It’s almost April, which means a lot of my friends and readers are preparing to graduate college! I’m so happy for y’all! I know the huge question on your mind is.. “What do I do now?” Trust me, I know. I pictured myself moving into a huge apartment in the middle of a big city working for a huge magazine right out of college. It didn’t work exactly that way, BUT I was blessed to secure a job in a local news station in my hometown, managing social media and the web! I’m writing all day, which is GREAT!
It’s hard to find a job in Mass Communications after graduation, or period. So, I wanted to provide some tips for y’all that helped me find my job.
Here I am in May 2013, and here’s the headshot I took for my job last month.
1. Start applying early! I started applying for jobs in my field a month or two before I graduated (and honestly, it should have been a little earlier than that.) The process of reviewing applications, then interview potentials and narrowing it down takes a while. Plus, you want to have as many options as possible, just in case something doesn’t work out.
2. Don’t be afraid to relocate for a job. Even though I was blessed to find a job in my hometown, I also applied to jobs in surrounding cities like Charlotte, Charleston, and Atlanta. The Mass Comm. field is super competitive. Some of my co-workers are in SC from Massachusetts and Florida.
3. REVISE your Resume and always include a cover letter! Even if the application doesn’t call for one (however, if they specifically ask for you NOT to include a cover letter, don’t!) an application without a cover letter isn’t a good idea. Use this as a chance to show the supervisor what’s setting you apart from any other student applying for that same job. Also, please make sure to revise your resume. Make sure it’s free of grammatical errors, detailed and no more than a page long. When revising my essay, I realized I still had extra-curricular activities listed from high school!
4. BE DEDICATED. When I was job searching, I was CONSUMED with job searching. I woke up before class to search for job openings and sent emails in between classes. Once I graduated, I woke up early every morning to send off my resume or follow up letters to my resume. You may be lucky enough to interview with one of the first few companies you apply for, but that doesn’t happen to everyone!
5. Don’t be afraid to take an internships, unpaid or modestly paid. While searching for a full-time job, I had the pleasure of working with a local women’s magazine named IMARA Woman. Magazine writing is something I’m super interested in and I learned SO much from this internship. It was 4 hours a day, from Monday-Friday. The owner is super sweet and I made great connections through this internship. I even wrote articles and conducted interviews for the magazine!
I had a small job as a High School Sports freelance writer that paid around $20 an article (I know right!). I know that taking an internship is the last thing you want to do when you graduate, but sometimes that can lead to other things faster than just any full-time job.
INQUIRE. Sometimes companies are open to the idea of a new intern (see above) but the opening just isn’t posted on their website. Send companies that you are interested in a friendly email, inquiring about internship opportunities (don’t forget that resume!)
Get your foot in the door. If there is a company that you are interested in and they have other job openings, don’t be afraid to apply for those. That way, when the job opening comes up that you really want, you’ll know about it firsthand and already have good standing with the company.
SHOW what you know.. NOW! If you are searching for a full-time career as a writer, start a blog! If you want to report, create a YouTube channel and start reporting on your own. If you want to work for a Public Relations Firm, book a client! Take that initiative. In addition to your resume and cover letter, you’ll probably need writing samples or reels to send off, and a link to a YouTube page, a blog, or website is way easier to send off.
FLEXIBILITY. You don’t ever want to limit yourself or the possibilities that may be available to you in your field. To avoid being narrow casted, show flexibility and diversity in your skill set. If you want to write for a magazine post graduation, make sure you aren’t just writing about one thing all of the time. Show variety. If you know that you want to write AND report in your job, make sure you do both, and do both well. The only thing worse than a lack of diversity in your work is a Jack of all Trades, Master of None; meaning, you’re super good at one thing but lack in your other skills! Flexbility is important because at any job, especially in the journalism field, it would be in your best interest to know how to do more than one thing outside of the office. Show that you’re an asset to the team! I’m still learning my way around the newsroom. I was always more on the writing side of media, but I learn more about broadcast news everyday!
Don’t get discouraged: if you don’t find a job right away in your field. It takes time! In the meantime, because bills are REAL, if you have to take up a job offer that’s not in your field for a while, don’t lose sight of your dream. If you don’t get that “dream job”, just know that God has something better in store for you. Just keep the faith and continue to work hard!
Did I miss something? If so, please leave it in the comment section!
I started to add things that would help you secure the job AFTER the interview but I think I MIGHT make that into a second post!
If anyone wants to talk to me about this on a more personal level, please feel free to contact me! I LOVE getting emails!