It goes without saying that experience really is the be-all-and-end-all of your career. And it’s no exaggeration to say that you can learn as much in one week in a newsroom as you can in a whole year at uni.
But how to get those work placements? Use your imagination. Try and think of the best way to attack each opportunity. Put yourself into the position of the people you’re hoping will hire you. Why are you of use?
Local papers are busy, under-staffed and overworked. If you find out who’s the owner, you can apply with a CV and covering letter, hopefully get shortlisted, find a placement near you and… zzzzz. No chance. Just give someone a ring. An extra pair of (free) hands is great in any job – journalism included. Be confident.
If you’re looking for something a little bigger – with no disrespect to the local press – then you can attack it in a different matter. Get signed up to Gorkana and check it regularly. Even better, subscribe to this blog and have a read each time it is updated.
The simple ‘ring up and ask’approach can also work for massive national publications. A student once rang the Daily Telegraph to enquire about a work
experience placement. He was told he’d have to join the queue. A day or so later, when, after a cancellation, a placement became available, what was the first thing the Telegraph journalist did? She got in touch with the student who had the guts to approach the paper in such a proactive manner, of course.
You’ll no doubt hear the ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’line plenty of times. Sadly, this seems to be the case. So, with that in mind, cosy up to journalists you know, work for places you’d like to be eventually.
Engage in debate and you’ll be impressing people left, right and centre.