Tag Archives: Interview

How to Use Blogging to Get into Publishing

How to use Blogging to get into Publishing

How to Use Blogging to Get into Publishing

How relevant is blogging to publishing? You’d be surprised. Blogging is not a hobby you should start specifically to enter publishing, but if you have one: mention it!

Blogging is a growing hobby, and a new career choice, in the 21st century. Having a blog gives people a platform to discuss what they want and voice their own opinions. But it also gives you the opportunity to work with others across multiple fields of industry. Not to mention develops skills in your own time which can help you in the long-run.

If you’re just starting out and are looking for an entry-level role within publishing, blogging is a great skill to have! So long as you have some work experience to back it up, blogging can tip the balance on whether or not you get an interview or even a job!

There are many different types of blogs, and all can help you gain many skills, from Coding, Design, Marketing, networking and more! But within the Publishing industry specifically book blogging is a very relevant skill!

Book blogging, or booktubing (video blogging), gives you the chance to voice your opinions about books and the latest book trends. A book blogger can write reviews, top ten lists, trend-reviews and more and each of these topics has some relevance to publishing. If you’re an established book blogger you may even work with publishers; taking part in blog tours, hosting giveaways and Q&As and attending book events.

Through communicating with publishers through these events, and voicing your own opinions, shows a potential employee that you understand the industry. You can see trends, converse with professionals and work to deadlines in a creative and independent manner.

This is relevant to all sectors, be it Trade or B2B, and all roles from IT, Editorial, Publicity and more!

It also shows an interest outside of work, which suggests to a future employer that you are a reliable candidate with a keen sense of the publishing industry.

Whether you’re a book blogger or not; blogging is skill to add to your CV!

Here some things you can highlight to show how blogging is useful to you:

  • Commitment: The longer you’ve been blogging the better. This shows commitment and creative thinking, and also proves that you can work well independently.
  • Networking: If you’ve worked with brands or publishers mention it on your CV. Not only does it prove your communicational skills, but also shows an understanding of the industries you mention. This is particularly good if the brands are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
  • Social Media and SEO abilities: Have you got 1000 twitter followers because of your blog publicity? Mention it! Do you understand SEO? Mention it!
  • Coding: If you’ve altered your HTML yourself or have learnt about it then put that down as a skill. For more information about HTML and how to do it, look at our series of posts here!
  •  Design: Did you design your blog, or make your own graphics/headers? Have you got original artwork or worked with others to create artwork? Put it on your CV.

There are so many relevant and useful skills which can be a real pull to employers when looking at CV.

Make sure you have other work experience to back up your blog experiences, but also be sure to highlight the skills you have learnt through blogging! It could mean the difference between getting a job interview and getting a job when you’re first starting out!

Need any more tips about how to enter publishing? Take a look at our Work Experience & Entry-Level Resources!

For more advice, or if you have any questions, get in touch via any of our social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram.

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How to Get Ahead in Academic Publishing

Today we have a guest post from Academic Professional: Suzanne Kavanagh.Suzanne Kavanagh Academic Book Week

 

Suzanne Kavanagh has worked in publishing for over 20 years, most recently as Director of Marketing and Membership Services at ALPSP. You can contact her via @sashers or suzanne.kavanagh@gmx.com.

 

How to Get Ahead in Academic Publishing

Armed with a fistful of crumpled CVs and an Art History degree, I trudged up and down Charing Cross Road looking for a bookselling job. I’d set my heart on working in publishing in my third year at uni, but trawling through The Guardian I realised it would be hard for me to stand out from hundreds of applicants who, no doubt, also felt just as passionately about books and read voraciously as I did. I figured bookselling would be a good starting point.

This was the first time I’d considered what I had to offer. It made me think about how selling jeans in a shop provided influencing, negotiation and questioning skills. I realised that bar work provided customer service and conflict resolution skills (as well as excess consumption of warm white wine…essential for low budget book launches). Fast forward a few weeks and I was happily ensconced at a specialist art bookseller.

Aside from a borderline obsession with alphabetising each section and secretly sniffing new stock, I learned a lot that would be relevant for my career.

It was pretty cutting edge for *coughs* 1993 *coughs*. We had a PC networked stock management system. We used this to mail out subject leaflets to customers around the world. I used my enthusiasm and retail experience to help customers find the book they were after and proved to be an occasional foil to the sometimes-grumpy owner.

My first job at a small trade publisher was in the sales and marketing team. I dealt with bibliographic information, wrote jacket blurbs, marketing copy and produced the new titles catalogue. I got to know everyone in the company and gained a real insight into the publishing process.

But the low salary made it hard to live in London. Sound familiar?

Meanwhile a friend kept telling me about the publisher she worked at. They published academic texts for students, researchers and professionals in the humanities and social sciences. She loved working there. And she was paid quite a bit more than me. Academic publishing had never occurred: I’d always assumed that publishing meant fiction, poetry and pictures. But the facts speak for themselves.

The UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport reports that the publishing sector employed 200,000 people in 2015 – an increase of 3.7% on the year before. (Source: DCMS 2016 Focus on Creative Industries report). These figures include book, journal, newspapers, magazines and database publishing. However, in 2011, Creative Skillset reported the breakdown by sub-sector: Journals and Periodicals employed 26% of the workforce and Book Publishing 17% and Academic is drawn from both these categories.

In May 2016 the UK Publishers Association reported that total sales of book and journal publishing were up to £4.4 billion in 2015. Academic journal publishing was up 5% to £1.1 billion and there were £1.42 billion export revenues with two thirds of this figure in education, academic and ELT (English Language Teaching). (Source: PA Statistics Yearbook 2015 news release)

Academic is a vibrant sector employing a lot of people and is a major economic driver in the creative industries.

My second publishing job was at that academic publisher promoting journals and reference works. When asked why I wanted the job, the answer was clear: I’d relish working with books that support education, research and the furthering of knowledge. I got the job and – to my surprise and delight – a decent pay rise.

The great thing about many academic publishers is that they tend to be large organisations with more opportunity for training and promotion. I took all options open to me. I applied for internal jobs to learn about different lists and improve my skills. I was curious, enthusiastic, worked and played hard. I got to know people, respected different departments and personalities it took to run the business. Roles included Marketing Coordinator, Executive, Manager, Senior Manager.

Since then I’ve had the privilege of working in a range of organisations including Taylor & Francis, Continuum and the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers. I saw first hand how diverse the sector is at ALPSP, an international trade body for not-for-profit organisations. Their members include the American Historical Association, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the OECD, SAGE, as well as all the larger commercial companies like Elsevier and Springer Nature. There are a lot of publishers covering pretty much all disciplines.

I know it seems obvious, but the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that job mobility and training go hand in hand with progressing your career.

You may start in one department/role. That doesn’t preclude you moving to others where your experience is applied in different ways. There are plenty of opportunities with more specialist jobs where, with the right training, you can become expert in a particular niche.

When I started out, it was relatively simple: assistant / coordinator / executive / manager roles in sales / marketing / production / editorial. And now? Well a quick glance through the Atwood Tate vacancy list tells a story. Roles like ‘Predictive Analytics and Insight Specialist’ and ‘Instructional Designer’ sit alongside Product Editor and Marketing Executive. It’s a taste of how the industry is changing. If you move roles, and learn new skills, you’re more likely to get on.

So what does the future hold for you and what skills do you need to be successful? There are three main areas you need to plot your profile against. Where do you map yourself on this chart? Where do you want to be? This is by no means exhaustive, but provides insight into where the industry will be.

Academic Flow chart

My final advice for working in academic publishing?

  1. Be curious: ask open questions, listen and learn
  2. Read industry publications, blogs and research
  3. Remember you’re dealing with people: be courteous, build your network
  4. Take every training opportunity – from free webinars to paid-for courses
  5. Enjoy it! You’re giving something back to advancing human knowledge.

 

We thank Suzanne for her wonderful guest post!

For more information about Academic Book Week, and more information about academic publishing, see the official website and the Twitter feed.

If you are a publishing professional and would be interested in writing a guest post for Atwood Tate just get in touch.

Please email: eleanorpilcher@atwoodtate.co.uk or get in touch via any of our social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram.

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How to Register with Atwood Tate

how-to-register-with-atwood-tate

New Year, New Job?

Why not use Atwood Tate to help you find your next job in publishing. To take the first step you need to register with us!

This is entirely free and can be done online on our website!

Register Online

Click on the Login/Register button in the top right hand corner and then click on ‘Not Registered?’ This will take you to our registration page where you can fill out all of your personal details, your preferences and upload your CV.

You can choose up to three preferences, from a list, for three separate areas:

  • Job Type: i.e. Editorial, Sales or Marketing
  • Job Sector: i.e. STM, MedComms or B2B
  • Job Location: i.e. London, Oxford or International

You can also choose whether or not to receive Job Alerts. Job Alerts are tailored to your preferences, so if your top preferences are Editorial in a B2B sector if a job becomes available you will be alerted via email.

**Please note that when you sign up for Job Alerts you may receive several immediately. This will stop after a few hours, as these will be our current jobs that suit your preferences.

Also, our Job Alerts are not tailored to salary so some roles may be too senior or too junior for you depending on your experience. Please note that you are able to search for jobs by salary on our website Job search though. If you are confused or interested in any of these roles but are unsure of whether they are suitable, each email comes with the contact details for the consultant covering that position. Feel free to phone or email them for more details.

In addition, when you register with us you set yourself a password which will allow you to login to your profile page and make edits, such as upload a new CV, turn on/off your job alerts etc. Please make a note of your password upon registering. Your username will be your email address.

Once you have filled in your details and uploaded your most recent CV, press Register.

The Next Step

Your profile will have been added to our system and our Administrator Ellie Pilcher will review it within a couple of days. She will either send your details to the most relevant consultant:

For example:

Or, Ellie will respond herself to clarify any questions we may have, or to suggest that you gain more work experience. The majority of our clients require at least 3-6 months’ worth of in-house publishing experience before considering candidates for a role. Although our Temps desk may consider applicants with less experience who have admin skills, for temp roles.

Don’t be disheartened if we respond suggesting you need to gain more experience. We have resources we can point you to, to help you gain that experience! And we’re happy to answer any questions about Work Experience on our social media accounts. For more in-depth information please contact Ellie at: eleanorpilcher@atwoodtate.co.uk.

Office Registration

Once a profile has been reviewed by Ellie and forwarded to one of the consultants, that consultant will then get in touch with you! They may invite you to register with us in person, at either our London or Oxford office depending on your immediate location. We can also do registrations via the phone and Skype.

When you have registered online you are registered with Atwood Tate. You do not need to meet us in person before you can apply for our roles, you may do so immediately.

When a consultant organises to meet with you in person it is to gather more information about your past experiences, your skills and where exactly you would like to work within publishing. You and the consultant will sort out a time and date suitable for you both and directions/information will be given before your registration.

It is an informal registration, but you can use the experience as a practice interview if you like. You will be asked to complete a couple of forms, including our Equal Opportunities form, and you’ll be required to bring along two forms of identification: a passport &  your National Insurance number.

The meeting shouldn’t take more than 20-30 minutes, but it is your opportunity to ask us any questions you have, to highlight where you want to go within your career and to discuss any vacancies that we currently have.

Applying for a Job

Whilst registering with Atwood Tate you can apply for any of our current vacancies. However, if you require more information we can only forward further details, such as salary, location and the company name after you have registered with us, due to client confidentiality.

When you apply your information will be forwarded directly to the consultant handling the position. We recommend that you do not apply for more than three roles at a time, unless you are certain you have the required experience.

If you would like to contact us for more information regarding a job please have the reference number and Job Title to hand. They will be on the job alert or our website.

We will let you know within a few days whether or not you are suitable for the role. Although, if you have not heard from us after two weeks it is unlikely we can consider you for that position.

And there we have it! That is how you register with Atwood Tate!

If you have any further questions about registering with us please contact our administrator via telephone or email. And if you’ve registered with us before but have forgotten your details, or are struggling to access your profile, also contact our administrator.

If you have any immediate questions feel free to contact us via social media or comment down below. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram.

We hope that you will register with us soon!

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Introducing our new YouTube Channel

introducing-our-new-youtube-channel

We’ve started a YouTube Channel!

If you’ve been following our Instagram and Twitter feeds you would know that yesterday we released our first ever Atwood Tate YouTube video!

Atwood Tate | Who Are We

We’ve started basic but soon we hope to be adding weekly content about things that you want to know about: how a specialist Publishing Recruitment agency works, the jobs we handle, the best ways to get a job in Publishing and more!

The reason we started our YouTube channel is to grow our presence across Social Media and better explain what we do and how we can help people find a job in Publishing in an interactive way! We want to make videos that you want to watch so if you have any questions or ideas send them our way! Comment below or let us know on another of social media accounts!

This channel will also allow you to meet our Atwood Tate team! From both our London and Oxford offices! We’re all going to be getting involved!

In yesterday’s video you meet two of our staff members: Karine Nicpon and Helen Speedy.

Karine is a Senior Publishing Consultant who handles editorial jobs in the STM & B2B sectors whilst Helen is the Associate Director of Atwood Tate and handles more Senior Roles across the whole of the publishing industry; she also manages the Perm (permanent jobs) team.

In the future we hope that you’ll get to hear from all of us Atwood, and understand the roles each of us play in the office, not to mention which consultant would be best to send your CV when you start looking for a job! That video will be coming up soon so keep your eye out for that!

You can follow all that we are doing on our YouTube channel and more on all of our Social Media Links: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn & Instagram.

If you haven’t entered our Giveaway yet you have only 1 week to go! You could win a Stocking full of Christmas Goodies!

Merry Christmas!

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Dress Codes for Interviews

dress-code-for-interviews-12

It is universally acknowledged that within the first 30 seconds of meeting a potential new employee the interviewer will judge them. First impressions, unfortunately, mostly come down to what we look like.

That is why dressing appropriately for an interview is so important.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that this means you should go out and buy a suit as a simple go-to interview outfit. Publishing is a creative industry; whilst looking smart is paramount at an interview, dressing like you is also key.

As a general tip, don’t dress up for an interview. Dress like you would if you got the job and were going into work at the office every day. Smart, but not overly so.

  • Stick to the guidelines given. If they say “smart casual” do not go above ‘smart’ by wearing a two-piece power suit, but definitely don’t go below the guidelines by wearing denim jeans and trainers.
  • If you’re unsure as to what to wear just ask us when you come to a pre-interview meeting. You can even use the meeting as a practice-dress, if you like.

For example, a generic high street suit will not express your personality or originality and in a creative industry, could be judged as unimaginative or overly conservative.  Just small tweaks like adding accessories or having a well-fitting but less conventional jacket can make all the difference in helping you to stand out and express yourself and your character.  You also need to feel comfortable and confident and none of us feel at our best when wearing an ill-fitting outfit that we would never otherwise consider putting on for the office or a meeting.

  • For an interview most women could wear a dress/blouse with a jacket that looks good, but isn’t necessarily a matching suit.  You can accessorise with a scarf or jewellery or statement shoes.
  • Men don’t need to be left out and can still look sharply dressed and add touches of coordinating colour through a tie, cuff links, glasses, watch etc. Pick a shirt that fits you well, is comfortable and is ironed.  You don’t want to appear to be wearing a baggy school uniform shirt or a collar that’s so tight you can barely breathe.

It’s important to be memorable but you probably don’t want to be remembered for a terrible comedy tie or a too loud shirt.  Try your outfit on well in advance if possible and get your housemates or partner to give you honest feedback if you’re feeling worried.

Dressing for an interview is always a tricky balance, but I think it’s important to feel comfortable and confident, whilst looking your best and feeling your best. Erring on the side of smart usually is safer, but there are always ways of being smart without being an uncomfortable dark suited clone.

If you would like to receive more tips about Interviews and CV’s make sure you follow us on Twitter @AtwoodTate and on Facebook, or follow us on LinkedIn!

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Ten Things you should never say in an Interview

Ten Things

Interviews can be scary and sometimes we say things which we really shouldn’t! Here are ten things you should never say in an interview.

  1.  ‘I don’t know – If you don’t know the answer to a question ask them to re-phrase it. ‘I don’t understand’ is ten times better than ‘I don’t know’. If the question they ask is something like ‘Where do you see yourself in five years’ time’ definitely don’t say ‘I don’t know!’ Talk about your career plan, your ideal future, anything but ‘I don’t know.’
  2. I hate my old boss! – Imagine how this looks to a prospective new boss. Answer: not good. It’s not the right attitude and it isn’t the right etiquette for an interview. No matter the circumstances with regards to the parting of the ways, you should never bad-mouth professionals to other professionals, particularly in interviews!
  3. ‘What is your sick leave and absence policy? – This is a worrying thing for an interviewer to hear. If you’re asking about time off before you’ve got the job then why employ you in the first place? If you have a long-term illness or an unwell family member/friend under your care, then by all means let the employee know, if they need too, but never ask about sick/absence policy during an interview.
  4. What does your company do?’ – Not only does this show poor preparation it also shows lack of interest. If an interviewer has one job and five applicants, and you ask this question then they are not going to employ you. Even if you have the best CV. Understanding your prospective role in a company and having knowledge of the company itself is crucial to surviving in a job, not to mention an interview. You should always prepare for an interview by looking at the company’s website and the job description given!
    Interviews
  5. I just want a job!’ – Many of us have been in that situation when all you want is a job or a change of scene, but saying this in an interview is unsuitable and off-putting. It will make the interviewer doubt whether you are there because you are genuinely interested in the position, or if you are simply trying to earn a wage.
  6. *BEEP* – Don’t swear! It will make you come across as aggressive, rude and inappropriate. You’ll put off your interviewer and may well end the interview early, depending on the severity of the language and the context it is in.
  7. Where did you get your shoes?!’ – There is a time and place for questions and compliments like this – the interview room is not one of them! It is distracting and inappropriate, and if shoes (or other physical attributes) are the first thing on your mind when you enter an interview then you won’t come across as professional or good candidate material.
  8. No, I don’t have any questions – This shows a lack of interest! If the interviewer has been incredibly thorough throughout the interview, or your mind goes blank from an information overload, ask them to repeat something – the wage range, what training is offered, who you will report to etc. It shows regard whereas simply asking nothing will bring the interview to an abrupt end, and it can quickly become awkward with you coming across as disinterested. Not the lasting impression you want.
  9. I’m Motivated, Reliable, Organised, Creative & Intuitive’ – Never say just these 5 things when asked ‘Describe yourself in 5 (+/-) words’, they are over-used and almost always a cover for not knowing how to answer. Instead of these use less-used or more exciting adjectives like: ambitious, punctual, honest, confident, diligent…among others. Stand out from the crowd and mean what you say!
  10. So when do I start?’ – Be confident Yes! Arrogant no!

For more tips about jobs and interviews make sure you follow Atwood Tate on all our social media: @AtwoodTate, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn! 

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The World of Temping

Temp job

It’s a fast paced world in temping. Companies can’t always predict when they’ll need someone. The requirements can come fast and without notice – and that’s where we come in. We have a huge database of temps at our disposal, ready and willing to take on short-term placements. They aren’t afraid of being dropped in at the deep end and they love the opportunity to meet new people and work in varied environments. And that’s where you come in!

We’re always looking for new temps, especially those who can start right away. When a job comes in and our clients need someone tomorrow, we provide a rapid response service – but we’re only as good as our temp pool!

Sometimes, there isn’t even time for a face to face interview. In the past, we’ve put temps forward and the client has asked for just a quick, informal phone call so they can ask some relevant questions and gauge a candidate’s answers. For some of you who have gone to second and third interviews, not to mention written and online tests, this might come as something of a shock. But really, that’s how quick it can be sometimes – you might hear from us on Monday and start working on Tuesday.

And we have a good memory here at Atwood Tate. We remember the temps who came through time and again, who always impress our clients and who are guaranteed to meet the job requirements. We’re like an old friend, checking in, keeping you in mind, remembering what you excel at and what you’re looking for. Sometimes, our temps move directly from one role to another, developing new skills and furthering their careers step by step.

So, if you’re looking for pastures new, get in touch today! Next week could be a whole lot different than you expected.

You can sign up for instant job alerts here.

Follow our Twitter feed as we post jobs and industry news.

Link in with Kellie or Alison to keep in touch.

The Temps Team:

Kellie Millar, Manager (Temps/Freelancers)

Tel:    020 7034 7897         Email: kelliemillar@atwoodtate.co.uk

Alison Redfearn, Temps/Freelancers Consultant

Tel:    020 7034 7922         Email: alisonredfearn@atwoodtate.co.uk

Michael Lawlor, Temps/Freelancers Administrator

Tel:    020 7034 7899         Email: michaellawlor@atwoodtate.co.uk

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Consultant in the Hot Seat – Kellie Millar

Taj Mahal Kellie

What literary figure would you be and why?
The first thought that came to mind I would have to be Tom Sawyer as I admire his creative thinking, playful and adventurous spirit and I’d love a friend like Huckleberry Finn. On second thought I would also be Peter Pan because of his youthful spirit, positive attitude and belief in magic. He too had an adventurous nature and used his positive attitude to get through challenges and defeat even the toughest of rivals.

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?
I would have to have marvel Comic’s Storms’ power to manipulate the weather. I’d also love to be able to surf like the Silver Surfer!

What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?
I am reading a book by Hal Elrod called “The Miracle Morning”. He talks about the 6 habits that will transform your life before 8 am. I enjoy the positive and motivational tone of the book and have tried a few steps so far, including getting up an hour earlier to visualise a positive day ahead and even going to the gym!

What has been the highlight/s of the past year?
I have enjoyed working for Atwood Tate and with my team, supporting the publishing industry and contributing to the positive and passionate workforce. Since joining Atwood Tate, I have come to understand the people who work in publishing like Peter Pan, all believe in magic and miracles especially when it comes to meeting deadlines. Everyone works together with passion and for a love of what they do to get the job done and make things happen. Our Temps and Freelance team also help to make magic happen by helping people continue in their careers and build on their experience. Interns get paid as Temps and get wonderful recommendations from our clients. Freelancers keep freelancing and doing what they love to do. Clients are happy too because we magically make the right candidates appear just when they need them.

What is on your Birthday wish list?
A reunion with my family. They are scattered all over the world and it would be lovely to see them all together in one place.

True fact: I used to be a blond!

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants covers, go to the “Meet the Team” page.

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Consultant in the Hot Seat – Claire Law

Claire Law in a kayak

If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?
A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson. It’s such an incredible achievement to have produced such a vast work and to think it was 150 years before the Oxford English Dictionary and without the internet. Or alternatively the Scrabble dictionary as this has been a vital tool throughout my long and happy marriage.

What three books changed your life?
I’ve always been a big reader and wish now that I’d kept a journal of books and authors read with some kind of notes. Books that made a real impact are:

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. Great introduction to fantasy and magic worlds for children that probably led to my love of the ‘magical realism’ genre and authors like Gabriel García Márquez, Kate Atkinson, Angela Carter, Haruki Murakami etc
  2. The Faerie Queen by Edmund Spenser – it was a massive challenge getting through this book (epic poem) at uni as I recall it was almost like translating another language. It made me appreciate studying the text but did put me off reading for a while!
  3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Studying Canadian women’s literature I discovered Margaret Atwood and have read all of her novels since. She’s a feisty and prolific writer as well as being an early adopter of social media. A real inspiration (and see the true fact below).

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?
Can I go for a photographic memory please? Not sure if any character has this but it would just be so helpful for work and in life generally. Thank goodness for an amazing database at work and Outlook for remembering pretty much everything!

What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
I can’t wait for our new website to be launched – hopefully in the next month. It’s been lots of fun working on updating it, especially looking at how the publishing industry has evolved over the last 6 years since our current website was created and incorporating changes like whole new industry sectors and job roles.

What is on your Birthday wish list?
I’ve just had my birthday and didn’t get the £20 million super yacht I’ve had my eye on, so will be asking for a warmer wetsuit to get out on my kayak instead.

True fact.
When setting up Atwood Tate I felt it would be confusing to use the name Law in case people thought we did legal recruitment, so decided to put together a name using a publishing reference and one of my favourite authors, Margaret Atwood! (The Tate part was added on for balance)

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Consultant in the Hot Seat – Alison Redfearn

Alison Hotseat

What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?
At the moment I am reading The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham. Set in the time of British Colonial rule, this follows the story of Kitty. When her husband a government bacteriologist finds out she is having an affair he forces her to move to a remote cholera ridden part of China. I am really invested in Kitty’s fate, although I first thought she was self-absorbed and spoilt, I have grown to like and sympathise with her character as she grows and develops. This is a real story of spiritual awakening. I love the way Maugham builds up the atmosphere and the reader is really kept wondering whether or not she will meet her demise.

If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?
I would love to have written Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. I am a massive fan of this author and would have loved to have the accolade of one of the best crime writers of the 20th Century. She is such a clever writer and this is a true crime classic. I admire the author’s ability to build up tension and get deep under the skin of the two characters. Even though you know who the killer is at the start she still manages to build up the tension.

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?
It would have to be time travel. I am quite a nostalgic person and always find myself imagining what it would be like to be alive in certain eras. If I could go back to any era now it would be to the Roaring Twenties, not only for the fashion, glamour and the parties but to be among literati such as Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway.

Which literary figure would you be?
I would love to be like Roald Dahl’s character Matilda because despite her circumstances she never gives up hope and she tunes her abilities to help herself and others. I love her motto “never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…”

Interesting fact
I am originally from Berwick upon Tweed, the northern most town in England which according to popular myth is still at war with Russia!

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants covers, go to the “Meet the Team” page.

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