Firehead relaunches with new offerings for 2018

Firehead new homepageThere are so many new things afoot at Firehead this quarter that we’ve barely had a chance to blog about them, so we thought we’d take a deep breath and let you all know what’s been going on – and what’s about to happen…

1. Happy birthday to us!

Earlier this summer the Firehead blog turned eight years old. We’ve come a long way since we started with our first post, Blogging is fantastic, which was inspired by Tom Johnson of I’d Rather Be Writing and many others at that 2009 STC Trans-Alpine chapter conference. Nearly 400 blog posts later, we’re still going strong and are active in our various communities within digital communications, from content strategy to techcomm, metadata to AI, recruitment to market trends.

2. We’re relaunching

We’ve been working hard on our brand new responsive site, which also brings new offerings in consultancy and training to the Firehead brand. The redesign – sneaky peak of the new homepage above – will also open up our offering to more collaborations in these areas, and we’ll be actively seeking new avenues and opportunities to grow. Watch this space.

3. Busy getting out there

TCUK-2017Firehead is the first and only recruitment and training company dealing exclusively in digital communications in the UK and continental Europe, and founder CJ Walker has been busy commuting between countries to attend various events. In the past two months she’s been to the UK three times to attend Technical Communication UK (the ISTC’s annual conference), run a CV surgery at the ProCopywriters Copywriting Conference, and visit clients.

4. Firehead presents…

As the managing director of Firehead, CJ Walker has also been working with educational establishments to share her expertise in recruitment in the digital comms field. Recently she gave a webinar on ‘Trends in Information in the Age of Artificial Intelligence’ to the students in the TCLoc (Technical Communication and Localisation) Masters programme at the University of Strasbourg. It’s part of the virtual Masters programme’s residence week. Under discussion were topics such as:

  • Artificial intelligence: what it is and how it will impact digital communications
  • Machine learning and predictive models/analysis: what jobs will this create for us?
  • Big data, data science, IoT, security, video, APIs, docs as code, and other trends in our industry: what does it mean in job terms?
  • Information 4.0: what it is and where it fits in the Industry 4.0 movement

She also gave a guest lecture via webinar at the Cork Institute of Technology on hiring and research trends in information development (technical communication): where the field is going, where their skills overlap, and practical resources for following the trends.

If you’d like to connect with CJ around guest blogging or guest speaking, please do get in touch.

5. Looking for interviewees and guest bloggers

If you’re working in metadata or machine learning, we’d love to hear from you and find out about your work. Our blog interview series goes behind the scenes of different jobs in digital communications and we want to know more about the roles available in this growing area, including how you got into the field, what tasks are involved, what skills are needed, and so on.

If you’re up for sharing your knowledge, we’d love to hear from you so please get in touch. You can see examples of previous Q&As here.

We’re also interested in guest bloggers who have expertise in metadata and machine learning and can advise our readers about trends in these areas and the career landscape in particular.

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Useful links for digital communicators (October 2017)

Bookmarks by Dean Hochman/FlickrHere is our latest set of interesting reads, videos and other bookmarks from the past month, covering industry insight and market trends in the field of digital communications. In our October roundup, we highlight some interesting reads in artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, plain language, user experience, content and techcomm.

We also post regularly to our Firehead’s Twitter and LinkedIn pages, so please do connect with or follow us there.

Plain language

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10 CV guidelines – and one rule to rule them all!

CV resume blank sheetIn over 10 years of reading CVs every day for Firehead, I’ve seen every kind of presentation known to the application process – and then some. With new technologies and formats coming out all the time, the breadth of possibilities to present your information to a hirer has exploded too: video CVs, interactive CVs, even Twitter Moments CVs… to name just a few.

In response to this, there have been many efforts by different organisations to provide a CV template or to otherwise standardise the information candidates might include on a CV, for example, check out the European Union guidelines and templates for the Europass CV, designed to make your skills and qualifications more clearly and easily understood in Europe.

This recruiter’s one rule

At Firehead, we want to know you just the way you are – or at least how you choose to present yourself – so that we can represent you in an honest, knowledgeable fashion. This starts by taking your CV as you see fit to present it, and working from there. The information you choose to include (or not include), how you format it, how you work with the content and publication of it, says a lot about you.

We will never edit your CV content or formatting choices. We firmly believe that, especially in this field of digital expression, your CV says very important stuff about you, just as you choose to present it. If you don’t know how to write a good resume of your experience and skills, you might not be looking in the right field to work with us.

However, we do have one simple rule…

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Learnings from Copywriting Conference 2017

Copywriting-Conference-logoLast week I attended the 2017 Copywriting Conference, hosted by ProCopywriters at The Crystal in London and billed as “One day dedicated to the art and science of copywriting”.

For Firehead’s sponsorship of the event, I gave a CV Surgery. Conference attendees brought me their CV works-in-progress and, during 15-minute one-on-one sessions, I gave them bespoke advice as a recruiter working in the field of digital communications. It was a fun and interesting way to meet people who are looking at the future of content.

One thing I learned is that many creatives are both interested and worried about the changes that new technology will be making on their careers. There’s a fear, for example, that machines will take their jobs. As I’ve said before, the wise content producer will always be adapting to the new environment – we all need to be life-long learners now – but machines will not be able to replace the creative process as efficiently as it will other specialities. Machines will be able to provide quick and accurate aggregated research to use as input to creative work, but humans will still have a place in the process. Continue reading

Posted in Conferences, Content Marketing, Content Strategy, CVs, Digital Communications, Professional Development and Training, Recruitment
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Useful links for digital communicators (September 2017)

glasses on keyboard (CC) Michael SaechangIt’s back to school month and we’ve been doing our homework and bookmarking industry insight, professional development and training articles, and other useful links within the field of digital communications.

In our September roundup, we highlight the latest reads in artificial intelligence (AI), plain language, content, techcomm, metadata and recruitment.

We also post regularly to our Firehead’s Twitter and LinkedIn pages, so please do connect with or follow us there.

Plain language

Content – creation, strategy, sharing

Techcomm

Metadata

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Recruitment and workplace trends

Image: (CC) Michael Saechang/Flickr

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Interview with a… Training Manager

Many digital content and techcomm professionals think about going into training as they develop and build their careers so we are particularly pleased to hear about what this work entails from Dan Jones, a training manager for a global insurance firm based in Zurich, Switzerland. He reveals how to get started in training, why learning professionals are more in demand than traditional classroom trainers and why he loves the job.

You can also read more interviews with professionals working across the field of digital communications in our Interview with a… series.

Dan Jones, Training ManagerWhat is your job title?

Officially, I’m a training manager, but I like to call myself a modern workplace learning professional since it’s a better reflection of what I do. I’m employed full-time with a global insurance company in Switzerland.

What does your job involve?

I help our employees acquire knowledge, apply new skills and shift attitudes through modern approaches to workplace learning, communication and change management.

So, in addition to designing and delivering classroom and online courses, I create ‘learning experiences’ that go beyond traditional, face-to-face training sessions. I manage a learning community, produce and host webinars, and monitor social media groups.

And I use my techie and design skills to build SharePoint collaboration sites, create social media graphics and videos, and produce microlearning modules and apps that learners use to reinforce their learning both before and after a class. Continue reading

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Feeling behind on digital content? You’re not alone…

A six-page snapshot of 2017 content trends was released earlier this year, showing the state of play in digital content development and delivery for those who work in the industry.

The survey of 1900 writers, managers, IAs and content strategists asked about their use of tools, processes, content types, customer content expectations and more. The resulting data from Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL) and the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM) wanted to track how, and if, organisations or individual professionals were adapting their processes and content to be more viable in an increasingly electronic world.

One comforting finding for some will be that just over half (51%) of those polled felt that their content was not ready for the future – a 21% increase over last year. “There is comfort in knowing you are not alone in the challenges you face,” said Dawn Stevens, Director of CIDM and President of Comtech Services. “I think so many participate in this survey year after year to see where they are in comparison to other companies, and to ensure that they are not being left behind.”

The fact that so many more respondents this year felt their content was not ready is a big wake-up call, however. “My sense is that the bar is constantly rising both in functionality and data volume, and if you’re not keeping up, you’re falling behind. I think the people who thought they’d just wait and see, are finding that they’re now that much further behind,” added Mark Gross, DCL’s president.

Key highlights

One of the biggest areas that needs improvement is the ability of customers to find and consume content more easily: Continue reading

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Useful links for digital communicators (July-August 2017)

Keyboard mouse by Michael Mol/FlickrCatch up on industry insight, professional development and training articles, and useful links from the field of digital communications via our regular links roundup.

We also post regularly to our Firehead’s Twitter and LinkedIn pages, so please do connect with or follow us there.

Here’s what we’ve been bookmarking and reading over the past month across the fields of AI, content strategy, techcomm, UX and digital communications recruitment. Continue reading

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Best of Augmented World Expo 2017 #AWE2017

AWE 2017 logoContent futurists alert! The eighth edition of Augmented World Expo (AWE) – the world’s largest augmented reality, virtual reality and wearable technology expo – took place in Santa Clara, California on 31 May-2 June.

Augmented reality hardware and software is still in the early stages relatively speaking but it is improving all the time, and many brands are keeping a keen eye out for AR applications that will help their business – which means jobs for the suitably skilled. As one of our recruitment areas at Firehead, the field of AR content is increasingly one to watch and so AWE is one of the most fascinating conferences for us to tune into, albeit from afar. We’re also looking forward to AWE’s European event in Munich, Germany on 19-20 October.

While AR content jobs and opportunities for digital communicators are not yet mainstream, it is certainly an area to watch. So here are some of our collected highlights from the main event to add to your bookmarks… Continue reading

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Useful links for digital communicators (June 2017)

glasses on keyboard (CC) Michael SaechangCatch up on industry insight, professional development and training articles, and useful links from the field of digital communications via our monthly links roundup.

We also post regularly to our Firehead’s Twitter and LinkedIn pages, so please do connect with or follow us there.

Here’s what we’ve been bookmarking and reading over the past month across the fields of content strategy, tech comm, UX and digital communications recruitment.

Continue reading

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