I want to work in …. The Media

 

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How to get into the media FilmClapperAnim.gif (3391 bytes)

This is one of the most popular and competitive of all graduate career areas but if you follow the advice given here, your chances of entry will be greatly improved! Whether you hope to get into T.V., Radio, Publishing, Advertising, Journalism or the Theatre, then you must:

Media Recruitment Agencies and Job Boards

"When there are a lot of people willing to do a job, that job generally doesn't pay well. This is one of four meaningful factors that determine a wage. The others are the specialised skills a job requires, the unpleasantness of a job, and the demand for services that the job fulfills ....
In glamour industries like publishing, advertising and the media, swarms of bright young people throw themselves at grunt jobs that pay poorly and demand unstinting devotion"

There are a large number of media recruitment agencies, but be aware that many of them will be looking for good word-processing and secretarial skills or alternatively relevant experience in the media. Many will offer jobs in media sales (see below).

 

Also see our COMPUTER GAMES/NEW MEDIA recruitment agencies www.kent.ac.uk/careers/multimedia.htm#recruitment

 

PROFILE: Media Sales Executive (also called Advertising Sales)

INVOLVES: Initially: selling advertising space in newspapers, magazines, TV & radio. Telephoning potential advertisers to persuade them to buy space. Keeping records.Making calculations for costs of adverts. When more experienced: visiting clients (companies & advertising agencies). Generating fresh ideas for features. Generating income & new business.
EMPLOYERS: Local & National newspapers. Periodicals (e.g. magazines) Commercial TV & radio companies.
RELATED JOBS: sales representative, media buyer in advertising agencies
SATISFACTIONS: 'Working in a team. Regular hours. Good bonuses. Good promotion prospects.'
NEGATIVES: 'Being practically tied to a chair initially. Being supervised. Working to targets.'
SKILLS: spoken communication persuading negotiating, listening.
ADVANCEMENT: to field representative (visiting clients: have company car); to media buyer in advertising agencies; to sales manager: promotion can be rapid.
DEGREE: Any degree subject.
POSTGRADUATE STUDY: None required. You are trained on the job.
VACANCY SOURCES: Daily Telegraph (Thursday), Guardian (Saturday & Monday) word of mouth & 'who you know.' Use Willings Press Guide for employers. List of Media Sales Recruitment Agencies above.
TIPS: Get experience through work shadowing. Vacancies regularly advertised in the above sources. 'Many applicants think incorrectly that it is a first stepping stone into the creative media jobs so don't say that your real ambition is to be a journalist!' Normally enter directly & are trained on the job.

 

Media research

It is important to be aware that media research is not the same as academic research. It is more closely related to journalism and involves coming up with ideas, finding people to appear in programmes, fact-checking and ensuring compliance with copyright and other legislation. It requires very good interpersonal and organisational skills and is not a career for people who are happier with books and archives than with other people!

Breaking in to research straight from university is not easy and most people will start as a runner or production assistant.  

The following links give more background to the work of a researcher and how to break in to this field:

Film, TV and Radio Profiles

Also see our Film careers page  www.kent.ac.uk/careers/Film.htm which will give you an idea of jobs and organisations plus details of relevant media files in the Careers Service. New graduates often start in independent production companies as a runner (general dogsbody!) or as a production assistant (if they have good typing skills - 40 wpm and perhaps shorthand). Some production companies work seasonally: quieter times tend to be at Christmas and Easter. This is a good time to apply as the staff have time to consider your application. Call to chase up a speculative CV. Even if there are no vacancies at present, ask if you can call again. This allows you to develop a relationship, but don’t become annoying by asking too often.

PROFILE: Radio Station Assistant

INVOLVES: presentation, production, reception, computer maintenance, liaison with media, record companies & presenters, general office duties, basic journalism.
EMPLOYERS: Independent local radio (e.g. Kiss, Capital, Galaxy, Scot FM) plus BBC.
RELATED JOBS: TV Careers, PR, Events Management
SATISFACTIONS: Hearing programmes that you're involved with on air
NEGATIVES: Pay & hours. Getting a job in the first place & job security.
SKILLS: spoken communication, investigating, co-operating, organising, commitment & persistence, practical technical skills, self-sufficiency, versatility, prepared to work unsocial hours.
DEGREE: Any degree subject. Media-related degree may be helpful.
VACANCY SOURCES: Guardian (Monday), Broadcast, Radio Magazine.
TIPS: Get involved with student or hospital radio. Be prepared to do unpaid work initially.

 

PROFILE: Editor - Radio News

INVOLVES: Responsibility with a high degree of independence, for the production of a live daily current affairs programme & for the overall management of related staff & budgets.
EMPLOYERS: BBC; Independent Radio Stations (eg. Talk Radio, Kiss FM etc).
RELATED JOBS: editor - television news, newspaper journalist, magazine journalist.
SATISFACTIONS: Working successfully to a deadline. Audience feedback from throughout the world. Travel. Early access to important information. The dissemination of information to societies which would not otherwise gain such information. Invitation to lots of interesting press events.
NEGATIVES: Long working hours; lots of hard work to get interviews or access to information which may not be successful.
SKILLS REQUIRED written & spoken communication, working to tight deadlines, attention to detail, investigating, persuading, listening, commitment & persistence, curiosity, self-sufficiency, versatility, ability to strike up a rapport with all kinds of people.
ADVANCEMENT: radio production assistant; researcher; producer; senior producer; chief producer; editor.
REQUIRED OR RECOMMENDED DEGREES: Any degree subject accepted. Postgraduate broadcast journalism course is helpful but not essential.
VACANCY SOURCES: Guardian - Mondays; Sunday Times; BBC's internal magazine: Ariel, CEEFAX
TIPS: Tenacity; work experience followed up by contacting local radio station - local paper - for work experience. Foot in the door tactics.

 

PROFILE: TV Producer

INVOLVES: Obtaining money to invest in projects. Management of script writing & casting activities, co-ordination of various activities from research, through to edit/production, planning the distribution/screening of the end product.
EMPLOYERS: BBC, Independent Production Companies
RELATED JOBS: radio producer, film/video producer, television director, film/video director, production assistant, production manager, programme researcher
SATISFACTIONS: Creating & seeing through projects. Working with other creative people
NEGATIVES: Too many sellers in the market. Time spent on projects which never see the light of day.
SKILLS REQUIRED: written & spoken communication, co-operating, organising, decision making, persuading, commitment & persistence, creativity, self-sufficiency, versatility, ability to strike up a rapport with all kinds of people.
ADVANCEMENT: Depends whether you choose independent production or broadcasting/i.e. corporate structure. Most TV Producers start as Researchers or Assistant Producers & work their way up the production hierarchy.
DEGREE: Any degree subject acceptable.
VACANCY SOURCES: Broadcast, Screen.
TIPS: Check the media press & The Guardian (Monday) for details as & when. Persistence, sense of humour, good attitude, flair, and personality required - anything that is above ordinary.

Prospects Profiles

 

Film, TV and Radio Links

Also see our Film careers page  www.kent.ac.uk/careers/Film.htm which will give you an idea of jobs and organisations plus details of relevant media files in the Careers Service. New graduates often start in independent production companies as a runner (general dogsbody!) or as a production assistant (if they have good typing skills - 40 wpm and perhaps shorthand). Some production companies work seasonally: quieter times tend to be at Christmas and Easter. This is a good time to apply as the staff have time to consider your application. Call to chase up a speculative CV. Even if there are no vacancies at present, ask if you can call again. This allows you to develop a relationship, but don’t become annoying by asking too often.

 

"Most people find a job in film by word of mouth: the more people you know in the industry, the better your chances."

Television Companies


PROFILE: Arts Administrator

INVOLVES: Wide ranging tasks but may include: policy formulation; staff & financial management; fund-raising & sponsorship organisation of tours; commissioning resources liaison with schools, press, sponsor etc.
EMPLOYERS: local authorities, theatres, orchestras, umbrella arts organisations such as the Arts Council, touring companies.
RELATED JOBS: conference & exhibitions management, Public Relations, management jobs generally.
SATISFACTIONS: Variety, autonomy, flexible timetable, project management. All your efforts are usually focused on creating a product. It is wonderful to see it come to fruition.
NEGATIVES: Long hours with no overtime pay. Salaries are low. Lack of resources. If working in touring companies there can be a lot of exhausting travel.
SKILLS: spoken & written communication, organising, negotiating, and cooperating.
ADVANCEMENT: No usual route! An administrator might become an administrative director/theatre manager in a large organisation. Need to be mobile as posts may crop up anywhere in the country.
DEGREE: Any degree subject acceptable. Subjects such as drama or business studies may help. Practical voluntary experience essential
POSTGRADUATE STUDY: Many postgraduate arts administration courses available which will aid entry.
VACANCY SOURCES: The Guardian on Mondays', The Stage, 'Arts Management Weekly, occasionally regional press.
TIPS: It's still very true to say that in the Arts business it helps to know people - there's a real network between organisations. Work voluntarily for an arts organisation - get experience at any level.

 

Last fully updated in 2015