Over the past eight years I’ve worked with various brands and networks across multiple platforms of media, from News Media to to Broadcast Media. Currently I work at Channel Five, which is where I’ve spent more than three years of the previous eight working. Outside of my job I write this blog which is my absolute no.1 hobby, my baby, my pride and joy, and it also opened up opportunities for me to work with some fantastic companies. I am also working on separate writing projects, which I hope to see develop over the next year. So I’m hoping that’s enough to qualify me to write a little career advice post, I think it’s my first ever…
The tips below are the stepping stones I used to kick start my career. Although my background mainly focuses on PR and Marketing and Broadcast, I think these tips apply across a few other platforms of Media. So whether it’s Journalism, TV Production, Social Media, whatever your bag, hopefully these tips will help:
Get the RIGHT kind of work experience It’s all good and well adding that two-week work experience you did at your Dad’s office to your CV, the one where you spent the entire time making tea and fixing the printer, but what has that got to do with working at Google, or Vogue, or wherever your dream job may be? If you want to impress potential employers, you need to get the RIGHT kind of experience. For example, if you want a career in journalism, why not approach your local paper or a website offering to work one night or one day a week for free, in order to get some relative experience. Trust me, your better going to a job interview with experience that relates as appose to ‘well, I can make a smashing cuppa’ (although it never hurts to add that to your ‘Special Skills’ section).
Don’t just tell your potential employer how good you are, SHOW THEM When I was 21 years old (all those years ago) I was up for a 12 month internship at Discovery Channel. I was absolutely determined to get the job, nothing was going to stop me, not even when I saw that the role required experience in Photoshop, a program I had never used in my life. Rather than try and BS my way through the interview, instead I offered to work unpaid at an advertising agency in exchange for some basic Photoshop lessons. A week later I presented my Photoshop skills to Discovery via some freshly printed story boards I had made at the agency. The two women interviewing me seemed impressed; I was later told that I bagged the job because of my initiative and dedication to the role.
Keep up to date with CURRENT AFFAIRS If you’re going to be working in media, you need to know media. Be prepared to tell whoever it is that’s interviewing you a) your favourite publication b) why you read it C) who writes it. They might want contributors names, favourite articles, so be prepared. Even if you’re not much of a paper reader, or a magazine reader, I would pick one NOW and get reading, particularly on current events. Or maybe a news website? The main thing is, it’s important to know whats going on in the media. Whether that’s knowing about the latest app that’s launched (if you’re a marketer it could be a potential competitor for your client?) or being completely up to speed on all headline news (if you work in advertising, a current news story may be damaging to a potential ad).
Be CREATIVE with your CV and application Try thinking outside the box. The more creative you are, the better. I recently stumbled upon this online CV – Okay, so that’s near enough impossible for most of us to put together, but I love how it stands out and has so much personality. Obviously we can’t all create such a techy mega maze of a CV, but we can stand out and we can show our personality. A guy I studied with at Uni desperately wanted an internship at a particular major shoe label, so he sent the company his CV. But to attract their attention he sent the CV in the bottom of a shoe box, underneath a shoe, and to the shoelace he tied a label saying ‘Let me get my foot in the door’. They offered him a position immediately. I was blown away by his creativity.
Blog, Blog, BLOG! So if your reading this it’s more than likely you are a blogger. Good! These days it’s more common for an employer to applaud a blog than look down on it (within the media industries anyway). I know people who have been hired based on their blogs! Blogging shows off your writing skills, maybe even photography skills, possibly design, html, coding. But most importantly a good blog showcases your time management skills, organisation skills, your ability to be creative and your dedication towards something your passionate about. And no doubt it means you’re a whizz at social media and self-promotion, always a bonus.
Don’t be afraid to say NO So let’s set the scene: you finally get that oh-so important job, it’s like all your dreams are coming true, in fact you’re so desperate to impress your new employer that you give a big fat YES to every task asked of you by every person on your team. If you honestly think you can handle it then by all means go for it. BUT! If you already have a lot on your plate then it’s okay to say No or to ask for help. I learnt this lesson the hard way when I lost my first job out of Uni. I was the girl so desperate to please that I took on every single task asked of me. I worked around the clock trying to tick everything off my To Do list, yet constantly adding more things to it because I was too afraid to say No. And what happened? I crumbled. In fact I drowned, in silence. I quickly began struggling to get everything done. I stupidly let my simple day-to-day tasks slip by me, such as booking taxi’s (for a 6am press call – Oops!) and picking up the new light bulbs (so the meeting room was pitch black) and the final blow came when there was no Paper towels in the toilet. It may not sound like a big deal, and people might not even notice right? But unfortunately the client that was visiting that day noticed straight away and made a complaint. Ultimately it was my responsibility, but I was so busy doing 101 other things that I didn’t a remember a task that would have taken me 60 seconds!
Although I was pretty gutted to lose my job at the time, it was a valuable lesson that molded me into the person I am today, and I am glad it happened. In fact all of the above have resulted in me getting me where I am today.
I hope this post was useful, even if just one person takes something away from it, I’ll be very happy to have helped. Any questions, just comment below.