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How to get a job in desired field after graduating? watch

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    I graduated in 2015 with a First Class degree from one of the better universities in the country (in Modern Languages).

    Since graduating I have really been struggling to enter my preferred profession. I want to be a writer/editor and I have gained editorial experience, but all through freelance work. I have done a hell of a lot of unpaid/underpaid work and in the last year have gained infrequent/unreliable but well-paid work writing for magazines/newspapers and digital media.

    While my job applications are normally ignored, I have occasionally been offered interviews for good editorial/staff writer jobs. I never get the job after interviewing. I think it's because I'm shy/introverted and don't come across as the bubbly team member the company is after. Or because I lack of experience.

    And recently I had an editor send me a patronising rejection two hours after I sent my application. The tone of the email felt a bit sexist (unsurprising given it was an all male team) thanking me for my kind and thoughtful application but saying that they didn't think I had enough direct experience. I felt annoyed because other companies that required more experience interviewed me and were more enthusiastic than this guy. I had applied for that company thinking "well, I have to try everything."

    1) I did have 2 years of direct experience for the role and

    2) if I didn't, how would I get it?
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    Hi,

    I'm a writer/editor who's currently freelancing and have previously worked in editorial. Your freelancing experience sounds really good, which is probably why you're getting interviews. I'm not clear from your question whether you have much in-house experience - for example, through work experience placements or internships. Perhaps that might be something to explore? On the other hand, I'm loathe to suggest you do more unpaid work, as that's a massive problem in the industry and you sound like you have enough experience by now to turn that stuff down - tbh, working for free/little is only really the done thing for students and newbies to the industry, which if you graduated in 2015 you are not! So don't sell yourself short - especially in interviews! Don't mention stuff about work being underpaid/infrequent - give the impression you're a professional with professional experience and professional expertise, because it's true

    Another thing you could think about, if you're not already, is applying for other kind of comms roles - for example, there are a lot of writing/editing roles in the digital marketing sector. I worked in one for a while, and while I wouldn't do it forever (although some people love it), it's good transferrable skills. It's easy to teach yourself the basics in that area as there's lots of free online information and tutorials about social media/content marketing/SEO. Digital skills are always good for the CV.

    Another thought: do you have a specialism? If you're a bit of a jack of all trades, it's harder to sell yourself. If you have expertise in a particular area, perhaps it's worth focusing in on that. For example, I work almost entirely in science communication now. I know people with foreign language degrees who work as writers/editors in the language education sector or for foreign language publications. Translation skills come in handy in a lot of work places. So it's worth thinking about.

    Anyway, I don't know if any of this is helpful, but it's some food for thought at least. Hang in there - you have freelance work, you have experience, you have a good degree, you are getting interviews. You've got a lot going for you, and something will come your way eventually. Honestly, it's just a very hard industry. Best of luck!
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    (Original post by laebae)
    Hi,

    I'm a writer/editor who's currently freelancing and have previously worked in editorial. Your freelancing experience sounds really good, which is probably why you're getting interviews. I'm not clear from your question whether you have much in-house experience - for example, through work experience placements or internships. Perhaps that might be something to explore? On the other hand, I'm loathe to suggest you do more unpaid work, as that's a massive problem in the industry and you sound like you have enough experience by now to turn that stuff down - tbh, working for free/little is only really the done thing for students and newbies to the industry, which if you graduated in 2015 you are not! So don't sell yourself short - especially in interviews! Don't mention stuff about work being underpaid/infrequent - give the impression you're a professional with professional experience and professional expertise, because it's true

    Another thing you could think about, if you're not already, is applying for other kind of comms roles - for example, there are a lot of writing/editing roles in the digital marketing sector. I worked in one for a while, and while I wouldn't do it forever (although some people love it), it's good transferrable skills. It's easy to teach yourself the basics in that area as there's lots of free online information and tutorials about social media/content marketing/SEO. Digital skills are always good for the CV.

    Another thought: do you have a specialism? If you're a bit of a jack of all trades, it's harder to sell yourself. If you have expertise in a particular area, perhaps it's worth focusing in on that. For example, I work almost entirely in science communication now. I know people with foreign language degrees who work as writers/editors in the language education sector or for foreign language publications. Translation skills come in handy in a lot of work places. So it's worth thinking about.

    Anyway, I don't know if any of this is helpful, but it's some food for thought at least. Hang in there - you have freelance work, you have experience, you have a good degree, you are getting interviews. You've got a lot going for you, and something will come your way eventually. Honestly, it's just a very hard industry. Best of luck!
    Thanks Laebae for your encouraging response. It is a really hard industry, and sometimes the competition makes me want to quit.

    I suppose that's true about interviews, though I irrationally assume everyone else is getting to the same stage as me.

    I have some in-house work experience, but only three work experience placements which each lasted two weeks. Two were editorial, the other marketing. I'm 26 but would still love to do an editorial internship so as to get a feel for being in an office for a longer period--also for networking purposes.

    I do have a niche, but I want to get out of it. It's photography and I ended up doing it because I had one opportunity. I'd rather be writing about languages (do you know what sites your friends wrote for?), literature and/or film. It's so hard to convince publications that you are able to write for a new niche when you're stuck in one already!

    Anyway, just feeling really depressed atm. I feel like I'm in a freelancing trap. I work a lot and do get paid for it, but no way near enough to be able to support myself fully on writing. Really there should be regulations to protect freelancers. I have friends who say they work less in offices, yet they earn double what I do and have the resources/work space provided by the company.

    That, and I feel awful at interviews. I'm okay talking to people informally, but when doing interviews or presentations I feel like I'm being scrutinised and I think it affects my performance. I don't use enough body language, don't know where to look with my eyes or how much to smile. I feel socially inept during interviews.

    I'll have a look at comms jobs. I'd be okay doing that short-term but I think I've developed a bit of a phobia about getting caught in another rabbit hole...

    Congratulations on getting so far with editorial and I hope you keep getting the opportunities you want! What kind of stuff do you write about within science communication?
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Congratulations on getting so far with editorial and I hope you keep getting the opportunities you want! What kind of stuff do you write about within science communication?
    Haha, well funnily enough I'm actually planning on moving on from the writing/editing thing... I love researching stuff and writing, but over time I've realised it's not what I want my WHOLE job to be. So I originally got a job working for a science magazine after graduating (with an English degree, haha - god knows why they hired me!) and then I went freelance and now I get a lot of my work through the contacts I made then as I'm still friends with a lot of my colleagues, who now work at other places. But working in scicomm actually got me genuinely interested in the research we were covering, so I ended up going back to uni and did a social science master's last year (after a year saving up for it by working in digital marketing). Anyway, now I'm applying for PhDs and planning a career change into research!

    I get how you feel about feeling depressed, freelancing can really take it out of you. There are some bonuses, but I always start to go slightly mad after a couple of months of freelancing. I'm sure something will come your way soon. Keep on applying and try not to worry so much about interviews - everyone gets nervous so it's to be expected.

    Random thought: depending on where you live, there may be some networking groups for freelancers/writers/comms professions/creatives that do occasional meet ups. Might be worth checking it out as it's a good way to make contacts and learn about opportunities. I used to go to the odd event like that, and if nothing else it gets you out the house and there's usually some free wine. Plus it might help you get more comfortable meeting people and take the pressure off at interviews. Facebook and Meetup.com are good places to start.

    Good luck!
 
 
 
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