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Future student online experiences

Future student online experiences

Sharing the work of the Prospective Student Web Content Team

Content Designer vacancy – join our award-winning team

We’re recruiting a content designer to join us in improving the prospective student experience at the University of Edinburgh. Applications close Monday 15 January 2024.

Key details of the position

  • Grade 6: £31,396 to £36,024
  • 40 days annual leave, excellent pension and other benefits
  • Open-ended contract
  • Hybrid working (typically one or two days in our office on Holyrood Road)
  • Application deadline: Monday 15 January at 12pm

View the full job description

Apply for the content designer job on the University jobs site

Who we are and what we do

Our team was set up to overhaul how we approach the provision of online services to prospective students.

This is a massive job in an organisation serving around 40,000 students, where much responsibility has been traditionally devolved to our 22 schools, 3 colleges and numerous support units. So enhancing experiences for students is also about enhancing experiences for the staff who support them.

We’re a multidisciplinary, human-centred design team and place great emphasis on collaboration and co-design. Our team is made up of:

  • a content team focused on continuous improvement projects (3 content designers managed by me – this is the team you’ll be part of)
  • a content team focused on service management work (2 associate content designers managed by my colleague Jen)
  • a user experience specialist (Pete)
  • a performance analyst (Carla)
  • a software developer (Aaron)
  • the head of our team (Neil)

Read more about the team, our priorities and processes – Neil’s December 2019 blog post introducing our work

We’re currently in the middle of a three-year project to build a new degree finder, where prospective students can find all the information they need to know about programmes they can study here.

These blogs posts will give you a flavour of the types of things we’ve been doing as content designers as part of this project:

Content team of the year

I’m obviously biased in thinking we do great work, but it’s not just me. Our community recognises how awesome we are, too!

We recently walked away with three award at the ContentEd Awards, which is for content teams in higher ed.

We won:

  • Content team of the year
  • Best overall approach to content strategy and content design
  • Martin Bojam Award for Neil’s efforts to champion and elevate content professionals

Learn more about the awards we won

What content design is

We don’t expect you to already be working as a content designer. In fact, pretty much everyone who has joined our team has been new to content design.

It is important, though, that you understand what content design is and have a think about whether this is the career path for you.

Sarah Winters, founder of the discipline, describes content design this way:

Content design is a way of thinking. It’s about using data and evidence to give the audience what they need, at the time they need it and in a way they expect.

In my opinion, I’d say the key part of that definition is ‘thinking’. Content designers need to be thinkers. We need to think about:

  • what data and evidence we can get that will inform our decisions and how we’ll get it
  • what that evidence tells us about the content our users will need and how we design it
  • the questions that come up in our research and our design work that we’ll need to answer

Read Sarah’s post describing what content design is in detail

The application process

Apply with a CV and cover letter (deadline 15 January)

You need to apply through the University’s HR system for the post, where you’ll be able to attach a CV and cover letter. No more than two pages for each, please.

What we look for in a CV

In your CV, we’d like to see a list of your relevant career history and experience, with bullet points of the main tasks and responsibilities you performed in those jobs.

I use a CV to get a quick glance of what you’ve done before. It lets me know if your previous experience is a good match for our role.

What I’m most interested in, though, is your cover letter.

What we look for in a cover letter

In your cover letter, we’d like to see you communicate:

  • your motivations for seeking a content design role (why are you interested in it and/or why you think it’s the right job for you)
  • how your experience and skills match the essential and desirable criteria in the job description

View the full job description

Don’t worry if you don’t meet all the criteria listed. The things I’m most concerned about are that you have strong writing and editing skills and are keen to work as a content designer.

Also, this is a content design role, so I encourage you to approach your cover letter like a piece of content you were tasked with designing. I’d love to see:

  • short sentences
  • sections broken up by subheadings
  • bulleted lists where appropriate

We send out interview invites (likely 22 January)

We’ll send you timeslots and ask you to pick which ones work for you. We’ll then email you with a confirmed timeslot once we’ve heard back from everyone.

Attend the interview online (likely 31 January or 1 February)

The interview is in three parts :

  • a 5-10 minute presentation task (we give you the prompt for this 45 minutes before the interview and ask you to present at the start of the interview – no slides needed)
  • a 45-minute interview covering career history, skills and experience (we’ll send you the interview questions when we confirm your timeslot)
  • a 1-hour editorial task where you’ll edit a page of poorly written copy

So in total, the interview process takes 2.5 hours. We realise this is a long span of time to get away from work or other responsibilities you may have, so we aim to be flexible and accommodate any needs if required.

We carry out interviews online over Zoom.

Receive our decision (likely week of 5 February)

We aim to let you know the outcome the week following the interviews.

Apply for our content designer vacancy

Apply for the content designer job on the University jobs site

If you have any questions about the post or our team, feel free to reach out to me by email.

Lauren Tormey’s contact details

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