Jenny L.

Communications and Events Officer
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Jenny L.
Women's Studies
Women's Studies
Taught Postgraduate
United Kingdom

My employment

Communications and Events Officer
Zero Tolerance
United Kingdom
Charity and voluntary sector
Small business (0-49 employees)

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A day in the life of a Communications and Events Officer in the United Kingdom

Working part time in 2 charities in Edinburgh

What I do

Developing and delivering effective communications and media strategy.

Leading on the delivery of the Write to End Violence Against Women Awards.

Generating media and press interest in Zero Tolerance activities

Skills I use and how I developed them

Communication: the most difficult part of my job is making violence against women, patriarchy, and gender inequality understandable to the general public. It takes time and concerted effort to speak and write in plain English. For me this means looking at every word in a sentence and interrogating if it can be cut, or if it can be replaced with something more understandable.

What I like most

Organising our International Women's Day Events

What I like least

It is a very busy job that is full time. I would much prefer to work part time

What surprised me most

That I started being one of those people who work through lunch and stay late.

How I looked for work

I was looking for work in Scotland so I used Goodmoves. I also used Charityjobs, as well as LinkedIn, and individual charities websites. In Scotland there is also an organisation called Adopt an Intern which runs living wage paid internships which I kept an eye on. Lots of the smaller charities don't advertise on big sites as ad space can be expensive. I did some research on the areas I was interested in working in, and then followed lots of charities on social media so I would hear about their job openings!

How I found out about the job

Online jobs board

The recruitment process

Written application - Covering letter and CV, followed by a competency based interview (when they ask things like, "tell me about a time when you showed initiative").

When they offered me the interview I realised I hadn't saved the job description anywhere - and obviously it was no longer on their website so I had to email them and ask for it. Always save the descriptions of jobs your applying for so you can use them to prep for an interview!

My career goals when I graduated

Honestly, when I graduated I really didn't have much of an idea at all what I wanted to do. Since then I can't say I'm much further on with the idea! But I think in general, I want to work for organisations that I think do good in the world and that are well managed.

My career history

All through uni I had part time jobs.
Once I graduated from my masters, I worked at the Careers Service at the University of York as a Graduate Intern Student Engagement and Marketing.
Then I moved back to Scotland where I was underemployed for about 6 months - I was working in a yoghurt shop, whilst volunteering at Global Justice Now.
Then was an administrative assistant at NUS Scotland.
Then I worked 2 part time jobs - Communications and Marketing Assistant with VHS 3.5 days a week, and Project Support Intern at Zero Tolerance, 1 day a week.
Then I swapped VHS for Health in Mind and worked there 3 days a week, whilst still doing my internship at Zero Tolerance.
And then I was offered a full ltime role at Zero tolerance, so quit at Health in Mind

Courses taken since graduation

Since graduating I attended the ATTAC Summer University on Social Movements at University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès. I learnt about a whole host of social movements I hadn't engaged with before, as well as growing my knowledge of ones I had been aware of. In learning about campaign tactics I think I am better equipped in the future if I ever want to apply for a campaigns job - but that remains to be seen!

My advice to students considering work

A job isn't for life - if you're not sure what to do, you aren't going to figure it out by doing nothing. If you're not sure what you want to do; just try something out! I wasn't even really sure what "marketing" entailed before I got the internship doing it. Try not to get too stressed about it - saying yes to a job isn't saying you'll do it forever. Don't ask "What am I going to do?", ask "What am I going to do next?". It makes the next decision seems way less scary and definitely helped me freak out slightly less.

My advice about working in my industry

The 3rd sector is highly competitive - you've got to be constantly on top of it to even get an interview. I wasn't even the only applicant with a masters in Women's Studies to the internship at Zero Tolerance.

Volunteer if you can afford to, intern if you can, run your own projects and campaigns; university is the perfect place to do it. Find something you want to change - even if it is really small - and work it start to finish. That is the kind of experience that really helps.

Most of the the jobs are funding dependent - which means working to contracts of a few months to max 2 years most of the time which is pretty stressful stability-wise.

Other advice

Confidence/Resilience: Apply for that job you think you might not be totally qualified for but you know you'd be great at. The role at VHS was advertised wanting someone with a year's comms experience - I only had 6 months, but I wrote the application to show I was passionate about their work and I got it! Sometimes we all get a bit of imposter syndrome. But it is so important to power through that. Women especially tend to think we are not doing well, or are underqualified for roles - we've got to fight that by believing in ourselves! I tend to ask myself - would a straight white cis able bodied man with my qualifications be confident they could get this job? Then I am too! Don't sell yourself short because you've been told your whole life by societal structures that you're not quite good enough. Smash that application like it's the patriarchy itself.

Next steps...

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