I have come back from New Zealand (just in time before the snow set in) and thrown myself straight into the task of assessing the candidates for sub editor of my university magazine.
Late last academic year, my friend and I were elected to be the senior editors of our university magazine – after cussing the publication for two years straight and setting up my own last year to see if I could do a better job, I suppose my boyfriend has a smidge more than the ounce of ground I concede to him when he accuses me of selling out.
I am assessing people applying in three different areas: subeditors, art and design assistants and events managers. I shouldn’t have been but I was extremely surprised at the quality of the art and design and events applications compared to some of the subeditors. One person prepared me a PDF book for her application, others gave me at the very least a website with a history of their writings – some of them were their personal sites, where they committed weekly and had months of proof they could do the jobs. But this was no guarantee of quality whatsoever. Whether they were just badly designed, tributes to vanity or clearly half thought attempts at creating the meat of an online identity after noting that having a blog is quite important in writing professions, some of them absolutely sucked.
This is possibly what bothered me the most. You’re applying for a writing position. If you don’t take the time to proof read your work, what kind of care does that show to the person whose approval you need?
The apparent lack of a damn clue about how to ‘sell oneself’ being endemic to the (mainly) humanities students is sad but simultaneously not surprising. We don’t have to submit CVs as part of our assessed work to graduate, and the actual using of them to get work experience is not a prerequisite to graduating. On the plus side, at least humanities students can at the very least write their way around their limitations – good luck science students, getting out of that one.
Is the graduate employment situation partially exacerbated by CV after CV of people who have not branched out and fashioned enough of a mature ‘self’ in their project works, let down by universities which do not make classes and lectures about how to venture into the job market mandatory.
That was part of the thing that irritated me so much about this magazine that I now helm: people rely on these things for valuable experience to get a job later in life. I am not satisfied by simply looking out for myself, that since I have been elected and am a senior editor with budgets, deadlines and a big proverbial stick I am set for my extracurricular experience. I am determined to create a magazine that will be strong enough to give the next few years of my university peers this kind of help, no matter how bad the editor might be next year (but hopefully they won’t be).
This year, this magazine is going to be a force, not just some paper stapled together written by the same seven or eight people.