Keep pushing the boundaries, keep working hard and keep knocking on the door.
As a journalism student, who is constantly being told that our industry is ‘saturated’ and that you have to be the very best to get a job, you can be pushed either of two ways.
You can use the competition as motivation to work hard, study hard and grow to be the best. OR you can give up.
I have chosen to the first one, because I believe nothing worth getting comes easily. And if it does, abuse of it is inevitable because you do not fully understand its value.
I’ve know I want to be in the media industry for years! That’s probably why I started this blog nearly 5 years ago. But I had no contacts and was a complete novice as to how this whole media thing worked.
A few years later and I know a fair bit, thanks to hours of research, fantastic friends and amazing mentors.
So back to the reason for this post, I want to motivate you guys that are at a similar stage to where I was a few years ago or even where I am now. Keep pushing the boundaries, keep working hard and keep knocking on the door.
Find those people who inspire you in the industry and contact them. Twitter is great for this because you can literally tweet them (or even DM them) and ask for an email address. So far, most people I have asked have said yes and given me their email. Tell them to look out for an email from you and then message them again when you’ve sent the email. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel annoying and pushy, but sometimes you really have to be. These people need to remember you, so let yourself be remembered as keen!
Try to go to industry networking events! Email is great and everything but NOTHINGGGG beats speaking to people face to face. I am an extremely bubbly person. This can be very hard to bring across when I’m writing, especially when writing emails (it usually results in many many many redrafts lol) but once you meet me, you’ll get exactly what I’m like. It is a lot easier to make a lasting impression on people when you meet them at networking events. So carry yourself gracefully and do not be scared to just walk up to them and talk to them. Networking events are only places that that kind of thing is okay!!! I met my mentor at a RTS masterclass and as soon as she finished speaking on stage I ran up to her and introduced myself. She said I was the only person who had the guts to go up to her and talk to her and on the spot she gave me her email and offered to mentor me! BE FEARLESS! Put yourself out there. The worst they can do is say no.
Speaking of mentors, they are SO important. Walk in the footprints of giants. Learn from those who have done it before you and longer than you. Listen to them and learn from their mistakes so you do not have to make them. Mentors can also point you towards people you can connect with and grow from.
Speaking of connecting (wow, all these links.. someone would think I planned this lol), LinkedIn and Twitter are your best friends from this day forth. If you want to work in the media or business industries and you’re not on LinkedIn AND Twitter, what are you doing b? Get on them now (and follow me while you’re there)! It kind of works as your online CV so make sure it looks good and professional!
Let’s go on to the ole curriculum vitae! Everyone has a different way of writing CVs but here are a few tips I’ve been taught, and they seem to work so far. You either have to keep it to 1 page or 2 full pages. No 1 and a half pages. And most definitely nothing more than 2 pages, unless you’re Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or it’s an Academic CV (for postgraduate courses etc.) Keep the design simple and chic, there are loads of templates online so have a look at them. Also another cheeky lil tip I’ve picked up along the way, save your CV in pdf form as well as as a document. This keeps the formatting of it, especially if the person you email it (and tbh you will be using your CV more online than working around shops handing them out) to does not have Microsoft Word or downloads it to Google Drive (Oh gosh, have I mentioned how Google Drive, Gmail and Google Docs are your
friends best friends RODs.. that’s another post for another day!).
What goes hand in hand with a CV – A Cover Letter! If you didn’t scream ‘cover letter’ at your laptop, phone, tablet or desktop because you don’t ever send cover letters, or in fact you don’t even know what a cover letter is, don’t worry, that was me literally this time last year. Ah, ignorance is bliss. But no longer. Cover letters are actually vital in saving people time. Bare in mind how long and detailed CVs are, cover letters help employers check if the CV is rubbish without having to go through it. In this lovely digital age, you usually attach this with your CV in the email or better still, type it out in the body of the email. Cover letters tend to still be in the format of a letter (especially if the company asked for it and you’re attaching it in an email). Make sure these do not go beyond 1 page. Make them short, concise and relevant to the business – they can actually tell if you just sent them a default one… they can tell. They can just sense it some how.
Lastly, I thought I’d leave you with some brilliant links that I’ve used to help me scout opportunities (from placements to volunteering to apprenticeships to networking events) –
Hope this post has helped and please do contact me if you have any questions (or even leave a comment)
Ya girl, Paula Melissa x