Getting a graduate job in media and internet

January, 2016

Establish the skills that employers are looking for and plot your route into this diverse sector…

Do I need a relevant degree?

You don't need a related degree to work in the media and internet sector - many employers will accept any degree subject. Enthusiasm, determination and relevant work experience can often be more important than having a particular qualification.

However, industry-specific courses in areas such as media production may boost your chances of finding a job by giving you in-demand practical skills. You could look into industry-endorsed courses that are accredited by Creative Skillset.

Knowledge of a subject such as history or science can be useful for roles in areas such as academic publishing and media research. With an increase in digital marketing jobs, business degrees with embedded Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) professional qualifications can be useful. Numerate degrees are also useful for media planning roles where statistical analysis is required.

Budding journalists should study qualifications from the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ); either as part of a first degree, a Masters or a stand-alone professional qualification.

For information on entry requirements and relevant qualifications, see job profiles.

What skills do employers want?

You will need to show:

  • a practical approach;
  • an ability to get on well with a small team of people for long periods of time;
  • communication skills;
  • creativity, originality and innovation;
  • organisational skills;
  • specific technical skills.

Where can I get work experience?

Getting yourself known by building up a portfolio of work experience is one of the main routes into the media sector. However, it is notably difficult to gain work experience at a top employer. According to High Fliers' The Graduate Market in 2015 report, media companies have the joint lowest ratio of work placements to graduate jobs (22:100).

Despite this, some larger organisations including the BBC, Channel 4, Virgin Media, Harper Collins, Oxford University Press and the Random House Group offer work experience and internship opportunities.

For work experience with smaller companies, you'll need to make speculative enquiries by sending a CV, cover letter, link to a personal website and - if appropriate - a showreel. Showcasing your work is important, and you can upload your showreel through websites such as Hiive.

At university, take every opportunity to be involved in student media including radio, newspapers or magazines. It may also be possible to write for local specialist trade publications, or be involved in community media or hospital radio.

Writing your own blog or commenting on others' blogs can also get you noticed by employers. Demonstrate your expertise in a specific subject, and show that you can engage with and build an audience.

It's also important to have a social media presence and follow media companies on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, as this is where you'll commonly find recruitment information and keep up to date with industry trends.

The online digital hub created by O2 and Bauer Media - Go Think Big - offers advice and work experience opportunities.

To find work placements and internships in the media and internet sector, search for work experience.

How do I find a graduate job?

Larger companies including Sky, News UK, Harper Collins and Virgin Media offer graduate schemes. These tend to be in journalism, marketing, technology, media production or commercial support functions.

For example, the BBC offers trainee schemes in journalism, software development, and TV and radio production. Both The Times and The Guardian offer news journalism graduate schemes. Some larger production companies, such as Tiger Aspect, have formal 'runner' schemes.

Networking and building an extensive list of contacts is the key to securing a job with smaller companies in the media and internet sector. Many smaller companies use contacts to find suitable candidates rather than advertising their positions formally.

Creative Skillset offers a trainee finder database aimed at those who have already completed work experience or a relevant course. You can add your name to the database to apply for short periods of work in animation, film and games.

To find jobs in the media and internet sector, search graduate jobs in media and internet.