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Career Options in Media: Student

Your undergraduate years are a sweet, sweet thing when it comes to laying the foundations for a career in the media sector. It’s time to work hard to get all the experience you can now, because the graduate job hunt certainly won’t be without its dramas!

Undergraduate opportunities in media

- Internships

- Work experience

- University societies

- National competitions

- Graduate scheme applications

The university campus is a right little haven for those of you looking to pick up experience for a future media career, no matter what area you’re keen on. There are a vast number of activities and organisations you could get involved with! From the student newspaper, radio or website, to theatre and drama societies, there’s a huge number of things you can do to start picking up some skills right now and build up your CV.

If you’re interested in the journalism or creative writing side of things, you could try out entering national writing competitions too. It could be something extra to put on your CV if you win and it’s a great way to start building up your portfolio of work.

Outside of university, there’s going to be chance to gather more formal experience with media companies and organisations too. Summer internships are available for areas like journalism, publishing, television and radio production, video game production and theatre, and can vary in length from a couple of weeks to the whole summer period. These can be a great way of getting experience in your chosen media area. But a word of warning: not all of these opportunities will be paid!

In your final year you will be able to get working on graduate scheme applications if there is one that’s in your media area of choice.

Top tips

You need to use any experience you can get in this time to network and find out as much as you can about the industry. As the media sector is incredibly competitive, any knowledge and advice you can accrue from the contacts you make will be vital as you chip away at applications. Don’t rule out the importance of “it’s who you know”!

Deadlines to consider

With such tough competition for experience in this sector (not even getting started on jobs!) you should give yourself as much time as possible in your university career to apply for internship and work experience opportunities.

Big television, film, video game and radio production companies and publishing houses will usually have an annual intake of intern, or have a strictly regimented system of periods during which they’ll bring in students for work experience.  There will be deadlines for applications for these opportunities, so do your research early into your university year and make sure you don’t miss out on your chance!

Smaller companies are likely to offer opportunities on a more ad hoc basis, so speculative applications could be worthwhile.