by Kayleigh Gray
Charlotte Perry is about to graduate from her BA Honours Journalism course. For the last 8 months she’s been co-presenting a hospital radio show in Sheffield and last year spent some time as a Radio Team member at My Student Style. She’s keen to pursue a career in radio journalism, so it made sense for her final year project to write and present a radio show with a careers and employment theme – talking about interviews, jobs and university. We asked her to tell us a about it and how she’s increased her employability.
Tell me about the radio show that you did, why you did it and what was successful and unsuccessful?
It was part of my applied project, and it had to have an academic side to it, portray some information. So I went to my academic tutor and he said ‘why don’t you do something on employment because that’s what you’ll be doing when you finish university and it’ll probably help other students too.’ We were given guidelines about what we were meant to achieve with our show and I couldn’t solely do it based on employment so I decided to do it on careers and university as well, and then the ideas kind of built up and up and up and I ended up doing interviews too.
It was really quite interesting actually because I spoke to Maggie Bamford (Employment Adviser in ACES) and got loads of ideas and I ended up doing something that was based around BBC Radio 1 listeners and their age range; we had to write a little bit about what we’d done as part of our project and we had to include an audience, so I thought Radio 1 audience would encompass everything because I interviewed a student, a full-time worker and a graduate. I wanted prospective students to know more about going to university. I interviewed Maggie Bamford and then I had a section about interview clothes, so it had a bit of fun to it.
What is Soundcloud, can you tell me a bit more about it?
You can get a free account and it entitles you to 2 hours of broadcasting but you can than upgrade and see who’s been listening and where from. You can freely put your sounds on it whether you’ve made a radio show or music that you want to put out there, it’s a bit like YouTube but without the video to be honest.
How and where did you record it?
We have a studio in Cantor building, it’s a mix of a TV and radio studio but I also hired out equipment to go and talk to Maggie in her room. I had the student, graduate and full-time worker in the studio and we recorded that there, including what to wear to an interview.
How did you establish your connections with Maggie and then the graduate, student and full-time worker?
The three were people I knew from university, home and school so it was fairly easy to make those connections. But with Maggie I just emailed her through our university email system and then booked an appointment with her at Cantor reception. Then I interviewed her again because there were a few questions I missed out, but she was happy to do that for me. The employer was actually my mum; she employs a lot of people on a regular basis.
What was the Twitter fashion exercise? Did people tweet which outfits they liked?
My fashion article was about what to wear for an interview. I went out and created 2 outfits for a girl and 2 for a boy. One being appropriate and one inappropriate. I got an employer to comment on each outfit and posted the options on Twitter and invited comment.
Yes, I had a lot of engagement and people were asking where the outfits were from. People did vote which ones were the best and they could see a clear division between the appropriate and inappropriate outfits. I liked the exercise because students don’t seem to know what they should be wearing.
Have you ever experienced people dressing inappropriately at interviews?
Yes, I remember someone wearing loads of jewellery to an interview at Beaverbrook’s and it looked out of place. She clearly felt she needed to wear it because of the company but, as was said in my radio show, too much jewellery doesn’t look professional.
Were there any challenges with the recording?
I had a lot of support and I’ve studied radio so I know how it works but there were a few bits where there are a few jumps. I used music in the studio to set the scene and calm the interviewees because it can be daunting if you’ve never been in there before, so we played some background music but when we came around to editing it my microphone was in the wrong place and we had to record it again, but obviously the music was already there so it sounded a bit jumpy, but that’s something I’ve learned as a result.
If it’s your final year project then how is it submitted? Do you write a report with it?
Yes, I submitted mine on memory stick and we had to do an action plan at the start to say what we’re going to do, you don’t need to be really strict, but you do need to outline a timeline and audience and then you do your actual show and then a bit of a reflective log about how you did things, how you’d do it differently, bits like that.
Why did you choose a radio show?
I want to go into radio, I really really want to do that. I could do a dissertation about radio and listeners but I thought if I go to an employer and they ask what I’ve done in radio then it would be so much better to give them something I’ve actually made than a dissertation on it – they’re not interested, they’re not going to read 12,000 words.
Finally, if you had your time again at university, what would you do differently to progress your career plans?
I don’t know to be honest, it’s pushed me in the right direction, made me realise what I want to do. So I don’t think I’d do anything differently, I don’t think there’s anything I’d change. I’m glad I’ve got a direction because I’d be worried if I was going travelling not knowing what I’m going to do, but I do know.