In this current age of economic meltdown, jobs are fewer on the ground and there’s mass competition for jobs that are advertised. Being a resident of sunny Manchester pretty much means that I will seldom get a look in. That isn’t me adopting a negative attitude (at least not wittingly) but it is me realising that I am competing against at least 300 other applicants for every position I apply for! We are under more pressure than ever to make our CV’s – the first point of contact – stand to attention to get to interview stage, at least.
This is a situation I have found myself in several times. Constantly amending my current CV to make it look worthy of at least being looked through by potential employers. There is a lot of CV writing ‘rules’ that have become clichéd advice that many of us have tried to adhere to, no matter how ridiculous they fundamentally are! Here are a few:
Your CV shouldn’t be more than 2 pages long: Some career advisors think that this is a hard and fast rule for everyone whether you are a school-leaver or a senior executive near the top of your chosen career-ladder. The more work-experience you have, the more this is going to be a restriction. The only way to include all your relevant information is to decrease your font size to 1pt! But this is a rule of thumb and it should be judged entirely on the quality of the content in your CV. It is fine for your CV to be 3 or 4 long if the information in it is relevant to the position you are applying for.
‘Reasons for leaving’ must be included in your employment history: Not true! There isn’t any need to do the dirty laundry if it hasn’t been seen! Your CV is supposed to be a positive portrayal of yourself and the skills that you have obtained from various experiences that could help you to perform your next job well. Information on why you left previous positions is peripheral information that is sometimes requested in application forms and interviews. When prompted, explain your reasons carefully. It’s not a good idea to say that you left your last job because your manager kept giving you a hard time due their impartiality to you turning up to work in speedos and nothing else!
References must be included: This isn’t true. This is personal contact information that shouldn’t be made available unless the employer is considering employing you! A standard line to put in your CV, possibly at the end, is “references available on request”.
Something to remember about CV templates
There are a lot of generic templates littering up cyber-space, and prospective employers are wise to this. It is easy to spot the crossover in narrative voices in your CV writing where you weave in your own annotations of your occupational or educational information into the text in the sample document that you are working from. This gives your CV a dual persona that employers can pick up upon. The sample document is there as a guideline; not as an almost finished CV that you can ad-lib to. If it looks like you haven’t made any effort with your CV writing then you may come across as unconfident, or worse; incompetent.
So if you’re bogged down with the whole CV writing agenda, it would be a good move to AppleCopywriting Ltd compile your CV for you. All you need to do is give some of your education and employment history and the rest will be done for you in a way that will engage prospective employers!Read More
Anyone that has spent time at college or university will have encountered some unhealthy rituals when it comes to essay writing and meeting the deadline. These include mantras that we kid ourselves with amongst other things.
“I’ve got plenty of time…” No you haven’t. You just wish you had. When you are first handed your brief it can initially be overwhelming and it’s easy to comfort yourself with the ‘fact’ that time is on your side. It is best to throw yourself in the deep end straight away. The longer you leave it the more distance you get from your project and you will become more alienated from it.
“I’ll get it all done tonight…” You might actually achieve that, but now you know what sort of night you have got ahead of you, are you looking forward to it? I discovered (eventually) that I much more enjoyed the leisurely stroll through my essay writing project because you get plenty of time to take it all in and enjoy the scenery. You can’t enjoy the scenery when you are sprinting from A to Z…and what sort of job are you going to make of it? If it is rushed it won’t be the best piece of work you can turn out.
“My packet of pro-plus will keep me awake…” It does that, but it doesn’t really optimise your performance that much. Therefore time is not going to go slower because you are awake to endure it! It may stop you falling asleep at your computer though. And it may give you the jitters. Another bonus.
“My bibliography won’t take me long…” You think so? Not if you only have one quote perhaps. I discovered that this takes me longer than it does to write a few chapters! Especially if you have lost some of the website or book information on where you got the quotes from. If its book information that you need to retrieve, then it involves a physical re-visit to the library to find the page numbers and ISBN number.
“I’ll only lose 10% off my marks if I hand it in a week late…” All marks are contributed to your grade at the end of the course so 10% is actually quite a big chunk of marks that you will miss; and it could be the difference between you attaining a 2;2 and a 2;1.
“My printer doesn’t work. My lecturer will accept my essay if I transfer it onto a pen drive / disc…”
This is usually at the lecturer’s discretion. When I was at university, it was a no-no due to incompatibility issues and perhaps transmission of viruses.
So to summarise the points above in positive actions
Make use of your time. Create a timetable so you can assign time to your essay writing project.
You can never start too early. Then you can give yourself the luxury of doing small amounts every time. The longer you leave it, the more of a writing marathon you will have to run!
Coffee and food is all you need to sustain yourself and keep you focussed
Try and dedicate a few days to your bibliography. Any lost information can be regained without a mad panic to the library in the morning immediately prior to submission!
If your essay writing is a great skill of yours it would be a shame to waste marks just for the luxury of a later deadline. And if it isn’t your strongest skill, you can’t afford that 10%.
If your printer is on the brink, then make sure you finish it the previous day, save it to pen drive then print it at university.
So unless you are impervious to bad habits that have plagued most students, don’t get bogged down with essay writing. It can get in the way of your project work on your course. We can help!Read More
Here is a really cheap travel option for those of you whose passports have expired! Go for little walk round inside your own mind! Or you could just go to the Lake District for the weekend. That’s cheap too. But a journey in your own head is cheaper! Free in fact!
The Astral Plane Is a Park Of Joy!
I have had some really vivid dreams in my time. I have had dreams that have inspired much retrospective thoughts and musings. I once had a dream that a flamingo got stuck in my eye and I was running all over town asking for assistance to help me excavate said flamingo form said eye! I then dreamt that I awoke from that dream, breathing a huge sigh of relief that the dream was over…then I looked at the bottom of my bed to find that flamingo twitching on an ASDA carrier bag! I don’t even shop in ASDA!
I tend not to pre-occupy myself with dream definitions, as they all contradict themselves. To dream of a flamingo has varied meanings from feeling like you are a part of your community to wanting to decorate your house! The definitions are never specific either. “To dream of having a flamingo embedded in your eye socket…” is never listed! I appreciate dreams for what I feel they are. Wonderful limitless discoveries of your pretty astral mind!
Astral travel writing
The world you inhabit when you asleep is every bit as real as the one you inhabit when you are awake. It just isn’t physical. It’s worthy to keep a dream diary to describe where you have travelled to. Travel writing draws upon experiences, sights, sounds, landscapes, cityscapes and encounters with people in destinations that the traveler / writer has been to. All of these categories of experience are present in dreams. You visit wild technicolour or dark somber places, meet people that you haven’t seen since childhood, have wacky meetings with a hen dressed in leather hot pants (well you might do, if you’re lucky!)
The places you have travelled to (in reality) live on in your memories for a very long time, and they sometimes feature in dreams in a slightly distorted and skewed way but just as, if not, more magical as this place is unrestricted by physical limitations
I have been ‘astral travel writing’ for a while now. In the last year or so, I have kept a visual dream diary where I have created comic-strips from my travels! Most of my dreams are like David Lynch films where oddities are frequent, for example, extreme close-ups, loud clattering noises from the cascading of inconsequential objects, faces with loud garish ravine-carved make-up which paves the path for unexplained fear-infused sweat! Visuals as well as dialogue could only do dreams like this justice!
The significance of dreams
Carl Jung has widely documented the significance of dreams and the role they play in your waking life. They can reveal suppressed thoughts, feelings and solutions that the dreamer possibly unwittingly tries to repel from their conscious mind. The conscious mind is only the learned, cultured part of yourself that you present to others. This part of yourself is also somewhat controlled by you. This part of yourself is labeled by Jung as ‘The Ego’. The unconditioned uncontrolled part of yourself is what you are presented with in your sleep; Labeled as ‘The Shadow’. Jung often talked of the therapeutic benefits of reconciling the ego and the shadow to make you a ‘whole person’.
Add a new dimension to your travel writing. If you haven’t been away this year yet, try keeping a log of your dreams. You can explore far-flung places without leaving the land of nod!Read More
I am a poet but sometimes I almost feel like I am not. It feels like that there is never any demand for contemporary poets. Because there is no demand, the need is never urgent for me to ‘supply’! It isn’t a marketable commodity. The playful shifting around of words to evoke thought, feelings, a sense of place, the absence of place, the evaporation of time, the containment of time, the ‘now’, the ‘then’, the crawling in the dirt for fossils which uphold meaning, the ruining of the vacant space, empty objects replace…yeah so as I was saying; who needs this?!
The current contexts for interest
Yourself. It keeps you healthy and inspired to keep writing. Like a plant, the more you feed it the more it will grow. The more ideas you actually pay attention to, the more that they will inspire more spin-off trains of thought.
Study material for English and literature courses. It’s quite often that a person’s life is celebrated and revered more when they are dead. This isn’t truer for any other profession than for poets.
Blog writing / blog management: If you have your own flag in the sand in cyberspace, blog writing is imperative. Although poetic content is not always appropriate, you can still tell a story or share an insight with the rest of us cyberspace-cadets. This not only engages people that are looking for poetic blog writing, but the keywords will make your site optimised for viewing on the web. This is probably the most lucrative use of your gift of stringing words together.
Song writing. Whatever is written can be said. Whatever is said can be sung. Whatever is sung can be accompanied by guitars. Lots of. Then this will add another string to your blog writing bow. Another creative format of yours for people to encounter.
Open-mic nights. This is great experience for people that want to perform their poetry live… We attend the scheduled nights at the local pub situated on streets lined with puke, infused with glittering shards of broken glass. For a nano-second, you think you can see the moonlight reflected in the shards, or it could be the headlights from the taxi that has come to collect the sickly waif.
Is this the audience for my voice? Will I even get a voice or will it be submerged in a turbulent tide of hostile jibes competing for that raised bit of floor?
So which poets immerse themselves in blog writing?
“All I want to do is go…let the wind blow right through…by the Trailways depot”
(Tom Clarke – Beyond The Pale)
His stunning mix of old-style descriptions and contemporary references provides a stark juxtaposition of old and new, whilst uniting the feeling that a yearn for escapism is timeless
“Wings wipe the sky…see the years fly. Feathers brushing against my face…”
(Joannie Stangland – Self-Portait with Crows)
She uses words to paint pictures which depict desolate countryside scenes, and uses the scene to draw connections to the passage of time.
“…a flute for the wind’s mouth, who comes with a breath of ice…”
(Judith Wright – The Old Prison)
She has a great way of using anthropomorphic personification for phenomena that is natural but not ‘alive’. When poets do this it gives that phenomena (in this case, the wind) life and makes us feel synonymous with it.
“…in books there are no words…in the academy there are only recordings…in the eyes only distance…”
(Jorge Carrera Andrid – Nothing)
This poem is like a harrowing post-apocalyptic vision where only emptiness remains, and indexical signs – reminders of what was once here!
If you are a struggling poet that feels like there is no avenue or platform to express your poetry except at Open-Mic nights, then try blog writing where you can share your poems, insights and stories with the rest of us!Read More
Given the task to write about ghost writing I was pretty excited. I though “Yay! I get to write about ghosts! Yippee!” So I was going to waffle about the nature of the soul being the only eternal essence of yourself, and how that lingers in the physical world posthumously, and inspires these ‘writers’ to write fiction and non-fiction about such events using language that is infused with tension and suspense! Oh, and then I was going to think about (write about too, perhaps) what Caspar has to teach us about ghosts! Then a major clanger was dropped…I became informed that actually, ghost writing has nothing at all to do with ghosts, and that the term is used to define the absence of the writer in the credit list in autobiographies, stories and the like! Oh, ok then. I can work with that…
So I spent several years mourning the loss of a silly opportunity to waffle about cartoon ghosts and I felt in the creative wilderness! I was now at a loss of something to write. Maybe I should employ a ghost writer to help me out here! It was so much better when I thought I knew what ghost writing was. Ignorance really is bliss!
I would also like a ghost writer for other reasons. I am an artist and I am in the midst of constructing my website, writing separate web-pages that explain each facet of my practice. It’s true that every person is an expert on themselves, but when you have been involved in a domain for so long, it’s easy to lose sight of what your initial ‘mission statement’ was and how that has developed! A ghost writer with all the necessary organisational skills and writing skills would be able to gather information about my practice as well as annotate each painting and piece of sculpture with some objective visual analysis of my work, and to top it all off, I get the credit for writing the content!
The Advantages of Ghost-Writing as a Career-Move
If you treasure the feeling of anonymity whilst being creative being a ghost writer is great! You can fly under the radar of mass publicity. Some of us just want to do our job without any of the superficial unnecessary schmaltz associated with being renowned!
It is easier to land ghost writer jobs. There are always people wanting help with their publications or projects. It is easier to help someone with their project than entirely manage your own.
It is good practice to gain experience as a ghost writer. This experience is transferable to future freelance writing ventures or if you want to develop the confidence you need to write your own book.
Advantages to hiring a ghost writer?
There is more time to concentrate on marketing your book. You can focus on interviews,
And generating publicity whilst your writer is incubating and growing your literary baby!
Ghost-writers will initially spend a lot of time with you in the preparatory stages of the project, getting to know your anecdotal style. Ghost writers have the adaptable traits to make their work sound like it is written in your voice.
You stand a better chance of getting published if you hire a good ghost writer.
Hire a ghost writer to help you develop your content and expand upon your literary ideas, and still be recognised as the author of your work! We have the organisational skills and writing skills that you don’t need. All you need are your ideas and you’re good to go! There really is nothing to lose!
Learning from Other’s Mishaps
Proofreading is a skill that you can learn. However it will help if you have a natural aptitude for accuracy and attention to detail. You can proofread your own writing and this will help you to spot errors and mistakes. However if you want 100% accuracy then it does pay to use professional proofreading services. These services will provide experienced expert proof readers who will be able to spot mistakes in grammar and spelling.
One area you can’t afford to make mistakes is in press release writing. If you are going to be writing you own press releases then proofreading is paramount. You don’t want to send out press releases that contain silly mistakes. These will lessen the impact of the message you are trying to convey and will look very unprofessional to your readers and potential customers.
You can learn a lot about how to proofread properly by looking at the mistakes that others make. There are many cowboy proof readers out there who claim to provide an ‘expert’ service. However many of these proof readers are no real experts and cannot guarantee accuracy. By learning from these common cowboy proof reader mistakes you can learn how to be a better proof reader and take care of your own editing in future.
1. Lack of Focus and Concentration
One of the basic mistakes people make when proofreading is failing to focus on the task in hand. Proofreading takes a lot of concentration and if there are any distractions in the background it can be too easy to miss small mistakes. When I am proofreading my press releases I make sure I avoid any distractions (incoming emails, television, music etc.) and take the work into a quiet room. I then focus just on the task in hand until I have finished.
2. Proofreading Onscreen Only
I don’t know why but I find it much easier to spot mistakes when I read a paper copy of my press releases. If I proofread on the screen I invariably miss a few minor errors. All the other writers I have talked to have also found this to be true. Cowboy proof readers rushing through piles of work would be unlikely to take the time to print off pages and read them through in hard copy. This can be a big mistake though and could cost you in terms of accuracy.
3. Using Spell Check Only
Spell check is great and it can help you to pick up obvious errors with spelling and grammar. However spell check won’t be able to tell you when a sentence is awkward or clunky or whether it makes sense. Too many cowboy proof readers only use spell check and don’t take the time to really read through the work. In my experience this is that only way you can really be sure the press release, blog, article etc. you are writing reads properly and makes sense.
4. Lack of Practical reading Experience
If you want to be a great editor then you need to be an experienced reader. It doesn’t matter if you read novels, non-fiction, magazines or online blogs. All reading is practical experience helping you to learn how the written word works. If you have good experience in reading you will be able to see at a glance if there are any obvious spelling or grammar mistakes. You will also get more of a feel for how sentences work and how you can make your work appealing and informative to readers.
Proofreading is a skill that you can develop for yourself. You can learn from the mistakes of others and become a great editor for your article, website, blog and press release writing.Read More