Were you made to work in media?
Are you most comfortable when you’re writing? Are you looking for a way to turn your passion for photography into a career? Or perhaps you just want to put your graphic design skills to good use? Whatever the reason, if you’re considering a career in the media industry but have no idea where to start, we’re here to help.
Here are some roles you could consider, and some of our top tips to help you get to there:
What they do: Select, polish and refine what’s included in a particular publication, television series, film or website. Although their role will vary greatly between industries, it’s their job to commission and manage all aspects of content, and take responsibility for the end product.
What you need: Excellent attention to detail, strong writing skills and an objective eye. You will also need to be deadline focused, and able to see the ‘big picture’. A degree and/or previous experience (e.g. as an Editorial Assistant or Sub Editor) is similarly essential.
What you can earn: Somewhere around £18,000 for a first position, with an average of around £35,000 once proven. However, this can be a lucrative industry, and top magazines and newspaper publications will often pay in excess of £100,000 for a good Editor.
Perfect for: People who really like correcting people’s misstakes…
Our advice: Many Editors start out in non-paid positions to learn their craft. Look for opportunities with smaller publications, websites, fanzines or website which may help you gain vital experience, and help you put your editing skills to the (quantifiable) test.
What they do: Design and develop visual presentations. This could be for advertising purposes, such as brochures and packaging design, company signs and logos, website design, posters and a whole host of other mediums.
What you need: Creative flair and a passion for design. The ability to meet briefs and deadlines is also a must. A degree is not always necessary, but a good portfolio of work or design concepts will be essential for progressing in this industry.
What you can earn: Anywhere up to £30,000 per year, although this will be heavily dependent on experience.
Perfect for: People who like to sketch, illustrate, doodle and draw.
Our advice: The ability to use certain programs, including Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver, will be essential for those looking to become a Graphic Designer. If you’re not confident using them, there are plenty of courses to help you brush up your skills. Not only will you be more confident in your abilities, you will also have an industry-recognised qualification to add to your CV.
What they do: Research and write articles for a wide range of publications and websites. You could choose to specialise in a certain area and write solely for one publication (e.g. Sports Journalist), or write for several different sources simultaneously, across a range of different spectrums.
What you need: Outstanding copywriting skills, an excellent grasp of grammar, creativity and the ability to meet deadlines. A journalism or creative writing degree would be advantageous, but in this industry, experience and an impressive portfolio of work are just as important as qualifications.
What you can earn: Around £24,000 on average, although this can rise relatively quickly for those willing to put the hours in.
Perfect for: People who like to write.
Our advice: If you don’t have a blog, set one up. Not only will this allow you to perfect your style of writing, it’s also the perfect way to maintain an online presence and demonstrate your ability, especially if you feel passionate about a particular subject.
What they do: Carry out a variety of research for different media outlets, for example radio, television, film and online. Typical tasks could range from conducting interviews and writing questionnaires through to overseeing focus groups and finding guests for radio and TV segments.
What you need: An analytical mind and methodical approach to your work, not to mention excellent communication skills. Multi-tasking and project management skills would also be beneficial. A degree is generally expected, but is not necessarily a pre-requisite to become a Researcher.
What you can earn: Work in this industry is generally contract-based. Rates start from around £300 per week for a Junior Researcher, but could reach double that once you have a proven track-record of success.
Perfect for: People who spend way too much time on Wikipedia.
Our advice: It sounds obvious, but demonstrating your research skills effectively is absolutely vital for getting started in this industry. That means majoring on previous research tasks throughout your CV (your dissertation for example), or even bringing examples of work with you to your interview.
What they do: Take a variety of different images, either for aesthetic or commercial purposes. Photography is essential for many different companies ranging from print publications such as magazines and editorials, to online resources for use on various websites. Many photographers work on a freelance basis and syndicate their pictures to online stores or sell them to a variety of sources.
What you need: A passion for photography and a creative flair are essential to make it in this industry. You’ll also need to be efficient and work well under pressure when it comes to hitting deadlines. Generally, you’ll also need you own equipment.
What you can earn: Salaries start at around £18,000 for the year, rising to around £28,000 when you’ve built up a good reputation and portfolio of work. On a freelance basis it can vary depending on subject, experience level, and overall quality.
Perfect for: People who are overly attached to their cameras.
Our advice: For this industry more than any other, it’s vital to demonstrate exactly what you can do. Build an online portfolio of your work, and attach a link to every application you send out. That way an employer sees your ability, and even more of your personality.
Social Media Executive
What they do: Help manage and write content for a company’s social media channels, including outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. This could include running promotions, setting up incentives, managing budgets and responding to customer service enquiries.
What you need: Adaptability and quick thinking, ensuring the most relevant and engaging content is provided through each individual channel. Creativity, copywriting skills and the ability to hit deadlines are also helpful in this position.
What you can earn: Between £18,000 and £25,000 per year as a basic salary. There may also be bonuses involved for hitting specific targets.
Perfect for: People who talk in hashtags.
Our advice: Research as much as possible. Keep an eye on brands that use social media channels effectively, and note down the things to avoid. And when you are invited to the interview stage, be sure to check out what the company currently do on social media, their competitors, and note how they can improve.
Other media roles to consider: Runner, Copywriter, Media Buyer, Artworker.
Here are some of our top tips for finding a job in the media industry:
- Be practical – Previous experience can be the key to finding the right role in the media. If you’re just starting out, internships or work placements are a great way to start showcasing your talent.
- Perfect your portfolio – Whatever your medium, make sure to catalogue your body of work accordingly, and take it with you to any interviews. Remember: the best way to show what you can do, is to show what you can do.
- Keep up-to-date – Media is a fast paced industry, so it’s important to make sure you’re always on-the-ball when it comes to the latest developments. Subscribing to marketing magazines and signing-up to online marketing publications or some of the better digital news sites are all good starts.
- Get social – Whatever media position you go for, never underestimate the importance of the social space. Note which brands use it effectively, and which ones don’t. Make sure your own profiles are clean and fairly professional (or, if all else fails, set to private).
- Build contacts – In this industry, often knowing the right people can help you to secure work in the future. Attend media events, network, and build a solid list of contacts. It could be just the thing your career needs.
- Sell yourself – Finally, never underestimate the importance of your ‘personal brand’. Creating a strong online presence could be the difference between you and another candidate, so start blogging and tweeting right away.
Ready to find your ideal position in the media industry? View all media jobs now.
Find a job
Sign up for more Career Advice