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.
Selection Process, employability and skills , add a comment
In August I blogged about “Nepotism and Beyond” where I looked at the importance of networking as a tool in your job search. The post referred to an interview with Will Butler-Adams, the MD of Brompton Bikes (the folding ones used by commuters) on the BBC’s The Bottom Line. In the interview, Will Butler-Adams had talked about his use of contacts in sourcing staff. I paraphrased his comments below:
Recruiting is a lottery. You take someone on, you spend six months training them and at the end of six months you find you have made a ghastly mistake. If you spend a lot of time on the recruitment process, psychometric tests, games etc, like the civil service and big investment banks do, you can reduce the odds of making a mistake. But even then you often make a mistake. If you go for contacts you improve the odds.
I tweeted the blog post to Will Butler-Adams and he responded:
This is a crucial point. Networking is much more sophisticated than hoping a former employer or person in authority will be willing and able to recommend you for a position. In reality it is the people we take for granted who can help us more. Our family contacts, friends of friends and beyond can be the key to your career. But accessing them is hard.
I am running a session for MBA students at Royal Holloway in spring where they can network with each other. This is an odd idea. They spend every day together and many evenings, why would they need to network? In my confidential one-to-one discussions with them, it is clear that several of them have experience of working in roles desired by their classmates. And vice versa. Creating an opportunity for them to explore this in a structured way should help them consider the power of their own network.
I ended the previous post with “Employers like Will Butler-Adams value personal recommendation, its up to you to find a way of being the person recommended” and that is true. It is effectively “planned happenstance” . It is about planning and recognising opportunities so that you can be in the right place at the right time. They key word is “plan”. If you are the type of student who plans revision timetables, this is just one step further. You don’t even need to know exactly what you want to do in life, just have some ideas and make a plan.
So what might a plan look like? It will certainly involve face-to-face networking and may also feature some people you had never considered.
- Get some friends together and share the people you know. They may not help you but could help your friends. It may feel weird at first but could produce great results.
- Find a related professional organization and make a note of forthcoming events and seminars. They may also have student membership deals.
- Use LinkedIn to find alumni or other contacts working in the sector.
- Attend your campus careers events to meet professionals
- Follow key professionals on twitter (and also check out who else follows them)
- Find volunteering opportunities or work experience.
The key message is that you need to get out there and do things. Your network needs to be built as does your reputation. These opportunities to meet face-to-face can be immensely valuable. In future blog posts I shall look at the events themselves and how to make the most of them. As we head towards Christmas, think about all the people you will meet back home and start your planning.
Get a unique insight into City Careers May 31, 2012Posted by Rosalind Kemp in : Finance, The Careers Group, city jobs, employability and skills, further study and training, networking , add a comment
The City Course takes place 17 to 20 September 2012 and offers a fantastic opportunity for students and graduates from The University of London to find out about careers in the city.
The week involves spending time in the offices of major city employers getting a sense and feel of the place and networking with employees. There’ll also be excellent practise at group exercises.
Employers taking part include:
- Standard Chartered
- Slaughter & May
- Bank of England
- Barclays Capital
This is a massive opportunity to develop your knowledge of what careers there are in the City and how City sectors work together.
Our Careers: A life in the Media November 17, 2011Posted by TCG Info in : Our Careers , add a comment
This forms part of the Our Careers series of posts where staff from The Careers Group, University of London share their previous careers experience. Here Jenna Robinson, an Information Officer in the careers service at Kings College, London talks about her work in radio and television.
From the age of 16 I had an interest in working in the media and did so by starting in hospital radio as part of the Millennium Volunteer programme. I took on various roles in hospital radio and then local radio eventually moving on to work voluntarily at Capital FM. To gain the work experience I wrote letters and sent my CV expressing my passion for the industry, explaining what radio stations and shows I was interested in and why.
I also got a little creative and sent a tea bag with my letters and wrote on it “I can do wonders with one of these!” Cheesy I know, but I knew that in this industry I would need to make a lot of tea for a lot of people.
After working as a film reviewer, a reporter and being trained as a broadcast presenter I began looking for employment with the bigger radio players, sending them my film reviews and broadcast demos. However I was unsuccessful and only managed to land more voluntary roles. Within these roles I discovered the limitations that are put on presenters regarding what music they play, what they have to promote and the format of the show. I had been naive to think that all radio presenters had as much freedom as those at hospital stations.
After not having any luck regarding opportunities on air I decided to try another medium and wrote to television companies. I was offered a four week unpaid placement with a television production company in central London. On the placement I was a runner, which meant I ran errands and assisted on shows and basically whatever else was asked of me. I knew it was important to show willingness and enthusiasm and although hard work I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I made it clear to the company that because I did not live in London I would be unable to afford to work for the four weeks but could work for two. After two weeks they said they didn’t want to let me go and asked me to apply for the position of receptionist who was leaving, I applied and was successful and I found it an incredibly interesting role and learnt a lot about the industry. I was the first point of call in the office so I handled all the calls and face to face queries, I was also responsible for overseeing those on work experience and liaising with the runners. I was then asked to cover the role of PA to the two managing directors, which was a very challenging but equally rewarding; I was asked to stay on as the PA but my interest to join an editorial team on a programme was still incredibly rife. (more…)
Networking – Baby steps November 3, 2011Posted by Andrew Falconer in : employability and skills, networking , add a comment
The key point about networking is to have a measured and realistic understanding of what networking can deliver – it won’t land you a job immediately.
It is worth remembering that making the most of people you meet is often a mutually beneficial process. Many organisations actively recruit through contacts made during the networking process, thereby eliminating the need for job adverts and expensive recruitment agencies. International students who are planning to return to your home country then building up contacts on LinkedIn may help – particularly if a contact is willing to participate in an employee referral scheme on your behalf. You may also want to focus on company employees based in the UK who come from your own country because you immediately have something in common with them.
Concentrate on developing a relationship with each new contact – rather than treating them simply as a potential job lead. Show genuine interest in what they have to say; let them know you would value their advice. People enjoy talking about what they do and the fact that you are interested will reinforce to them the value of their work. It is not usually appropriate to approach the subject of a job vacancy at an initial meeting. Stay in touch with your new contacts, for example by thanking them for their help and updating them on your progress.
Present yourself professionally. Introduce yourself with a smile and firm handshake. Have a CV to hand – it might be appropriate to pass it to your contact. If your contact is surrounded by others, ask if you can join them. If appropriate, ask tactfully for a short meeting. Be aware of your body language; appear confident and attentive. Do not monopolise your contact’s time and avoid criticising your colleagues/institution.
The art of good conversation involves skilled questioning. Ask open questions that allow the conversation to grow, not just those that require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. The Careers Group handout (download free here) gives some good examples of open questions along with other tips and hints for making the most of these conversations.
Like with anything else, networking is something you can learn and the more you do it the easier it may become. It doesn’t (and shouldn’t ever) need to be aggressive, but you do need to be determined and proactive – the more effort you put in the more likely it will work for you.
Above all, the advice has to be: just go and do it. Many of us tell ourselves that we aren’t natural networkers and its outside our comfort zone (such a terrible phrase). Often the people you think are great natural networkers have had to learn by doing too. Set yourself some modest goals and build your confidence. You’ll find that people are interested and, when approached the right way, will happily help or advise.
Networking – Building connections October 31, 2011Posted by Andrew Falconer in : employability and skills, networking , add a comment
This is the second is a short series of posts about networking. Networking remains a significant tool for finding jobs and developing careers. It is not untypical to find that nearly 25% of graduates in the UK secure their first job through people they know. International students may feel disadvantaged that they don’t have access to such an extensive or reliable network of contacts but you may be surprise by those you do know.
The good news is that it is likely that you are already on your way towards establishing your ‘network’. Your network is simply all the contacts you have with whom you can share ideas, advice and support. This includes, for example, your family, friends, university lecturers, work colleagues, contacts from voluntary work or societies, and so on. To network effectively you should make the best use of your existing contacts by thinking about how they can help you move towards your desired career goal, as well as thinking about who else it might be useful to be in contact with – ie how to expand your network.
A good place to start is to identify potential contacts that you share something in common with. For example, many universities operate an alumni system to enable students to make contact with previous graduates who may already be developing careers in sectors of interest to you.
Another useful strategy is to be introduced to new people through your existing contacts. Ask those you have contact with if there is someone they know who may be able to help further with your enquiries – this is the easiest way to grow your network and you can use your new mutual acquaintance as a way in.
One of the easiest ways to meet lots of contacts in a short period of time is to attend careers events, conferences and fairs. These can be a good way of engaging with contacts who may be able to answer some well-prepared and intelligent questions about their field of work. In order to make the most of these events, get a list of attendees beforehand. Knowing who you want to meet means you can find out more about their organisation, background and interests. Good networkers will always try and find common ground with people they are interested in meeting. Go to drinks receptions and mingle in coffee breaks; contacts are often far more amenable when they are relaxing in an informal environment. Ensure you make a note of new contacts and follow them up.
People often don’t think of newer approaches to networking. Bear in mind our previous post about protecting your digital identity but do consider:
LinkedIn.com is a popular choice of site for professional networking. You should fill out your profile with your work history, skills and interests as you would on your CV. You can include a link to your profile in your email signature or on letters so that new contacts can find out more about you if they wish. Build your network by inviting friends, work colleagues and university alumni. Through them you can be introduced to other professionals working in areas similar to your own.
Sites like Facebook and MySpace are more informal environments, useful for maintaining contacts with university friends and personal contacts as they too become professionals. Some graduate recruiters will have pages on there for you to ask questions about their graduate schemes. While valuable on a social level, pay careful attention to privacy settings and regularly review the content on your pages to ensure it matches your professional image.
Discussion Boards and forums can be a great way to learn about current issues. The websites of professional bodies often have forums relating to their particular companies, and you can find active discussion groups within LinkedIn.
Twitter is also growing in popularity, with strong networks in many career areas where you can follow professionals in their day-to-day working life and get the latest sector news. (Charity, Marketing, Law, PR, Advertising and Information Services have good representation on Twitter – but this is subjective and liable to change)
Networking is not a dirty word! October 27, 2011Posted by Andrew Falconer in : employability and skills, networking , add a comment
Networking is a term used a lot. For those of us who grew up with 1980s US movies it might conjure up images of shoulder pads and cocktails. The reality is very different and as we engage with people in difference capacities through life, we network. Networking does not have to be an organised event, but it does imply a sense of purpose.
There are several things you need to think about before networking. The first is to be realistic. The chances of you getting offered a job on the spot through an initial network contact is highly unlikely. Networking can help but it needs to be more subtle. At the International Futures event last March, careers adviser Evan Hancock spoke about networking as being the way to gain first-hand industry knowledge. It can also be about increasing your visibility and career aspirations or progressions in certain fields. For example, those interested in academic careers will attend conferences not just because of their research content but because it is the best way of meeting people and getting noticed.
Over the next few days we’ll post some useful hints and tips about how to network. In the meantime think about who is in your network. Who do you know that could help you? Some people will use mind-maps to picture their network, others will just list – whatever works for you.
Faire du networking August 21, 2011Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Uncategorized, networking , add a comment
A colleague shares their experience of networking:
It was 20 years ago today… that, rather than the Beatle’s Sergeant Pepper going out to play, I moved to Paris. Didn’t know the lady who was to meet me off the coach, didn’t have a job, didn’t even really know what I was going to do with a year there.
On the plus side, I did, however, have total confidence in my A level French to see me through (ha!); and the name of an organ teacher.
Getting to grips with living in a tiny flat in Paris and using the metro system was fine. Finding the organ teacher was fine too and she agreed to give me organ lessons at a music college just outside Paris. I even found somewhere to practise for free, in return for singing in a church choir.
Finding a job, however, was not fine. All foreigners in Paris seemed to do was au pair work or controlling French teenagers as a language teacher. I routinely scanned the notice boards at the American and English churches and in the various freebie newspapers and concluded that being an au pair was the least bad option.
The job I got was to put me off young children for a very long time. I lasted 10 days in it, in which time I learned to make up powdered mashed potato, what the French word for nappy was, and fell ill. I was asked to leave and had to return to the original friends, tail between legs and disheartened beyond words.
Here’s where the networking comes in, though.
My singing in the church choir had brought me into contact with a group of ex-pats at the English church. Some of them were professionals on secondment to big companies in Paris and there was a big group of gap year people like me. A few, though, were actually trying to live in Paris more permanently and one of them, Lois, had just been promoted. She had let the office at the English church know that her company needed a replacement for her previous junior role. When I turned up looking desperately for work, they put me straight on to her.
I had a brief interview with formidable (in the English sense) Clare and assured her of my perfect keyboarding skills, not knowing then that French keyboards are different from our QWERTY ones and then found myself happily installed as the Royalties Assistant for EMI Music Publishing France.
Like Lois, I had got the job based on the fact that I was English and the company was managed from London. They needed someone who could talk to the London team and try to bring order to the French royalties ‘system’. The job gave me free concert tickets, a great salary that kept me solvent through my first year at university, and luncheon vouchers I saved up for weekend feasts. I kept in touch with Lois and had a job there in my first summer vacation too.
So, networking saved the day for me.
Lessons I learned? You never know who may be useful to you. Friends, acquaintances, people you bump into in a church, people you sing next to, anyone could help. You have to say what you’re looking for, have to be good at what you do, take opportunities and follow things up. In return, make sure you’re prepared to let other people know about opportunities you find out about.
It works both ways.
Follow Friday: Graduate Recruitment on Twitter December 3, 2010Posted by Helen Curry in : networking , add a comment
****Be aware this content is over two years old****
Active UK graduate recruitment accounts on Twitter
- Mercer – consulting, outsourcing, investments – @mercergradrecuk
- Teach First – @TeachFirst
- Centrica Grads – energy – @centricagrads
- Jaguar Landrover – @jaguarlandrover
- Unilever – @unilevergradsuk
- Addleshaw Goddard LLP – law – @AGgrads
- Linklaters LLP – law – @linklatersgrads
- Mishcon de Reya LLP – law – @mishcongrads
- Vodafone – @graduaterecruit
- Xerox Europe - @xeroxstudents
Personal branding, an introduction December 1, 2010Posted by Helen Curry in : networking , add a comment
****Be aware this content is over two years old****
What is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is all about proactive reputation management. It’s not about creating a new image for yourself, but more about making sure you get recognition for who you are and what you are good at.
Your aim is to get your friends, colleagues and acquaintances associating your name with top-quality work and expertise – your message will be personal to you, your interests and experience.
Why do it?
Let’s say you want to build a new website, which of your friends would you ask for help? How about the one with the popular web-design blog, the updates on Facebook of exciting projects she is working on, and the LinkedIn profile full of recommendations for her work…
Personal branding can help you gain wider recognition for your work, get referrals for freelance work, and help you stand out amongst a field of average candidates. It shows you are a self-aware professional and passionate about what you do.
How do I get started?
You will already some presence online, so your first step might be to tidy up your existing Digital Identity – your Facebook, blogs, forum posts, usernames etc. The This is Me free workbook from the University of Reading is a great place to start. It includes a number of student perspectives on the issue of privacy. There are also plenty of questions to get you thinking about what you want your online presence to say about you.
But personal branding isn’t just about the web, you will also want to think about what impact you make in person – when networking, at interview, or just casually at uni. What do you want people to remember about you? How would you introduce yourself? What do you have to offer, and how can you communicate that at first sight, on paper, online, over the phone…
In no particular order, you can use some or all of these to express your brand:
- Website/Blog – get a URL with your name. Add an ‘about’ page to list your background and expertise. Then update regularly with your work and your ideas.
- CV – tailor it to your chosen career
- LinkedIn – fill your profile out in full, borrowing from your CV, linking to your blog, and requesting recommendations from former colleagues
- Business Cards
- Portfolio – online, on CD or in print – a selection of your best work so it is easy to see what you can do
- Email address - best to stick with a professional firstname.lastname handle than ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’…
The key to success is identifying what people will want, and consistently demonstrating your abilities to help – there are some tips in this Guardian article. What you are trying to do is make it easier to hire you, so when people look you up, they can easily see what you can do.
I recommend these articles if you are new to the topic:
- 5 Ways to Avoid Sabotaging Your Personal Brand Online
- Personal Branding 101: How to Discover and Create your Brand
- The Real Definition of Personal Branding – wiki
What do you think? Do you feel comfortable with personal branding?