Making the most of the space we have when space is at a premium

Living in comfort in a large home with a garden and a dog and not-quite-a-picket-fence-but-you-get-the-reference, yes that’s the ideal. But starting out in a city which has widely been heralded as “the third most expensive city in the world” is no easy feat – especially when discovering that what would cover a months rent in my Uni city, barely covers a week in London for the same size space.

I’m not sure if it’s my interest in architecture or the fact I’m in the midst of attempting to find a flat that isn’t a cupboard and that I can actually afford, but seeing this tiny two-roomed apartment in Berlin (with an external toilet!) transformed by design team John Paul Coss and architecture studio Spamroom into a bright and airy and (most importantly) liveable space has made me wonder if it’d be possible to employ such designs within our capital.tinyapt7

Although not as chic and stylish as this 86sq feet Parisian micro-apartment
by architecture firm Kitoko Studio – which drew inspiration from the concept of a Swiss Army Knife, the 266sq ft ‘Micro-Apartment Moabit’ is focused around a central core unit housing a 22sq ft bathroom with a sliding door.

As you can see, along one side lies a corridor-style kitchen area lit by natural light from large windows, whilst on the other lies a pull-down wardrobe and a steel staircase up to the mezzanine level which serves as a sleeping area. All of the apartment has benefited from pale neutral colours and light wood which only serves to reflect light across the cosy space making it look larger and more open.

I don’t know about you, but having a 266sq ft studio apartment in London would still be priced at a premium (not least because of the versatile use of space and the sheer amount of natural light) but I have to admit that this example (and that of the Parisian design created by Kitoko) really has opened my eyes as to what can be possible in terms of using up all the space available – even if my space is more than likely going to be 8/9ft by 6/7ft.

Let me know what you think!

All photos credited to: Ringo Paulusch

The 7 Top Tips for a #PRstudent to get their first graduate job!

neesonSo, it’s that time of year again where summer is almost over and we’re slowly coming to terms with the looming reality of returning to university or *gasp* facing the daunting prospect of needing to get a job.

Now, if – like me – the prospect of becoming a fully-fledged adult (complete with taxes and commuting) has a tendency to give you heart palpitations, I thought I’d make things a little less stressful and give my top seven tips for getting that all important graduate job.

1.  Experience is (almost) everything!

Public relations – and, for that matter, most creative industries – is notoriously competitive to get into. This competitivity is even more pronounced at junior levels where swathes of new grads are fighting it out for the attention of increasingly discerning employers. One of the best ways to get their attention (and those elusive job offers) therefore, is to show whoever is potentially hiring you that you know your way around an office and the positions you are looking to fill.

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Whether it is an internship, a collaborative project like Stephen Waddington’s #PRStack, writing for communities such as that built by Behind the Spin or volunteering your abilities within/for a not-for-profit, all experience is readily seen as good experience and, as such, does wonders for not only showing an employer you won’t crumble in the job, but also helps you gain confidence in your skillset and your ability in applying your academic knowledge to a professional context and environment.

2.  Figure out what makes you special and own it!

Now anyone who knows me knows I have a wide and arguably uncommon variety of interests (from WWE to politics to rats to blogging on a regular basis). As an undergraduate, I believed that being seen as ‘weird’ would put agencies and employers off but the more I’ve explored the industry and built connections within it, the more I’ve noticed that in fact the opposite is proving true.

Being ‘weird’ and having seemingly ‘quirky’ interests has been a godsend during interviews as I genuinely feel that it has been one of the key aspects that has ‘set me apart’ and led to my applications being memorable – something that is all to important when you know the person hiring has umpteen CVs to go through where every CV is going to look basically the same.

3.  Know where to look.

There are thousands of job sites across the Internet. Some are great, while others are riddled with spam, so finding the most helpful sites for what you’re looking for can be a mammoth process. The best course of action is to of course browse job boards that specialise in public relations like the handy list provided below:

4.  Stand out on social media!WORKING

I know. I know. Breaking through the noise and standing out online (particularly in a positive manner) is much easier said than done. But networking online across all the commonly used platforms is one of the key ways in which to get your name out there and your profile known.

Additionally, social media also is a great way to find job ads and stand out to employers. Indeed, I have recently gained a graduate role myself through securing an interview with Hamish Thompson, MD of London’s Houston PR, via Twitter based on his reading my blog and discovering a few of my quirkier interests – particularly my love of stationary (something that is shared within his team already).

5.  When it comes to applying/interviewing, Research. Research. Research.

Social media however, is not the be all and end all for getting a graduate job. Keeping up-to-date and being knowledgeable about your industry as well as the agencies you’d like to work for is so important in making a good impression. Interviews test your ability, skills and character but an interviewer is often looking for more. Stand out by commenting on campaigns the agency has been involved in, content they have posted or their client’s industries.

6.  Be gracious (in both success and defeat).

It’s amazing how many people don’t follow up an interview by sending a quick note to say thank you.

DO NOT LET YOURSELF BECOME ONE OF THEM.

Show your appreciation to anyone and everyone who helps you out (and even the people who don’t). It leaves such a positive impression and will pay off in the long run. After all, PR is a surprisingly small industry, and you never know who you might end up at an event with (or even working with) in the future.

Most importantly though is number 7. Keep a cool head and don’t let the slog get you down!!! Stay positive, keep a balance, hang out with your mates, and you’ll get there eventually.

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Don’t just take my word for it though! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think! Are there any tips you want to share?

Expanding the boundaries of my content

Earlier today I was browsing this blog (reminiscing as you do) and I realised something…

For all my posts on strategic branding, or the way a bikini can help explain brand integrity, or the multitude of cheat sheets (like this one and this one) I’ve created, I’d forgotten one important thing; I wasn’t really showing my readers all of my interests. Or at the very least, (barring politics) I wasn’t showing them clearly enough.

I mean sure, people might be able to guess from my post on The Rock’s personal branding strategy that I’m into wrestling (and WWE in particular) and the personas that garner so much screaming attention.

They might even have twigged from my using rats to talk about reputation management that I have two grabby-handed monsters of my own (though the picture probably helped).

But they – by which I really mean You – might not realise how interested I am in:

  • creative design (particularly when it comes to architecture, typography and modern art),
Reverse graffiti is amazing!!!

                                    Reverse graffiti is amazing!!!

  • science & tech (because with the advancements and discoveries we are currently making how could anyone not be?)

189701-This-Week-In-Science-13th-19th-July-2015

  • animals,
  • and food (and not just because the animals make the food).

I also have a penchant for stationary (perhaps because of my interest in typology?) and a love of cafes – there’s just something about sitting in a quiet corner with the hustle and bustle going on around you, isn’t there?

Don’t mistake me, I know all too well the importance of “having a niche” when blogging. I’m sure we’re all are interested in PR or communications (in some way or another) so of course that is (and always will be) the core of all my content, but to be honest, I don’t fit snugly into any specific niche and neither do my readers.

So, the point of this post is that I’m rectifying that and am considering expanding my content focus a wee bit beyond its current boundaries. Whether it works or not will have to be seen but its going to be an interesting experiement nonetheless.

Breaking stereotypes and discussing the ‘Youth’ vote

With two day’s left until the election polls open, this morning I once again dove into a radio broadcasting and rejoined BBC Leicester’s Johnathan Lampon and BBC Local Apprentice Khadija Osman for Behind the News’ panel discussion.

Today we looked at ‘The Youth Vote’ and why young people may or may not be turned off from politics.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02pn8h1 (10:50mins – 36:25mins)voters

Since the 1970’s, the 18-24 age demographic have had the lowest voter turnout of any age group, but this year they could very well be the game-changers holding the power to influence who ends up in No. 10.

Young people need to feel engaged by the political process so its no surprise that jargon is a complete turn off. I believe young people are more discerning than we’re given credit for and although many of us are interested in politics, we are also very cynical of politicians. Who wants to be preached at when half of what is said goes over your head anyway?

When MP’s target and start listening and moreover including young people in the political process, finding out what issues we feel are important (because despite some snarky feeling that all we care about is student fees, that’s most definitely not the case) and hearing our views on public policy.

The issue that got under my skin in particular was the suggestion by one commenter that young people under the age of 24 are “idiotic beyond belief and will most likely be voting for disaster/Labour #Morons”… Gee… thanks.

Despite the (completely false) idea that young people somehow automatically vote Labour, this stereotype of the ignorant, politically-uneducated-therefore-clearly-left-wing, hippy ‘yoof of today’ is totally unfair and (as a young person myself) pretty darn offensive if I’m honest.

The main challenge for politicians today in engaging young people is pretty much the same challenge they face to the rest of the electorate (but perhaps to a stronger degree). Average Joe Bloggs (both senior and junior) no longer trust politicians to be honest in either their policies or their values, and it is THIS failure to engage in a trustworthy and believable way that political parties need to work on.