Employers want skills not grades, says Screen Yorkshire’s Glyn Middleton

Screen Yorkshire’s head of skills today said employers are looking for skills you have learned outside the classroom over grades.

Glyn Middleton, who was speaking at Leeds Trinity University as part of Media and Journalism Week, shared his tips on making yourself the obvious choice for employers.

He said: “You need to show you haven’t spent three years in a bubble.

“It doesn’t matter to me if you’ve got a 1st – I would rather someone with a 2:1 or even a 2:2, who’s done lots of other stuff outside the course.”

He went on to reinforce that being at university on a media or journalism course and then trying to find a job isn’t enough.

Employers are interested in what you have done yourself; they want people who have real life experience.

Ed Walker, audience and content director from Reach and Daniel Levitt from Inside the Newsroom made up the rest of the panel at the talk.

They all had a similar set of ideas on how journalism and media students can sell themselves.

Daniel Levitt gave some insight into his own personal experience trying to get a job and said: “I set myself the target of sending 10 emails a day”.

He stressed the point that students need to be persistent to succeed and email anyone they can to get noticed.

Glyn agreed and went on to share an instance where he was hiring people, he declined them all straight away and only took on the people who came back to him and asked why or sent emails to show their commitment and drive.

Ed said: “If you are publishing journalism consistently, then that will go a long way because you are demonstrating you’ve got commitment.”

They went on to give tips for being in an interview setting.

All three made a point of saying that setting yourself out from the crowd was really important, making sure that you bring to the table something different, so the employers remember you.

Daniel gave some examples of ways to do this and said: “Pitch ideas at the application process – there is no harm in doing that.”

Following on from how to best prepare yourself for an interview, both Glyn and Daniel confirmed that during an interview you should highlight your knowledge of the content your employer creates.

“How can you work in this industry if you’re not consuming it, it’s now your job you need to watch as much as possible,” Glyn added.

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