At the end of last month’s column, I wrote: “That thing they always said about treating people well on your way up because you might need them on your way back down is really true. I can think of a number of people who struggle to get work because they burned so many bridges in the past.”
I have written little about the importance of maintaining good relationships in your career; cynically, it might be called career management. A great many people in business
As the number of empty shops on UK High Streets increases, retailers are resorting to more innovative ways to attract time-pushed shoppers, or those looking for more unique shopping experiences. The adoption of new technologies such as augmented reality and virtual changing rooms in-store is on the rise.
At this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, technology company Bodymetrics showcased the latest version of their body mapping technology, which creates a 3D model of a shopper’s body that mirrors their every move, allowing them to virtually ‘try on’ outfits. The camera’s sensors can detect tightly or loosely fitting garments to help find the right size. Spanish company AITech.es have developed a similar technology that also has a system capable of determining the availability of certain items in real time and can promote related clothes according to the historical choices of the user.
At the moment, I think the true value of augmented reality technologies such as Bodymetrics lies in reducing return rates on clothing that doesn’t fit. If you run out of time to join the queue for the changing room to see if that much-coveted LBD that you absolutely need for tonight actually fits, simply try it on virtually and you could skip the queue. However, pair this with the ability to then tweet images of yourself wearing the dress to your friends to get their thoughts (Nadap’s Tweet Mirror for example) and the retailers could really be onto something…
Martin Tripp Associates is a London-based executive search consultancy. While we are best-known for our work in the TMT (technology, media, and telecoms) space, we have also worked with some of the world’s biggest brands on challenging senior positions. Feel free to contact us to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog.
I’ve just been reminded of this year’s traditional family Christmas row. I mentioned that I was planning to buy a Kindle. My sister, an author of many books, spluttered that I shouldn’t mention Kindle to her. It would kill publishing – and media jobs – just as surely as downloading had killed the music industry. She also felt that authors were entitled to a larger slice of revenues from e-books because the publishing companies had much lower overheads.
Last month marked fifteen years since I became a media headhunter. Much of that time has been concerned with careers in journalism. Which begs the question: what, if anything, have I learned in that time? Here are some things I didn’t know back in 1996:
Clothing company Zappar takes augmented reality clothing to a whole new level. This year, the company created interactive t-shirts that work with a free app – customers download the app and then view the t-shirts through their device screen. The t-shirt then ‘comes alive’ as the customer touches part of the t-shirt on the screen (see video). What’s really clever about the Zappar t-shirt is that it merges shopping and games in a move to generate interest and push sales. The t-shirts went on sale in the autumn in Macy’s and JCPenney stores in the U.S.
U.S. retailer Moosejaw created an X-Ray App last year that uses
It is astonishing how much the sector has changed in that time. The job titles themselves are indicative of these changes. While we still recruit MDs, Editors, Sales Directors and so on, we are now as likely to be working on roles like Head of Product Roadmap or Chief Scientist. As business models keep changing, so too do the attributes of the individuals who can add value.
It is the end of the year – and I would love to be able to give some seasonal good cheer about the jobs market. I rang Allan Cross at Media Networks to see if he could sprinkle a little fairy dust. But, like me, he is cautious.
I have just watched BBC3’s “Up for Hire.“ Four young unemployed people were given an opportunity to show how they would work under different circumstances. I found it quite depressing: not least because it served to underline prejudices about media degrees and media graduates.
Kirsty, one of the four candidates, had graduated in Newspaper and Online Journalism. She was disappointed because she had “paid a lot of money” and couldn’t get the job she wanted in the media. She also mentioned she didn’t like being “told off” or in a team: “I like working on my own really – that’s got something to do with me wanting to be a reporter.” The inability to take direction or collaborate seem pretty large barriers to entry in any career – especially journalism.
I’ve been asked by the Editor for the impossible: to find some good news for those journalists who have suffered redundancy as a result of the closure of the News of the World. Are there media executive jobs – and regular media jobs – out there for them?
Journalists suffer redundancy all the time, of course; but the NoW is special. The reasons for the newspaper’s demise have been well-documented. And because of the mishandling of the investigation by News International, nobody is yet sure to what levels the misbehaviour extended, nor when it stopped (or started).
Shock news: there are a lot of dinosaurs in the media. And Kelvin MacKenzie is amongst them. Is anyone surprised?
MacKenzie said last month that you learn nothing from journalism courses: “It’s a job, a knack, a talent. You don’t need a diploma… There’s nothing you can learn in three years studying media at university that you can’t learn in just one month on a local paper.” He would “shut down all the journalism colleges today.”
“Frankly, Mr. Shankly, this position I’ve held
It pays my way, and it corrodes my soul
I want to leave, you will not miss me…”
As Morrissey famously illustrated, there are ways to resign, and ways not to. However good for the soul it might be to get back at a boss or a business, it is inadvisable. Resignation is an underestimated part of career management. How you leave will often dictate how you are remembered.
A week ago, we picked up a brief for a client looking for a media search consultant (us) to find them senior writers in the energy sector (see “Job Spy” for more details, by the way). We were given the brief because the client had previously worked with a contingency agency who had forwarded a number of CVs without meeting any of the candidates.
I am writing this in December, a week before Christmas. And, guess what? This week, I have ten interviews in my diary.
This time last year, our media headhunters‘ diary was empty. I was not alarmed; December is always quiet, but last year felt different. Looking at the column I wrote then, there was a sense that the Christmas job market was holding its breath: the economy was fragile, and the election was coming. Magazines and newspapers were closing, and people had spent the year making cut-backs. Even the buoyant online market was showing signs of caution.
I have just come back from the burgeoning media market of the Middle East. Dubai is its poster boy: it has a well-established Media City (essentially, an economic free zone where media businesses enjoy liberties they would not enjoy elsewhere), and is the region’s centre for most large media organisations – including Reuters and the BBC. While some well-established media organisations have suffered during Dubai’s well-publicised problems, there is still opportunity to be exploited. There is always a need for experienced journalists, and it is amazing how many old hands (and new) turn up.
In the fourteen years I have been a headhunter and media search consultant, I have been lucky to have worked across an astonishing range of titles and products: from Horse & Hound to The Financial Times, from heat to AOL. We have recruited journalists for Reuters in Russia, Euromoney in the US, and, toughest of all, Saga in Folkestone. Bella, Men’s Health, The Jewish Chronicle; all boast current editors recruited by us.
Those few of you poor souls who have been reading my media recruiting column over the last year or so will have noticed one thing: I am an eternal optimist. While in these dark days of enforced austerity it is difficult to be upbeat, I have a small chink of light for you. Particularly for those of you who have spent the last several years toiling away in the geekier recesses of B2B media.
Last month, I wrote about the positive reasons for changing jobs at the moment. But not everyone gets to choose; redundancies and closures are happening across every sector of the media, and, as a result, more and more people are being forced to go freelance. With this in mind, I asked a few editors what they thought were the golden rules – the media recruiting tips – of establishing yourself when new to the market. It seems to boil down to the following freelance tips:
In September last year I wrote a column for Press Gazette quoting Conor McNicholas on his move to Top Gear. “If you want to be successful, you have to find the opportunities in any situation. There are opportunities in a downturn if you can make it work for you,” he said.
Like many people, I have just returned from holiday. Mine was spent in the Hebrides – so please excuse the fishing references which pepper this column that is otherwise about media executive search.
Anyone looking for jobs in August will have struggled. The job pages are empty, apart from adverts telling you, hilariously, ‘how to improve you’re proofreading’. September offers rich pickings; there is a sudden profusion of advertising. Jobs, we hope, proliferate.
Last month, in a somewhat garbled column (blame the theft of my laptop), I looked at journalism degree courses. This month, I want to talk about further media recruiting tips, in fact the first stage of this process – post-grad courses for journalists, and emphasise how important they can be for entry into the industry.
To a large extent, the days of wandering into a newspaper job direct from school are long gone. Many editors regard NCTJ-accredited training as a minimum requirement for new journalists. This is not surprising: the NCTJ is described by its CEO Joanne Butcher as an “industry charity” with a mission to ensure that training reflects the “industry’s gold standard”. Each NCTJ-accredited course should teach the media basics, such as media law, public affairs, ethics, and shorthand. For Butcher, shorthand is a benchmark. “If you’re starting out in the business, get shorthand. It will open a lot of doors.” She recognises that “not every journalist will need it, but it says a lot about someone’s commitment to journalism.”
In my conversations last month with Tim Luckhurst and Emily Bell, I was struck by their different approaches to what a degree in journalism was actually for.
Luckhurst, whose first students are due to graduate from the University of Kent’s Centre for Journalism this year, was avowedly vocational in his approach: he is clear that he is training journalists. Bell – soon to join Columbia University – took the view that, with entry to journalism schools at an all time high, such schools could not be merely concerned with training journalists; there are simply not enough jobs to go around.
A small seismic shock was caused at the Guardian last month when Emily Bell resigned to head up Columbia University’s digital programme for post-graduate students. At the time, she said that this was “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help reshape the future of journalism”, and she is part of a growing trend.
If that question brings you out in a rash, take a deep breath. With B2B publishers fighting for every penny, journalists need to think broadly about media jobs, they need to be to able make a real-terms contribution. They are expected to create supplements, roundtables, and conferences, and work with advertising sales to maximise revenue opportunities. So what does this mean for editorial integrity?
Apparently not. Most experts say that 2010 will be just as challenging for the media sector as 2009; consumer and business confidence will remain low, and advertisers and subscribers will be increasingly selective.
This month, as promised, further media recruiting tips, namely a brief look at how to succeed in interviews. I’ve had some real horrors in my time, including a man who, boasting about the money he earned, dropped his trousers to show me the labels. Unusual: but there are many potential pitfalls. With some comments from Allan Cross of The Media Network, here are some danger areas to watch out for:
We are all media companies now. And we need media skills to match.
The phenomenal pace of change in internet and mobile technology means that retailers, banks and other consumer-facing businesses are no longer just competing with their high street rivals; they are competing for consumer attention with anyone who has a presence in the digital space. To be effective, they are having to think like media businesses.