Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Intern Opportunities: 31 July 2012

  • We (web and print-based publishing house) is after a researcher and writer intern for three months. Click here to apply
  • Viewsy is seeking a marketing intern. Click here to apply
  • Harper Collins is offering a 6-month internship for an international sales intern. Click here to apply

Are you looking for temporary work?

Are you looking for your first job?

Saturday, 28 July 2012

My Graduate Success: First Interview Tips

Many of you will or already have experienced a ‘first’ interview. Essentially this is an interview that if successful, will lead on to a second interview and possibly more. The first interview is really about getting a flavour of the candidate, what their personality is like, how they cope in a professional environment, how well researched they are and so on. It’s a big giveaway when your interview hasn’t gone too well as they can’t get you out of the door fast enough. Quick interviews generally haven’t been good ones. My first interview lasted about 30 minutes and that went well. To strive for a similar success have a read of the following tips.  

1)Be yourself but be ready to hold back
Normally the first interview question is something along the lines of ‘tell me about yourself’. This doesn’t mean that you should tell the interviewer everything about yourself for ten minutes, nor to talk about personal interests for 10 seconds. Generally I would stay clear of personal interests unless directly asked. Instead, approach this question concisely (keeping your answer down to 1 or 2 minutes), with relevancy (talk about your experiences based on your CV) and honestly (but not too honestly). I don’t condone telling fibs in your interview about what you have or haven’t done or what you are or what you aren’t. There’s a fine line between lying and deception. Take my next tip as an example.

This is a very popular interview question. You need to choose answers wisely. For instance, if you’re going for a sales position and one of the requirements is to hit sales targets every month. Don’t flag this up as a potential weakness in your performance. Your weakness should be something not related to the role e.g. public speaking. You may honestly find the sales targets a weakness but this shouldn’t be said in your interview.

3)Find excuses to show off
It’s very good to build up a repartee with your interviewer and one of ways of enhancing your ability to do so, is to research. This is what you and your interviewer will have in common – the company. So relate your answers to the research you’ve done. This is very difficult if your unprepared but if you already have the research under your belt you’re pretty much set. Take a standard question such as ‘Tell me about yourself?’ now take your standard answer (talking about your relevant experience on your CV), then add on the fact that “I’ve been working for many companies as a editorial intern for the last year, it’s been enjoyable and I really think I’ve gained all the key ingredients to start an assistant role here, and to be as successful as the UK’s number one publisher. I saw the other day that sales figures had risen..…’ this kind of sentence will then allow you to lead into some figures regarding sales etc. At any opportunity show off the research and preparation that you have done because this may be your only time to do so.

4)Ask for advice
Don’t forget that there are always people around you that are willing to look over your questions and answers. Perhaps someone who is older or with more experience can give you tips into better answering a question – especially if they are an interviewer themselves. I would particularly recommend this if you have had more than three first interviews. Perhaps your interview style and answers need more work towards being successful.

Lastly, I’ve frequently endorsed the Rowan Manahan podcast on The Guardian Careers website, http://careers.guardian.co.uk/audio/careers-talk-five-steps-for-interview-success?intcmp=239. It’s a very good podcast to listen too, and in particular he talks about the ‘Talk to me about yourself’ question.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Intern Opportunities: 24th July 2012

  • Tatler is seeking an art intern. This is a 1-month opportunity paid at minimum wage. Click hereto apply
  • JFL Search & Selection is looking for a PR intern who has the desire to learn. Click here to apply. 
  • Moneywise is offering a journalism internship. This position is paid and suitable for a Journalism or English Literature graduate. Click here to apply
  • World News Media Ltd has an internship available for a writer. Click here to apply. 

Are you looking for your first job?
  • Hachette Children’s books are advertising an administrator/PA to Publishing Director role. Click here to apply

Monday, 23 July 2012

My Graduate Success: My Application Tips

In the short time that I was searching for jobs it felt like my applications were going unnoticed, which is a feeling that’s probably not unusual for graduates. As you all know by now, one of my applications did get noticed and I’m starting to think about the reasons why it did. So below, I’ve compiled a few tips for any other graduates who are applying for publishing jobs.  

1) Pay attention to the ‘ideal’ candidate specification
This is my number one tip of my entire blog post. The ideal candidate specification is a very important part of the job vacancy that can sometimes be overlooked. Although companies don’t officially say so, in my opinion out of all applications that a company receives (hundreds) there will probably be a lot of candidates that don’t absolutely fit the ‘ideal’ candidate specification. Thus will go unnoticed. Only the best/ideal candidates will be picked for interviews. So, pay attention to the specification and think twice about applying for it if you’re not really ideal. For instance, some vacancies may state ‘The ideal candidate would preferably have an MA in publishing…’ – I suggest you should think twice about applying for it if you don’t have an MA, especially if the vacancy is with a large company where lots of applications are received.   

2) Make an impression in your cover letter
One of the most important aspects of a job application is the cover letter. This is because it is the first part of the application that the employer will read. After reading it they will assess whether you’re potentially right for the role, and depending on their judgement, will depend on whether they will read your CV.
I’m not going to go into the importance of tailoring your cover letters as I’m sure many of you are already aware of the significance. But what I will say is, make sure your cover letter has been tailored well. This means better than just copying the words used in the job description such as ‘diligent’. I mean directly relating your experience to the job you’re applying for. For example, if it’s a sales job then you should refer to all your ‘sales’ experience in your cover letter (stating the most relevant first). Your cover letter really needs to match the job description, so that it explains why you are the ideal candidate for the role. A great cover letter will tell the employer that you encompass all the key ingredients of being a successful xxx assistant.    

3) Don’t become unstuck in the interview
If you’re writing a lot of applications for various roles, it will be sensible to examine your application again before your interview. Have a look at your cover letter and CV and really scrutinise it. For instance, the interviewer may ask you ‘describe what involvement you had in the social media project that you state on your CV?’, or ‘You’ve described being a unflappable individual, what makes you unflappable?’. This is why I stressed in my previous blog post the importance of creating a scenarios pack, and why your application needs to be 100% accurate and of course true/real.  

If you’re still a student….
You may not know yet or you may have an idea of what you’d like to do as a career. If you know you may be leaning towards editorial (for instance) then make sure you take on predominantly editorial placements to reflect this. Its great to do work experience but make sure you’re doing the right experience that’s right for you.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Are you struggling in the graduate job market?

Catch me on my lunch break tomorrow as I'm a panelist in The Guardian Careers live Q&A this Thursday from 1pm till 3pm. 

Post your questions here: http://careers.guardian.co.uk/surviving-the-graduate-job-market 

Looking forward to answering all your questions!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Intern Opportunities: 17th July 2012

Are you looking for a 6-month placement?

Are you looking for your first job?

Saturday, 14 July 2012

My Graduate Success – Interview Preparation Essentials

Those that followed my journey part 1 and part 2, would know that I put a lot of effort into my interview preparation. As a reminder and for those that don’t know, I created three main documents - my research pack, sample questions and answers, and scenarios. All in all it probably totalled around 50 pages. I know it sounds like a lot, but the good thing about sample questions, answers and scenarios is that once I had done them I could reuse them for future interviews. These packs were crucial to my success at the interview because without them, I wouldn’t have been able to show off my knowledge of the company. Research and insight is very important as it proves to the interviewer that one, you’ve made the effort and two, that you’re genuinely interested in working for them. The significance of interview preparation is the main reason why it dominates my blog, and the reason why I decided to create this blog post to go into more detail about my ‘Interview Preparation Essentials’.

Research Pack

This is going to be a crucial pack for your interview preparation. This pack will essentially collate all web research that specifically relates to role and company you’ve applied to. The pack is useful for remembering all the information that your short term memory may not remember. Start by printing out useful pages from the internet and group them together accordingly. It will really help you to revise all the bits of knowledge you’ll need to know for your interview. For example, if you’re being interviewed for a sales role then make sure you have things like statistics and sales figures in your pack.

Other facets of your research pack may draw on consumer insight and general facts about the company. Plus anything else that is appropriate for the role you’re being interviewed for.
Aim for between 30-40 pages, but this can range, particularly if it’s a smaller company. To give you an idea, for my interview, I got 40 pages in total for my research pack.

Sample questions and Answers

This is another important pack to produce. The best thing about this pack is you won’t need to produce it again once it’s already done. If you go back in time to my previous blog posts you’ll find links to interview questions and example answers. Essentially, what you need to do is find a range of interview questions on the internet, e.g. standard, behavioural, killer questions – make some up if you want to. Then collate all of these into a document and start to write your answers – if and when you can, STAR answering is always a useful way to structure your answers.

Additionally, if it’s possible get someone else to look over your questions and answers, especially someone who has experience and is savvy when it comes to interviews. Their advice could mean the difference between a good or great interview.


When I started writing my sample questions and answers pack, I found that I got stuck on the behavioural questions e.g. ‘Give me an example of a time when…’ I immediately answered in my head ‘I have no idea’. However, all it takes is a little bit of thought. This is why I created the scenarios pack.

Inside the scenarios pack you’ll include specific examples that are REAL and that demonstrate something. For instance, your preparation for your dissertation demonstrates your time management ability – e.g. it’s a six month process that included creating a 6 month overview plan and then smaller detailed weekly schedules etc.

In my pack I included 5 different scenarios that all demonstrated different behaviours. If you need inspiration here, check out the job description, does it say the ideal candidate should pay attention to detail? If so, make sure one of your scenarios covers this. Re-check your application and in particular the personal attributes you stated you have e.g. ‘ I have the ability to handle difficult situations’. Again, make sure this is covered in your scenarios document.  
The easiest way to create one will be to include a 2 column table in a word doc, one column named ‘Scenario’ and the other ‘Demonstrates…’

The most important thing to remember is that these packs are for YOU. Not the interviewer. It’s your job to be productive with them and to put your best work into them – great packs will give you the ability to give great answers. At the end of the day they’re great to resources for revision - just like I did at the café before my interview.

Have you created any interview packs before? If so, use the comments box below.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Intern Opportunities: 10 July 2012

  •  Runwild Media is offering a 3-month editorial internship. Click here to apply. 
  • Sheengate Publishing is offering a journalism placement with the opportunity to gain paid full-time employment afterwards. Click here to apply. 

Are you seeking temporary work?

Are you looking for your first job?

For work experience opportunities in and out of London -
Check out the Oxford Brookes website. Click here to view the work experience opportunities page

Have you heard about....
The Directgov graduate talent pool website, a service that matches graduates to internship opportunities and advertises a range of placements. Click here to find out more.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

My Graduate Success - My Journey Part ll

Day 5: Today was the day of my first interview at IPC Media. As I mentioned previous, this took place around lunchtime. I got into London early and went to a nearby café for a coffee, and once again I looked over/revised the research pack and the Q&A’s pack that I had created.

It wasn’t until I was actually in the interview did I find out that this was my first interview and if I were to be successful, I would be offered a second one. So, despite what I had thought previous, this was just an interview with the HR person. All this really meant was that a lot of the questions I had prepared weren’t asked. There was just a minimal selection of the standard ‘why do you want to work for us?’ ‘Why do you fit the role?’ ‘why should we hire you?’ etc – really they just wanted an idea of my personality.

I believe I answered all the questions well and I really built up a repartee with the interviewer. Plus, I asked the interviewer good questions at the end, which really helped to create a good impression. Impressions are very important so I tried to show off my research as much as possible.

Overall, my first interview lasted 35 minutes and I left feeling happy that I had done all I could.

Day 6: This was really a day where I was meant to have a ‘day of rest’. However, by 4pm I was emailed and offered a second interview for the very next day – I was shocked that the HR person had got back to me so quickly. As well I didn’t have much time to prepare, so I was glad that a lot of my preparation had already taken place. On top of this, I had 2 tasks to complete and considering my interview was in the afternoon the next day, I worked out I had about 23 hours to prepare.

For the rest of day 6 and early morning day 7 I mostly prepared my task answers as I knew that would be a significant part of the interview. I ended up going to sleep at 1am and waking up at 7am on day 7.  

Day 7: My early morning get up was spent completing my task answers, which was finally done by 10am. I went to the gym afterwards to clear my head and then focussed on getting myself ready, in terms of interview attire. Like day 5, I arrived early in London, went to the café and revised my interview packs and task notes. At this point I was feeling very nervous sitting in the café as I knew I would be having an interview with two people.

Once the interview began I managed to contain my nerves. All in all, I was interviewed for an hour. I got asked a lot of the standard questions (why do you want to work here?) and other behavioural questions that were specifically linked to the job role. For example, I was asked ‘You’ve stated in your CV that you pay attention to detail, can you give me an example of when you’ve shown this?’ These types of questions became very easy for me to answer as I had already got 4/5 scenarios all figured out beforehand. The only killer-ish question that I got asked was ‘is there anything else you want to tell us?’ Of course, those savvy will know that this is a request not a question. Make sure you’re prepared if you get asked this question. I just referred back to a point they had picked up before about self development – I spoke about my relevant experience over the past few years and went into more detail than what was stated on my CV.

I left the interview feeling that I had answered the questions well, but of course I wasn’t sure whether I had secured the job or not. They informed me they had a few other interviews and so, I wasn’t too sure of my chances. I came to the conclusion that whether I secured the job would really depend on the calibre of the other candidates.     

By the end of the day I was taking rest and trying not to get my hopes up.

Day 8: As I was set to go on holiday the following week, I knew that if I had got the job I would probably be informed on day 8 (the day after my second interview), as it was the end of the week and my interviewers knew I’d be going away the following week. I had assumed that if I hadn’t got it, I’d probably get an email the following week with a rejection.

On day 8, I received an email that morning from the HR person asking me to call them at my earliest opportunity – so I called straight away. I was asked how I found the interview and of course I said it was good and my interviewers were lovely. I was then told the interviewers thought the same about me. That was when I found out I had got the job. My mum practically screamed the house down and my dad jumped for joy. It was probably my most happiest experience to date. Of course, mum contacted all the family and I told all my friends, Facebook, Twitter and so forth.  I was glad that all I had been working towards for the past three years had paid off.

So, I guess what I’d like to say is that there is light at the end of the tunnel for graduates, like me. One’s who don’t have contacts in the industry but willing to fight for their dreams. Some may say I was lucky, I say I made my own luck – what about you?

Use the comments box below and state your success story. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Intern Opportunities: 03 July 2012

  • Not Just Another Label is offering an Editorial Features placement. Click here to apply
  • CitySocialising is looking for an online marketing intern. There is a possibility that this position will change to a permanent full-time one for the right candidate. Click here to apply
  • Lady Geek is seeking two summer social media interns – perfect for students. Click here to apply
  • London-Boutiques is after a social media intern for 6 months. Click here to apply
  • Push It Magazine is offering a social media internship. Click here to apply
  • Lighting Magazine is looking for an online editorial and research intern. Click here to apply

Are you looking for a flexible internship?

Do you want a part-time paid internship?
  • Brides Editorial is looking for a features and assistant for a 6-month internship. Click here to apply

Do you want to write and receive payment?
  • WeekendNotes is a website that reviews fun and interesting things to do around London. Pay is based on how many readers you can attract with your articles. All work can be done from home. Click here to apply

Are you looking for your first job?
  • Reveal Magazine is seeking a junior writer. A journalism qualification is preferable. Click here to apply
Have you heard about...
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