Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Snapshot Diary: Little Tiger Press 2010

Straight after my 4 week placement at Random House, I went onto a children’s publisher called the ‘Little Tiger Press’. It was such a contrast from my previous placement, but on the plus side, it was my first placement within editorial book publishing.

My first impressions of the office were its sheer small size. However, it wasn’t off putting as all the employees were very friendly and helpful to me. Also, another plus was that I found the small meetings held a wealth of information about a lot of the different aspects of publishing such as, editorial, production and design. During my time at Little Tiger Press I was mainly handling submissions, which was a great new skill that I had learnt.

Anyway, these were the tasks I was involved in:
  • Submissions – reading, logging, replying and segregating those of interest for my editor.
  • General Admin duties
  • Reorganising book shelves
  • Sitting in on weekly meetings
  • Mail outs
Overall, I was kept very busy, with the majority of my time being spent handling unsolicited submissions, and there were a lot. The company would receive at least 7 submissions a day. Looking back, I did enjoy this placement but after the couple of weeks I spent there I definitely preferred a larger company. Also, I realised that I preferred adult fiction as opposed to working with children’s.

For anyone wanting to go into book publishing I would definitely recommend going on placements at a variety of publishers. This will then give you a feel about what your publishing preferences are, whenever you start searching for a career. 

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Keeping you updated...

I haven’t posted ‘Keeping you updated…’ in quite a while, and this is because I’ve literally been rushed off my feet.

I finished my last day at London Confidential (LC) last week, but thank god I am still able to write there as I enjoy it so much! Don’t forget that you can go my ‘About Me’ page to check out my current LC portfolio. I’ve been doing all sorts of writing from features to book reviews, exhibition reviews, and now I’m trying my hand out at food.

This week I had some really good news and managed to bag myself an internship at New York’s Cocokouture magazine. Here, I’m hoping to write under the lifestyle section and write about love and relationships. I literally can’t wait. My first article should be published in the next few weeks.
Speaking of published articles, I have my fingers cross that my first Guardian article will be published soon. Again, I’ll put a link in my ‘About Me’ page to my Guardian portfolio.

There aren’t any new plans for my Blog, but I’ll keep posting new blogs relating to the ‘CV Workshop’s’ and ‘Snapshot Diaries’. Also, I've had a few people speaking to me about where to begin with work experience so, I'm setting up a brand new page called 'Where Do I Start?' - stay tuned.

Lastly, I have received quite a lot of positive feedback from this Blog, so thank you all for your kind comments and I’m so appreciative. I didn’t realise when writing this Blog how many people would actually find it useful and I’m so pleased you are. Stay in touch. 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

CV Workshop - 'Profile' heading

Last week in my blog post ‘CV Workshop – Top 5 Headings for your CV’ I discussed a possible layout template for your CV, which incorporated useful headings to try and get the most out of it. The first heading I spoke about was the ‘Profile’ heading, which I think is one of the most significant headings of all.
For some reason, I’ve found that a ‘Profile’ section doesn’t even exist on some people’s CV, but I would highly recommend it – here’s why.

The main aim of your CV is to sell yourself to the employer. Usually, they won’t waste time taking hours and hours analysing your CV - so make sure it is succinct. Be careful with the size of your ‘Profile’ section as you won’t want it to be more than 4/5 lines long. The point of the ‘Profile’ is not to waffle on, but instead to talk a little bit about your personality – after all a CV is personal. Without a ‘Profile’, imagine your CV, amongst 6 others including 5 which have profiles and yours that doesn’t. In a way, it is like reading a blank form - and probably easily eliminated by an employer if the other 5 CV’s are amazing. It’s a small touch but in my eyes very significant. So, what do you need to write?

Start off writing around 4 lines about how you would describe yourself to a potential employer. I would like you to include any of the keys word that would be essential to any company, for instance a skill like ‘team player’. So your very first line could be something along the lines of ‘I’m a recent Sports Graduate with a warm personality and above all else a team player’. On the surface, this looks like a pretty decent first line, you’ve introduced yourself as well as put in a key word/skill that you feel best describes you. However, lets play the imagination game again and imagine that you’re an employer with 6 CV’s that all have variations on this first line and so essentially are all the same. Now how can you distinguish yourself? 

So at the moment you have your first line, which now seems to be a bit empty and not very original. A great way to stop using generic and empty phrases such as, ‘I’m really hardworking’ is to think about the specifics and to always try to be as specific and succinct as possible. So now I can easily change the beginning of my first line. Instead of ‘I’m a recent Sports Graduate’, change it to ‘I’m a recent 2.1 Sports Graduate with professional contacts’, by adding only a couple more specific bits of information, you have already a better sentence that will distinguish you amongst other CV’s. Then you can add your key words with slightly more meaning, for example, ‘I’m a recent 2.1 Sports Graduate with professional contacts and have learnt, above all, the significant value of being a team player’.

I hope you found the above useful. Remember the above examples are simply a guide as to what you could do with your CV. Stay tuned for the next CV Workshop on the ‘Education’ section of your CV.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

What to crack into the fashion world?

It's always tough looking for a full time job or internship, especially if you desire to crack into the fashion world! However, I stumbled across the ‘not just a label’ website, which posts work opportunities in fashion. Search opportunities from editorial to marketing and PR. So, if you’re interested then check out the link below and keep checking it for new postings. I'll add this link to the magazine opportunities page.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

CV Workshop - Top 5 Headings for Your CV

For those that missed out, I have posted a blog talking about how to make your CV impressive.

CV’s are what can make or break an application whether it is for a full time internship or job. Below I am going to create an outline template of CV headings to make sure that you’re including relevant and good information.

At a later date, I’m going to follow up this blog post with 5 blog posts dedicated to these 5 different headings. See below for the useful headings that you can implement in your CV.

What is a profile? Well, a profile a small blurb about yourself (4-5 lines), typically at the beginning of your CV. I think that the ‘Profile’ is one of the most important headings, because here the employer can get a feel of what kind of person you are. The great thing about profiles is that they can separate you from other candidates. This is the part where you can specifically aim your CV towards the sector you’re applying for. For instance, if you are applying for marketing, then it’s best to talk about your passion for marketing here. Sometimes, it’s best to leave out all the company specifics and put that in your cover letter instead.

This is compulsory and for me, the heading sits under my profile, it details all educational qualifications that you have obtained, and also what qualifications you are predicted (if you haven’t completed them). Keep this as simplistic as possible to avoid any confusion.

Many employers will go to this heading first, along with education, as they’re both extremely important. Make sure you detail every job you’ve had because the more experience you have the better your employability will look.

Under this heading it’s good to put down any extracurricular activities, especially if this involves gaining good ‘work experience’. For example, if you were Editor of the student newspaper, you would have gained leadership skills etc.

List any skills that could increase your employability, e.g. computer skills. Also, make sure you list any skills that don’t seem obvious, for instance you could be an English Literature student with a lot of ICT skills – make sure you list all of them. Most of the time employers do ask for certain requirements that aren’t essential but are desired and they’ll look out for these when reading your CV.

This is a relatively brief outlook on what a CV could look like, obviously, this is only a guideline, so by all means include and exclude headings which suit you. Stay tuned for my next CV workshop where I will discuss further the ‘Profile’ heading.

For more help with CV writing check out the 'dates for your diary' page.

*UPDATE Each heading is now click-able and will elaborate on the brief explanation above.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Have you got too much Spare Time?

Conde Nast offer what they call a ‘Temporary Administration Pool’, in which students and recent graduates can take on temporary work. 
These are mainly administrative roles, and in essence, you are covering employees who are sick or on holiday. So, this is a great opportunity to do work experience here and there. 
If you want to do something with your spare time then click the link below!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Snapshot Diary: Random House 2010

I am going to begin my snapshot diary instalments with my first work experience placement at Random House - summer 2010. All in all I spent four weeks there, 2 weeks in the HR department and 2 weeks in the Publicity department.
Like any young person, I was excited but nervous to go on my first placement. 
Before, the only work environments I had experienced was in retail. So offices were a brand new kettle of fish for me.

I began my 2 week placement with HR, I had my own desk on a comfortable air conditioned floor – it was a great work environment and nice and quiet! My main role was to act as an administrative assistant and complete any admin tasks. The employees were very nice, polite and even introduced themselves formally. One of the employees introduced me to Linkedin, I hadn’t even heard of it before I started work experience but it is a great website to sign up to if you want to impress employers (they can be known for 'googling' candidate names).

Anyway, these are the main tasks I was involved in the HR department:
  • Small admin duties
  • Filing - converting hardcopy files to electronic files
  • Adapting documents
  • Using Excel spreadsheets for documentation purposes
  • Using Adobe InDesign, MS office package and Microsoft Outlook

After 2 weeks, I transferred into the publicity department, which was a lot faster paced and each day I was kept very busy. That said, Random House definitely offered one of the best publicity experiences that I’ve had so far. Once again, all the employees were very nice and friendly and offered me numerous books by the end of the placement. Additionally, I managed to have a chat with one of the Publicity Director’s about what they look for when interviewing graduates for assistant roles (I’ll speak more about this at a later date).

Anyway, here are some of the main tasks I was involved within the publicity department:
  • Creating show cards
  • Speaking to national newspaper
  • Helping out at and organising events
  • Mail outs
  • Filing
  • Employee meetings
  • Author signings

Overall, I was very busy and I liked the fast paced work environment at Random House. For anyone who is interested at gaining work experience at Random House make sure you add their Facebook page – this is updated frequently with opportunities.

Want to know how I got my very first placement? (LINK COMING SOON)

Lastly, are you studying an MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes this year? Random House are offering monthly scholarships for those of you that are! What's even better is that they'll offer training days in various departments over the month and its PAID.
A great opportunity for an Oxford Brookes MA student! Apply at: http://ah.brookes.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding_source/random_house_scholarship/

Saturday, 6 August 2011

6 Month Digital Internship with Glamour Magazine

Fancy an internship at Glamour Magazine that isn’t just 1 month, but 6 months long?
Then you’re in luck! 

Unlike other Glamour internships, this is for a full six months and it could offer someone great experience in the digital world of publishing. So, as long as you’re over 18 and are able to work full time, why not apply.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Top 5 Tips for creating an impressive CV

Your CV will make a huge difference as to whether you:  firstly get the interview and secondly whether you get the job.
Employers go through thousands of CV’s and take no casualties when it comes to the occasional blunder. So, make sure your CV is the best it can be before sending off your application.

1) Tailor your CV to the job you’re applying to
This tip is very important as many us don’t bother. There’s no point being lazy because chances are, there is another applicant who will tailor their CV to the job role, and they’ll snap an interview.
Employers will definitely remember you for your CV, and once you have been invited for an interview, they’ll refer/ask you questions about it. It’s very important that you know what is and what isn’t on your CV.

2) Make your profile stand out

I'm guilty of this myself as I have a couple of sweeping generalisations in mine, such as ‘I’m very diligent’. Clearly, the problem with having such statements is that they become empty. Think about it, if you’re the employer and you’re reading thousands of CV’s which all state how ‘hardworking’ the applicant is, it becomes meaningless. Instead, try to be a bit more concise, for example, ‘I’m a recent 2.1 graduate in publishing with professional contacts’. Now employers will see the picture you’re beginning to paint, e.g. this candidate has done previous experience in their field to gain their contacts. 

3) Check your spelling and grammar
Unlike me, you may not be an English student and may not take time with spelling and grammar. However employers, and for that matter anyone who reads your CV, will spot the mistakes. It looks unprofessional at graduate level and creates a bad impression – so make sure you proof read!

4) Include succinct and relevant information
I can’t emphasise this tip enough, don’t waffle on, your CV needs to be short (1-2 pages) succinct and concise. Employers won’t spend hours on end reading all the little points in your CV – summarise and create simple headings. A nice one I like to use is ‘Key Skills’, which is a great time to detail your ‘Computer skills’ etc.
If you’re having problems with your CV being too long, then create a longer version of your CV. For example, any descriptions about your employment e.g. ‘I was a sales assistant at...’ keep that in the longer version, and in your shorter version just include ‘Sales Assistant at Next from --/--/--‘. 

5) Be honest
Make sure you stay honest in your CV because you will be found out. At interviews employers will almost definitely have a copy of your CV, and they’ll definitely be asking you about it. It’s not worth lying.

All of the tips above are relevant to all CV’s and for whatever work place you’re applying to. In future I’ll be posting a CV workshop which will outline headers and skills you may like to mention in your CV.
It occurred to me, after seeing a CV today, how different that they can be and I’m a true believer in keeping it simple and concise. So don’t copy and paste a CV from the internet (I’ve heard all the horror stories), keep reading these blog posts and you never know, you may learn something!