Graduate Journey: March 2015

train

Picture by Wilson Lau (via Unsplash)

I know the past few weeks on the blog have been pretty bare (okay REALLY bare) & trying to post new entries every Tuesday & Thursday is obviously not working anymore. Therefore new posts will now appear every Wednesday & Sunday**, so my dear readers let’s get that in the diary!

Now today’s topic is a Graduate Journey update, because my last one was all the way back in November, and really any excuse in which to talk about myself I AM THERE!

No but really I thought it might be interesting to elaborate on the fact that my daily commute to work is 2 hours (one-way), and just a general chit-chat!

Back in 2012 when I was on my placement my daily routine was incredibly boring. I struggled with having to get up before 7am and getting home 12 hours later – it led to very early nights and a distinct lack of engagement in what I was doing (although a majority of that disconnect was because of the Job).

However right now I absolutely love what I’m doing! GPJ is challenging, fun, a massive learning curve and I get to work with some pretty fantastic people! It makes the 4 hour commute easy because I look forward to going to work & because I’m enjoying what I’m doing the days don’t feel as long – which means I do things in the evening.

How I feel about this job is a completely different to how I’ve felt about anything in the past, yes I’ve had jobs that have been great fun and that I loved doing but that were never long-term. Whilst I personally think the saying ‘when you find something you love, you never work a day in your life’ is a ton of bulls**t , because no-one loves every second of their job, I do understand why some people are willing to work crazy hours for a job they are passionate about!

So the summary of this catch-up is that I’m doing great!

Not the most interesting of updated BUT because of that I have decided to go back to a very blogger-esq post (which I first did in 2012) a Whats in My Bag!!

A lot of things change in two years, but it seems not the staples in my bag!

commute

 

Kanken BackPack: Book, Diary, Notebook, Ipad, Ipod, Water Bottle, Umbrella, Pens, Wallet, Oyster card & because of the amount of walking I do – my trusted Fitbit!

So 2 questions today: 1) what do you carry around with you for work?! 2) How are you finding the Graduate life? 

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March #EventBlogChat – How to drive more traffic to your blog

traffic

Picture by Dwayne Paisley-Marshall (via Unsplash)

One of the most common questions Irina and I get asked when we say we’re bloggers is – how many people read your blog? The longer you blog, the more important it becomes to know your numbers (or analytics) and see any trends in readership.

Building loyal readership takes time and persistence but of course there are certain ways in which you can increase traffic to your blog. Some of which include guest posts, shares on social media and mailings.

This month we are going to talk about how to drive mote traffic to your event blog. The questions are:

How important it is for you to drive more traffic to your blog?

How can you increase blog readership?

How do you promote your latest articles?

Do you think visuals and videos can assist with increasing blog traffic?

How do you create sharable content?

Do you think promoting your blog “offline” is important for driving traffic?

What tools do you use to measure your blog traffic?

Last week Irina and I were talking about whether it would be a good idea to organise an event blogger meet-up! We would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please let us know during the chat on tonight!

We can’t wait to see you all this evening, 2nd March at 9pm GMT on Twitter. Just remember to use the hashtag #EventBlogChat and follow us on @EventBlogChat.

Caitlin & Irina

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The Eventice Experience 2015

eventice

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting this years Eventice 2015 candidates, which was both fantastic & slightly weird as it feels a lot longer than a year since I competed! I’ve written multiple times about why I think the Eventice is an experience not to be missed by final year event management students and I’ve not doubt I will continue to say the same each time it comes around! Back in February 2014 I wrote about my own experience (Part 1, Part 2), and this year it seems rude to not have a post talking about the 2015 experience.

I know what you might be thinking – how can a past contestant and graduate write about something she was only witnessing, I’m not, instead this post comes from the lovely Jenny Homer – who was not only one of this years 15 finalists but she is also one of the winners!

Jenny will be starting her Events Career out in Dubai with DMG Events, alongside her flatmate and fellow Eventice winner Joanna Thomas! So all that is left for me to say is a massive thank you to Jenny for writing & sharing this post and I hope the rest of your final year at Leeds Beckett goes great! (Plus CONGRATULATIONS!)

eventice2015

The Eventice 2015

I thought I would write a little bit about my Eventice experience, as I hope other applicants will find it helpful to read in the lead up to the finals.

After being shortlisted to the final 15, I was both nervous and excited about what the three days would entail, and as fantastic as it would be to land a job at the end, I was going in with the mind-set of enjoying and learning from the experience, whilst putting my name out in the industry. Nobody loses in a competition like this, everyone gains so much from it, everyone comes out a winner in the end.

At first glance, two five-minute presentations and three days out of University in final year, so close to dissertation hand in seems CRAZY! But I cannot praise this competition enough; I have 14 new like-minded friends who I will no doubt have the pleasure to work with again in my career. So, my first piece of advice is preparing your presentations beforehand, think of it as a nice break from University work!

Day 1

We arrived at Tobacco dock at Midday on Tuesday for the first day of the competition, I arrived at the tube station almost an hour too early and waited in the coffee shop where I met a few other applicants who had the same idea, you don’t want to be late on the first day!

After introduction presentations from both employers and a quick ice breaker it was time for task 1, 4 minute speed interviews with both companies. As daunting as this sounded as I had nothing prepared for interviews at this stage , the employers asked questions based on your CV, so it wasn’t too bad.

Time for task 2 – smoothie making! The group was split in to two teams, each to create their own smoothie company and smoothies to sell at a pop up stand in tobacco dock. We were required to make a logo, marketing campaign, advertisement, budget, actual smoothies and finally to pitch the idea to panelists and the employers, all in TWO HOURS! Throughout the process employers from both organisations and ESP recruitment observed and interacted with us, a bit like Karen and Nick from The Apprentice!

DMG Events kindly put on a networking evening at one of Gordon Ramsey’s Pubs where we ate delicious food and were able to informally network with both organisations. I was STARVING by this point and probably ate about 10 macaroons! The evening finished at around 9.30 so we made our way to the hotel, checked in and took an early night before our early start and day 2 of the competition!

Day 2

Destination, Confex, Time 07.50 am! That was a shock to the system, considering 9am lectures are normally tough! Each team for every single task was different, the first a pitch for a viral marketing campaign developed for the smoothies created yesterday, the second a scavenger hunt around London with 20 items, including a cassette player (who even uses these anymore) an empty gin bottle, an autograph from a famous person and galangal (FYI this is similar to ginger and found in Thai green curry!).

The next task, to get as many people to have their photo taken by our eventice stand as possible, and then LUNCH! The afternoon tasks consisted of building a dinosaur, dismantling it, and rebuilding it in a faster time. I was convinced it was a trick and that the dinosaur didn’t actually fit together, the other team proved me wrong!

Using an app created for the eventice, we had to network with suppliers at their stands in the exhibition, gaining points as you go which unveil sponsors. Pick a sponsor and create a cultural event, to be held in Dubai, at the World Expo 2020 and pitch. Industry professionals were able to drop in and watch our pitches for this task.

Finally, a short group debate and the hardest task of them all! We were required to write who we think should go through to the final 5 and why, easy, and then who shouldn’t and why, tough!

After 30 minutes of anxiously waiting the final 5 were announced! My name was read out; I was shocked and overwhelmed with excitement! Thankfully, I had prepared my presentations already so a group of us went for celebratory dinner at Pizza Express!

Day 3

This final day consisted of two interviews and finally our two five-minute presentations. I thought great, not much to do time wise today, perhaps I will get a lay in, oh no, interview one, 8am!!  It was so great to be interviewed by people who you had spent the past 2 days getting to know, they already knew you, your personality, so there was no pressure to make that good first impression like with most other interviews, as this first impression happened two days ago!

My advice, have questions ready to ask, I found a particularly useful article on LinkedIn about the best questions interviewees can ask employers. If you have evidence from previous work experience, such as employer reviews take them with you!

The presentations were by far the most nerve-racking thing I had ever done, to a room full of such important people, it was so fantastic having the friendly faces of the final 15 there to support us, and of course tutors from my University. My advice, speak slower than you think you need to, as I can assure you it will always come out faster than you think. Point two, use your time wisely between interviews and practice, take note cards just in case, and of course be confident and enthusiastic.

After THE LONGEST 45 minutes of my life, we all congregated around the keynote stage for the winners to be announced! I cried like I had won the lottery when my name was read out for the job in Dubai, and then they through a spanner in the works and announced my house mate (who was also in the competition) was coming too, we screamed like little girls and posed for photos like we had just got engaged! I burst the final release of all the pressure and nerves that had built up throughout the competition, it was over and I had a job!!

The Eventice is a fantastic opportunity to put your name out in the industry, I would recommend printing business cards to give out when networking with people, even if you don’t win, a job offer will come along from someone else you meet along the way!

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I personally want to say a massive congrats to the other winners,  Bianca Ferreira and James Eynon who both won jobs at Blue Hat & to Hayley Green the 5th final finalist, you did an amazing job!

All 15 of this years finalists were great and this experience will put each  and everyone into a fantastic position once you graduate!

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