Can You Make The Gingerbread Man?
I went out in Canterbury last night for the 21st Birthday of my old flatmate Jessica (who also happens to be an extremely talented photographer) and got talking to her childhood best friend, who had similarly just graduated from her BA degree in Journalism from Leeds.
We were speaking about the difficulties of getting a job in the creative industries, especially with just a Bachelors degree which, like it or not, is almost 'standard' these days.
She has recently secured a place at a multinational marketing company in Leeds - a fantastic graduate job, as everyone agrees. She said something that really made me think, and that I mentally bookmarked for when I am job hunting next year.
She told me about when she was researching the company, and she went onto their website - a quirky touch they had was that they asked all their employees what 'ingredient they had to pout towards making the gingerbread man' or something similar.
The gingerbread man presumably being a metaphor for the functioning company, each current employee had proffered up their contribution of skills, outlook and ideas. This girl had made sure to include in her cover letter:
'I believe I have the appropriate ingredients to make the gingerbread man'
In interview, they picked up on the fact that she had actually looked in depth at the company website and made this reference, lamented how many 'copy and paste' cover letters they get, or sometimes even simply a CV without a cover letter attached at all! And lo and behold, she got the job offered to her on the spot!
I'm sure 95% of that job interview was aced because she was a fantastic candidate, charismatic and knowledgeable - however that extra 5% that secured her employment I dare suggest was down to her doing some background reading around the company and setting herself aside from other candidates by doing so. In the creative industries, it simply isn't enough to look good on paper - personality and thought needs to be injected into anything you do!