As summer comes to a close, so do my internships at Mediabistro and Guideposts. Now the looming fear of unemployment is once again fresh upon me (and probably a good number of other interns too).
I learned a lot these past few months with both organizations — from watching the ins and outs of a video interview to perfecting a story pitch. My editing skills have improved, and I can say I’m pretty masterful with WordPress now.
But, while I gained much, my knowledge of the industry doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll land a job in the industry. So, here are some things I gleaned from job searching that might help fellow graduates and interns looking for work after the summer ends.
Don’t be too picky.
No matter how great our internships are or have been, what we need to remember is we are still entry level, and it’s hard to break into the journalism and media business. Don’t discredit companies that aren’t strictly a news organization or top-selling magazine. A lot of times nonprofits, small businesses and even government organizations have an in-house newsletter or magazine. Those jobs are still going to need the same skills and expertise you’d bring to a newsroom or magazine editorial department, so go after them. Copyediting for a real estate firm or working as a social media coordinator at a small franchise might not be the big break you’re looking for, but everyone has to start somewhere.
And don’t forget to reach out to colleagues and friends about jobs. The “my dad’s co-worker’s niece’s husband works for ____” method at least has the chance of getting your resume into an editor’s or a producer’s hands instead of the computer-generated human resources abyss.
Do accept another paid internship.
There might be a collective groan from other interns reading this, but hear me out. A lot of companies offer year-long programs, so if you get in, you have the chance of stable employment for a set time, and you can continue getting experience that looks great on your resume.
Don’t obsess about the job hunt.
The best advice I can give is not to burn yourself out. Before interning at Mediabistro, I spent hours looking and applying for jobs. Every morning I’d scan the job boards on Mediabistro, Indeed, JournalismJobs.com, Ed2010 and Craigslist. An hour later, I’d look again. Three hours later, I’d check with the hope something new was posted. Some nights I fell asleep with my laptop open and those same job ads from six hours ago were there to say, “Good morning! Look at all these places you are never going to hear from!”
For a lot of recent graduates, the need to find a job is this compulsion motivated by student loan debt and the ability to buy food. There is a constant fear that if you aren’t glued to a computer searching, you’ll miss the best opportunity. However, a constant search for a job is mentally exhausting and stressful. In fact, it can lead to some pretty serious issues such as depression because you feel you aren’t good enough for anyone. Don’t go down that road because all it leads to is eating your fourth package of Oreos at 4 in the morning wondering why employers seem to hate you. Take breaks. Do other activities you love. Your brain will thank you.
Do be optimistic.
Avoid letting the sound of crickets when you send out your applications discourage you. It is frustrating and terrifying when you try very hard, feel very qualified and do not get a response. Keep your hopes high. Keep applying. Keep writing, shooting, editing and interviewing until your first media job comes along.
But, in the meantime, if anyone out there does hear of a job opening, I am all ears.
If you’ve liked what I’ve written, come follow me on Twitter. And even if you haven’t, still, follow me on Twitter @andandrewr. And check out some of my other posts below.