Journalism graduates inspire final year students

Over 20 recent Journalism and Media graduates returned to Sheffield Hallam University to speak to third year students about their job-seeking experiences and how they are using the skills they developed at Hallam in their current work.

The graduates who came back for the event are working in a wide range of jobs such as TV, radio, magazines, social media, digital marketing, communications and PR.

Prior to the talk, Pro Vice-Chancellor & Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences Roger Eccleston welcomed the graduates back to Hallam and presented them with certificates for speaking at the event. The graduates then went on to talk to a packed room of enthusiastic third year students about how to be successful in finding work in such a competitive industry. The graduates discussed a number of tips for job-seeking and spoke about their own experiences of getting a job in a subject they are extremely passionate about.

Senior Lecturer in Broadcast Journalism, Philo Holland, had organised the event. He told us: “It was an inspirational day for our journalism undergraduates. There is nothing more powerful than having 24 recent graduates standing in front of them, buzzing about how they’ve found work they love. It’s also a great boost to know that our graduates are finding the skills they learned at University are opening doors in a number of different job sectors.

Hopefully our final year students will feel less daunted about the prospect of job-seeking, and confident that their degree will make them highly employable.

Tips from the graduates

Many of the tips the graduates mentioned are applicable to all career areas, here’s some of the top ones.

Volunteer

  • Everybody has a degree – what can you do to make yourself stand out from the rest?
  • Volunteer at a local charity, write for you student magazine, try and get some work experience at your local radio station.
  • A 2:1 gets you the interview, but work experience gets you the job
  • It gives you something to talk about in the interview and proves you didn’t just sit around waiting for a job to land in your lap

Work Experience

  • Be enthusiastic and make an impression during your work experience
  • Use your initiative; don’t just sit in the corner waiting to be given tasks
  • Do your research on staff and make allies by talking to people
  • Keep in contact with everyone; you may need their help in the future
  • Suggest new and exciting ideas; the worst thing anyone can say is no
  • Don’t just focus on the subject you’re interested in, any work experience can provide you with skills to reference in future interviews.

CV’s

  • Employers see 100’s of CV’s everyday – how can you make yours stand out from the rest?
  • Create a number of CV’s which can be used for different job roles.
  • Put your online presence on your CV so people can find you – links to Twitter/LinkedIn etc.

Blogging

  • Use blogging to write about a subject you’re passionate about
  • Don’t be afraid to reference your blog in interviews

Applying for jobs

  • Think outside of the box. Don’t just assume there are no jobs available at a company just because they haven’t advertised online
  • Send emails at 9.30am on Monday morning when people are at their desk checking their inbox. A weekend email will get lost down the list
  • Be patient, you aren’t going to walk into your dream job straight after graduation (unless you’re lucky)
  • Be tech savvy. The more technology literate you are the more desirable you are to a company
  • Find jobs in places you wouldn’t expect.
  • Have an online presence. If you aren’t on Twitter, you’re behind with the times. Remember to keep it professional, employers WILL check on you.
  • Use LinkedIn. A great tool for finding jobs and for employers to find you.
  • Follow agencies and executives on Twitter and LinkedIn. Follow key people on Twitter, people who work in places you want to work, doing jobs you want to do.

Interviews

  • Use social media to research the people who are interviewing you. Find out what their interests are and research their work history
  • Don’t think that because you’ve had an interview, you can stop looking for jobs
  • Be passionate in your interviews and prepare questions – what question could you ask the interview panel that would make you stand out from the competition?
  • Don’t be afraid to take notes at interviews – shows willingness to learn and a keenness to do that job.
  • Be yourself!

Rejection

  • Don’t be deterred by knockbacks, learn something from every single interview, successful or not
  • Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm

More tips were discussed on Twitter using the hashtag #shugradtalk, and you can also view a Storify of the event.

The event was described as inspiring and encouraging by attendees and was extremely beneficial to all the third year journalism undergraduates who will soon be embarking on their own careers, and hopefully using the tips and advice given to follow in the footsteps of the returning graduates.