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How To Develop a Career In Media and Publishing

The media and publishing industry is one of the most competitive and challenging industries to break into. Whether you want to embark on a career in TV, radio, newspapers, magazines or book publishing, applying for this field can be a long and disappointing process. So what does it take to develop a career in media and publishing?

Experience or Qualifications?

Should you spend years and money on earning a qualification or should you dive straight into asking for a job? In the media and publishing industry, there are different levels of employment criteria. There are companies that will demand a degree while there are others who are merely concerned about work experience. In fact, the majority of job descriptions in this field are mainly competency-based which means any previous experience is highly valued. Although educational qualifications are also essential, someone with work experience is more desirable as it demonstrates that they have what it takes to do the job. If you’re into journalism, get involved in college or university newspapers or if it’s radio, get involved in local or community radio stations, for example. Lack of experience will only slow you down from climbing the corporate ladder. But this shouldn’t stop you. If you’ve just come out of university with a Media degree for instance, you could be accepted into a company but you should expect to start from the bottom and work your way up.

What kind of person should I be?

The media and publishing industry isn’t as glamorous as you think it is. If you wish to work for E! Online or The Daily Mirror, know that these establishments are very fast-moving and demanding. As with any line of work, there are certain character traits and know-hows that you require when aspiring to develop a career in the creative industry. A lot of people who work in this field possess individuality, determination and creativity. You could be a writer for a magazine so you’ll need to be able to write persuasively, creatively, and quickly because of the pressure of deadlines. You may be a movie director so you’ll need the ability to bring a vision to reality. Creative vision is key for any sector in the media whether it be in TV, radio, newspapers, magazines or book publishing. You need to be flexible, open to new ideas and be able to learn quickly. In this profession, you’ll be working with people from all walks of life so make sure you have people skills and self-confidence.

Where do I start?

If you make contacts and show your enthusiasm to several companies, consider it a great start. You’re not going to work for Pearson publishing company or MTV studios right away so at first, aim to apply for a job at a small operation. These companies usually give you entry-level positions that will most likely give you a kick start in gaining experience in several roles. Keep your options open to different duties as this will help clarify which sector you prefer to work in, if you do not know yet. If you cannot find paid work immediately, consider applying at volunteer TV stations or magazine companies. This way, you’ll get the experience that could eventually help you find employment.

When looking to develop a career in the media or publishing industry, make sure to tailor your CV according to the sector you’re interested in. A lot of employers will look at your resume or cover letter for a minute and then move on so really make it stand out. Make your cover letter short and snappy and showcase your talents in a portfolio. If you do not receive any replies, keep at it, persevere and continue to badger companies until you get a break. Send emails, letters, phone up and soon enough your application will get to the right person at the right time. Once you’ve got your foot in the door – you’ve made the most difficult step.

As long as you have the relevant skills and/or experience along with a passion for the area you want to get into, you’ve ticked all the boxes for a media and publishing career.

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