Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Competency-based Interviews: STAR Q&A's

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Although it is rare, sometimes you will have to attend an interview as part of the application process for an internship. Previously, I have written two other blog posts on interviews, which are ‘preparing for intern interviews’ and ‘surviving intern interviews’. Both these blog posts provide basic advice that offers a starting point for completing a successful interview.

As you already know, the publishing industry is a tough one to get into, especially if you have zero contacts. This is why I have created blog posts that not only apply to students seeking internships, but also graduates that may need advice when looking for full time work. In particular, the interview will be the main part of your job application, and will make or break whether you are the person to secure the internship/job. This is why over the next month or two, I shall be creating a lot more blog posts, which tackle the fundamental part of the recruitment process.

As some of you may have found out from my Twitter page, I’ve currently been brainstorming new ideas for upcoming blog posts. These future blog posts inevitably mean that I’m going beyond my current knowledge of recruitment advice, and turning my attention to the stuff that I don’t know much about. In order to achieve this, I’ve been taking my own time to research various career based topics, which include expanding my interview based blog posts and specifically, competency-based interviews Q&A’s.

STAR is a method that most if not all employers are familiar with, and it is a popular way to structure your interview answers. STAR allows you to answer behaviour-based interview questions in a structured and coherent manner.

STAR interview questions, typically are questions that seek out a candidates level of competency and behaviour. For example, a sample question would be ‘Describe a time in which you have had to work as a team?’ These types of questions give the interviewer a feel for how you have acted in the past, which provides a good indication to how you will act in the future. To make sure that you don’t slip up on STAR questions, give your interviewer a STAR answer.

The STAR acronym consists of:

Situation – Describe the situation that you were confronted with, including the context, and any other relevant information that is useful to your story.

Task – Describe the task that you needed to accomplish. Make this concise and informative. If the question is about teamwork, then explain the task that you had to undertake within that team.

Action – This is the most significant aspect of the STAR structure. Now that you have set up the context of the situation, make sure that you are now describing your performance, personal attributes and highlight the skills that you have gained. This should include the standard details of what you did, how you did it and why you did it.

Result – Describe how the situation ended, what you have accomplished, and relate it back to any skills that you have learnt.

This universally recognised way to communicate will be valued by your interviewer, even if they haven’t directly been trained in STAR technique. As a result, your answers and the information given to your interviewer will be competently delivered in a concise manner. Please be aware that there are plenty of websites offering an array of sample STAR questions and answers. Do your research and impress your interviewer.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Are you looking for a publishing placement? (4)

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Intern Opportunities

Go City Girl is looking for a editorial fashion intern to write for its GO Fashion online magazine.

To apply: Send your CV to info@gocitygirl.com

Alberta Ferretti press office is looking for new interns to start next week. These internships are full time for a one-month period.

To apply: Send your CV and cover letter ASAP to Silvia Uslenghi silvia.uslenghi@albertaferretti.co.uk

Do you want a flexible internship?

Gossipdrip is seeking fashion/celeb/beauty writers to contribute to their website.

To apply: Fill out the ‘Contact Us’ form on the website http://www.gossipdrip.com/contact

Are you looking for your first job?

The BBC has two vacancies for an editorial assistant for Match of the Day magazine, and a Picture Hub assistant for teen/pre-teen magazines.

For more information visit: https://careers.bbc.co.uk/fe/tpl_bbc01.asp?newms=jj&id=36821

Please be aware that applications close on the 30th of January 2012.

Please remember that all the vacancies above can be found on my Twitter profile page - @steff_lever

Keep yourself up to date with intern opportunities by following me on Twitter.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Top 5 Tips for Surviving Intern Interviews

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How to survive intern interviews, is certainly an important aspect of your intern application process, which could secure you the internship. Below, I have listed 5 top tips for surviving an intern interview. These tips will cover when you enter the location of your interview, right through till when you leave.

1) Reception Area

Once you enter the location of your interview, your interview has basically started. This is because you don’t know who is watching and where, so be professional at all times. Remain this way even when greeting the receptionist as some receptionists are told to record their initial impressions of the candidate. This will apply to all other staff that you may meet before you meet your interviewer.

2) Initial Interview Questions

Usually, interviewers will asked you the standard initial questions, which essentially are all about your knowledge of the company. This is when your preparation and research will be under scrutiny. For instance, if you have applied for an events internship, make sure you do your research about the company first (check out the ‘About Us’ page), and then check out what events they host. This would be the standard preparation for your interview, and obviously the more you do, the more knowledgeable you become, which leads to better answers, and creates a good impression for your interviewer.

3) Standard Interview Questions

I’ve never had an intern interview go beyond the questions ‘why have you applied?’ and ‘what experience have you got?’ – These questions are standard, right? However, in the graduate world and the internships with stiff competition, then there will be other typical questions that employers will ask, such as ‘What are your strengths?’ and ‘What are your weaknesses?’ These types of questions you can prepare for at home, because many interviewers ask them frequently. Make sure that you’re honest with your answers, but at the same time, make sure that you are clever with them. For instance, you’re not going to set a good impression if you tell them that your weakness is time management. Don’t slip up on these standard interview questions.

4) Body Language

Keep eye contact and don’t cross your arms. People do notice body language, from how you sit, down to how you talk. Make sure that you are aware of what impression you’re giving off.

Control your voice. Sometimes we get a bit nervous and our voice starts to suffer because it. Stay calm and speak in a coherent manner.

Make sure you use your ears properly and listen to the question. Don’t worry if you take a second or two to answer.

If you initially don’t know how to answer an interview question, then create an educated answer. For example, I once had an interviewer ask, ‘If I want a red ladder how would you get me one?’ my initial thought was that I had no idea what I would do. Subsequently, I rushed my answer and it wasn’t thought through correctly. However, had I of stopped to think then I would of said something along the lines of, ‘I would see if the company had any contacts, or I would ask another member of staff if they would know what to do’. So be smart, even it means admitting to not knowing everything.

5) Once the Interview has finished

Similarly to my first tip, don’t forget that you are being scrutinised before and when you leave the interview. Always think about the impression you’re giving, even if you aren’t directly giving it to the interviewer, as they are bound to find out any you say that may be classed as ‘unprofessional’.

Lastly, keep your happy face on and be professional throughout the interview process.

Don’t forget if you want to contribute to this blog email me at steff.lever@gmail.com

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Are you looking for a publishing placement? (3)

Get ‘Intern Opportunities’ and other blog posts straight to your inbox by subscribing to this blog via email. Please see the subscription box on the right hand side and submit your email. Once submitted, you will need to use the link in the automatic activation email to confirm your subscription.

Intern Opportunities

Grazia Magazine is seeking editorial interns for 2012.
To apply: Send your CV to Jo Oliver at internships@graziamagazine.co.uk

Fashion Wrap Up is seeking both editorial and fashion interns for summer 2012.
To apply: Fill in the website’s contact form http://www.fashionwrapup.com/contact

Glam.com is looking for an editorial intern to work full time ASAP, leading up to and during fashion week. You should have a passion for digital media and women’s lifestyle.
Other 4-week placements are available throughout the year.
To apply: Send your CV and cover letter to amyh@glam.com

Do you want a flexible internship?
Cocokouture Magazine is looking for a beauty blogger. This is a great place to intern at if you are seeking flexible hours working from home. If you have a passion for hair and makeup, then CK wants to hear from you.
To apply: Send your CV to internships@glittergroupe.com

The In Wedding Show Company is seeking a PR intern to write press releases and small articles to promote the show.

Please remember that all the vacancies above can be found on my Twitter profile page - @steff_lever
Keep yourself up to date with intern opportunities by following me on Twitter.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Have you had a positive intern experience?

Over the next coming months, I would really like to expand my blog to include other student/graduate experiences of any publishing placements undertaken. I would like to do this as I think this would help other reader’s gain a bit more of an insight into work experience, in terms of what is involved and what they can expect from different companies.

If anyone would like to contribute to this blog then please email me. The written piece will be in a similar style to my own snapshot diaries, and will be entitled ‘Guest Snapshot Diary – [Name]’. There is no minimum word count as long as the piece is insightful.

For more information email: steff.lever@gmail.com

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Are you looking for a publishing placement? (2)

Intern Opportunities

Fabulous Magazine is seeking a fashion intern for the month of February.

To Apply: Send your CV to fashionassistant@fabulousmag.co.uk

Do fancy writing a guest blog to build up your portfolio?

Inspiring Interns are looking for budding writers to write a guest blog on their website.

To apply or find out more info: Email Hannah@inspiringinterns.com

Are you seeking a twelve-month work placement in publishing?

More Magazine is seeking a Digital & Entertainment intern for up to twelve months. This is a paid placement based in their Covent Garden office.

To Apply: “Send your CV, cover letter, 150-word critique of more! Magazine’s digital presence, along with 5 celebrities you think we should feature in the mag (and where we should feature them) to: Alison Perry, Executive Editor, more!, Endeavour House, 189 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JG, by Friday January 20, 2012.” (Quoted text from: http://www.moremagazine.co.uk/article/want-to-work-for-more-magazine/)

For more information visit: http://www.moremagazine.co.uk/article/want-to-work-for-more-magazine/

Please remember that all the vacancies above can be found on my Twitter profile page - @steff_lever

Keep yourself up to date with intern opportunities by following me on Twitter.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Get Started: How to Use this Blog Effectively

Since I first created this blog, I have had a steady increase in the amount of queries that people have sent to me, which is great. Mostly the queries I receive are all about applying for work placements. This is why I have decided to write a blog post that is focussed on giving you the most important posts that I have written, especially if you haven’t been following my blog since the beginning. Therefore, below I have compiled a list that could be used as a systematic guide for reading and gaining the most advice I have in my blog so far.

1) Where do I start?

Don’t forget that I have a page on this site that is focussed on where to start when you’re beginning your work placement search. This will probably be the first place you’ll want to go, and within that page, I have listed a few key blog posts that you may want to draw your attention to.

2) Older blog posts

If you haven’t been following my blog since the beginning, then you’ll find that there are a lot of significant blog posts that date back to July last year. Instead of searching for them yourself, here is a good list to get you started.

Blog posts:

Top 5 Tips for getting Work Experience http://diaryofapublishingintern.blogspot.com/2011/07/5-top-tips-for-getting-work-experience.html

Top 5 Tips for getting Employer Responses http://diaryofapublishingintern.blogspot.com/2011/07/top-5-tips-for-getting-employer.html

Why Am I Not Getting Employer Responses and What Should I Do? http://diaryofapublishingintern.blogspot.com/2011/11/why-am-i-not-getting-employer-responses.html

3) Guardian Careers

The Guardian Careers website is definitely worth going on regularly. It holds a wealth of information and advice for students/graduates that are looking for work placements or careers. To start with, if you haven’t already listened, you may find the Work Experience Podcast that I’m featured in helpful.


4) Covering the basics

Also, some of you may not know that I have written a series of CV Workshop blog posts that gives advice about how to format and style your CV. Please find the link below.

CV work shop http://diaryofapublishingintern.blogspot.com/2011/08/cv-workshop-top-5-headings-for-your-cv.html

Additionally, I have written these following blog posts to cover the other application basics.




5) Continue Researching

Remember that should use my blog as a starting point for your own research. I'm currently in the process of finishing my next Guardian article, which is all about the specific research I embarked on when I searched for placements.

Additionally, I know that some of my readers are seeking work placements in alternative industries to publishing but rest assured, the skills and techniques I write about can certainly be transferable.

Above, I have supplied some of the ‘Best of’ blog posts, which will help you to make the best use of my blog. All of the above, is my initial advice to finding and applying to work placements.

Don’t forget that I’m always happy to hear from you if you have any comments, queries or suggestions.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Are you looking for a publishing placement?

Intern Opportunities

All vacancies below are advertised on Twitter.

My Beautiful City is seeking a few interns to work in fashion production. The positions are paid.

To apply: Send your CV to terry@mybeautifulcity.co.uk

Wonderland Magazine is looking for interns. Unfortunately, I have no more specific information about this, and I can't see any further information on their website. However, use the email address below to find out more details.

To apply: Send your CV to info@wonderlandmagazine.com

Are you seeking a one-year work placement in publishing?

6footfashion are currently looking for an intern to do a one-year fashion internship with them. You should be passionate about fashion, and be able to travel to North London for the placement.

To apply: Send your CV to info@6footfashion.com

Career Opportunities

If you are seeking your very first job in publishing, then M&S magazine are looking to employ an exceptional editorial assistant. Unfortunately, I don’t have any more details on this vacancy, but I assume it will be a full time position. This will be a very competitive vacancy so you will need to apply as soon as possible.


Please remember that all the vacancies above can be found on my Twitter profile page - @steff_lever

Keep yourself up to date with intern opportunities by following me on Twitter.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Top 5 Tips for Dealing with Stress

Many students and graduates will be feeling stressed right now, which is why I’ve decided to do a blog post about how best to deal with it.
The New Year is in full swing with ranging resolutions from a good degree to a job – not forgetting the less significant ones like eat less chocolate. Anyway, the point is that at times like these, when we have a lot of stress, we need our coping mechanisms.
Below, I have listed five top tips to help you try to deal with stress.

1) Take a break
When you are stressed there is nothing worse than being unproductive with your time. If you are feeling unproductive, then make sure you take a break and don’t think about your work for a while. When you resume working, you’ll feel much better, less stressed and more productive.

2) Think about your lifestyle
Sometimes keeping active and having a healthier lifestyle can really help you feel less stressed. Don’t over work yourself and make sure that you’re having a few ‘me’ hours a week.

3) Be a smart worker
Instead of thinking about working hard, make sure you’re thinking about how you’re working. This comes back to the idea of being unproductive. You don’t want to waste any valuable time. Instead, work out what times you work best for you and for what duration. For instance, I work better in the morning and the afternoon, far better than in the evening. Additionally, working long hours in the day may not work for you, so adjust your working plan to what suits you best. This is where schedules can become very useful.

4) Find your trigger
If you find yourself stressed then try to find yourself a trigger back to normal. Take a break away from a work, and do something else. For example, my trigger is having a tea and biscuit break, but it can be a variety of activities such as, getting some air and going for a walk. It’s all about taking your mind off whatever is the source of your stress.

5) Work the way that works best for you
This last tip really sums up my blog post. If you work smart then you’ll definitely reduce the amount of stress that you feel. Like me, you may be the type of person that finds it difficult to take a break, especially when you have the pressure of knowing that you have a lot work to do. So, if you’re losing productivity make sure you take a break, and understand how you best work. We won’t all be the same and everyone will work best in different ways.

As I said at the beginning, this time of year is one of the busiest for students and graduates. Whether you’re applying for graduate schemes or revising for examinations, it’s always important to work effectively and manage your time correctly.

Remember that the most important aspect of dealing with stress is to recognise when you’re being unproductive with your time. Don’t just work hard, make sure you’re working the way that works best for you.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

x Happy New Year x

I hope you all had a wonder Christmas.

Don't forget that there's still time to apply for placements or graduate schemes before University starts up again. If you haven't already, check out my previous blog post, which includes productive things that you can been doing during your holiday - Top 5 Tips for Occupying Your Spare Time Over Christmas.

It feels like I haven't done a proper blog post in ages, but they will be resuming from Tuesday the 3rd of January 2012, and following the same format/schedule as 2011.

My next blog post will be 'Top 5 Tips for Dealing with Stress'.
I'm sure all students and graduates are stressed at the moment, whether it is because of January assessments or whether you're trying to find employment. Therefore, I hope you find it useful.

All that is left for me to say is - Happy New Year :-)

Love from,
The Publishing Intern