I think any aspiring journalist will have this thought. That gut-wrenching feeling when you wonder whether it is all worth it. When you sit there, with not only job rejections, but the deadly silence on your email after applying for jobs that you really, really want.
Is it worth it? Shall I just give up?
Because education is the easy bit. You aren’t constantly competing for that one place to succeed. Being successful at university or during education is down to you working hard. You doing your research, reading, essays, asking the right questions and just getting off arse to actually DO it. Work experience is offering your skills and knowledge for free. Exams are a result of how hard you have worked, and it always goes that if you’ve put the work in, it pays off. There’s no competition. If someone else got a first, that doesn’t mean you can’t. It’s everyone together, working hard, being successful.
When it comes to a job, working hard doesn’t equal a job. It doesn’t always equal success. You are in constant competition with everyone around you. And this time it matters what they are doing, it matters if their application is better than yours, or they have really thought out of the box. There’s only one spot, and if you’re not good enough, you won’t get it.
Applying for journalism jobs when you come out of university is like a minefield. Hundreds of applicants going for one position, that even if you are suitably qualified, that doesn’t mean you’ll get called for an interview. Even if you are over qualified, it doesn’t mean you’ll get to the next round. Because there might always just be that person who is better than you.
I had that feeling when I was applying for jobs – getting excited when I saw that PERFECT one, reading the required experience and matching it to a T, writing a cover letter and sending it off, getting a slight stomach flip when I got an email. And then, hearing nothing back at all. It’s so demotivating, demoralising, because each time you hear nothing back, you start to think. Is it really worth it? Will I ever get a job in journalism? Should I just give up?
I’ve had this feeling before. Don’t be the one who gives up, that veers off in a different direction because you think that you’ll never succeed.
Stick at it, keep going, and move on.