Social media – great fun, isn’t it? Keeps you in touch with friends and lets you share your experiences (partying, travelling, trying new things) and thoughts (what you really think of the latest Celebrity Big Brother…).
Your use of social media gives an impression of who you are, but don’t forget employers use it too to let you know about their business.
Get the lowdown
Following organisations or individuals you’re interested in on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn is a great way of getting an insight into different companies and being among the first to know when they advertise a new job opportunity. You can pick up lots of snippets that might be useful when applying for jobs or going for interview too.
Join York Alumni Association on Facebook and LinkedIn as your fellow graduates do post opportunities to those pages and it’s a great way to badge your profile to strengthen your personal brand.
There are also some handy tips on using social media in your job hunting from Prospects (don’t be put off by the age of the post – it’s still valid!) and GradIreland.
Showing your professional side
It’s a good time to tidy up your online accounts, when you’re using social media in your job hunting. Ensure your privacy settings lock down any posts, which might not show you in the most professional light. After all, photos of partying and silly costumes are best kept to your close friends – you don’t want a potential employer coming across them.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet – and it’s never too soon in your career to have one! – take a look at LinkedIn’s guide for students, which will talk you through creating a good profile and then using LinkedIn to find out about employers.
LinkedIn is great for finding out the latest in sectors/industries, as well as hearing about employers. It’s also a useful networking tool, helping you to make contacts and add to your knowledge.
So, if you’re going to spend some time on social media anyway, why not use it for your job hunting too?
There’s some great help and advice on preparing for, and attending, job interviews in our info sheet. It includes thinking about how you’ll answer interview questions using the CAR or STAR technique. Use whichever you find easier to remember, to help structure your reply.
Answering the question
CAR stands for Context, Action, Result. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Questions starting “Tell me about a time when…” can be tackled effectively by using CAR or STAR – talking about the situation you faced and what was required of you, what you did, and the outcome or result, and what you learned. Note that the result does not always need to be perfect! If it didn’t go quite right, you might still have learned something really useful to apply in a future situation.
10 reasons why interviews go wrong (according to employers)
1. Candidate doesn’t give sufficient evidence of what they’ve achieved.
Prepare some concrete examples of what you’ve done.
2. Poor level of knowledge from a candidate, who has gone for a job in a specialist field.
Are you sure you’re right for the job? If so, gen-up!
3. Ill-defined aims or lack of career planning.
You don’t necessarily need to have your future mapped out point by point, but you should be able to express your initial goals.
4. Unable to express thoughts clearly.
Prep and practise!
5. Candidate doesn’t ask any questions about the job.
The company website might be very comprehensive, but there’s bound to be something it hasn’t told you.
6. Poor personal appearance.
Haircut, clean fingernails, clean interview wear and don’t slouch!
7. Candidate doesn’t show any real interest or enthusiasm for the job.
Employers want to feel you’re committed to the role. If you’re interested, you’ll do a better job..
8. Evasive about unsatisfactory performance.
Be honest and show you’ve learned from any instances from your own experience
9. General lack of confidence.
Tough one to address, particularly if you’re nervous. However, if you’ve been invited to interview, you must have shown something to interest the employer, so take heart from that! Practise answering questions and if you’re well prepared that will boost your confidence too.
10. Overbearing, arrogant and conceited.
No one wants that sort of character working in their company. If you’ve achieved lots – great, but you can be modest about it too!
Naturally, you’re keen to land that first job, so it’s tempting to send off lots of applications to ensure major coverage. It’s quite quick to write an application and then copy and paste with a few changes, where needed.
However, it’s more effective to spend the time on a few high quality, well-tailored, applications than lots of generic ones. It may take longer, but a personalised, well-researched application will be more likely to hit the mark with an employer.
Preparation is key
Take time to research the organisation and the job, and to reflect on your experience and skills (including your degree and time at York), before you start an application, and check out this guide on what to do.
There’s also a helpful info sheet on what to include in your CV. (This resource includes a personal profile in your CV, but this is optional so only do this if it works for you.) Use active words to let employers know what you’ve done and the impact of it – here’s a helpful list.
We’re always happy to give York grads feedback on their CV – just send it to us via Careers Gateway and one of our Careers Consultants will have a look at it for you; often it’s just a case of a couple of tweaks to make more impact.
If you’re job hunting, you’re likely to be spending a lot of time online – and while you’re focussed on your job hunt or application, it can be easy to miss warning signs that all is not as it should be… Read on to find out what to look out for and how to stay safe.
Protect your identity
Your CV will include basic contact information – your email and phone number; it doesn’t need to include your address, and don’t include details such as your National Insurance number, passport number, date of birth or bank details in your CV. This kind of information is not needed until you have a definite job offer and are sure the opportunity is genuine.
Resist pressure to apply quickly
Yes, you do need to apply before closing dates, and be aware that some jobs close early if they have enough good applications. But if you are being pressured to apply immediately, this should be a warning sign. Look for the company website to check their vacancies, phoning to confirm if necessary.
Hold onto your money
Don’t be tricked into paying upfront for fake security checks, certification or training, or into sending money in advance for interview travel. Reputable companies will reimburse interview travel expenses and would certainly not ask you to pay in advance for any part of the recruitment process.
If you have a phone interview, you can expect to be given a landline number to call. Make sure you check and do not call a premium rate number (these usually start 070 or 09).
Check emails carefully
It might look like an official email address – but is it? Fake email addresses can look convincing – have they changed a letter in the name for example? Several employers have warnings on their websites about people imitating their email addresses. Equally, the use of a personal email account rather than a company email address is unlikely to be genuine.
Be suspicious if you get an email about a job you haven’t applied for, or an email requesting personal information or bank details. Spelling mistakes and poor grammar are also clues to look out for.
Be realistic – don’t get scammed!
If the employer is not interested in your skills and experience, or is offering a job paying a large salary with “no experience necessary”, then you should be cautious. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is!
Students sometimes ask us about job ads for a book keeper or funds processor, offering high pay for minimal work – this is a money laundering scam using your bank account for clients to pay in money, which you will then be asked to transfer on. There are serious legal consequences – if the worst happens and you are scammed, make sure you report it to Action Fraud.
Choices, choices…but if you’re still thinking about jobs after graduation, where do you start?
You may wish to have a job, which draws on and actively uses your degree subject knowledge. Start with Prospects’ ‘What can I do with my degree?’ and click on your subject or the closest one to your programme.
This resource will give you ideas of jobs which are either directly related to your degree or where the subject would be useful.
The information here also covers the sorts of skills you will have acquired through your studies, as well as destinations of graduates from that same subject area.
What are other York grads doing after University?
You can get ideas by looking at the career stories of other graduates from your department in York Profiles and Mentors (you need a York log in to ask alumni questions direct).
The profiles make interesting reading with alumni covering a range of topics, including what they do, how they got there, the recruitment process, and advice and tips for others.
What’s right for me?
Sometimes a personality assessment can be helpful in identifying your personality strengths and preferences, and how these might relate to your career choices. The SHL Direct personality questionnaire, for example, analyses your strengths in eight key competencies, helps you understand what these are and how you could use them in answering interview questions.
These resources are intended to help you think about your next possible steps, so don’t think you have to have your entire career mapped out straight away! As always, we are still available to help you, whether that’s through a chat with one of our staff or a pointer towards information that’s relevant to you and your situation.
Now graduation is over you may have turned your attention to the little matter of job hunting. Here are some handy tips on getting started.
Know what sort of job you want and in what sector?
If you’re not sure what type of job and for what type of company, check out the Get Ideas of the Careers website. Here you’ll find exercises to help you think about what’s right for you. The job sector pages give you background information on a variety of occupational areas and our York profiles give you an insight into the range of jobs York alumni have entered.
Where do I find jobs advertised?
There are lots of graduate level jobs advertised on a host of online jobs sites. Our information sheet, Finding graduate job vacancies, gives a list of suggested general job sites, including Careers Gateway, Prospects, TargetJobs and lots more.
Depending on the sector you want to work in, you might be better checking job sites which are particular to certain industries and services. The job sector pages will give you links to specialist sites.
The things nobody tells you
There are some details, which aren’t often covered in advice to graduates. These include busting a few myths around graduate job hunting (“all the jobs are in London”, “I’ve missed all the opportunities”, “all my peers have got jobs”, etc) and what employers really want from candidates.
Some of these issues are tackled in the job hunting toolkit, along with understanding job adverts and how best to use job sites.
Getting the job
Making applications is only the first stage on, what can be, a long recruitment process. Help with writing a CV or completing a form to sitting aptitude tests and attending interviews is available on the apply for jobs web pages and the info sheets linked from each page go into more detail.
Whether you’re an international graduate returning home or any nationality looking to work outside of the UK, use the international work resources for vacancy sites and advice.
For international students considering working in the UK, it’s important to read through the information about options and visas on our pages for international students.
Unsure of your next move?
You might feel you’re not ready to start job-hunting yet, and need more time to be sure of your direction. So, if you need to talk to someone here in Careers and Placements, please give us a call on 01904 322685.
Today’s episode of What Do You Actually Do!? explores the role of Audience Engagement Editor. Adam Smith works for The Economist ‘s social media team and it is his job to get people talking about everything the Economist writes about.
You’re listening to the What Do You Actually Do!? Podcast. Each week, we want to bring you an inspiring interview, a useful tip, or encouraging message to help you find your place in the professional world.
K: So, Adam, what do you actually do?
A: Thanks for having me, it’s nice to speak about myself for half an hour [laughs] My job title is Audience Engagement Editor like you said, which is a fancy way of saying that it’s my job to get people online having a conversation about The Economist’s writing and our ideas. So that means that I primarily work on social media so I work on a thing called the social media team at The Economist, which does lots of things one of which is the conversational stuff that I do, and that means that I work on all of our social media presences – that’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, a bit of Snapchat, Line which is a chat app in Asia, and LinkedIn, and a few others to get people talking about everything that The Economist writes about because the founding mission of The Economist as a newspaper a 175 years ago, was to have a – are you ready for this language? It’s really ancient Victorian language – we were founded to “take part in a severe contest between an intelligence which presses forward and an unworthy timid ignorance obstructing our progress”. It’s a really fancy, Victorian way of saying that society needs to have an ongoing rigorous discussion about business, politics, and science, and the arts, and everything in society, and you need to bring rational thought to bear on that and good journalism, and we want to take part in that big discussion. So that’s kind of our founding mission at the newspaper, really, based on liberal values. Our founding editor, James Wilson, in 1843, could never have imagined something like Twitter, or something like Facebook. So now, over the past few years, we’ve taken that mission from 175 years ago into the social media space. That’s what I do.
K: So, you’re encouraging that kind of talk. How do you do that? Are you responding to people’s tweets and having a bit of a conversation with them, firing them up..? How does it work?
A: The primary way that we do it is simply by sharing our content. As a newspaper in print each week, we have around a hundred articles, online every day there’ll be a couple of articles. We also every week produce a bunch of videos and a bunch of podcasts. And that’s content that comes from our writers, correspondents, video producers, podcast producers, and most of that content is made with – I wouldn’t say it’s made with conversation in mind – but it’s certainly made to offer something new to that severe contest that I mention. That’s the point of doing anything in journalism, you want to be moving the conversation on in society about something. So all of that content is basically given to us in the social media team, and it’s that that we use to spark conversation. Simply by sharing it, by showing it in the right places online, and in the right ways – including sometimes asking questions… that’s the first primary way of getting the conversation going. And then there’s some more instrumental ways that we do it such as running a Facebook group which is one of my jobs. We actually have two Facebook groups, which is a way of diverting off from the main Facebook activity that we have. We have about 8 million followers. Diverting off those people who really want to have a really detailed and civil conversation, so we make this smaller Facebook group which we much more actively moderate and it’s me, my little face that pops up and says “hi, I’m the moderator and here’s today’s question and here’s maybe some content, here’s an article or something” and “what do you think about this issue: Should American gun laws be tightened up?” and so on those Facebook groups we have a few thousand people, obviously much smaller than the followers on our page which is millions and millions, but that means that we can have a more active and engaging conversation with those people. Sometimes it’s very instrumental in that way, and very active, and so on…
K: Does anything happen with those conversations? Does that sort of fuel new conversations or investigations? Or is it sort of a one-way street?
A: For us, currently, it’s more of a one-way street because of the way that The Economist works and has worked traditionally because it’s our custom, really, as a newspaper to be the kind of newspaper to say: “you pay us through your subscription to find out what’s going on in the world and we will tell you that” and that’s literally why you’re paying us. It’s similar to being in a restaurant where you want to sit down and you want somebody to serve you your food, right? It’s a different experience if you have to go up to the counter and collect your food and then go to the till and pay for it; whereas a lot of newspapers, websites, and magazines, they are using social media to feedback ideas from the audience into the journalism. That’s not to say we won’t ever do that in some form… I can’t see it happening in a mass-scale at the moment because that’s not really what people expect from The Economist. It’s great that other publications do that but currently it’s not something that people expect The Economist to do, they think of us as a box of writers and thinkers who are well versed on what’s going on in the world and will tell them exactly that. It might be that on a small scale we experiment with a little bit of that and we have already done so, actually as I said my job title has the word “engagement” in it and we have done some small scale projects this summer that have been about getting the audience to feed into certain particular stories that we’ve worked on but not very much. So we’ll see, it’s a very dynamic job, really, and not just my job specifically but this job in the media industry in general is changing quite a lot. And the way any publication will answer your question today will be different to how they answer it in two years’ time.
K: So how did you get into the sort of world of audience engagement, because your background is more of like what people would think of as traditional journalism? So how did you break into this and realise this is an area that you’re interested in and want to be involved in?
A: Because I was being a pretty traditional journalist, as you said, I was covering the politics of science for a newspaper, it’s a pretty niche subject but it was great, so I was reporting on – basically if you think of a political correspondent who hangs around in Westminster and says what the Brexit negotiations are, I was doing that but specifically around science and that was very traditional in the sense that I was finding out what was going on, I was writing about it for the web or for print and that was it basically. And I was really interested in the opportunity that social media and the internet presented us – to have a big conversation in society about that subject because I think it’s really important how science is funded, how science is regulated, who chooses what science is done, and all of those things – bearing in mind that’s five billion pounds a year that the public is spending on science, much of which comes to the University of York, you know, and all the science departments you that have here and the conversation wasn’t big enough – people weren’t involved in the conversation but I failed to convince my editors where I was to try and open up that conversation a bit more, and for us as journalists to be working more than just writing our stories but to be using social media more and having a bigger public conversation about that. I thought well, okay, I can’t do that big public conversation about this one particular niche area. So therefore I should look at how I can be part of the bigger conversation elsewhere. I saw a job at The Economist which was on the then new social media team, which was in 2015 – we were quite late to the social media game. They were basically building a social media team and so I knew that The Economist covered everything – politics, business, science, finance, economics, social issues – and thought “well, if I can’t take a small issue and bring it into a big conversation I’ll just join a big conversation that’s about everything” and so I applied and got that job. You asked how I did I break in but it was kind of just thinking about what I wanted to do and then just shopping around and there was a job that I applied for.
K: So this job now sounds like it’s giving you that opportunity to be involved in that conversation and given that it’s a new team, to really shape things that are happening there. Any other sort of particular elements of the job that you really enjoy or love about it?
A: I really enjoy being in a building full of really really big brains who are debating what the world should be like every single moment of the day. That’s the business that we’re in, and the editorial department is looking at what’s going on, analysing it, talking about it, arguing about it amongst ourselves, and then deciding collectively what The Economist should say about those things. That’s very much a unique aspect of The Economist because we don’t have by-lines in the newspaper, so you don’t know who’s written which article, and that’s usually because no article was written by one person. They’re mostly collaborative efforts and in any case there is a singular unifying voice, which is The Economist’s voice. That presents us with some problems on social media, which is very much often about personal profile and the currency of the individual and the power of an individual writer or columnist or something. So that presents us with some problems on the social media team, or some challenges I should say. But, nevertheless, it’s great being in a big giant room with really clever people who know all sorts of things, about whether an aviation carbon tax could work and how, and why we should do that or not do that, and, what are the implications of gay marriage in one country versus another country. All these different things, and we’re just constantly debating and talking about these things. So that’s the thing that I love the most, it’s being in that environment and talking about all of those things.
another thing that I love is working with the junior people who are on my team
and mentoring them. That also presents its challenges and there are some
aspects of that that i don’t enjoy, but it’s good, really really good fun, to
hire someone junior to develop them, to get them to recognise what they can do,
and how great they are, and how great they can be, and build up their
confidence and then see them work really well. I just yesterday bade farewell
to a colleague who I hired a little over a year ago, so that she can go and
work in the newsroom at Reuters news agency. So that’s brilliant and it’s
really gratifying to see that.
K: Is there anything that’s sort of less enjoyable about the job, let’s say?
A: I would say it’s more of the same thing, like managing people is always a struggle, sometimes because some individuals are difficult, and I say that in terms of managing the people who report to me – the juniors – but also the people above me who I have to manage as well. That’s especially the case because I’m on the social media team at a newspaper that’s 175 years old, and some of my colleagues have been working with us for 175 years, or it seems like they have, and they have old ways of doing things and old ways of thinking about things and you have to convince them. Some of them you can write off and say, look, I’m never going to convince you that as a newspaper we need to be digital in 2018, I’m never going to convince you of that so I’ll write you off. But most people I think that I can persuade just enough and get them to see the opportunity that social media and digital stuff brings us as a newspaper, bearing in mind that founding mission that I mentioned.
K: That’s interesting because, dealing with people, that’s an issue in any kind of profession isn’t it? So, it’s not like journalism is any better or any worse than anything else in that sense.
A: I think in journalism specifically there are a lot of egos. Again, you would get that in lots of places, so dealing with lots of different people’s egos can be difficult, especially in journalism because the point of a journalist is to know what’s going on in the world and that’s the way that ego often manifests itself in a newsroom, is, “I know about this,”, “well, I know about this,” “well I know more than you,” and we don’t have arguments in that tone that I just said but kind of there is somewhat of a competition sometimes about who knows the best thing and I’m sure that’s not unique to journalism, but that is something that is very distinctive about working with journalists and editors.
K:OK, so you said at the start that your role is different across every different publication and that’s partly because digital is still relatively new and no one knows where it’s going. Are there any other key challenges or things on the horizon that students should be trying to anticipate? I’m thinking about what kind of skills they might need to break into this sector in the future.
A: Yeah, I think that whatever I say now is not going to apply in six months because it changes so much, but that therefore means that the foundational skill is adaptability and flexibility. So, to really know that things change so much in social media and specifically around publishers and how publishers use social media, and journalists and how they use social media. So, number one to be flexible and adaptable. That might be quite hard to demonstrate unless you’ve had enough experience where you can show how you did adapt and did flex from one particular thing to another, and if you worked on your student newspaper, for example, within the course of a year at least you should have done a few different things and changed a few different things in how you operate on social media. And if you haven’t, then as a newspaper you’ve been stagnating and your editor has been making some mistakes. So I think that would be one thing, to be basically make sure that you are adaptable and to somehow find a way to demonstrate that you have adapted to one situation or another.
think it’s kind of similar, but to know a bit about the social media industry,
by which I mean what is Facebook up to, what new products is it building, how
are users using it differently now to how they used it a year ago, and how are
publishers and social media platforms working together. That’s basically been a
huge story over the last few years, the way that publishers and social media
platforms like Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat work together. Especially in
an era of disinformation – what the president of the US called fake news – and
the decline in trust in the media, which has been partly accelerated by the
publishers’ inability some time ago to really influence how the platforms dealt
with news and how they distributed news. That’s changed quite a lot now and I
work with people at Facebook and Twitter and the other platforms to make sure
that publishers like us are, basically that our content is treated well and
that we can influence how those platforms use the content. So I think that it,
personally I find it really interesting anyway, this particular thing about
what is journalism for in social media when anyone can publish, and how do
people receive journalism and news and what constitutes high quality news and
what constitutes news that people need for their daily lives and what
constitutes news that people need as sort of nutrients for being a good citizen
in society and how do we use technology to get all of these things when most of
the technology and the social media platforms are built for distraction, you
know, oh there’s another nice cake on Instagram. Is that really helping you be
a good citizen in society rather than knowing what’s going on in Westminster in
the negotiations over Brexit? I’m not saying don’t have cake, but you also need
to know what’s going on with Brexit. So these huge conversations that the news
industry is having with social media platforms is really important, and I
personally would be very impressed if someone, a relatively junior person or a
graduate applied to join my team and knew a little bit about what was going on
in that conversation between publishers and platforms. There are places where
you can go to read about that –
K: I was just about to ask about that
A: Oh sorry, go on.
K: Any tips for where they can start their research?
so there’s an outfit in the US called the Nieman Lab. They’re based at Harvard
University and they – there’s the Nieman Lab and the Nieman Foundation – and they
report as journalists and thinkers about this space. There’s also a similar
institute at Oxford University, the Reuters Oxford Journalism Institute, and
they produce quite hefty reports on this sort of thing. There’s also a website
called Digiday, which covers these things similarly but less academic and more
on the commercial side. And so, to find out what’s going on those things are
really helpful. And also, specifically, if you want to look parochially, my
team has a blog on Medium called Severe Contest, and that is written by me and
people on my team where we say what The Economist is doing on social media and
what is mostly influencing our thoughts around this particular space.
K: Thank you very much for joining us today. Enjoy the rest of your time in York.
A: Thank you very much; it’s been great to be here and talk to all of your students.
Thanks for joining us this week on What do you actually do? This episode was hosted by myself, Kate Morris, and edited by Raquel Bartra and produced by both of us. If you loved this podcast, spread the word and subscribe. Are you eager to get more tips? Follow University of York Careers and Placements on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. All useful links are in this episode description. This has been produced at the University of York Careers and Placements. For more information visit york.ac.uk/careers