A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Is social media more powerful than a degree?

When I began applying for jobs after graduating from university, I always thought that my degree and the experience I had under my belt would secure me a job in the designated industry I wanted to work in. I was under the impression that it was my degree that got me my current role of a Business Journalist and Social Media assistant, until I asked my editor. He told me that although my degree got me an interview, it was of little consideration once I arrived for the interview on that cold March afternoon.

He told me that there were a range of applicants with a degree, but it was more about how I set myself apart from them and it was my social media presence which eventually helped land me the role. I couldn’t believe that what I decide to tweet about and my profile picture on Facebook had such a profound effect on my future. It made me think, is social media actually more powerful than a degree for Millennials? Here are five reasons why...

1. Knowledge vs applied knowledge
During a degree, you’re encouraged to try and remember as many things as possible in order to pass modules and exams. You learn about all sorts and have a good amount of knowledge about the industry you want to work in. But if you can show on social media that you know about certain issues, you have applied your knowledge. You have a view on it and can tell others about it. By being able to show that you can apply your knowledge, you appear much more employable.

2. Networking skills

If you are active across social media platforms and are constantly building connections and increasing your following, this shows that you’re a keen communicator and probably someone that can create a good name and image for the company. Businesses like anyone who can portray their brand well and the more connections you have, the more people are likely to learn about the company themselves.

3. Shows what you’re really like
A degree can show that you’re interested in a specific industry, but doesn’t say much about your personality and what you like to do in your spare time. Although your CV may claim that you’re a keen tennis player, your social media can show how you interact with friends and colleagues and traits like your sense of humour and stance on particular issues. Employers will look at your social media to see if your personality would fit in with their brand.

4. What worker you could possibly be
The majority of jobs now require you to know a good amount about technology. Even if the role you are applying for doesn’t require any social media skills, it’s still worth being able to show to employers that you know what you’re doing online and that you do have an active presence on them. It will show that you’re outgoing and have connections, which is a skill that could be vital to your position.

5. Self-discipline
If you have a blog or take part in any online communities, it can show that you have good self-discipline. For example, if you update your blog three times a week at the same time, it shows that you are consistent and are able to do something on your own without being asked. If you have a keen interest in a certain subject and are tweeting about it regularly, it shows that you are keeping up to date with it, which is a very employable trait to have.

Has your social media presence helped you in securing a job?

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

I'm Listening To...

Here is what  I have been enjoying the last few weeks! Follow the links through to their Twitter accounts and the song I'm loving the most...


6 things I'd tell my 16 year old self

Next month I will turn 22 and just the other day I had a good 20 minute daydream just thinking about how much has changed since I left university and yet, that was only a year ago! Then I thought about what I was like in first year of uni and even before that, how I made friends with the people that I did at school and what has happened since I was 16 that has almost molded me into the person I am today. Then I got thinking about how different I'll be by the time I'm 30 and that's when my brain started to get frazzled so I just caught up on The Real Housewives of Cheshire instead. When I think back to my 16 year old self, like many others, I cringe about how dramatic I was about everything and how, like most teenagers, the slightest thing feels like the end of the world. This got me thinking, if I could go back to 2010 and have a word with Bethan, who at the time was just obsessed with boys, house parties and Tumblr, what would I say to her with what I have picked up over the years?

 Boys really aren't everything...
...and the chances are, it's not going to last. So stop taking everything they say so seriously! When I was 16, all I wanted was a boyfriend and to be like Lauren and Jason off The Hills, but even they broke up for very good reasons. I would put boys above anything else. When I was supposed to be revising for exams, I'd spend my time on MSN hoping that I would get a certain guys attention. Fortunately, I did and that boy did become my boyfriend, but that's not my point...I was obsessed with the idea of being an adult and the thought of being able to do spontaneous and romantic things like adults do. Now I am an adult, I've realised that it's really not that exciting at all. By putting boys above anything, I didn't give myself chance to just enjoy being young. If I could go back, I'd drag that girl away from the computer and send her round to her mates house to watch Mean Girls or something. Also, boys don't get any easier and you're going to end up heartbroken a few times, so stop thinking that this particular boy is worth sacrificing for, because the truth is, no boy is until you're like married with kids.

Be the type of friend you'd love to have When I was very young, I was blessed to meet a group of kids who have remained by best friends to this day and I'm so thankful that I didn't sway between friendship groups at school. Don't get me wrong, I had lots of friends outside of our group, but I spent the most time with those I'd known for years because I could be my complete self around them. However, this didn't stop the occasional squabble between certain members. Even if an argument didn't involve me, I would still find myself involved for unknown reasons. If I could turn back time (I knew it wouldn't take long for me to stick a Cher reference in here), I would say to not get involved with silly arguments and just be there for everyone involved instead. Those in the group who never got involved were always much happier, so I wish I would have done the same at the time.

Your job isn't that bad at all!When I was 16, I landed my first ever real job at McDonalds. At the time, I thought I'd lost my mind. I remember asking myself "Do I really need the money THAT much?!" But the reason I got that job wasn't for the money at all. It was because I just wanted a job and I didn't want to be the person at sixth form who didn't have one. Thankfully, a fair few from my sixth form all worked there, so there were people I knew who worked there. However, this job meant that I had to make loads of new friends and I learned what having a boss is really like. You might say that McDonalds is a walk in the park, but that's a complete lie. The job taught me everything from keeping my cool, to working with all sorts of people and customer service. It even taught me the importance of money (When it was MY money rather than my parents, I was fussier with what I spent it on), time management skills and gave me so much confidence. At an interview last year, they said to me that they actually look for people who have worked somewhere like McDonalds because they have much more skills than you'd think. So although it felt like the end of the world at the time, working those almost three years at McDonalds did me the world of good.

It's OK to spend time by yourself
Back then, I never wanted to spend time by myself because all I wanted to do was to hang out with friends or be out and about doing something. However, on the times that I did spend a Sunday afternoon in my bedroom with a book, I absolutely loved it, but yet, I wouldn't admit to anyone that I spent my weekend just chilling by myself. I guess I always thought that others my age all had such exciting social lives or spent their 'me time' trying out make-up products or getting their older siblings to buy them drinks at the local pub. But now I appreciate the time I have by myself more than anything really, because it's healthy to do so. Although I'm a sociable person, I'm not the type who wants to be surrounded by people every minute of the day. I was the same when I was 16, but I thought that made me weird. But it didn't at all. I wish I could go and reassure 16 year old Bethan that spending time by yourself is good for your soul.

You're really not that weird
Don't get me wrong, when I was 16 I'd say I had all the same interests as those around me. I got really into music and became obsessed with my purple iPod nano. I loved house parties and thought drinking Bulmers and Smirnoff Ice made me dead cool. I loved shopping and socialising and going on dates etc. But I also had interests that I didn't think were normal for a 16 year old. I absolutely loved home programmes like Grand Designs and Location Location Location (By the way, still do and I am no longer ashamed - Phil and Kirsty are THE best) and I also had a keen interest in politics. So not much has changed at all in that sense, but I remember thinking that I was a weirdo for caring about who won the General Election in 2010 and being devastated that I still had two years until I could vote. Now, I'm not ashamed of my interests. But back then, I didn't really discuss them with anyone because I thought I'd come across as weird. If I could talk to my 16 year old self, I'd tell her that everyone has different interests and that it's actually OK to not be like everyone else all the time.

Your mom is not your enemy You know that really awful teenage mood swing stage? Well I went through that when I was around 13-14 and I'd calmed down massively by the time I was 16. But this didn't stop me being a moody teenager every now and then and getting in a right mood when my parents didn't let me do something. It was always that 'why are my friends allowed to do it and I'm not?!' argument. But now I've realised that all my parents have ever wanted for me is to be the best person I can be and they only wanted the best for me. I know this is getting a bit corny, but I would without a doubt go back and tell myself to be nicer to my mom as she was just doing the best job she could at bringing two girls up. I would also tell myself to spend more time with my parents and put them before boys and mates. This hit me the moment that I first opened my door in my first year flat at university and I was alone in a city that I didn't really know. I knew straight away that my parents are amazing and have done an incredible job.

What would you tell your 16 year old self?


Sunday, 5 June 2016

Bethan Loves: Birchbox

 This week I was invited to see Birchbox's pop-up stand at The Bullring in Birmingham. Birchbox, which was launched by two genius female entrepreneurs several years ago, is an incredibly good idea that has grown massively over the past few years. The idea is that you discover beauty products that you probably don't have the time to go out and find every day if you're a busy working person, like myself!
You simply subscribe on their website, which I've linked above for you, and a box full of beauty products for you to try shows up at your door every month. I love this idea because although I like to take care of myself and enjoy trying new products out, I don't necessarily have the time to search Superdrug and Boots every single evening. So the idea that I could try out things and see if they work for me before heading to a store to buy a full sized version of the product is ideal.

Birchbox are currently touring the UK to give us all an idea of how the box works, and gives you the opportunity to build your own box. What's on offer? There are so many hair, skin and body care products available as well as a huge range of make-up like eyebrow pencils, mascara and lipsticks. The best thing is that in store, for six products, your box is only £15 and you get the service there of assistants who talk you through the products that will work for you the best.

 Alternatively, on the Birchbox site, you can purchase a 5 product monthly box for £10 or choose a 6-month option or even a yearly one - and don't worry, Birchbox don't just throw in any old tat, they find out what you like the most through your beauty profile.

I am currently loving the products which I chose at the Birchbox pop-up store, which is on the third floor of Selfridges in Birmingham. I picked up a John Masters Organics hair detangler which is an absolute dream and makes my hair smell amazing at the same time as doing a good job! I also chose Caudalie Paris radiance serum, Rituals foaming shower gel and BBrowbar brow pencil, all of which I am yet to use, but looking forward to cracking them open. I picked up two lipsticks, one Mirenesse Glossy Kiss in scarlet, which I gave to a family member as they have been after that shade for a lifetime and a gorgeous peach Laqa & Co Cheeky Lip which looks so good on my lips. So far, so good and I will definitely be looking forward to my June Birchbox box as I have registered on the site to try out more!

Birchbox is at Selfridges in Birmingham until June 11th, so get there quickly to see it all for yourself!

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