How to Become a Management Consultant

How do I become a management consultant?


If you run marathons in your spare time, can keep a sense of humour even when stuck in a lift and consider yourself a problem solver, then management consulting might be the career for you. But prima donnas should take note. 

“People who have an overinflated sense of importance don’t get very far,” says Varya Davidson, a principal at Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), for whom she has worked for ten years. “All consulting firms have a team-focused mentality. It’s very important that you get on well with the people you’re working with.” 

Management consulting is a popular career choice for new graduates, who are lured by the variety of work, the opportunity to travel and the good pay. Davidson says that there is no such thing as a standard day. “One day you can be preparing and presenting to a board of directors,” she says. “The next you can be walking around the assembly line of a plant.” 

As well as recruiting young graduates, companies also look for those with five or more years’ industry experience or with MBAs. Competition for jobs among those in the first category is fierce. BAH gets up to 1,500 applications a year for 15 positions. 

Davidson says that recruiters are looking for analytical, interpersonal and communication skills, and motivation. Interviewers test for people skills by imagining whether they would enjoy being stuck in a lift with the candidate. Evidence of motivation can be found in their extracurricular activities. Successful BAH candidates run marathons and climb mountains at the weekend, have led university societies, founded charitable projects, excelled at a musical instrument and won academic prizes. 

Salaries range from about £35,000 for junior consultants to more than £100,000 for partners, according to

How to be a Dog Trainer

How to Become a Dog Trainer / Canine Behaviourist

Important: read this in-depth guide from K9 Magazine: How to become a dog trainer – and you will be set on the right path to attaining your dream dog training career.

Dog behaviourism is a relatively new profession and as such no governing bodies or affiliated official register are in place. Subsequently, any person who considers himself to possess the relevant skills can practice as a dog behaviourist. However, the majority of work for a behaviourist is based on referrals from a vet.

So Lonely
Creative Commons License photo credit: DaveFayram

Vets will be reluctant to refer a behaviourist who is not a member of any associations that are in place to standardise service. Also, referrals may not be forthcoming if it is considered that a person practicing as a dog behaviourist does not possess any formal or academic qualifications that are relevant to this particular field.

This is a demanding vocation and certain skills are essential for one to succeed. It is important for anyone considering this job to be able to combine a love and understanding of dogs with good academic qualifications and standards. (An honours degree indicates an aptitude for learning which is essential to this job. An honours degree in psychology or biological science would be even more useful.) Communication skills are essential, as this job will require a person to be in contact with pet owners who will want to express certain problems and expect you to be able to give answers. This is a very skilled trade and as such, a behaviourist’s expertise may be required in other areas.

Courts may require a behaviourist when dealing with The dangerous dogs act, this will require any behaviourist to be articulate, knowledgeable and well presented. Informative or general interest publications may require the wisdom of a pet behaviourist, which means good English and written skills are essential. Behaviourists who choose to practice as self-employed will certainly need good business skills. A reliable means of transport is essential and as with all dog related careers, so is a good sense of humour.

A behaviourist can expect to be confronted with many unusual situations, but some of the more common ones include destructive chewing, excessive barking, inappropriate toilet going, and aggressive behaviour amongst others.

There are many routes in to this profession, as with many dog related careers people can start off as kennel-hand and gain knowledge and training from that. Other people may go to university to get the qualifications they want or need. However practical experience with dogs is essential to supplement any academic qualification. There are a number of courses on offer to help people wishing to enter this particular profession.

Further information can be sought from the following sources.

The centre of applied pet Ethology.
P O Box 18.
Tisbury Wilts.
SP3 6NQ.

Association of Pet behaviour counsellors.
P O Box 46.
WR8 9YS.

The animal care college.
Ascot house, High street, Ascot.
SL5 7JG.

How to be a Travel Writer

Travel Writing

The Seven Myths of Being a Travel Writer

A few weeks ago I received an interesting piece of mail. It said, “Launch your dream career as a travel writer today and get paid to travel the world.” All I had to do was sign up for an expensive correspondence course on travel writing. After that I could expect such rewards as “a complimentary week on an exotic Asian island” or a luxury vacation in Cancun “with airfare and all expenses paid.” The breathless come-on letter asked, “Why not live on permanent vacation?”

Why not indeed? Get paid to travel the world and live a life of leisure. What could be more glamorous?

Before you fall for it, remember that it is also glamorous to be a rock star, a best-selling novelist, or a starter for the Lakers. It’s not so glamorous, however, to be an aspiring actor (waiter) in Los Angeles, an aspiring songwriter (waiter) in Nashville, or an aspiring novelist (waiter) in New York. It may sound silly to compare travel writers like Tim Cahill or Jeff Greenwald to celebrities such as Tom Cruise and Stephen King, but the odds of getting to that level of success are just as daunting. The big difference is that when you do get to that upper echelon of travel writers, you’re still not making nearly as much money as the lowest-paid bench warmer in the NBA.

Just as plugging in a Stratocaster doesn’t make you a rock star, writing tales about your travels is not going to make you a travel writer. Like any position where supply far exceeds demand, you’ll need to follow the right steps and then pay your dues. It’s not going to happen overnight.

As a service to any beginning travel writers out there who are ready for the real story, here are the seven biggest myths of travel writing and the dirt on what to it will take to defy the odds.

Myth #1: Travel writers make enough money to live on

Some people make a living as a travel writer. They are a very small minority. Yes, I actually did make enough to live on for a while just being a travel writer. But it took three years of spotty assignments and building up a collection of clips before I got to that point. Plus I was backpacking in cheap countries at the time, which meant my expenses were low. I got most of my income reviewing hotels for a travel trade publication (and lots of free hotels rooms to boot). Like most who pay the bills doing this, I relied on at least one steady assignment to make up the bulk of my income. Most who manage it are either writing guidebooks or working steadily for one of the top travel magazines. Neither option, however, is particularly lucrative or dependable.

Tom Brosnahan, who has written over 30 guidebooks for Insight, Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, and others, lays out the numbers for a guidebook writer on the site With his calculations, a writer getting a $30,000 fee for putting a new guidebook together would spend close to a year of his or her life on the project and end up making about $6 per hour after expenses. And this is after a rather sizable advance. It’s not uncommon for a new guidebook writer to only be offered around $10,000, which almost guarantees negative income. The work is no picnic either. Guidebook writers are assumed to know every city and town in depth, but in reality they seldom spend more than a few days in each place. During that time, they are zipping around between attractions, restaurants, and similar hotels, frantically taking notes that will sufficiently jog their memories later. They then spend their evenings typing it all up, while real travelers are out having fun.

In an interview with Rolf Potts, well-known travel writer Pico Iyer described his early writing for Let’s Go guidebooks as “covering 80 towns in 90 days while sleeping in gutters and eating a hot dog once a week.” It’s not a job for anyone who expects to spend time really enjoying a place and it’s also not a job suited for someone with a significant other along, much less a spouse and kids.

Pay at travel magazines has stayed stagnant for the past decade and many great magazines for independent travelers have gone belly-up. Rates for a 500-word article range from $10 to $1,000, the latter being for a seasoned writer doing a story for a Travel and Leisure type publication. Even with a dozen years of experience, the bulk of my freelance pieces earn me between $25 and $300. Big features and cover stories pay more, of course, but those plum assignments don’t come down the pike until you’ve forged a long-term relationship with the editor or have become famous. To support yourself at this, you would need to get a whole lot of stories in print on a regular basis.

Myth #2: Editors are hungry for travel stories from new writers

For every article slot in a magazine, there are hundreds of writers trying to fill it. It’s like an audition for a movie part or tryouts for a pro sports team. Editors are up to their ears in material and much of what crosses their desk from new writers isn’t worth printing. I recently asked a publication I’m writing for when they needed to see my finished article we’d discussed for two months. The editor replied that she already had the next four issues done, but get it in when I could as they would soon be starting on the fifth. Meanwhile, her slush pile is full of unsolicited manuscripts she can’t waste time wading through. Send a brief, targeted query letter that shows you’ve read the publication if you want a fair shot.

Myth #3: A destination is a story

Many aspiring travel writers feel that telling an editor they are heading off to some certain spot on the other side of the globe will result in an enthusiastic invitation to write about it. But here’s some news: editors are not short on people who are willing to head off to this place or that to write about it. Don’t assume just going somewhere is a reason to write an article. Even remote corners of the globe are visited by more writers than we need. (I’ve seen enough articles on Iceland and Antarctica to last a lifetime.) Unless you’re going to be the first person landing on Mars, you’d better find a good story angle.

This doesn’t mean you can’t write about the Inca Trail, the Grand Canyon, or the Taj Mahal, but you’d better be able to find a truly unique slant that has never been tried before. Is there some attraction right off the Inca Trail that nobody ever visits—but should? Could you spend a couple of days with people who actually live inside the Grand Canyon? Is there a stonemason doing repairs on the Taj Mahal who is descended from one of the original masons? Wherever you are going, you need to think like a journalist and dig for something an editor will find refreshing.

Myth #4: Readers want to hear every detail about your personal experiences

Take an hour or two and read some stories on the many travel websites that don’t pay writers for submissions. On most of them, you’ll find long, drawn-out narratives by self-centered writers who seem to think everyone wants to know the minute details of their day—including their digestive problems. Why should travel magazines pay for this stuff? We’re already overloaded with it and it’s free! Long tomes about dodging beggars and waiting around for the bus to get fixed are not stories; they are journal entries. That’s where they belong. [Amen!]

Granted, reputable magazines do occasionally run narratives about some epic journey, but the stories are nearly always carefully edited for interest and the spotlight is seldom shining on the narrator. Here’s a good test: read a magazine story or book chapter from someone like Bill Bryson or Pico Iyer and then read your story. Then have your most brutally honest friend do the same. If your many-page travelogue is every bit as gripping or funny and flows just as well, then by all means don’t give up until you get it published. If not, edit, edit, edit.

Myth #5: Travel magazines love long stories

Speaking of big long features, pick up a travel magazine in your local bookstore and see how many stories run for five pages or more. Then count all the small features of a page or less scattered across the rest of the magazine. Pick up a few more popular magazines on almost any subject and do it again. Notice a pattern? Blame the attention span problem on whatever you want, but a recent study found that the average magazine story length in the US is now less than 500 words. Get good at doing short, informative stories and you can get assignments. Editors mostly need articles that say something succinctly and then get out of the way. This is where the work is, especially for a beginner. Eventually you may build up a good reputation and garner a big feature assignment. Try to do it in reverse order, however, and you’ll be getting more rejections than you can count.

Think small in another way also—in the story subject itself. “London in Spring” is tough sale except for an airline magazine (where their regular writers get these assignments almost as a gift, so forget about it). A piece on how teatime works in England, however (a recent story in Budget Travel), is a nice feature that fits on one page. An editor probably has no interest in your hours getting lost in the souks of Marrakesh, but one editor snapped up a piece I wrote in Marrakesh called “Interview with a Tout.” Don’t forget that the easiest stories to sell are the ones that really do a service to the reader. Show everyone how to do something cheaper, faster, or with less hassles and you’ll have far more success than talking about the 48-hour train ride you took in India with goats and chickens.

Myth #6: You write a story, you get paid, it soon gets published

Travel writing is a tough way to pay for your travels. The main reason is that the money comes long after the travels. The very biggest and best magazines pay “on acceptance,” which means when you hand in a manuscript they are happy with, you get paid. In the other 90 percent of the publishing world, where you will probably get most of your assignments, this is about as common as Ferraris in Cuba. Most stories are accepted “on spec,” meaning you write the story without knowing if they’ll accept it. If they do accept it, don’t buy the champagne yet. You will get paid upon publication—after the story actually shows up in print. (If they don’t go out of business first.) In the best case, this will be within two or three months. More likely, it will be six months or a year. By the time you see a check from the story you wrote in the first month of your round-the-world journey, your yearlong trip could be over.

Myth #7: All your expenses will be covered

Ads for travel writing courses and workshops love to talk about “all expenses paid,” but this is a rare event for most freelance travel writers. If you have an assignment letter in hand for your great idea from a reputable travel magazine, a big newspaper, or a well-known travel website, you can likely swing some freebies. Otherwise, forget it.

If a travel provider cannot see an obvious payback from providing you free hospitality of some sort, don’t expect to get it. I reviewed hotels in nine countries for a well-known travel trade publication and ended up staying at a lot of ritzy properties for free. But that’s because of the guide I was writing for and the kinds of customers that used it. If I had been writing for some obscure travel site on the Web, or even Transitions Abroad, the hotel managers never would have replied to my letters. Every tourism business wants publicity, but it has to be the right publicity for them to care.

Yes, resorts and tourists bureaus often invite press people to come visit, with some or all expenses paid, but the key word is “invite.” If you write a weekly travel column for a big Sunday newspaper, you’re in. If you’re managing editor of Islands magazine, you’ll get more invitations than you can possibly use. If you write for some obscure magazine nobody has heard of or you write for a travel blog that’s not recognized as hugely successful or highly influential in a relevant niche, then you’ll be paying for your own room at that fancy beach resort, thank you very much.

So what’s the good news for travel writers?

I’m erring on the side of pessimism because I am writing this for Transitions Abroad, a publication that is known for providing the unvarnished truth, refreshingly free from hype. But of course travel writing can be a lot of fun. I never would have learned as much as I have about the places I’ve been and the people I have written about if I hadn’t had a reason to really dive in. Travel writing has taken me to places I probably never would have gone: a remote spot in the Sinai, a sadhu’s den in the Himalayas, a mystical mountain sculpture garden in Korea, and every bourbon distillery in Kentucky—to name just a few. The check and the byline may have been the goal, but I always took the trips with the attitude that the money and glory were just the gravy.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from being a travel writer, any more than I would discourage someone with talent from becoming a songwriter or an actor. But if you are committed to being one, do it because you are already a curious and perceptive traveler who happens to be a good (if not great) writer, and do it the right way. Read a few good books on the subject and really do what the authors say to do. The advice is nearly always tried and true. You will need to study the publications you’re pitching in detail, send good query letters, write about unique subjects that you’re really interested in, and make sure everything you submit is as good as it can possibly be—and on time.

Second, remember who your “customers” are. The buyers of what you are selling are editors. If they don’t want to publish your material, your creative ideas will never go beyond your journal or your letters home. Realize that if you’re not comfortable selling yourself and your ideas, this is not for you. Being a travel writer, at least until you’re established, is 90 percent marketing, ten percent writing.

Get feedback whenever you can, especially on your “leads” (the first paragraph, which needs to grab people). Then take that feedback seriously. In the end, you may not be sipping cocktails in Tahiti, all expenses paid, but you’ll be getting paid at least something to do what you love.

Post Eurovision Song Contest: How to be a Singer-Songwriter

The Ten Rules For Becoming A Singer-Songwriter

Posted Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:40pm PDT by Rob O’Connor in List Of The Day
The early 1970s were a great time for men and women who no longer wanted to be part of a band. Or who didn’t want to share the money with the guy who only played bass and tried to steal the comfortable bunk on the bus. Singer-songwriters made instant connections with their audiences because they were sincere—unlike all those hard rockers who were so obviously lying all the time.

Sincerity does set you up for accusations of being a bit of a wimp. But it also attracts people who would like nothing more than to take you home and give you a bubble bath. When was the last time that happened to a guy selling life insurance? Probably about the same time a world-famous blogger such as myself found himself mobbed at the local convenience store. (I was mistaken for a member of Jethro Tull. People, I’m not that old. Yet.)

Anyhow, my loyal readers, you know who you are—Dude, D33Ppurple, GeneHallway, grattitude and Yahoo! Music User—you’ll see I’m just trying to help everyone survive this new economy with a worthwhile new “skill set” you can take to your next employer and wow them like crazy.

In the end, we’ll all either be dead or working for the same telemarketing company. See you there!

Now for the ten rules that make for a wonderful singer-songwriter.

10) Write About Love: This would seem obvious. Everyone loves love. There was even some guy named Leo Buscaglia who wrote entire books and gave seminars on “loving love” but he missed the boat when he didn’t record a solo album and died instead. Don’t make the same mistake. Write songs about love. Even if you think alien abductors are more interesting. 

9) Write About The Universe: Personally, I still think the world is flat. But other people like it if you pretend everything has more significance than it does. More non-coincidences happen every day than coincidences but guess which get al the attention. I share a birthday with Whitney Houston, and Jerry Garcia died on that day as well. What does that mean? How should I know? I’m an idiot.

8) Sing About Politics: It almost killed Jackson Browne’s career andBruce Cockburn must’ve lost a few fans along the way. Nicaragua’s a cool sounding name and taking food away from hungry people and spending it on military gear surely makes most people really mad. But it hasn’t proven to do much for a singer-songwriter’s career. So why am I throwing it in here? Because you should always be thinking how your career is going to look as an episode of Behind The Music. Showing that you care about something other than yourself—even if it’s a big fat lie—pays off somewhere down the line.

7) Publicize A Substance Abuse Problem: Whether you decide on cocaine, heroin, old fashioned booze or diet pills is up to you. But whatever you decide, make sure everyone knows about it at some point. There’s no point in getting caught up in regrettable behavior if you can’t benefit from it at some point. It’s all about establishing credibility. Cashing trust fund checks may be the reality for many people in this racket, but you can’t let it ruin your reputation.

6) Look Pensive: You’ve heard the saying “Never let them see you sweat”? With singer-songwriters you not only want them to see you sweat, you want them to see you always looking concerned, looking wounded, looking like you’re tackling the weight of everyone’s existential woes even if you’re really thinking about how to spend your income tax rebate or how to screw your neighbor’s really hot sister. Play it both hot and cool. Show you’re versatile.

5) Be Sensitive: At least appear to be sensitive. Learn to touch people on the elbow when speaking to them and stare into their eyes with “concern.” “Understand” their pain. Live your life in these annoying “quotes” that I’m putting around these important “words.” Sure, it’s annoying and wince-inducing, but it works!

4) Do Not Attempt To “Rock” “Rap” Or Make Any Music That Would Cause People To Move Their Body Parts: You’re a singer-songwriter. You can’t dance. You are not funky. You do not rock. You can unbutton your shirt a little bit but leave the leather pants at home. If all else fails, you can always go religious and save your soul. But always either stand still, sit down or vaguely sway. Women are allowed to twirl their skirt and flip their hair but that’s it. No leg kicks. And absolutely no shouts for wanting “to see some hands.” If anything chastise people for making too much noise even if it’s just them talking to their broker on their cellphones.

3) Hire A Backup Band And Pay Them Scale!: This is so important and one of the main reasons for being a solo act to begin with. Sure you might want to have a backing band, but don’t EVER let them think they’re equal or irreplaceable. If you ever start to make real money, fire them and hire even cheaper labor. Don’t worry about hurting their feelings. No one in the band likes you in the first place. That’s why you’re a solo act. Deep down, you’re not very likable. But you could one day be rich. Which is better than poor.

2) Hire A “Name” Producer And Then Complain When He Messes With Your Sound:Chances are no one cares about you. But you can always hire someone with a bigger name than you. Indie bands have been hiring Steve Albini to “record” their albums for years in the hopes that it will make them seem cooler than the other thousand bands who’ve done the same thing. Singer-songwriters can hire Mitchell Froom, who will then teach you the proper way to play your instrument and how music theory actually works. It’ll be important information, but it will bruise your ego and bring all your insecurities to the forefront. You really are a loser! So do what all losers do and become highly resentful and lash out at those who have helped you. Dismiss Froom as a “hack” and someone who “just doesn’t get it.” And then try hiring someone even more famous to make your next album and wonder why they don’t call you back.

1) Make Lots Of More Famous Friends “Guest” On Your Album: It’s all about networking. Sure, you probably have some talented friends who could sing back-ups on your song but if no one’s ever heard of them, who cares? Hobknob with singers more famous than you and ask them to add a harmony or an “ooh” and “ah” somewhere on the album. Ask Emmylou Harris to duet. Hire Greg Leisz to play pedal steel. See if Rob Thomas might have some downtime. Maybe somebody could ask The Boss to stop by when he’s in town. So what if it’s entirely inappropriate for the music you’re making? No one likes your music anyhow. At least now it’ll get written about because people other people have heard of are somewhere on it. It’s easier than having any real talent. That’s for sure.

Hate working for others? Start your own business

All your own work

Being passionate about a hobby is one thing, starting and running a successful business on the back of it is another. Gathering practical advice from those who have put their interests to work could prove to be invaluable

You have an interest — it’s all-consuming. You think it’s fascinating and there’s bound to be a way of making a living out of it. You might not be Jane Asher with her famous cakes, but there’s got to be some way of turning your passion into gold.

You might not be Jane Asher but, funnily enough, Jane Asher is. She set up her cake shop in Chelsea after writing successful books on cake making and sugarcraft. “I remember people sending me cuttings from American magazines with cakes copied exactly from my books. Which is fair enough — you write a book, they do it and sell them.” She felt she ought to do something to capitalise on what was obviously a popular idea.

At this point business sense had to take over from enthusiasm, and Asher, deliberately or otherwise, set herself rigid criteria on how to make it work. Any shop she owned had to be close to home, as she had no intention of giving up her day job or abandoning her family. “I think that’s probably typical of women entrepreneurs, without wanting to be sexist,” she says. “You develop your interest into a business for those sorts of reasons.”

Straightforward borrowing

Asher lived in Chelsea, which is affluent, so the demographic was able to afford hand-decorated cakes. Money was unexpectedly straightforward. “It wouldn’t happen now, but I walked in and I saw a bank manager I’d known for some time. I said I wanted to start a small business, he said ‘my wife loves your cake books’. I borrowed £80,000 and opened the shop.”

Then another piece of business sense kicked in — finding a business manager. “I knew that if it succeeded I’d still want to go back to my real job much more full-time when the children had grown up. This was the only time I went to an agency. A catering agency sent me a number of people and I remember when I interviewed Ruth Clark, who’s still with me, I was in full 18th-century dress at the National!”

Asher’s inexperience showed early on: “We underpriced drastically,” she explains. “I took a stab at what a cake should cost without any sort of system. I then decided we had to take X amount an hour for staff, rent, rates or whatever — eventually we worked it out. Initially it was very hard to judge how long a cake would take to make.” She also spent too much. “I was persuaded into a lot of 
marketing I needn’t have done. I didn’t think it was necessary, but designers are very good at persuading you that these things are.”

Asher admits that having a well-known name was invaluable, but not everybody has that advantage. Claire Novis started belly dancing classes after reading an article on holiday. Eventually things moved on and she was asked to stand in for a tutor and later qualified to teach herself. Starting up required a whole new set of skills and knowledge.

"I was determined that if I was going to do this, I was going to be as professional as possible in the service I offered, and therefore wanted to be legitimate in what I was doing," Novis says. "But what do you need to do to make sure you’re abiding by all the rules, insurance and tax requirements?" She recommends a visit to the HMRC website ( as a good starting point.

Marketing has become easier through her website ( She runs the business alongside her full-time job as a senior geologist. “On opening my car boot you’re often, therefore, confronted by the rather confusing view of half of it being filled with hard hats, high visibility jackets and steel toe-capped boots, with the other half being filled with hip belts, chiffon and sequins.”

Mark Lee, independent business adviser and founder of the Tax Advice Network, was advised to become a children’s entertainer early in life. He decided against it because of the hours professionals work.

"My wife is avoiding this trap by keeping her card-making activities as a hobby," Lee says. "She loves making cards for friends and family birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions. This is a labour-intensive activity. She doesn’t want the pressure of having to make hundreds at a time and we also know that the income she could make would not justify the time and effort, even if the cards all sold quickly."

There’s also the problem of detachment, he adds. “Many people make that mistake and assume that their passion will be sufficient. Market research — beyond asking friends and family, who will be biased, is critical. And then you have to be prepared to adapt your business model to reflect what the marketplace wants.”

Author Emma Jones heads up the Enterprise Nation website and agrees that it’s easier to spot a gap in the market than to “make sure there’s a market in that gap.” She urges people to check how many customers and competitors — with whom it might be easier to cooperate than compete — there are. Above all, look at the commercial reality of a venture. “Look at what others are charging and the price you think customers will pay,” she says. “Then work out if this figure, multiplied by a conservative estimate of customer numbers, is enough to get the business up and running and keep it afloat.”

After mastering sales, marketing. cashflow, employer skills and tax affairs, readers will be relieved to hear it goes from impossible to just pretty difficult. It can work spectacularly. Jane Asher isn’t the only one to turn a profit, but without sensible help and some objectivity she may not have succeeded.

Graduated? Consider Teach First

Teach First aims for top of the class

You will progress faster than any other graduate programme. That is the promise one charity is making to encourage high flyers to pursue a career in teaching

Teach First aims to encourage graduates to teachTeach First aims to encourage graduates to teach in schools in deprived communities. Photograph: Image Source/Rex Features

They say those who can, teach; or at least that’s the catchphrase the government has long been using to entice graduates into the profession. But despite the fact that teaching has been presented as a recession-proof job choice, the government says it still needs more top calibre graduates to enter the profession.

A recent poll by revealed that many are put off by generalisations about teachers’ low pay and limited opportunities to progress.

While the Conservative party has been calling for teachers to be better qualified, Gordon Brown has reiterated the need for “empathy, understanding, passion”; all of which means one thing – motivated, hard-working graduates are in demand. Teach First, an independent educational charity, seeks to find said grads who can inspire and encourage pupils from poor backgrounds to fulfil their academic potential.

James Darley, director of graduate recruitment at Teach First, says: “There’s an educational disadvantage in the UK, whereby the wealth of a parent determines the quality of their child’s education. We can help change that by putting the best minds into the most challenged communities and help raise the achievements and aspirations of a child’s life.”

Teach First offers graduates a structured and rigorous two-year teaching and leadership development programme – the sort of training that most private sector companies have been forced to axe as a result of the recession. Darley points out: “It’s a scheme whereby you will progress faster than any other graduate programme – if you can deal with a classroom of 30 children disengaged with education, you can deal with a trading floor or an unhappy client.

"You have to not only have the subject knowledge but also be a good planner, organiser and leader and also think about humility and respect. If you are thrown into a community that’s very different to your own, you have to be able to get beyond that, get on their level and understand those children."

The leadership development programme differs from the traditional teaching route of a degree followed by a post-graduate certificate in education (PGCE) because it instantly takes you out of the university lecture hall and straight into the classroom for hands-on experience, pretty much from day one. By this summer, the charity aims to have trained 2,000 high-flying graduates as teachers.

The programme lasts for two years, graduates receive a training salary of between £17,260 to £21,242, and, on top of that, the course modules count towards a master’s in educational leadership, providing another qualification (the MA is fully-funded provided it is completed within three years of starting Teach First).

The first year involves trainee teaching a 70%-full timetable and completing a number of assessments to acquire Qualified Teacher Status (the equivalent of a PGCE), while the second year involves more teaching in the classroom (as a fully qualified teacher) and completing the leadership element of the course.

After graduating from Oxford University with a history degree in 2008, 23-year-old James O’Donoghue spent a year gaining work experience in schools which spurred him on to apply for the Teach First scheme. Originally from East Sussex, he is now six months into his first year of the leadership development course, teaching history (as a trainee) in an inner city school in Birmingham.

"I’ve always believed that the best way to learn is to do, and I thought it was best to get hands-on experience straight away – the structure of the Teach First programme allows this," O’Donoghue says. "Teaching isn’t easy, but I’m in a school that is really driven and a lot of people share the same ambition, which is to encourage the pupils to do well.

"I’m learning every single day and while it’s important to uphold Teach First’s message of being role models, you’ve got to recognise that the primary goal has got to be to get your basic teaching right – ultimately, it’s the quality of your teaching that will make the biggest difference to the kids in the classroom."

For O’Donoghue, Teach First’s leadership development programme is a “very effective form of teacher training" but he stresses it’s not for everyone: "You have got to apply yourself – the nature of this course is so intense, and the stakes are sometimes exposed quite cruelly when it comes to performance. There is a lot of work, but there’s tremendous job satisfaction – for instance, my GCSE year 11 group was struggling, and were initially testing me out to see what they could get away with.

"But then, to get through that, to achieve mutual respect, to see them getting their heads down, asking for feedback, and taking a more long-term view – to knuckle down and work for a qualification that might not have been attainable before – is just incredible, and I’m so happy to see them working hard," he says.

Want to work in the Antartic?

Jobs in Antarctica 2012–2013

Jobs available

Station Support

Antarctic Medical Practitioner



Mechanical Trades


Aircraft Ground Support

Take your place in Antarctic history

Please note applications for the 2011/12 season have now closed.  Applications lodged after 24 January 2011 will be considered for the 2012/13 season.

Take your place in Antarctic history! Have you got what it takes?

The Australian Antarctic Division have a range of job vacancies in Antarctica for the 2012–13 summer and the 2013 winter.

Periods of employment vary depending on the type of job:

  • Summer jobs are generally offered for periods between early October and March–April of the following year.
  • Winter jobs can commence as early as July and run through until November–December of the following year.
  • Short winter stints can also occur between January and November–December in the same year.

If you have the skills and abilities we require and you don’t think the employment period would suit, please talk to us, we may be able to accommodate your needs. Our general contact number is 1800 030 755.

Apply now! If you are successful, you will be part of a team of professionals working to protect the Antarctic and Southern Ocean. We undertake research into important areas such as the interactions between the ice, oceans and atmosphere and how these affect marine life and global weather patterns.

Antarctic employment is not for everyone but if your application is successful, we will support, train and equip you for the demands of Antarctic employment. You will be compehensively assessed in terms of technical abilities, personal qualities and medical fitness, and fully informed about Antarctic employment to ensure that the experience is both safe and satisfying.

Other Benefits? You will be provided with all your cold weather clothing requirements, accommodation and when in Antarctica, your food. This has the potential to save you thousands of dollars in costs that you would normally incur working in Australia.

If this opportunity sounds attractive to you, the links below and to the right will provide you with information that will allow you to decide whether you have the skill set and qualities which are required to perform this role.

If you decide to apply, please access the General InformationPDFdocument for important information.

Applications received after 24 January 2011 will be considered for the 2012/2013 season.

You may like to try our working in Antarctica quiz.

Take your place in Antarctic history

Jobs In Tree Surgery

A career in Tree Surgery / Arb / Arboriculture

We receive many enquiries from individuals all over the UK who ask for advice on how to become an arborist or tree surgeon, and what is involved. It may also be interesting for our customers too to read a little about what a career in arb or tree surgery involves.

What follows is a some information on this matter which should help you understand the various routes into the tree surgery industry and what a job in arb involves…

Jobs in arboriculture

Some important points to consider first

Careers in tree surgery Tree surgery is a very physically demanding job

Tree Surgery Jobs Tree surgery can be dangerous and challanging

Tree work jobs Tree surgery involves being outdoors in all weathers

Tree Surgery job Tree surgery is highly skilled work

Careers in Arboriculture It can be good fun, and the views are great

Routes into Tree Surgery / Arboriculture

Essentially there are two routes to becoming an arborist - really there are no short-cuts it does require training
(Also see our recommended book lists for useful arb training & tree surgery books)

On the job training
One route in is by finding a job with a local tree surgery business, and starting as a trainee tree surgeon/arborist. Generally you will start as a groundsman, a highly skilled job in itself and also physically demanding. It may take months even years as a groundsman before starting to climb. You will first need to be become proficient in the use of chainsaws on the ground and be put through the necessary NPTC chainsaw certificates.



You will get a chance to experience first hand whether tree surgery is the job for you and whether you can handle the hard work and conditions

You will gain valuable commercial experience and can build on the theory and qualifications as you progress as a tree surgeon


Wages will be initially low, rising with experience and skill level (starting on perhaps £40 a day)

It can be difficult to find a job with a good tree surgery company

You may learn tree surgery techniques and skills that are out of date when compared to current knowledge and practice. You may then find it harder to change your skills to update yourself.

You may only learn how to climb and cut trees with a chainsaw as opposed to learning to be a good arborist. There is a big difference


Study to be a tree surgeon

     Working as a tree surgeon    Jobs in tree industry Tree surgeon vacancies Tree surgeon vacancy Tree surgeon vacancy

On the job training - Volunteering
It may be that your personal circumstances or current employment may give you the flexibility to offer your services as a volunteer. You may be able to get valuable experience with a tree surgery company for a day or two a week or more. This will certainly appeal to many tree surgery businesses who would see this as an opportunity to increase their numbers on certain jobs at little expense, however for the prospective tree surgeon this is an excellent opportunity to get involved in the industry and get some real ‘on the job’ experience. It may also lead to a job if you prove that you are a ‘grafter’, or at least give you some contacts in the industry.

One word of caution would be to do some research into who you are offering your services to. Just because someone is in the Yellow Pages or on the web does not mean that they are a bona fida tree surgery company. Make sure that they operate a sound and safe business. If you do volunteer for a company and you find yourself in a clearly unsafe ‘cowboy’ operation, don’t be afraid to walk away. You can also put this down to experience!

Going to college
The other route to becoming an arborist is to go to a specialist college where you can learn the necessary tree surgery skills and gain the qualifications required to be a tree surgeon. See list at bottom of page.  


You will be taught a broad range of tree surgery skills and theory to give you a good grounding in arboriculture. You will be starting with a view to becoming an arborist, not just a tree surgeon.

You will be trained to pass the certificates that qualify you to become an arborist

It is probably easier to find a job and wages are likely to be higher intially or at least rising quicker if you prove yourself to be good. (An experienced confident climber may be able to earn £100+ a day after several years)


Having qualifications does not necessarily mean you are a good tree surgeon, it will still take many years of ‘on the job’ work to learn how to be a good arborist in a commercial environment. What you learn at college doesn’t necessarily equip you to deal with the physical demands and ability to work on all trees. This takes time and experience.

You may hate it as a actual job or find it too physically demanding and will have wasted time and money

  Jobs in arb     Careers in arboriculture    Job as a tree surgeon Career as a tree surgeon Careers in tree surgery

Tree Surgery - A physical & demanding job

It is generally said to take at least two years of climbing in a commercial environment to become strong and fit enough to be a good tree surgeon. It also takes this time to slowly build up confidence to take on larger and larger trees. It can take many more years to excel

Climbing day in and day out for many hours a day, with a chainsaw hanging from your harness, in all conditions & weather is demanding and requires great stamina, both physically and mentally

There will be times, often daily to begin with, when you will need to push yourself and overcome fear and tiredness

On the whole Tree Surgery is a young persons ‘game’. By the age of say 35 you are old in tree surgery terms, or at least to start. That is not to say that people don’t start successful careers in tree surgery at this age or after, only be under no illusion that perhaps when you are 45 you may not want to be climbing trees anymore. There are many excellent tree surgeons that are ‘older’, sometimes the best. But it is likely that they started young and have learnt early. Bear this in mind if you are thinking of coming into tree surgery and you are 30 or over.

Tree Surgery can be dangerous

It goes without saying that climbing trees with a chainsaw can be a dangerous occupation. The Health & Safety Executive announced in 2004 that as it stands at the moment, tree surgery is/was currently the most dangerous occupation in the UK. Safety precautions, risk assessments, protective clothing, comprehensive training e.t.c. is essential to minimise risk, but accidents do and can happen. There are safer and easier ways to earn money!

Required qualifications for Tree Surgery Operations - Becoming an arborist

The basic chainsaw and tree climbing qualifications required are the following NPTC certificates.

To equip you for groundwork

NPTC Certificate - Maintain chainsaw - Careers in Arboriculture CS30 Maintain the chainsaw
NPTC Certificate - Fell small trees - Careers in Tree Surgery CS31 Fell small trees
NPTC Certificate - Cross-cut and stack procedure - Jobs in Arboriculture CS36 Cross-cut and stack procedure

Then to progress into the trees

NPTC Certificate - Climb trees and perfome aerial rescue - Career as a tree surgeon CS38 Climb trees and perfom aerial rescue
NPTC Certificate - Operate the chainsaw from a rope and harness - Work as a tree surgeon CS39 Operate the chainsaw from a rope and harness

NPTC stands for National Proficiency Tests Council view the website at

There are other recognised qualifications called LANTRA Awards.

As a rough guide tree surgery courses cost £350 - £550 each depending on who you train with, and what test you are doing.

Tree surgery courses vary from between 2 - 5 days each

The above NPTC qualifications (or equivalent LANTRA Awards) are industry standards for carrying out tree surgery legally.

Being legally allowed to wield a chainsaw on the ground or up a tree does not necessarily make you an arborist. Further to this you must have an understanding and knowledge of trees and respect them as living organisms. You must know where, when and how to cut a tree, and, perhaps more importantly when, where and how not to cut a tree.

You must know how different trees react to different pruning techniques, which trees will die if pruned too hard,

Arboriculture means the care of trees. Equipped with this knowledge and then applying it means you can call yourself an arborist.

An arborist cares for trees. See below for a discussion of the difference between a tree surgeon and an arborist.


Tree Surgery - Job satisfaction

I have not met a tree surgeon who does not love the job & love being outside. Dispite all the above negative points (designed to discourage the faint-hearted, who would only be wasting their time), tree surgery has a high degree of job satisfaction. It has to have this, and you have to enjoy it, otherwise you just wouldn’t bother doing it.

It does take a particular type of person to do this sort of work, it is difficult to exactly say what this is, and I am not going to attempt to. I have tried to give you an idea of what is involved, only you will know yourself if tree surgery is something that you would and could do. Good Luck.

What if the Royals Had to Work?

Kate Middleton’s former employer, Belle Robinson, the founder of Jigsaw, has revealed that Kate could only ever have a part-time job, as she had a ‘relationship with a very high-profile man and a life that she can’t dictate’.

And it was recently reported the Queen was very unhappy with ‘Waity Katy’s’ carefree lifestyle.

So what sort of employment could she hope to get if she wasn’t the girlfriend of a future king - and what careers could other under-employed royals hope to follow?

The Mail decided to find out. Concealing the royals’ true identities, but drawing on their real experiences, we created CVs for them, mixed them in with some real applicants, and then presented the CVs to a panel of career experts (below).

Their hilarious verdicts are uncannily close to reality…

Our panel:

Theo Paphitis, worth over £135million, is one of the Dragons from BBC’s Dragons’ Den. His book, Enter The Dragon, is out now.

Nick Keeley is the director of careers services at Newcastle University.

Tara Daynes is an independent human resources consultant.

And the candidates…



TP: This is a young lady who wants to get married and have babies. Nothing wrong with that  -  but until then she needs discipline, a job where she has to take responsibility, instead of all this endless drifting. She would be brilliant on the fund-raising circuit. At the moment she’s just killing time.

NK: This is a driven and determined, creative and energetic young woman. She needs to focus on her own needs rather than giving in to family pressure, which can only end in tears. I would advise her to start her own photographic business, or perhaps even join the ranks of the paparazzi. She could earn thousands if she gets the right pictures. She shows enough commercial awareness to be a big success.

TD: Caroline should move into the advertising, marketing or media industry. Perhaps rather lacking in discipline, she has taken a rather scattergun approach to her career so far and needs to prove herself in the workplace. She needs to focus on learning some real skills. 




TP: It’s too late for him. He’s not going to start a new career and should stick with good causes. He seems rather weak and uncertain. I get the feeling he has been dominated by the women in his household. There’s an undercurrent of bitterness here. He’s not a man who can join the general workforce.

NK: Sadly, he seems rather embittered, which will put most employers off. He has some positive attributes  -  he is enterprising, but has a bad attitude. He has spent a lot of time doing little. He will have to put aside his Victor Meldrew characteristics if he is to become employable. At the moment, he would not make a pleasant colleague.

TD: This person is not going to be able to make it in the real world - and he has a terrible attitude. His only hope is to call on the old boys’ network for favours. Otherwise he is looking at unskilled work, such as a security guard earning £14,000. With his aristocratic pretensions, he would make an excellent top-hatted doorman at a swanky hotel.




TP: Henrietta looks a bit of a mummy figure, a strong woman. She would do well as a non-executive type at a wine or tobacco company.

 NK: It’s going to be difficult for her to find a place in the world of modern employment. She can’t retrain at this age. But she has caring skills. Perhaps she might fund-raise for charity, or if she needs to earn ready cash I suggest she looks for work at stables, mucking out for around £7 an hour - only joking!

 TD: This lady, sadly, has no qualifications. She is capable of running a household, but it is going to be hard for her. I suggest she seeks a job at a charity shop. They are grateful for anyone they can get.




TP: This lad is perfect for a job in the City, where he could lead a macho alpha-male existence. He’s easily bored and needs adrenaline. With his competitive streak, he will take the City by storm. He could make a lot of money.

NK: Kevin’s definitely not suited to an office job. He could go into farm management. Or perhaps he could become a police community officer out on the beat, earning around £17,000.

TD: By his own admission, Kevin is no brainbox, but shows strong leadership. You don’t need academic intelligence to motivate people, and it’s a rare quality which he seems to possess. His charity work is impressive. He would suit working in the agriculture or the construction industry. 




TP: Bob would be an ideal candidate in The Apprentice. Or for PR due to his outgoing personality. But I worry about whether he will be hungry enough to succeed, if he’s going to inherit the family business.

NK: Impressive, but he needs to gain hands-on management experience. Consider the M&S retail graduate scheme, starting off at around £20,000.

TD: Bob is highly employable, with experience of leadership and self-management. He could become a trainee accountant specialising in corporate finance, earning £25,000. 




TP: She would be a great magazine journalist, but will need to work flexi-time, as she isn’t disciplined. She’s not an airhead, but might need to be reined in.

NK: Enthusiastic, has strong social skills and qualifications. She could enter the world of corporate sales or the law. As a divorce lawyer, she could earn a starting salary of £30,000.

TD: I would ask why she’s never even held down a Saturday job. Although her qualifications are solid, she might find it difficult to adapt to the workplace and get to work at 9am. She could earn around £28,000 as a trainee solicitor.




 TP: Geoffrey’s got to get real: he’s not a good businessman and he’s getting on a bit. He needs retraining. He could teach broadcast media. He’s never going to make much money. 

NK: His CV is very thin and will arouse suspicion among employers. What has he been doing for the past six years? He is not employable. He might consider a low-paid job in TV.

TD: He has never settled into a proper job despite being in his 40s. He will probably need to retrain and employers will quiz him on why he has done so little with his life.

Read more:

Why even Kate Middleton should work!

Ladies who lunch, trophy wives, trailing spouses everywhere - it’s time to dust off those CVs, buff up your IT skills and invest in some smart office separates. For no less an authority in this land than the monarch herself has called time on the self-indulgent life of what used to be called the kept woman - that is, pleasurable psychotherapy, Bond Street shopping and light charity work interrupted by Caribbean holidays.

Yes, according to those ever-loyal “pals” of Wills and “royal insiders”, the Queen has intimated that Kate Middleton, Prince William’s girlfriend, should get a job. Not that Buckingham Palace will confirm it: “We do not comment on Kate Middleton. She is a private individual for the time being or until the status quo changes, if it does change,” I am told.

I bet Her Majesty did say it, though. While most women of Kate’s age are putting in long hours at the office and taking on huge mortgages on starter flats or studios, the employment history of the royal girlfriend-in-chief amounts to a brief spell as an accessories buyer for Jigsaw and - er, that’s it.

Unless you count as work the colourful photographs that the 26-year-old graduate is taking of iced cupcakes and fairy-tale unicorn bags and then uploading onto her parents’ mail order website, Party Pieces. For all we know, this is a very demanding position that stretches the gracious Kate (“Call me Catherine”) Middleton to her limits - and to be fair, the photos are really rather good.

Still, what’s blindingly clear to everyone, including Her Majesty, is that far from earning a living and establishing her independence, the young lady is spending much of her time working out in the new Clarence House gym, having blow-drys, stocking up on knee-length skirts and making demure appearances at Sloane nightclubs such as Mahiki.

In other words, Kate gives the appearance of having abandoned all hope of normal life (a life that should, by rights, include a crap job, slutty attire and Krakatoa cocktails) in favour of sitting it out as a “waity Katy” until the magic moment when William drops on one knee and she finally becomes a living, breathing, fairy-tale princess as opposed to one of the frothy tutu-wearing, wand-waving pink moppets of her parents’ catalogue, which is the closest most of us will ever come to royalty.

The Queen must surely feel this is not clever PR. As an 82-year-old monarch who has devoted her life to duty and service, she clearly has little sympathy with the idea that a young woman who might one day be queen should be whiling away the interregnum by hitting Boujis. Indeed, Her Majesty is known to favour the young female royals who “do” something, such as Sophie Wessex and Lady Helen Taylor. Even Fergie, for all her faults, is these days more fairly described as the Duchess of Work than the Duchess of Pork.

So I’m afraid the story rings true. I have no doubt that the Queen - not for nothing is she called the head of the firm - has issued a get-to-work order for two good reasons.

One, the Queen reads the newspapers and meets ordinary people every day. She can’t fail to be aware that the disposable income of the middle and working classes is shrinking - but that the top 0.01% in Britain have seen their incomes rise by more than 500% over a generation. So the gap between the super-rich and royals on the one hand and the rest of her subjects on the other is wider than ever before.

In this credit-crunchy climate - when 99.9% of women are forsaking designer shops for Oxfam or eBay and cancelling holidays and struggling to meet bills - the sight of a princess-in-waiting on perma-holiday is out of synch. Big time. After all, both William and his brother are in the armed services and the other young royals are mostly working parents. (It is with justifiable pride that Viscount Linley describes himself as “a carpenter”.)

Reason two: most very rich people, and especially the Queen, know that a life of pampered idleness, especially one in the bosom of the royal family, is a breeding ground for unhappiness. I’m not thinking of Diana, who was always determined to work with children and the underprivileged, but of the late Princess Margaret, who had so little to do that she filled in time by washing the coral she had collected on holiday in the Caribbean or by sticking the sides of matchboxes onto tumblers (so that she could light cigarettes more easily while drinking whisky).

So if Her Majesty has told William’s girlfriend to get on one’s bike, it is partly because she knows that life will never be the same again for Kate if she joins the firm and that she needs to make the most of her civilian status while it lasts.

One day her prince may come and she might be Queen Catherine. But meanwhile, being plain Kate Middleton is her last chance to be a wage slave, to lead from the front, to do her own washing-up and to show rich, kept women that they can do something more worthwhile with their lives. She mustn’t blow it.

- The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported last week that there was a desperate need for cheap housing in rural Wales. Meanwhile, the Commission for Rural Communities suggested that with the right sort of support from government, the rural economy could double its contribution of £325 billion to gross domestic product. So, as night follows day, I was invited to talk about second home ownership on the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2.

This is because I once made the mistake of writing an article for this newspaper about owning a second home. Desperate at the time to talk to other second-home owners, I approached first a Guardian columnist, then the head of a big charity and finally the head of the Second Home Owners’ Club. All owned second homes. Not one of them was willing to be quoted. I was on my own.

So when the producer called, I stiffened. There is no more thankless role to play than apologist for those who - in that smug phrase - “divide their time” between Hampstead and Norfolk, or Notting Hill and Exmoor. “Only if you plug my new book,” I said reluctantly (since you ask, it’s called Shire Hell).

As soon as I started to go on about tax rebates and affordable housing, the angry calls and e-mails started flooding in.

I never want to pronounce again on behalf of Britain’s second-home owners - especially as I bought mine from my father and don’t feel I deserve the ire.

Perhaps Cherie Blair (who has about six residences at last count) could do it instead.

Five ways to improve your interview technique

Becoming an exceptional candidate is something you can do; it’s just that most people don’t take the trouble. In my experience, mostinterviews don’t go that well; most people are bad at them. The truth is that many recruiters are actually not particularly good at interviewing either nor particularly effective. So, if you prepare properly and are a good interviewee, the odds can be stacked in your favour.

To put in a good performance think about planning, practice and positive psychology. An interview is an audition. You need to project yourself as the sort of the person the interviewer wants to hire; as someone they want on the team.

Just checking out a company website is not enough

It’s not just a question of researching the organisation. You need to understand your interviewer and why they are hiring. One way or another they are seeking a resource as a solution to an identified problem. Just checking out their website, report and accounts is not enough.

Work on understanding the organisational need and how you can add value. Look at the challenges and opportunities they face and work out how to show that your experience and expertise are relevant. Explore their market, competitors and the changes taking place in the industry.

Use your network to find information about the interviewer and his preferences, the company and its culture. Use LinkedIn and ZoomInfo to gather all the intelligence you can.

Focus more on delivery rather than giving off-the-cuff replies

Rehearse your presentation. I don’t necessarily mean being word perfect. I’m talking about what you say when anyone asks you what you do, why you left, what you have achieved and so on. Can you talk about yourself comfortably, with confidence, concisely with clarity? Practice so that you have the right words, don’t get flustered, talk at the right pace and, crucially, know when to stop. Remember the need for consistency between words and body language.

In an interview you have to know your CV by heart. None of it pops into your head at the last minute; you know what you are going to say and what spin you are going to put on it. A good interviewee has learned his or her lines in advance and is focussing much more on delivery than on off-the-cuff replies.

It’s not a solo performance: aim for a 50/50 dialogue

What you really need to do, though, is to make the interview interactive. People trained in interview techniques are told to use the 70/30 rule. That is to say the interviewer aims to talk for about 30% of the time allotted and the candidate talks 70% of the time, in response.

The smart candidate actually wants a 50/50 dialogue. You should aim for a conversation, directed along the lines you prefer – whereby you can play to your strengths. The interviewer can only go with what you give them. This is best illustrated by using the “what was your biggest business mistake?” question. Do you really want to tell them your biggest mistake? Really? You decide.

You are aiming for positive interaction. Make it easy for the interviewer by saying “have I told you all you need to know on that subject? Can I give you more detail?” Build rapport, find some common ground. But remember it’s not a monologue, you are both actors in the interview and it is a dialogue, a conversation, not a solo performance.

A positive outlook is crucial

Henry Ford famously said “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right”. You’re motivated, you’ve done the prep and have the drive to succeed so visualise success.

Whether you call it confidence, self-esteem or self-belief, to shine at interview you need to show that you will make a good employee. Show that you are good at interacting and reading your situation, good at selling yourself and your ideas. Practicing your interview technique will make it so much easier to shine. There’s no need to be nervous if you believe you are a good candidate for the role. If you believe you can do it, then you can do it. You know it because you have prepared, practiced and are ready to show what you can do.

Review and follow up

After the interview send a letter. Thank them for seeing you. Reiterate how interested you are in them and the role. Review the key points of the interview when you discussed challenges and opportunities and outline how you can help them meet those.

No guarantees but if you work at it you’ll become a better interviewee and give yourself an advantage in a tough economic climate.

Michael Moran, CEO of Fairplace - a career management and outplacement provider

How to be a shoo-in for a job Interviews will become a thing of the past when your reputation has firms queuing up to hire you, says Clare Whitmell

Some people never ‘apply’ for jobs, but are approached directly. But it’s not luck that generates these opportunities, it’s the reputation you’ve built with industry peers who are happy to recommend you. Here’s how you can turn your CV into a mere formality.

Be recognised for your work

Whether you’re a top sales person with a string of impressive results, or the “go-to” tech person who keeps the intranet running, you need to be known for something. Specialise (rather than generalise) and develop the crucial attributes valued by employers: a can-do attitude, ability to communicate and work across cultures, and strong problem-solving skills.

Keep a record of your successes in each role, quantifying where possible in terms of bottom-line impact. Regularly update company managers on what – and how – you’re doing, to increase your visibility and influence salary and promotion negotiations.

Build an industry-wide reputation

In a live Q&A on new year career resolutions, Deborah Simmons quoted some interesting research on career success. “Doing the job well” has less of an impact than “relationship with others”. But by far the biggest factor (at 60%) is “reputation/exposure”.

Meet influential people at industry events such as conferences or presentations. Increase your exposure by offering to speak or present at events, and getting quoted in trade journals or publishing white papers.

Build relationships with key figures, thought-leaders and specialist recruiters who can refer you to others, including those with hiring authority. Personal referrals are among the easiest ways to get a job.

Be visible online

As recruiters and hiring managers increasingly use Google and LinkedIn to source (and ‘screen’) candidates, an active online presence is no longer optional.

Social media is very much a level playing field. It’s easy to build contacts through participating in online forums and Twitter conversations, and by thoughtful and useful comments on blogs and LinkedIn group discussions. Maintaining an industry-related blog also enhances your professional reputation and can lead to further opportunities, such as guest-blogging and conference participation – as well as job leads.

The transparency of social media can also work against you. Aim for quality over quantity of output, and be known as someone who provides value.

Non-participation in social media may leave you sidelined. Recently released statistics show that people of all ages are active online, with 152 million blogs, and 200 million people on Twitter. Measurement tools (such as the Klout score, which aims to calculate your online influence) may become another stage in the hiring process, as decision-makers try to assess the professional reputation of a potential candidate.

Be choosy

Don’t tarnish your credibility by lunging at any job that comes along. Roles that don’t offer career-building challenges are unlikely to keep your interest for long, and a job-hopper label will damage your reputation.

Understand the trends

Know what’s happening in your industry. Where are the growth and opportunity areas? Where is your next role likely to be, and what skills will you need for it? Keeping current will help you plan your next move strategically.

A guide to freelancing — media and PR

Tracy Playle is a communications consultant who specialises in advising the education sector on the use of social and digital media for PR and marketing activities through her company, Pickle Jar Communications

Your employer might support your move to freelance and become one of your clients: My former employer before I went it alone was actually my very first client and I continue almost three years on to work for them on and off. They’re likely to be one of the first people to recommend you to others if they value your work too. It’s worth remembering that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to try a different approach to working. Try to put a positive stance on it — for me freelancing and consultancy made more sense because I’m much more of a project person and get itchy feet if I do the same thing for too long, so if you can identify the positive reasons why you think this is a better fit for you rather than why you aren’t happy in your current role, then they will undoubtedly be supportive.

Accountants are worth their weight in gold: The first advice I give to anyone is to get yourself a good accountant from day one (or even before then — mine asked me some very challenging questions that really helped me to assess that I was doing the right thing). They’re worth their weight in gold in terms of advising on company structure (I opted for VAT-registered limited company, for example, instead of sole trader) and they take away all the hassle of knowing what’s what in the very important tax world. I’m under strict instruction from my accountant to never ever upset HM Revenues and Customs.

Don’t forget the added value a full-time role can give you at the start of your career: Working for an employer might provide you with training opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to afford if working for yourself (attending conferences, workshops, further study and so on) and allow you to develop a niche and a good network of contacts. Don’t rule out freelancing but don’t forget the added value that a full-time role will give you when you set out.

Olivia Gordon is a freelance journalist who writes for national newspapers, women’s magazines, websites and specialist publications. Together with fellow freelancer Johanna Payton, she teaches freelance journalism courses for Olivia and Johanna Training

What you charge can depend on the size of the publication: In terms of fees, the National Union of Journalists’ website has a useful freelance fees guide which tells you how much to charge as a minimum depending on the size of publication. If you are just starting out, you may have to do some low paid or unpaid writing to build up some cuttings, but once you have some good cuttings, you can generally expect to earn at least £300 for 1,000 words — if not considerably more.

Finding case studies and interviewees is a real skill: Finding case studies and interviewees is a real skill. Generally though it’s a matter of common sense and being persistent. You can find someone to talk to you on virtually anything if you look hard enough. Googling, obviously, is a good idea, as are support groups, internet forums, press offices, charities, publishers, news agencies, and of course your friends and family — the list of places to look is endless.

Think of dramatic and exciting ideas to catch an editor’s eye: It’s just a matter of sending a good strong pitch on a fresh, original and topical idea. I find the mistake most newbies make is not coming up with ideas that are dramatic and exciting enough to make an editor think “Wow! I must commission this right away before anyone else does!” For example, ideas about redundancy and career changes (especially ‘mumpreneurs’) are two-a-penny these days, so to pitch something on this sort of topic with any hope of success, you’d need to come up with a killer angle which hasn’t been covered before, or a red hot story.

Natalie Persoglio is a freelancer with more than 12 years experience in the marketing, journalism, PR and communications industries

HM Revenues and Customs run free short courses on tax issues:As I’m not naturally a numbers person I thought I would struggle with the financial aspect of freelancing, but there’s a lot of information out there. I pretty much had my hand held through my first tax return, courtesy of HM Revenues and Customs. They run free, short courses (an afternoon) in most areas, so it’s actually fairly straightforward.

Start building your freelance career while making the most of the security of a full-time position: I became exclusively freelance about three years ago, but before this I worked in full-time roles and ran freelance projects during out-of-office hours, evenings and weekends. It’s actually the ideal position to be in, as you’re building a career in freelance while still having the security of a full-time position.

Training is really important, but it can be hard to plan: On making time for developing skills through training as a freelancer — with freelance work often being quite spontaneous it can be difficult to make concrete plans such as committing to training, as you can miss out on jobs which pop up at the last moment or existing projects which need extra care. Training is really important, so I should really include it in my planning.

Derek Kelly is managing director of ClearSky Accounting, a firm specialising in accounting for freelancers, contractors and interim workers

Getting help with your finances can save you time and money: If you are in it for the long-term, then setting up a limited company will most likely provide you with the best net return as you can undertake some simple tax planning to minimise the amount of tax you pay. If you use a specialist firm of freelance accountants, then you will be surprised as to how little you have to do in terms of paperwork. I would guess about 30 minutes per week at most.

Catherine Quinn is a freelance writer with more than a decade of experience selling features to national publications. She is the author ofNo Contacts? No Problem! How to Pitch and Sell a Freelance Feature

Make the most of modern technology and get away from your desk: I do travel journalism and I am on the road a lot, and I have to say it really is very easy nowadays. Technology is a complete gift, and I could have kissed whoever invented internet telephones when I made my first call. I spent a month in China travelling round earning more or less the same as I would at my desk, conducting interviews at 10pm rather than 10am and writing it up via WiFi in hostels. God bless the internet, I say.

Katie Moffat is a freelance PR consultant specialising in online public relations and social media. She is also a trainer in online PR and social media for digital specialists Econsultancy

Putting effort into being visible online can pay off: It’s vital that you are easily visible online. Definitely get a website that acts as a showcase and if you have the time, do start blogging — I would echo other comments on here that it’s a great way to demonstrate your knowledge. For example, you could blog about dealing with the media, how to write a great news story and so on — lots of small businesses would be interested in that kind of subject. Set up a profile on LinkedIn and spend some time joining and contributing to groups. Definitely look at Twitter — I have had so much work as a result of being active on Twitter. And if you can, look at some of the business forums and contribute to threads. Although the results of online activity might not be immediate, it will pay off.

Helen James is the founder of Freelance UK, a community for creative and media freelancers

Make sure the freelance lifestyle suits you: I would recommend you work out what’s important in terms of your lifestyle too. Freelancing may not be a steady stream of work, especially as you get your business off the ground. One of the benefits for employers is that they can often ask a freelancer for last minute work, over the weekend perhaps. So bear this in mind. Plenty of freelancers take on evening and weekend work initially before leaving their permanent job.

Graduate view: A post-uni survival guide for graduate job seekers

Ray Mears might well be considered the King of Survival, but when it comes to surviving life after uni it’s actually the penniless graduate who can make a fair claim to the title. Forget erecting makeshift shelters or trapping rabbits for food, just managing to cope in the real world without Countdown and vodka redbull is enough to send any ex-student into madness.

For a year I have (barely) survived this working world wilderness and I can tell you two things about it: there is a lot more busy and a there is a lot less booze.

However, if you can follow a few simple survival dos and don’ts then you might well get out of this graduation alive. But I do warn you – it’s going to take patience, perseverance, dedication, drive and a huge amount of hard work…

Probably time for a nap though first, eh?

Now, any survivalist worth his/her/their? salt will tell you that rule one for staying alive is to be resourceful. As a graduate this means taking what you’ve already got and putting it to good use – what this doesn’t mean is breaking down your mortar board and bed frame into firewood.

Instead, survive by calling on those who you already know. The only reason I’ve made it through the working world in one piece is because I’ve relied on friends and contacts made during uni. Four of them for example have helped me set up a blog aimed at young wannabe journalists, while another old mate put me up in Bristol when I was interning for two weeks on a magazine.

The laws of wilderness survival might suggest you eat your friends in an attempt to survive – I would just say ask them for a few favours; you’ll end up saving yourself a pretty penny and could even score some contacts or exposure in the process.

The second rule which helped me survive life after the uni bubble was to be opportunistic. Just as Ray Mears can craft a twig into a three-course meal – turn whatever comes your way into an opportunity.

One particular article I wrote for a popular men’s e-magazine actually resulted in me landing a position there as a full-time freelance writer. The original ask was for a single article on Savile Row but by using a bit of Bushcraft I managed to turn that article into a casual writing relationship. All I did was ask for a few more assignments and – as my hard work gradually got noticed – I was rewarded with an opportunity to write full-time.

Don’t be afraid to push your boundaries and probe for a little more; the age-old “don’t ask don’t get” has never been truer for a graduate making that difficult transition from beer-drinking to business.

My final and third rule for surviving graduation - and the great outdoors - is to be well-equipped. I don’t mean carry around a Swiss-Army knife; this doesn’t tend to go down well with employers. So, instead, invest in a good suit for the impending interviews, mock-up a strong CV that draws on everything you’ve achieved and maybe even buy some business cards to work your name around at networking events. I never go anywhere without mine and I’ve made some excellent contacts.

Ultimately, you need to get going. Fellow stranded graduates are competing against you to get working and if they have to eat you to stay alive/employed then they might just do it.

You can follow Matthew Caines’ adventures in the working world (and beyond) on Twitter: @mattcaines and at Wannabe Hacks.

Working in the Fashion Industry

Andrew Groves is the course director of the BA Fashion Design degree at the University of Westminster. Andrew’s own background in fashion is extensive and has included being head assistant to Alexander McQueen

Think about what types of designers are in demand: There are many areas where there is a need for other kinds of designers. There are so many womenswear designers leaving colleges in the UK yet not as many menswear, sportswear or accessories designers. Also, there is always a demand for really great pattern cutters that also understand the design process.

Knocking on doors can lead to fantastic opportunities: Designers very busy and inundated with people approaching them, but they are far more impressed by people that make the effort. I have had students travel to New York or Milan to personally hand in a self-directed design project and CV to the designer or company that they want to work for. As expensive as that might initially be, it has meant our students have worked for Dior, Chanel, Marc Jacobs and American Vogue. It also means they get to meet the person behind the work, which is vital.

Think about what you’ll bring to internships as well as what they can offer: Are the companies that you want to intern with going to teach you skills that are relevant to your future career goals? What is the mix of the skills that you can bring to their company that are relevant to their needs? Some companies are led by computer-based design, others are all about sampling and craft technique. Try to find the company that you think is the right fit for you, and you are much more likely to be what the company is looking for as well.

Stephanie Finnan is owner of The Fashion Careers Clinic, a careers advice service specifically for fashion, textiles and accessories designers

Don’t be picky about location - you could miss out on excellent opportunities: Graduates looking to work overseas should consider less obvious locations and be very open-minded about where they work for their first role. Don’t be picky. When I was a recruiter, I had some great roles for major clients in Germany - it was a struggle to find people who would go, due to the fact that the design studio was located in a tiny village in the countryside. Those looking for their first design job should put worries about location aside - the brand in Germany paid well, had a great creative director and excellent quality in their production. Don’t miss out on excellent opportunities simply because the location isn’t 100% perfect.

Make sure your CV is on the right desk at the right time: Remember not all graduate design roles will be advertised, as most companies are looking to save money on advertising and recruitment. Therefore, lots of employers will consider utilising their own contacts and direct applications. It’s all about your CV and details being on the right desk (or in an inbox) at the right time. Make a target list of companies you think your style would suit. You should have at least 100 companies on there - many more than you might think - and apply to each one. Always email images of your work alongside your CV.

You never know who might be looking at your online profiles:Make use of fashion and business networking sites such as Linkedin,Fashion UnitedFashion Industry Network and so on. Create a profile on each one, as you never know who might be looking. Lots of recruitment agencies and major fashion brands source new talent from these sites. Also, join as many portfolio sites as you can to get your work seen. Good ones are Arts ThreadCoroflot and Style Portfolios. Apply to as many fashion recruitment agencies as you can - there are more than 20 in the UK alone. Not all of them take on graduates, but try them all anyway.

Make an effort to fill in any gaps in your training - it’ll pay off when you are looking for work: When I worked in recruitment I noticed that many clients - especially high street retailers - ask for strong computer-aided design (CAD) skills in either Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign or similar. Assistant designers and interns can make themselves more employable by investing time and effort into training in these skills as soon as possible. Unfortunately, not all colleges and universities have CAD training as an integral part of their courses. If this is the case, graduates should either learn via books, short courses or online learning applications.

Fashion design grads will also be more employable if they can design both garment shapes and also the textile/graphic to go alongside. Employers don’t want to hire two designers - one fashion designer and one textile/graphic designer, if they can get someone who does both.

Talent is not enough - you need to get out there and make sure everybody knows about your skills: It’s often the better designers who are missing out on jobs, simply because they’ve been told how amazing they are by tutors and parents, following success in competitions, awards they’ve won and press following graduation. While there’s clearly nothing wrong with praise for a graduate, it’s dangerous if the said graduate then thinks a job will fall at their feet. I’ve seen many graduates who have had lots of press after their university show and been featured in news articles and photo shoots yet haven’t secured a job in the six months to a year after graduation. Graduates should be aware that they need to be proactive and persistent - talent is not enough. They need to get themselves out there and make sure everyone knows about them. It’s all down to networking - in person and online - developing new contacts and also utilising the contacts you already have.

Ann Guise is a qualified careers adviser who runs a small bridal design business specialising in silk wedding veils. Ann worked for 14 years in the costume departments at BBC Television Centre, London and then in Cardiff. She has also worked as a freelance costume designer and in the fashion retail trade and has been awarded awarded fellowship of the Chartered Society of Designers

Forget 24/7 glamour - fashion can be a very stressful career choice: It is perceived as a glamorous career but that can be far from reality. When I was a costume designer, I stood on a wet hillside at 4am while a scene was being shot for the umpteenth time. I’ve spent days covering dancers’ costumes with diamante. I once needed a costume that had been sent back to Japan for a re-shoot. It arrived with minutes to spare after being biked from Heathrow. It can be very stressful!

Fashion designer Vanessa Knox set up her own brand, Vanessa Knox Limited and is also the co-founder of luxury womenswear brand Isabella Oliver

Don’t be shy about asking for help - we all know we can learn from each other: The first step in creating a successful brand would be knowing that you have a product that is special and knowing who your target audience is. Do your ground work and research like mad; who your customer is and what that customer would pay, who your competitors are and why they would buy this product from you and not a competitor. Be focused and don’t be shy in asking for help from smart clever people who have done it. You would be surprised how many people out there who are more than willing to help new designers and entrepreneurs and this expert advice is extremely valuable. In my experience, it is how it works as we all know that we can learn from each other.

Katarina Rimarcikova has worked for high-end fashion labels such as Alexander McQueen and Gucci alongside freelance collaborations with various labels and designers. Katarina set up her own label in 2006

Start making contacts early to increase your chances of landing a good job after graduating: These days it is almost impossible to get a high-end design position after graduating. There are so many fashion students graduating each year and there are only so many jobs. However, starting internships early during your studies can help you establish good relationships and connections and can lead to job proposals.