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CMCI Careers Event: Getting into the Job Market

On Wednesday 31st March, the CMCI Careers Committee, made up of both BA and MA students, hosted the first of two events, which tackled the all-important issue of how to get into the creative job market, especially with the strains of a global pandemic. Joining us in the discussion was Laura Flesch, who is an account executive at Socially Powerful, a digital marketing agency, as well as Wayne D’Cruz, an alumnus of the MA CCI programme who is currently the distribution and sales manager at Dartmouth Films.

During the talk, both Laura and Wayne imparted some crucial wisdom about the job market as it is currently and shared their top tips. Laura importantly said that you have to make yourself stand out within your application, as your degree alone is not enough, and her top tips included tailoring your CV to the job, showing that you have external interests and are up to date with current news, as well as remaining persistent with job applications. Adding onto this, Wayne stressed the importance of networking, through either coffee or Zoom meetings, as well as mastering your 30 second elevator pitch, which could be useful at any moment. Both professionals also focused on the importance of resilience in the face of rejection, as they both received many rejections before landing their current jobs (Wayne even had a spreadsheet!), and they emphasised the competitive nature of the London job market, with Wayne stating that his course mates who moved away from the capital after the MA landed on their feet far more quickly.

As they both work in smaller organisations, Laura and Wayne also attested to the value of starting small, where you are able to learn a bit of everything before moving onto a bigger company, where your skills will be more specialised. Importantly, in the context of networking, their biggest tips were to email or message on LinkedIn asking for a meeting, rather than just sending your CV cold asking for a job. Ending the session, the biggest advice they suggested was to start gathering any sort of experience early, either working part-time or interning, whilst also being as prepared as possible, taking the time to articulate your ideas and casting a wide net of people.

Thank you so much to both Laura and Wayne for taking the time to speak to students within the CMCI department, as well as the CMCI careers committee for arranging the talk!

Event 1: Getting into the Job Market

Speaker: Wayne D’Cruz

At Dartmouth Films, Wayne D’Cruz releases independent documentaries in the UK marketplace, working with a variety of stakeholders towards building new audiences. During his time in the CMCI department at KCL,Wayne focussed on emerging distribution practices in the British film industry. Alongside the MA programme, he led the university team at a pan-European student advertising competition to first place. His previous experience includes working on a film trade market, a children’s film development network, and programming and production for film festivals.In 2019, he won Rising Star at the Screen Awards.

Q. CMCI is such a broad spectrum of jobs and businesses. It was mentioned that despite similarities between the sectors that different tactics or skills are more effective depending on your focus. For your sector specifically, what are the best skills to develop, tactics to employ, or platforms to follow when applying for jobs?

A. I cannot harp on enough how crucial networking is. Being a King’s CMCI student opens doors, leverage that. Reach out to people with personalised correspondence, request a coffee meeting (or a short zoom meeting until COVID restrictions are in place), and go prepared with questions. Practise your elevator pitch, and don’t be afraid to think laterally about new opportunities.

Q. If students do not have experience to form a portfolio with, they may assign or produce their own work to build one. Do you have any advice for making those personal efforts stand out? How can they compete with or be comparable to professional work?

A. Start by leaning into your own narrative—your culture, worldview or keen interests—to produce work that is personal. The authenticity you then bring will make up for any lack of experience. 

Q. What is the best advice you ever received about compiling a resume or preparing for an interview?

A. That your resume must never be longer than one page. It’s a maxim I am now quite pedantic about, and works as an excellent way to ensure that only the most relevant bits of your profile make the cut. 

Speaker: Laura Flesch

Account Executive at a digital marketing agency, UCL Art History graduate, social media expert with a passion for content creation and influencer marketing. Specialty coffee fan with an eye for fashion, art and design.

Q. The panel really showcased how universal rejection is. What are some helpful takeaways you’ve had from rejections? Were you given direct feedback or criticism that influenced you moving forward or was it more based on self-evaluation? Did you have any practices or habits you developed to process rejection? 

A. I had to learn that rejection is inevitable and unfortunately everyone will have to face it. In most cases, you send out 100 applications and only 2 companies respond.  It is difficult to get feedback since most of the times these recruiters have hundreds of applicants so I would always push and make sure that I have feedback so then I can self-evaluate and ask myself: How could I have done better? What did I learn?

My process with rejection is simple, I would always ask myself: Did I do my best? If yes, there is no need to feel bad and being hard on ourselves; it’s time to move on, it’s normal. We never know what happens on the other side. Maybe they were looking for someone from a specific background or age, etc. If it had meant to be me, it would have been. Also, if they really liked you, they might contact you later with another job opportunity.

Q. CMCI is such a broad spectrum of jobs and businesses. It was mentioned that despite similarities between the sectors that different tactics or skills are more effective depending on your focus. For your sector specifically, what are the best skills to develop, tactics to employ, or platforms to follow when applying for jobs? 

A. It is essential to be proactive in CMCI, you have to attend a lot of networking events, apply on various websites, not just LinkedIn but on agencies’ websites. There are many Careers sites of universities, e.g. King’s College, UCL, LSE etc, so I would definitely sign up on those where you can find graduate schemes or internships specifically. At the end of the day, unfortunately, it doesn’t matter as much which university you go to, it’s the experience you can stand out with, therefore I would suggest volunteering, interning even if it’s unpaid since you have to show that you put yourself out there and you have something to offer.

Q. What is an atypical or unusual skill or trait that has helped you further your career?

A. Recruiters/talent managers are bored of cliché answers, experiences, they want to learn about you. What makes you special? Do you have any weird hobbies? My go-to trait is always how I love meditating and would workout 4 times a week to do crossfit and powerlifting. These show unusual skills which recruiters love, nonetheless, these unique traits will make them remember you which is one of the most important things when interviewing.

(Summary of the event by Yasmin Anwer and interviews by Shannon Fox, both members of the CMCI Careers Committee 2020-2021)

In 2020-2021, CMCI's Student Committee included the following BA students: Lyn Huang, Xuanzhu Hu, Isabella Lercari, Zheyao Shen. It also included the following MA students: Yasmin Anwer (MA ACM), Rebecca Davison-Mora (MA ACM), Dasha Em (MA ACM), Shannon Fox (MA ACM), Juliette Husson (MA ACM), Ksenia Kazintseva (MA ACM), Yaoyao Men (MA ACM), Sophia Xenaki (MA ACM), Camilla Wider (MA GMI). It was coordinated by Dr Mafalda Dâmaso, CMCI’s Careers and Employability Lead.