Typing on a keyboard

If, like me, you’re currently enjoying the delights of job-hunting, fear not. Updating your CV can seem daunting, but here are a few small things I’ve found can make all the difference.

Have a great intro

You want to start your CV with a short, snappy personal statement. Try to avoid clichéd words like driven, creative, hard-working and reliable. Think of it as your ‘elevator pitch’ – a brief overview of what you do and more importantly what makes you good at it.

Make it easy on the eye

A couple of easy ways of doing this are to use a sans serif font, keep your paragraphs short and justify the text. This keeps lines nice and clean, and makes the whole thing quick and easy to read through. Use the same font throughout and be consistent with the size you use for headers and the main bodies of text.

Mix it up

Don’t be overly concerned with having your experience in chronological order. For example, I have a section at the top for relevant experience, followed by the rest of my employment history. You can include any unpaid work as well. If you have a blog, regardless of whether it makes money, include it. Blogging shows a great deal of creativity as it requires so many transferable skills: design, photography, social media management, and of course, writing!

Keep it concise

We all know the rule of keeping your CV down to two pages, but it can be hard to know what to cut down. This is just a guide, but here is what I cut out of mine:

  • Hobbies and interests – there’s much argument over this, but I personally don’t like having mine on my CV
  • Jobs from over five years ago, unless they’re relevant to the job I’m applying for, in which case they go in my relevant experience section
  • I’m selective with my qualifications. I have both of my university qualifications, my A-Levels and then a summary of my GCSEs, rather than a list of all the subjects I took. I think at this point in my career no-one would really care, but of course if you’re applying for your first ever job it’s a different story. Keep extra courses you’ve taken limited to anything relevant or things like First Aid, which is always good to have
  • Unnecessary details about each job I’ve done. I keep it to key responsibilities and notable projects

Don’t get too personal

Personal details wise I only ever include my name, address and contact details. You don’t need to include your date of birth or any other information. Depending on the job you’re applying for you may want to include links (for example, to your blog) and Twitter handles.

References available on request

I had this on my CV for years, but it’s not necessary. Scrap it. It’s a given that you’ll be able to provide references.

 

 

You are not weak, you are not worthless, and you are in no way deserving of what happened to you.

You are not broken, damaged, or selfish.

You haven’t been tarnished or tainted. You are not dirty.

Please trust me when I say you are none of the things you believe about yourself in your darkest hours.

I need you to read these words and believe them:

You are not alone.

There is no right or wrong way to process what happened to you.

Maybe you feel numb and empty; maybe you feel searing pain, sorrow, or rage. Maybe you don’t know what you feel.

None of these make you half a person, lost, or unworthy of love.

Maybe you remember nothing, maybe you can never forget.

Maybe it rushes back when you least expect it, and like a crashing wave, knocks the wind right out of you.

It won’t always be this way.

You are strong.

You are courageous.

You are worthy of love.

And you will be OK.

If you’re struggling and need help, please reach out.

The Samaritans are free to call on ‎116 123 and can be reached 24/7. ‎

Alternatively, you can speak confidentially to your GP, who may prescribe medication or refer you to a local counselling service.

If you feel able and ready to speak to the police about what happened you can find advice about reporting sexual assault here.

 

 

 

 

Discussing your mental health with a doctor for the first time might seem daunting but you really needn’t worry. Here are a few of my personal tips for getting the most out of your appointment and looking after yourself at the same time.

  1. Book a double appointment if you think you’ll need more than ten minutes. I actually didn’t know you could do this, but luckily my doctor spent a good half an hour with me anyway!
  2. Don’t be ashamed to cry. The doctor won’t think you’re being silly, they won’t judge you and they most definitely will have seen it all before! Remember that by nature doctors are caring people and will only want to help you.
  3. Be honest. You don’t need to sugar coat how you’re feeling when you speak to a doctor. It will help them make a better decision about your treatment if you give them all the facts.
  4. Take notes in with you. It’s very easy to get muddled or forget to mention things, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed or upset. Making the notes with someone close to you (only if you feel comfortable) could be a good idea too, as they’ll be able to help you organise your thoughts and offer an outside perspective. Aim to be as clear as possible about how you feel, how long you’ve been feeling it for, and the impact it’s having on your day-to-day life. For example, is it stopping you leaving the house, or affecting how well you take care of yourself?
  5. Make sure you leave the appointment understanding your treatment plan. If you’re prescribed medication, ask the doctor when they’ll want to see you again to check in. They’ll likely want to see you fairly regularly, at least at first, to make sure the medication and dosage is right for you. Have an idea of time frames and maybe even book your next appointment there and then (if possible).
  6. Ask all the questions you need. Don’t feel bad for doing this. You’re not being a pain, that’s what the doctor is there for and ultimately they will want to reassure you. It’s useful to have an idea of how long they expect you’ll be on the medication for, and any potential side-effects. Ask if there’s anything you should avoid – alcohol, other medications, natural supplements, etc.
  7. Your usual doctor may not be the right one for you in this particular situation, but that’s OK. If you don’t feel listened to, supported or understood, don’t be deterred. Your feelings are valid, so please don’t start to doubt that. Instead seek out the care you deserve by making an appointment with a different doctor. It’s important to have a GP you trust and feel comfortable with, as you’ll likely see them quite regularly, at least at first.
  8. You may well be asked some very direct and possibly uncomfortable questions. They’ll likely ask if you’ve ever felt suicidal, or if you think you could be at risk of harming yourself. It might not be a pleasant conversation, but it’s important to remember that these are routine questions and the doctor is asking them with your best interests at heart, not to judge you. Take your time answering, and please remember that when it comes to how you’re feeling there’s never a wrong answer. Whatever you say will simply help the doctor decide on the best treatment for you.
  9. Remember, your doctor can do more than just prescribe you medication. They will be able to refer you to local mental health services for counselling, and can even give advice on diet and lifestyle changes that may help. They may well ask you more general questions about your life (family, work, friends, etc.) to get a clearer picture of any other challenges you may be facing, as well as what kind of support system you have.
  10. Be kind to yourself. Keep some time free after your appointment to do something that will make you happy. Maybe treat yourself to a hot chocolate, watch your favourite TV show or have a nice long bath.
  11. Lastly, and most importantly, never feel ashamed for seeking help. I can’t stress this enough. In no way does needing help make you weak, worthless or a burden.

It takes a great deal of strength and courage to open up to another person, so be proud of yourself.

You are amazing and you will get through this. <3

 Image of a flower

If, like me you’re not a morning person (apologies, that sound you just heard was my husband snorting into his drink), the transition into something resembling an actual, like-able human being is likely to be long, painful (for all involved), and dependent on large amounts of caffeine.

I’ve learned over the years however, that there are a few simple ways to make the process of getting up in the morning more bearable, and dare I say it, even enjoyable?  No, I know that sounds ridiculous, but just bear with me here.

pillow

Be organised

Decision-making when you have the motor skills of a zombie is no easy task, so I like to get everything ready the night before.  Lay out your clothes for the following day, wash up your dishes from dinner, pack your bag etc.   Knowing all I have to worry about is literally doing the bare minimum required to keep myself alive, and that I’ll maybe even have time to enjoy myself while doing it, makes all the difference.

sleepy

Start your day with a glass of water

This one doesn’t need much explaining really.  We all know water is amazing for us, and that we should be drinking more of it, but starting your day with a nice big glass really is the best way to kick your system into gear and get things moving.

Make a morning playlist

Without a doubt, my mornings are so much better with music.  Make yourself a playlist of feel-good, up-tempo tunes to jazz up your breakfast, and make shower-time more fun (hairbrush sing-along optional).

My current favourites are:

Hello by Cat Empire
You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon/Hot Club de Paris
Jump by Van Halen
Gone in the Morning by Newton Faulkner
Good Feelin’ by Flo Rida

shower time

Set your alarm at a reasonable time

Let’s be honest here, that 5:30am alarm you’ve set in the hopes that you’ll leap out of bed and check off half of your to-do list before everyone else has had their first cup of coffee is NOT going to wake you up.  It will wake up your partner, who will obviously chuckle and fondly roll their eyes as you continue to drool onto your pillow (um…), but it will have no effect on you until much nearer the time you actually need to be awake.  So do everyone a favour, be honest with yourself, and set your alarm for a reasonable hour.

alarm clock

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Food is about the only thing I love more than being snuggled up in bed, so naturally the thought of a delicious breakfast is often enough to coax me out of my nice warm cocoon (and yes, it did literally just take me three attempts to spell cocoon.  Damn that’s a ridiculous word).

A nice healthy and super easy option is berries with low-fat Greek yoghurt.  Sweetened with a little honey and a sprinkle of metabolism-boosting cinnamon, it’s a delicious way to start the day.  Eggs and soldiers are great if you have a bit more time, and for truly horrendous mornings maybe treat yourself to some pastries and coffee.  Because mornings are hard, and girl, you deserve it.

I’ve recently jumped on the smoothie band-wagon, though I try to use mainly vegetables to limit the sugar content.  Nowhere near as delicious as fruit, and often disgustingly snot-like in colour and consistency, they have the upside of making you feel so virtuous you don’t feel guilty about that mid-morning chocolate bar.  Almost.

Coffee

Or you could just sod all the above, and drink a nice big vat of coffee.  Job done.

Coffee