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Careers in the Creative Industries and Media


 

Are you considering a career in the creative industries and media but don't know where to start? Interested in a career in tv, film, radio, writing, publishing, gaming or interactive media?

Discover your prospects!

Prospects is a useful website where you can explore the different roles in a sector.

From Broadcast journalist to Video Editor and Radio Producer check out the many roles they have listed.

Another useful website is the ScreenSkills website, which also lists vacancies.

Resources

Check out our Working in the Creative Industries resource list here.

Find a job, get recruited

With up to 2,000 jobs advertised every week, JobsOnline is a great place to search for graduate jobs and schemes, part-time jobs, summer internships, and insight days. Go to the 'Jobs' tab and filter by job type, sector and location.

Explore now.

Advice from alumni

Royal Holloway alumni – Toby Mundy, Lucy Hounsoum and Daniel Ross – who are working as professional writers share their advice on how you can excel and make in a living in the industry.

Toby Mundy, Founder of Toby Mundy Associates Limited (English)

  1. Writing is about developing a voice. To find yours you need to write, and you need to read. A lot. Find voices you admire and try to work out how they do what they do.
  2. It is better to underwrite than overwrite. Shorter sentences are more effective than longer ones.  Where adjectives and adverbs are concerned, less is always more. 
  3. Find readers and listen to constructive criticism. Develop a thick skin. 

Daniel Ross, Online Managing Director for Classic FM and Smooth Radio (Music)

1. Adapt

Adapt what you do to get money.  Open your revenue streams.  Use your area of expertise to own as many disciplines as you can.  I write about music for money, but I also sometimes talk about it for money too.  I once transcribed a folk song for a famous novelist, I was a music researcher for a Radio 4 religious interest programme, I’ve done audience research for fringe theatre projects: all of that work was down to connections I’d made through writing.  Put yourself up for everything.  Some of it might be a bit shit, but some of it will be lucrative and interesting.  ALWAYS ADAPT.

2. Ask for Money

No-one will ever hate you for this.  It won’t always work, but also, it won’t always not work.  You don’t have to be unpleasant about it – your superiors in the writing world know that your time is worth money, but they’re also not always going to give it out if they can help it.  So sometimes you have to ask.

3. Talk Yourself Up

I suck at this, and am naturally averse to referring to myself in anything other than apologetic tones.  This is common behaviour among writers and creative people, so you’re not alone.  However, you have to get good at discussing your work and making it sound amazing.

Try these phrases for size:
‘Damn right I just wrote an essay on the power of Art Garfunkel’s wardrobe.’

‘Damn right I just wrote a short story starring a sentient puddle.’

‘Damn right I just wrote the world’s first ensemble play for rehabilitated Bronies.’

4. Don’t Apologise

I know this might be hard to believe outside of the university bubble, but in the professional world of journalism, content, corporate social media, publishing, wherever you end up: you will encounter people who think writing a short story for fun is lame, people who think waiting for two hours to interview one of your idols for ten minutes with no fee on a school night is a waste of time.

Frankly, these people should be ignored.  Don’t apologise for what you do, just because it’s not your main income at that precise moment.  I remember having to explain throughout my twenties to elderly relatives, or to my wife’s family, or even school friends when they would ask, so what are you doing for work?  I’d say, ‘I’m a content editor and copywriter for a mid-tier daily-deals website owned and operated by the 118-118 company, it’s like a crap version of Groupon, I strongly dislike it.’

I really should have said, ‘I’ve got a job as a copywriter, but I’m actually doing loads of music journalism on the side because that’s what I really enjoy.’  It can be hard, and people won’t always understand what you do, this is inevitable, but you must never apologise for doing it. No-one ever finishes developing, and if you’re following your passions you’ll always have something interesting to tell people. Which brings me on to no. 5...

5. Never Lose your Passions

This is the most important one for me.  Your passions can change, mine certainly have, but you must always keep them – otherwise you’ll go insane.

Realistically, you might not always be spending your entire working day doing something you love, so you should be prepared to find your joy elsewhere and fight to make it the biggest part of your life.

It’s not cheating on your employer, and it’s certainly not cheating on your studies: it’s insulating yourself for what comes next.Never lose your passions because they keep you fulfilled and interesting.  Whatever your genre, whatever your profession, all writers need that to survive.

Lucy Hounsom, Published Author (English & Creative Writing)

  1. Take writing 'rules' with a pinch of salt. When it comes to writing, there's no 'right' way to go about creating a piece of fiction. Sure, some rules might help you hone that dialogue or rein in a few of those adverbs, but others are outdated or restrictive and can actually stifle instead of aid. Moulding a story into a viable novel is part of the editing process, rather than the first draft, so don't place limits on your style when you're starting out. 
  2. Finding agency representation is gruelling, but you can improve your chances by following submission guidelines (sounds straightforward, but many authors still don't do it), doing your research on a specific agent who you feel might fit your work (and addressing them by name), and demonstrating knowledge of the market i.e. where your book might sit. Add in a polished synopsis and sample chapters, and a cover letter that's to the point, and you'll be in a much stronger position that many other authors also submitting. 
  3. Don't be discouraged by rejection. This is a tough industry, even after you've secured a publishing contract. People are going to love your work and people are going to dislike it - that's subjectivity. You might not get there on your first try - I didn't and neither did many authors I know. Just remember to read widely and keep on writing. It helps to connect with other authors and publishing professionals on social media too. 

Careers in Writing alumni tips

Top tips

Our graduate speakers at last year's Careers in Media Alumni Panel shared their advice on how to make an impact and break into the industry.

Be open. Be flexible

“There is no one path – there are many diverse paths.”

“Your first job is very rarely the only job you will do so don’t see taking a job role that isn’t exactly what you’d hoped for as settling for less. Once you’re in an organisation, there’s huge potential to move around as you have access to internal vacancies.”

“Most people who go into media do not have a Media Arts degree. Your knowledge of languages matters for example, when the team need a document translated immediately. Your science background is useful when covering a breaking pharmaceutical news story.”

“Be flexible – your career pathway will not be linear. There’s a way to get to where you want to be but it may not be as straightforward as you’d like it to be. It’s very unusual to step straight into your dream role.”

Become a storyteller

“First and foremost, be a journalist. It’s all about the story.”

“When pitching [for filming and tv projects], you have to have a story and idea. Be prepared to adapt your concept to what the focus of the project or channel you’re pitching to.”

“Whatever your background, you are essentially an author (if working in TV, Radio or journalism) so do consider getting a journalism qualification alongside your professional work such as the National Council for Training of Journalists Certificate NCTJ.”

“Producers are the eyes and ears of a camera man. They are journalists as they have to take editorial and journalistic guidelines such as accuracy and due impartiality into consideration.”

Make the most of student life and resources you have at university

“Make your extra-curricular activities and involvement in student life your work experience. You have the space, a community and willing participants. You will never have access to high-tech equipment for free again. You have resources at your disposal. Use them.”

“Practice in your own time. Volunteer and learn how to turn an image into a story. Show graduate employers that you have initiative and drive and show them, ‘This is what I choose to do in my spare time’.”

Know that your skills matter

“You need to start building your work experience now.”

“This industry is so varied that it really helps if you can do a bit of everything; directing, producing and editing and are able to use different software and programmes. Also, it helps when you are self-funding or pitching projects if you can rely on yourself and not have to outsource as much.”

“Every job has admin so don’t discount work experience or part-time jobs that are admin heavy. Projects require planning and spreadsheets, financial and budgeting know-how. The skills you acquire along the way contribute to the package you bring to the table. Showcase your full skill set and add these skills to your CV.”

“No medium stands alone nowadays. Radio for example, is now available digitally, on live stream and shared via updates and clips on social media. If you’ve worked with as many of these channels as possible you have a lot to offer an employer."

"Skill up whenever possible and be the person who can step up and help out. The more you’re able to do, the more useful you are and the more indispensable you become.”

Be passionate about your future career

“You need to really want to do this and be hungry for it. It’s a tough industry with long, unsociable hours, but there’s nothing like the buzz and sense of team work that comes with breaking news.”

“You have to be dedicated and prepared to work your way up in an organisation. Be available, offer to help, volunteer and your hard work will pay off!”

Network, network, network!

“Build your contacts and network now. Persevere and send lots of emails. Someone will eventually say yes!”

“It’s important to network but you can do it in your own way. It’s not about the person who shouts the loudest. There are ways to hustle. Be quietly confident.”

“Your contacts matter. Reach out and ask for opportunities to gain more experience."

"Never underestimate the potential work experience can offer you. A short internship can lead to huge opportunities.”

Panel highlights

Ever wonder what an alumni panel is like? In 2018, Royal Holloway graduates spoke to students at our Careers in Media Alumni Panel. Watch the evening's highlights and watch this space for one of our upcoming alumni panels.