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Insights from the ‘UCL Careers: Insights into Publishing’ event

Joe SSprecher4 January 2019

UCL Careers recently hosted a panel event around getting into publishing and understanding what a role in the industry involves. Here’s what our panellists had to say:

Hannah Ray, Editorial Director at Macmillan Children’s Books

‘Editing means different things in different companies. My role as Editorial Director is around 30% creative and 70% business-focused – such as costing and selling strategies. Highlights include having the opportunity to work with both established authors and new talent. Challenges include working to deadlines when there are so many people involved – such as when people get sick and there are many people waiting for the book.’

 headshot of Hannah Ray
headshot of Allie Collins

Allie Collins, Editor at Bloomsbury Sport/Freelance Editor

‘When you work freelance, you have more control over your own time and projects. Conversely, working in-house means you get to see books through from start-to-finish. Sometimes a challenge as an editor is managing authors’ expectations – such as the design of the front cover –  so often you need to act as a mediator.’

Tom Atkins, Freelance Proof-reader  

As a freelance proof-reader you come in at the end and cast a slow lengthy glance over the proof pages – so you get to work with paper and pencil! It is great if you love spotting flaws – like spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes and any minor plot inconstancies. Working freelance can be lonely though, and you don’t have guaranteed work or a pension – not to mention that you have to do your own tax returns!’

headshot of Tom Atkins
headshot of Ella Kahn

Ella Kahn, Literary Agent at Diamond Kahn and Woods

As a literary agent you are at the beginning of the process – essentially a manager for authors. You may work with a range of publishing houses – both large and small. You often will meet editors for coffee and lunch to build up a picture of what they are currently looking for in a commission. It is both a sales and editorial role and you have a close relationship with the authors you represent – often being both a nanny and a lawyer for them. You might get over 50 submissions from authors a week, but only take on 1-2 people a year. Highlights include working with authors and championing them to get the recognition they deserve. Challenges are dealing with rejection – on both sides. You have to handle turning people down and getting turned down by publishers.’

Top ten tips on getting into publishing

  1. Have passion: this is a very competitive industry. Everyone’s CV is impressive, so tailor your cover letter and light up when you talk about the industry in your interview. It is not enough to say ‘I love books’ and don’t have an overly romantic view of the industry – there is a lot of business to it such as profit and loss. So show you have negotiation skills and that you can use an Excel spreadsheet. Communication and relationship-building skills are also vital. Show transferable skills.
  2. Understand the importance of networks: start to meet people now, whether this is professionals or peers also pursuing this industry.
  3. Do your research: when applying to publishing houses, learn about the books they publish – look at things like Amazon rankings and understand the different genres.
  4. Ask insightful questions at interviews: good examples include “What is coming out soon?” “Which books are you most excited about publishing in the next year?”.
  5. Be aware of current trends: Know who the big authors in your genre of interest are.
  6. Consider taking a job in a department that is not your first choice: once your foot is in the door you might be able to change departments.
  7. Follow key people on Twitter: try searching hashtags such as: #askagent #askapublisher and #ukya
  8. Want to work freelance? you might want to start in-house as it is very rare editors will work with freelancers they don’t know. You can start doing freelance work on the side.
  9. An MA in publishing can be useful: it gives you a great overview of the different areas, but it is not a pre-requisite, as publishing is trying very hard to be inclusive. If you want to do a professional course, ensure it is an industry recognised one.
  10. Keep going! Be resilient and thick skinned – you will get interviews. Learn from interviews you fail at and ask for feedback and put it into practise.

Want to learn more?

 

How to get into publishing

Joe SSprecher4 January 2019

What is considered ‘publishing’?

publishing: the occupation or activity of preparing and issuing books, journals, and other material for sale (n.) 

To put it simply, publishing is about making concepts public; connecting people who create content with people who need that content.

Roles in publishing exist across the media industry, involving not only the production of books and journals but also magazines, newspapers, business media, musical scores and graphics – to name a few! As our world becomes more technologically advanced, new multi-media formats also contribute to shifting industry opportunities, challenges and career paths.

Publishing is a competitive industry, with notoriously few advertised entry-level positions. Whilst some organisations recognise this and are developing routes into the industry for a wider pool of candidates, these remain highly sought-after. The most common routes into publishing include postgraduate qualifications, work experience placements, graduate training schemes, networking and personal recommendations. Candidates with a strong work ethic and transferable skills developed via experience in other sectors, are also well regarded.

What careers can I have in publishing?

A career in publishing can vary depending on both the sector and department you work in.

Some of the more common sectors of publishing include:

  • Academic
  • Consumer
  • Educational
  • Professional
  • Scientific and technical

Within these sectors are a wide range of departments. For example within the book publishing industry, typical departments include:

  • Contracts: working with editors and literary agents or the author to negotiate the terms of the contract.
  • Design: reviewing the book and liaising with editorial and marketing to create a visual identity and oversee its implementation – from the jacket to the cover and interior.
  • Digital: creating, implementing and maintaining new and existing web initiatives, including the organisation’s own web offering, online features and marketing campaigns.
  • Editorial: acquiring and editing a manuscript, and seeing it through to publication.
  • Managing Editorial: overseeing the whole editorial process, including working with both editorial and production to keep an eye on schedules for both the finished product and wraparound materials.
  • Marketing: creating and producing creative campaigns, using methods such as digital and print advertising, social media and events, to promote and share the book with consumers.
  • Publicity: from author signings to social media schedules and pitching to newspapers, television and radio, the team are the vital connection in promoting the book to the media.
  • Production: overseeing the manufacturing process, from manuscript to book. This could include typesetting, working with suppliers and printers, and budgeting.
  • Rights: managing the licensing of the rights of any original publication both at home and abroad. Common examples are translations, audio editions, sequels by other authors etc.
  • Sales: working with outlets to ensure the book is readily available to consumers, such as online, bookshops, supermarkets etc.

These are all on top of ‘business-as-usual’ operations, such as Human Resources, IT, Finance etc.  Many organisations will also have additional departments such as audio, digital production (e-books), in-house distribution, packaging etc.

If you’re interested in finding out about the different functions of each department, you could check out this handy guide by Book Jobs. You could also explore the different teams at Penguin Random House, the largest of the ‘Big Five’ publishing houses.

What qualifications do I need?

Whilst MA courses in publishing are available (including at UCL!) and are an effective way to start building a network of contacts, it’s certainly not a requirement to work in publishing. If you’re considering a postgraduate course, it’s just as important to think about you want to gain from the experience, and weigh this up against the cost implications and other ways to reach the same goals, such as work experience. There are also some technical roles where a related degree would be valuable – such as a designer or digital engineer.

It is also a common misconception that the publishing industry focuses on hiring English or Literature graduates. In fact, it’s experience and drive that are vital proof of your motivation and skills for a career in the industry.

How do I get a graduate job?

There is no ‘one route’ into this industry, and it entirely depends on the type of role you are looking for. Some organisations highlight the importance of work experience when they hire for entry-level roles. Work experience is a great way to work with professionals in your area of interest, make connections and build up your skill set. Other organisations will readily accept candidates with experience in other fields that has given them transferable skills – think of it as the back door in.

Spent time working at a digital marketing agency? That could have set you up with the skills you need to succeed in the digital team at a publisher. Getting jobs in the industry can also be influenced by referrals and recommendations, so it is useful to start building up your network as soon as possible.

Publishing Graduate Schemes

Although graduate schemes in publishing are gradually becoming more common, competition tends to be high for a limited number of places.  Current schemes include but are not limited to:

  • The BAME Trainee Programme from HarperCollins, a twelve-month rotational traineeship around the business in London. Last year, applications for places starting in October 2018 closed in mid-April.
  • The Cambridge University Press Graduate Programme, a fifteen-month rotational programme experiencing different business streams. Last year, applications for places starting in September 2018 closed in February.
  • The Scheme from Penguin Random House UK, six-month editorial traineeships for applicants from a BAME or socio-economically disadvantaged background. Last year, applications for places starting in September 2018 closed in May.
  • The Fresh Chapters Traineeship at Hachette, a twelve-month BAME traineeship, half of which will be spent in editorial, and the other half in another department. Last year, applications for places starting in October 2018 closed in early July.

Work Experience

A slightly less competitive way to ‘get a foot in the door’ is through work experience. Many organisations run work experience or internship programmes – and if they don’t advertise them directly, there’s no harm in getting in contact and seeing if something can be arranged. Current work experience opportunities include but are not limited to:

  • Oxford University Press runs an eight-week internship programme for graduates throughout July and August. In 2018, the deadline for applying was in March.
  • Penguin Random House has a summer internship that runs throughout July and August. In 2018 applications closed in April. They also recruits four times a year for paid two-week work experience placements. The Spare Room Project supported by Penguin Random House, also matches interns from outside London with people in the book industry who live in the capital and can offer them a place to stay.
  • Hachette run Fresh Chapters, an eight-week internship programme in editorial, marketing or publicity as well as ongoing one week placements (advertised via Facebook and Twitter).
  • Harper Collins offer an internship programme of up to six-months as well as four-week work experience opportunities (advertised via Twitter).
  • Bloomsbury have a paid internship programme, with four intakes per year across Marketing, Publicity and Editorial. Recruitment for April 2019 will begin in February 2019.
  • Blake Friedmann offer three-month internships on a rolling basis. They also run the Carole Blake Open Doors Project – a two-week, all-expenses-paid shadowing scheme for students from under-represented backgrounds.
  • The Guardian offer two-week work experience placements in the Guardian and Observer Editorial departments, across a range of desks, typically between March-June and October-December. Applications for 2019 opportunities will close on 7 December 2018.
  • Dorling Kindersley offer internship and work experience placements. Check back for opening times for 2019 internship opportunities, work experience applications are received on a rolling basis.
  • The Publishers Association occasionally recruits for internships and short work experience.

In fact, a lot of organisations will invite applications to work experience schemes via their websites. Remember not to disregard the smaller, more independent, publishing houses – their schemes are normally less over-subscribed and in some cases can last longer than an average fortnight placement.

You can also use social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – to gather information and make industry connections. For example, if you want to work as a Literary Agent, follow both the literary agencies and the literary agents! You can also follow accounts dedicated to sharing jobs and opportunities such as:

@publishersassoc

@PubInterns

@BookJobsUK

Find out more about upcoming Themed Week Events or catch-up on events you missed on the Themed Week archive.

Develop your global mind-set with an international internship

Joe SSprecher5 December 2018

Global Intern in Slovakia

Jan Hradicky in Slovakia

Global Intern in Kenya

Jingyi Zhang in Kenya

Global Intern in USA holding a flag

Nora Venin in USA

UCL’s Global Internships Programme is fairly new, with the first participants undertaking internships in summer 2018. Students went all over the world, from Belgium to Japan to USA, with internships in SMEs, large companies, charities and government offices.

100% of participants said they would recommend undertaking an international internship to their fellow students, with the most common piece of advice being “just do it!” So if you’d like to intern overseas next summer, read on…

How can you be part of the Global Internships Programme?

Secure an internship which is sourced and managed by UCL Careers – these are called ‘exclusive internships’ and UCL Careers are busy trying to source opportunities just for UCL students. They will be advertised from 6th February and will be available to browse via your myUCLCareers account.

Apply for funding to help cover the costs of going overseas – depending on the location and duration of your internship, you may be eligible to apply for the Global Internships Bursary or the Erasmus+ Traineeship Grant. The latter is for internships in the EU and UCL has lots of funding available so perhaps think about heading to Europe next summer! Details will be provided in the spring term.

What can you do over the Christmas break to get started on your global internship journey?

  1. Start exploring possible internships! Have a look at GoinGlobal, TargetJobs and Prospects for information about working in various different countries. Look for opportunities on myUCLCareers under the ‘Vacancies’ tab.
  2. Make some applications! You can book an appointment with an Applications Advisor to talk through your applications, whether they are for particular opportunities or speculative approaches.
  3. Think about funding! Hopefully you will be eligible to apply for the bursary or grant, however if not (or if you are unsuccessful) then you will need to have a plan in place for how to finance your internship. Start thinking about all of the costs of going overseas and how you will cover these – you can use Numbeo to help you.
  4. Prepare to go! You don’t need to do this part just yet, but there is no harm in thinking about it. There will be lots to do, from getting a visa, securing accommodation and preparing to work in your target country, particularly if it is new to you. You can use Hofstede’s Country Comparison tool to see how your culture is similar or different to the country you plan to go to!

The Global Internships Programme webpages are currently being updated and will be available very soon. If you are interested in any of the above, sign up to our mailing list and we’ll ping you an email when we open for applications.

Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Sector Careers Resources

Joe SSprecher4 December 2018

How do you start a career in museums? What are careers in the arts like? What jobs are there in cultural heritage? Following UCL Careers’ Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Themed Week, we have created this handout to provide a list of useful resources to help prepare you for the event and to continue your research into the sector.

Overview

The Museums, Arts or Cultural Heritage sector encompasses a wide range or job roles; from traditional roles such as Museum Curator, Archaeologist or Artist, to less traditional roles in IT, Finance, HR and Legal, which are set to see continued growth in the coming years – great news for talented graduates with creative flair.

Government statistics from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) show that employment within the creative industries, which include advertising, architecture, arts and culture, craft, design, fashion, games, music, publishing, technology and TV and film, is growing at four times the rate of the UK workforce as a whole.

Read more of the creative arts sector overview on Prospects

Key starting points

The following resources will provide a general overview of current trends in the Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage sector and provide more detailed information on the range of different graduate level roles available, helping you get a better understanding of your different options:

The different job profiles listed will provide key information on areas such as:

  • Main duties/responsibilities for the role
  • Expected salary information (starting and potential earnings)
  • Professional development, training and career prospects
  • Typical working hours
  • Entry requirements (formal qualifications and skills)
  • How to get work experience
  • How to identify key employers and where to search for vacancy

Professional organisations and other bodies

Many museums, arts and cultural Heritage sector professional body websites will produce career guides aimed at student/graduate level jobseekers, providing an insider’s view on how to start your career. They will also provide information for their members on areas such as events, news on current trends, future developments etc. for the sector.

Keeping up to date with sector news through sites like these is sites is useful for building your commercial awareness which recruiters will be looking for evidence of when you start applying.

The listings below will highlight major professional bodies for the museums, arts and cultural heritage sector and explain what sorts of information each one provides that might be useful to you when planning your career. They will also provide support with navigating these sites to find the student focussed content.

Employer directories and vacancy sources

Through myUCLCareers thousands of organisations target UCL students and graduates by advertising a range of vacancy types including work experience/internships and full time graduate level roles.

Log in to your myUCLCareers account now to search for current Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage sector vacancies – (use the ‘Occupational area’ filter for ‘Arts administration, libraries, museums and heritage’ or the use ‘Quick search’ for terms such as: ‘museums’, ‘arts’ or ‘heritage’)

Through your myUCLCareers account you can also use the organisation search to identify recruiters by ‘occupational area’ who have a connection with UCL Careers and who operate in the Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage sector.

Many recruiters won’t directly target UCL students through myUCLCareers so it’s also worth expanding your search by looking through our listings for this sector:

Company directories:

Job sites:

Students’ Union UCL – Clubs and Societies

Explore what clubs and societies are on offer at UCL that could help develop your interest in the Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage sector.

Clubs and Societies of interest could include:

For a full list of societies go to the Students’ Union UCL society search page.

Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Sector Themed Week

If you missed our annual Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage sector week or would like a reminder of what happened, you can visit our website:

  • Themed Week Events Programme: See past events to discover which organisations were involved and get an idea of what to expect next year.
  • Themed Week Archive: See event recording from previous years. Watch talks and panel events from the comfort of your own home!
  • UCL Careers Blog: Search our blog to find more articles about these sectors, including alumni case-studies and sector insights.

Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Sector Mentoring

Following the Themed Week, you might also want to explore the ‘UCL Alumni Online Community’ – to identify UCL graduates who are now working in this sector and who are happy to provide support for UCL students. If you’re unsure where to start with networking, see these resources on how to network professionally.

UCL Careers are here to help you find your future, no matter what stage your at in your career planning. Visit our website to find out other ways that we can support you and for any questions, please contact careers@ucl.ac.uk.

Getting in to Publishing isn’t a breeze – but it is worth the effort!

Joe SSprecher27 November 2018

VINTAGE This guest feature from Konrad Kirkham, Senior Production Manager at Vintage (Penguin Random House) and UCL alumni, discusses how he launched his career in publishing, why working in publishing does not necessarily mean working in editorial, and what a role in the production team of a publishing house involves.

So, how do I get into Publishing?

This is a question I am often asked, especially by people on work experience.

Personally, getting in to publishing wasn’t a breeze. I was fortunate enough to take one of a couple of popular routes in, which was to undertake an MA course in Publishing Studies (the other being extensive work experience). These are offered by quite a few universities across the country. Whilst I wouldn’t say it’s a pre-requisite, the MA gave me a great insight into the business side of publishing, set me up with a lot of contacts across the network, gave me a 6 week block of work experience and introduced me to a great group of friends – whom I’m still in contact with today. It helps to know as many people as you can in Publishing, so I was glad the MA gave me that.

After my MA, I was lucky enough to be freelancing from my previous job, during which I spent a solid year interviewing for any role I could find (it’s not easy getting your foot in the door and I’m afraid to say does require hard graft), before eventually landing a job in production at Pan Macmillan. The MA came in handy here, as one of my MA buddies already worked there and gave me the intel on the job, as well as put in a good word for me. Like I said, it pays to know people! What I did learn from this, was not to be disheartened when I was declined jobs. They are all super competitive, so getting an interview and honing my interview technique was good enough in some cases.

As frustrating as it is, Publishing isn’t that easy to get in to, nor is it cheap. If you’re not doing an MA, you might need to spend weeks working for a small wage. There are some schemes being introduced to help graduates, but they are highly competitive and still far and few between. Whilst there are people who manage to get a job without the MA or without work experience, you probably won’t find many.

What can I do to give myself a better chance at securing a role then?

My advice would be to work hard, learn about the industry and keep your options open. Don’t limit yourself to looking for the mainstream editorial, sales or publicity/marketing roles. There’s so much more to publishing. For instance production, design, foreign rights (sales of foreign language editions), inventory (warehouse/stock management), sales operations (focusing on the logistics behind the sales), contracts, finance, working for a literary agent. The list goes on! There’ll be less competition for these roles, and once you have a foot in the door, it’s much easier to move jobs within a company. I’ve known many colleagues who have started in one area, and moved after a year or so. The industry is keen on developing people’s careers and having in-depth knowledge of different areas is a huge bonus.

And if I pursue a career in production, what can I expect to be doing?

The production department provide the link between the creative teams and sales, and the printer. Our job is to make sure the books look good, are produced to a high standard, don’t cost too much to make, and are delivered on time.

In the life cycle of the book, the production team will get involved very early on. Editors will ask us to cost up a project before they’ve even bid for a new title (or are coming up with ideas for new in-house books). We then work closely with them to discuss formats, finishes, paper types, special inks etc., and get the costs from the printer to make sure the book will make margin. Once a book is acquired, we will provide schedules to the editors/designer and sales teams to make sure that they know when we require text/cover files, or any other artwork needed, and be in regular contact with the printer whenever any of the book specifications change.

Once a book is ready to send to the printer, dependent on the book type, we might organise for colour proofs to be sent in for us to check and adjust if necessary, or work with the printer to troubleshoot any issues that may arise during print production. We will then make sure that the books are delivered to the correct destinations, at the required dates, and process printer invoices once the books have delivered.

What do you particularly enjoy about working in production?

Production is a really fun, varied, and exciting department to work for. We work with most other departments in some way or another, and get the chance to create some really beautiful books! We’re the team everyone comes to for advice, and are ultimately in charge of the final product. I’ve worked across both children’s and adult production departments, so have been able to produce a huge variety of formats, from glittery board books, to complex children’s novelty books, or standard black and white fictions books. I’ve also worked on massive brands and authors, such as Julia Donaldson, Chris Ridell, Where’s Wally, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and more recently Murakami, Jo Nesbo and Nigella! There’s always new developments happening in the printing world, which gives us the opportunity to try some really fun things. Plus there’s always the added bonus of potential trips to China or Italy to go and see books as they come hot off the press!

Sounds exciting! Any last words?

Hopefully this has given a little bit of insight in to the publishing world, and that it’s not all just about editing a book. If you’re really committed to getting in to the industry, it’s definitely worth the effort. You’ll be surrounded by hugely passionate people, and have the chance to work in a really rewarding job. Good luck!

Media Week is now on! Hear from professionals across this sector with events on broadcasting and publishing still to come.

Wednesday 28 November 18:00 – 20:00: Get into Broadcasting: Film, TV and Radio

Thursday 29 November 18:00 – 20:00: Insights into Publishing

To find out more, visit the Media Themed Week page on our website and register to attend these events via myUCLCareers.

Volunteering in Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage

Joe SSprecher20 November 2018

Government & Policy Week icon showing Houses of Parliament As part of the Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Themed Week, John Braime from the Students’ Union UCL volunteering service discusses top volunteering opportunities in the museums, arts and cultural heritage sectors:

Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Volunteering

London is full of heritage and cultural organisations, many of them small museums or charities that rely on volunteers to keep them going. If you’re considering a career in the heritage or cultural field, or if you just love museums and galleries, then there is plenty to choose from. Here’s a selection from the current vacancies list of Students’ Union UCL’s

Volunteering Service – you’ll find many more on our volunteering directory or drop us a line at volunteering@ucl.ac.uk.

The Weiner Library

The Wiener Library is one of the world’s leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust and Nazi era. The Wiener Library has a strong tradition of working with volunteers. Our volunteers are vitally important to us as an organisation and we could not achieve what we do without them. We are currently recruiting for the following volunteering roles: Blogger, Book Reviewer, Events Assistant, Photographer (photographing our collections and events), Tour Guide (delivering public tours of our exhibition and archive) and Translators of German to English (translating original testimony for an upcoming education website.

Leighton House Museum

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea owns and runs two historic Victorian homes near High Street Kensington, Leighton House Museum and 18 Stafford Terrace. We are looking for volunteers for both properties, at 18 Stafford Terrace for room guides on either a Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday afternoon and at Leighton House Museum for activity volunteers to help deliver family based activities and learning volunteers to help deliver school workshops.

London Canal Museum

London Canal Museum is dedicated to educating and inspiring our visitors with the history of London’s canals – how they’ve shaped London’s development, the ordinary people that lived and worked on them, as well as the entrepreneurs who profited from them. We want to pass on the heritage of the canals so that future generations can learn about London’s industrial and social past. We’re currently recruiting Front of House Volunteers.

The Foundling Museum

The Foundling Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity, and celebrates the ways in which artists of all disciplines have helped to improve children’s lives for over 270 years. Our team of volunteers are a huge part of the Foundling Museum, having being instrumental in establishing the Museum prior to its opening in 2004 and continuing to contribute to its success today. We pride ourselves on welcoming a diverse range of individuals who choose to share their time and expertise with us. The Museum could not function without them.

John Braime

Volunteering Manager, Students’ Union UCL

The Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Themed Week is now over, but details of other upcoming themed weeks can be found on our website. These include Charities and NGOs and Sustainability. Recording of previous years events can also be found on our Themed Week Archive.

Working in Government & Policy: Rewards, Challenges and Top Skills

Joe SSprecher16 November 2018

Government & Policy Week icon showing Houses of Parliament UCL Careers Government & Policy Week 2018 welcomed a range of employers and UCL alumni working in government and the public sector to share their career insights and advice to students.

What do they find most rewarding and challenging in their careers? What skills and competencies are important to get into and work in the sector?

Find out what we learned below.

THE MOST REWARDING PART OF THEIR CAREERS

Employers at our ‘Careers that Make a Difference in the Public Sector’ panel said seeing the impact they are having on people and influencing society is one of the most rewarding parts of their jobs. For example, “on the Think Ahead programme, you work with mental health and social issues on the frontline, in people’s homes, so you see the direct impact you are having on people.” An alum from the TeachFirst programme said that the most rewarding part for them was “making an impact by opening people’s eyes to the possibilities in education that they can have”.

Frontline said that “producing long-term positive effects on society by building relationships with families” is most rewarding. Even working behind the scenes in the Civil Service, it was highlighted that “you have the potential to influence from the inside”.

Employers discussed variety and diversity in the job – no day is the same. An alum from Police Now said their “most memorable moment was working at the Olympics” and Unlocked said “working with prisoners is funny and interesting – they are always full of interesting stories!” The Civil Service Fast Stream shared that “a great advantage to working in the Civil Service is the size and breadth of the field – it’s so huge that there’s lots of range, diversity and opportunities to progress and specialise in”.

AND THE CHALLENGES…

A common insight was that working in the public sector could be demanding and emotionally challenging. Frontline, Police Now, TeachFirst, ThinkAhead and Unlocked agreed that dealing with mental health patients, crime offenders, prisoners and children can be emotionally challenging: at times, they may not want to be helped and you can face confrontation.

In our ‘Influencing Policy’ panel, employers stressed the nature of politics as challenging. National Housing Federation said “Politics is insanely difficult and always changing – you need to put in a ton of graft work”. Advice from Agora think tank is “aim to be a good strong voice within change”. Working on policies you disagree with is a possibility in the Civil Service Fast Stream. Their advice on dealing with it is all about perception: “If the policy is contentious, it can actually be beneficial to work on it – you have the opportunity to make sure it is implemented in the best way possible”. They also advise that there are opportunities for less policy-focussed roles in the Fast Stream.

An alum who will start work as a Senior Public Policy Manager for Data, Platforms and AI for Vodafone Group expressed that “public perception can be a challenge as well as data ethics”.

So, what were the top skills for the public sector?

MOTIVATION TO HELP PEOPLE

Employers emphasised that for a career in the public sector and government, you should show that you care about people. Whether you are working frontline with members of the public or influencing and writing policy behind the scenes, your work is affecting people and their everyday lives. Advice from Cancer Research is “find out what people care about and tailor your service towards them”.

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING & TEAM WORK

Relationship building was another key skill desired by employers – especially those that involve working directly with clients on the frontline (e.g. Think Ahead, Frontline and TeachFirst). In the Civil Service Fast Stream, you will move from one department to another so relationship building and teamwork is also required in non-frontline work to collaborate with different teams and people.

ADAPTABILITY

Employers highlighted adaptability because frontline work may require you to attend emergency / crisis situations at short notice. Policy work is also difficult as politics is always changing. Agora think tank and Greater London Authority emphasised that “Brexit has left many unanswered questions about the future” so adaptability will be important.

RESILIENCE

Resilience was a key discussion amongst employers across the events. Responding and adapting to political changes or perhaps dealing with clients, emergencies and crises means that the job can be demanding and emotionally challenging. Being able to recover quickly from difficult situations is crucial for working in the public sector.

Speakers who attended: Agora think tank, Cancer Research, Civil Service Fast Stream, Frontline, Greater London Authority, National Housing Federation, Police Now, TeachFirst, Think Ahead, Unlocked & Vodafone Group.

There are still more UCL Careers Themed Weeks coming up! Media Week is next, starting on 26 November with, Charities & NGOs, International Development, Sustainability Fortnight and Life & Health Sciences Week still to come.

Visit our website to find out more about upcoming Themed Weeks.

Museums, Arts & Cultural Heritage Week 2018

Joe SSprecher9 November 2018

Themed Week Icon of a dinosaur skull. Background of person sitting in a gallery of large classical art with text overlay "Book your place: Museums, Arts & Cultural Heritage Week"

Thinking of considering a career in Arts, Museums or Cultural Heritage? Not sure where to start? Looking for career inspiration?

This is the week for you! This is your chance to meet professionals and experts working in various roles within these sectors.

The following events are open to students and recent graduates from all degree disciplines and all of the events below are now bookable through your ‘myUCLCareers’ account.

Working in Arts and Culture | Monday 12 November – 5:30pm

Thinking about working in the arts or cultural sector? Come along to this panel event for the chance to hear from professionals currently working in managerial, creative and organisational roles within a variety of arts and cultural settings. Speakers will discuss the realities and rewards of their roles.

The panel discussion will be followed by Q&A.

Panellists include:

  • Kate Mason – Director at The Big Draw
  • Shelley James – Artist at Shelley James Glass
  • Meg Peterson PhD – Project Manager, Research and Higher Education at Battersea Arts Centre
  • Abby-Jo Sheldon – Development and Events at Freud Museum London
  • Caroline Marcus FRSA – Chair of The Board of Trustees at GEM (Group for Education in Museums)

Book your place at Working in Arts and Culture

Meet the Alumni | Tuesday 13 November – 6:30pm

How do you go from studying at UCL to working in exciting professional positions in museums, arts and cultural heritage. Learn from UCL alumni in this panel discussion and Q&A session?

The Q&A session will be chaired by Dr Nina Pearlman, Head of UCL Collections at UCL Art Museum, and Slade alumnus. You will then have the chance to meet and network with these expert panelists for an hour after the event, giving you insight into career options and making useful connections for your career journey.

UCL Alumni attending include:

  • Dhikshana Turakhia Pering, Youth Programme Manager at London Transport Museum (MA Museums and Galleries, 2008)
  • Lisa Westcott Wilkins, Managing Director at Dig Ventures (MA Archaeology, 2002)
  • Eric Brunjes, Chief Executive at Attack Magazine (BA History, 2006)
  • Adam Klups, Historic Buildings Advisor at Church of England (BA History of Art with Material Studies, 2011)
  • Jonathan Franklin, Librarian at National Gallery in London (MA Library & Information Studies, 1986)

Book your place at Meet the Alumni

Cultural Heritage Forum | Thursday 15 November – 6:00pm

Hear from UCL alumni working right across the cultural heritage sector including organisations such as the British Museum and on the restoration of the Houses of Parliament, one of the most significant restoration projects in Europe. This event will help shed light on the  wide variety of roles, across museums, the built environment and other in the cultural heritage sector.

Panellists include:

  • Mary Pierre-Harvey, Assistant Director at The Houses of Parliament (MSc, Architecture, The Bartlett)
  • Mads Skytte Jorgensen, Business Analyst at The British Museum (MSc, Archaeology)
  • Corrine Harrison, Library Archive & Museum Services Administrator (Royal College of Physicians)

Book your place at the Cultural Heritage Forum

8 Key Skills for a Career in Social Work

Joe SSprecher31 October 2018

Frontline: Changing Lives

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least half a million children in England don’t have a safe or stable home. These children and their families face some of the worst life chances, but social work, as one of Britain’s most challenging and rewarding sectors, has the power to change this.

Social workers are highly trained professionals. Their wide skillset reflects the variety and diversity of their work:

Communication

Few careers will bring you into contact with such a varied range of people as social work. The families supported by social workers come from every kind of background and community. Good communication skills are essential to even consider a career in social work, but these will also improve as you become accustomed to engaging others in a wide variety of settings.

Curiosity

Social workers support families in complex and difficult circumstances. Professional curiosity refers both to the ability and will to explore what is happening within a family, without making assumptions or taking things at face value. It’s crucial to learn how to engage with families, to listen in a compassionate and empathetic way and to ask questions that will generate useful answers.

Collaboration

Social workers work alongside diverse professionals, including teachers, doctors and the police. The ability to collaborate effectively across professions and teams is vital to ensuring that children and their families get the best support possible. A career in social work will develop your ability to work in a team and you will learn how to collaborate with a wide variety of people.

Leadership

Social work is a collaborative effort. A key role of social workers is to help families recognise the need for change and work with them to create a plan for change. Social workers are also advocates for the children and families they work with. From direct work with families to providing your professional opinion in safeguarding reviews or at court, you will need to be able to construct a persuasive argument and influence the decisions of others.

Reflexivity and self-reflexivity

Helping families find creative solutions to their problems requires an open mind and an awareness of different ways of thinking and behaving. These skills will enable you to recognise your own biases and identify holistic solutions to problems. You will also have to get and give honest, critical feedback and respond to it constructively.

Wellbeing and self-care

In order to provide support and care for others, you must first take care of yourself. You will have to develop your resilience by putting coping mechanisms and self-care strategies in place to better manage emotional challenges.

Professional boundaries

Social work is a challenging profession and sometimes social workers can feel that their work is never complete. What’s more, the deeply personal nature of working with vulnerable families can lead to strong emotional investment. Setting boundaries is critically important – with families, colleagues and fellow professionals – so that you can carve out important time for self-care to ensure your own wellbeing as well as that of those that you support.

Analysis of risk and uncertainty

Safety of the child is paramount in social work, but risk is rarely straightforward or predictable. An incorrect assessment could endanger a child’s life, or it could separate a child from their family unnecessarily. Learning to analyse the facts and make confident professional judgements in complex, uncertain situations is crucial in this role. You will become accustomed to factoring risk assessments into your everyday decisions and develop professional behaviours that minimise risk for families and yourself.

Frontline’s Leadership Development Programme is a new path into social work, taking outstanding graduates and developing the skills outlined in this article, to turn them into great social workers. Frontline offers hands-on experience through practice-based learning, in addition to practical and academic training, tailored to your needs.

Social work isn’t easy but if you think you’re up to the challenge, Frontline could be for you.

You can register your interest on: www.tfaforms.com/392296

You can follow Frontline’s Facebook for events and updates.

Want to discuss your options with a careers professional? Book a guidance appointment with one of our staff: ucl.ac.uk/careers/about/advice

Government & Policy Sector Resources & Research

Joe SSprecher26 October 2018

Government & Policy Week icon showing Houses of Parliament

Government & Policy Week might be over, but for you it could be the start of an exciting career in this sector. As part of UCL Careers’ Government and Policy Themed Week we have created this guide to provide a list of useful resources to help prepare you for the events and to continue your research into the sector.

Whether you want to join the Civil Service Fast Stream, work for your local authority, specialise on policy within a think tank, charity, union or pressure group, or pursue one of the hundreds of options within the public sector, this sector can be a rewarding and challenging place to start your career.

Key starting points

Finding information on the range of different graduate level roles available will help you get a better understanding of your different options and how to succeed once you get there. Using Careers Tagged, an online careers resource UCL Students have access to, we have compiled job profiles to inform and inspire your search.

These will provide key information on areas such as:

  • Main duties / responsibilities for the role
  • Expected salary information (starting and potential earnings)
  • Professional development, training and career prospects
  • Typical working hours
  • Entry requirements (formal qualifications and skills)
  • How to get work experience
  • How to identify key employers and where to search for job vacancies
  • Case studies of people working in these roles

View job profiles on Careers Tagged:

Professional organisations and other bodies

Many public sector professional body websites will produce career guides aimed at student / graduate level jobseekers, providing an insider’s view on how to start your policy career. They will also provide information for their members on areas such as events, news on current trends and future developments for the sector.

Keeping up to date with news through sites like these is useful for building your commercial awareness which recruiters look for in job applications.

The Careers Tagged Government & public sector professional bodies listing below will highlight major players in this sector and explain what sorts of information each one provides that might be useful to you when planning your policy career. They will also provide support with navigating these sites to find the student focused content.

Employer directories and job vacancy sites

Through ‘myUCLCareers’, thousands of organisations target UCL students and graduates by advertising a range of job vacancy types including work experience / internships and full time graduate level roles.

Try some of following searches on the myUCLCareers Vacancies tab:

  • Current government and policy sector job vacancies (using the ‘Occupational area’ filter for ‘Policy and Government’
  • Quick search for terms such as: Policy; Politics; Political; Future Leaders; Security; MP; Community; Council; Westminster; Strategy.

Employers may also promote recruitment / networking / skill development events both on and off campus. View and search upcoming events on myUCLCareers.

On your account you can also use the organisation search tool to identify recruiters by ‘occupational area’ who have a connection with UCL Careers.

Many recruiters won’t directly target UCL students through myUCLCareers, so it’s also worth expanding your search by looking through listings of the government and policy sector:

Students’ Union UCL

Club and societies and UCL are another great place to get a taste of government & policy. Taking part in events and society committees can showcase your enthusiasm to future employers and give you access to informative and fun events, often featuring partners from this sector. Search the Students’ Union UCL website for all available clubs and societies. Here are just a few:

Government & Policy Sector Themed Week

If you missed some events during our annual Government & Policy sector week or would like a reminder of what happened, the Themed Week resources section of our website will provide a mix of lecturecast recordings, speaker profiles and event summaries which will include top tips from all those involved with the week. Current resources are from last year’s programme but content from this years events will be published soon.

Government & Policy Sector Mentoring

Following the Themed Week, you might also want to explore the ‘UCL Alumni Online Community’ to identify UCL graduates who are now working in this sector and who are happy to provide support for UCL students.

We hope this gives you a good start for researching this varied and critically important sector. Don’t forget, these rules can be applied to any sector you choose, so let your curiosity guide you! If you need any further help, whether you want to discuss options, improve your applications or anything else, visit the UCL Careers website to see how we can help.