Tag Archives: careers

Online trends: using the web for media careers advice

One thing I wish I’d figured out five years ago, back when I worked for Media Training North West, was this: when trying to attract people who need media careers advice, market the outcome – media jobs – not the service. In hindsight I feel pretty stupid to have only come to this conclusion more recently: a classic case of when working non-commercially, and at the beck and call of funders, one can easily fail to see the wood for the trees. However, that burial in detail has some value in knowing what is good media careers advice, compared to where users online are trying to find it.

Here’s a table comparing search volume on Google for “media careers” (blue line) and “media jobs” (red line):

Google insights chart of media careers v media jobs search volume, UK, 12 months

Roughly speaking, there’s ten times as much search interest in “media jobs” over “media careers”, and that’s just over the last 12 months. The top 5 SERPs for the first term aren’t, from my experience, necessarily the places where you’re sure to find the relevant jobs – indeed, it’s a sector where the majority of jobs aren’t advertised, particularly if we’re talking about broadcast and film.

Google is overwhelmingly used by the under-informed  so we can assume that a considerable chunk of those querying “media jobs” would value media careers advice and resources – even if it’s just to conclude that the industry isn’t for them. If you’re an organisation providing that service, your site would do better to be optimised along those lines. Providers of advice might argue that I’m misunderstanding what they do, but uptake has to be taken into account as a primary performance indicator.

So how are organisations out there doing on this? Here’s just a couple:

Skillset – the skills council for the creative and digital industries (whatever that means…)

Not bad in some areas – for more outcome-oriented keywords, say, “film jobs” or “tv jobs”, they’re usually within the top five of first page Google SERPs. They also claim to cover the games industry, and this is a sector which desparately needs realistic careers advice to be disseminated. On this point they fail hard – number three on the second page of results for “games design jobs” might as well be nowhere. Skillset’s domain is 13 years old and they’re inundated with good quality inbound links (such as a wealth of .ac.uk domain referrals) , so there’s no real reason why they shouldn’t rank well on this theme (hell, #1 on page 1 isn’t unrealistic). My guess at the problem? The content.

Prospects – the official graduate careers website

And a .ac.uk domain, to boot! They’re not a site specific to media, but keep in mind that the graduate talent pool is a major resource for all industries vaguely definable as “media”. They don’t rank on the first page for “media careers” or “media jobs” but if you pop “graduate” into the middle either of those phrases there they are. This makes sense, given their business as a big graduate recruitment portal, used by students, universities and recruiters alike, but it could be too small a niche given the flood of graduates out there that won’t include that extra term in their job searches. (And it’s worth noting from a legal point of view that you can’t exclude non-graduates from “graduate” recruitment: if the individual fulfils the criteria, with or without a degree, they can apply).

This is just a run-through of search visibility – landing-page user experience, and the quality of advice, is another matter. I’ve got a hunch that online is consistently under-used, and the massive potential for careers advice and CPD via the web is untapped. I think that’s in part because attempts to do so still think of it as a 1-2-1 or 1-to-many service, rather than taking a step back at the bigger picture of how individuals are sourcing advice and opportunities using the web.

I’ve not yet mentioned the high-ranking jobs portals that pWned the SERPs discussed above – places like totaljobs, Guardian Jobs, Mediaweek and Careermoves. It’s a mixed bag in terms of quality and relevance that needs further poking about, so I guess that’s the Part #2 of this post planned!

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Set the dials to “miffed”

Warning: a bit of a whine/rant. Buckle up!

I’m note really sure how annoyed I should be: in short, I’d pitched to project manage a careers and entrepreneurship day to be held during an animation and games festival in Stoke-on-Trent. It fitted in quite well with the 4-day week I’m currently on, and was well within my comfort zone knowledge and skills-wise. Moreover, I’m keen to see a high calibre of event take place in my back yard, an area often overlooked by national and regional bodies.

Instead, it transpires that Skillset, the sector skills council for the creative and digital industries, offered to do a careers day for free. After I’d put in my pitch. Bit of a no-brainer there from the Council’s point of view. However it takes 2 weeks to find this out. I ask my contact at the council if they can tell me who they’ve spoken to at Skillset – perhaps I can offer my services. It takes a further 2 weeks of pestering to find out that no, they can’t, because the council employee who spoke to them is on holiday, and didn’t pass on any details.

So I ring Skillset myself and finally track them down: they weren’t interested in any help. They have been asked to do an animation careers day as far as they’re concerned (not what’s required – the rest of the festival covers this in spades) and will be bringing some South East based animation, post and CGI bods up on the train, probably tell everyone in attendance that you need to move to London to train and work there, hop back on the train, job done. They’ll all be excellent examples of what they do in animation, FX, motion graphics, asset creation and so  on, and probably of global standing – but the tone and design of the solution, will be completely off the mark.

On reflection I am very annoyed – mostly at myself, and I’ll just put it down to experience. But the outcome is I’ve had an opportunity disappear due to a far inferior alternative being offered for free (and often free things end up having no value), and it took an unreasonably long time to be updated on this. Maybe the comments thread will chuck up similar, or I  hope, different experiences.


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