5 Ways to Impress an Employer when Interviewing for a Job in Sports


You’re coming to the end of your sports degree and you’re ready to start looking for jobs. All seems to be going well until you’re called for your first interview, and then it dawns on you that you have no idea what to expect. Well, no need to panic. We are here with our top five tips that will help you impress your potential employers when you’re interviewing for a role in the sports industry.

  1. Keep it formal, at least at first

We know. Sports tends to be a fairly casual industry, so you might be tempted to rock up for your interview in your trainers and jogging bottoms. Please don’t fall into temptation. You might end up wearing your workout gear to work once you have the job, but when you are attending an interview you should always make an effort to look sharp. A suit and tie for a man is a good choice, whilst women can wear a smart dress or pantsuit and blouse.

  1. Focus on your achievements

One trap people fall into when new to interviewing, is they talk about all the things they can do, or could do, given the opportunity. But past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour, so you’ll be far more convincing if you focus on your achievements. Keep in mind that your achievements become even more persuasive if you’re able to be specific. Use objective measures to describe what you have done, for example, “I helped my client lose 10kg in 6 months, by prescribing a dynamic high intensity interval training program and adapting the program as her fitness levels improved”.

  1. Show self control

We all get nervous when going into an interview, but this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your self control, by focusing on your body language and ensuring that you remain cool, calm and collected. We know you’re a bundle of tense energy, but do your best to stop fidgeting, swivelling in your chair, tapping the table or clicking a pen during your interview. You should also avoid crossing your arms and touching your face excessively – you don’t want to come across as being closed off, or as untruthful!

  1. Don’t underestimate volunteer experience

We’ve found that a lot of graduates tend to shy away from talking about their volunteer experience, as they feel it isn’t a “real job”. But working as a volunteer allows you to learn lots of new skills and also demonstrates a strong work ethic. After all, not everyone would be willing to work if they were not being remunerated! When talking about your volunteer experience, focus on your transferable skills; the skills that will benefit you in your brand new sports role.

  1. Play up your communication and team work

One thing that is often forgotten, is that most roles in the sports industry require a high level of communication skills, as well as the ability to work effectively with others. Whether you go down the track of sports coaching, journalism, marketing, exercise science, sport psychology or any other role within the sports industry, you need to be able to communicate and develop relationships. When you are asked about your strengths in your interview, don’t forget to bring up these points – they are very valid and will be sure to earn you extra brownie points.

So, there you have it. Our top tips for impressing your future employer in the sports industry. Best of luck with your job-hunting. Don’t forget to check out the job search platform at The Fitness Associates!

Guest blog by Fitness Associates.


How to become an Independent Consultant/Contractor

If you are interested in a career in management consulting then you may want to subscribe for Climb in Consulting podcast.

Climb In Consulting LogoEach week the host interviews a leading figure from the industry to find out how they got to where they are and what advice they’d give to people like you looking to do the same.

Episode 5 is slightly different in that is covers how to become an independent consultant/contractor and includes:

  • Top myths about being an independent consultant/contractor
  • How to calculate your day rate
  • How to find contracting/independent roles
  • Top tips to help you become a successful Independent Consultant


Definitely worth a listen if this is an area you see yourself in future.

You can find Climb in Consulting on iTunes (https://apple.co/2GM29cK) and Android (http://bit.ly/2BYeyf6) or by visiting www.climbinconsulting.com

Interested in teaching in China, but have concerns?

Opportunity China’s Partnerships and Recruitment Manager and former English Teacher in China, Will Perrins, has been travelling up and down the country, to speak with students across the UK about living and teaching in China and will be at the USW Opportunities Fair on Thursday 9 November 2017 on Treforest Campus. 

Speaking with students from a wide and diverse range of disciplines and backgrounds has given me the opportunity to reflect on some of the concerns and queries raised by final years who are considering teaching in China.

One of the more common concerns among students I spoke with across the UK was whether they would be able to easily find friends and navigate their new surroundings without feeling isolated. This is incredibly important and was one of the major concerns I had before travelling to China myself. I could draw on my positive experience of having made very close friendships and bonds with both my fellow foreign teachers and Chinese staff at my school, with whom I was put in contact before my departure.

Addressing these concerns reminded me of how tight-knit expat communities are in China, particularly within 2nd tier cities. This can be a double-edged sword, with personality clashes sometimes being unavoidable and the intense nature of working with the same colleagues in a foreign country occasionally putting a strain on relationships. However, the resilience, patience and empathy that emerge from living and working in such an atmosphere, in addition to strong bonds and life-long friendships I acquired made it an undoubtedly positive social experience.

Teaching experience

Many students expressed a concern that, although they would love to teach English in China, their lack of classroom teaching experience would negatively impact their effectiveness as a teacher in China. This reminded me of having arrived in China with very limited teaching experience in the age bracket of my new classes.

Although I had run theatre workshops and tutored in the past, part of me still didn’t feel fully prepared for this experience. I was told before I left to be patient, find a positive in every new class I taught and was encouraged by my fellow teachers to persevere and begin each lesson with passion, zeal and enthusiasm.

teach English in China

This attitude carried me through my teaching experience in China, and alongside the support and camaraderie of my colleagues, enabled me to be elevated to the position of Foreign Teacher Manager in under 2 years.

There are countless examples among expat teachers of those with limited experience traversing this steep learning curb through a positive mindset and attitude. I find that the those who have the best experience, and who often make the best teachers exhibit these traits and motivate themselves on a daily basis by the pride they take in their development.

Language and culture

A country as different as China naturally brings with it concerns about navigating a completely foreign language and culture. When speaking with students about their concerns over these cultural differences it took me back to my arrival in China, speaking very little Mandarin and knowing even less about Chinese culture, the immersive learning experience I had was vital!

It was through my expat and Chinese friends and colleagues that I quickly learnt about core Chinese cultural concepts such as the importance of Mianzi (Face) in almost all daily interaction. Although I made my fair share of cultural faux pas throughout my first months living and working in China, I found people forgiving and willing to help.

Having the opportunity to immerse myself entirely in a different culture and language gave me the chance to learn the world’s most spoken first language in an intensive and cost-effective manner. Had I sought to gain the same standard of education at home it would have most likely cost over 100 times the amount.

teach English in China

I found my experience speaking with students about the challenges, benefits and occasional absurdities (both positive and negative), really took me back to the excitement I felt during my first few months in China.

Find out more about the Teach China Graduate Programme here.

Meet Will at the Opportunities Fair, 9th November, Treforest Campus

Working in a school is not just for teachers!

If you have not been back in a school for a few years, you may still be under the impression that it is made up of teachers, dinner ladies, caretakers, school nurses and secretaries.   What may surprise you is that there are many many different types of jobs available in the school environment – professional, associate professional and in academic support.

All of these jobs have one thing in common; they are there to help shape the future lives of young people. Sound like an environment you would like to work in?

On Monday 26 February, we have invited 25 organisations who offer opportunities to work in schools.  Below are some of the non-teaching roles that these organisations have advertised:

  • Admissions Officer
  • Arabic Speaking Learning Support Assistant
  • Behaviour Manager
  • Behaviour Support Practitioner
  • Braille Trained Learning Support Assistant
  • Breakfast Club Supervisor
  • Clerk to the Governors
  • Cricket Coach
  • Data and Student Services Manager
  • Design Technology Technician
  • Drama Assistant
  • Early Years Support Worker
  • Estates Manager
  • Examination and Accreditation Officer
  • Family Support Assistant
  • Graduate Assistants
  • Graduate Learning Support Assistant
  • Graduate Maths Learning Support Assistant
  • Graduate Music Assistant
  • Health Care and Personal Care Assistant
  • Higher Level Teaching Assistant
  • IT Network and System Manager
  • IT Technician
  • Lab Technician
  • Learning Coach
  • Lettings Officer
  • Marketing and Reprographics Coordinator
  • MDSA / Playleader
  • Music Secretary
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Office Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Pastoral Care Worker
  • Pastoral Manager
  • Personal Coach
  • Physical Education Teaching Assistant
  • Play & Development Leader
  • Play and Development Worker
  • Play Worker
  • Premises and Health & Safety Manager
  • Pre-School Assistant
  • Pre-School Deputy Manager
  • Primary and Secondary Cover Supervisors
  • Pupil Services Manager
  • Raising Attainment Assistant EAL
  • School Counsellor
  • School Finance Officer
  • Science Technician
  • SEN Teaching Assistant
  • Site Compliance & Maintenance Technician
  • Special Needs Support Worker
  • Specialist Physiotherapist
  • Speech & Language Therapist
  • Sports Centre Manager
  • Sports Coach / Leader
  • Sports Officer
  • Sporty Learning Support Assistant
  • Strategic Business Manager
  • Support Assistant
  • Support Assistant Sport
  • Swyddog Gweinyddol
  • Teaching Assistant

Some of these roles will require experience and special qualifications, while others may just need your skills and bags of enthusiasm.

Come along and chat with the exhibitors at the Teaching Recruitment Fair, 26 February 2018, 12 – 2pm, Newport City Campus, and find out more about the requirements and opportunities open to you.  They have temporary opportunities in some of these roles for you to experience working in a school.

Related Blogs

Working as a Teaching Assistant

NQTs – How To Land Your First Teaching Role

Education Recruitment Agencies – Are you all on board?

Working as a Teaching Assistant

Despite the sometimes hectic working environment, a teaching assistant role can be one of the most rewarding careers available. Not only do you become a part of a pupil’s life, but you also get to be the reason that many of them succeed. Students learn best in a safe and encouraging environment and teacher needs help in everything that she does inside and outside the classroom to create and maintain this kind of setting. Because of this we’ve combined all the facts you need to consider before hitting the apply button, intrigued? Read on…

Main duties:

  • To work under the guidance of the teacher
  • Prepare the classroom before each class as well as tidying at the end of each class
  • Support reading groups
  • Work on a one to one basis
  • Lead small groups
  • Have excellent knowledge of the school curriculum
  • Have excellent numeracy, literacy and ICT skills
  • Monitor and record pupils progress
  • Report feedback to the teacher
  • Carry out administrative duties

It is also useful to bear in mind the attributes that your employer will look for when hiring a candidate. Although you may have the drive to work in a classroom, it’s important that you hold all the skills needed to work with children.

The qualities your interviewer will look for are:

  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • Creativity and confidence
  • Good reading, writing, and numeracy skills
  • Flexibility to work with a diverse range of children
  • The ability to build excellent relationships with both staff and children

So how do you actually get into the school we hear you say?

Every school will have their own set entry-level requirements for teaching assistants, depending on what you will be needed for. Although many will accept you on the basis that you have great work experience, some will look for qualifications such as ‘Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools’ and  ’Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools’. Most paid jobs will also require for you to have GCSEs in both literacy and numeracy, or the equivalent.

Before you begin working with children, you will need to apply for an enhanced background checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and be registered with the EWC. These can both be applied for by popping onto their websites and filling out the forms provided. Both can take a number of weeks to complete, so it’s best to get these completed and sent off as soon as possible.

Once your checks are back, registrations complete, and your CV up to date, there are a number of ways that you can gain experience and jobs within a classroom environment. Check jobs boards, contact your local schools, and sign up with agencies that have plenty of contacts… Ahem. Whether long or short-term, each and every placement you take will gain you time, experience, and the chance to get your foot in the door, which in plenty of cases results in the offer of full-time work.

Roles will vary depending on the specific setting that you are placed in. Secondary schools will more than likely mean that you will be placed in a classroom with a specific subject, or be assigned to an individual that may need guidance, support, or help. In Primary school you will generally take on a more general role, working with a class across the whole of the curriculum and offering the teaching help with anything they need. If you decide to go down the special educational needs route, you may be assigned to a particular pupil, or work regularly with a particular class, it is also very common for there to be more than one teaching assistant present in this type of environment due to the needs of the students.

By Hannah Tuck, Staffroom Education

Want more information and help on becoming a teaching assistant or working in a school? Come along to the Teaching Recruitment Fair this month where you can speak to the Staffroom Education team and other teaching representatives about the opportunities on offer.

Teaching Recruitment Fair
Monday 26 February 12-2pm
Newport City Campus



NQTs – How To Land Your First Teaching Role

Finding your first teaching post is a process that doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult if you are well-prepared and plan ahead. We know it’s hard to think about when you’ve just got a shed load of coursework out-of-the-way, but now is the time to put the work in. With interviews surfacing for the new school year, we’ve put together our top tips on how to bag your first teaching role…

First and foremost, it’s important to identify the type of teaching vacancies you want to apply for, think about your preferences:

  • location – are you willing to commute or is it too much for your first year as an NQT?
  • type and size of school
  • year group/key stage
  • subject
  • full-time or temporary – would you take a short-term post?

So where do you go to find your new role?

  1. Teaching fairs and university portals are a great place to start. Here you’ll find temp/full-time/part-time vacancies that can suit all needs.
  2. Recruitment agencies.
  3. Social media; Linkedin offers a range of jobs and you can search #hiring #teachers on Twitter to narrow your hunt.
  4. Indeed, TES and plenty of other boards are guaranteed to feature most of the vacancies that are out there. It’s a good idea to sign up and upload your CV so that potential employers can contact you too!

Then, CV & applications

If you’ve found a particular job that you want, tailor your application to that specific school. Too many applicants end up being disregarded due to silly mistakes, so find out the name of who you’re addressing it to and make sure to pick up on why you want to work for them. Make it hard for the interviewer not to consider you and include a strong cover letter that shows your passion and drive.

Before applying, it’s a good idea to Google yourself and evaluate your digital footprint. Are all of your accounts private and is there any sort of content that may be deemed offensive?

It’s also important to remember not to sit by the phone…

Network aggressively with friends and acquaintances—a kind word from a colleague to a school administrator may open doors. Spread the word about your job search to your Facebook and Ning friends, and look for job feeds on Twitter.

Struggling? Why not consider the supply route?

Without blowing our own trumpet, Supply is a great way of securing an income and getting your foot in the door whilst waiting for that dream teaching role. The more schools you visit, the more people you meet, and we’re all very familiar with the saying ‘it’s who you know’ when it comes to the big job hunt.

You get the call, are you prepared?

Turn up with evidence to support your application. Class work, great references and portfolios are a strong way of communicating ‘Hey, look! I’m a great, organised and passionate candidate!”. You may be asked to teach a lesson or give a presentation, so make sure you understand what is expected and required. You should enquire about class size, location and available resources as well as considering how you are going to differentiate yourself from the rest.

The school will also be keen to know how well you could work with other teachers, other adults in the classroom and how you will relate to parents. Supporting your answers with examples will strengthen their impact and show that you have the experience needed for the desired job. Remember to relax, relate AND ASK QUESTIONS! You can find some of our top tips for that on another recent blog here.

By Hannah Tuck, Staffroom Education

Meet the Staffroom Education team and others at the

Teaching Recruitment Fair
Monday 26 February 12 – 2pm
Newport City Campuss


The Graduate Job Game

We’ve all been there. I’ve been there. You hand the dissertation in, spend the summer loving life & then cross your fingers, thumbs, eyes & legs that you’ll word-work-on-the-dicesland the job of your dreams as September approaches. Some of us will achieve this, high five to you all, some of you however will have to accept that your dreams may be a little further off than you’d hoped. Taking any job, doing anything you’re offered or facing unemployment is sometimes what comes after university life, BUT it’s not all doom and gloom. Ensuring that you’re constantly adapting yourself for when your big opportunity comes, being constantly prepared and most importantly NEVER giving up is the way forward. Finding a job and establishing yourself in a good career after your degree is no picnic, but we believe by following a number of steps, you’ll be on to a winner…

A Helping Hand

Before we start, we’d like to remind you all that unpaid internships are actually illegal. Under employment law, people who work set hours, do set tasks and contribute value to an organisation are “workers” and are entitled to the minimum wage, so please don’t work for free (unless it’s for a short period of time). Industries where unpaid interns were most common included design, media & PR, the competition is high and many feel under pressure to work for nothing, please don’t, I secured my chosen career path without having to do this so continue to tell yourself it’s completely possible! It is however, a good idea to offer a helping hand. Call businesses or companies and ask if there’s anything you can do for a few hours a week, on a Saturday or even in the evening. Offer your services at events they may host or even blog or share their news on social media platforms. Anything that adds that little bit extra ‘UMPH!’ to you as an individual will not hurt anyone.

Social Media

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the way you conduct yourself on these types of platforms is significantly important. We can all hold our hands up and say we’ve had a cheeky search on Facebook or Twitter for someone we know (or want to know more about) and employers on many occasions will do the same. Your name, job title, your photo albums & your status’ should be kept professional or completely private, no one employer wants to see your Saturday night antics or the photographs from the hen do you went on a month ago.

Take A Job, Any Job

It might not be exactly what you want, but take it. Any job is better than no job and at the end of the day money pays the bills. It’s very unlikely that in your early 20′s you’re going to be landing a job that you’re in for the rest of your life, so don’t sweat it, enjoy. A job offers you the chance to meet new people. Meeting new people means networking, and networking can essentially land you a job that pops you in the right direction. Your degree is significant and you’ve done a fantastic job of getting it, but sometimes in today’s industries it’s all about who you know as well as what you know. It’s also good to remind yourself that small – medium size companies are where the bulk of graduate jobs lie so please don’t let them be over shadowed by the big dogs. Remember to search high and low for jobs on the internet, the smaller businesses may not use the biggest advertisement spaces but this could potentially mean that there’s less applicants, bingo!

Face To Face

It’s never too soon to start looking and contacting companies. If you know what you want to do or the areas you’re interested in, then do some research and find out what types of jobs are out there. Talk to everyone around you and learn from their experiences. Many of us sit on laptops, ipads and computers and apply for jobs like robots, but if you REALLY want that job then perhaps it’s time you paid them a visit. Go in to the business and hand them the CV yourself, give them a call and ask what they have available, making yourself known gives the employers no choice but to remember you, don’t let yourself be hidden under a pile of paper.

Think Outside The Box

Graduates obsess about crafting the perfect CV, but instead, use the extra time to check your online footprint. Google yourself. What comes up and what does it say about you?! Could you set up a blog to support your case? Are you showing your wonderful creative flair? Going that little extra mile could make you stand out from the crowd and gives you the chance to say ‘Hey, look at me, look how I could help your company!’. It’s all fine and dandy on paper, but having evidence to support your claims could differentiate you from another candidate that’s after the same job.

You’ll need to work hard and never give up to get a good job after graduation. There are no guarantees, but most graduates ultimately make a fantastic career, and there’s no reason you can’t be one of them. I know it’s difficult to pick yourself up when you’re knocked down a few (too many) times, but hang in there, the finish line is in sight…

By Hannah Tuck, Staffroom Education

Insight Interview: Moving into a career in fashion and commerce

Susan Leaver is the Commercial Director at Turtle Mat with a focus on sales, marketing and product development. Initially training in fashion design, Susan spent her formative years in a commercial design environment supplying lingerie and nightwear products to M&S. In 1999 she formed part of the New Product Development team at Sara Lee Courtaulds where she worked on future technologies such as fragranced and therapeutic fabrics, and investigated ultra-sonic technology for seam replacement.

Susan Leaver - Commercial Director

In 2000, Susan left Sara Lee and spent a year designing and developing products for Cerie International (Hong Kong) and for Heathcoat Fabrics in the UK. In addition to her freelance work, Susan enrolled on a Master’s Degree course at Central St Martins where she gained an MA in Design Studies.

In 2002 she joined Turtle Mat where she developed their mail-order and e-commerce business alongside expanding their collection to include design. Susan was appointed Commercial Director in July 2009 and is responsible for all sales, marketing and NPD across both the Direct and Retail channels of the business.

Which subject did you study at university (and where did you study)?

I studied Fashion Design at Epsom School of Art & Design in the 1980’s (Now merged into UCA University for the Creative Arts). I also did a Post-Graduate (MA) degree in Design Studies at Central St Martins (now UAL- University of the Arts London).

What was the most important thing you learned in education/university?

Good design isn’t just about creativity or being able to put pen to paper and make something look good.  As with other industries, there is still a ‘commercial’ process sitting behind the design activity. This is often neglected and people aren’t always aware that being able to dissect (and question) a brief requires a level of understanding of the end use or end user that cannot simply be imagined. Research is key to this understanding as well as being creatively inspired.

Why did you decide to work in this industry?

Having worked in the fashion industry for some years, I was keen to explore other design fields, particularly those with a textile connection, Home interiors was a natural choice and closely linked to fashion. I really enjoyed the combination of design and business in my previous role and the position at Turtle Mat gave further opportunity to expand on this experience.  In addition, Turtle Mat were at an exciting point in their growth with new (design) technologies opening up to them, I felt I had the skillset to turn what was quite a mundane product into something more beautiful.

What was the turning point in your career?

Having developed product collections for some years for a major high-street retailer, I moved internally to work on research-led projects within a NPD team. This really opened my mind to all manner of possibilities within the current field I was working in, plus those beyond it.  It was from here that I went back to college part-time and did an MA.

What does a typical day at Turtle Mat look like for you?

Working in a small business doesn’t bring many typical days! Supplying both to trade and direct to consumers means that we have to often be responsive to their needs. We are a small niche team and my day can be anything from coming up with new mat designs to planning product launches and liaising with both clients and suppliers.

Do you have any motivational words for students aspiring to make it in this very competitive industry?

As with anything, it’s about hard work and determination.  By all means have some fun but make sure you have a clear goal and get as much as you can from every one and every available source- in a nutshell, make every day count. A firm grounding sets you up for the future, fashion courses are renowned for pushing you to the limit in terms of creativity and stamina, this training has served me well throughout my career. Also, don’t underestimate your transferable skills; I went from designing underwear to designing mats- think outside the box. And lastly, write every idea down, physically or digitally, keep a note of it you never know when it might be relevant.


Kick-start your digital career with Acorn’s IT Bootcamps!

So, how could you kick-start your digital career?

IT ScreenAcorn, one of the UK’s leading multi-specialist recruitment and training agencies has a solution: IT Bootcamps. Acorn’s IT Bootcamps is a new initiative to provide graduates with the opportunity to land employment with some of the UK’s leading technology firms, becoming a Junior Software Developer in just six short weeks. Aimed at learners from a range of STEM disciplines, the training Bootcamps have been designed exclusively to meet the demands of the IT industry.

If you’re weighing up whether or not this fast-track course may potentially be for you, we’ve put together some reasons why you should pay attention:

  • There is a skill shortage – in the UK, there is a well-publicised skills gap. Research suggests that by 2020, the UK will require almost 1.3 million STEM professionals and technicians*.
  • We are listening – Acorn has been listening to graduates and businesses, conducting research and hosting focus groups. We are specialists and are here to address candidate and client frustrations now.
  • Bespoke training – we have specially designed multiple courses with the sole aim of ensuring you are an employable, market-ready Junior Software Developer within a six-week period.
  • Permanent job opportunity – if selected by an employer (see below), not only will you be guaranteed a place on the training programme but you will also be employed from day 1 of the course.
  • It’s fully-funded – so you won’t have to pay a thing.

How does it work?

Once we’ve received your application for an IT Bootcamp training and developer role you will be assessed by Acorn and our Course Director, John Holvey.  If shortlisted, you will progress to interview stage where you’ll meet IT companies looking to employ Junior Software Developers.

Following successful selection by an employer, you will be guaranteed a place on our six week training programme, and will be required to complete the course and a final assessment, before starting your permanent job as a Junior Software Developer with your new employer.  Please note, you will be employed from day one of the IT Bootcamp, with a salary in potential excess of £20,000 per annum.

Do you want a career within the IT & Digital arena?

The start date for our next course is 20th June, 2016 – get in touch today via e-mail or give us a call on 01633 760191 to find out more.

For more information on Acorn’s IT Bootcamps >>

*Solving the STEM conundrum: how to bridge the skills shortage | Information Age | February 2016

Benefits of attending Acorn’s IT Bootcamps >> 

it bootcamp