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Work experience in the media?

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    I'm a A2 Sixth Form student hoping to get work experience in the media in my gap year. I'm studying English Lit, Theatre and History and have got my offer for English + Theatre at the University of Leeds in 2013 (Just need the grades now!)

    I really want to make the most out of my gap year, and I think a way of showing employers that I've used this time to get ahead in the increasingly difficult job market - especially in the world of media, is by getting some experience. EASIER SAID THAN DONE, I know...:'(

    In the Easter Break, I'm hoping to go for a work-shadowing day at the Independent...some girl in my class babysits for this lovely journalist there, quite amazingly. This will be my first bit of media experience. Pretty much proves it's who you know, not what you know really.

    I know that the sector is notoriously difficult to get work in, but SOME PEOPLE DO, and I want to know how they've done it! Everyone has to start from the bottom, but I want to know how those people stay on to become the great professionals today!

    Is my work-shadowing day at the Independent likely to give me any head-start? Any tips? Also, is the fact that I'm not even an undergraduate gonna hinder me majorily?

    Anyway, rant over... Would love to hear from people that have relentlessley searched for work experience in the media, success stories, failures, whatever - really would be helpful for quite a novice like myself.

    Thanks again if you can help! Really appreciated.
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    My sister has done hospital radio for years, and through it has got into events as media, and has worked with the local radio station as well.
    You could try and get work experience at other papers/magazines/the BBC, and look at voluntary opportunities doing newsletters for charities etc.
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    (Original post by ~ Purple Rose ~)
    My sister has done hospital radio for years, and through it has got into events as media, and has worked with the local radio station as well.
    You could try and get work experience at other papers/magazines/the BBC, and look at voluntary opportunities doing newsletters for charities etc.
    Sounds interesting, how did she get involved in that in the first place, do you know? A BBC placement would be amazing but they're extremely competitive! I'll definitely be looking into volunteer work, do you think enthusiatically emailing around would my best bet? Thanks for the help!
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    (Original post by dulciemae)
    Sounds interesting, how did she get involved in that in the first place, do you know? A BBC placement would be amazing but they're extremely competitive! I'll definitely be looking into volunteer work, do you think enthusiatically emailing around would my best bet? Thanks for the help!
    She first got into it when she did a uni placement there, but anyone can apply to volunteer for them - have a look on your local NHS website, or www.do-it.org.uk.

    E-mailing or writing letters is a good idea, tell them what you are looking for and why, and send a copy of your CV too
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    (Original post by ~ Purple Rose ~)
    She first got into it when she did a uni placement there, but anyone can apply to volunteer for them - have a look on your local NHS website, or www.do-it.org.uk.

    E-mailing or writing letters is a good idea, tell them what you are looking for and why, and send a copy of your CV too
    Well I'm only a college student so it'll probably be harder, but I'll give it my best! Yeah, I'll probably just do that, better of actually doing something than being put off by how competitive it is. If I never try, I'll never know!
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    I'm at the independent for a couple of weeks of work experience at the moment. There is a contact email on their website. It's good but it's quite easy just to sit there doing nothing. You need to be proactive.

    Not being at uni will make it harder to get work experience. Just target lots of magazines and newspapers with personalised cvs and cover letter. Make a follow up call if they don't get back to you. You generally have to book months in advance unless you make it clear you are available at the drop of a hat (they have lots of cancellations).

    I would forget the BBC. The application is a big hassle and way too competitive. As I said, ate shouldn't be too big a hurdle if you are professional, knowledgable and enthusiastic. My brother is in lower sixth and got work experience at two top magazines fairly easily.

    Just put yourself out there, show your work and keep at it! oh, and www.wannabehacks.co.uk is the best place for advice on journalism careers!
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    (Original post by benparf)
    I'm at the independent for a couple of weeks of work experience at the moment. There is a contact email on their website. It's good but it's quite easy just to sit there doing nothing. You need to be proactive.

    Not being at uni will make it harder to get work experience. Just target lots of magazines and newspapers with personalised cvs and cover letter. Make a follow up call if they don't get back to you. You generally have to book months in advance unless you make it clear you are available at the drop of a hat (they have lots of cancellations).

    I would forget the BBC. The application is a big hassle and way too competitive. As I said, ate shouldn't be too big a hurdle if you are professional, knowledgable and enthusiastic. My brother is in lower sixth and got work experience at two top magazines fairly easily.

    Just put yourself out there, show your work and keep at it! oh, and www.wannabehacks.co.uk is the best place for advice on journalism careers!
    Thanks so much for this, yeah I think I'll give up on the BBC - it's one thing trying to get into a competitive field, but it's another trying to get into the most competitive company in a competitive field whilst all other competitors have probably got 3 years of experience/ learning on you. Might be a bit of a mean feat.

    How have you found working at the Independent? I definitely need to get in touch with the lady for the shadowing day as she's lovely but been really busy and so we haven't set a proper date!

    What sort of thing did you write on your cover letter, or did you have a lot experience already that set you out from the rest?

    Also, how did you brother get the work experience? I probably just haven't been 'putting myself out there' enough, aha, but I'm definitely determined to start (nicely and politely) badgering places to take me on!

    Thanks so much, and sorry for all the questions :/
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    I'll echo the above advise of getting involved with hospital radio or a community radio project in your area. It will get you some practical experience in the industry and while it's not glamorous, you can get some experience of how to talk to an audience that isn't in front of you (it's sort of weird at first) and / or how to use some of the equipment involved.

    What part of the media industry would you ideally like to be in? For the radio industry again, you could send some emails to local radio stations offering your services as a volunteer. It might just be making the teas and coffees but it could also give you an insight into how a radio station works and what goes on behind the scenes.

    Other than that, all I can suggest is putting yourself out there and making sure that everyone knows it's what you want to do. You're right, a lot of it is "it's not what you know, it's who you know" and I've had some interesting suggestions of who I can contact from the most unlikely people!

    Good luck
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    It's actually not as difficult as people make it out to be. I rang up a newspaper and asked if I could do some work exp with them (I'd never had media experience before), they gave me an e-mail address and hey presto - work experience! Just ring around some local papers/magazines rather than going straight to the national ones. Also, lots of universities have student run radio stations and papers which are easy to get involved with and which will add to your CV.

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Updated: June 10, 2012
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