Tamar Hope Smith case study
Online Enabler for the Lichfield Diocese in the Church of England
BA Eng Literature and Philosophy, 2017
What does your role involve?
My job title is ‘Online Enabler’ for the Lichfield Diocese in the Church of England. I am part of the Communications team, and my work centres around the digital communications of the diocese. Part of my role involves creating content for the diocese’s social media platforms and website, which means filming videos of clergy and laity across the diocese, writing blog posts, writing tweets and scheduling Facebook posts. Alongside this, I deliver training in communicating effectively online to church leaders across the diocese. I also help members of the diocese (including vicars, chaplains, fresh expressions, etc.) to design and build their own websites.
I’m also a panellist on an online talk show called TGI Monday, which debates questions sent in by viewers about the Christian faith.
How did you get your role?
I saw this role advertised on Facebook at the end of May before graduating, and even though it looked to me like I was underqualified for the position, I decided to apply anyway since it looked to me like something that I’d genuinely be good at, and would enjoy! I sent off the application without expecting too much to come of it, and so I was a bit shocked when they responded a few weeks later inviting me to an interview!
After the interview, I felt as though it had gone really well, but still didn’t expect to be chosen for the role, since it was clear to me that they hadn’t set out to hire a graduate. However, I did end up being offered the job! They told me afterwards that even though they hadn’t expected to hire a graduate, they were really impressed with my interview and it changed their minds on the matter. So, if you’re worried that you’re not the most qualified for whatever it is that you really want to do, don’t let that stop you from applying! Really use the interview stage to your advantage and let your personality come through.
What do you enjoy most about it?
I really enjoy creating videos to be used on social media, and the fact that I am able to combine my interest in the Christian faith with my creativity with digital content creation. I also love how diverse the role is. I’m based in an office with the rest of the Comms team, but I spent at most two days per week there. The rest of my time is spent travelling around Staffordshire and the Black country meeting new people, chatting to them about their church and their faith, and thinking of creative ways to tell their stories online.
What’s most challenging?
The most challenging thing for me personally is staying organised! I have been given a lot of responsibility and am mostly left to organise my diary myself and follow up on things, and I’m so much better at making elaborate plans than I am at remembering the details of each one of them! I have had to learn to really keep on top of my diary, and to make sure that I’m not double booking myself and that I have time to get to all of the meetings that I’ve arranged for myself.
How did your time at Birmingham help prepare you for this role?
My time as an undergraduate at Birmingham taught me that if I work hard at something, it will pay off. It taught me that if I don’t get out of bed in the morning to go to my lectures, then I probably wont get a good result in that module. Which has actually been such a useful lesson to transfer into the working world. With your job, you get out what you put in. If you’re not willing to put in the effort to make the most out of it, it will just become a job that you go to just to get paid, rather than something that you feel as though you’re making a real difference in, something that you can see the fruits of your efforts in.
What advice would you give to final year students interested in your area of work?
I would say – go for it! If you’re interested in digital communications, it would be good to get to grips with the Adobe suite and creating visual content yourself if you haven’t already, and build up a portfolio to complement your CV. I chose to apply for my job not just because I was interested in digital communications, but also because I wanted to work for the Church, in an environment where I am encouraged to bring God into my conversations and actions. If you’re looking for a similar role, I would really encourage you to be open about your faith or your interest in the Church in the application and interview process.