26 October 2012 10:18 AM

10 tips for getting a publishing job without doing a publishing internship

Most humanities graduates have, at one time or another, considered a career in publishing. If you're one of them, no doubt you've imagined a glamourous 'Devil Wears Prada' magazine career involving a terrifying boss, free Dior handbags and trips to Paris Fashion Week.

But what is it really like? Click here to find out more, or read on...

As it happens, before I joined CareerPlayer I was a magazine journalist - so here's a list of the things I wish I'd known before I turned up starry-eyed on my first day at an international publishing house:

1. Beware unpaid work - there is another way! It's important to get your foot in the door, but if you don't value your work, no one else will either, so don't work for free if you can possibly help it. Unpaid work experience may be the norm, but it's only worth doing for a couple of weeks to get a feel for the industry. There are entry-level jobs out there, so instead of doing endless unpaid work, do a few bits of short term in-house work experience and focus instead on building up your portfolio of skills in a specialist area. Lots of people can say 'I like to write' or 'I'm good at designing' but what editors wants to see pop up in their inbox is someone who can create a highly-specialised feature for their target audience, with minimal input and editing from the production team. Got a special interest in music, triathalons or computer games? Know the industry inside out? Great! Start a blog, build contacts with suppliers and key people in the industry, then call up publishers and ask if they're interested in having you write a freelance article or design a graphic for them. Point out your specialism, the contacts you can bring in, the expertise you can offer. Direct them to your blog so they can see a sample of your specialist knowledge and abilities. Repeat as necessary with publishers large and small.

2. Publishing is not like it's portrayed in the movies. It involves a lot of hard work, yes, but it's also not nearly as cut-throat and backstabbing as Hollywood would have you believe. People tend not to take themselves too seriously and are often about as casually dressed as you can be without actually wearing pyjamas as daywear.

3. Publishing is a team sport. Most publishing houses have a small core team assigned to each magazine. Larger magazines will have various hangers-on like section editors, editor's PA, art assistants, editorial assistants...the list goes on! At minimum, this will have an editor (who oversees the editorial direction of the magazine), an art editor (who oversees the creative direction of the magazines, but is subordinate to the editor - which leads to the odd, erm, 'creative difference') and a production editor, who is the hapless dogsbody entrusted with keeping the peace, making sure everything is where it's supposed to be, proofreading every page, sourcing images, arguing with the printers, writing all the regular content and building relationships within the industry. Guess what my job was?

4. Essentially, magazine production is a process-driven industry. You need to be creative, yes; but while a certain degree of artistic scattiness is acceptable on the design side of the fence, editorial teams need to be on top of everything at all times. If you enjoy lists, order and ticking things off, it's a good area to work in. You need to be fairly calm, organised and focussed as you'll be working to some truly horrendous deadlines from time to time - ten days to turn around a 70-page magazine, anyone?

5. No one likes a diva. Make friends the moment you arrive with the hermit-like individuals (usually men in baseball caps) who inhabit the print room. They are in charge of final page setup and creating proofs, as well as essential bits and bobs like business cards. Get them on your side ASAP. Ditto for the receptionists and PAs (who are the people responsible for keeping the entire organisation together, often a rather thankless task) and the classified ad sales teams (who are the ones actually making money for your magazine!)

6. You do get quite a lot of freebies. Depending on the magazine you work on, you may end up with more clothes, makeup, hair products, books, cupcakes, computer games or mountain bikes than you know what to do with. In my magazine offices, we had whole cupboards full of free stuff that were occasionally flung open for everyone, from the cleaners to the MD, to take their pick. You can also pick up a few perks like free hairdressing appointments, photoshoots and trips to fashion events.

7. You won't be retiring at 30. Magazine work is NOT well paid, to put it mildly. You will find that 90% of people who work on magazines do quite a lot of freelance work in their spare time. So be prepared! Build contacts in the industry and you'll always have a bit of extra work coming in.

8. InDesign rules all. If you haven't heard of this software yet, you will! It's one of the most commonly used publishing packages and it's a bonus for an editor if they don't have to teach you how it works from scratch. Get hold of a free trial version and learn the basics. It will really make you stand out.

9. The future of magazines is definitely digital. Make sure you take every opportunity to get to grips with social media, SEO, blogs and websites. Knowing how to use a basic website content management system won't hurt, either.

10. Finally, some words of wisdom from an industry veteran I worked with. 'Always proofread everything three times - once for sense, once for structure and once for luck.' 

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10 October 2012 10:06 AM

Looking for graduate teacher training? Try Teach First

Nearly 50% of children claiming free school meals fail to gain any GCSEs above grade D. Just 16% will make it to university, compared with 96% of private school leavers. If you believe that a child's success shouldn't be restricted by their family's social status, Teach First might be for you.

Teach First is a pretty unique entity in the graduate recruitment world. In a nutshell, graduates are placed in a two-year teaching role in some of the most challenging schools in the UK. You can even apply to certain graduate schemes, such as the PwC graduate scheme or the Accenture graduate scheme, and defer your entry - so you get the chance to spend two years making a real difference to childrens' lives before moving on to a corporate role.

The role of a Teach First teacher is to inspire kids from tricky educational and social backgrounds, as well as developing vital business skills like diplomacy, assertiveness and a sense of humour! Watch a secondary school teacher talk about why there's never a dull moment in his job.

This role certainly isn't for everyone - teaching is hard work at the best of times, and when your students have challenging behavioural and social issues as well, it's even trickier. But if you're resilient and up for the challenge, you could change people's lives. Seriously. 

 

 

 
You’ll need a minimum of a 2.1 degree, and more importantly you'll need to be smart, determined, a great communicator. You'll need to be tough - the kids you'll be working with will be challenging; but you'll also need to have empathy as many of them won't have had the best start in life.

Teach First is all about becoming a leader and achieving success – both for yourself and for others. It’s an intensive two years starting with the Summer Institute and continuing onto the Leadership Development Programme combines working, qualifying and training as a teacher with leadership development training, coaching and mentoring, and a range of networking and internship opportunities.

Sound good? Click here to find out more. 
Or watch more videos about careers in teaching here.

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03 October 2012 04:43 PM

Spotlight on: Graduate Marketing Jobs

What exactly is marketing? The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines it as 'the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.' But what does that actually mean in day-to-day terms? Find out here...

Essentially, marketing covers all the actvities involved in promoting and selling a product or service - such as market research, pricing, packaging, advertising, sales and distribution. Every product you can think of - from toothpaste to charities to government services - will have been through this process at some stage or another!

Qualities required include confidence and resilience, strong communication and negotiation skills, numeracy, analytical ability, commercial awareness, eagerness to take responsibility and a competitive streak.

Marketing executives are involved in developing marketing campaigns to promote a product, service or idea. The role includes planning, advertising, public relations, organising events, product development, distribution, sponsorship and research. The job is pretty varied - you might be writing press releases, working with PR agencies, meeting and greeting at an industry event, or implementing a social media strategy.

Hear the inside scoop on succeeding in the industry from a top marketing director here.

Find out more about marketing careers at The Chartered Institute of Marketing.

 

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26 September 2012 11:39 AM

How about a job at...the Civil Service Fast Stream?

The Civil Service Fast Stream is a unique graduate scheme that's designed to catapult the very best graduates into top-level roles across the UK. Sound good? Read on!

The Fast Stream allows you to gain a huge range of experience in a very short time. Fast Streamers undertake a variety of placements, move between projects and try out areas of work to build up a portfolio of experience that's hard to beat. Find out more about government and public sector careers here.

Starting salaries usually range between around £25, 000 and £27,000 and you'll be expected to be flexible - you need to follow the job wherever it takes you across the UK!

Click here to find out more!


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19 September 2012 08:50 AM

Spotlight on: HR Graduate Jobs

HR has shed its paper-pushing image in the last few years and is seen as an increasingly attractive destination for graduates from all degree disciplines. If you're commercially aware and also a real people person - tactful, empathetic, confident and a great communicator - who wants to use these skills in business, this could be the industry for you.

Watch a real HR professional talking about the best and worst bits of his job here.

HR departments have historically had a bit of a bad rep as the boring, 'computer says no' zone in the company - so part of your role as a modern HR professional is to change this image! HR strategy these days is very much about retaining and developing staff, not just making sure they follow the rules arbitrarily. Your understanding of employment law needs to be top-notch, too, so HR can be a good choice for law graduates who've decided that life as a solicitor or barrister isn't for them, but still want to use what they've learned in a business context.

With many companies recognising the advantages of flexible working, part of any modern HR role is to help the company and staff maintain a work-life balance that's mutually beneficial to everyone. To do this requires tact, diplomacy, empathy, assertiveness and negotiation skills. Remember that you will often be dealing with people who are in difficult or emotionally-charged situations - illness, bullying and work stress don't tend to leave people in the most calm frame of mind.

As well as the day-to-day liaison between staff and employers, HR professionals also have a big role to play in the strategic direction of the company. At a senior level, HR teams will advise on employing the right balance of staff in terms of skills and experience, advise on and help to implement training and development programmes across the company, consult with recruitment agencies, give input on pay scales, ensure compliance with current employment and working practise legislation, and lead company strategy on equality and diversity. Whew!

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06 September 2012 09:09 AM

Guest post: Cybersecurity Sector Seen as Secure Employer for Graduates

 

With the continuing instability of many key UK employment sectors, a sure thing is hard to find. However, cybersecurity has been heralded as an extremely secure career option for graduates with the right skills to offer.

Thanks to the rising demand for online security services and the relative scarcity of qualified candidates, the genuine difficulty faced by many job hunting graduates of ‘too much competition, too few openings’ doesn't apply in this dynamic employment sector. Both private sector and government institutions need the services of hundreds more experts in the near future to combat the rising tide of cyber-related attacks, as well as the more mundane annoyances of low-tech spammers that plague today’s internet.

While the majority of the cybersecurity industry creates tech support jobs that deal with the daily countering of these low-tech nuisances, at the other end of the scale experts are needed to fend off more sophisticated cyber-attacks. These can take the form of defrauding attacks designed to steal or misappropriate capital, or in more deadly instances they can target critical digital infrastructure that can cripple power grids or banking systems with impunity.

Cyber-related attacks are a global threat with a cost to the British Government that not even the most well-informed experts can agree on, but it certainly runs into billions of pounds every year. While the demand for cybersecurity is there, the supply doesn’t measure up to it. Edwin Kanerva, Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton, recently said: “It’s tough going out there. Every company is looking for the same thing. There’s just not enough of them. The gene pool is small.”

Given the job security and relatively high salary that a cybersecurity expert can expect to enjoy, the number of new graduates who are entering the field remains disproportionally low. Perhaps the most obvious reason for this 'small gene pool' of employable graduates in this field is the fact that students who study computer science are being lured away by the bright lights of computer engineering or software development.

The most exciting tech companies, who have Silicon Valley headquarters and a large presence in the UK, are proving to be too much of an attraction to eager young graduates with computer science degrees. The large salaries and inherent coolness of innovative tech companies means that careers with Google, Microsoft and Oracle are highly sought after, drawing computer studies graduates away from online security firms and government departments. These tech giants are also increasingly reaching out to pluck potential candidates from the graduate pool to employ them in Java jobs, as the programming language has come under fire recently for its supposed security issues.

While software development jobs with this kind of employer may be an attractive option, graduates with computer related qualifications should certainly consider the variety of excellent employers looking for cybersecurity experts. The generous salaries, job security and relatively lower levels of competition make it an excellent employment sector.

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22 August 2012 10:21 AM

5 Things You Need to Know About Engineering Graduate Jobs

Engineering can get a bit of a bad rep, unfortunately, which is a shame because it has the potential to be one of the most satisfying and stable careers out there. Read on to find out five things every aspiring engineer must know:

  1. It's not just for the guys! Watch this film to find out what women who work in engineering have to say - the general consensus seems to be that not only is it not nearly as 'blokey' as you might think, it's also easier to get noticed for being good at your job when you're the only woman on the team!
  2. There are plenty of jobs in engineering companies for non-engineers - think Sales and Marketing, Project Management, HR, Logistics. A graduate scheme at an engineering company can be a great way to get transferable business skill that will translate to a wide range of careers.
  3. It can offer some of the most flexible hours of any professional job - many companies offer perks like flexitime, and some even give you every Friday afternoon off - yes, really! 
  4. Some engineering graduate schemes will consider candidates with a 2.2 - so this industry can be a good choice if you've not quite hit the grade you hoped for.
  5. Engineering can offer the option of lots of international travel if that's something that takes your fancy - definitely worth bearing in mind, we say!

For more information on careers in engineering, click here.

Or click on the image below...

 


15 August 2012 12:27 PM

3 things graduates need to know about consulting

For many graduates, consulting has a glamourous ring to it – the idea of walking into a different organisation every fortnight and helping to smooth out their business issues. However, it’s notorious for being a highly demanding career path – have you got what it takes?

1.    Commitment

Consulting is not a profession for graduates who aren’t 100% committed to their career – it involves frequent travel and long hours, with often only a day week spent in your base office. If the idea of becoming closely acquainted with a variety of hotel facilities across the UK doesn’t faze you, then a graduate job in consulting might suit you.


2.    Diplomacy and tact
Consultants are often brought in to help organisations that are having difficulties, so an ability to empathise, be tactful and work collaboratively to solve problems is a valuable skill. 


3.    Organisational skills

You’re not going to be based in the same place all the time, so your ability to get (and keep) yourself organized needs to be top-notch.

Still think you’ve got what it takes? Find out more about careers in consulting by clicking here.


Or click on the image below...


08 August 2012 10:30 AM

Four things you need to know about a graduate career in law

Every year many hopeful graduates apply for coveted and scarce graduate schemes at top law firms. Known in the industry as training contracts, these demanding but well-rewarded positions often come with a hefty sponsorship deal to help graduates through the final stages of their legal training before they join the firm. If you’re one of these hopefuls, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons! Read on for our top things you must think about before you even start to fill out application forms:

1. Make sure you want to work in law for the right reasons
Do you have a real and genuine interest in the law? Do you believe you will find the role as a solicitor or barrister enjoyable and challenging, or are you only interested in the money and perceived prestige it can bring? Do you enjoy logic, details and intellectual challenge? Are you happy working through piles of paperwork? Can you explain complex terms clearly, to people who have no idea what you’re talking about, without sounding patronising? Be honest about your personality and skills, and you’ll be happier in the long run. But equally, don’t rule out law just because you have visions of brash City boys spending 18 hours a day in the office – there are many different types of law and many different law firm cultures. Don’t assume you won’t fit in because of your gender, background or personality. Which leads on to…

…

2. Research!
If the idea of this makes you glaze over, law is probably not the profession for you – it’s research-intensive! If you’re the kind of person who can pick out vital bits of study texts and speedily interpret them without plodding though the whole book, this will stand you in good stead. Find out all you can about the career paths and firms that interest you. Do you know the day-to-day differences between being a solicitor and a barrister (beyond ‘one of them wears a wig’)? Do you have a specific idea of the geographical area or specialism you want to work in, or are you looking for a company that will give you a broad range of experience? 



3. Work experience
This doesn’t have to be legal, particularly if you can demonstrate decent business experience – for example, if you had a placement year at university. If you can get on a vacation scheme at a large firm, this will help you decide if commercial law is for you – but if you can’t it’s not the end of the world! Voluntary work with legal aid organisations, shadowing a family friend who’s a barrister, or working part-time as an office assistant at high street law firms all count. Good employers will accept that people come from different backgrounds and can bring different things to the table. Having said that, if you turn up for an interview and tell a senior partner that you’ve got no business or legal experience but you want to be a lawyer because you like watching Boston Legal and you want to make loads of money, expect to get short shrift.



4. Be realistic about your prospects
If you don’t have, at MINIMUM, a mid-to-high 2.1 and at least one or two As at A-Level, you stand little chance of making it into a top law firm. There is huge competition for places, and although firms will take your circumstances into account, they do have to have a cut-off point somewhere! Last year there were 4,874 training places available, whilst for the same year 7,064 people registered on the LPC (the last stage of academic legal training) – so you need to be one of the best. Becoming a barrister is even more competitive and is really not for the faint-hearted – there are far more applicants every year than there are training places, and as the Bar is very academic in slant you really do need a First (or a lot of luck and a 2.1) to be in with a chance. The moral of the story is that it is probably not worth forking out the many thousands it will cost you to train in either profession if you’re unlikely to get a job at the end of it and make that money back. The exception to this rule is if you have high grades but just haven’t managed to secure a training contract that pays for your training before you start your legal studies, or if you have good grades but want to work for a smaller firm that doesn’t offer sponsorship. But if you have less than a solid, 65%+ 2.1, you are probably better off pursuing other career paths. Honesty with yourself is the best policy!

To find out more about different careers in law, click here.


The Law Society and the Bar Council websites are packed with useful information and are great place to start researching your legal career.


02 August 2012 03:18 PM

What to expect from summer internships

Summer internships are a great way to work out if a particular career path is right for you – and when you get to the stage of filling in application forms and going for graduate job interviews, they will help you demonstrate your motivation and understanding of the industry you want to work in. Placements in large organisations such as banks, law firms and consultancies tend to be highly structured and place great emphasis on giving you a real taster of life at a particular company.

On a typical summer placement with a large company, you’ll likely get to have a go at some of the following: 
    •    Going along to seminars or presentations
    •    Office-based work such as helping with research on projects
    •    Going to client meetings
    •    Taking part in a business task with other placement students and giving a presentation on this at the end of the placement
    •    Socials – many firms will wine and dine you at least once during your internship!

By the end of your placement, you’ll have a definite idea of whether the company – and the career itself – is a good fit for you. For more info on how to make the most of graduate internships, click here.

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