Advice for media graduates (P3): Want your dream job? Research.
IN the last of this three-part series, we look into the importance of research in landing your dream job in the media industry. Christian Teo speaks from personal experience.
In deciding whether you want to approach your career from a niche area or in a broader trajectory, it is important to take the time to do proper research on what forms of media and communications work is out there – what companies and institutions form the industry and what differentiates the smaller firms from bigger companies.
Knowing what values and purposes an organisation embodies will benefit you greatly as it will help you better understand where your talents may sit and develop. News outfits for example are far and many, and it is useful to note what forms of journalism are more predominantly practiced in different organisations.
For instance, The Guardian has long been credited as a bastion for investigative journalism, uncovering cases of exploitation, corruption and misdemeanor in civil society. The paper’s uncovering of the now defunct News of the World’s phone tapping of murder victim Milly Dowler sent shockwaves across the news media in 2011. Trials are still underway that implicate a long list of individuals spanning from the editors of the News of the World and to even the British police.
If your interests lie in investigative work, questions of moral integrity and the media, outfits like The Guardian might be an excellent starting point. There are a myriad of other choices for communications professionals today and here are some predominant ones to get you started.
Whether it is for hard news, lifestyle reporting, sports, entertainment or technology, journalists form the backbone of any news outfit. Strong writing credentials and impeccable English are must-haves for anyone looking to pursue a career in journalism. An eye for a good story and an intuition for sensing “beats” are also important tools in a journalist’s arsenal and will enable him/her to sniff out the best stories.
If you find yourself looking to apply your literary prowess in a creative setting, copywriting for an advertising firm may be something you might consider. Typical roles include participating in the creative process as well as coming up with taglines and body copy. Your words and ideas will go toward the development of advertising pitches, campaigns and marketing collateral amongst others.
Public Relations (PR)
Here it is all about image. Forging an identity, character and positive associations of a firm or person in the public eye are the objectives of the consummate PR professional. Whether it is for a charity organisation or a transnational corporation, your management and handling of the media and its influence will determine the success of an entity in the public eye.
Inter-firm and external communication, organisation publications, and even event management constitute some of the ever-expanding role of a media professional working in corporate communications. Firms call upon these professionals to maintain excellent relations with partners and parties that are strategically beneficial, as well as to help optimize inter-organisation cohesiveness. The voice of an organisation is its communications department.
The role of the marketer is increasingly taking centrestage as companies fight to differentiate and distinguish their products in a marketplace where the brand often speaks louder than the functional benefits. If you are confident in your business sense, have an analytical mind and have good persuasive ability, marketing may be your calling.
Social Media Management
Media professionals are taking on and exploring the management of a phenomenon that has changed the way businesses operate and news outlets function. Communication takes center stage in a world where what you say, who you say it to, and how well you do it makes or breaks a firm’s image in the public eye. While social media is still an area that is still not quite understood, many organisations are seeing the growing importance of maintaining and developing an online presence, and communications professionals are now called upon to take their literary and vocal prowess to the digitally social realm.
The perspectives I have shared in this article have guided and helped me considerably in my career as a media professional. They have come about as a result of my interactions and discussions with former colleagues, friends, and professionals in industry today. For this reason alone I would encourage you as communicators to talk. Talk to anyone and everyone to get the most out of any experience and learn as much as you can. As voices for an organisation we not only serve a communicative role, but evermore increasingly one that demands a diverse palette of skills and knowledge-abilities. I hope this blog series has helped you in some measure and wish you the best in your job hunt as future industry professionals!
Christian is a Media and Communications and Sociology student at the University of Melbourne, and has previously worked in The Prime Minister’s Office (Singapore), Deloitte Clients & Markets Southeast Asia, DDB Shanghai, Toffees & Devs Communications and various other capacities in communications.