A prefect's musings on digital and social media

Category Archives: Random Thoughts

It’s no secret that the graduate job market is tough. There are so many stories about graduates who still haven’t found a job eighteen months after graduating. Of course, there are exceptions, but for the majority of us due to graduate next summer (myself included), the job market’s not a particularly pretty picture at the moment. So what can you do to make yourself stand out?

The most obvious answer is to get a work placement or an internship in the field you want to work in. According to a report by highfliers.co.uk, 36% of graduate jobs will be filled by applicants who have already worked for an organisation as an undergraduate – which is great news! Getting a fantastic work placement is a really good way to see for yourself what working in that particular field would be like, as well as providing you with valuable skills that will look impressive to an employer.

Here are 3 tips when it comes to work placements:

  • Do your research – think seriously about what sort of places you’d like to work at once you’ve graduated – don’t just do placements for the sake of it
  • Persevere – don’t give up looking just because some places turned you down
  • Be willing – don’t be snobbish about the jobs you’re given. Yes, you might have to do some filing and yes, it might be a bit dull, but chances are, if you’ve found somewhere good, it’ll only be a ten minute job then you can move onto the next thing. Refusing to do tasks because you feel they are beneath you is rude, and a sure-fire way to destroy any rapport you previously had with that company

But wait a second, having an internship under your belt is all well and good, but in today’s competitive job markets, internships and work placements are becoming staple features on nearly every graduate’s CV.

So what else can you do to stand out?

Here are five of my favourite quirky stories about people who have gone that little bit extra to secure that all-important interview!

1) Buy a billboard.

Image from employadam.com

Image from employadam.com

24 year old Adam Pacitti, from the Isle of Wight, became so desperate for a job that he spent his last £500 on a billboard asking employers for work. He ended up getting around sixty solid job offers and ended up with a job at KEO Digital working as a viral producer.

2) Get creative with your CV.

On his LinkedIn profile, Eric Ghandi mocked up his CV to look like a Google search engine results page. An employee at Google spotted it and immediately recommended Eric for interview. It’s not clear if that interview resulted in a job, but it’s a great way of showing what getting creative with your CV can do.

Image taken from businessinsider.com

Image taken from businessinsider.com

3) Use a Google ad.

Alec Brownstein wanted a job at a top ad agency, and he figured that if you’re the director of an ad agency, you’re probably going to Google yourself every now and then to see what people are saying about you. So, in order to do this, Alec launched the Google Ad Experiment, which you can watch below.

4) Interactive Video.

When applying for a job at a social media agency, you’re probably going to have to get a bit more creative than just sending in a standard CV. And that’s exactly what Graeme Anthony did when applying for a role at We Are Social. Instead of sending in the normal cover letter and CV, he created an interactive video with YouTube annotations to encourage potential employers to find out more about him. You can find out what We Are Social had to say about it here, and watch the video below.

5) Learn to handle rejection.

Chances are, before you land that dream job, you’re going to be turned down by a few companies, which is what happened to Caleb Meakins. So he set up his My 40 Days of Rejection project, which involves him taking on challenges that are deemed to be entirely unachievable and socially awkward – such as getting onto the red carpet at the premiere of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and giving a lecture at King’s College London. Caleb hopes that by doing things that take him outside his comfort zone, he will learn to reshape the way he responds to failure.

So there you have it, some great ways to get creative when heading out into the graduate job market!


We have proud gardeners in our midst at Twelve (see there’s more to us than digital fanatics) and we thought we’d give the South Newington Flower and Produce Show (hailed as the ‘loveliest traditional flower show in the area’) a bit of a shout out! Coming up this weekend, it’s sure to be a great event. So should you be casually swinging by the area, do stop by for some summer lovin’ country style.

South Newington

SHOWTIME AT SOUTH NEWINGTON

Annual Flower and Produce Show takes place this weekend

The annual South Newington Flower and Produce Show will take place at 2pm this Saturday 10 August on The Poleaxe at the centre of the village.

This much loved annual event will be opened by Sir Tony Baldry, MP, and the Show marquee will present some 600 entries spanning flower displays, fruit and vegetables, preserves, cookery, photography and other crafts.  Sir Tony will also present prizes.

As well as the exhibits there will be a dog show, children’s games, stalls and sideshows; plus music from the ever popular Chipping Norton Silver Band and a traditional afternoon tea tent.

A new addition this year will be a display of ‘village wedding dresses’ in the historic village church, St Peter ad Vincula.

Field parking is available at the top of the village entering from the A361 onto Barford Road.


This is a guest blog post by intern Katy Roberts, about her two weeks’ work experience at Twelve PR.  🙂 

Katy

One of the things that was drummed into me when I started my university degree in PR at Sheffield Hallam Uni was just how important work experience is. “Work experience makes you stand out from other applicants!”, “Work experience gives you skills you won’t get from your university degree!” and, slightly more pessimistically, “You won’t get a job after university if you don’t do work experience!’ However, this was backed up by a report in the news earlier this week, saying that companies with graduate programmes are much more likely to take on students who have done work experience during their time at university.

Report aside, I’m very much inclined to agree because, ultimately, a university degree – made up of essays, PowerPoint presentations and press release writing in an assignment capacity – doesn’t really show you what life working in a PR agency is really like. You very rarely get to work with real-life clients and the feedback you get about press releases (or any other PR writing you do, for that matter) comes from an assignment marking criteria perspective – not a real-life, ‘this is going to a real-life company’ type of perspective.

My two weeks at Twelve have been brilliant (and no, I’m not just saying that because this is a guest post on their blog!) – I’ve been able to try a wide variety of different things, from press release writing, to managing social networking sites, to ringing up journalists about newspaper competitions – all of which I’d never have had the opportunity to do properly as part of my university degree. (Quick side note: journalists aren’t as scary as PR lecturers make them out to be, so don’t be nervous about ringing them – just be sensible about why and when you’re ringing them and you’ll be fine!)

Another thing that’s brilliant about work experience – it allows you to figure out what you’d really, really like to do, and what you’d really, really not like to do as a job when you graduate. I’m happy to report that working at Twelve has confirmed what I sort of already knew, – that I would like to work in friendly and exuberant PR office – I could totally picture myself working somewhere like that! (Being able to have regular access to copious amounts of tea during the working day is a wonderful novelty as well!)

The team at Twelve have all been so lovely and welcoming and helpful, and it’s so nice that it’s close knit team because I’ve been able to get to know everyone relatively well, as opposed to just fading into the background at some huge company with thousands of employees. So yes, I definitely think that work experience is worth it, especially if (like mine) your university course doesn’t offer placement years!

Anyway, I suppose all that’s left to say now is a huge thank you to everyone at Twelve for giving me the opportunity to come and work with them in the first place, and for making my two weeks here so interesting, varied and enjoyable. It’s been fun!

Me, Jess & Twelve’s very own Snowdog!


The news that Facebook has now changed its promotions guidelines to say that the ‘like’ function can not be used for voting in promotions might be a bit of a blow for some digital marketers that have relied on this for their Facebook campaigns…but hopefully it will force us to use the platform more creatively for social media campaigns.

Read the full story about the new regulations here.

(Source: The Wall)


T-Mobile recently released the latest in its series of Flash Mob style adverts – a crowd of more than 500 people, including a human orchestra featuring 20 singers, greeted passengers arriving at Heathrow’s terminal 5.  This is the third in the series, with other flashmobs including the dance at Liverpool Street station and the Trafalgur Square sing along, and it begs the questions – are they overdoing the concept?

 

Source: PA

We all know that broadcasting companies tend to catch on to a popular format, cookery shows, reality TV, home makeover shows, and flog it like a dead horse until we can no longer stand the sight of any of the above.  But does digital media allow more room for serialisation and repetition of a theme?

I personally was a huge fan of the Liverpool street flash mob.  It captured my imagination, made me smile and hung very closely to the tagline ‘life’s for sharing’.  But when I heard about the latest offering, I did start to wonder if T-Mobile were clutching at straws here.  The YouTube viewing figures do somewhat speak for themselves with 23,672.246 viewing the original Liverpool Street Station flash mob from January 2009, dropping to 3,497 for the April 2009 sing along in Trafalgar Square and 1,710,620 for the Terminal 5 ‘Welcome home’ advert.

But this does need to be viewed with some context – firstly, the Terminal 5 advert was only released at the end of October, so over 1.5 million views in less than a month is pretty impressive.  Secondly, viewing figures are likely to increase – when the first advert was launched using a flash mob on an advert was a pretty new concept, so it was bound to generate initial interest.  The figures do highlight however, that the ads still have a dedicated following who enjoy the adverts.  And I must confess that once again, when I actually watched the Terminal 5 ad, it did not fail to bring a smile to my fact.

There are, however, some points of distinction that T-Mobile have effectively  – each advert has its different twist – one is a dance, one a sing-along and one a human orchestra.  This variety maintains interest.  I just hope that they keep a close eye on when this interest starts to dwindle and finish on a high…better to be a campaign that people remember fondly than over-do a concept and undo all your hard work.


Yesterday I received a very poorly targeted piece of mobile marketing, a text message from a company called H&R (whom I have never heard of…but do feel free to enlighten me if you have) saying ‘now that the kids are back to school it is time to think about YOU.  We have plenty of packages for YOU time at H&R, call xxx’ etc. etc.  You get the general idea.

So why was this so poorly targeted, I am after all very keen on ME time.  What H&R had neglected to notice is that I do not have any children…I may have a requirement for me time, but this has not been as a result of a hectic summer holidays with the kids at home (the closest I get to kids in my household, my boyfriend, has in fact been very well behaved throughout the summer holidays).

Mobile marketing, which is widely credited as beginning in 2000, is not distinct from many other forms of marketing in the fact that it can often fall foul to poorly targeted marketing.  But this is somewhere that social media marketing in particular (and arguably mobile marketing as well) must get it right – because it is encroaching on people’s personal domains.  Facebook profiles, in particular, are often very personal arenas – they are places where we socialise with our friends, share pictures of nights out, post updates on our day to day activities.  They are certainly NOT places where we want to be spammed with inappropriate and irrelevant content. 

Perhaps this is where Facebook’s profile targets advertising (e.g. advertising targeted at your interest) comes into its own.  Initially people were wary, but would you not rather receive an advert for something that is relevant to you than targeting men with feminine hygiene products, for example. 

Companies should also be bearing this in mind when targeting consumers through social networking sites with their own profile pages and news feeds.  The golden rules being:

  • Make sure information is correctly targeted
  • Ensure that information you are supplying is both relevant and interesting to your audience
  • Make sure it is accessible (e.g. can users easily identify what you company does and how it might be relevant to them)

Following the news that Facebook is aiming a full launch of its virtual currency Facebook Credits in September I, like many others, am left wondering whether Facebook will eventually take over the world.

Source: logoinn.net

Facebook credits will initially be used to enable users to buy games etc. through the site.  However, it is thought that eventually this will roll out to allow users to use credits to purchase goods on sites outside of Facebook – making it a service to rival PayPal.

I can see that this might be very useful.  I do have a PayPal account, but use it rarely and often feel both confused and nervous purchasing items on Ebay via PayPal (not, might I add, that these feelings stop me making said purchases when the need arises).  Digital Prefect/social media addict I may be but that in no way instils trust in all things virtual or over rides the natural skeptic in me.  So I might feel more comfortable using the known entity of Facebook to purchase my goods online.

But are we really looking for a one-stop-shop from our social networks?  Admittedly, whilst I indulge many online fads initially, I do tend to return to the usual suspects for my regular status updates/photo-sharing/gossip gathering/business networking. 

Yet, Facebook alone does not negate my desire to Tweet (there are celebs ahoy there and I am extremely nosy) and similarly, I have no desire to conduct my business networking in the same space that I ‘socialise’ (albeit virtually) with my friends.  Potential clients may not find last weekends antics either amusing or impressive, whilst my friends have limited interest in the latest networking groups I have joined/presentations I have uploaded/new contacts I have made (though I like to think all are avid followers of this blog *ahem*).  If I want people to know my exact location at any given time and earn points for regularly drinking/dining at the same venue, I would probably join FourSquare to do so (though I don’t and I haven’t).  I am happy to browse the plethora of e-commerce sites available on the internet, and utilise the payment systems provided should I decide to make a purchase.  Facebook does not need to be all of these things on its own.

So do we really want Facebook to become our one-stop shop for all things virtual, or do you think it should stick to what it does best, social networking.  What do you think?



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