Our Careers: Bitesized in the Beeb December 15, 2011Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Our Careers, Publishing , trackback
The next post following the previous occupations of The Careers Group employees is from our Head of Content and Information, Lakshmi Hughes.
How do you get a job with the BBC within nine months of leaving university with a 2:2 in history?
Answer: You don’t… unless you have some luck, some passion and you’re prepared to put in some self-effort.
So luck first:
I had a family contact working in a CD-Rom Children’s publishing company. She needed some casual work so after university I was able to get some useful work experience and a small income. Here I learnt to do basic research, word processing skills and adjust to working a five-day week in an office.
The role was temporary so the clock was ticking to find a job. I had a vague idea about going into media but I wasn’t too sure how. I thought the only way people got jobs was through networking and word-of-mouth. I didn’t really understand how this worked so was very relieved when a friend had applied for (and got) a job advertised in The Guardian as a press officer at the National Theatre.
Shortly afterwards a role came up at the BBC looking for an online editorial assistant. The description looked interesting and matched some of my skills. I persuaded myself to apply and told myself that it was better to try and fail than not to try at all!
Following my interest:
The BBC job wanted a person with an interest in education and the internet.
I’d always loved learning and the children’s publishing house had learning outcomes for its products. I also had an addiction to BBC television. The internet was still new in the mid-nineties so my interest was based solely on a book called “The Virtual Community”. It described a digital network where people shared ideas and problems/solutions with others all over the world. It sounded amazing and something I wanted to work in.
I also realised electronic media was a less competitive area than mainstream television and that I stood a better chance of getting a “foot in the door”.
It took a lot of time to fill out the application form. I concentrated most effort on the part about what made me suitable for the role and the previous employment sections. I weaved their words and requirements into these sections and highlighted the skills I had that met these.
When I got the news I had an interview I read through my application and found out more about the skills I didn’t have, such as HTML. I remember spending an afternoon in front of a computer trying to get to grips with it. I also splashed out on a suit for the interview.
Pre-interview test: my nerves were the real challenge, after much crossing out I finished the task!
At the interview three people quizzed me. After putting me at ease I was able to answer the questions spontaneously.
I got the job and was given an amazing opportunity to work with intelligent, skilful people for the next 15 years. I never stopped learning and worked on some extraordinary projects including setting up a Schools Online service GCSE Bitesize, BBC Four online and even the BBC Homepage.