Preparing for your second job

College students have always felt nervous about their job prospects as their graduation day draws near, but in a lousy economy, that nervousness grows even more. One thing stays the same, though, in good and bad economic times — your first job is exactly that. A first job.

I advise students to look at ads for jobs they would like to have and, rather than feeling depressed because they do not (yet) meet the requirements, plan ahead. If you see the kind of job you would like to have, then make sure your first job will serve as good preparation for that future job.

Case in point: I read this ad for a news and features editor at The Hollywood Reporter. Plenty of young journalists fantasize about writing entertainment news. Well, here are the requirements:

  • 5+ years journalism experience
  • 3+ years Web experience
  • 3+ years in a 24/7 newsroom environment
  • Experience working with established media brands
  • Experience working with Internet publishing tools

Frankly, I’m not sure what they mean by “working with established media brands,” but the rest is pretty clear. If you had put in two to three years at a daily newspaper, slinging copy on the Web site, you would probably have a shot at this job. I think they’d slide on the “5+ years journalism experience” if you had, say, a couple of internships before you graduated.

Journalism students should understand that two years spent working “in a 24/7 newsroom environment” with “Internet publishing tools” will open many, many more doors for them than spending two years in graduate school.

That first two years might be tough — long hours and low pay, just like you’ve been told all along. But I believe there is still light at the end of the tunnel for young journalists who pay their dues (just like always) and acquire a flexible skill set.

Read those job ads, and make note of what the jobs you really want are asking for.

3 Comments on “Preparing for your second job

  1. The ad that really upsets me is the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, saying you need a couple years experience at a paper of 50,000 or more circulation.

  2. gosh they really don’t get it..another Perez Hilton and those guys are toast. Perez alone already has 10x the web traffic and a far younger/richer demographic.

  3. Pingback: Great Advice for Journalism Students from Rob Priewe « Old Dog, New Media

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