We wanted to share Sidney's story to show just how hard it is out there for young people. Despite graduating from a top uni with work experience on his CV he - like many of his friends - still had to struggle to land a full-time role. There's some top tips in here for anyone wanting a way into music and content roles, and it's a great example of why you should always keep going even when you've been ghosted and suffered knock-backs.
Please intro yourself
My name is Sidney. I’m 22 and I’m from North London.
What’s your current gig? And tell us a bit about what you do.
I work as a Content Editor for WhoSampled, an online database of information about sampled-based music, cover songs and remixes. As well as contributing writing for our editorial output, I oversee our new Facts & Stories feature, through which our users can add engaging information to our track pages.
What was the application/interview process like?
I submitted my CV and a cover letter detailing my relevant experience and my enthusiasm for the website, since I’d used it often before in my spare time. I think I got a response only after a couple of days from the website’s CEO (my current boss), which was a lot sooner than I was used to. He tasked me with submitting five Facts / Stories of my own using the website. After another day or so when they had been looked at, the CEO asked me for a video interview, and after we chatted he offered me the job on the spot!
Definitely not my typical experience on the job hunt, the market is so competitive right now. My usual experience has been employers umming and ahhing over who they’re going to pick for at least a week, often delaying their answer over and over.
What were you doing before your current gig?
Freelance music journalism and a bit of bar work. But I also spent ages doing dead-end unpaid internships over lockdown, since so many employers stopped hiring.
How do you find remote working and do you have any top tips for working this way?
Personally I really enjoy it! Obviously I prefer to work with other people around. But I think as long as you're strict with your daily schedule, you can make it work.
What do you do to keep yourself inspired in your own time?
I’m a producer for a volunteer-run pop-up station called Threads Radio in Tottenham Hale, for whom I also run their blog. Though it’s technically a lot of “work” which no-one’s paying you for, collaborating with a group of like-minded people towards something is always great for your mental health and sense of community.
I host a music-discussion show on there too with a few friends of mine which is fun, and run a personal music blog on the side which gives me a creative outlet. When so many regular forms of socialising are off the cards, putting in the effort to produce something just for yourself is a really underrated way of feeling normal.
Do you have any advice for people your age who are out there trying to find work?
One word: tenacity. The most frustrating thing is when you’ve heard nothing from no-one for a month or so, you finally get an interview, it goes well but they pick someone else just because they’ve got marginal more experience. It can feel like your getting nowhere, but the problem lies with under-funding toward the creative industries and government mismanagement, NOT with you. So many of my talented, brilliant friends are finding it impossible to hold onto a stable job since the market’s so tough. It’s no exaggeration to say it took me almost a year of job hunting and living with my parents before I finally got something permanent.
If you had to recommend one inspirational person to follow on social, who would it be and why?
I think signing up to Sian Meades-Williams’ Freelance Jobs mailing list has kept me sane. Even when none of the jobs listed are for me, the way she writes helps me remember it’s totally normal to feel the lockdown blues from time to time.