These days breaking into the cut throat world of journalism can be tough but I have a few tips if you are or have ever considered pursuing a career in journalism.
1. Learn photography. Carrying a camera around with you can help you out immensely in the field. You never know what situation you may end up in and that photo could mean money. It might help to take a simple photography class to learn the basic fundamentals if you have never done photography before. These days it pays to be a one man show.
2. Learn a language. Especially in the diverse state we live in even knowing basic phrases and words can become the difference in being turned away from a covering a story or being let in. People feel much more comfortable when they know you speak their language, even if it is a simple “Hello, how you doing today?”
3. Network. This is probably the most important aspect in breaking into the business. Unfortunately that degree you have will only get you so far. In this industry it is not always what you know, but WHO you know. Make friends and meet people, get yourself out there!
4. Intern. Taking lower positions are a great way to learn and meet people. Rarely will you get a job by simply walking into a place. If you can prove yourself and show that you are a hard worker they are more likely to hire and promote you later down the line. Voila! Job!
5. Make a business card. Put your contact information on a stylist business card that reflects your personality. When you meet people it is that easier to exchange contact information. This is a cheap and professional way to get out there.
6. Research and read. It is important to look into possible publications you would like to write for. This will give you an idea of what type of stories they have run int he past and may even give you ideas on stories you would like to write in the future.
7. Be a news junkie. Keeping up with what’s going on in the world is your job. Instead of listening to those songs on the rock station, turn on news radio. You do not even have to open a paper to know what is going on. The internet is a great tool, so use it!
8. Apply, apply, apply! Don’t just apply for one job and sit around waiting for them to call. Apply for many jobs! Odds are the more resumes you send out, the more interviews you will get! Also, you may want to consider relocating for a career in journalism. There are many opportunities all over the world. If you limit yourself, you may find it harder to get a position.
9. Join or write for your local papers. Even joining your school newspaper can be rewarding and can look good on resumes.
10. Get a mentor. People with real life experience are usually willing to help. Learning from someone who has been there done that will get you valuable advice and information.
11. Last, don’t take rejection personally. If you get down on yourself every time you hear a “no” or a see a door slam consider that the motivation to show the next person you CAN do the job!