“Just keep motivated” – A graduate’s advice for securing a full time job

By Natalie Whitehouse

Patience and hard work are key to securing a full time job, says Shriya Pancholi; a Journalism and Media graduate who managed to get employed as a Social Media Assistant by Dunelm – without even having to go for an interview!

The 21-year-old fashion enthusiast applied for a host of jobs before securing the position at Dunelm, after already applying for a different role within the company:

“I originally applied for the role of Public Relations Assistant around August and had an interview for the role. My interviewer was very happy with the skills, qualities and experience I had but decided that I would be perfectly suited to a job in social media, and told me that if a social media vacancy ever came up, she would offer me the job.”

Shriya also notes that previous experience at the company assisted her greatly in becoming part of the Dunelm team:

“During my final year I managed to get a four week placement at Dunelm within the PR and Social Media Department. I put myself out there and looked for a placement, even though it wasn’t a requirement of my course. Because the manager and the rest of the team remembered me, she was more than happy to offer me a job.”

Experience definitely plays a major role in securing a full time job after university. As well as her placement at Dunelm, Shriya has undertaken a vast amount of work within journalism, most notably as a writer for The Demon and fashion blogger for Bonafide Supernova:

“Even if you don’t need work experience or a placement for your degree, it is really important to do it anyway,” she stresses, “I wouldn’t have the great job I have today if I didn’t put myself out there and give up some of my time – it was definitely worth it.”

Shriya Pancholi

As for her role at Dunelm, Shriya has been Social Media Assistant at the company since the end of September – after finishing traveling in the Far East, no less.

Some of her day-to-day duties include checking the social channels, liaising with the web and digital marketing team and speaking to external PR agencies, as well as being involved in projects, citing Dunelm’s recent Christmas competition as her favourite thus far.

Alongside this, Shriya also writes Dunelm’s quarterly company magazine, the Gazette, focusing on colleague information, managerial updates and financial reviews:

“I love writing the Gazette,” she adds, “Because I come from a Journalism and Media background, I love being able to merge the two in my role and it’s great to see the finished version of the Gazette once it has been printed.”

The diversity and constant changes within her role are also qualities which have made Shriya fall in love with what she does:

“I love the fact that I have something new to come in to everyday. Although I’m running the same social channels and focusing on similar content, there’s always something new that pops up. It’s really interesting learning something new every day. No two days are the same!”

But the graduate does admit she misses university life, and has a message for all current students:

“I absolutely love my job, but I do miss university. I would say to all students, make the most of your time at university, because it goes so fast! Yes, I hated the 9:00am lectures and yes I hated sitting through seminars that seemed to go on for hours, but looking back, I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.”

And Shriya also has some encouraging words for graduates who are still seeking employment:

“Even if you don’t have your dream job yet, just keep motivated, work hard and it’ll only be a matter of time before you have the career you really want.”

Journalism graduate secures dream role

By Natalie Whitehouse

A love of music and a ton of hard work has seen recent journalism graduate Rachael Scarsbrook land a job in the industry she has strived to be in for years.

The 21-year-old graduated last summer from De Montfort, and has secured a position with Renegade Music as a Promotions Assistant – but it wasn’t without a lot of hard work, commitment and perseverance:

“I worked closely with Renegade whilst I was music editor of The Demon for the last two years of my degree,” she notes, “and upon graduating, I merely enquired as to the possibility of an internship or a part time job. It took a few months for something to become available, but I was contacted for an interview in September and was successful, and I’ve been there ever since!”

At first Rachael’s position at the promotions agency was part time, working two days a week and also being employed at a coffee shop – meaning sometimes she was working an incredibly tiring seven days a week just to get by.

Although she admits it was tough, it has definitely been worth it for what she states is a job in a industry she has been striving towards working in for a number of years – especially since her position became full time at the start of this month.

And her experience prior to graduating from DMU is something that helped her stand out as a candidate, with her degree in journalism also playing an incredibly vital part:

“My experience within music journalism certainly gave me a massive advantage. A lot of my work is signing new clients and so I need to have a really good grasp on all sorts of genres and what is happening in the world.

“My degree is probably the biggest help, as it taught me how to work in a professional journalism environment and a lot of the practices I learnt over the course of my degree are things I use day to day.”

In terms of these day-to-day tasks, Rachael focuses on processing reports for her record label clients so that they can examine the effectiveness of their campaigns. She also suggests new labels and artists that her company could benefit from working with, as well as assisting on projects at Renegade:

“I am involved quite heavily in all of the projects that we run, but in particular I am involved with a small rotation of bands that I have signed up to the company and are firmly on the up and coming lists of all the music blogs, which is a very exciting thing to see unfolding.”

The perks of the job are also pretty great for such an avid music fan:

“I think the most exciting thing so far is all of the gigs and events that I now have access to. A sold out gig is no longer an issue and the new vinyl or CD releases always come our way first. I am really enjoying all of it, but first and foremost as a music fan there is nothing better than free gigs and vinyl!”

Grateful to be employed in a role that is “certainly along the lines” of her dream job, Rachael is now looking at how she can use this as a platform for the future and a stepping-stone for the next steps in her career:

“I feel very lucky to have more or less landed straight into where I want to be for the future, and I’m building up lists of contacts that are invaluable for future career prospects.

“My plans for the future centre around working at a specific record label to manage some of the bigger bands, and maybe move in to actual band management.”

Social Media whizz lands BBC job

By Natalie Whitehouse

Social media is at the forefront of everything nowadays, providing us with instant up to date information at the click of a button and a tap of an app. After graduating from De Montfort in the summer with a 2:1, 22-year-old graduate Hollie Copas also landed herself a job in the booming industry, as Social Media Coordinator for BBC Recruitment – in a slightly different way than usual:

“I saw the role on Twitter. The job required you to send a tweet summarising why you would be good for the role. I then got a direct message from the recruiter and he asked for my CV. I sent over my CV and to my surprise was offered an interview.

“It was an unconventional way of recruiting,” she admits, “they wanted to test a social recruitment strategy, so what better than a social media role? I headed down to London and had to present for 20 minutes and critique their current use of social and add my suggestions, and a few days later I received the call!”

The world of social media has always been home for Hollie, who held the role of Head of Social Media and Online Content for Demon Media whilst at university. She also landed a fantastic work experience placement with GoThinkBig, as Social Media Manager for Nile Rodgers’ and Rudimental’s collaboration in 2014.

The graduate, who also has experience in radio, notes that these roles enabled her to secure her a position with the BBC:

“I was honestly told that my experience with Demon Media stood out most on my application, and I was asked quite in depth about it in my interview. They also found my work experience with O2 GoThinkBig really interesting, and asked me about that too. “

This previous hard work saw the Media and Communication graduate the perfect fit for the role of Social Media Coordinator, a position that she began in July last year – and one she thoroughly enjoys:

“I enjoy the diversity the most. I enjoy how many different people I have had the opportunity to meet. I enjoy how much I get to travel around the country. I enjoy how friendly and encouraging everyone has been, and how willing others are to help. I have made some great friends, and had the chance to work on some amazing projects.”

A day in the life of a Social Media Coordinator includes monitoring the BBC LinkedIn as well as sourcing, creating and editing content for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Periscope. Hollie also liases with colleagues and recruiters to publicise job roles at the BBC, as well as advertising events and providing coverage too – often live tweeting from events.

She has recently created her own project entitled ‘A Day in the Life,’ which she states has been the most exciting part of her job so far:

“The project allows me to document a ‘day in the life’ of BBC employees and bring it to our audience online, who are hopefully job seekers wanting to work for the BBC. So far I have had the amazing opportunity to shadow Naga Munchetty, a BBC Breakfast newsreader, and Mark Chapman, sports broadcaster and host of MOTD and MOTD2.

“Working with BBC Sport and Mark Chapman was definitely the most exciting bit so far. I was so nervous beforehand, but he was the most genuine guy! He made me a cup of tea, sheltered me in the rain with his sports newspapers, and he was genuinely really approachable, allowing me to confidently gather the content I wanted!”

Although she misses the freedom of university life and admits she gets very sleepy working full time hours, Hollie is enjoying a role which she has strived for many years to succeed in:

“This is definitely along the lines of my dream job! Social media is something I wanted to do for a really long time, and it’s fair to say landing my first full time job after university with the BBC was pretty amazing.”

From graduation to a full time job… in just a few weeks!

By Natalie Whitehouse

First Class graduate Claire Going not only earned herself a fantastic degree classification, but also landed herself a job in PR weeks after her graduation.

The mature student, who had to juggle her studies with part time jobs and looking after her three children, graduated in the summer with a First in English and Journalism. And although she was only on the lookout for something temporary to begin with while she looked for her perfect job, she managed to stumble upon her dream role straight away:

“I went in to my local Adecco recruitment agency just after graduation in July and asked if they had any jobs I could do,” she explains, “they asked what I wanted to do and I said that ideally I was looking for something in PR. I was completely taken aback when one of the staff who deals with the permanent roles leaned over and said she had a job I’d be really interested in. With my varied work experience and my degree they said it would be worth putting me forward for the role.”

Claire went for her interview with jmm PR, who represent clients in the kitchen and bathroom industry, and clicked instantly with the Director and Senior PR Executive. So much so, that she was offered the job the very same day, and began her role as PR Executive the following week, in July last year – just weeks after her graduation.


She affirms that her degree and time at De Montfort proved a great help in securing her an interview and her subsequent full time job, but that her experience outside her studies was even more important:

“My first class degree in English and Journalism from DMU definitely made a big impression and qualified me for the role,” she notes, “but I think the variety of journalistic work experience I had undertaken throughout my degree was the real clincher. I was able to talk about my time at the local newspaper and hospital radio, as well as the theatre reviews and blogs I had written.”

After years of hard work ultimately paying off, Claire is now about to celebrate six months in PR, in a role that she has flourished and improved in, in just half a year:

“I started out doing all the admin tasks to learn the role, including drafting and distributing press releases, monitoring online and print publications for coverage of our clients, compiling press clippings and writing weekly reports.

“Within a couple of months I moved on to writing more in-depth press releases, plus responding to copy calls, writing features, implementing PR plans, building relationships with editors and journalists, attending client meetings and organising PR events.”

As a PR Executive, Claire’s role is all about variety. Every day at jmm PR brings something different, and that – amongst a handful of other reasons – is why the graduate loves her job:

“We have so many things to do each day and every day is different. I love forming relationships with clients and journalists and what is really perfect about PR is being able to always talk about news in a positive way. I am a positive person so it really suits me.

“jmm PR is a really great agency to work for, and one of the best in their particular field, so hopefully I won’t be going anywhere for a while. We have some fantastic clients, and I am learning the PR business quickly, so I’m looking forward to be able to manage my own account in the near future.”