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Work for the unemployed

As promised, here is my post about work experience, internships and my own personal experiences. As a journalist, it’s so important to constantly build a portfolio and pack your CV with journalistic experience. To quote a much-loved lecturer my class has had the pleasure of learning from in DCU, today if you walk into an interview with a highly accredited degree but without a decent portfolio, it’s “bye-bye”.

Hm….what should I do?

Without bragging, I’d have to say I’m quite proud of the work experience I’ve achieved in the past (not without some help, I assure you.) My first experiences were in transition year. We were required to complete one week of work experience in two different places, which we organised ourselves. Luckily, I have siblings with good connections so I spend the first week in a publishing company, Merlin Publishing, and the second week with the editor of Creative HEAD Magazine. They were both fun and close to the career path I had already chosen. I was one of the few people in the year who got to go somewhere that was relevant to what I wanted to do in life. I got such hands-on experience from both and particularly, Sarah, the editor of Creative HEAD who was so lovely to me, I teared up leaving after just five days.

After my Leaving Cert. I was hoping to give myself a leg up in case I miraculously got the points for DCU (*spoiler alert* I did get the points) so my sister got me into Liberties Press for three weeks. It was a great way to stop me from completely wasting my summer and, once again, they were very nice to me and gave me plenty to keep me busy (not to mention some great books). I’m still in contact with the man who took me on and he’s always asking how I’m getting on (as I’m writing I’m starting to really appreciate how lucky I’ve been with this stuff).

From there I came to DCU so most of my experience is college-related and contributing to several sites and blogs, particularly The Spanner and The Indie Sight. My main internship/work experience/job whatever you want to call it has been at Dublin City FM as I have previously mentioned. I’ve worked there all summer, (currently trying to work out if my timetable in college will allow me to continue) and it’s given me such invaluable experience in the radio world. I started off as a “broadcast assistant” on Good Morning Dublin, which, as it turns out, is a made-up job that new people generally get to get a feel for the station. After a month, I luckily got a slot on Monday’s show and a few weeks later I got to fully co-present Thursday’s show. I kept that slot for the rest of the summer, which was a great coup for me because I took it as a sign that I was pretty alright. I’m now also trained on the sound desk and I do that every Friday. It was the best way to keep myself busy and productive during the summer. Getting up early also kept me motivated with freelancing (I’m sure everyone knows that feeling when you start getting lazy and the dreaded procrastination disease takes over).

The last thing I did this summer before jetting off for a holiday in Stockholm (more about that another time) and resuming my post as features editor, was a week in the Irish Independent (again, with the help of a sibling). Somehow I landed there on their quietest week for the Business section (that’s where I was working). However, between apologising for the quiet week, explaining how boring business can be and warning me off the journalism career, I managed to get two bylines into the paper (see them here and here), one in the business section and one in the main paper, which also got picked up by Ninth Level Ireland. So all in all, not a bad summer.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to get work experience in any career track but particularly in the media world. I sound all high and mighty now, I know, but considering I have to repeatedly hang my head in shame because I haven’t got a single paid job or any retail experience on my CV, no one can really call me a waster and I am pretty proud of my CV. Besides, work experience is usually good craic and you learn a lot, including discovering the type of place you don’t want to work in.

Has anyone else had any work experiences they want to share? Good or bad? Feel free to comment.

PS Shameless Plug: Tune into 103.2 Dublin City FM on Thursday morning at 10am. I’ll be on Good Morning Dublin. You can also listen at www.dublincityfm.ie

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