Last month, The Fetch London’s Community Ambassador, Emily Horton, checked out Artsmart’s London Festival (17 June – 5 July 2013) as part of their three-week long careers festival of events. She attended various workshops and events, hearing about lectures on media careers within Journalism, Publishing, Film and TV. This is what she had to say:
Don’t wait for permission from someone else to identify what you do – Get out there, make contacts and start doing what you love to do: That was the message from the professionals speaking at the Artsmart’s ‘Starting out’ talks on journalism and publishing, and also film and TV, held at the London College of Communication. Artsmart did a great job of bringing together eight inspiring speakers for two lectures that The Fetch attended over the last three weeks. Of varying media backgrounds, from print publishing to broadcasting, documentary production, social enterprise to animation, the speakers shared advice from their career experiences to inform and encourage attendees how best to promote themselves in getting that first job in media. Their top tips covered the power of networking, adding value, showing what you can do with an up-to-date and cross-media portfolio and keeping resolute on what you want to achieve with an iron will determination.
1 . The Power of Networking
Got no contacts? Struggling how to make that initial approach? Film and TV producer Guy Press suggests looking around you in your lecture hall. He thinks you need to start networking now – maintaining contact with your university peers who also will be making industry contacts as they start to look for work and they themselves become part of the networks you want to be in. Not a media graduate? Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa, the head of GoThinkBig.co.uk – the social enterprise venture from Bauer media that places and mentors young people into roles in media companies, suggests directly contacting someone within the sector you want to target. Find a company that interests you and then look for a person credited in their team to write to. Tokunbo recommends this from his own experience: When he was starting out after his Journalism degree, he emailed the founder of Time Out magazine and asked him for ten minutes of his time. It worked. And what is the worst that could happen, Tokunbo asked us? – Only the person saying no.
2. Add ‘Value’: What else can you bring to a job?
It is not just candidates competing for jobs, but the companies they are applying to that face considerable competition in the risky business of publishing. Fiona Buckland, former Director at independent publishing house Notting Hill Editions, looks for the ‘added value’ prospective employees can bring to the business. Can you bring fresh and entrepreneurial ideas to help drive your potential employer into the future? Do you take an interest in all aspects of the business and keep ahead of the latest developments in the industry and how they could work for your employers? Documentary maker Zoe Young certainly demonstrates that a wide remit of skills and often cross many different media is essential. Often
working on a tight budget and independently, Zoe had to learn all aspects of producing a documentary if she wanted to see her work to fruition.
3. Your Portfolio: Showing what you can do and across all platforms
Make it happen and demonstrate your passion for your work was Kris Bramwell’s advice. Kris worked with the BBC on its Olympic’s coverage and has recently moved into communications in the charity sector. He suggests it is imperative you have an existing body of work to show prospective employers that backs up your chat. Got none? Well, work on your own projects, teach yourself the technicalities and put your work out there for people to see. Get online and get digital. Secondly, don’t limit yourself to just one medium – have a go and experiment across all platforms as media continues to evolve.
4. Resolve and Determination: Hang in there
If there is one word to take from what all the speakers we heard had to tell us, it was tenacity – believing in yourself and putting yourself out there, again and again. Don’t be frightened about who you are and what you do. See yourself as a brand, identify what it is that makes you unique and be confident. Challenge yourself and go beyond your comfort zone. And finally, just go do it!
Photo from artsmart.ac.uk