The one thing that I remember about careers advice from university, is that it didn’t really exist.
I was advised to do a Media Studies MA, when really I should have taken the Journalism one, and when I finally left the safety of full time education, I remember only the blankness on the face of the ‘advisor’ when I asked for help finding work in TV production or advertising. They were beyond useless – and in fact the best advice I ever had, beyond that of my legendary first boss at British Gas (John Minton), was a wondrous tool known as CASCAID, which deemed that I would be an advertising copywriter. Nearly right then.
By the looks of things, my careers advisor is still peddling her wares to the region’s graduates and undergraduates, given the amount of ineffective emails I get in a week asking for work experience or a job. These usually begin “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”. Not a great start, considering that my name’s on the website and my very friendly staff will give any student looking to get in touch my email address. You see, ingenuity and research skills are big in our industry, so bothering to read the website to see who to address an email to should be the obvious first step. I think I get around two emails a month that have my name or Martin’s on, which always get an answer. You can guess where the rest go – could be our loss, but we’re happy to take that risk.
So for all of the graduates who deem blanketing ill thought through emails to the first ten agencies on Google a good idea – I give you Ged* from New College Nottingham.
Ged has a good careers mentor over the road in the very lovely Adams Building. His fine tutor alerted him to our existence, whereupon he popped over unannounced and armed with Hobnobs (hope you’re writing this down), and proceeded to present his obvious skills set and value to the agency in front of Maz, Helen and the rest of the gang that were in at the time – no easy task for a young man. Then Glen ate all of his biscuits and we threw Ged out – asking him to email TREVOR with his CV, to make sure that he was real.
A couple of days passed and we waited for the usual badly written CV whereupon his greatest attribute would be to be able to go on holiday to Australia. How wrong we were.
Instead we received a fantastic, short, sharp visually striking CV that looked as if it had been designed by an agency. Maybe it was, but it got Ged his four-week placement here ahead of a good many people armed with great degrees, whereas Ged hadn’t even finished his. This is no dig at students, as we’re all graduates here – it’s a cry for help on their behalf that in this market it’s the extra mile that gets the ear of the employer – not just in PR, but in all sectors.
*Ged’s not his real name, but we don’t want to a. embarrass him, or b. have any other agencies tapping him up for biscuits.