Is it your dream to break into journalism? It can be a pretty tough industry to crack, but with a bit of hard work and determination you’ll get there!
Here are a few top tips for landing your dream journalism job:
Whether you’re a student or an aspiring journalist working in another field, the best way to get ahead is to practice your writing. A lot.
Whether you start a blog, write for your student newspaper or find local publications that will publish you, all experience will strengthen your résumé and prepare you for that dream job. Ask for feedback. Seek out editors and fellow writers who can help you to sharpen your skills. Soon enough, you’ll be firing out articles like a young Rober Ebert.
2) Create a Network
To build a career in journalism, you’ll need support from your peers and established industry professionals. At every stage of your professional development, having advocates to champion your work will be a huge addition to your own efforts.
Networking can be daunting, but it’s absolutely necessary. Go to events and meet-ups. Join the student paper. Connect with colleagues on social media. Find like-minded individuals and support each other along your respective journeys. Don’t forget to make yourself available to help others too. Journalism is a notoriously competitive industry, but, despite that fact, teamwork is a vital skill to learn.
Pick an area that interests you, then become an expert. Whether it’s football, finance or films, you’ll need to be the best in your field if you want to work for a top publication.
While you’re developing your abilities, think about what makes you different to other journalists. There are plenty of people writing about current affairs, for example, but what do you offer that they don’t?
Make an honest list of your strengths and weaknesses. Think about any opportunities to demonstrate your skills to future employers. Work on your shortcomings until you feel more confident when challenges arise.
4) Find Relevant Work Experience
Opportunities to grow your practical knowledge at established publications are rare. However, if you secure a work experience placement, it will be a boost to your chances of working at a major organisation in the long term. You never know, it’s possible that a short term position will turn into a permanent contact if you make a strong impression.
5) Understand Digital
The gap between online and offline journalism is constantly narrowing. It could be argued that there’s no division between the two at all. These days, journalists need to understand social media, web analytics and multimedia reporting. As a junior journalist, the ability to produce your own podcast or video report can be a big advantage.
Understanding how your audience behaves online is important. Getting to know the digital landscape and keeping up with developments field are intelligent things to do. The ability to track and adapt to change will be a key attribute for journalists in the digital age.
6) Believe in Yourself
Don’t be pushy in your approach. Do be proactive. Breaking into journalism is not easy. It requires talent, tenacity and an outstanding work ethic if you want to make it to the top. Success will not come quickly and you’ll need help from others if you want to succeed.
There will be setbacks. Prepare yourself for these. Confidence in your own ability will sustain you in the hard times and keep you going until you get your opportunity. If journalism is what you really want to do, keep pushing yourself until you start to see results.
There’s some good news in this area – the Financial Times is currently holding a recruitment drive. The global media giant is on the lookout for up and coming journalists, conference organisers and marketers. The FT recruits and retains some of the most creative and industrious thinkers in the media industry. This could be your chance to join them – Find out about opportunities here.
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