TARGETjobs black logo
getting work experience in the media and publishing

Getting work experience in the media and publishing industry

Getting some kind of hands-on experience is essential for getting your first job in publishing or media.

Be organised and keep your eyes open for interesting opportunities.

The media and publishing sectors are hard to get into as a fresh graduate. This is because your work is likely to be in the public eye from your first day. Understandably, employers are nervous about unleashing an untested recruit with their brand name. So the more work experience you have in your portfolio, the more likely you are to get in.

Work experience is a perfect way to showcase your talents, make contacts and show your enthusiasm. The media sector is varied and incorporates TV, PR, theatre, radio, and book, magazine and web publishing - and in all of these areas, work experience is valued highly.

Student broadcasters

One of the best places to start getting experience is probably somewhere on campus. Many student unions have a website, newspaper, radio or television station. These are a good place to build up a portfolio of work and most welcome new members with open arms.

Even if they don’t have enough space for you to add any content when you join, then they will almost certainly need support staff, proofreaders, producers and such. Experience across a range of different roles will help when you apply for more senior roles as it demonstrates an understanding of the whole process.

Internships, placements and work shadowing

If you're looking for media work experience, you’ll have to do a lot of hunting around. Take the initiative and approach companies that interest you, even if they don't offer a formal work experience scheme.

  • Work shadowing is a good introduction to many areas of the media. Here you spend time with an experienced professional, learning about what they do.
  • If you can spare one day a week, a clever move would be to offer your services as an industrial placement. This will give you a long-term look at an organisation, and help you to build contacts and experience.
  • Work experience weeks are a good way to get a short but intense feel for how a particular role works. These are a good way to find out more about a job you think you’d like.
  • Longer internships will give you more hands-on experience. Many employers will treat these in the same way as full-time employment, so when they are asking for someone who has ‘at least one year’s experience’, you can tick that box.

Tips for applying

Most of the big media organisations (notably larger book publishers and the BBC) organise their work experience placements up to a year in advance. At the other end of the scale, smaller organisations are less likely to have an official structure, and may not know how to deal with an internship inquiry. It's normal to need to cover a lot of ground before you find someone willing to take you on.

Be organised and keep your eyes open for interesting opportunities. Application methods vary; some companies respond best to speculative applications with a CV and covering letter attached, while some require you to apply online. Our article on 'How to find publishing and journalism graduate jobs and work experience' explains the main types of vacancies (internships, ad hoc work experience opportunities with smaller employers, and applying speculatively) in more depth. Whatever the details of the application process it’s vital to display enthusiasm for the industry.

Article last updated 3 June 2019.

Supported by

This describes editorially independent and objective content, written and edited by the GTI content team, with which the organisation would like to be associated and has provided some funding in order to be so. Any external contributors featuring in the article are independent from the supporter organisation and contributions are in line with our non-advertorial policy.

Advertising feature by

This describes content that has been written and edited in close collaboration with the organisation, who has funded the feature; it is advertising. We are committed to upholding our ethical values of transparency and honesty when dealing with students and feel that this is the best way not to deceive consumers of our content. The content will be written by GTI editors, but the organisation will have had input into the messaging, provided knowledge and contributors and approved the content.

In Partnership

This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.

Top