A little known fact about me. I once featured in the Guardian website as part of a panel of experts for a Q & A discussing the benefits of postgraduate degrees to improve careers. This fact is so little known that I only remembered I did this the other day.
So how did I get to be an expert on a national newspaper website?
How it came about was a strange thing. I was working in my graduate placement and one of my tasks was the management of the teams Twitter account. I saw a Tweet from the Guardians career Twitter account. They were asking for volunteer experts to take part in a ‘live’ Q and A on postgraduate careers.
As a recent post graduate myself, doing a challenging job I thought I had finally “made it” and as a result made me think that I was suitable to provide advice. I won’t lie firstly I thought it would be something good to brag about on a CV and also something to show off to my ex-course mates on my Linkedin account.
I wasn’t sure if they would take my responding tweet seriously, after all they are one of the largest newspapers in the UK. The next thing I know I am stood against a white wall in the back garden of my parents house, suited and booted, getting my mum to take a professional picture because I didn’t have a corporate image to use for my profile.
Never trust an expert again
As the Guardian described the group, including me was:
“Seeing as extra study is a big investment in your future, we’ve asked a panel of experts to help you decide whether taking further qualifications is right for you and your career plans.”
The whole experience made me realise how over my head I actually was. I was supposed to advise a group of strangers about whether they should make a life changing decision and potential burden them with further debt – realising the gravity I don’t think I deserved to be an expert on the subject.
I am being quite cynical about myself as an expert, but I mean this with the greatest of respect to the other experts – they generally had some good experience and knowledge to offer those taking part.
I was a post graduate fresh from University. I couldn’t offer the same articulation in my answers that someone with a decade of experience could.
How legitimate is the expert?
It made me realise that apart from being able to send Tweets through a big companies Twitter account, there was actually no proof of me being legitimate – there was nothing to prove I had even been a postgraduate student. That illustrates the level of research that goes into experts in the media.
I guess the lesson is next time you watch TV, or read an advice column from an “expert” don’t always take there advice at face value – for all you know they are some inexperienced graduate. Or like the BBC found that time a guy going for a Data Support Cleanser job, giving his opinion on a legal case!
Additional: After a little searching I found the original Q & A – note I am at the top of the list (maybe they were going with the worst first?)