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Saturday, 26 September 2015

10 Tips to Business Success

I'm not sure how much you all know about my 'day job' as I don't talk about it as much on my blog as I do on Twitter but I own two companies; a corporate events agency based in London and an online shop, the Gifting Lounge. These are both along with writing this blog and organising LDNmeetup blogger events. 

Not in any way, shape or form am I an expert in this field but having started my own businesses, and grown up around some extremely successful people in the corporate worlds, I've picked up these fabulous pieces of advice for business success that I would recommend to everyone; many of which have helped me get where I am today. 

I have these written down to remind myself of them daily. 


Source


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Friday, 25 September 2015

Career Guest Post; Working as a Sale Administrator

Name: Menellia Valcent

Blog: www.nothingbutvelvet.com 

Industry: Technological & Office Sales

Job Title: Sales Administrator (Administrative Assistant to the Sales Department)


Brief description of job role and industry:

The industry I work in is Sales of technological equipment mainly Xerox Equipment & Software, Lenovo Computers and HP Servers here in Saint Lucia ( small Caribbean Island) as well as office supplies and stationery.. My role is to be the administrative assistant to the managers of the sales department and the department on whole. I am responsible for generating daily and monthly reports as per the assigned quota and budgets, schedule department meetings , processing orders placed via our website and a little or should I say a bit more out of the box.

I am also sometimes an in house sales rep to smaller companies and walk in customers, preparing proposals, answering questions and ensuring that the best customer service is provided leaving every customer I assist satisfied. A bit more out of the box – Sometimes if not more than often I liaise with our suppliers, to ensure that we are on par with our company’s ordering and stipulated target on behalf of the manager, as well as to stay on the trend of equipment (relating to laptops & computers). You will be amazed how often these are improved.


An average day consists of... 

An average day .. if only.. My days are usually extensive..First thing on mornings, I run the reports to compare and track where the sales reps and the department are based on their assigned vs achieved sales for the month. ( But I do this AFTER coffee of course.)

On most days, I do a lot of customer service. When a customer places an order on our website, before it goes to our processing “platform” I have to “batch invoice it” so that the department fulfilling the orders can access it. If that is not done.. well.. the customer won’t get their order. In addition to that I am answering quite a few calls.

In my industry  I also doing weekly webinars to learn about new products via our manufactures partnernet portals. Even though I am not technically a sales rep, I still need to do the courses and get certified. Currently I am a Xerox Certified Sales Professional– Emerald Level


Qualifications/experience required:

Qualifications – at least an A’level certificate or associates degree. Experience at least 3 years.

Career progression:

When I joined this industry I knew absolutely nothing about sales. My first job was an admin assistant for a Agri consulting firm & I had to learn everything from scratch.. When I transitioned to sales I had to do the same thing again.. but that’s the beauty of it..I am always open and willing to learn and grow and being in this industry has definitely opened me up to new skills, new programs, and a new way of thinking..

I started as an admin assistant just answering customer calls and scheduling meetings. Now I am responsible for so much more..
-      I am now liaising with suppliers ( something only the managers would do

-      I am generating sales reports to compare quotas vs sale (same as above)

-      I am ensuring that margins, and prices maintained for products in our system are accurate (same as above)

-      And the most fun part I am calculating commissions for reps J


The fact that I am constantly exposed to something new, gives me the drive to keep learning and keep wanting to climb the ladder. I completed a Professional Supervisory Management course with the university here and was told  “we need to make sure we are giving you roles to direct you in the path you want to take in life” and all the above roles came roles came after. Oh and I forgot I now have my own office as appose to a cubicle (not really a cubicle more like a desk in an open space..lol).


Best tip to crack the industry:

Here’s  a secret.. I never did a thing business related until I started working 7 years ago. I have a science background (hardcore physics, chemistry, biology and even agriculture (hence my first job), but when I started that first job, I had to immerse myself in the business aspect of it. And I had to learn new things.

My tip: Have the will to learn. Don’t be afraid of trying and possibly failing. I think most persons are turned off from applying for jobs/roles when they realize the list and list of qualifications needed. My personal opinion, is that it’s just a way of testing you. Even if you do not have all the required qualifications. Do a quick pros vs cons sheet and then decide if you should apply or not. And if you decide against it.. work on what you lack. Take a short course which will propel you to where you want to be. Because at the end of the day,if you really want to succeed, IT’S UP TO YOU!!

Best thing about my job:

Getting called the manager sometimes.. lol. Just kidding..But that is fun too..

When my department meets their quota & when a customer gives me a great referral because of great customer service I provided them. It’s really heartwarming and it reminds me that I am doing a great thing!!

Worst thing about my job:

Ooo.. dealing with different people.. Everyone has different characteristic and some of them can be realllly difficult, and that sometimes give me a hinge of giving up.. But 100% of the time.. I win. I think I have learned the ropes around handling the difficult ones.



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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Career Guest Post; Working as an NHS Sexual Health Nurse

Name:  Lynsey 

Blog: www.lynseyemily.blogspot.co.uk

Industry: NHS Sexual Health

Job Title: Sexual Health Support Worker


Brief description of job role and industry: 

I work for the NHS in a hospital as a Sexual Health Support Worker. My main roles are to manage the STI test results and call patients to let them know they have an infection and book them in for treatment. I also conduct routine sexual health screens for people with no symptoms. That involves blood taking for tests such as HIV and i also give advice and support with any sexual health related issues a patient may have. Outreach work is also a big part of my job role which involves me going to colleges and delivering sexual health educational chats to young people. 

An average day consists of…  

No day is ever the same in sexual health! I can either be based in the clinic or out and about doing outreach work. First things first I check my emails and voicemails that patients may have left me regarding any advice or requesting test results that they need. I then go through all the test results and start ringing patients to let them know they have a STI and book them in for treatment. My day always varies,  I could be in charge of ‘routine screening’ so I will see patients and go through their sexual history and conduct any tests that they may need and then in the afternoon I could be doing outreach work at a college giving a sexual health talk to students about STI’s and contraception!  


Qualifications/experience required: 

I only have my GCSE’s and A-Levels! I stumbled into sexual health by pure luck! Before I was a maternity health care assistant in the same hospital so it helped that I had hospital and medical experience already. 

Career progression:

I work alongside two health advisors who are senior to me. To go from a sexual health support worker to a sexual health advisor you need a degree or a counselling qualification in order to move up. 

Best tip to crack the industry: 

Get as much medical/hospital work experience as you can and do your homework on STI’s and basic sexual health! You also need to be comfortable discussing sexual health with people and be mature about it! I had to demonstrate how to put a condom on a plastic penis in my job interview. I also had to then choose a word from a list of sex related words and describe what it was and what advice i would give to a patient regarding it. I ended up choosing blow job and well all i can say is… that job interview was the weirdest and funniest job interview i have ever had!


Who would be suitable for this job? 

You need to be confident and professional when it comes to discussing sexual health. You should be mature and sensitive as you have to ask people very personal questions about their genitals and sex life! You also need to be extremely hot on privacy and confidentiality. Patients have a lot of anxiety about their privacy and not wanting people to find out they have been to the clinic or have an infection, so it is your job to reassure them and protect peoples privacy. A non judgemental attitude is VITAL in sexual health! You will meet people from all walks of life, ages, sex and sexual preferences. A friendly personality also goes a very long way in this area of work!


Best thing about my job: 

You won’t find a better team of colleagues than in sexual health! They are all so down to earth, relaxed and friendly! Although sexual health can be serious it is also a very fun and interesting place to work! You are guaranteed to have a laugh every day. Plus i love helping people and i get huge job satisfaction when i make a patients day a more positive one. 

Worst thing about my job: 

Worst thing about my job: Delivering bad news can be pretty tough sometimes and it is also difficult not to get emotionally involved in some patients difficult experiences and stories.  




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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Career Guest Post; Working in Charity Retail as a Business Development Coordinator

Name: Hayley Joeann Owen

Blog:  www.hayleyjoeann.com

Industry: Charity Retail

Job Title: Business Development Coordinator / Area Manager

Brief description of job role and industry: 

I am a Business Development Coordinator and I am also on a year secondment of being an Area Manager. I work for a children and young adults hospice charity which is based in Oxford called Helen & Douglas House. Despite the hospice being based in Oxford, we have 37 shops over 5 surrounding counties and a retail headquarters in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. My role as a BDC is to assist the Retail team in generating income for the charity. I head up projects and events with corporate sponsors, I am the assistant buyer for new goods (handbags, homeware, ladies accessories etc) which we sell in our shops and am responsible for buying our range of Christmas cards for the charity every year. My role is extremely varied which I love. Despite being on a year secondment, I still head the above projects on the side of being an Area Manager for 10 Helen & Douglas House shops. My role now focuses upon maximising sales and profit through the shops. I manage 10 shop managers and support and work with them to ensure their shop is running smoothly and that the team are reaching set targets and working by our procedures and policies. I really enjoy working with a wide mix of people and working as a team to ensure the merchandising is up to scratch, stock processing is under control and that the shops and teams are working as effectively as possible.


An average day consists of... 

I plan my week according to the sales results of the previous week. The shops who perhaps have struggled to meet their target or who have had a quiet week will have a visit from me to discuss what we can do to drive sales and to increase profit. It may be that I need to track down more stock to fill the shop, assist with the merchandising to attract customers or work with the team to encourage motivation. Sometimes I spend an entire day in one shop working with the manager but often I try to visit 2, especially if another one of my shops is nearby. Throughout the day I am accessing emails on my phone to keep in touch with all other shops and my colleagues. I am constantly observing that my shops are following the correct procedures, that they are meeting all the legal requirements and are completing all their operational duties.

Qualifications/experience required:

I have a degree in Fashion Promotion and Communication which may not seem suited to the role I am in but there are a lot of transferable skills and having a degree shows dedication and intelligence. There is a lot of essential experience needed to become an Area Manager such as being educated to a GCSE level, having management experience, the ability to create budget plans to increase profit, having significant retail experience and much more. 

Career progression:

I have worked in retail since the age of 15. I started in Virgin Megastore as a sales assistant then moved onto Miss Selfridge to do the same role. I worked for two different Miss Selfridge stores as I transferred when I went to University.  I then had a promotion to Senior Sales for a year but resigned after leaving University. Throughout University I volunteered with Helen & Douglas House, which is how I got my foot in the door. My volunteering role was to assist the E-Commerce & Merchandising Manager with vintage festival stalls and to assist with the vintage shop the charity had in Oxford. 

After a few months I went into a role to cover shops when managers/assistant managers were away, which broadened my retail skill set. I then went on to work in the charity E-Commerce department to sell vintage and antiques online. My role was always much more than my job description as I constantly assisted with other projects within the charity as my degree gave me an amazing skill set and I wanted to further my experience. Our Retail and Warehouse office moved to Buckinghamshire, which meant I had to give up my E-Commerce role. 

However, to keep me as part of the team a Business Development role was created and I moved to Buckinghamshire to start my new role. 2 years on from becoming the Business Development Coordinator, I was then offered a secondment to be an Area Manager. I'd finally achieved my dream job, even if it was a secondment! I'd always wanted to be a part of the Area Manager team and support shops in increasing sales and to work with the teams to maintain the boutique style shops that we have. I am currently in my secondment until May 2016. 

There is the possibility that I could remain in this role but also the possibility of a restructure. Either way, having an entire years work experience in the job I want to do is incredible.
Best tip to crack the industry

Work experience and volunteering. It gives you the best experience you could ask for as it opens up doors and gets you noticed. I may not have necessarily had a shot at any or all of the jobs within the charity before volunteering but I had shown what I could do and had been a part of many projects within the charity, which really added to my CV. If it wasn't for volunteering, I'd not have the job I have now. 


Best thing about my job


The teams I manage and the fact I work for such a great cause. I get to work with such interesting people daily and am a part of the 10 small teams that are in each shop, who all work together to create 1 huge team who bring in over a quarter of a million pounds for the two hospice houses yearly. I enjoy knowing my hard work isn't going into a mainstream company but is going into a charity that helps children and young adults with life shortening conditions. What a reason to wake up every morning.


Worst thing about my job


I'm not sure if I have a worst part of my job, but there are definitely two hard parts. First part is managing people. I think any job that involves managing people can be difficult. At first when I took on my secondment, my age seemed to be a concern to people. However, after a couple of weeks my age became just a number because I proved I had the capability to do the job well. The second hardest part of my job can be the long hours. Balancing two job roles, one of which has 10 people to manage, can sometimes be very demanding on my time. The good thing is I know having two roles isn't permanent and with it being such good experience for me, I cannot complain. I'm proud that I've been entrusted with an Area Managers role at the age of 23, and this has mostly been down to hard work and dedication, with a little good luck along the way. 


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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Career Guest Post; Working as a School Education Manager

Name: Hannah Cox

Blog: Crafternoon Cabaret Club www.crafternooncabaretclub.com

Industry: Arts Education

Job Title: Education Manager (Schools)

Brief description of job role and industry: 

I work in a large arts centre where I run the Schools programme.  I work across all artforms and my remit is to create opportunities for schools (in London and across the UK) to engage in our artistic programme: this could include events, workshops and performances in literature/spoken word, dance and performance, music, visual arts or our talks and debates programme.  Working in a cross artform venue is amazing fun - it's incredibly varied and lively and I feel like I'm learning about new artists and ideas all the time.  It's also very fast paced and hard work - you have to really love what you're doing to work in the arts.

An average day consists of... 

I don't really have an average day because the programme I work on is so varied but I spend lots of my time meeting teachers, visiting schools, meeting artists, researching ideas and organisations, writing project proposals and budgets, managing events and running workshops with school groups.  

Qualifications/experience required: 

I have a degree in English Literature and Theatre Studies and a Masters in Applied Drama.  I also worked freelance before my current job as a creative facilitator where I ran workshops with all sorts of community and school groups, as well as directing youth theatre groups.  It's really important to be passionate about your artform/artforms and be really organised as most artistic jobs within arts centres require you to know a bit about everything - I often have to programme, produce, recruit and deliver my events so experience in any of those areas is really helpful.

Career progression: 

It depends on the shape of the organisations but entry level jobs tend to focus more on delivery of events (booking rooms, materials, and supporting administratively) and as you move up you'll start to take on more responsibility with shaping the programme artistically and strategically.  The skills you develop can often be applied in another arts venue or to become freelance. Eventually I'd love to run my own venue or company.

Best tip to crack the industry: 

Have patience and passion.  It's a very competitive area to work in and it takes time to build up experience and a reputation.  Be enthusiastic and try to meet lots of people working in similar or complimentary areas - some of my most interesting freelance work came out of having coffees with people.


Best thing about my job


The energy and variety of the role and the amount of brilliant people I get to meet and work with.  


Worst thing about my job

It's pretty exhausting - I often feel like I'm working at my limit and I'm normally juggling about ten projects at any one time.



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Monday, 21 September 2015

Career Guest Post; Working as a Solicitor

Name: Jessica

Blog: www.jessicakg.com

Industry: Law 

Job Title: Solicitor


Brief description of job role and industry:

I am a Multi Track Personal Injury Solicitor which means I am predominantly responsible for handling claims involving serious injuries sustained as a result of road traffic accidents, defective highways, accidents at work or in public places, criminal injuries and failed beauty treatments. Mixed bag of any type of injury you can think of basically!

An average day consists of... 

To be honest every day is different - I never know whether I'll have to go out and see a new client at home or whether I'll be attending a Court Hearing at the opposite end of the country! Generally my days are spent reviewing medical records, calculating losses, preparing evidence and liaising with client's and their families to ensure they are getting the right medical treatment, care, funding, adaptations and support they need to get their lives back on track.

Career progression:

I started out as a Legal Assistant whilst I was working part time at University before I worked my up through the roles of Paralegal, Team Leader, Trainee Solicitor and finally to my current role of Solicitor. If you had asked me what area of law I wanted to go into after University I would never have said personal injury in a million years. It was just the first job/field I worked in and found that I actually really enjoyed it as it literally incorporates every other area of law. Whilst I work on serious injury cases at the moment, I am due to start a new job in September specialising in Brain Injury work which is the area of personal injury I have always wanted to specialise in.  My overall career goal is to become a Partner and help train others in my field. A far cry from the beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog I keep as a hobby, eh?!

Qualifications/experience required:

To become a Solicitor the conventional route is to complete a law degree and legal practice course before then finding a 2 year training contract at a firm and qualifying. The less conventional (and probably more practical route) is to study for the ILEX course to become a Legal Executive at a firm. What they don't tell you is that your 1st year grades definitely do count, you definitely do need a 2:1 to get anywhere and that the ILEX is much cheaper. 

Best tip to crack the industry:

If you are not from a family with money or who are already in the legal field then the only way to crack the industry is by sheer hard work and making yourself better than the rest. None of my family were Solicitors or Barristers and I would never have asked my Parents for the £12k to do my legal practice course, so the only way I have got to where I am is through sheer hard work and determination. Sure I've been knocked back a fair few times along the way, but I've kept going and finally got where I want to be. I also pushed myself out of my comfort zone by doing various legal competitions and volunteering for things to try to give my CV the edge over the competition.

Best thing about my job:

Without doubt meeting so many different people - both clients and other legal and medical professionals.  For me personally (cue the cheese alert!) it is also important to be able to have a sense of achievement and know that I have been able to make a difference to someone's life.

Worst thing about my job: 

Sadly us PI Solicitors get a really tough time in the media. We all know the "ambulance chasers" title and yes there are some firms out there who are and who are only interested in turning over whiplash claims to make some quick easy cash. However, there are some of us out there who genuinely want to help those who are most vulnerable get the treatment they need and contingency plan for the future - it's not about just adding the pound signs.


Finally, a big thank you to Lauren for letting me guest post on her career series. If anyone is thinking of a career in law or has any questions I am more than happy to try & help - just drop me a tweet on @jessicakgxx

Jessica KG x



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Friday, 18 September 2015

Payday Wishlist

It's been a really really long time since I did a wishlist post - I think the last one I did was about January! Having changed jobs, I'm on a much better salary and my list of things to buy on payday is growing by the minute so what better time to share!






Computer Hard Drive / Phone Memory Card / Daisy London Chakra Bracelet / Sleep in Rollers / Nars Sheer Glow / A Halloween Costume / Snuggly PJs / Aspinal of London / Flat Winter Boots / Phone Cases / Mother Clucker Dinner

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Monday, 7 September 2015

The Best Country House Spa Hotels in the South

I'm lucky enough that my job means I get to spend my days researching, proposing and visiting some of the most beautiful hotels in the world; and what's better than a country house spa hotel? Nothing. 

I've put together 7 of my absolute favourite beautiful, iconic and incredible county house spa hotels for the most perfect weekend break. 



Pennyhill Park, Chewton Glen, Bowood, Cliveden House, Stoke Park, Coworth Park, Limewood


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Friday, 4 September 2015

The Injustice of House Buying in the UK

I'm writing this post for two reasons, 

1. Because I need a rant. I'm angry, upset, frustrated in equal measures

2. Because I want to tell our story so that other's can potentially avoid being in this horrible situation. 

Everyone knows house buying is a nightmare and extremely stressful. Things take ages, people don't do their jobs quickly and efficiently enough (in my opinion), estate agents lie, and lie again, but you get there in the end right? Wrong. 




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