Heading towards the abyss? Graduation day for this year’s final year students is fast approaching and suddenly everyone wants to know what you’re going to do now! Irritating, isn’t it?
Fear not, brave job warrior! The MediaNation team has some timely advice…
- Have you got a plan?
You need a plan for lots of reasons, but here are the three BIG ONES.
First, you must avoid headless-unemployed- chicken-panic at all costs. This condition can set in at any time prior to graduation right up to immediately after your graduation festivities. If you don’t have a plan right now, you risk all manner of mental unpleasantness.
Second, you’ll need a plan to convince yourself that the last three years and all that money you owe have been worth it, that it was a good investment. If not, when you’re around 55 and you start to wonder what happened to your dreams, you’ll be too arthritic to kick your own arse for NOT HAVING A PLAN!
Third, you’ll need a plan to convince others that you know what you are doing in life. It might prevent you from being kicked out of home for malingering by your parents. It might help convince the Jobseeker people to stop sending you on those ‘How to write your own name’ courses. But above all, it is evidence of a plan that can be seen by potential employers on your CV every time you apply for a job. If you have a plan, and stick to it, they’ll see it. If they don’t pick up on it, it’ll give you something convincing to say at interview. It’s a winner!
- Have you got work experience?
Students on media and journalism courses must get bored shitless with their tutors banging on about work experience and how necessary it is in order to secure degree-related employment. If you have failed to be bored shitless by this then your tutors are probably not doing their jobs properly. Never fear. It is not too late. We can do it for you!
You. Need. Work. Experience. If you didn’t get enough of this good stuff while you were studying, make it part of your plan to get some NOW! The single biggest reason for having work experience is that employers expect it, especially in the media and creative industries. If you haven’t had what everyone else has got on their CV they’re going to think you are not dedicated and that you lack drive and ambition…and that your tea will taste like piss because you haven’t practised making it as much as your peers. Of the two squillion people who applied for that same juicy job as you, only YOU don’t have work experience. Embarrassing. The humourless HR person will cackle – for this is as close to genuine laughter as they ever get – and then toss your CV and your dreams in the bin. Don’t give them that satisfaction. Get work experience!
- Make contacts NOW
Ok, your tutors are contacts. Sort of. Anecdotal evidence suggests however that they have a use-by date. Look closely and somewhere it will say, use by end of AY 2017/18. Why? Well because their academic wheels keep on turning after you’ve gone and they’ll soon be up to their eyeballs again in homesick Freshers and plagiarism cases.
The best contacts are the ones you can make through work experience so, honestly, there’s no getting away from the absolutely, crucial work experience thing.
There are other avenues you can explore. Consider joining a network of media producers. There are some really useful ones for telly people, like The IndieClub in Manchester, Young Guns Network for young media professionals, and London Film Network for first time film makers – links below.
Look for events like seminars and workshops with speakers from your chosen field. Introduce yourself. Grab business cards. BAFTA, RTS, Raindance Film Festival, TIGA, NESTA are just a few organisations that you can keep an eye on. There are many, many, more.
Trade shows and expos are useful to hit too. If a career in games is what you’re after for example, Eurogamer expos have integrated careers fairs with companies looking to recruit you!
- Have you got what employers want?
Employers want you to be bloody brilliant. Not only that, but a recent AGR Report on Graduate Recruitment suggested that you had better get at least a 2:1 – the number of employers looking for candidates with a minimum of a 2:1 have increased by more than 11 per cent.
Knowing what it is employers are looking for can help you shoe-horn stuff into your CV before it’s too late. What they’re after falls into four skills categories:
- Self-reliance skills: self-awareness, proactive, eager to learn, self-promotion, networking ability, planner, decision maker
- People skills: team player, interpersonal skills, communicator, leadership, customer-focused, language skills
- General employment skills: problem-solving, flexible, competitive, entrepreneurial, IT and computer literate, numerate, show commitment, trustworthy, conscientious
- Specialist skills: specific occupational and technical skills needed in your field, for example IT, editing, lighting, journalistic skills
Yep. All that. If all these ingredients aren’t on your CV, don’t panic. We don’t think you could build a robot that could do all this stuff…yet. But that’s for the Class of 2025 to worry about. For now, just know what the hirers and the firers are after and make sure your CVs, covering letters, and interviews can demonstrate that you are as near as damn bloody brilliant, after all!
MediaNation For the latest jobs, internships and placements visit http://www.medianation.co.uk
Young Guns Network http://www.younggunsnetwork.co.uk/
London Film Network http://www.meetup.com/London-Film-Network/
Follow us on Twitter for UK media jobs, internships, competitions & funding @MediaNationUK