Employability & Enterprise Week – Third blog post

The third and final talk I attended for E & E week, ‘A Career As A Writer’ was given by poet Geoff Hattersley, current writer in residence at Leeds Trinity University.

Geoff has worked a huge variety of jobs over the course of his career.  From working in a food warehouse at 20 years old, to starting his own press publishing magazines and pamphlets, Geoff has led a fascinating life building up a great deal of knowledge on the what it’s like to work in the writing industry. His first poems were published in 1984.

Geoff’s tips for any aspiring writers and poets out there are:
-Think of Literature as a vocation, i.e. something you feel compelled to do – a calling
-Draw on all of your experiences (good and bad) and use them in your writing
-Writing doesn’t pay well so most likely you will need to find a second job
-Write for yourself and write because you enjoy it – one of the most important things is that you must enjoy what you do
-Write constantly. Good or bad writing, it’s all going to help you to improve and develop your writing style
-Build contacts
-Don’t restrict yourself to just one form of writing. As a professional writer you must be able to diversify –  you can write poems, novels, reviews, articles – Try them out, you might discover you love them

Many thanks to Geoff for his refreshingly honest and useful talk about having a career as a writer. It’s certainly not an easy career path to follow but if it’s your passion and something you love the benefits you reap from it make it worth the tough times you have to go through to get your work out there!

If you’d like to know more about Geoff’s works, check out the links here and here.


Employability & Enterprise Week – Second blog post

On the 19th of November, I went to my second talk of E & E week. The main part of the talk, ‘Journalism: Why work for someone else when you can start your own company’ was given by Simon Wilkes, Managing Editor for SJ Wilkes Media Ltd.

SJ Wilkes Media was set up by Simon himself, after he came to realise that there was a gap in the market for businesses offering services of helping companies promote themselves via Social Media. Wanting to take advantage of this, and after having acquired the knowledge of how to do this over the course of his career, Simon set up his own company.

Simon gave us a brief background on his career, and how he got to where he is today. Originally, Simon studied a journalism degree at Uni, specialising in print journalism. He then decided that he wanted to be a sports journalist and after working a variety of jobs including becoming Telextext Sport Deputy Editor, Simon found himself working as Production Editor for Skysports.com. In 2014 he turned down a Sky Sports job offer based in London to set up his own company.

The main tips that Simon wanted to emphasise in terms of setting up your own company were:
-Be versatile and able to do things other than what you specialise in
  -Work placements are vital
Find a USP (Unique Selling Point) – Look for something that doesn’t exist
-Look for gaps in the current market, ‘keep up with the times’
-Many companies (surprisingly even large corporations) want to employ heads of social media because they’re not sure how it works

Thanks Simon for the excellent tips! You can check out his website here and also find him on LinkedIn here.

(On a side note – some interesting questions were raised in the talk – the one causing the most debate being ‘Will print ever die out?’ Personally, I feel it may die down, of course due to the increase in online resources however I don’t feel it will ever fully die out. It’s been such an important part of the media for so long, and is still a great way of putting information and advertisements out there that I think it’s always going to be present in the coming future. What are your opinions on this? Let me know!)

Employability & Enterprise Week – Blog Post 1

From, the 17th – 21st of November a series of talks were given at my University, Leeds Trinity, all relating to employability and enterprise. I attended three of these talks, all of which I have found hugely beneficial to me in terms of deciding what I would like to do in that daunting post-grad world which is coming ever closer, and also helping me to gain important skills and knowledge about becoming ’employable’  – something much more complex than it may seem!

A Career in TV- BBC and Celebrity Big Brother’ was the first talk I attended, given by former Leeds Trinity student, Sean O’Brien who graduated in 2012. (Find him on Twitter here– @gottagothatsme).

The talk began with Sean giving us a background on his previous employment. Currently Sean is working as a task researcher, coming up with ideas for games to use on hit TV show, Big Brother. Since graduating Sean has worked many various jobs in the media sector including working on BBC’s ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid,’ working at Zodak Media (who made Channel 4’s ‘Inbetweeners’ and ‘Secret Millionaire‘).

My favourite part of the talk however was when Sean gave us a (very honest and frank) insight into the best and worst things about working in TV.

The best things about working in TV:
-You can do literally anything. Pitch your idea and people will invest.
-Your hard work is seen by millions. Your many hours of work are seen and appreciated – as opposed to working in an office for example, where you may pour hours into something and only one person may look at it.
-TV craves youth. The 16 – 25 age bracket is the most commercially important, especially for advertisers. In the words of Sean himself, ‘Young people know young people better than anyone else.’
-You get to work with celebrities…

The worst things about working in TV:
– …You have to work with celebrities (who may also come with diva-like tendencies!)
-Working in TV ruins watching TV
-The endless, long hours
-You have to face a lot of rejection

Things no-one tells you:
  -TV is very informal – Don’t wear a suit!
-Befriend people. Contacts are key
-Timing is key
-Experience is more often than not considered more important than your degree
-Learn how to use cameras

All in all Sean gave an honest, frank and no holds barred talk giving us a real insight into what it’s like working in the Television industry. All in all, be flexible and have multiple skills, don’t give up even when you’re rejected and gain EXPERIENCE! This is one of the most valuable assets you can have on your CV which will place you above the masses.

Thanks Sean for an excellent talk!