Calling all budding wordsmiths! Are you unable to source the job of your dreams because you don’t know what’s out there? Perhaps you love playing with words and crafting creative copy, but you definitely don’t think being a journalist is for you. Never fear. We’ve wracked our brains and rounded up four fantastic roles that may suit you perfectly. We’ve even interviewed people who do them, including one of our freelance writers, two O2 employees and Go Think Big’s very own Zahrah…
Think of us when you’re hired, won’t you?
Comms Officer – Priyanka Mogul
What do you do? I’ve worked in the comms department of charities; mainly involving social media strategy and writing blogs and press releases. A lot of the skills that I gained as a journalist were extremely applicable to the comms roles, so when I started applying it really wasn’t very difficult to show them how I could translate these skills to suit the job description. Working with communications in the charity sector is amazing because you get to help spread the message of a cause you really believe in. It can also be an extremely creative role – and that’s what I love most about it. You get to experiment with different ways to put messages out there and come up with fresh ideas on how to engage your audience. The day-to-day social media stuff can get a bit tedious, but it definitely makes up for it when you get to work on an awesome comms campaign for a new project and watch people interact with your organisation through it.
How much writing is involved? This definitely varied from role to role. I have had some comms jobs that were purely social media and very little writing, apart from the occasional press release. Others have been heavier on the writing and I’ve been involved in putting together regular blog posts and writing articles for the organisation’s in-house publication. Comms is changing in a big way at the moment, with the focus from text shifting more towards visuals. So if you’re looking for a comms job that will allow you to write, it’s best to check out what sort of organisation it is – does it have a blog or an in-house publication? If not, you might not end up doing as much writing as you’d like.
Any tips on how budding wordsmiths can do what you do? Organisations are keen to hire comms people who have a background in journalism because this means they already know how the media industry works, have contacts at publications, and know what journalists want when communicating stories to them via press releases. You can also work in comms after studying English, other humanities subjects or just from applying online and working your way up! Make sure you believe in the organisation and its cause before you take on a comms role. You effectively become their mouthpiece for them, and if you don’t believe in their brand, you’re not going to do a very good job or have very much fun.
O2 Digital Apprentice – Louis Hollow
My role is HR Digital Apprentice. I got this role through applying for the 2017 Apprenticeship scheme at O2. On the assessment day, O2 look out for where your skills lie and what you want to do. Then they try to find the best place for you. I believe I came across as a sociable young adult with a passion for writing and producing digital content, which is why I go the position I did.
What is the best part of your role? The best part of my role is the variety of projects I get assigned or come across. This is mainly down to my line manager understanding my desire to gain a broader understanding of HR and Marketing. Despite my role being in HR, my qualification is Digital Marketing & Social Media, so I have projects developed around marketing so that they are relevant to my course.
How much writing is involved? Every day is different for my role – the majority of my writing is all e-mail based. I probably write around 15-20 e-mails a day. But I also need to be creative and find effective ways to communicate our message through marketing and social media. I would say the most difficult aspect of my job is the time allocated to completing my document for my apprenticeship.
How can any budding wordsmiths do what you do? Since a young age, I have always enjoyed English or found it fairly easy, then at college I studied a Creative Media BTEC Level 3. Alongside this I picked up a EPQ in the second year. An Extended Project Qualification is a dissertation on the subject of your choice and I chose to create a Marketing Plan for my own college, to raise the number of students. My advice to anyone wanting to work in an apprenticeship like me is always check your CV! When going through recruitment, some employers, if they see a misspelling on your CV, they’re going to just assume you’re too lazy to even proof read it yourself.
O2 Brand Lead - Clare Coughlan
What do you do? I’m the O2 Brand Lead. I studied Graphic Design at Uni whilst working in a mixture of agency and client internship roles. Once I graduated I managed to get a permanent role in Marketing for a global tech brand and have worked my way up from there.
How much writing is involved in your role? I used to write a lot more than I do today (I’ve since hired a writer to take over that side of things). I would be responsible for making all our advertising and communications sound like O2 so I used to spend a lot of time editing and re-writing various bits of copy from all over the business to make sure it all sounded like O2’s tone of voice.
What do you enjoy the most? I really enjoy the creative problem solving. There’s always some new challenge, new product, new target or new media that we have to work out the best way to communicate our brand to. You constantly have to think, adjust and evolve. It’s dynamic.
Any tips on how budding wordsmiths can do what you do? Make sure you have the technical ability and background first and then work hard to get some industry experience. Start at smaller agencies or companies and roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. Prove yourself and immerse yourself in the industry. Keeping an eye on how other companies or writers are evolving will help you hone your own unique style.
Engagement Coordinator Go Think Big - Zahrah Surooprajally
What do you do? I work at Go Think Big building online audiences across the brand’s social media, liaising with the events and projects team here and meeting the young people who benefit from our opportunities and funding and writing up their case studies.
How much writing is involved? It completely varies; I work closely with the Content Coordinator helping to manage the Facebook posts and tweets in the week, but I also help send out the weekly newsletter and compile case studies and interviews of interesting people who work with us, whether that’s young people or interviews with project leaders and business partners who want to be featured in our content. I really enjoy the writing side of things but I also do a lot of work organising events here, too, so it’s a good mix.
Any tips on how budding wordsmiths can do what you do? I studied Creative Writing and English Literature at Uni and then I did a Masters in Creative Writing, so I always knew I wanted to work in writing in some capacity. Of course it’s not necessary to study English as much as I did, but I think a strong background in writing from GCSE, A-Level and then as a hobby will really help you if you don’t go to Uni. Work experience is also mega important to gain some experience and feedback from other professionals. My first placement was at a PR company where I learned how to write pitches for journalists and manage my writing to a time schedule. All work experience and placements teach you something that you can use in the future.
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