Getting started with a media career – insider tips

Earlier this year, Warrington campus hosted a series of events as part of Inside the Creative Industries. Here are some tips from employers for boosting your chances of getting into your first post:

– Try out different environments to see what suits you.

– Plan for your placements and make the most of them – enthusiasm goes a long way

– Don’t take anything for granted e.g. network and keep up with industry developments

– If you’re interested in advertising, many companies run graduate schemes e.g. MEC, McCann Erickson

– Employers increasingly look for existing online presence e.g. your contribution to industry LinkedIn groups, do you have a blog which you update? Use of twitter or Google+?

– Use your time at university to build networking skills. For example, having a role in the Student Union could help you gain experience of talking to staff at all levels within the university, other students and external organisations and convincing them to support your ideas.

Areas of skills shortages:

– Manchester Digital report highlights areas of shortages within Manchester: http://www.manchesterdigital.com/sites/default/files/Skills%20Survey%20Findings%202013.pdf

– Knowledge of pay per click (PPC) and coding skills are in demand within digital media and advertising

– Still lots of demand for Digital PR/social media skills

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Five simple ways to kick-start your career as a Performing Arts student or graduate:

Following on from our post last week, here are some further tips to help you get your career on track.

Whatever role you are considering, there are some things you can do to broaden your options, enhance your capabilities and develop your confidence. Try to:

1. Develop your IT skills so that you can use Google analytics, WordPress, Photoshop and web editing software. Become familiar with the various social media tools as well.

2. Learn the business of Business such as managing a budget, marketing and advertising, project-managing and managing people. A way to develop your business skills might be to run a youth theatre group or a franchise. Some youth theatre groups with opportunities include: Pauline Quirke Academy, Stagecoach, Theatre Train and Razmataz.

3. Devote some time to volunteering behind the scenes, perhaps in the box office, widening your experience and knowledge. Don’t be afraid of doing any job as it may gain you extra contacts for your network or give you a new perspective on the industry.

4. Be prepared to work in an office environment and develop office administration skills, as acting type roles will require some management support work to be done too.

5. Get involved in postgraduate research projects if you can.

Rebecca, Career Consultant

Developing your career as a Performing Arts student or graduate -six questions to ask yourself.

I recently attended a training event focusing on careers within performing arts. The workshops were really thought-provoking and I thought it might be useful to share some of the insights I gained:

If you’re a Performing Arts student or graduate thinking about your next move, here are six questions to ask yourself:

1. What transferable skills do you have right now?

You may have demonstrated your work ethic by working under pressure, overcoming problems positively and making quick decisions to put on a performance or an event. Your flexibility, adaptability and ability to cope with uncertainty together with your social sensitivity enable you to engage with a wide variety of audiences, communities, learners, clients, organisations and multi-disciplinary professionals.

2. Which settings do you thrive in best?

Do you prefer to work with young people in the community, in an educational setting or in a theatre? Have you explored working with adults with learning disabilities? How about using your skills with offenders? Or in organisations to help people work more effectively together? What about considering working in a health setting? Do you prefer an audience-facing role or a management support role?

3. Who is in your network?

Do you follow theatre companies and artists on Twitter? Do you tweet Directors? How are you marketing yourself to your various networks? Have you a professional profile on Facebook or on LinkedIn?

4. Are you plugged into funding channels or connected with charities, the Arts Council or private donators? Do you know how to write a funding bid?

5. Are you a Creative Performer (you are what you do?) or a Creative Interpreter (a seller of your creative products?) or both? Are you a Creative Entrepreneur?

You will be working autonomously and collaboratively in a 24/7 environment. Have foresight as to what is coming next and start working out what you want to do now. Be prepared to take unusual steps to get where you want to go, build your external networks and become a “creative migrant”, moving around to gain experience. You may feel a little anxious as you step into the unknown, but the stamina and resilience you’ve developed on your course will keep you positive and confident.

6. Have you considered the less obvious roles?

The arts development aspect of the industry is currently expanding. Innovative funding solutions and tight resource management will ensure this sector continues. So, consider some less obvious job roles to start off your creative journey: Creative Education, Audience development, Marketing and communication, Community engagement, Programmer, Producer, Arts Co-ordinator, Youth Arts Assistant. Have a look at Ideas Tap network to see what opportunities might be out there for you.

Rebecca, Career Consultant

Getting your first post as a media graduate – tips from Inside the Creative Industries

During the past two weeks, Warrington campus has been playing host to a series of events as part of “Inside the Creative Industries”. We’ve had a range of speakers, here are some of the tips they shared with students:

– Try out different environments to see what suits you e.g. one speaker said he found he wasn’t keen on the TV studio environment – he preferred digital advertising

– Plan for your placements and make the most of them – enthusiasm goes a long way

– Don’t take anything for granted e.g. network and keep up with industry developments

– If you’re interested in advertising, many companies run graduate schemes e.g. MEC, McCann Erickson

– Employers increasingly look for existing online presence e.g. your contribution to industry LinkedIn groups, do you have a blog which you update? Use of Twitter or Google+?

– Experience with the SU can be extremely helpful: talking to staff at all levels from Vice Chancellor to lecturers and other staff and convincing them to support your ideas is great experience

– To get into radio you need to be more than a presenter as it is so competitive

– Richard Maddock began his career in commercial radio (Radio City in Liverpool), started by being willing to do “anything” (including cleaning the basement) and worked his way up to eventually running the station.

– As 20% of BBC radio programmes are commissioned to independent production companies, regulated by the Radio Independents Group, Richard suggested looking at their website for further information http://www.radioindies.org/ It is also acceptable to contact the BBC with programme ideas – target the Commissioning Editor for the station.

– Best piece of advice on being a successful radio station is to know your audience – run local campaigns, read local papers and get the bus to work to share the same experiences as listeners.

Areas of skills shortages within the industry:

– The Manchester digital report highlights areas of shortages within Manchester: http://www.manchesterdigital.com/sites/default/files/Skills%20Survey%20Findings%202013.pdf (useful to think about skills you could work on or develop)

– Generally knowledge of pay per click (PPC) advertising and coding (programming) skills are in high demand within the industry

– Also high levels of need for Digital PR/social media skills

Local newspaper journalism – what we found surprising:

Here are some of the things we found surprising when we attended an event and listened to someone who worked as a journalist for local newspapers:

– There are still some trainee vacancies, despite real contractions in the numbers of staff who work within the sector

– How short journalist’s timescales really are: one journalist who said they have 15 minutes to get their article submitted after an event: they type most of the content on their smartphone during the event then just make a few changes and submit it straight after

– The number of hours many journalists actually work: according to the speaker 75 hour weeks aren’t uncommon – journalists must really love their job!

– The importance of shorthand: newspaper editors like people who have a shorthand speed of 100 words per minute

– The usefulness of a post graduate journalism course: as long as it’s one valued by the newspaper industry – (not all courses are viewed as equal – see: http://bit.ly/12LdRrr)

– It’s fairly straightforward to move around as a journalist once you’re in: many start in newspapers then move into magazines or TV

Top tips for aspiring journalists (from speakers at the event):

– Use every opportunity to showcase your writing and reporting skills e.g. get involved in any University publications, volunteer and try to gain as much experience as possible

– Maintaining a blog will prove your dedication to writing, enhance your CV and impress potential employers and can be really useful if you apply for postgraduate journalism courses

– Journalists need a wide range of skills: honing your skills in photography, social media and the creation and editing of online content (including video and audio content as well as articles) will help you impress employers

– Be prepared to be flexible when approaching newspaper publishers or taking part in work experience; most titles expect staff to cover a wide range of subjects rather than just their favourite one

– Create an ideas scrapbook with interesting clippings from a range of newspapers as well as creating your own portfolio: having your own ideas will help you get off to a good start when talking to editors or taking part in work experience