So you are final year of uni (or college) and thinking ‘what the hell am I going to do next’? Yep that was me in my final year of uni. Nearly four years later I am now a Marketing and Communications Coordinator role and am very pleased in my role.

My experience job hunting was pretty average. I started applying for jobs after Easter of my final year which, as a tip, if you are thinking of doing a graduate scheme you need to be looking around about September of your final year. Going into my job hunt I lacked confidence. I felt that the skills I had learned from my degree was not enough. I got caught in the whole cycle of ‘got the degree but no experience’ which was an awful position to be in to be honest.
When I started applying for roles I signed up to a lot of job search engines (Monster, Reed and my uni’s own bespoke job search engine). I wrote my CV and got my partner to look it over and then I uploaded them. I would upload a cover letter and CV bespoke for each job because let’s face it, you don’t want to give an easy reason for a rejection.
My first jobs I applied for were just shop jobs to keep me going and allow me to stay in my old uni town. Additionally I already had my summer job as a cleaner lined up ( I had been cleaning in halls every summer since first year). It was a 16 week contract so knew I had 16 weeks to get myself a job full-time role.
After a few failed interviews I really started to ramp up the job hunt in June. I was applying for jobs every night and by then the interviews were coming in and, on average, I was going to one interview a week.  My work was really supportive and let me have the time I needed for those interviews. I would google all of these interview questions  and  get my partner to practice them with me. On my seventh week cleaning I went for an interview to become a market researcher at an Students’ Union. I was really ill that week ( I had flu), had been sick and was so close to not attending the interview but went anyway. Luckily I performed well and got the job.
What lessons did I learn from job hunting
I didn’t have the option to give up because if I wanted to live with my partner I had to earn money. However some graduates that I knew were living at home not doing a lot and waiting for the ‘perfect’ job.
Looking back, for those interviews I did do my homework and sat and learned as much as possible about the organisations (it is a pet hate of mine for people to turn up to interviews and not know anything about the organisation they are interviewing for).
Practice, practice, practice – get someone to interview you. Google questions relating to the role you are interviewing for.
Make sure you are passionate, is so important for any role and can make up if you are lacking in skills.
If I had my time at University again what would I do different to help my career

I would certainly have had a part-time job throughout term rather than just in the holidays. Preferably several different ones (not all at the same time) so I could get some experience.

Has anybody had any good or bad interview experiences?

As cycling has become more popular more and more amateur cyclists are wearing team kit. I have a Wiggle Honda team jersey myself, I brought the jersey because I wanted to help the team out by buying the kit (in the hope that maybe a couple of pounds may go towards the female cyclists) but also because I wanted to look a little like Laura Trott! shh don’t tell anyone!

I also have a pair of black Team Great Britain cycling gloves which I brought from a bike sale at the Manchester Velodrome and are fantastic.

I have seen amateur men wear Team Sky and Omega Pharmacy – QuickStep among other team kits and on Twitter there is the ever growing conversation whether amateurs should be wearing kit because they have not earned it. Here is my take on the topic.

Is it time to hang up my Wiggle Honda jersey for good?

Yes

1, Go with the status quo.
If football fan’s can wear team kit why cannot cycling fans? The more team kit amateur riders wear will only enhance the profile of the team in question. That can only be seen as a good thing in my eyes because it could ignite an interest in someone to learn more about a cycling team or take an interest in cycling.   
2, It look’s good.
Team kit does look good. As I said above I like Wiggle Honda’s offering of the orange and black- very striking. I also like the kit that the domestic team Epic Scott Woman’s Race Team wear which is purple, black and white offering from SMS Santini. I thought the Shamano Argos and the new Liv Shamano kit look smart as well. I find at times that non pro kit look boring and uninspiring or for females just pink and purple with some stupid graphic like a hearts or cats. 
3, It makes you think you are a pro cyclist for about five minutes.
Not everyone can be a pro cyclist. I am not one myself so I would like my five minutes to dream! 
No
1, Jerseys need to be earned.
Being a pro cyclist takes a lot of talent, guts and determination.and dedication. I do find it cringey when someone is cycling in national gear or the rainbow jersey when they have not earned it. It sets yourself up for a lot of stick. 
2, All the gear and NO idea…
There is nothing worse than a cyclist overtaking someone in pro kit.

3, You are a moving advert.
Some people I have been reading argue that the sponsors get enough money therefore why give them free advertising. At the end of the day its your choice if you want to wear a jersey with a logo on.

So here is my verdict.

I don’t have a problem with cyclists wearing pro kit. The benefits far outweigh the negatives and there are plenty of non team kit alternatives available.

A small post from me today. A while back I was reading on twitter an article about what everyday cyclists take with them on their rides. So I thought I would share mine here.

1, Schwalbe Tyre Leavers. Amazon £3.95
These tyre leavers were brought after hearing reading the good reviews on Amazon. These tyre leavers do the job fine.

2, Inner Tube Raleigh 700×19-23c. Amazon £10.89 for three
I always carry a spare inner tube on longer rides just in case.

3, EyezOff GP96A Alloy Mini Bike Pump. Amazon £10.99
The pump is very easy to use and is easy to mount onto the bike. You can use this pump with Presta and Schrader valves.

4, Energy Gel Hi5 Brought as part of the race pack at The Cycle Show but see here
If I am cycling a longer route then I like taking one of these out with me. I really like the taste of these energy gels as the taste is not too sweet and the texture is not too sticky. Sometimes I just take a cereal bar instead.

5, Drinks Bottle. Wiggle (not available)
Essential for any ride this Wiggle bottle is one of many I own.

6, High5 Energy Bottle. Amazon £5.49
I tend to carry a larger water bottle and one smaller one. This High5 bottle is just one of many I own.

7, Puncture Repair Kit. This was a freebie from a cycling magazine but you can find similar from any cycle shop.

8, Lazer Sunglasses. From a bike jumble sale at the Manchester Velodrome.

On the Bank Holiday Holiday weekend my partner and I headed over to Cannock Chase to go mountain biking for the day. Both being quite keen road and track cyclists, mountain biking was something new to try.
Cannock Chase is situated on Staffordshire which is in the West Midlands. Easily accessible from the M6.

You can hire out bikes but we both brought our own as hiring bikes are £30 each. My bike is nothing fancy just a cheap Apollo brought second hand. At Cannock Chase there are different routes to try with the black route being the hardest and the green route being the easiest. We both decided the Blue Route (the middle of the two) would be best- 7 1/2 miles long so not too short but not long for us as we both are not used to riding on tough terrain.

The signage is excellent and we soon got going along our way (just to note you can download trail maps from the internet). The paths are wide so you can go more at your own pace as you don’t feel that you are holding anyone up. The route was easily achievable with a nice selection of uphill cycling with some fun downhill riding and plenty of puddles and dips to go through!
On the blue route there wasn’t any obstacles to overcome however I am aware there are obstacles on the red and black routes.

Physically I found the ride quite tough. I hate cycling up hills so having a hill right at the beginning of the route certainly does not motivate me! It took around an hour and a half to do the route whereas if I was on my road bike I would have cycled twice the distance in that time. This could be because of the bike that I had not being the best.  However I felt that I had a good workout and Cannock Chase is lovely to look at. So I couldn’t resist stopping and taking a few photos.

At the end we wondered around a Swinnerton Cycles a shop that is situated there. The shop mainly sells mountain bikes and gear but also lots of nutritional food. There is also a pressure washer which for a £1.00 you can spray your bikes down which is extremely handy if you went in the rain like I did to get mud off.

The second time I headed back to Cannock I tried the longest of the blue route which was 12 miles. This time it was sunny therefore I managed to take some really good pictures. I had recently brought a better bike (a Carrera in case you were wondering) and sold my Apollo and it made such a difference. I found that the bike could cope better with the terrain as it was lighter. Even though the route was longer it was much easier on a better bike.

There are plenty of facilities at Cannock Chase as well as Swinnerton Cycles mentioned above there are toilets and a cafe shop as well as a go- ape course and you could hire a segway if you want.

If you would like to go mountain biking in Cannock Chase or see what else the park has to offer check the website out here

Although it’s a few weeks ago now. Me and my boyfriend headed out to the Manchester Velodrome for a day watching the racing.

It was a brilliant day and excellent value for money. I will leave you with some photos I took of the day.