I dreamed a dream of working at a top magazine. That dream hasn’t disappeared. But I’ve realised that as an aspiring journalist you need to make compromises and take the opportunities that come your way.
So in response to the Entrepreneur’s post on “dream jobs” yes, you definitely need that dream job to aim high for. It is essentially what drives you as a journalist, to keep going and to reach your goal. However, I agree with the Jobseeker here in his not so picky approach to job hunting. In this tricky job market you can’t afford to be picky, literally.
Anyway, enough of my moaning I feel I’ve done enough of that lately. Time for some good news, I got a job! An actual, real life PAID job. Whilst it’s not at More! or Heat, it’s a good starting block for my future career. I think dream jobs are great but are something that you work towards. You can strike out lucky early on but essentially you have to pay your weight in a top class MA, intern for free for years or have some pretty good contacts. Probably all three.
A year after graduating, I’ve got my first “proper” job in journalism. I watched my other friends around me get graduate jobs; teaching, social work, nurses, PA’s while little old me was still working for free. However, I now think (and hope) it was all worth it; my experience was essentially was what got me the job. So here are a few of my tips for nabbing that first job in journalism:
Getting a job in journalism will take a while. I interned on and off for a year before I got a job so have patience and you will eventually get there.
Put the extra effort in
Journalism just won’t work if you sit on the sofa and say, ‘I want to be a journalist why isn’t it happening?’ You’ve got to make it happen and get out there. Undertaking a popular creative career like Journalism not only takes time but a lot of hard work. So I’d advise to put the extra input it by:
Offering your services for free
This could be either interning for free for a few months at a company or by simply writing for websites/your local paper in your spare time. I found that Wannabe Hacks has opened up many opportunities for me and has not cost a penny! You don’t need to go far from your front door to get noticed. Take my post being featured on the Guardian, a great accolade without even leaving my house!
Showing your commitment- write a blog.
Regularly writing for a blog will also show to your employers that you are dedicated to journalism. Like a hobby or extra curricular activity on your CV, writing voluntarily outside of University/internships will portray your commitment and passion for it as a career.
Write anywhere and everywhere you can
This was what an editorial assistant of a magazine once said to me. Pretty obvious but a key tip to making it as a journalist. Try not to limit your writing to work experience or your blog but find a variety of places where you can get your work published, be it your local paper or online. You never know, they may pay you for it! It’s always tricky to decide whether you should ask or not but if you feel you should be, or you have a suspicion that the company would, hint away!
Create an online presence on Twitter/Linked In
Perhaps not the most directly linked tip to getting a job, having an online presence will definitely help you along the way. Follow the people/companies you would like to work with or inspire you and get chatting! Speaking to people online and then meeting them socially in real life could create great contacts. Contacts and networking is a massive part of journalism so those twitter journo friends may come in handy when you a) you need a job, b) want some freelance work or c) want advice and people to generally have a giggle with down the pub!
My last tip of the day: be enthusiastic! At my interview I pretty much was sitting at the edge of my seat, eager to show what I could do I knew I was ready for my first “proper” job and wanted them to see that. So others may say I’m not a Wannabe anymore but hopefully this is just the start of my journey as a Hack….
Got any other extra tips for what all wannabes are essentially attempting to achieve, our dream job? Let us know, by commenting below or tweeting @wannabehacks!
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