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Company updates, professional news

Want to Get in Publishing?  Why not Consider ‘Kickstart’ Opportunities?

As most people will be aware, publishing is a very competitive industry and getting your first break can be difficult. Kickstart placements allow companies to perhaps be more open minded when selecting candidates for the roles created, as it gives both the company and the candidate the opportunity to see if the position suits them before committing to a permanent role.  It may also give the Kickstarter the opportunity to learn more about the various roles within publishing and keep open-minded about where they see themselves most suited.  In other words, it gives both parties the opportunity to potentially widen their criteria, when both looking for and creating opportunities.

Do I Qualify for Kickstart Placements?

If you are aged between 16 and 24 and currently claiming Universal Credit, then you should qualify. You will need to be registered with a work coach who will be able to advise you of opportunities that they think might suit you.  You will then apply, either directly to the company or through an approved Government Gateway (ie Atwood Tate). The more information you can give your work coach about the type of roles you would be particularly interested in, the better.

What Will I Get Out of these Placements?

Not only will these opportunities give you some much valued work experience, you will also be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for your age group and will work for at least 25 hours per week on a 6 month contract.

Alongside the particular work placement skills learnt, you will also have the opportunity to build on general ‘soft’ skills to put you in the best possible position to find a permanent role within the industry at the end of your placement.  Throughout the placement, you should receive advice/help with recognising and building on key workplace skills such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, organisation, planning and self-motivation etc and hopefully learn more about what direction you want to go in with your future career. There is obviously the real opportunity of being kept on with the company after your placement, if you do well and the company is in a position to hire at that point. At the very least, you will be in a much better position to start applying for permanent opportunities elsewhere.

Towards the end of the placement, you will be able to get advice on what type of roles to apply for, how to make the most of your work experience and showcase this experience through your CV and social media profiles.

How are Atwood Tate Involved?

Atwood Tate are an approved Government Gateway for Media and Publishing roles.  We have helped many of our clients to secure funding to create Kickstart Placements and we expect many of these jobs to become available over the coming months.  We will be advertising some of these roles, hopefully as soon as next month, so it is worth registering your CV (and putting ‘Kickstart’ as your job choice) and ensuring that you follow us on our social media channels, such as LinkedIn.

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Writing a CV With Little or No Experience

Looking for your first job can be a daunting experience, as you need to be able to ‘sell’ yourself to potential recruiters and this doesn’t always come naturally. Writing your CV is a chance to really think about the skills you have learnt to date and how you can deploy them both in your application and interviews.

We have some great advice about formatting your CV on our website but here I want to go through in more detail how you can add content to your CV even if you haven’t had much work experience. Apart from work experience you have many skills that you’ll have developed through some other kind of experience, be it volunteering, hobbies or extracurricular activities. It is important to showcase these on your CV.

Include a Personal Statement

Your personal statement is the first thing a recruiter will read on your CV, so this needs to be good.  Although this will head up your CV you may want to write the rest of your CV before attempting this. Ideally you will have three to five lines about yourself, your skills and what makes you the perfect candidate for the role. Remember to keep it short and concise.

Make Your CV More Skills Focused

Without much work experience you will need to make your CV more skills focused. Include examples of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills and a good way of starting to think about these is by looking at the job descriptions that you want to apply for.  These are all likely to list skills and qualities that the recruiter is looking for in their ideal candidate and the trick is to match yourself to these as far a possible, whilst remaining honest so that you are able to back them up.  Always try and expand on your skills by giving examples of how you have demonstrated these in the past.  See our previous blog on the ‘Top 5 Transferable ‘Soft’ Skills’.

Enthusiasm and interest in the company counts for more than you may think. If you are able to show your enthusiasm for both the role and future potential within the company it could put you in a stronger position.

Taking online professional development courses can be a fantastic way of adding to your CV and we covered this in our recent blog ‘Free Online Courses to Boost Your Skills’.

Lastly you can always include a hobbies or interests section to your CV, particularly if you can show how these link to the job you are applying for. These could include memberships of any societies or organisations that you belong to or any fund raising events you have been involved with.

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Free Online Courses to Boost Your Skills, Confidence and CV

Looking for your first job can be daunting and applying for numerous positions without success can be demoralizing and demotivating. There is huge competition out there and finding ways to make yourself stand out with limited or no experience can be difficult.

Feel more in control of your job search

Taking advantage of the huge amount of online courses to develop your skills, will not only give you more confidence and more skills to add to your CV, it will also help you to keep motivated and positive.  A lot of the job application process is out of your control and it can be very difficult to keep picking yourself up after rejections and disappointments.  Setting aside time to take online courses will help you feel more in control and boost your future job prospects.

Online learning shown to improve mental health

Results of a study published by think tank Demos last year, revealed that 10% of the UK’s total economic output was linked to online learning. Of the 20,000 UK citizens polled for the research, 1 in 3 of them had used online learning to help them get a new job. The report also revealed that continued online learning is a fantastic way to improve your salary, on average boosting it by £3640 per year. It estimated that 20 million people in Britain felt that online learning has, at some stage, contributed to their professional output. Furthermore, and crucially, online learning was also shown to improve our mental health with more than three quarters of people who learn online (77%) recognising the benefits to personal wellbeing.

The set of FREE courses available through the government’s skills toolkit, has some fantastic online learning opportunities to improve skills in areas such as practical maths, computer essentials, personal growth & wellbeing, business & finance, digital design & marketing and computer science & coding.  There are various levels of courses available within each discipline.

Pearson has also recently developed a series of employability skills courses designed to help people entering the professional workplace build those core skills needed for long-term success, like communication, complex decision-making and creativity. These online, self-paced short courses feature real-world projects and one-to-one mentoring, helping learners gain the experience they need to set themselves apart in the graduate and ‘early career’ employment market. You can review the 10 courses currently available via their website.  All these courses are currently FREE until 19th March 2021.

There are many other free online courses available so it is worth searching to see what is right for you and what will add the most value to your job search and career.

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Corporate and Social Responsibility and COVID-19

Many companies have projects that they sponsor or charities that they donate to in the course of their business, benefiting a multitude of good causes. But, what about one cause, slowly unfolding before us and on an inevitable growth curve over the next few months.

Effects of Covid-19 on Youth Unemployment

COVID-19 has brought with it a lot of sadness and disruption to thousands personally, but economically worse is yet to come.

According to the Resolution Foundation (The Guardian 7th October, 2020, Richard Partington Covid generation: UK youth unemployment ‘set to triple to 80s levels’”) from October to the end of this year we could be facing an increase in youth unemployment (those aged 16-24 and not in education)  from 5.5% to 17%. This would match 1984 level under the Thatcher Government, at a time of great economic disruption, most notably a year dominated by the miners’ strike.

Lasting Damage of Early Unemployment

This grim forecast is due to the COVID second wave and the fact the youngest and oldest of the workforce are overrepresented by job losses in the Leisure, Hospitality and Retail sectors. However, surveys show that it will be the younger age group that will suffer most from the lasting damage from unemployment early in their career, and the danger of subsequent mental health issues. The RF reported the proportion of adults experiencing poor mental health in 2020 had increased by 80% among 18- to 29-year-olds compared to a 2019, the biggest increase of any age group.

Government’s Kickstart Scheme

The Government’s Kickstart initiative announced in the summer is something we can all as businesses get involved in and help stem this threat of long term youth unemployment. It is something we can all easily add on to our Corporate and Social Responsibilities. Offering businesses funding to cover minimum wages for 25 hours a week on 6 month placements plus a £1500 grant for each placement, the Government is hoping that 16-24 year olds currently on Universal Credit and facing long term unemployment will gain vital work experience, professional development and, most of all, hope.

How Smaller Companies Can Apply

If the stipulation of a minimum of 30 roles per application is prohibitive for smaller companies, they are able to pool together with other companies or seek out a Gateway company who will coordinate applications. The Government is also offering £300 to the applicant (whether the company or the Gateway company) for each role started to cover application administration costs. So, unless you want to top the job up to full time or increase the wages, it really is an initiative that costs the company nothing except the time to fill in an application form and to write a job description for each role.

Finding a Kickstart Gateway

Atwood Tate are acting as a Gateway and we have had a wonderful response from SME client companies who want to get involved. If you would like further details about this scheme you can find FAQs on our website at www.atwoodtate.co.uk/kickstart or email us at kickstart@atwoodtate.co.uk.

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Are you Able to ‘Kickstart’ a Young Person’s Career?

The government is calling on ‘every employer, big and small, national or local’ to hire as many ‘Kickstarters’ as possible, through their newly launched Kickstart Scheme.

These newly created job placements should help the ‘Kickstarters’ develop skills and experience that will help them with their future career prospects.

What is the Kickstart Scheme?

Kickstart is a Uk Government Scheme which provides funding to employers to create thousands of job placements for 16-24 year olds on Universal Credit.

The Government will fund 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions, for 6 months. £1,500 is also available per placement for support and training.

Who can apply for funding?

All UK companies are eligible to apply for funding but if they have less than 30 placements to offer they must apply through a representative organistation/gateway. The only criteria is that the job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs and cannot:

  • replace existing or planned vacancies
  • cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment

The roles you are applying for must be:

  • a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months
  • paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group
  • should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement

Each application should include how you will help the participants to develop their skills and experience, including:

  • support to look for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals
  • support with CV and interview preparations
  • supporting the participant with basic skills, such as communication, problem solving and teamwork

How can Atwood Tate help?

As a passionate advocate of the scheme, Atwood Tate are delighted to get involved by acting as an intermediary organisation/gateway to facilitate our clients’ access to the scheme.  It is a fantastic opportunity for us all to give hope to the hundreds of young people that are getting in touch with us, concerned about their futures.

There has been some criticism and concern that many smaller businesses may be disadvantaged by the scheme in relation to their larger counterparts because companies taking on fewer than 30 new young workers are prevented from applying directly for funds. To address this problem, we are delighted to be working with our clients to pool your job vacancies and apply for funding on your behalf.

When Does the Kickstart Scheme Start?

The scheme is open for applications now and the DWP expect to be able to confirm funding within 4 weeks of the application.

How to Apply?

You can apply through our gateway as a completely free service, or you can take advantage of our large network, skills and experience to provide you with a more comprehensive package. Details of all our packages can be found on our website www.atwoodtate.co.uk

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Ideas to Keep Your Team Motivated

It has been a difficult six months on many levels – the uncertainty of the economy, the isolation of working at home, the challenge to keep focussed and motivated. All this on top of keeping both ourselves, and our loved ones, safe from the pandemic. I thought I would share how the Atwood Tate team have been coping and why we now find ourselves ready for the winter with renewed energy and confidence.

Uno joining ‘Hour of Power’!

At the start of the lockdown, we were acutely aware of how tough it was going to be. As a small company with a team who were used to sharing ideas and encouraging each other in an already tough market, the idea of a weekly Zoom meeting didn’t fill any of us with much enthusiasm.

A couple of years ago I had qualified in teaching a fitness class called Hour of PowerTM. As a qualified personal trainer in my spare time, I was keen for a new challenge. I loved teaching the class, but I found that the competition for fitness classes in my area and the fact that it was an unknown class made it very difficult to cover my costs. I ended up finishing before Christmas 2019 and had no motivation or confidence to start it up again in January 2020.

Charlie joining ‘Hour of Power’!

Fast forward to March 2020 and I find myself in a Director’s Meeting saying I could always do a weekly fitness class on Zoom…perhaps? Well, it was received with far more enthusiasm than I thought it would! And so, on a Wednesday lunchtime in April the team appeared on the screen in front of me in Lycra, and we have not looked back!

I think we have only missed three sessions over the months – due to holiday or illness. We have exercised through the heatwave, with some of the team furloughed and some not, when there’s been little happening in the market, and when we’ve all probably felt it is the last thing we want to do. But, it has been a really positive experience for us all. Before and after the class we have a chat – rarely about just work. We have got to know each other much better, and the smiling faces and laughter after the class lift the spirits well into the afternoon. Physical activity is certainly a tonic and mood enhancer, whatever your fitness level (it may also have had something to do with my faithful sidekicks Charley the dog and Uno the conure bird, who always make their presence known!). Plus, keeping fit increases confidence. We have all tackled difficult tasks we may otherwise have kept delaying and we have also revelled in the achievement of regular exercise, as we have seen and felt a difference in ourselves. For me it has helped me regain my confidence and belief in the class as a means of building strength, stamina and confidence, which feed into other areas of our lives.

I think it has become a staple of the weekly routine for us all and we have no plans to stop, unless we all become too busy to fit it in. But, in that case it will have done its job, tiding us over a difficult period, keeping us motivated. Or we may just reschedule it to a different time!

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Top 20 Interview Tips

Interview Tips

Interviews can be nerve racking and with many interviews now being conducted remotely it can be more difficult to appear relaxed and be able to get your personality across.  Whatever structure your interview takes and whatever level of role you are being interviewed for, the one things that remains unchanged is that preparation is still the key. The more you prepare the better chance of success you have.

There is a huge amount of advice out there to help you nail your interview, but we have put together a reminder of our top 20 tips for a successful interview.

1              BE PREPARED

2              BE PUNTUAL AND IF USING TECHNOLOGY TEST IN ADVANCE

3              SMILE & BE FRIENDLY

4              DON’T PANIC

5              RE-READ YOUR APPLICATION LETTER AND CV

6              BE ENTHUSIASTIC

7              BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR ABILITY

8              TAKE TIME TO CONSIDER YOUR ANSWERS

9              DO YOUR RESEARCH ABOUT THE COMPANY AND ROLE

10           DO YOUR RESEARCH ABOUT THE COMPANY’S COMPETITORS

11           PREPARE ANSWERS TO COMMON INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

12           HIGHLIGHT YOUR STRENGTHS AND APPLY THEM TO THE JOB ROLE

13           FRAME ANY WEAKNESSES POSITIVELY

14           PREPARE SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK

15           CLEARLY DEFINE WHY YOU WANT THIS PARTICULAR ROLE

16           KEEP PROFESSIONAL THROUGHOUT THE INTERVIEW

17           DON’T WAFFLE OR GO OFF AT TANGENTS

18           DON’T BE AFRAID TO ADMIT IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND SOMETHING

19           ASK ABOUT NEXT STAGES AND TIMELINE

20           FOLLOW UP AND CONFIRM YOUR INTEREST

Good luck!

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Why a diverse workforce can pay dividends

Creating a more diverse workforce should not just be seen as something to improve a company’s reputation or just used as a box ticking exercise, it should be recognised for something that will give you a competitive advantage and therefore ultimately increase success and profits.

Creating a team with different backgrounds and characteristics will enable you to challenge your thoughts and look at things from different perspectives, which in turn increases your creativity.

Research by Josh Bersin shows that companies who are the most inclusive are, amongst other benefits, 1.8 times more likely to be ‘change-ready’ which in today’s market is certainly a crucial skill to harness.

It is well documented that Publishing is an industry that has struggled with diversity and its ability or willingness to publish books that can appeal to and reach multiple audiences and although obviously not the complete answer, rethinking hiring practices has to be a starting point. As the recent well publicised academic study on diversity in trade fiction and the publishing industry Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing suggests ‘hiring more people who belong to marginalised communities will benefit publishers strongly in terms of helping them tap into new audiences – but only if they are given the resources and freedom to do this work’.  It goes on to say ‘while it is tempting to hire the person who fits in with the ‘culture’ of a publishing house, hiring people who do not fit the typical mould might in fact reap the biggest rewards if they are given the freedom and space to express themselves’.

As an agency and partner in our client’s recruitment, we take this responsibility seriously and do everything possible to facilitate the broadest possible reach and range of potential talent to offer them. To help combat ‘unconscious bias’, we can offer more standardised CVs which can include:

  • Removing candidate’s names
  • Removing university names
  • Removing current or previous employer details

We work with our clients to continually challenge our perceptions and some clients are asking us to specifically include a certain range of candidates where at all possible ie at least 1 female candidate, at least 1 male candidate (for roles such as editorial that have traditionally attracted mostly females) and at least 1 BAME candidate.  Where this is not possible, we are able to show that we have been fully inclusive with our searching and advertising criteria.  More and more clients are also opening their selection criteria to candidates outside of publishing, where this is possible.

As an agency, we encourage transparency when advertising new opportunities, particularly with salaries, as keeping salaries secret can increase discrimination. A candidate could be chosen simply because they are able or willing to accept a lower salary. To attract the right candidates to a company we need to look not only at their relevant ‘hard skills’ but also whether they are aligned to the company’s values and priorities. Transparency at an early stage, both with salaries and company culture, not only builds trust but also wastes less time. Even if we are not able to advertise the salary, we only approach candidates that we think are in the right bracket and do not put any candidates forward without them being aware of what the salary and other benefits are likely to be. We do not only look at the candidate’s current salary to determine whether they are a fit for the role, we look at whether they are qualified for the role, regardless of their current salary.

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Now could be a great time to try freelancing

Are you thinking about freelancing?

Freelancing can offer great flexibility and a chance to ‘be your own boss’ and now may be a great time to give it a go.  Whether you are looking to build a long term freelancing career or find interim work whilst looking for the right permanent opportunity, a lot of the same challenges and rewards apply.

If looking for a permanent job, getting some freelance experience will be great for your CV and will offer you the chance of increasing your connections.

First you need to decide what skills and experience you have to offer ie experience in social media marketing/general online marketing, experience of designing book covers or experience of editing technical content. 

Whatever this is can be your main offering but being open to new skills and continued learning is essential if you want to sustain a full-time freelance career.  There is so much training available online that you can teach yourself almost anything to either get more advanced with a current skill or learn a new skill.  See our recent blog on upskilling yourself online.  The more skills you have to offer the more successful you can be.

Once you are clear what you can offer potential clients, you can go about finding these clients and letting them know about your service.  Start with your existing network of contacts and build from here.  Advertise on social media channels and consider memberships of appropriate societies where you can advertise yourself and learn from other members.  BookMachine are currently partnering with the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading to offer CIEP free membership in August.

Whatever freelancing services you want to offer there are some key qualities that you will need and that publishers will be looking for:

  • Confidence in your ability
  • Accuracy
  • Self-motivation and discipline
  • Excellent communication skills (written and verbal)
  • An understanding of your target market
  • Value for money
  • Being organised and adhering to deadlines

Showcasing as many of these skills as possible when approaching potential clients will give you a greater chance of success.

Once you have had some experience, you can start asking for testimonials and referrals which is a great way of building your network further. Also hopefully you will start to get repeat business and regular assignments.

Good luck!

More resources:

Working as a freelancer and Tips for freelancers from The Publishing Training Centre

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Helping candidates get a ‘foot in the door’

We know that many people are currently worried about their job prospects and as an employment agency we are keen to help in any way we can.  We are particularly concerned for those trying to enter the job market for the first time and have invited our publisher clients to promote any graduate schemes, paid internships or work experience through us (free of any charge). 

Details of publishing internships / publishing work experience / publishing graduate schemes will be posted here on our blog, promoted on our social media and shared with our registered job seekers.

If you’re a publisher or company in the publishing industry or supply chain, please get in touch with Claire Law at clairelaw@atwoodtate.co.uk

If you’d like more info on getting into publishing, we’ve got a blog post with lots more info: Work Experience & Entry Level Resources


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