“I always wanted to work in the creative industries but wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. I graduated in 2000 with a media degree and worked in new media, administration and construction to earn a living.
In February 2006, the same month as I was married and became a dad, I enrolled on a course run by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.”
Part 4: The interview – and how I tackle my career
The key to a successful interview is preparation. Know the company, know what you want to do and where you want to end up.
It may sound obvious, but know why you want to be a journalist/reporter/sub-editor. This is likely to be the first question you are asked and could therefore have a huge bearing on the rest of the interview. For me, I want to be a sub, a production journalist, because I see it as my bread and butter while I pursue my own freelance writing and online journalism projects.
Having a focus and being able to communicate it is vital.
In my interview I was asked about deadlines and finding creative solutions to problems.
My landscape construction job in Vancouver was very deadline driven. And when working self-employed back in the UK I created a split-level patio with steps and dry-stone retaining walls. This was to get around the fact that the client could not afford another skip and as such I could remove no more clay from the area. This design differed from the original but ended up creating a better effect which was simply driven by cost – it was on-the-job problem solving.
The job itself may be unrelated, but experience is experience and problem solving is problem solving.
When reading about other people’s work experiences and how tough it can be to turn them into a job I have come to realise how lucky I have been. The job I was offered with Kent regional Newspapers was not the first I applied for throughout the course of my studies, but when I look back on the last year, there is a clear path from beginning to study, to getting work experience and then turning that into a full-time permanent career.
Achieving a merit from a distance learning course and turning this into a career while working full-time with my wife and I muddling our way through our first year of marriage and parenthood, with very little money, is something I am very proud of. Her support and understanding was essential.
I am very grateful to Fabian Acker and his team of tutors on the NCTJ sub-editing course and to John Nurden and Catherine Langston at Kent Regional Newspapers who gave me the opportunity to get the experience I so dearly needed.
In true sub-editor style, I will now whittle down this essay into a series of bullet points!