Working nine to five…

By Megan Earl

I’m eighteen years old so I’ve just finished taking my A2 exams before going to university in the autumn. For my A Levels I studied English literature, media studies and English language at Saffron Walden County High sixth form with hopes that they’ll set me on the right path to one day work in the media industry. In September, I’ll be studying English literature and American studies at the University of Birmingham, where I also hope to participate in their study abroad scheme by living in America for a year.

During the past week I have completed a variety of tasks, from proof reading to writing press releases on the Journalism Diversity Fund and the sports journalism awards. I have learnt so much about the career path I could potentially follow through speaking to members of the NCTJ team, and about the qualifications I will have to take should I decide on journalism in the future.

The top three things I’ve learnt would be…

  • Check that your course is NCTJ accredited! Taking an NCTJ course would mean that I learn shorthand and apply other techniques used by successful journalists straight away, rather than learn on the job through trial and error. I didn’t realize the importance of learning shorthand (or even taking an NCTJ course) before this week, but I now know achieving the gold standard of 100wpm will increase my chances of getting a job
  • Get as much work experience as possible. Looking at successful recipients of the Journalism Diversity Fund has really emphasized to me how much experience everyone else has and the competition I’ll be up against in the future
  • Don’t expect to start your career in one of the top jobs. I always envisioned myself as a columnist straight out of university, but listening to other people’s experiences and reading through the information on the NCTJ website has made me realize that this was unrealistic. I now know that I’ll probably have to work at a local newspaper until I have shown enough dedication and ambition to work my way up