Posts tagged future
Posts tagged future
Well, I got a job! I’m now in my second week as an editorial assistant at www.thegroomingguide.com, a male fashion and beauty e-magazine run by a former editor of Vogue and Harpers Bizarre. Not necessarily a field I thought I’d work in. Although I must say I’m enjoying it so far.
Last week I got to approach and interview a few celebrities about their grooming routines. That was pretty interesting. Today I went on a research trip to Westfield London to find out all about beauty treatments and products available for men. Although during my exertion one sales woman was unwavering in her criticism of my eyebrows, and insisted that I needed to have them shaped as a matter of life and death, whilst another told me I had really dehydrated skin and I would be doomed to a life of singledom unless I paid £20 for their moisturiser (got to love the hard sale!). But pushy sales people aside, not a bad day at the office. Oh it gets better… I had lunch at pizza express!
There is a catch however!
The job is unpaid.
So I work three days a week for nothing, well actually at a lost time I factor in my travel and lunch costs. However I accept that I have to ‘do my time’ as it were, because going back to my tagline – needing experience to get a job, and needing a job to get experience – it is vital in this job market that you have experience (although that alone may not be enough!).
I’ve been here nearly two weeks now and as it’s a small team I’ve really had the opportunity to get involved with the magazine and gain vital experience. I’ve learnt a lot about how the media industry works, how to produce professional looking publications and how to a deal with PR companies, all of which will aid me in my media career.
Yet I can’t stay here forever - people can’t work for free forever. I know this. They know this. But it’s a two way relationship. They are getting a free helping hand, whilst I am learning vital skills and making contacts which I can use to further my career. Therefore I plan to get involved with the mag as much as possible to insure I make the most of this opportunity. Then hopefully a few months down the line I’ll be in a position to apply for a paying position, backed by a full and professional CV.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
Now Valentine’s Day is out of the way I can venture back onto the web, safe in the knowledge that I won’t have to read any more mushy and clichéd love messages on twitter or Facebook, or better still the classic “I’m single but I don’t care” type message – clearly you don’t enjoy being alone because you feel the need to tell the world you’re single on supposedly the most romantic day of the year. Issues much?
I spent Valentine ’s Day job hunting (alone), with the sweet sound of my radio keeping me company. Whilst going about my business as normal the radio presenter introduced his topic of the day – the rising unemployment of young people in the UK.
The gist of the feature was that unemployment levels among the 18-25 bracket has increased to a record high and that the government is doing very little to combat this issue – a point which I agree with. But one caller to the show, who was clearly from an older generation, felt the blame lie elsewhere. The lady in question implied that most young people in this country don’t want to work! I’m very sorry Miss, but that simply is not the case.
There is no lack of ambition from my generation. The lady in question referred the London riots as evidence that the young people of today are mindless idiots’ intent on causing disruption and fighting the system. Well first things first. This was a small minority of idiotic youths jumping on the bandwagon. There was an incident that sparked the whole affair and a handful of people had a right to feel aggrieved, but most of the rioters were unaware of the original issue and so they seemingly joined in just for the sheer hell of it. But I stress – this was a minority!
The majority of young people in this country are either working hard to build a better future for themselves or making the best out of the options they have available to them at present in the hope that thing will get better.
From my own personal experience I’m pleased to say that all my friends from uni have found jobs or are still in education, hoping to get the qualification to help them achieve their career goals. Of those working, not all have found their dream careers, but they are working. They all have a desire to work, and they live in the real world, like the majority of young people in Briton today. I have only ever come across one young person in the last year who has given be a negative impression of young Brits. A young lad on the site I was working on said to me, “this working for your rent is hard work. I’m better off on the dole”.
I was shocked – and I would just like to point out that this fella was not someone I’d socialise with and he has about as much personality and ambition as a salmon. But this is my sole negative dealing with a young person in Britain in the past 12 month. Most have career ambitions or a least have a desire to work to earn a living and build a life and a future.
But that said, I do feel that many young people are going about finding employment the wrong way because they simply don’t have the right knowledge when it comes to getting a job.
The government could do more, and reforming education would be a start. I’ve been on forums for graduates and school leavers and it’s shocking how many people do not know how to approach a company about a job. They don’t have a CV and they have no idea what a covering letter is.
To combat this, the government should introduce a compulsory lesson in career development. Just before kids take their options in year 9 they should have to develop a career plan and be given lessons in how to build up employability skills. The same could be said for finance. Most young people (and adults!) don’t have a clear understanding of credit, and so when they are of an age to take out a loan or apply for a credit card, they do so with no idea of the implication of negative credit. There are other options out there but without education people aren’t aware of them, and so they eventually get into financial trouble which could easily have been avoided.
But these lessons can’t be run in a half-arsed manner like sex ed classes, where for an 1hour kids are taught how to put a condom on a cucumber – which quickly descends into… ’what happens if I stick it over my head’ or ‘look I’ve made a balloon’.
No, this would not work! The lessons need structure and they have to be reinforced with practical experience with professional. Drop bloody textiles if you have to! After all who’s ever needed to sew a flower onto a t-shirt? Make ‘employability 101’ an interactive lesson focused on practical experience, thus giving kids knowledge that they can carry forward into later life.
So in response to the lady of the radio;
It was you’re generation that caused this rapid rising in unemployment in Britain, along with the increasing cost of living and university fees. It was your generation that elected the past governments that got us into this mess. And it was your generation that during the economic boom in the 90’s decided to spend all yours, and the countries money, on crap we didn’t need which in turn built a nation secured on debt.
It is now my generations’ responsibility to save our economy. It is my generation who will become the ‘lost’ generation for no fault of our own. And it is my generation that is going to be working until we are in our 70’s to pay for your lovely state pensions.
So before you start talking about my generation, I think you should look at who caused these problems in the first place.
“Hi, I’m Matthew and welcome to my video CV. I have decided to produce this video because, as I’m sure you’re aware, communications has changed. The pen and paper method is now just one approach available for reaching a target audience, therefore it is important that potential employees, like myself, are media savvy and understand the power of multimedia in the market place.”
This was the intro to my video CV. I had to make this video as part of my interview with a graduate internship recruitment agency. The interview itself went well. There were of course the pretty standard question asked by recruitment agencies, although what I liked was the fact that the questions focused on what I wanted to achieve. Helen (the interviewer) seemed to like me. She implied that her agency could find me a job in the near future, given my skills and personality. But unlike most interviews, rather than a handshake and a, “we’ll be in touch”, she said, “now are you ready to do you’re video?”
I’ll be honest, I’m not sure this was for me to begin with. Sure I don’t mind being on camera, and I was confident in my pitch. Plus I’ve done pitches and presentation in the past, to uni lecturers and most recently to the editor of The Sun newspaper, so I wasn’t particularly nervous. My issue was that I’ve seen many of these video CV’s in the past and most have been pants! Many are unprofessional, unrehearsed and the applicants look scruffy.
“Hi my names, errrr, John, and I want to be aaaaa, errrr, (nervous laugh), a… ”
But this felt different. This company had a room made for this sort of thing. A good quality camera sat proudly on a tripod, facing a tall stool which was carefully placed in front of a multi-coloured backdrop. The room was nice and quiet, and perfectly lit for this type of video. A good start - professional.
I chose to stand. Why? At the time I felt that the stool might affect my posture and voice, so by standing I could hold myself up straight and project clearly.
“Ok Matt when I give the thumbs up you may start”
“Hi, I’m Matthew and welcome to my video CV…”
It went well and I got it done in the first take (the only person to do so all week apparently).
After that came the handshakes and goodbyes. Finished. I then got an email on my way home saying that my video profile was available for companies to view on the agencies website, along with my normal CV, and it would be sent to potential employers who the agency felt would suite my needs and vice versa.
I’m yet to hear anything, but it’s only been 48 hours. And when I do I’ll let you known.
But I think this video idea could actually work. It must be freshening for a HR officer, sitting at his/her desk for the eighth hour in a row whilst drinking their tenth cup of coffee, to receive one of these videos. It must beat the generic CV and covering letter, with overused phrase like, ‘I possess excellent communication skills’ or ‘I am a hardworking and determined graduate’.
We can all use words to make us seem whiter than white. Hollow words mainly. But also what the generic approach doesn’t do is show personality. And personality is key in this day and age! In every walk of life a strong personality and success go hand in hand. Simon Cowell isn’t the biggest media proprietor in the world because he is especially talented. Lady Gaga isn’t the biggest name in pop because she writes the best songs. David Beckham isn’t the most famous Brit on the planet because he kicks a ball around for 90 minutes. No, they all have strong personalities or a unique selling point (USP). The nasty judge. The crazy mysterious girl. That nice, easy-going fella who walks about in his pants all the time. By having a distinct personality or trait, they each become more marketable and they begin to stand out in their respected industries.
Look at twitter. The people with the most followers are those who put themselves out there for all to see. MySpace launched a thousand bands, getting them record deals all because they set up a strong online identity and with it a BrAND image. The music almost played second fiddle to everything else. Just look at Lily Allen and the way her career went (I actually quite like her music by the way).
What I would suggest to any graduate, who knows what they want to do in life, is get yourself out there and put your personality on show so. Try and stand out from the crowd.
This could be a case of the blind leading the blind – as I too need a new job. But what harm can it do. Try it. And if you have any success let me know.