The coronavirus pandemic has seen many journalists made redundant, while placement schemes were axed and job search became even more difficult.
But some have defied the odds and found a job in the industry. Four journalists share their tips, tricks, and advice to provide a little hope for those looking to get hired during the crisis.
“If you don’t ask, you don’t get,” says Maya Derrick who secured her job as reporter at the Herts Advertiser just as the first lockdown hit.
Whilst work experience may not be advertised on websites or jobs boards, you have nothing to lose by emailing the editor of a publication or dropping a journalist a message.
“The only way to know if you can get any experience is to just ask. That tenacity and drive may get your foot in the door.”
In the meantime, it is important for you to “write and create things that you’re passionate about. You never know, that piece of work could be vital to get you on the employment ladder.
“Journalism is an industry that is ever-changing, it isn’t a standard 9-5 routine. There are freelance opportunities if you ask and no two days are the same. Just remember why you’re so passionate about journalism and what made you want to get into it in the first place.”
Look for freelancing opportunities
Freelancer Sofia Hartwell, who works as a journalism coordinator across a range of BBC shows, said that the pandemic surprisingly helped her get hired.
“If it wasn’t for covid, I wouldn’t have the job at all,” she says. Lockdown meant that “schedules were re-jigged and there was a need for more coordinators in the industry.”
With more people self-isolating, there are also more opportunities to freelance. So, go back to organisations that you used to do work experience with and ask if they have any spaces. Take advantage of virtual work and offer to do any experience remotely too.
While you are waiting, there are many things you can do to improve your skills and make yourself stand out after the pandemic. “Keep sending out CVs and offering to freelance; write articles for publications; set up an online portfolio; join your community radio station.”
Focus on self-care
Do not underestimate the importance of looking after your own mental wellbeing during the endless job hunt to prevent burnout.
“For months I was working more than full-time hours just applying for jobs,” says freelance radio reporter Katie Roberts.
The current climate is difficult and it is “important to remember how much more there is to you than your job search” so fit more activities you enjoy doing into your daily schedule.
Attend virtual events
You can also join some free journalism workshops and then always contact the speakers afterwards.
“On two occasions, people I had spoken to after a Zoom workshop called me before interviews I had at their companies to help with prep,” said Roberts.
Expand your network
She “had the best payoff when activating a free one month trial of LinkedIn Premium” as it allowed her to message people who aren’t connections. As a result, it enabled her to secure freelance shifts and ultimately get her foot in the door.”
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