Don’t Let Your Results Define You!

By | Undergraduates | No Comments

Results day is fast approaching with only a day until A-Level results are out (Thursday 16th August 2018) and a week and one day until GCSE results are out on Thursday 23rd August 2018). My advice to anyone waiting on results is that results don’t define you. Whilst an A* is an excellent achievement, if you achieve a grade C or D, it isn’t the end of the world. Not all careers require straight A’s and studying A-Levels after GCSE isn’t the only route to a career.

When I was sweet sixteen and awaiting GCSE results, as a Grammar School student and daughter of a Teacher, A-Level’s were the expected post-16 option. My nine GCSE’s at grades A-C gained me a place to study A-Levels. The A-Level’s however were tougher than expected and Results day in August 1998 brought undesirable results for both myself and my Teaching parent. Despite the unfavourable results, I secured a place at the University I had chosen all those months ago as my Firm choice (Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire) and off to England I went to embark on third level education.

Fast forward to 2001, Graduation, then fast forward to 2002 Post Graduate Graduation. From there I went on to Sub-Teach and later studied for a PGCE. What is the relevance of Teaching, I hear you ask? Well, as a Teacher you always wanted your students to reach their full potential and that meant A*, A etc. There is a lot of pressure put on our young people to achieve top marks, the highest grade and other academic recognition to such an extent that student’s who aren’t getting straight A’s feel a failure. That is so wrong. Even Bill Gates failed some exams at school and look at how successful his Company Microsoft is. Never let the “wrong set of results” dictate your future.

If your results aren’t as you had expected, there are other options. Re-sits, Apprenticeships, Gap Year, Employment and Voluntary work are all routes worth considering. So, on results day, if you are struggling to plan your future career, please get in touch with Career Assist and we will discuss your options with you. Our number is: 028 7962 8407 or: 077 4657 2273. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

UCAS Personal Statement Advice – U Can Ask Sinéad!

By | UCAS | No Comments

Many moons ago, (too many nearly to mention…), I was tasked with compiling a UCAS Personal Statement in order to be considered for a place at University. Looking back, it was a daunting experience for a Year 14 Student who had just returned to school after the summer break. There were so many of my year group who were undecided about what career path to choose. I remember my two best friends struggled to decide what they would apply to, eventually one friend narrowed it down to Dentistry as her first choice and Environmental Health as an insurance choice, whilst the other friend choose Medicine as first choice and an English degree for her insurance choice. For myself, the decision was easy – throughout my academic life, I had a passion for and excelled in English and writing, so the natural choice was a BA Joint (Hons) English and Communication Media and my firm choice was Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, Lancashire, which turned into reality and off I went in September 1998 to commence my studies.

Even to this day, I often wonder how I managed to compile a winning UCAS Personal Statement that led to my admission to Edge Hill University and later graduation in July 2001 with a BA (Hons) in English and Communication Media. I can only pin it down to having a way with words and ability to express myself. For some students though, words don’t come easy and they spend a month, or two, or even three drafting, re-drafting, changing and then finalising the perfect Personal Statement. It’s not an easy task though as UCAS, (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) put a word limit of 4,000 characters or 47 lines – which is basically slightly over one A4 page. There’s so much to write about, from why you have applied for the course/s to your experience of the career/s you have chosen, details of voluntary work or part-time employment which may be relevant to your chosen degree and your unique selling point.

Career Assist’s UCAS Personal Statement service takes the stress of your shoulders and allows you to focus on your studies. When you book a UCAS appointment, we conduct a face-to-face, phone or Skype consultation to find out about you and why you have chosen the options on your UCAS form – it usually takes no longer that 30-40 minutes for the consultation. We then dedicate 1.5 hours to compiling your Personal Statement and E-mail it to you. Previous clients have secured places in Medicine, Dentistry, Midwifery, Nursing, Social Work, Teaching, Occupational Therapy, IT, Architecture and many other degrees.

Why spend time drafting, re-drafting and changing your Personal Statement when a professional can do it more efficiently and effectively, whilst still making it personal to you. Our UCAS Personal Statement Service is available from our premises in Draperstown, Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland, throughout Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Applicants from the Republic of Ireland can also avail of our UCAS Personal Statement service. What are you waiting for? When it comes to UCAS Personal Statements, YoU Can Ask Sinéad!

Experience and a Career Plan!

By | Graduates | No Comments

As I write Career Assist’s first Blog, there are so many topics I feel should be written in a blog. My Facebook page has been flooded with pictures of happy Graduates, some I know through having compiled their UCAS Personal Statement three/ four or five years ago. Seeing them qualified and ready for the world of work is extremely rewarding, however, I think back to my own Graduation in July 2001 when I left Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire with a BA (Hons) in English and Communication Media and my own career plan.

I knew I wanted to pursue a career in Journalism and had been working towards this every Summer, Halloween, Easter and sometimes Christmas by completing placements with local and regional print and broadcast outlets. One of my placements was during the summer of 1998 in The Ulster Herald, Omagh where I learned a lot about Journalism, especially due to the Omagh bomb, in which 29 people lost their lives. It was this experience which enabled me to secure summer placement with BBC Manchester’s “Close Up North” along with another three Edge Hill University students in the summer of 2000.

The BBC placement was amazing, and I met so many famous people and went to places I’d never even heard of (around the North West of England), but the skills, knowledge, experience and contacts I acquired was unbelievable. From there I secured a summer placement with The News Letter in Belfast, having already secured a place on the Post Graduate Diploma in Newspaper Journalism with Ulster University in Belfast. During my Post Graduate Diploma, I completed a compulsory six-week placement with The News Letter and then went on to secure my first job as a Journalist with The Down Recorder in 2002.

Basically, what I’m saying is that experience counts, especially in today’s competitive job market. No-one told me that I had to spend my summers doing work placements, but I knew it would pay off one day and I was right. Experience though can be hard to get, there’s the catch 22 situation of can’t get a job without experience, then, how can you get experience without a job? There’s always the problem of employers not being able to offer placements due to insurance issues, however, there may be voluntary bodies, charities or other organisations who would be delighted to provide experience to individuals as they could utilise their skills, knowledge and experience. Be persistent and you will get the experience you need.

Well done to all this years Graduates, the world is your oyster, it’s up to you to find the pearls. So, go out there, grab opportunities with both hands, apply yourself and you will have a bright future. If you aren’t sure what to do after your degree, our Careers Advice service will get you thinking. If you need a CV, Cover Letter, LinkedIn Profile or Job Application completed, we can help. We also provide Interview Skills training to ensure interview success.