Category Archives: creative writing

Career interview: how I became a Copywriter?

This week Careers have been talking again to staff at The Entertainer to find out how their career journeys began, and what advice they would give to graduates interested in pursuing a similar path. This is what we found out from Alex Magee, copywriter at The Entertainer.Alex Magee

What did you study at university and what impact did it have on your career path?

I studied English Literature and Journalism. Both subjects rely heavily on writing, punctuation and sticking to deadlines – things that provide a good foundation for a career in copywriting.

What work experience did you undertake per landing a permanent position?

I did placements at various newspapers whilst completing my journalism degree.

Did you take part in any societies while at university, and if so, did you learn any valuable skills from your time?

I used to write for the student newspaper. It’s something I’d definitely recommend if you’re interested in a career that involves a lot of creative writing.

What advice do you have for those who are just starting university right now?

Do a subject you will enjoy. It sounds obvious but you’ll be amazed at the number of people who drop out because they chose something they hated. Also, try not to procrastinate too much. The last thing you want is starting a 15,000 word essay the day before a deadline when you’ve had all term to do it!

How important is a brand’s culture when choosing positions to apply for?

Very important. You spend more time at work than with family and friends so it’s got to be an environment that will get the best out of you.

 What is the most challenging part of your current role?

Juggling all the different projects and making sure everything’s done before the deadlines.

Don’t forget to contact Careers on careers@cumbria.ac.uk if you want some help with your career planning and job seeking. Alex mentioned how important it is to get experience, and we can help with this too.

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My Dream Job – Winning Blog Post: Create. Write. Work.

blog-competition-winner-create-write-work

John Sharp won the blogging competition which was part of our recent Create. Write. Work. employability event for English and Creative Writing students back in April. Here is his winning entry:

I followed a Facebook advert a while back, which led me to an “author’s” Amazon page.  He had released about 40 books on kindle.  They were £3.99.  I read a few of his many reviews.  They said the same.  Good quality, but £3.99 was too much for 80 pages of story.  And that was when I realised there was a market for novellas in Genre Based fiction, advertised using social media.

The idea.  I write a novella, every month, sell it on Amazon for £1 (first one is free, of course) and pay for a Facebook advert.  Could that work?  What difficulties might I face?  Content – can I write enough, to a high standard?  Yes.  I write well, and am disciplined.  The Fickle nature of Facebook – and the inconsistent advertising capability – a real problem, but one that can be mitigated through networking with reviewers and other self-publishing kindle writers.  Snobbery – its kindle, advertised on Facebook – Definite problem, but one that is mitigated by the fact that I only need a small fraction of people seeing the advert to click.

Self-employed life as a writer beckons, so long as I remain committed.  So I shall.

Fancy a career in fashion? We’ve got tips from Urban Outfitters

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The fashion industry is notoriously difficult to break into, so gaining a little advice from someone who has already managed to do this can prove invaluable.

Sonia Aguado, the editorial copywriter at Urban Outfitters, has worked at several fashion retailers during her career and has given us some helpful tips on how to get your foot in the fashion door.  

sonia at urban outfitters

What is your background? How did you become an editorial copywriter?

After sixth form I went to UCA Epsom to study Fashion Journalism. At the time, I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do, but I was interested in fashion and writing, so it was the perfect course for me.

After my first year, and having been exposed to so many areas of the industry I didn’t even know existed, I felt a bit like a lost puppy and didn’t know where my place in the industry would be.

During our second year, we were required to complete an internship – I interned with the press teams at New Look and ASOS and absolutely loved them. I then thought PR was what I wanted to do, but again, this changed.

After graduating, I worked part time at a small PR agency and didn’t enjoy it at all. At this point, one of my uni friends, who was a copywriter at ASOS, asked if I wanted to freelance with their team and I jumped at the chance; this was how I got into the world of copywriting.

 How did you find your job?

I got my job by knowing people in the industry and being in the right place at the right time. After I started freelancing at ASOS, another of my uni friends joined the team. She then got a job at Urban Outfitters as a copywriter, and when she was there she brought me in to freelance with them too.

I got to know the team really well and when the other copywriter announced she was leaving, I was put forward for the position. After being there for a few months, I was given the chance to become a junior editorial copywriter, instead of doing product copy, and from there I was promoted to editorial copywriter.

I think the best way to look for jobs in this field is by networking, freelancing, and getting to know people who could then put you forward for any roles that would suit you.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I enjoy the creativity that comes with my role, the people I work with, and working for a company that I loved before I was even a part of it.

What do you least enjoy about your job?

 We have deadlines to adhere to, but everything works in a chain reaction, so if one team is running behind with something, it then affects you and your work. Also, getting the dreaded writer’s block!

What takes up most of your time?

Writing copy for the website/the customer newsletter.

Are specific qualifications essential to work in your field? And if so, which ones?

A degree in fashion or writing is helpful, as well as experience in the area.

What skills and qualities are needed to be successful in your field?

Being able to write, attention to detail, proofreading skills, being able to work under pressure, and creativity!

Do you have any advice you could give to an aspiring graduate who is keen to get a foot on the ladder?

Make the most of your contacts and don’t underestimate the relationships you make at uni. The industry is very small and you end up knowing someone wherever you go. My friends at uni are the ones who put me forward for the roles I have had, and a recommendation is always going to be a lot more effective in getting you an interview than a cover letter that gets lost in someone’s inbox. Intern as much as you can and try to get some freelance work to build up your contacts.

Do you have any interview tips for a prospective applicant?

 Always research the company. Read their website, their blog, sign up to their newsletter, get to know their tone of voice, and get to know what they’re doing on social media etc. Have examples of your writing available, whether that’s a portfolio, a website or a blog.

If you would like to hear more about the career opportunities at Urban Outfitters, visit their careers page here.