3 Ways to Break Into the Media Industry

There are lots of jobs in the media industry, ranging from photography and videography, to writing, reporting, and producing projects that help distribute information to the masses.

Have you ever dreamed of being a New York Times reporter, a foreign correspondent for CNN, or having another high-profile media job, like Clint Stinchcomb, the President and CEO of CuriosityStream, which produces online streaming documentaries exploring science, technology, and health?

The reality is, there are lots of jobs in the media industry, ranging from photography and videography, to writing, reporting, and producing projects that help distribute information to the masses. And if you’re more interested in new media that’s exploded in recent years, like online marketing, blogging, social media, and virtual reality, the options for work are practically unlimited.

The question is how to get a foothold in an industry that’s notoriously competitive. Here are three tips for breaking in.

Internships

According to Glegg Internships: “Given the competitiveness of the job market, relevant experience in media is one of the most important factors when hiring full-time employees. Depending on your concentration, media interns can have the opportunity to manage social networking web sites, databases, assist in audio production, publishing, and more. An intern’s time usually consists of working on projects with the purpose of developing career-oriented skills.”

Major media companies such as The Washington Post and CBS receive hundreds of applications for their summer Internships. The competition is fierce but the rewards unmatched. “Washington Post interns have gone on to win Pulitzer Prizes, and in the case of Leonard Downie Jr., to become executive editor,” says The Washingon Post web site.

If you’re looking for internships, look for ones specific to the niche you’d like to land a job in. You need to gain experience using the tools and resources common to the industry you plan to enter. But if you’re not quite sure what area you want to specialize in, pump up your resume by selecting internships in different areas of specialty each semester you’re in school. This will help you decide what area of media you like best, while also making you a good candidate in multiple industries. You may even be able to find internships that enable you to work from home while continuing your education or working other jobs.

Freelancing

Freelancing isn’t easy and you have to be able to handle rejection, but it can help get your foot in the door to the dream job you’re hoping for. For instance, if you’re still in school and you want to start earning money in the journalism or social media marketing industry, look for freelance writing or marketing and advertising gigs you can do at home. All you need is one “yes,” and after you’ve landed a byline or a project you can show to other possible clients, you’ll be more likely to build on your success and make a name for yourself.

The beauty is, freelancing allows people who are motivated at-home learners to get a one-up on the competition because as long as you’re willing to learn new skills and try new tools, you can continue expanding your freelance client base. For instance, if you want to focus on new media, you can learn to create your own media-focused mobile app. It sounds complicated, but if you know about the tools available to you in app development, like NS804 your app ally in iOS and Android development, you may be able to complete a project that ends up making your resume sing.

Or, you could decide that freelancing is more suited to your skills than a traditional job. It’s entirely possible to start a career as an entrepreneur by developing your role as a freelancer.

Networking

As the saying goes, it’s who you know, and personal connections are the best option for landing a new job. Journalism organizations invariably hold conferences and offer seminars and professional connections. Joining a group such as the Society of ProfessionJournalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists, and any number of other such groups can open the door to making lifelong friends and invaluable journalism contacts.

The path to a media career has been well-worn as similar routes—internships, freelancing, and networking—have been followed by those who went on to headline careers.

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