Wednesday, 10 February 2016

How Blogging Can Help Your Career | PART ONE

In a world rapidly becoming more and more digital, bloggers and vloggers can get ahead in their chosen career just by being bloggers and vloggers. Not for everything, of course, but if you're looking for opportunities that use the same kind of skills, lucky you - your blog or YouTube channel is likely to help get you there and set you apart from the rest.

This is part one in a series of blog posts on how blogging and vlogging can help your career. Today, I'll be discussing why you should always consider including your blog or YouTube channel on your CV.

So... why should you?

Firstly, it sets you apart from the rest. I've already said that, but it's true. Sure, the blogosphere is overly saturated and there are loads of people these days who consider themselves to be bloggers, but how likely is it that another blogger will apply for exactly the same job as you? And if they did, how likely is it that they would have their blog on their CV? Having a blog makes you interesting, especially if your blog looks professional and is written well.

Unless you post once every few months, it also shows that you're dedicated and that you spend your free time doing something constructive. It can showcase other skills that you might not have thought to mention on your CV, for example web design, social media management and, of course, writing. Blogs are essentially portfolios, whether you've set out for it to be like that or not. They're windows into who you are and what you do beyond what's on your CV.

Basically, having your blog on your CV shows your personality, expertise and dedication. It's an extension of you, so if you want to have it on your CV, make sure your blog compliments you. As good as it can be to include your blog or your YouTube channel when trying to get further in your career, there are some occasions where it might be best not to. I mean, if you're applying to be a teaching assistant at a nursery, maybe don't mention your blog about erotic fiction. If your blog doesn't immediately seem to line up with the position you're aiming for, maybe think about it a little more. I want to go into journalism - specifically, I'd like to write about books - so it makes sense to have this blog and my YouTube channel on my CV.

But does it make sense for you?

Bottom line: always consider having your blog on your CV. There's a small chance your employer might not like it or even care, but there's also a chance that it'll help you get to where you need to be. Everything is moving online these days, so if you're already there then you're already ahead of the game. I'm pretty sure that I've got both proper jobs I've had so far in my life because of my blog so, if you have one, use it to your advantage and see what happens.

Is your blog on your CV? If not, do you think it should be? Where has blogging got you in your career? I'd love to know! (And if you'd like more blogging tips, click here.)

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman

Title: Alex As Well
Author: Alyssa Brugman
Published by: Curious Fox
Publication date: 8th May 2014
Pages: 216
Genres: YA Contemporary/LGBT
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Five days ago I stopped taking my medication. I think it might be one of those decisions. How do you know? Maybe if I just start taking them again everything will go back to the way it was?

I don't think so.

Why does it matter whether I am a boy or a girl? But it does. It really, really matters.

Alex As Well crushes all gendered stereotypes and offers insight into the mind of an intersex/trans teen. I'm completely accepting of everything LGBT+ but there are some aspects, like what's covered in Alex As Well, that I don't know as much about as I should. This book, for me, was incredibly interesting, insightful and unique and I learned a lot.

Alex was born intersex, and doctors told her parents to see which gender Alex seemed to gravitate towards and raise her as such. They chose male, giving Alex medication so she would develop as a boy would. However, Alex has always felt like a girl - and her parents never told her about the decision they made at her birth. At fourteen, Alex decides that something needs to be done, and begins the journey to find her true self.

Going back to what I said before, I learned a lot. I knew the basics but I never really stopped and thought about the psychological effects of being intersex/trans and some of it completely shocked me. In fact, some of Alex's mother's actions - purposefully misgendering her child, sneaking Alex's medication into her food - made my jaw drop. I couldn't believe the things she was doing/saying and yet she can't be the only parent out there who so strongly opposes their own child, so much so that they'll do anything to keep them as their assigned gender. Alex As Well made me realise how complicated life must be when you don't feel like the gender you were assigned at birth; it's not just about the physicality of it, but the mentality, how other people react, how you deal with their reactions and much more.

I've deducted a star because, for such a big concept, it's a very short book and I feel like it had the potential to go so much further. However, it's one of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read and it's definitely altered the way I think. Alex As Well is a must-read, for sure.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Amber's Ultimate Guide to Non-Fiction

The past couple of years have seen my reading habits change. Whereas before I'd rarely consider reading non-fiction for something other than homework, I now really enjoy it. I love fiction, but it's refreshing, inspiring and just plain interesting (hey, I'm nosy af) to read about real people who have done all kinds of things. Below are some of my absolute faves - feel free to give me some recommendations!

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

I've been a fan of the HONY Facebook page for years, and when I found out there was a book I was so excited! There's just something fascinating about finding out what a complete stranger has been through when if you passed them in the street you probably wouldn't even notice because we're all so self-absorbed.

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan

Marina Keegan is a literary inspiration of mine. Everything she writes is so deliberate, full of talent, and the book itself has a consistently strong, if not eerie, message: we have our whole lives ahead of us, so let's make it count. If you're looking for a motivational book, this is definitely one to add to your wish list.

The World of PostSecret by Frank Warren

Because I live under a rock, I only heard about PostSecret in December last year. I was in Foyles at their Christmas market and waiting for my mum who was absorbed in the art section. Bored, I picked this up at random, flipped through, and instantly knew I had to get it. As I said before, I'm a nosy person, and what could be more satisfying to a nosy person than a book with hundreds of beautifully presented secrets?

The Sketchbook Project World Tour by Steven Peterman and Sara Elands Peterman

I went to one of the Sketchbook Project exhibitions five or six years ago because a piece of my mum's work was there (it now resides in a warehouse in Brooklyn, I'm very jealous) and really enjoyed flicking through everyone's sketchbooks. Because their tours are pretty hard to get to - I think the one I went to was the last time they were in the UK - this book is perfect because it's a portable, scaled-down version that you can look through at any time.

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

This makes for extremely uncomfortable reading, but it's also interesting and insightful. We all know sexism is a huge problem, but this book really puts it into perspective, with pages and pages full of peoples' experiences. #EverydaySexism is a movement I've been following for a while so I'm glad it's now a book!

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Buy the book: Amazon | Waterstones | The Book Depository

This is the story of what Matt Haig has dealt with in life, from severe anxiety to depression, and how he overcomes it on a daily basis. Hope in a book is the only way I can describe it.

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

I've praised #GIRLBOSS a ridiculous amount of times and if I say anything good about it here, I'll only be repeating myself, so if you want to know what I think about it click here!

What are your faves when it comes to non-fiction?