who has been in a long-term relationship saying to me “surely it can’t be that hard to find a boyfriend” (bearing in mind she met her partner the old-fashioned way many moons ago).

There’s so much pressure on women in their 30’s to meet someone and have a family, I went through most of my life (from age 17 to 27) in long term relationships, some good, some not so good. Since then I have been on a number of dates over the years and really, I could write a book about the bizarre and some downright cruel experiences I have had.

However, I try not to dwell on the past and live for the here and now. I am more focussed on enjoying my life and being happy with myself than hunting for men! Of course it would be nice to meet my partner in crime and “settle down” I am sure it’ll happen when it’s meant to (I am a big believer of everything happens for a reason).

I have tried your obligatory dating apps, Tinder, Bumble, Happn, POF, however it’s definitely a numbers game, and can be quite disheartening when you receive yet another strange, or creepy message. Also I think it’s hard to judge someone on a picture.

So, as my Mum says I need to get myself out and about. Here are some suggestions I have had for places to meet guys, what do you think? Did you meet your man in any of these places?

1. The gym. Now this one isn’t my favourite of the bunch, reason being I HATE the gym! Also, I’m not sure it’s the best way to meet men when I am sweating and red faced from running on the treadmill.

2. Clubs. As in the running club kind, not the raving kind (my raving days are most certainly over). I love to run so I am thinking of giving this one a go if only for the health benefits.

3. The supermarket. Once and only once have I been given a guys number in a supermarket when I lived in London. Needless to say, it didn’t go any further than him handing me his number and suggesting what rum I should buy!

4. Networking events. This one I am not so sure about, I think I’ll stick to the networking events for work rather than for meeting men. Although saying that my friend did meet her fiancé at a networking event.

5. Driving range. This one is quite promising and I might give it a go. Hitting the ball will be a good stress reliever and if I can meet a nice guy whilst doing it, bonus!

6. Dog parks. Any friends fancy lending me their dogs?

There are a number of ways to meet new people, but I think if it’s going to happen it will happen and isn’t something that can be forced. As they say “It’s better to be single than in the wrong relationship”.

Happy dating!

Gem x