How I got my job at gradirelandPosted: July 23, 2012
My name is Conor Hogan and I’m now a few weeks into my new position as an editor at gradireland. Reading this blog, you are probably looking for a job, so it might be useful for me to tell you how I got mine.
I’ll begin, however, many years ago in Tipperary, as I was drinking Red Bull and coffee – trying to cram as much information as possible into my head for my first Leaving Certificate examination the following morning. This I would repeat seven times (the coffee drinking, not the Leaving Cert).
This led to me getting accepted in a four-year Humanities degree, before progressing to a postgraduate diploma in Communications – which was mostly centred on Media and TV Production. It is important to note that I do not have formal journalism training. Many people in the industry don’t.
My first job following graduation, if you do not include the years I spent behind the counter in Xtravision, was as a staff writer for an online magazine. I managed to get the interview after applying to an online advertisement, despite making some classic mistakes in my CV.
For instance, I went into far too much detail about my duties at Xtravision, which were absolutely irrelevant. Reading back over it now is kind of hilarious: ‘Duties include serving customers, opening and closing the shop, merchandising the store, hoovering.’ In every subsequent CV, I’ve just written that ‘I worked as part of the store team while I pursued my education’.
In the interview, I was as enthusiastic and amiable as I could have been under the circumstances. You’ll have only been called up to an interview if they established you were qualified. One of the main things that they want to learn is whether they like or can work with you.
When it was between me and another person, I was given a writing task: ‘Ten things to improve Ireland’. I’d finished and emailed it to them in a couple of hours. While it wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever written, it determined I could write quickly with some degree of humour – speed was one of the main things they were looking for.
After my contract expired, I was unemployed for a period. Journalism jobs were few and far between so I decided to apply for a JobBridge internship. I have serious reservations about that scheme, but it is important for a journalist not to have CV gaps. The internship was as a journalist in a quarterly magazine and considering the absolute churning-machine I had become at my previous job, it was nice to get the opportunity to spend more time working at stories. The magazine was also a two-person team, so I got plenty of opportunity to edit.
While there, I got other job interviews. It was frustrating at times, frequently getting down to the last couple or so. I had to keep reminding myself that getting really close is a positive thing and that eventually the more I did, the likelier I’d get something (statistically speaking).
I then saw the position at gradireland advertised on an Irish jobsite. They (it’s we now) had decided to advertise the job in Ireland, even though GTI Media’s editorial department is based in the UK. I firstly had a phone interview. These can be awkward because it is difficult to gauge how you are doing without seeing the other person’s reaction.
I must have done okay, as I got a second interview – this time face-to-face. I was also given an example article to write and an editing exercise to complete. When they established I was their preferred candidate, I was asked to come over to see the office. It was a long day, involving buses, airplanes, taxis and other John Candy movie related transport but obviously worth it in the end.
And right now, I am writing this blog. It isn’t ‘right now’ for you obviously, it was sometime in the past. But hopefully not only will it tell you a bit about ‘who I am’ but somehow help you a bit in your job search.