Congratulations on obtaining your degree in how to receive information and objectively share it with an audience -- also known as Journalism. Your cap is tossed, and now as student loans comes into repayment you find yourself asking what now?
The good news is that the Journalism job market is on the rebound, which more and more positions opening -- the bad news is that these are very desirable jobs for millennials, the largest segment of the work force.
So armed with the knowledge that "the medium is the message" and a belly full of fire, we're going to show you how to get out there and save the world as a member of the Fourth Estate.
We literally created a map, just for Journalism Majors such as yourself, to navigate your way through the choppy waters of recent graduation.
Feel free to focus on the map alone -- it's pretty cool, if we do say so ourselves. But for those of you who prefer step by step navigation on your path, keep reading. We'll give you the rundown on:
- What skills you'll need
- How to begin
- What jobs you can expect to find as a Journalism Major
- Some quick interview tips
- Consider graduate school
- External resources
First thing's first: what skills you'll need to get started.
1. Skills for Journalism Majors
The study of Journalism is, first and foremost, the study of how to interpret incoming information and how to report on this information for the benefit of your audience. And it's the study of mediums -- not the ones that talk to ghosts, but the ones that move along information from one person to another.
Understanding a variety of mediums as a Journalism Major gives you a lot of transferable skills when it comes to really grokking how information is presented and transferred to others. It gives you a significant advantage when it comes to you moving that information along yourself.
Applying these skills to real world learning opportunities yields a more robust and balanced career. Here are some of the common skills that you should have when trying to get a job with a Journalism degree.
Understanding mass media
Mass media has several different expressions and iterations, and understanding how mass media operates -- what the major companies are, how information gets out there and how it spreads, the way that information is interpreted by consumers -- is an essential skill for any job, particularly Journalism.
Applying these skills to real world learning opportunities yields a more robust and balanced career. Here are some of the common skills that you should have when trying to get a job with Journalism degree.
Common skills on Journalism resumes
These are some of the most common skills listed on Journalism resumes -- if you want to make a solid impression on recruiters or see what the competition is listing, here you go:
- Daily Newspaper
- News Coverage
- News Stories
As for how to make those work for your resume, here are some examples of how others have used the most in demand skills on their resumes:
- Served as reporter for daily newspaper serving approximately 45,000
- Covered meetings, developed, wrote feature stories and took photos
- Aided capitol correspondent in news coverage and archival duties during legislative sessions
- Interviewed sources and gathered relevant facts to write between two and five news stories weekly under strict deadlines
Soft Skills and Abilities
Applying these abilities to real world learning opportunities yields a more robust and balanced career, no matter your GPA and alma mater.
Here are some of the common abilities and characteristics that you should focus on and talk up when you shoot for that dream job.
Critical thinking and analysis. Analyzing information, forming cogent arguments, and communicating them will never be obsolete. Everything about the Journalism Major revolves around communicating ideas clearly and honestly, and your classes provide you with an excellent baseline for how to portray yourself and your ideas in a way that others will be receptive to.
Understanding of mass media. Mass media has several different expressions and iterations, and understanding how mass media operates -- what the major companies are, how information gets out there and how it spreads, the way that information is interpreted by consumers -- is an essential skill for any job.
Interpersonal communication skills. A little different than outright public speaking, interpersonal skills combines an understanding of how you and the information you're expressing is being interpreted by those around you with a little thing called empathy.
Being intuitive about how another person is going to accept or interpret the things that you say to them is something that may come natural to many folks, but it's also a skill that can be learned through journalism courses.
2. Where to Begin Your Career After Getting Journalism Degree
This is one of those fields where it's not necessary to have studied advertising to get a job in an agency. Companies typically want people who have work ethic and communication skills -- talented marketers have passion, more than anything.
Assuming you've got the passion, you won't mind doing the homework. Sign up for newsletters and RSS feeds, tapping into what's going on in the communications world.
And this goes for those of you who don't have degrees or extensive background in Journalism: as long as you are informed enough to develop your own valid opinions you're golden.
Consider an internship, even if it's unpaid
Not every field benefits significantly from taking advantage of internship opportunities, but Journalism is definitely one of those disciplines where a good internship can land you a job early on.
And even if it doesn't lead to one directly, being afforded the ability to start working in the field and building your portfolio is an excellent opportunity that makes for great -- and can help you figure out what role is best for you in an agency or company.
The best option, as with most jobs, is simply to get lucky -- knowing the right person at the right time who can pass your resume along is the surest bet when it comes to getting a job pretty much anywhere. But if that situation hasn't presented itself to you quite yet, it might be worth taking a look at what sort of internships you might be qualified for, even if you've already graduated from college.
And if you aren't fortunate enough to network your way into a position, it might be worth taking a look at what sort of internships you might be qualified for, even if you've already graduated.
How to choose your internship
A good internship can potentially lead directly to a position, and even if it doesn't it gives you an undeniable edge -- a Millennial Branding survey shows that 91% of employers think that students should have between one and two internships before graduating.
Here are some common types of internships for Journalism Majors:
Before you settle on an internship, though, you'll want to make sure it's the right fit for you. Ask yourself these questions:
- Where (in the state/the country/the world) do you want to work?
- What size and type of organization do you want to work for?
- Do you need compensation in an internship, or might you be able to consider alternative compensation (experience, work samples, references, networking, etc.)
- Is relocation an option?
An internship will provide you with an understanding of the skills that a career in your field requires -- and with all of the options you have available, the opportunity to learn what it is that you don't want to do in your is invaluable.
3. Available Jobs For Journalism Majors
The variety of jobs open to you as a Journalism Major is pretty vast -- pretty much every company on the planet needs to communicate with someone somewhere or other -- whether that be with their customers, other businesses, or even with their own employees.
Companies of every sort are hiring communicators and creative talent and it's just up to you to, well, write your story.
With our map, you can click the Job Titles and learn more specific information for each position (what their responsibilities are, how much they get paid, etc.). But here, we wanted to call out some of the most common jobs for recent Journalism major grads.
Here are the most popular Zippia entry-level jobs for recent grads such as yourself:
Marketing coordinators can have many different responsibilities, from maintaining marketing calendars or customer databases to developing ideas and engaging in research themselves. In general, though, marketing coordinators tend to in some way be responsible for interpreting information or data for the benefit of other employees, so a firm grasp of the principles of Journalism are a must for this position.
Like the other items on this list, reporters are nominally responsible for interpreting information for the benefit of others -- however, they tend to do so for the public at large rather than their employers. Reporters identify stories, track down information, and put it into an easily digestible format. The always-online trend of modern journalism means that many would-be reporters are now learning programming and multimedia web design in order to remain competitive in the job market.
Journalism specialists are experts in public relations, and tend to have a lot of responsibility when it comes to managing a company's public image. Entry-level workers usually start off maintaining company files, going through media articles, and compiling information, while higher level employees help to develop strategies for all of a corporation's communication (both external and internal).
Technical and Medical Writing
Although not mandatory, If you choose to pursue technical writing then certification can make candidates more attractive to employers. It can also increase a technical writer's opportunities for advancement, especially when you have limited experience.
Some associations, including the Society for Technical Communication, offer certification for technical writers.
In addition, the American Medical Writers Association offers extensive continuing education programs and certificates in medical writing. These certificates are available to professionals in the medical and allied scientific communication fields.
4. Some Quick Job Search Tips for Journalism Majors
This is a competitive field, full candidates who've read this article. Showcase who you are as a person and be creative -- and try to do some research on the agency's environments and current clients so you can speak intelligently on what you'll contribute.
And if you can afford to take an internship -- paid or unpaid -- you should seriously consider it. If you're undecided about the specific role you'd like to pursue at an agency, an internship could help point you in the right direction.
Network, Network, Network
The best thing you can do to get a job in Journalism is, plain and simple, to know somebody who knows somebody.
This is putting it very simplistically, but there are a lot of steps you can take right off the bat to help you find people who can help you get a job.
Reach out to the people you know from college, students or not. If enough time has passed, that girl you friended on Facebook for one group project three years ago might be your in for a job that just opened. If you wrote for your school paper, make contact with your colleagues.
Having and maintaining a professional social media presence is also a bit of a must for those in the Journalism field. A professional Twitter presence is still one of the main ways that you'll communicate with others in your field, and it will help spread your work too. Peruse your LinkedIn network and look for those who work in target agencies -- reach out and pick their brains, and consider asking for a coffee talk.
Lastly, join a good professional organization like some of those listed at the end of this page and take advantage of every resource at their disposal. And wherever possible, just talk to people, and be friendly. You'd be surprised at how far a little communication goes -- or, given the field, maybe it's not such a shock.
Prepare a portfolio
Hiring managers take note of your college pedigree, but generally speaking they want to see examples of your talent and experience. PDF samples of work or a Web site are more informative than a resume.
It's much more effective to demonstrate your skills by creating something that reveals who you are in an imaginative, conceptual way. For that reason, having and maintaining a professional website and social media presence is also a bit of a must for those in the Journalism fields.
Showcase diverse samples of your best work -- that is, don't just fill it up to fill it. Be discriminating in your judgement, and keep the site clutter-free and easy to navigate.
That way, you can easily share a link and put a short bio out there for potential employers. These websites allow you to market yourself and develop a bit of a web presence for free:
Start a writing, like, now.
Yeah, we get it -- you're planning to start a blog. You'll totally do it eventually. Or maybe you've already started one, spent 40 minutes customizing the font and colors, and then wrote exactly one post, which you deleted after no one liked it.
We get it. Writing itself is already tough. Writing consistently every single day? Herculean. But it's a necessary step when it comes to writing jobs.
If you're on the job hunt and not getting a lot of bites just yet, the fact of the matter is that there's no hiring manager out there in this field that would be offended if you had a professional blog.
And there are dozens of hiring managers that would be ecstatic. It's all a big part of showing that you understand media (social or not) and that you're capable of communicating effectively -- and if they do you the honor of reading it, it's an excellent way for them to see just how much of a unique snowflake you really are, which a concise cover letter won't.
5. Continuing Education and Certifications in Journalism
Unlike certain other fields, there's no real licensure you need in order to write or practice journalism in some other sense -- typically, the degree itself (along with your work experience and portfolio) is all the qualification you'll need.
So the most important thing for getting a certificate should be the program itself and writing for school paper or other publications. It's all about work experience.
Certifications and credentials
Though some people argue for one -- #fakenews -- there is not a journalism certification. All you need to call yourself a reporter is a computer, phone and an audience.
But there are a few online certifications that will be valuable not only for your own knowledge but to serve as a verification of your experienceĂ˘ÂĹ and in the age of drip marketing and online content, these make you competitive.
- Google AdWords Certification. In addition to the nifty official link you put on your website, you get a solid understanding of how campaign structure and bidding models translate over pretty much every medium.
This course will teach you how to think about marketing. You'll learn how to find out what people are searching for, how to write good copy, how A/B testing works, how to track and report on performance.
It's a valuable tool for understanding paid advertising -- but the courses are hard as hell and take 20 hours of preparation.
- Google Analytics Academy. Understanding of Google Analytics empowers decision-making and allows digital journalists to gauge the effectiveness of online campaigns. There are a handful of several-hour courses -- even if you've been using Google Analytics for years, there's still plenty to learn
- Infinite Skills Excel Googling for free, public data and applying VLOOKUP and Pivot tables makes up the majority of the mysterious advanced analysis that you'll see writers do. It comes with a cost, but there are cost-effective tutorials out there if you feel like digging
As with certificates for most other majors, certificates show hiring managers that you have the basic tools, but it's up to you to demonstrate that talent and creativity they're after.
Pursuing an advanced degree
Having a Bachelor's degree in Journalism is a solid first step regardless of what path your career you might be considering, but once you've finished that, another question remains: should you go onto further studies?
We did a little research, and while the Master's might be useful to you, you'll want to think long and hard about whether a Ph.D is for you and your chosen career.
Here are common advanced degrees that people with Journalism degree normally consider:
MA in Journalism
If you're looking more to increase your earning potential, a Master's can help do that for you too, but you want to be aware of the hefty price tag that might be associated with it.
If you can get the Master's without breaking the bank or get into a top-40 school, then go for it. But otherwise it might be worth it to focus on getting more job experience and building your portfolio.
Doctoral degrees in Journalism
This option is perfect for the academics or teachers, but those interested in the more professional sides of the Journalism field steer clear -- it's really only a good idea if you're interested in Journalism studies from an academic perspective. Expect a lot of reading, a lot of writing, and not much recognition for how long and difficult your eventual book is to read.
And if you're interested in a doctoral program in marketing -- usually called a D.B.A. -- draws on a variety of underlying disciplines to research important marketing management problems centered on the immediate and future needs and wants of customers.
And it only takes about five years!
6. External Resources
If you're still not sure what to do with your degree here are some external sites, to help you with your decision:
One of the most handy sites for anyone breaking into digital marketing and advertising is Moz, and this UGC blog has tons of news to bring you up to speed on how the industry works.
This is the place for marketing professionals to find out what's happening in the advertising industry. This site offers its readers a variety of blogs, columns, global marketing news, marketing news topics related to Hispanic marketing, CMO strategy, and current trends in media.
The Associated Press is huge resource of unbiased information and education for journalists, and the organization is also the governing body for AP Style, which is the accepted writing standard for professional journalism.
Public Relations Society of America
A trade association for Public Relations-associated jobs that, among other things, offers an accreditation program for those practicing in the Public Relations field.
National Communications Association
A membership-based academic group based mainly in Washington, D.C., the NCA works to support those who study communications and attempts to engage the public on issues related to communications.
Enter "Journalism" into the search bar and you can get a sense of what kind of government jobs are available to Journalism majors. Find a job title you like and come back here to learn more about it.
Bureau Of Labor Statistics
The BLS offers detailed data on pay, location, and availability of different kinds of jobs across the country.
In fact, we draw a lot of our research on the best places for jobs from the information provided on the site.
And if this all seems like a lot - don't worry - the hard part (getting your degree!) is already over.