How to get a job in publishing, journalism or the media
Unlike some other sectors, the media does not have an annual graduate recruitment cycle. Jobs can be advertised at any time of year and sometimes at short notice. A graduate role starting in September, for example, might not open for applications until May or June, after you have completed your degree. Graduates from any subject can apply for jobs in the media, although some employers will prefer a related degree discipline. Some employers prefer a 2.1 degree, while others are less concerned about academic achievement and some do not require a degree.
Jobs and graduate schemes in media, publishing and journalism
There are several routes into the media sector, and it’s a good idea to apply using more than one of these to maximise your chances of getting hired:
- Some larger employers offer graduate schemes that are advertised annually, but the exact time of year varies between employers and from one year to the next. Some examples can be found here. These schemes often have a small intake and are extremely competitive.
- Smaller, independent employers will only advertise an entry-level role when one becomes available. To find opportunities, keep checking this page as well as employers’ websites and your university careers service.
- Send a speculative application to any employers that interest you but don’t have advertised vacancies. Applying speculatively makes a huge difference to your chances of getting a job in the media because so few entry-level roles are formally advertised.
- You could also try freelancing as a way to get your foot in the door, or to earn a small income while searching for full-time work. You’ll find this easier if you have done media-related work experience and have built up a network of contacts who can recommend you and your work, but this isn’t always possible for fresh graduates.
Applying for media jobs
Whether you’re responding to an advertised vacancy or applying speculatively, the essential components of most media job applications are a CV and covering letter tailored to the role.
Larger employers may use online forms or more creative methods, such as asking you to send a video of yourself. Some may use live phone or video interviews, while others will invite you straight through to a face-to-face interview after your initial application.
You might also be asked to submit examples of your work: radio and film-making roles require a test reel, while animation and photography ask for a portfolio. You may need to create a new piece of work to a specific brief as a test of your ability (either at your interview or in your own time as a separate stage of the selection process). For example, proofreading tests are the norm for editorial roles in journalism and publishing. However, be cautious if you’re asked to produce something for publication or public broadcast.
Of course, application methods vary as widely as media jobs themselves, so make sure you’re clear about what’s expected of you at each stage of the process.
What is it like working in the media?
The media industry covers a range of different industries including:
There is a lot of variety in the roles available to graduates but these areas do have some things in common. They are all creative industries that can provide a high level of job satisfaction from seeing a finished product as the result of your efforts.
The flipside is that the competition for entry-level jobs is intense. Work experience will increase your chances of getting hired, and does not necessarily have to be a formal internship. Building up a portfolio of your work and demonstrating your passion for the industry will help to convince employers that they can trust you with their brand name, as your work is likely to be in the public eye from the outset.
Top skills for media jobs
The skills a job requires will depend on the nature of the role, but if you’ve got a good grasp of the basic skills graduates need you’ll be off to a good start. Other skills that are particularly useful for working in the media include:
Can postgraduate study help you get a job in the media?
Postgraduate courses in related subjects (such as journalism and publishing) may increase your chances of getting a graduate job in that area because they help to grow your professional network and may include workplace experience and/or practical projects. Some organisations may request a relevant masters degree for certain roles. Remember, though, that the media recruit students from any background, and work experience is more important than academic qualifications, so don’t feel like you need to do a postgraduate degree simply because your first degree isn’t strictly relevant to the media.