What a night! Last night was the night when two became one… digital media company Rightster and matchmaking machine WEXO, teamed together to form a perfect bond for jobseekers – WEXO, a company that matches talent with opportunities was present alongside the snowballing Rightster, offering jobs and paid internships for those deemed worthy.
Fifty of whom we believe to be the savviest candidates on the job market, made their way to our prim, proper and yet totally unpretentious neighbour, Adam Street’s Private Members Club just off the Strand.
The evening began with lashings of elderflower cordial, pocketfuls of popcorn and excited nattering from all those invited. Not your ordinary careers event it is fair to say, gone were the lecture room, the speakers with their monocles and the overhead projector. Instead, we welcomed an enthusiastic buzz surrounding our #HowIMadeitinDigitalMedia event, with both the path-finding grads and interns and the fantastic team at Rightster looking forward to what the evening had in store for them.
At 7pm sharp, all bums were on seats and the room was chock-a-block – Charlie Muirhead, CEO of Rightster gave his introduction before Robin proceeded to welcome our more than highly esteemed panel:
• Richard Williams – Former director of multiplatform programmes at ITV and the BBC
• Danny Wadeson – Hi Fly Nest, thefourohfive.com, The Line of Best Fit (Biz Dev / Film Editor)
• Belinda Parmar – CEO of Lady Geek and Lady Geek TV
• Tabitha Goldstaub – Founder of the Rightster Academy (Head of Client Success)
• Duncan Hammond – Business Development Manager for Guardian Select
The following hour and a half was led around the questions referring to the digital media industry which the candidates submitted with their applications – whether it was asking advice on how to make it in the industry or if someone wanted an opinion on whether Africa, in the near future, could become fully digital.
For those looking for a career in this industry – it is definitely worth a read on for some interesting advice and thoughts from those in the know…
Primarily, it is clear that those present believed the future is inevitably heading towards a wholly digitalised world. In fact, it was decided that in as little as 5 years time – the industry we now refer to as ‘Digital Media’ will be known solely as ‘Media’ alongside a generation that won’t see digital as being anything different – a mobile phone will become a phone etc.
Many of the questions that were put to the panel surrounded the concept of whether a digital world would destroy the tangible mediums that we currently use in society. Duncan Hammond justified the success of the digital newspaper takeover because people no longer buy a paper to see the morning’s breaking news, 50% of their readers read the Guardian around 9pm! Nowadays, the world receives its breaking news online – only this week, Obama’s election win was released to twitter and email before any other medium – therefore they want their newspaper to have rolling news which is only possibly through a digital platform.
Another reason for the expected rise in the digital newspaper came about in response to the potential business possibilities within a ‘Digital Africa’. Duncan Hammond informed us that The Guardian’s online audience is made up of a third from the UK, a third from the US and a third from the rest of the world. Hammond then highlighted that The Guardian would not be able afford the creation for the infrastructure for traditional print media outside the UK, therefore the only opportunity would be to create a start-up digitally.
Leaving behind the panel’s thoughts on a digital future, we then moved on to how they made it in digital media and any advice that they could give to our aspiring savvy candidates.
Belinda Parmar thinks that ‘women drive the digital revolution’, and her personal mission is to “end the stereotyping and patronising of women within technology” – (backed up with some gleaming digibabe statistics – 57% of the twitter audience are women and women over 55 is the fastest growing segment on Facebook). However, getting back to helping graduates, Belinda, herself a Twitter fiend, gives her thoughts on the importance of social media. She encourages everyone to be on Twitter and Facebook because she, like many employers, use these as accessible forums to reference a candidate as soon as they apply. The general consensus for job seekers is that you NEED an active online presence in order to go into any industry, not only to go into digital media. Belinda stated that twitter is now a revered platform and has become a circle of trust when it comes to reviews and a referential database.
Moving away from social media, Tabitha Goldstaub understands that not everyone can afford to do work experience, however she is determined that this shouldn’t stop anyone from entering into their desired industry. She believes that you should make your story and make it worthwhile – whether it is working for ANY company that desires an extra pair of hands or be it behind a bar – you can tailor the experience to make it worthwhile. Even behind a bar, you can improve your communication skills and sales experience for example – not everything has to be gained through work experience.
This is the same for a Master’s degree – Tabitha does not feel that a master’s is the be-all-and-end-all of starting one’s career as she relates her experience at Rightster to having completed 15 Master’s degrees. She has experienced and battled through the tough times which she says is very important rather than just learning about what could go wrong sitting on the back bench of a lecture hall.
Some snippets of advice for any ambitious students is to do as many extra curricular activities as possible, if there is a careers fair with a low subscribed activity then sign up so you have the possibility of becoming a big part of something small! Richard Williams’ suggestion was to do something that you love to make you stand out, such as the college radio, television or magazine. This ties into Danny Wadeson’s fantastic guidance to think about who you are, not the industry that you want – as long as you stay true to yourself, you will do your best and find your way that suits you best.
Finally, some advice for anyone wanting to go specifically into Digital Media is to study computer sciences, not languages, to join a debating society or similar where you have the chance to present yourself and to build your personal profile by signing up to tumblr, YouTube and any other channels that are available to you and to your potential employers.
To find out more about what was said on the night and to hear tips from some of these esteemed industry players, keep your eyes posted for the event footage going live on WEXO TV…
Our thanks to Adam Street Private Members Club and the brilliant representatives at Rightster for their cooperation.
Ailsa Renton – Marketing Intern at WEXO, & Leeds University graduate