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24th April 2013

Cosmopolitan Careers Masterclass

Invaluable advice from a panel of media industry experts

The Lifestyle team recently attended the first Manchester Cosmopolitan Careers Master Class, held here at our very own university. The evening, hosted on Wednesday 17th April by Louise Court (Editor of Cosmopolitan magazine), consisted of free wine (score), a goody bag full of girly freebies, including lipstick and fake tan and of course, the invaluable advice of the all-female panel of media industry professionals.

Sharing their expertise along with Louise were Rachel Hardy (Communications Manager at Lime Pictures), Rachel Burke-Davies (Capital FM’s breakfast host), Sarah Hall (Senior Publicist at Sony Music), Lizzi Hosking (Entertainment director at Cosmo) and Pat McNulty (Digital Editor of Cosmopolitan online).

Giving an insight into the world of journalism and PR, the women agreed that their roles are probably ‘the most fun you can have doing a serious job.’ They each went on to share their tricks of the trade, with Pat McNulty recommending a strong online presence as one of the most important ways to break into the media industry today. Regular blogging and Tweeting were advised (justification for my Twitter addiction which I was pleased to hear). Much to the delight of myself, Beth and Lauren, she also stressed how great student publications are (go Mancunion)!

While the value of work experience is constantly drummed into students, we are not always told how to make the most of our time with potential employers. Fortunately, this was not left uncovered by the masterclass team. Capital FM’s Rachel spoke about climbing the career ladder, saying, ‘You need to go that extra mile and make yourself available, or someone else will!’ Lizzi Hosking agreed, highlighting the value of being a ‘yes person’ in a ‘good way.’ According to Lizzi, being able to make tea for free with a smile on your face is a great start as an intern. She also added that it is important to ask if there are any extra jobs that need doing at the end of the day; this shows that you are prepared to put in the time and effort required to succeed in such a competitive industry.  Sarah Hall seconded this, making it clear that while she is keen to help dedicated interns into the industry, she is also keen to make sure that those who show no such promise are blacklisted forever. She said, ‘This guy interned for me once and he just used to put his feet up on the desk and ring his mates, asking them if they wanted to come to free gigs because he had tickets. I made sure that he didn’t make it in the industry. He’s an estate agent now.’ Point made.

For anyone who wasn’t CV savvy, the evening was particularly useful. Lizzi recommended sending hard copies as well as emails, as they stand out more. Sarah suggested doing something a little weird and wacky, saying that she once presented her credentials as a press release, detailing ‘why Sarah Hall should be employed.’ As expected, the importance of language and spelling were stressed, with Louise advising that each application should be tailored to fit the language of the company you are looking to gain experience with. Last but not least, it was agreed that CVs should be concise, with bullet points being bigged up.

Overall the £30 ticket was well worth it. Everyone left feeling inspired and getting the chance to speak to members of the panel at the end was an added bonus. To make it in the media industry you need to be prepared to work for free, get rejected and to push yourself and be brave.  Now to put these words of wisdom into action.


Dana Fowles

Dana Fowles

TWEETING @DanaFowles By day: Lifestyle editor at The Mancunion, aspiring women’s magazine journalist. By night: Lover of gay men and Canal St, prone to believing I am Beyonce on the d floor (embarrassing).

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