How to get a great job in content post-COVID

By Stephen Kenwright, Co-Founder and Technical Director at Rise at Seven on

COVID-19 will be responsible for the loss of 1 in 5 creative jobs in the UK, according to the Creative Industries Federation. More than 400,000 content creators are likely to be out of work, so if you’re fortunate enough to be in a position to give someone a job, you should do that.

Our search-first creative agency Rise at Seven has been in lockdown for as long as it hasn’t. We launched last June and I feel like we’ve been blessed with good timing. Coronavirus has caused some trends to accelerate and some of those have massively benefitted young content businesses like ours, especially:

  • Retailers moving their businesses online
  • Advertisers moving away from full-service behemoths and towards more creative specialists
  • Talent moving outside of London (and increasingly working from wherever they happen to be)
  • Higher CPAs and less attribution, resulting in a swing back to brand building over performance marketing

Since the UK shut its offices in March, Rise at Seven has more than doubled headcount (from 19 to more than 50) and increased revenue by more than 200% too. We’re lucky enough to receive more than a hundred job applications every week (and we’re recruiting for 7 SEO, content, PR and analytics jobs right now, so here’s my best advice for anyone looking for a role.

Young girl looking for new job

CVs aren’t dead, but they aren’t enough

A LinkedIn URL is just as useful as a CV attachment, but right now the job market is so busy that you need to do more just to get an open. Some of the more creative applications we’ve received in recent weeks:

  • A handmade Halloween advent calendar containing a fact about the person who created it every day of October
  • A single Rise at Seven branded trainer (hand painted) with a note that read “just to get my foot in the door”
  • We met Luke Cope for a drink and the next day he quit his job – we hadn’t offered him one, he basically just started working here. Now he’s our Head of Digital Strategy
  • A YouTube rap about Rise at Seven to the Fresh Prince theme
  • A naked video application (“I was told I needed to do something to grab your attention”)
  • A whole bunch of Rise-branded Instagram profiles and websites
  • LOTS of TikToks and Sporcles
  • Someone rapped about how much she loved PR in St Pancras Station

We get around 50 job applications each week and, we assume, nobody applies for a job ONLY at Rise – if you’re looking right now, you’re probably competing with more people than you ever have before. 

Get to know the people you’re applying to

We know who engages with us on social media. When an application arrives from someone who we’d consider a friend, we treat that very differently to an apparently cold application. Agency owners spend most of their time trying to make sure the team is bought into their vision – that’s something you can demonstrate from the offset. 

Go direct for the job

We don’t work with recruitment firms. Plenty of other agencies don’t either. They’re not awful people (I’ve worked with several great recruiters in the past), but we get enough applicants and headhunting isn’t our style (except for senior roles). 

We like to say we hire “fans” – people who know what Rise is about. Plus, when recruiters are taking anything upwards of 10% of your salary, hiring managers are incentivised to pay you less. Go direct and get more money, especially if you’ve got some experience.

On the subject of senior people: roles for you aren’t often advertised, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Whether you are a CFO, a Strategy Director, an ECD or an MD – if you want to work somewhere, reach out and tell them. Brilliant people are in short supply so you’ll always get an answer and you might well get an interview. 

Want some advice on how to create an employer brand, hire people or get hired? Drop me a DM on Twitter.

You can learn more about Rise at Seven by checking our their member page.

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