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The Great Job Hunt

With around two months to go until all teaching is finished, all exams are over and all assignments (bar the dreaded final project) are handed in, my thoughts have turned firmly to finding a job. This is for several reasons: I would like some money, I would like to move out of my childhood home and into a houseshare with my lovely friend who is getting rather tired of waiting for me to join her in London, and (perhaps most importantly of all) I do not want to write another dissertation.

At Kingston, we have two options for the final three months of our degree. We can write hefty 12,000 word dissertations, or we can get jobs and spread those 12,000 words between 4 smaller assignments, including a portfolio of published work. I wrote a dissertation during my final year at Durham. I chose my topic with care, loved reading about it and thinking about it, but then came the moment when I had to write it. I screamed, I cried, I bit my nails until I had no nails left, and I nearly had a nervous breakdown when my well-meaning friend asked to see the finished product the night before it was due. I’m not sure that I’d survive writing a second, even longer dissertation in a shorter period of time.

So that means the pressure is on to find a job, and fast. I’m in the middle of a three-week Easter break, but I’ve spent most of that trawling through various websites, tweaking and re-tweaking my CV and trying to write original cover letters (and I hate writing cover letters almost as much as I hated writing my dissertation). It’s hard work, but it’ll all be worth it when I get that letter from The Times demanding that I write for them (I sent my application at least three days ago, it must be due any day now).

For those of you in the same position as me, here are some of my favourite websites for finding journalism job opportunities. But be warned, if you get any of the jobs that I’m going for, I will find you and I will hurt you!

Gorkana: http://www.gorkanajobs.co.uk/

Journalism.co.uk: http://www.journalism.co.uk/media-reporter-jobs/s64/

Internwise: http://www.internwise.co.uk/

Media Muppet: http://mediamuppet.com/

Media Nation: http://www.medianation.co.uk/content/indiesdetail/Broadcast/Indies/362

Hold the Front Page: http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/

Think I’ve left a site out? Want to share your experience of job hunting? Please leave a comment below or contact me on julie.fisher@hotmail.co.uk.

 

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Five Tips for Securing Work Experience

As I mentioned in this post, I’m on work experience at the moment. In light of this, and not wanting to write too many identical blog posts on what I’ve been doing, I’ve gone for another set of tips for today’s post – how to secure work experience. Wannabe Hacks gave some good advice here, but I wanted to add my fifty cents:

1) Be early. If you’re a student, the chances are you’ll be looking for work experience in academic holidays, and the chances are so will everyone else. Some nationals, such as the Guardian, also stress that they give priority to candidates on bursary schemes and competition winners at these times, so if you want to get in, you should get in early. Don’t send out e-mails a week before term ends and expect a response.

2) Be persistent. Editors receive hundreds of e-mails every week (sometimes hundreds every day), so unless they happen to have been looking when your message came in, it may get lost in their inbox. Phone first before sending your CV so that they’re expecting it, or try something more unusual like sending a letter so that your application stands out from the crowd. Following up when someone has said that they’ll look at your CV is also worth doing, but not so much that you cross the line into harassment.

3) Be open-minded. We all dream of working on a national newspaper or big glossy magazine, so its unsurprising that these publications get hundreds of work experience applications. It’s always worth applying to these places, but keeping an open mind and trying smaller publications can get you further. And small publications with small staff bodies will often give you more actual writing to do than nationals, where you can end up doing mostly research and fact checking.

4) Be informed. In a tidal wave of applications, the round robin will be the first to be deleted. Find out about each publication you apply to and explain why you want to work there and why they should want you to work there.A quick phone call to find out exactly who deals with work experience will also avoid your message landing in the wrong inbox.

5) Be accurate. There’s no point in writing the perfect cover letter and having it ruined by a glaring error in the first line. Check, double check, and have someone else check what you’ve checkd before you send anything. Apostrophes and the spelling of names are the most common errors.

If you have any tips of your own, please share them in the comments!