People In Publishing:
1. What are the kind of skills and attributes you generally look for in a prospective employee?
This very much depends on the nature of the role. Across all roles the adaptability, problem-solving and enthusiasm of an individual would be top of the list. In an ever-changing industry, how prospective employees are going to approach a role and grow within it can be identified early on. Communication, teamwork and collaboration are important as they contribute to whether a prospective employee fits within a business.
2. What tends to impress you in applications—at both submission and interview stages?
A genuine interest in the role they are applying for, including research into our business. This can also be demonstrated by asking relevant, thought-provoking questions of the interview team. At interview stage, specific examples of demonstrable experience of the keys skills and attributes as detailed by the job description will show how an individual has proven experience and has given thought to how they will fulfil the role. Candidates with gaps in experience should be ready to acknowledge and address them at interviews.
3. How important are qualifications when you consider applications?
It depends where a candidate is in their career. Qualifications are important but not always necessary. They show the ability to apply oneself to a level of learning often over a period of time, demonstrating commitment, diligence and a willingness to learn. However, employees can also demonstrate that they’re ‘qualified by experience’, with knowledge acquired along a career pathway in different roles and industries, picking up transferable skills. This could also be shown by a proactive candidate early in their career, who has sought work experience or placements in a relevant industry.
4. Where do applicants commonly fall short, and what frustrates you in submissions?
Attention to detail within an application, including the basics of spelling, punctuation and presentation. Keep CVs to one page, ensuring the most recent relevant experience has priority. Where candidates can let themselves down is where the same CV and covering letter is sent to multiple organisations in multiple industries, with no evidence that they have been tailored for a specific application.
5. Could you share a few top tips for successful job applications?
Tailor your application to the job and industry that you are applying for. Identify the key skills and attributes of the role being advertised and ensure you cover them in your application, CV and / or covering letter. Don’t be disheartened if your experience is a different industry as skills can be transferable.
Jenny Pearce is CFO at Boydell & Brewer.