Aspiring journalists need to be consistent in showing they really want to pursue this career. They need to be showing their passion for journalism in every way – even if they are at school or university or working in a completely unrelated job. If you want to be a journalist, keep writing.
This post comes from experience, well actually, what I am currently doing right now. I am trying to do exactly what this post says and it comes from the advice I gave myself really. When I started looking for a journalism job and the search was proving to be difficult, I knew I had to find something else to tie me over, money-wise. I knew I couldn’t just job search 9-5 Mon-Fri because 1) it would partly drive me crazy and 2) I would be house-bound from having no money. So I picked up a temporary job position in my town, completely unrelated to what I want to do. On my CV I didn’t want it to come across like this, I wanted to show future employers that I was still gaining experience in writing by doing things on the side. I didn’t want my little journalism dream to be dropped and forgotten even though I was finding it near impossible to get any replies from these job applications.
It is hard to get a job, and it’s hard to stand out from all the other applicants for each position. But even if you are just doing it on the side, don’t stop writing. Don’t miss out on opportunities to show that journalism is still your passion. And working that temp job just to get some pennies doesn’t have to be all you do with your day.
Blog. Blogging shows your passion for continuously writing. It doesn’t matter what you blog about, but it’s doing something completely off your own back, because you want too and not because you are told too. Blogging can show commitment to keeping up frequent posts rather than leaving it and writing a post every 6 months. It can also show you a bit internet savvy – publicising it to social networking sites and understanding the content management systems.
Unpaid internships at home. It’s a common dilemma whether you should or shouldn’t take unpaid internships. The main problem with this is the lack of money coming in and sometimes that just isn’t feasible for you. Internships however show that you are willing to do something you love just to gain experience without getting paid. I found a happy inbetween – some internships can be completed at home. Have a look at intern websites where they are advertising for a role which can be done from home. If you are determined, you can fit this in between your working hours and you have the best of both worlds. You are showing your passion by writing and being in a intern position but you are also earning money to keep you going.
Writing online. Similar to the internship, contribute as much as you can, when it interests you. On Twitter thousands and hundreds of online magazines and websites are looking for unpaid contributors to their websites which don’t have any particular commitment to them. Find a publication that interests you and that you would enjoy writing about and submit articles or ideas to them. These can be added to your portfolio and you can tell or show future employers that you have been freelancing.
Pitch ideas. Yes, everything I have said is unpaid at the moment. But it keeps you writing and it shows you are being consistent in your ideal career! But if you are looking to earn some extra cash too, why not pitch ideas. Local magazines often take on a lot of freelance work as they have small in-house teams. Make your ideas detailed and researched before you pitch them and present yourself as a freelance journalist.
Everything I have said in this post are the sorts of things I have been trying to get myself to do. I know my current job is nothing to do with journalism, and I don’t want that to affect any prospective employer by them thinking why on earth was I working there. It’s for money, that’s simply it. But I want them to know what I was doing as well as that, I was blogging, writing, researching, learning more skills and building on the ones I already had.