Behind the Scenes of Social Media May 13, 2013Posted by TCG Info in : Industry Focus, Marketing, career profiles , add a comment
You’re part of the Internet generation; you’ve grown up with Facebook and communicating online is second nature. But aside from using social media to chat with friends and share your photos, it’s a vital tool for businesses to both promote their services and build relationships with customers. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, creative career social media could be the perfect industry for you. Sedge Beswick, Social Media Executive at ASOS, shares her story and some tips on how to bag a job in social media.
Firstly, how would you define social media?
Social media for me is an online dialogue between two parties – it’s based on their needs and ours. You could say its social democracy.
What made you get into social media?
How I got involved in social is quite a funny story. I entered a competition on a whim where you had to get the most fans on a Facebook group for a brand, to win £25K to throw the best party ever. I was thrown in as the entrant to make the competition look ‘normal’, up against DJ’s, event organizers – the works! I came second, (everyone at the time hated me as it was all I talked about and completely spammed everyone I know!) rallying together 6K fans within 5 days.
The agency that worked on the competition offered me a job there and then. I said no as I was still at uni, but the brand (Three UK) offered me a job as soon as I graduated.
There are so many different social media channels, the obvious being Facebook and Twitter, but what do ASOS use?
ASOS are on A LOT of social channels, I’m kept nice and busy! We have Facebook which has 2.3 million followers; G+ with 1.5 million followers then we have 67 Twitter accounts, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Spotify, YouTube… The list’s really quite endless but it’s what I love, we like to test things out to get a real feel of our customers wants and needs – once we work out what they’re engaging with, we can then put a strategy in place.
For someone thinking about a career in the industry, what do you love the most about your job?
The thing I love the most about working in social media is that it’s instantly rewarding. I know within a matter of seconds whether something has gone down well and whether it’s been a success. I can take that insight and immediately implement it into other pieces of activity – I hate to say it but I’ve become a numbers girl, I love looking at the reach, the revenue, the engagement. It’s fascinating!
You got into social media in an unusual way, but what tips could you give to others looking for a job in the industry?
Set up a Social channel, whether it’s a blog, a Tumblr account or a Flickr channel that you really focus your time on – this is the first place to look when I review CV’s.
There’s nothing worse than someone promoting Twitter accounts on their CV when they haven’t tweeted in months (sometimes even years!).
Social also takes a lot of TLC and dedication – it never sleeps so you need to know that people can really commit to updating something. I think LinkedIn is really important too, you have to sell yourself. Go get yourself some recommendations.
So if you’d like a career in the industry, set up a social media account and make sure to update it regularly. If you’re not comfortable sharing your personal opinions online, set up an account focussed on your interests, such as fashion or sports and publish updates on the latest hot topics. The main points are to engage with others and show your dedication, and that you’re willing to put the time and effort into it. Additionally, it’s important to keep up to date with the latest developments in this ever-changing industry by reading social media news and blogs, such as mashable.com
If you can, getting some professional industry experience with a brand or agency will put you ahead of the competition. Seek out internships or part-time work in your area. This will enable you to get hands on experience, giving you an insight into what it’s really like to work in social media – not only for the experience but also to work out if it’s the right career for you.
This is an interview with Sedge Beswick, Social Media Executive at ASOS, one of the UK’s largest online fashion retailers.
Making manufacturing purr… October 22, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Industry Focus, Science & Engineering, civil service , add a comment
A few years ago I finally decided that I was a little bit more materialistic than I had wanted to admit. I recognised that I quite like “nice” things even if I can’t afford them. But I am also a thoughtful shopper. I like to know where products are made, their quality and the ethics behind them. And my pride and joy is my Jaguar X-type. Yes, it’s a Ford Mondeo dressed as a cat, but hey, what a cat….
I am a huge fan of Jaguar Landrover. Always have been. JLR has been through some pretty tough times and it has taken Indian businessman Ratan Tata and the Tata Group to turn it around. The image of the British motor industry has been compromised over the last few decades and is now becoming a strong international brand. Whilst there are only four UK owned car manufacturers, there are many car plants in the UK owned by overseas companies.
It is easy to think of Britain as a manufacturing has-been. We flourished in the industrial period, led the world, and are now in a state of rapid decline and the growing economies of India and China pick up. Indeed it wasn’t until I heard Nigel Whitehead from BAE Systems talk about the importance of British manufacturing that my view was challenged. You can watch this on the BBC’s My Bottom Line website.
In short, Britain is the 9th largest manufacturer in the world. Manufacturing employs 2.5m people and is half of the UK’s emports. It is also 72% of the UK’s R&D, generating 10% GVA. You can find a break down by region, useful graphs about the exports and comparisons with other countries on this flyer from the EEF, “the manufacturers’ organisation”. The large manufacturing sectors in the UK are food and drink, chemicals, metals, transport and machinery.
It is of course a complex picture. The rise in demand for Jaguar Landrover vehicles has seen its Halewood plant move to 24 hour shifts, there are also reports of companies moving manufacturing back to the UK for fear of natural disasters or political instability overseas. Indeed a recent BBC documentary looked at how a northern businessman was re-evaluating his manufacturing in China and opening a factory in the UK. The rising costs of production in China and India have made what was an unthinkable move a little bit more realistic.
“There is something about made in England, it’s not just Chinese visitors (who love British-made products), it’s throughout continental Europe, America. It’s just something we’re gifted by, having Made in England,”
Harold Tillman, British Fashion Council
With London Fashion Week a highlight for global fashion businesses, the UK still seems to have an image for quality. According to Reuters, Britain’s fashion manufacturing is experiencing a revival as “luxury brands clamour to have their products made in a country known for its quality craftsmanship, heritage and history.”
Of course there can be a sense of patriotism which may or may not help the cause of British manufacturing. Some groups may try to use it as a political tool lamenting the loss of mass large scale manufacturing. Others may see it as being important to promote and sustain local jobs over such nationalism.
When I went to school in the Republic of Ireland, the Government there was promoting “Guaranteed Irish” to encourage people to buy Irish produce. Because this is such a big issue over there, many international retailers, such as Tesco and Lidl, may stock more Irish sourced products than they would UK sourced over here. But the UK situation is more complex than Ireland. The UK’s manufacturing industry has long had an international dimension. Would British manufacturing be better off if consumers were encouraged only to buy British-owned brands? The MINI workers in Cowley would probably say no, as would the Aston Martin employees in Warwickshire. If you wanted to work in policy, then such discussions and the impact on the economy vs national identify may be of interest!
From a career perspective, the importance of UK manufacturing is unquestionable. Large scale manufacturers such as BAE systems and Rolls Royce can provide very attractive careers. But manufacturing also relies on an efficient supply chain, the right Government policy and sophisticated marketing. And there are even those who make money through promoting the home comfort of UK goods.
For more information about British manufacturing, the House of Commons produces regular updates. We also have a lot of specially selected resources on Careers Tagged. Now to buy a (British made, of course) piggy bank to save up for my new F-Type…..
‘Doing More with Less’ – how to appeal to employers July 20, 2012Posted by Kirsti Burton in : The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at QM Jobs Blog
A report in The Times* newspaper this week describes how “Doing more with less has become today’s business mantra.”
What might this mean for undergraduates and graduates seeking work?
Here are three ways to help employers understand how you can enable them to do more with less…
1. Fresh thinking – demonstrate how you can bring creative approaches and new ways of doing things. As one consultant quoted in The Times commented ‘You have to out-think, rather than outspend the competition’. Draw on examples of things you have done while at university. Your use of Facebook to increase membership numbers of the Scuba Club, could be a model for a business using social media to engage with a wider customer base.
2. Focus – show that you know what really matters. Doing more with less requires working to clear goals and concentrating on areas where you can make a difference. Do your research on any potential employer. Have a view on what really matters for the success of their business. Prepare evidence of times when you have achieved goals as a student using limited resources. For example, did you complete several pieces of coursework at the same time as holding down a part-time job?
3. Affiliation – describe how you work with others to deliver results. The Times feature also describes how businesses are working together in collaborative partnerships to do more with less. It cites the work of Divine (the Fairtrade chocolate) with O2. Share relevant examples from course projects and work experience to show employers how you can work in partnership with others to make great things happen.
*The Times feature is based on a report by Raconteur. This can be accessed here.
Advertising internship markets me better February 16, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Marketing, Advertising & PR, career profiles, employability and skills, networking , add a comment
Royal Holloway Geography student Jack Smale blogs about his internship in education advertising.
My summer internship with a digital advertising company gave me a real insight into the world of advertising specialising in the education sector, and I gained a clear understanding of the competitive and target-driven nature of the sales side of the business. I learned a great deal about the importance of building business relationships, and was given the opportunity to go out and meet a number of clients. Perhaps most importantly though, I experienced what working a nine-to-five job was actually like, and how I would have to adjust my lifestyle after graduation to fit in with the corporate world.
During the three months I spent in the company’s Southwark offices, I worked on a number of projects, which included carrying out preliminary research into accountancy recruitment for a new ACCA-branded website (now launched at accacareers.com); researching, writing and designing articles for the student magazines All-Clear (send to A-level students on results day) and Navigator; producing online adverts on behalf of clients such as Strathallan Independent School; and helping with content development for the StuGlo.com website. Each day provided me with a new challenge, and I think I suitably impressed my line manager as I was invited back to work there the following Christmas.
I was introduced to a number of senior figures within the company, including group heads, directors and the CEO, all of whom were very approachable and encouraged me to ask them questions to help aid my personal development. Even though I’d only just completed my first year at University and was relatively inexperienced, the staff were used to accommodating interns and made me feel as though I had an important role to play within the business.
Although I don’t necessarily see myself going into a career in advertising, I gained a number of transferrable skills from the experience, which have since helped me to secure a part-time job alongside my studies. In addition, I made some good friends, some great contacts, and even managed to get a recommendation for my LinkedIn profile!”
Our careers: Charity Sector November 30, 2011Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Our Careers, career profiles , add a comment
This continues our series of posts about the careers of our colleagues before joining The Careers Group. Amanda Duggan is the Employer & Volunteering Liaison Officer at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
The charity sector always felt ‘right’ for me – probably due to a combination of wanting to feel that I could ‘make a difference’ (as clichéd as that sounds!) and the less noble reason that there seemed to be such a range of possible career paths (community fundraising, campaigning, brand, volunteer management, high value fundraising, legacies, direct marketing, strategy, supporter care, celebrity liaison, event management, the list goes on……) that I thought I would find plenty to keep me interested!
I think some people enter the charity sector with a clear idea of the path they want to take (and often a fair amount of previous experience). As a recent graduate with the usual, but not particularly noteworthy, smattering of extra curricular activities (plus a quick de
-tour into the world of archive management – which was interesting, but not for me!), and no clear idea of the particular path I wanted to take, I decided that a graduate training scheme was the best prospect. The downside to this was the lack of graduate training schemes in the sector – although after a bit of research I found that a few did exist. I applied for the Fundraising, Marketing and Communications graduate scheme at Cancer Research UK – a fantastic opportunity to gain experience of working in a number of departments across one of the UK’s largest charities.
I wasn’t disappointed! After a pretty intense application process (involving the usual stages of online application forms, numeracy tests, assessment days and interviews) I started at Cancer Research UK in September 2007. I rotated through placements in Legacies, Patient Information, Planning & Research and Supporter Relationship Management – giving me a useful insight into some of the key functions of a charity that fundraises millions of pounds each year. I feel that one of the distinctive things about working for a charity is really feeling a part of the cause – I didn’t think twice about volunteering the extra hours to work at fundraising events (from glamorous balls and Christmas concerts to community races in the rain).
Most graduate trainees stay on after the training scheme and move into a permanent role, but I left to join Volunteering England as the Higher Education Senior Officer – a decision based on my interest in volunteering, student development and education. Moving from a charity which employs thousands of staff to a smaller charity with about sixty employees was quite a culture shock, but an interest and passion for the cause was the key motivator for me. Working in a (comparatively) smaller charity did bring home the issue of money more acutely. The number of good causes which exist means that competition for funding is intense. Good fundraisers are always needed, with excellent career opportunities for them in the charity sector.
This emphasises the point that charities themselves vary hugely – and if you are interested in working for the charity sector I would say it is worth thinking about what type of charity you want to work for – what cause? What size? International, national or local? A charity which is supported by a membership base or one that relies on donations from the public? There’s lots to think about – but also a huge number of charities to choose from – about 170,000 in England and Wales according to Charity Facts (www.charityfacts.org).
The experience I gained at Cancer Research UK and Volunteering England has equipped me with some of the necessary key skills and led (step by step) to my current role in employer liaison and volunteering at SOAS. I love working in an educational environment, facilitating the development of students’ own career aims and goals; without my background in communications, partnership working and volunteering I doubt very much that I would be doing this now. Working in the charity sector has also had an impact on me in the long term from a non-work perspective; I now volunteer for the Prince’s Trust, as well as serving as a school governor for a local primary school. I think being exposed to the charity culture and environment instils a sense that you should always try and think outside the immediate confines of what you are doing – and see what you can do to help someone – or something – else.
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How to stand out – alternative thinking July 30, 2010Posted by TCG Info in : Uncategorized , add a comment
**** Be aware this content is over two years old ****
I recently went to an employer presentation where once again the same ‘top tips’ for standing out were given – good spelling on forms, no textspeak in emails, research about the job and company, punctuality, professional attitude, work experience, networking… No doubt there must still be plenty of people making the same mistakes year-in, year-out, but let’s assume you know all that. So what else might you try? Here are some more novel approaches:
A job with a view
Keep an eye out for jobs at the university careers service next year – some of our student helpers have found working at the careers service desk to be the perfect way to meet a range of employers, network and absorb careers advice while getting paid for it!
Alternatively, if you are a member of a society with a career-related interest, consider arranging your own careers talk. If you can set-up an effective event for an organisation, you will impress your contact and get your name known (you can always ask at your careers service for tips and help).
Like dating, you might find people become more interested when you are taken…
While studying German at Edinburgh University, Helen Pidd worked for her student newspaper, ran a festival freesheet called Fest, and pitched “absurd and brazen ideas” to The Guardian’s pull-out features section, G2. She wanted to be a journalist because she “could not think of anything that could be more interesting”, but, when The Guardian eventually offered her a job, she did not accept immediately.“I told the editor I wanted to start my own magazine empire,” she remembers. “I didn’t know at the time that I was playing hard to get, but apparently that made him want to hire me even more.
Commercially aware, communicator, driven, self-starter – how better to show this than by starting your own business? You don’t have to turn a profit in year 1 to succeed. You might simply produce a well put-together product, or a marketing campaign with impact – prove what you can do and make them want you.
Target your marketing
This copywriter proved his understanding of both digital marketing and audience pscyhology by setting up a Google ad that only came up for top creative directors… when they googled their own names. Four out of the five got in touch requesting an interview. The cost? $6.
In this podcast, Howard Roberts, a globe-trotting Saatchi & Saatchi director describes how one enthusiastic networker got his attention. She proposed a coffee at Terminal 5 – a novel suggestion that won her a meeting. She got extra points when she dmet him with his favourite coffee in hand – she had checked this in advance with his PA. It was the personal touches that made her approach such a success.
Similarly, one student found out his target’s favourite pizza toppings, and sent him a takeaway… with his CV taped to the lid! He earned an interview and a job offer. (Cole & Whistance 2003 Creative CV Guide, p.9)
What do these stories have in common? I can see energy, creativity, business insight, and above all personal connections. More fun than sitting at home sending out hundreds of emails too.
Heard of any more alternative approaches to the job-hunt?
Creative CVs for creative jobs – inspiring examples June 17, 2010Posted by Helen Curry in : CVs , 7comments
**** Be aware this content is over two years old ****
If you are applying for jobs and internships in very creative areas, like graphic design, fashion, illustration or film, why should your CV be cookie cutter dull? While you should still include all the standard elements – personal details, qualifications, skills, experience – you can also make an impression and show off your passion and originality by getting creative with the design.
First of all, think about:
- Layout and spacing
- Images and placement
- What skills can you show off here?
- Where will it fold?
- What is it printed on?
- What will happen if HR tries to copy it or print it (black and white) to show to colleagues?
- Will it email? – Consider file size, file format… can it be opened easily on a standard PC running Microsoft Office?
- If it must be posted, how much will each package cost?
- Is it quick and easy to read? Websites and blogs can be great, but a standard CV is quickest to look at first… Should you include a standard text-only version too for HR?
Remember – getting a second opinion on your CV is all the more important – is the design distracting? Does your design ‘fit’ with the company you are applying to? Following it up with an email or call to get feedback might be a good move too.
And now, the gorgeous examples:
Post your design online, and it might even go viral like these
What do you think? Are these bold approaches risky?