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How to Secure a Career in Journalism

Journalism Career

Securing a job when you’ve just graduated can be difficult enough, but there is no uncertainty around the fact that there are some careers which may require a little bit more than just a CV and covering letter.

Journalism is most definitely one of those career paths, and as varied as it may be in terms of its domains, it’s still often regarded as quite a competitive industry, which may need you to be a little bit more persistent and even slightly tough-skinned! But fear not, here is a very simple guide with some helpful tips to assist you in your path towards becoming a journalist.

Print and Online Journalism

Journalism Career

Don’t be afraid of low-paying or unpaid work experience

Of course, working your socks off for virtually no (or very little) reward can seem extremely unfair and even demoralizing – and you’re quite right; it is. But the amount of precious work experience that an internship at a magazine or local newspaper will provide you with can be incredibly useful for polishing your skills as a journalist, as well as creating an impressive portfolio to testify to your amazing writing talent.

It’s also useful to bear in mind that since the nature of this industry can be very demanding and challenging at times, you probably wouldn’t want to be signing six-month and year-long contracts right at your entrance into the world of journalism. Instead, you’re better off testing the waters and gaining a rough idea of where your strengths and weaknesses lie, where you fit into the industry and where you see yourself in the next five years – so appreciate the time you get learning about, exploring and honing your qualities as a journalist, because believe me, you’ll appreciate it a lot in the long-run!

Build a visible network with LinkedIn

You may have heard a lot of people tell you that it is unlikely you’d be able to set foot into the journalism industry without a good network of connections, connections, and more connections. It seems a little unrealistic and you might wonder how you’re meant to go about building contacts with other journalists, if you’ve never met them before in your life? This is where the aforementioned work experience comes in.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking up an internship or two (depending on the duration for which you’ll be interning). This will ensure you get to work with – and know – a few professionals in the industry that will be able to guide you as you commence your journalism career . Take your time perfecting your LinkedIn profile and seek advice doing this if you need to. Build a network of useful contacts, share your work with them, and you will automatically be exposing yourself to so many new and exciting opportunities in your journalism career.

Set up your own blog

A blog is extremely helpful for helping your writing to gain exposure. Not only that, it can also benefit you when it comes to deciding what your writing style is and the topics that are of interest to you. If you’re able to consistently post regular content, at least once per week, you’ll also show that you’re capable of sticking to a dedicated routine, and that is bound to scream strong work ethic and commitment.

Just like physical training and exertion, writing is an exercise that you’ll need to constantly practice to improve and maintain your writing flexibility; and during those few months or so of unemployment, blogging will help immensely to keep you in touch with your creative side. Yes, that dreaded ‘writer’s block’ happens to the best and worst of us, but the more you write, the less likely it is to attack – I promise! Plus, let me reiterate the modern benefits of being able to share your work with everyone at the click of a button.

Broadcast Journalism


Volunteer at your university radio or television station

You will find that most universities have their own media stations where students interested in broadcasting careers are able to take part in different types of valuable work experience. Some include radio and even television hosting. If you’re still at university, don’t be shy to ask around for the opportunities that are available. The best part about this is that you may pick and choose what times best fit around your academic schedule, and you can be a member for as long as you like – just remember that the longer you’re active, the better. You’ll acquire some useful experience that will undoubtedly benefit you in the long run as a journalist, not to mention it will make an impressive addition to your CV.

Further your studies – take up a master’s in broadcast journalism

It’s no secret that, depending on where you choose to study, higher education can be extortionately costly. But if you can, consider applying for a postgraduate course in broadcast or television journalism. For some of you, this might go without saying, but an academic pathway will always open gates that you probably never even imagined would open. A postgraduate course in broadcast journalism will also help you gain exposure to a variety of popular broadcasting stations and will be more than useful for building up your network. Employers like to see that you’ve taken that extra mile to improve and brush up on your employability skills and requirements, so if you’re considering a postgraduate degree and believe you have the necessities to pursue it, then definitely don’t wait.

Various courses at the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) offer excellent journalistic training, including the always-essential skill of shorthand; while the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) is the perfect option for those of you looking to specialise in online, multimedia and broadcast journalism.  

Try ‘vlogging’ – set up your own YouTube channel

It’s become quite common among bloggers and social media personalities to whip out their cameras and create fun, entertaining and informative videos for viewers across the globe. Creating visual and creative content, particularly in which you’re exposing yourself to the camera and talking, can be very advantageous for a number of reasons, such as demonstrating your presentation skills and your creativity level, as well as your career drive and ambition – qualities that employers love to see on your resume, which will prove extremely useful to your journalism career.

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Written by Belkis Megraoui
A former content writer for TopUniversities.com, Belkis published a range of articles for students and graduates across the globe. She has a zeal for history and a natural flair for the arts and sports. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Communication with Journalism from the University of Hertfordshire and is a native speaker of the Arabic language.

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