If you’re a university student coming to the latter part of your degree like myself, you’re probably no stranger to the question ‘so what do you want to do when you leave?’. In fact, you’ve probably been asked it an uncomfortable amount of times, and with every Great Aunt, family friend or university tutor that probes you about your future life plans, you start to feel that little bit more stressed about it all.
As a young adult in the modern world, it’s extremely difficult to get into our desired industries, with the market being more saturated than ever before. The ability to launch a career itself is based on a simple paradox: you need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience. So what are we supposed to do?
Growing up, I had always been captivated with the idea of working for a big magazine or newspaper and my time at university has really inspired me to take my writing further, with the hope of launching a career in journalism. However, being that little fish in the huge university pond also meant that I was becoming increasingly aware of how little experience I had in the industry and simultaneously, how much experience others around me seemed to be getting. I felt like I was so far behind all of my peers who seemed to have managed to get their foot in the door, or at least knew somebody who could help them do so.
If you’ve ever applied for internships then you probably know how difficult it can be to actually get something, or sometimes to even get a response at all. I’ve definitely had my fair share of rejection in the past, from applying to what felt like hundreds of internships for my year abroad and only getting a response (aka a rejection) from one or two of them, to applying for the same schemes multiple times at home only to be unsuccessful again and again. I had very much started getting used to this pattern of events, which is why I was shocked and elated when a certain message popped up in my inbox last week!
Back in November, I was searching for opportunities with The Guardian Newspaper and I stumbled across their editorial work experience schemes. I instantly knew that this was something that I would love to do and so I looked into the details of the application. The process itself was fairly simple, but after reading the somewhat intimidating criteria of what they looked for in a candidate, I knew it would be difficult to impress those at Guardian HQ. Despite my apprehensions, I decided that I wanted to apply for the Features section as it really interested me, and the application involved a CV, a cover letter and a pitch of an idea for a suitable feature article.
The process may seem easy enough, but when it came down to it, I ended up spending hours researching, planning, writing and rewriting until I was finally happy with what I sent in. Being a self-confessed perfectionist, I was so eager to impress and so doubtful of myself, that it probably took me way longer than it should have. But eventually, I emailed my application and that was that. The Guardian is such a huge, established newspaper so I didn’t have any expectations of being chosen whatsoever, but I knew that they were checking applications in January and therefore, I would know for sure either way by the end of that month. As January came and went, I accepted that I wasn’t going to be offered a placement, and that this could simply go down as more ‘application experience’. Onwards and upwards…
That was until I was packing my suitcase at the end of February to come home for my half term holiday and I received an email offering me a placement! It’s official, this June I’m going to be spending a week with the G2 features department at The Guardian HQ in London!!! Shocked doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt upon reading that email, after expecting to receive yet another rejection. Not only am I finally going to get some real experience in journalism, but I’m getting experience with one of the biggest newspapers in the country! I could hardly believe my eyes.
I am unbelievably excited to start getting involved in the journalism industry, a year and a bit after starting my blog, I have realised just how much I love writing and how much I want to make a career out of it. If you’re currently thinking about applying for an internship or work experience, then the only advice I can give you is to go for it! You NEVER know what might come of it! I never thought I would be offered a placement, and yet I finally have, with the place where I thought I had the least chance. This may be my first and only placement so far, and I’m far from being an expert when it comes to applications, but nonetheless I am really proud of myself and I hope that I can get some more experience in the future!
Have you applied to any work experience lately? If so, GOOD LUCK and I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!