FSElite Original: To Apply or Not to Apply

I’m Sy Williams, a 42-year-old frozen foods salesman from the United Kingdom. If you are reading this then we have something in common. No, not the love for ice cream and pizza – we are…

Posted: 27-Jun-2019 @ 19:52z
FSElite Original: To Apply or Not to Apply

I’m Sy Williams, a 42-year-old frozen foods salesman from the United Kingdom. If you are reading this then we have something in common. No, not the love for ice cream and pizza – we are flight simulation enthusiasts with a particular interest in the future of our beloved hobby. I want to take you on my journey of being a normal working class guy going through the application process of becoming a content writer for FSElite. If, like me, you have been sat on the fence for far too long wondering if you have what it takes to be a member of the FSElite team, then this article is for you.

FSElite came into my life a couple of years ago. As soon as I power on my computer when I arrive home from work, FSElite is always the first thing I check for my daily news on the hobby I have loved since I was a teenager. The greatest thing about FSElite is that all of the information is in one place and often before anyone else. Any announcement that is made in our community from leading information outlets is quickly published with FSElite notifications to my desktop alerting me to the latest news. This is convenient, swift, reliable information that I love to read about. Not only am I impressed by how our hobby is evolving, I have always been impressed as to how FSElite brings this news to us so quickly and eloquently. I am a fan of aviation simulation but I am also a fan of FSElite and their writers.

In January 2019 I saw a recruitment advertisement pop up on the FSElite Facebook page. They were looking for content writers. I remember sitting at my desk thinking to myself that I would love to be a part of that, but never in a million years would I ever class myself to be any kind of journalist. I have no background in creative writing, I am a salesman by trade. I didn’t apply and felt quite upset with myself for not having a go.

A couple of days passed and every day I was thinking about this opportunity.

I saw another recruitment advertisement come up on my news feed. This time I thought long and hard about what I could bring to FSElite. I literally listed my positives on a piece of paper to see if I could use them to my advantage if I applied. I have 20 years experience with various simulators, my communication skills are good, my writing skills are decent and I bloody love this hobby. I have so much to give to the community because I feel that after 20 years and thousands of pounds invested in flight simulation, I have earned the right to be listened to and to be trusted. People need guidance and experience to help them enjoy flight simulation. 

There are so many things that can go wrong if you don’t research or invest correctly. Developers need to be held to account and the public needs to know how they can improve their experiences. This is what I love most about FSElite, and this is why I eventually decided to apply to become a content writer. We have a lot in common.

A written interview was required during the first stage. I wrote with honesty and passion and with good knowledge of my preferred simulator Prepar3D. Nearly a week had passed until I heard the fantastic news that FSElite thought I had a strong application and I was immediately offered a second interview as a formal chat with an editor. I managed nearly an hour talking about myself and my affection for flight simulation. I answered with honesty and to the best of my ability. 

24 hours later I was offered the role as a Content Writer at FSElite.

FSElite Original: To Apply or Not to Apply

Before I could get stuck into some writing, an editor was on hand to help me settle in by introducing me to the other members of the team. This was followed by an induction to go over the ‘do’s and dont’s’ of being a writer for FSElite. A lot of information comes through FSElite which must be kept confidential. 

I had no prior experience in writing articles or using our preferred software to get the articles published to the website. I was helped along by the whole writing team. They have been (and still are) the most supportive group of people I have ever met. My advice to you, take notes on what you are being taught – it took a few nights to get fully comfortable. FSElite also has an extensive internal How-To guide for all staff. This resembles a Wiki style guide that covers everything to do with writing material for the website. It still amazes me as to how professional and intuitive it is. 

Every time I have finished a written article, which normally takes me 30 to 45 minutes, it is sent to a senior editor for quality checks. Someone is always there to check your work before it is published no matter what time-zone you may be living in. We all work as a team as even our senior writers are quality checked to make sure it‘s fit for the community.

So far I have published over 60 articles and 2 product reviews. I have covered stories from big developers such as PMDG, FSLabs and Orbx and smaller ones alike. Each story is unique so that always makes it fun to write.

It’s such a great honour and responsibility that so many people read your work and rely on you for information regarding the future of our beloved simulators. 

When you get a big story to write you can send tens of thousands of people across the world a desktop notification alerting them to breaking news or product reviews. 

This is such an addictive adrenaline rush and I always want to press the publish button.

The best and most notable thing for me is that the directors and editors are always grateful for the time and effort you put into FSElite. You will always be rewarded for your hard work and dedication. There are generous perks that come with being a writer for FSElite, but for me, the most important thing is being recognised for the honest, reliable and unbiased content I produce.

Our team uses a private communication channel, which is a great place to hang out with the team to chat about the latest news, new tasks or even what you had for dinner! You get an instant family atmosphere that helps you settle in quickly. The banter is fantastic and the friendships will last a lifetime. 

The news and information about our hobby never stops, but I take this as a very positive outlook for the future of our hobby. 

That’s why we need like-minded enthusiasts to come along and join us. You will never be on your own because all of us will have your back.

I hope this testimony helps you in your decision whether to apply or not to apply. I have learned a great deal from this experience. I will never doubt myself again. The old cliché of “you never know until you try” springs to mind here.

To all of you future applicants, if it’s something you really want to do, go for it! I wish you the best of luck and look forward to welcoming you to the team.

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Calum Martin
Calum has been an avid fan of Flight Sim since the release of FS2000 and has developed his love for aviation ever since.
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