Top5There’s a bit of a theme on my blog recently. If you hadn’t noticed I’ve spent a lot of time depicting the end of my degree, from how I’m surviving the final month, to my job hunt, and now to my experience of Leeds.

I’ve lived in Leeds now, on and off, for over three years. Most of this time has been spent in a little student bubble of Hyde Park, university and local pubs. There are a few things though that I would recommend to all visitors, students and general Leeds goers!

1) Watch a film at Hyde Park Picture House

We’d lived in Hyde Park for nearly a year and a half before my friends and I ventured into Hyde Park Picture House. I’d always admired the facade whenever I popped into Sainsbury’s and yet never thought to actually go.

Then we did go in. It’s a lovely, old cinema with one screen. It’s pretty, a great experience and actually has a nice selection of films available even if it can’t compete with the vast cinema complexes.

Find out more here.

2) Gaze in awe at the ceiling of the Corn Exchange

The Corn Exchange is now a deceptively large boutique shopping centre. It is also one of the finest examples of architecture that you will ever see, the ceiling in particular is fantastic!

Enjoy the independent shops, grab a bite to eat, and stare at the ceiling!

There’s a great slideshow of the building here.

3) Sing loudly to Arctic Monkeys at Moustache Tuesdays

There’s no shortage of nightlife in Leeds! As a student we found an excess of options every night of the week. I personally haven’t been sampling the nightlife so much since about 2010, but this year did find a new home in the O2 basement for Moustache.

Alternatively if bars are more your thing, wile away the hours on Call Lane. There’s also the legendary Otley Run for those with drinking stamina and a love of fancy dress.

4) Red’s BBQ

I think this is probably a sufficient description:

“Two house-made 100% steak burgers flame grilled over hickory, melted double cheese, smoked peppered bacon dirty sauce and deep fried crispy onions, all between two sweet glazed donuts. Served with hush puppies and skin-on fries.  It shouldn’t work, but sweet Red above.  It’s incredible.  #DONUTBURGER” Red’s BBQ

Visit the website and choose your meat of choice – you won’t regret it!

Not the donut burger, just another one of their amazing creations!

5) Roundhay Park

I’ve never actually visited, it’s too far from where I live. But I’ve driven past it enough! I’m a big fan of parks and this ticks all the boxes. So excuse me while I try and find my way there to enjoy the sun!

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Where are your favourite spots in Leeds?

buddy_graduate_clip_art_24392The degree is almost over, four years have passed in the blink of an eye and the real world awaits. I’ve been looking at graduate and entry-level jobs for the last few months (years even!), but now the graduate job hunt has well and truly begun.

There are several approaches you can take to job hunting, my method of choice involves scouring job sites, Twitter and Google on a daily basis. Details are added to my job hunting spreadsheet, followed by hours spent on applications. It’s a lengthy process, but also an exciting process. It’s early days so the results are limited, but so far they’re positive!

The thing is, I’m not just trying to find a job, I’m looking for a career. I’m looking for the career I’ve been working hard to prepare for over the past six years, and I’m not about to give up looking for this.

I don’t expect to walk into the dream job. I expect to walk into a great job that I can develop into my dream job with hard work and training. I have written up a career plan as a guide to myself to keep me on track while I job hunt. It involves a breakdown of the sort of positions I’d like to go for, the promotions I want to be working towards, and the training I want to undertake to help me with my development.

Are you in a similar position? How is your job hunting going? Employed graduates, what are your tips?

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Top5It’s the final push, university is all over in under a month. Four years of studying is all about to finish, but this means that I’m busier than ever. There’s no time to live a normal life, sleeping, relaxing, even exercising time is rationed.

So what is getting me through this last month?

1) The library

I’ve always felt at home in my library, but by now I know it extremely well. I am grateful for the logical filing system, the online resources, the computer labs, and the fantastic staff teams during the day, and security at night.

2) My friends!

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in the past four years, it’s that the PRM group are fantastic! It’s great to go into university and meet up with a group of people who are happy to motivate and help me when I need it. Hopefully they feel that I return the favour!

It’s also a great help speaking to people who are completely uninvolved in university, they remind you to switch off occasionally!

3) Post-it notes

I’m busy keeping post-it notes and Sharpies in business at the moment. My text books, computer, desk, entire room(!) are covered in a selection of brightly coloured pieces of paper all sporting important nuggets of information. A combination of post-it notes and lists work for me, but finding your method of organisation is really key while at university.

The pressure is on! An accurate representation of my effort during final semester

The pressure is on! An accurate representation of my final semester

4) Ready made sandwiches

There’s no time to make food at the moment, I’m living off ready made egg and cress from Tesco!

5) Caffeine and sugar

I am now an expert in all types of high energy drinks, whether it be Red Bull, Relentless, Monster, or a supermarket own version, I’ve probably had it, and I could definitely give you a rating on its effectiveness.


What is helping, or helped, to get you through the final month of university?

Top5It’s dissertation season for final year students! Once you’ve finished your research – burying yourself in journals and spending hours transcribing – you’re faced with another challenge, formatting!

Formatting will either seem very basic to you, or outrageously advanced and confusing. It just so happens that I really enjoy formatting, and I have helped a number of people with their dissertations, so I’ve pulled together a few tips and tricks you can use to format your dissertation, essay or report.

This article is meant to be helpful and not to patronise. Many people have no reason to use these functions before dissertation!

Please note, I use Word  2013 for Windows, so you may find you have to follow a slightly different process if you use another version, but they will be there, and if in doubt use my favourite tool – Google!

The tools I’ll be detailing are:

  1. Page and Section Breaks
  2. Page Numbering
  3. Headings
  4. Contents Pages
  5. Clear Referencing

1) Page and Section Breaks

Have you ever created a new page by entering enter multiple times? No need, this is where Page Break is useful!

Page Break

This option will take you straight onto the next page. It’s particularly useful because if you add more text before the page break, you don’t need to worry about having to remove spaces from the next page.

Tip: You can create a page break by pressing CTRL and ENTER simultaneously

Section Breaks allow Word to recognise a new section. The advantage of this is that you can change the formatting in this section and it will not affect other sections (unless you specify  it to). For example if you want to have some pages in your document in landscape and others in portrait, a section break makes this very easy to do. Find out more about this here.

Section breaks

There are a few different types of section break depending on what you want to achieve.

2) Page numbering

Your dissertation may need to have some pages numbered, some using Roman numerals, and some pages unnumbered.

To create this, you need to make sure each of those pages are in separate sections – see above.

Open the Header and Footer view – this can be done by double clicking at the top or bottom of the document.

Page number

You then need to add the page number, select if you want it at the top, bottom, or in the page margins depending upon your preference. Then select Format Page Numbers.

Page number format

Select the number format that you want to use. You can also change where the Page Numbering starts from here. If you want the number to be different to the automatic one, enter the one you want in the Start at: option.

When you change the format in another section, make sure you deselect the option to link to previous sections, otherwise it will change all sections.

Link to prev

You can now change the page numbering to as many formats as you like!

Read more about this here.

3) Headings

Using Style Formats in your document helps with consistency, and can be used in the contents page and referencing which I talk about below.

Styles are already set up, select ones which are relevant. For example, choose from headings, titles, quotes and normal!

Headings

If you’re not a fan of the preset style, you can change this easily. The Design tab on Word 2013 (this is different for other versions) allows you choose from other presets, or change colours, fonts, spacing etc.

Style

You can also manually edit your styles individually, do this by right clicking on the style, selecting Modify, and  editing to meet your requirements. This will then update any existing text in that format.

modify

If you want to distinguish your Appendices, I recommend you read this article.

4) Contents Page

If you’re manually writing out your contents page, you will save so much time by using an automatic one.

To set this up, you need to ensure that you had formatted all your headings as detailed above.

Once this is done, go to the References tab and use the Table of Contents option to insert a contents. There are a couple of options already set up, and the option to add a custom one.

contents

It is preset to automatically add in Headings 1, 2 and 3, and each heading is indented. If you want to change this, choose the Custom Table of Contents option. Click the Options button, and then choose what headings you want to include, and at what level you want them to be. In the picture below, I have including Heading 4, at the same level at Heading 3.

contents edit

The advantage of a automatic table of contents, is that if your chapters move onto different pages, all you need to do is select the Update Title option, and it automatically updates the page numbers with no manual work at all!

update

5) Clear Referencing

Has all this formatting made a mess of your document? Have you pasted in text from a document that now looks completely different. You can quickly remove all formatting from the text by selecting the handy Clear Formatting button.

Clear all formatting

                                                                                                                                                                                     

If you are at Leeds Met, the Skills for Learning team run a brilliant workshop on using Word formatting for dissertation,more details here. According to their Twitter, the library staff can also help you if you’re having trouble with formatting – what a brilliant service!

If this article was useful, and you’d like to know more formatting tips, let me know!

Top5When I was young and first learnt about websites I decided that I wanted my own. I wanted to use it to write stories and poetry, little did I know that this would become a reality and that I would find myself sharing my stories with the world via a blog.

I love blogs, they offer me with content to keep my brain occupied, and introduce me to new ideas and concepts I would never have considered.

Online PR magazine, Behind the Spin recently began featuring its pick of student blog posts and this got me thinking about some of my favourite industry blogs which I regularly read, and happily recommend. This is just a small snapshot of the UK based PR blogging world, but it offers a good starting point if you want to read more industry blogs.

1) All Things IC

I first mentioned Rachel Miller’s blog in 2012 when it was known as Diary of an Internal Communicator. Since then this blog has continued to grow and develop, Rachel regularly updates it with fantastic, relevant content. I find myself visiting the site up to several times a week which is great for a blog.

I have worked in internal communication and it forms the basis of my dissertation, so perhaps my interest is because of my experience. However, this blog certainly isn’t limited to IC practitioners, it offers great articles for any communication professional.

2) Stephen Waddington

Another blog featuring on my subscription list is that of Stephen Waddington. The current CIPR President ensures his blog is regularly updated with really great information about the PR profession and environment.

3) GreenBanana

Heather Yaxley’s blog features a lot of great information and opinion on PR. A lot of the articles posted are ideal for people studying CIPR courses, helping to develop their understanding alongside academic textbooks and journals.

She also has a fantastic 500 word guide to Grunig’s Excellence Theory, which has been endlessly helpful when I’ve been worn out by textbooks on the subject.

It’s not all academic though, and the blog features a lot of really interesting articles ranging over a variety of PR topics.

4) PR Examples

If you want to keep up with the stunt side of PR (and why wouldn’t you!), PR Examples is brilliant. It is updated with what it deems to be the best PR stunts.

Again, for students, this is a great site if you’re struggling to keep up to date with case studies for your course. For everyone though, it offers the opportunity to make sure you haven’t missed out on the latest crazy stunt.

5) Behind the Spin

Finally I had to feature an old favourite of mine, Behind the Spin. The online magazine is written for (and by) PR students and young practitioners. It offers a great opportunity for students to contribute and share their knowledge and experience of PR with the world – shamefully an opportunity I haven’t yet taken.

The site is full of little gems, including news, reviews, opinion pieces and work experience reports.

If you are interested in reading more student blogs, PR at Leeds Business School showcases blog posts written by PR students at Leeds Met.

                                                                                                                                                                                     

So those are my top 5 industry blogs. What do you think of my selection? Do you think I’ve missed any important blogs? I’d love to hear from you, and please feel free to share your own blogs in the comment section.

Update: It was pointed out to me that all the blogs featured are UK based, and this is because the majority of my reading is based in the UK. However, PR is a global environment, Inkybee features a list of 60 of the best PR blogs in the world which is a great place to start on the quest for international reading. Perhaps in the future I will feature my top worldwide industry blogs.Thanks to Judy Gombita for the link!

Rachel:

It’s over two years since I wrote this original post and it remains among the most read and commented pieces on my blog. My opinion on the matter has not changed considerably, I still credit my placements with adding immense value to my degree. As I begin to apply for graduate jobs, I draw a lot upon my previous experience.

The first post instigated a fantastic conversation from PR students, academics and professionals, I’d be interested in hearing your updated opinions.

Originally posted on Aim High, There Is Plenty Of Room:

Work Experience

It is not a secret that experience is key to boosting employability. In a society where degrees are increasingly common, relevant experience now is not a bonus but rather a necessity for job seeking graduates.

Having met with PR students studying at rival institutions I became interested in the idea of compulsory placements. My degree course encourages us to seek placements from our first year, however other courses take it a step further and require students to complete a designated minimum time of industrial experience to pass the each level. Some courses require a 42 week placement year to be able to gain the degree. Fail to get a year placement, fail to get a degree!

When graduate jobs are competitive and many low level jobs require a years previous experience, by ensuring graduates have a good number of placements on their CV means they increase their likelihood of finding…

View original 205 more words

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