Thursday, August 16, 2012

A day in the life of a TARGETjobs editor

This spring, Loughborough student, Ali Materna was at TARGETjobs HQ (GTI Media) for a work shadowing opportunity, here she explains what she gained from it .

Every university student knows the importance of work experience. It is constantly being drilled into us that experience is vital when it comes to getting a job in that big, real world. So, when I received yet another bulk email from my university, my finger was automatically hovering above the delete button; however, this email was slightly different. We were being offered the chance to participate in ‘work shadow’ days in a myriad of career areas. With the realisation that I could actually gain some coveted experience in an area I wanted to pursue a career in, this was an opportunity I could not resist.

I applied for three different placements all in the field of public relations and the media in the hope of achieving any one of them. I was later told I was successful with one of my applications and on the 20th April dragged myself from my bed at an hour rarely seen by students and, along with two others, drove the two-hour drive to meet the GTI Media editorial team in Oxford.

I was unsure what to expect as I knew little about GTI Media and what they did, however, we were warmly greeted by the friendly staff and ushered to a meeting room where we were informed about the day awaiting us. The day had been organised with great precision, and this added to it’s overall success as previous experience I have done has never been so meticulously organised. This made me feel a great deal more comfortable and not as though I was an inconvenience to anyone. The three of us were given desks and our first task of the day: to research the work experience and placement opportunities offered by the BBC. I felt quietly important sitting at my desk, clicking away at the keyboard and noting down prominent points.

When lunchtime arrived, the three of us were taken to the staff-dining hall, a slow amble only two minutes from our building. Over fish and chips we discussed possible career paths and had the opportunity to chat to the GTI employees about what made them choose GTI media and a career in editing. Furthermore, we were able to pick their brains about everything to do with CVs and covering letters as they see heaps of these on a regular basis. I sat consumed by helpful tips, scribbling their words of wisdom down in my head, intensely hoping I remembered their valuable words! CVs and covering letters are the two things every potential employer wants to see; whilst they may appear a doddle, it is very easy and very common for many people to get them wrong.

Following a lengthy lunch, we dragged our full stomach’s back to the office and were given our next task: to write a blog for TARGETjobs documenting student life. I chose to write on the importance of extra-curricular activities whilst at University. Despite being a second year English student, I was suddenly overcome with a realisation that I was writing for editors whose jobs were to pick out every spelling and grammar error under the sun. I found myself spell-checking generic words such as ‘want’, just in case I had got it wrong! Six hundred words later and it was time to hand them over. I thoroughly enjoyed this task; we had the chance to let loose and write about whatever we wanted in our own style. This task was different to others I had partaken in at other work experience opportunities I had done, as in this case, we felt as though we were doing something beneficial to the company and ourselves. If I had not written that blog, I may not have been writing this for you today!

As the day drew to a close, our final task was to look at both the 2012 and 2013 issues of the TARGETjobs directory and voice our opinions on the layout and order of the articles. We whisked ourselves from our desks to the kitchen area that was scattered with tables and sat together to discuss our ideas. Being able to have our say in the new edition was an amazing opportunity as we felt as though we were doing something beneficial (and therefore felt quite important!) Our ideas were all taken into consideration and, over a box of Maltesers, we concluded our day at GTI media, fresh with knowledge in editing, writing, analysing, CVs and how it feels to venture into the real world of a nine to five job!

This work shadowing opportunity with GTI Media has been one I won’t soon forget. Whilst we completed jobs that were of assistance to the company, more importantly, we were given the chance to show off our skills and decide whether a job in editing and the media was for us. The chance offered to us to contribute to this blog is just one of the great things I personally got out of the day and it’s safe to say that a career in the media is firmly set in my sights now.

Ali Materna

If you want to find out more about work experience, visit our work experience search, and if you need advice on CVs and other vital application documents please do visit our careers advice pages