Top tips for journalism university candidates

Journalism is a cut-throat industry so you have to do whatever you can to get ahead.

And studying journalism in the UK is extremely competitive so you have to make yourself stand out early.

Luckily there are lots of tips for journalism university candidates out there.

Journalism degree requirements vary but there’s lot you can do to get ahead before and during your journalism course.

At The School of Journalism for instance, our BA (Hons) journalism degree will prepare you for the real world, not just to pass exams – our work isn’t over until you’re in a job.

We spoke to our award-winning journalists who have been there and done it to share their wisdom – here are their top tips for journalism university candidates.

Become a journalist and write a blog:

We can’t stress this enough. It’s a great way to not only showcase your writing but also your passion.

You should try and find your niche and, most importantly, post regularly.

You also need your blog to be seen so make sure you share it across all your social media channels.

Build a journalism portfolio and get noticed:

As a budding journalist, your portfolio is your holy grail.

And building your journalism portfolio should be fun, not a chore. Writing articles should be what you enjoy doing and you should want everyone to see your work.

Use it to showcase a variety of your best work – hopefully you have a lot to pick from – to send to employers and take to journalism job interviews.

Finally, make sure you are enthusiastic when discussing your stories during an interview – you should be excited to talk about how you sourced, wrote and shared your article.

One of best tips for journalism university candidates? Networking!

Networking is just a fancy word for mingling. You need to put yourself out there – free lectures, workshops and online discussion groups.

Once you’re in, talk to as many people as possible, get their details and stay in touch. Follow up on any leads, no matter how small, and connect with people on LinkedIn and Twitter.

It might be useful to get business cards made so you can distribute them at events – this is particularly relevant if you are a freelance journalist or want to become a photojournalist for instance.

Stay up to date with current affairs:

This is vital for anyone who wants to become a journalist. You need to be able to hold your own in conversations in all aspects of the news.

It’s best to know a bit about everything rather than lots about one subject. You also need to understand how different publications cover the same story and be prepared to talk about how it could be done better.

Don’t turn anything down:

You should never turn an invitation or an opportunity to cover something down. Even if you think it’s not the type of journalism you want to go into, it’s a good way of getting your foot in the door and you never know who you’ll meet.

Plus, it’s unlikely you’ll walk straight into your dream job in a very niche area of journalism. For example, even if you want to become a sports journalist it’s best to generalise before you specialise.

Finally, doing things outside your comfort zone gives you something to talk at job interviews.

So, whether you want to become a sports journalist, a photojournalist, a news reporter or a foreign correspondent – studying journalism in the UK is tough, but our NCTJ-accredited BA (Hons) journalism degree taught by News Associates will give you an edge in a tough industry.

What are your tips for journalism university candidates? Share in the comments below.

Featured image courtesy of NEC Corporation of America, with thanks.