Media

Media

Media is a very broad, extremely competitive employment sector and achieving success in this industry often depends on your determination and motivation. Defining what you mean by ‘media’ could be your first decision, as a multitude of opportunities exist under this sweeping banner. One thing you can be sure of is that whether you are looking to get into print, online, TV or design you could potentially be working long hours in a fast paced environment with a range of people with different technical and personal skills.

Employers will be seeking motivated, enthusiastic graduates who are versatile and willing to go the extra mile to get projects finished, so when making applications it is important to show a genuine interest in the specific field you are trying to break into.

Where Do I Start

Getting Experience

Finding A Job

Need More Information

BackToCareer-Guides-Header

Where do I start?

Within the Media sector you could be looking at a wide range of occupations. Prospects has a useful list of job profiles each containing relevant information about key responsibilities, skill requirements, starting salaries, entry requirements, career prospects with links to major employers and current graduate vacancies.

Jobs roles in this sector include:

You could also consider the jobs listed below:

As part of your job-hunting strategy you will need to keep up to date on developments in this sector and keep track of any vacancies that are coming up. Below are some key resources to help you research opportunities available. The knowledge gained through your research may assist you to target your applications and will help when preparing for interviews. 

  • Creative Skillset - Industry body which supports skills and training for people and businesses working in the creative industries.
  • Targetjobs - Useful information about how to break into the different graduate career sectors. Also has tips on applications and interviews, training and development, industry news and graduate jobs, schemes and work experience opportunities.
  • Media Industry & Performing Arts Directory - Free directory and jobs board with news, interviews, reviews, advice and competitions. Information covers: Art, Design, Film/TV/Stage, Music, Photography, Dance, Comedy, Journalism, Radio, PR, and Marketing.
  • Creative and Cultural skills - Industry body which supports skills and training for people and businesses working in the creative industries. Organisation provides an online hub of advice and opportunities for anyone that wants to work in a creative career.
  • Broadcast Magazine - A good source of information on the media industry.
  • Brand Republic – Provides real-time news and analysis by expert commentators worldwide.
  • Campaign - Delivers the latest media news including press, online, outdoor, TV and radio.
  • Media.info - Information website has news and analysis for the British media industry, alongside listings of radio, television and print vacancies and worldwide contacts. 

 Back to the top

Getting experience

It is important to be clear what you mean by ‘the media’ as this sector is varied and incorporates TV, PR, theatre, radio, publishing (book, magazine and web); try to decided what area of the media are you most interested in, for instance if it’s TV, are you attracted to production, presenting, broadcast journalism, research, technical support, business development? Whichever you chose (competition for jobs in this sector is fierce) work experience could easily be the deciding factor to securing a graduate job. Through undertaking work experience you can develop expertise and the all-important transferrable skills, which will help you demonstrate your motivation and commitment to this area of work, it is vital to display your enthusiasm for the industry.  

To secure media work experience, you will have to do a lot of hunting around, informal work placements are normal in this sector so even if they don't offer a formal work experience scheme you will probably have to take the initiative and approach companies that interest you.  In order to develop a good portfolio in freelance you may need to offer your services free since internship schemes are few and far between.

Consider approaching small companies as they often have a need to recruit flexible and enthusiastic assistants to work on short term projects.  Finding experience will take time and effort; employers receive many CVs every week so you will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd.

Typically within this sector, you will be undertaking junior tasks, assisting with projects or administration or acting as a ‘runner’, which means being available to help with any odd jobs. Companies are likely to be very busy and you are unlikely to receive much formal training or guidance.

Internships, placements and work shadowing explained

Internships, (usually a fixed period or a limited amount of time), will give you more hands-on experience. Many employers will treat internships in the same way as full-time employment, so when a job role asks for 'at least one years experience' you can include this type of experience.

Placements will give you a long-term look at an organisation, and help you to build contacts and experience. On some degrees work placements are part of the programme, whilst on others you can choose to complete a placement as one of your modules.  Many courses at the University of Portsmouth enable you to complete a one year work placement or self-employment placement; should you choose undertake either your first point of contact is your placement office in your Faculty.

Work experience weeks are a good way to get a short but intense feel for how a particular role works and are a helpful way to find out more about a job you think you’d like.

Work shadowing is an introduction to many areas of the media, here you spend time with an experienced professional, learning about what they do.

Speculative Applications for Work Experience

In order to write a good speculative letter/email you will first need to do some research into the organisation you are writing to, this way you will be able to target your application to their needs and demonstrate your passion for the company, role and industry. It is a good idea to write to a specific named individual, if necessary phone to clarify who the best person to contact would be before sending your letter/email (company websites, twitter and LinkedIn profiles may be useful for this). Remember to give a clear reason as to why you are contacting each employer and in your letter demonstrate that you have relevant skills, perhaps through extra-curricular activities, and explain how by offering you work experience they will benefit. Also demonstrate that you understand what they do as an organisation, really tailor the application to each particular organisation.

The ability to market yourself effectively is a skill you will use throughout your career in the media so why not create an online presence that could assist with targeting your speculative applications, use social or professional networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

A good starting place to secure work experience is with the university, some courses offer the opportunity to undertake a work placement with a media or related company, so speak to your tutors to see what is available. You might also like to check out the student union and see what volunteering opportunities they have within their various media channels; check to see if they are recruiting staff to update/maintain their website, are they seeking written articles for inclusion in the union newspaper? See if they need presenters for the union radio or television stations, there could be a multitude of opportunities here for you to gain excellent experience.

Outside the university think about small and medium size companies as well as large organisations; it is worth remembering that most big media businesses organise their work experience placements up to a year in advance so start early and take the initiative!

You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV through the Purple Door website; in addition to dedicated resources available at Purple Door, we have created a number of tailored pinboards using Pinterest which provide links to a variety of websites with useful sector advice and examples of creative CVs.

It is also worth considering the voluntary sector for work experience. Purple Door offers current students and graduates access to a Virtual Volunteering Bank which provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies. Similarly you can access these opportunities through the paper-based bank located in the Purple Door careers centre.

If you wish to instigate voluntary work experience during the vacation periods please refer to ‘External sites’ on the voluntary work experience section on our website.

Useful key links to find out more about work experience and valuable industry directories to help identify companies to make speculative approaches to:

  • Skillset - Sector skills council for creative media with a wealth of excellent resources aimed at students and graduates
  • Targetjobs - General advice about how to secure work experience in the media and publishing industry as well as a searchable database of current opportunities.
  • Archant Life - Publisher of regional and local magazines and associated digital media in the UK.
  • Periodicals Publishers Association - Excellent information on careers in magazine publishing, training courses and member directory.
  • Media UK - Directory of British newspapers, magazines and broadcasters.
  • The National Union of Journalists’ employer guidelines for work experience offer good advice about your rights and what you may be able to negotiate with your employer: Work experience, exploiting the dream (pdf)
  • Any Intern- Internship directory, completely free for students to use, updated daily with thousands of internships all over the United Kingdom.
  • RateMyPlacement - Everything you need to know about what an internship is and how you can start your search for one.

To give you an idea of the sorts of opportunities that may be available, listed below are examples of large companies and agencies offering and advertising work experience in this sector. You will need to do thorough research to identify further specific opportunities.

Publishing, Newspapers & Magazines

  • allaboutcareers - Includes a useful internships and work placements section which could assist in sourcing relevant opportunities.
  • BBC - offers a range of work experience placements nationwide, includes News and Journalism.
  • Conde Nast - Consumer magazine publisher offering unpaid workplace shadowing placements (up to four weeks) in many different parts of the business.
  • DowJones - Offers a variety of media based internships worldwide.
  • Future PLC - Consumer magazine publisher, specialising in computer games, crafts and music. One week journalism placements available.
  • Hearst Magazines UK - Publishing house offering work experience and internships across their brands; to apply you need to contact the brands directly. Use this link to see a list of brands with relevant contact details. 
  • ITV - Offers a nine month programme and opportunity to join their national and regional news teams as a trainee journalist.
  • Mediamuppet - A great place to look for paid internships and graduate jobs in media.
  • Oxford University Press - Offer an eight week Summer Internship scheme which provides an opportunity for those interested in a career in publishing and business to gain valuable insights into a publishing house.
  • Pearson - Paid 8 -12 week internship programme in journalism or business aimed at students from black or other ethnic minority backgrounds. 
  • Penguin Random House  - Year round paid work experience slots of 1-2 weeks, an opportunity to shadow a team and get to grips with day-to-day life in publishing. Also offer summer ten week paid internships, usually advertised in the spring of each year.
  • The Guardian - Occasionally offers internships and traineeships, targeted speculative applications may be worth trying.
  • Thomson Reuters - Offers journalism internships in USA.

 Television & Radio

  • allaboutcareers - Includes a useful internships and work placements section which could assist in sourcing relevant opportunities.
  • Absolute Radio - For students studying a media related course. All placements are two weeks unless otherwise arranged with opportunities being advertised on gothinkbig.co.uk.
  • Community Media Association - Includes a regularly updated section showing latest voluntary vacancies at radio stations across the UK.
  • KFTV - International guide to 40,000 film, television and commercial production service companies in 149 countries. Searchable database is a useful resource for students looking for placements, internships or career opportunities in film and TV.
  • Media UK - A directory of British newspapers, magazines and broadcasters.
  • The Knowledge - Comprehensive production directory for UK Film and TV contacts.
  • All Out Productions - Three months work experience working on programmes for BBC radio.
  • BBC Extend Programme  - The BBC’s new talent disability recruitment portal information about placements for graduates with disabilities.
  • BBC - the BBC's searchable work experience pages.
  • Broadcast - Jobs and work experience in Broadcasting.
  • Channel 4 via 4Talent offer one weeks summer work experience and production trainee placements.
  • Channel Five - Provide the ‘One Big Year Internship Scheme’ which has internships across all of their brands including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Viacom International Media Networks and Channel 5.
  • Channel 4 - Offer work experience opportunities within a range of departments including audience research, media planning, press and publicity, continuity, advertising research and many more.
  • Global Radio - one to three months unpaid opportunities.
  • Sky – Work experience opportunities across various sectors, some are one day but most are one or two weeks in length.

 Production

  • Endemol UK - Creative Internship scheme, three months paid work experience.
  • FremantleMedia - Offer three month internships based in London.
  • PACT - The trade association for independent production companies has a searchable directory of members. Use this information to make speculative applications.
  • allaboutcareers - Includes a useful internships and work placements section which could assist in sourcing relevant opportunities.
  • Sky - Offers a whole series of work placements these include production and news. Some opportunities are a day, most are one or two weeks.
  • The Knowledge - Comprehensive production directory for UK Film and TV.
  • Tiger Aspect Productions - Offer the occasional placement on a shoot/production. Placements will last for one to two weeks.
  • Mediamuppet - A great place to look for paid internships and graduate jobs in media.

 Film

  • The Knowledge - Comprehensive production directory for UK Film and TV. Use this information to make speculative applications.
  • British Film Industry (BFI) - Organisation has responsibility for funding film development and Production, training, distribution and exhibition in the UK, offers paid internships.
  • allaboutcareers - Includes a useful internships and work placements section which could assist in sourcing relevant opportunities.
  • KFTV - International guide to 40,000 film, television and commercial production service companies in 149 countries. Searchable database is a useful resource for students looking for placements, internships or career opportunities in film and TV.
  • Company Pictures - Independent film and television drama Production Company, offering work experience to students who are enrolled on an educational course.

Tips to build experience:

Explore the various areas within the media sector before you apply for work experience; knowing what you want to specialise in will help you focus your research and ensure you gain the relevant skills.

  • Get involved in relevant university or external groups, volunteer on your student newspaper or get involved in student radio or hospital/community radio, all of these roles are a good way to demonstrate your motivation and interest in this area of work.
  • Enter competitions and attend external workshops to help build a network of contacts.
  • Speak to your tutor, or other members of faculty staff, researching in the areas that interest you, as students are sometimes recruited to work on specific projects over the summer.
  • Be proactive and make direct contact with organisations that interest you and apply speculatively; send a targeted CV and a covering letter focused on why you are interested in working for them and why they should be interested in you.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile to network with sector employers - see our Networking and Social Media section for further guidance.
  • Research companies and agencies offering summer internships, vacation placements, taster experience or introductory courses.

Back to the top

Finding a job

There are many different areas within the media sector and work can be varied. You might like to work as a media buyer, someone who is involved in conducting extensive research and identifying the right target demographic for specific campaigns, or perhaps in a public relations role where you use a variety of honed skills to effectively communicate with different audiences. Advertising and marketing industries both value media studies graduates recruiting them into media planning and advertising account management, copywriting and market research. Alternatively, other suitable careers can be found within broadcasting itself, producing or presenting, so some thought as to which area(s) you are particularly interested in will help you to target your job search.

The range of employers who recruit in these areas includes:

  • Communications agencies
  • The Civil Service
  • Further and higher education institutions, such as colleges and universities
  • Local government
  • Marketing organisations
  • Media companies
  • The newspaper industry
  • PR consultancies
  • Publishing companies
  • TV and radio companies

Below is a list of useful websites to help you start your job search

  • BBC - Offers advice on what it is like to work for the BBC as well as a list of their current vacancies. 
  • Campaign Jobs brings you the latest vacancies in the media industry, including jobs in digital media, media buying, media sales, and social media
  • Channel 4 - Includes jobs overseas.
  • Financial Times - Graduate traineeships in journalism beginning in September.
  • Grapevine jobs - Media jobs in TV, film, home entertainment, music, post-production and new media, a job-board exclusively for the broadcast and media sectors.
  • ITV Jobs - Searchable database lists many roles in different sectors mainly in the UK with some overseas.
  • Jump Forward - Covers the creative and media skill sets and offers students, graduates, freelancers and employees the chance to search through jobs, briefs and placements.
  • KFTV - Searchable database, good resource for students looking for placements, internships or career opportunities in film and TV.
  • Mandy's International Film and TV Production Directory - Comprehensive guide to independent film/TV production resources (web-only) for professional service-providers in film, TV and multimedia.   It's free to use, simply use the search to filter to find current relevant vacancies. Website also includes searchable castings directory to help find the latest auditions.
  • Mediamuppet - A great place to look for paid internships and graduate jobs in media.
  • MyPurpleDoor - Has a database of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations.
  • Production Base - Leading digital publication and network for freelancers working in TV, film, theatre, radio and commercial production. As members of this community, users gain access to hundreds of unique job opportunities on a weekly basis, and can showcase their profile and show reel to all the leading production companies and broadcasters. 
  • ResponseSource - Media specific jobs board. Jobs for journalists, PR professionals, advertising people, web designers and marketeers.
  • The Media directory - Free UK Arts & Media Directory and jobs board.  
  • The Unit List  - Broadcast TV vacancies.
  • Wired Sussex - Find the latest vacancies from games, web, mobile, software, design, animation, TV, music, film and online advertising and PR companies in Brighton and Sussex.

Tips for finding a job

  • Keep up to date with media industry news and trends by following the professional bodies on Twitter, this information might help you identify opportunities to network, and tap into the hidden jobs market.
  • Keep your online job search flexible as some employers might use different titles to describe the same job role.
  • If you are keen to focus on a specific sector within media check out the specialist websites for these areas for current vacancies
  • Most companies have a Twitter and/or Facebook account, register with them as this is often a place where new opportunities are posted and where you can keep in touch with their current activities.
  • Consider making speculative job approaches to employers as most media organisations regularly receive a lot of unsolicited CVs which means they can draw from these to recruit, and therefore won't necessarily advertise all their vacancies.

Follow on Twitter or Facebook to receive news and information about current projects for this specific industry sector, and to tap into the hidden jobs market.

Back to the top

Need more help and information?

Need more help and information?

Purple Door offers support to students throughout their studies and provision for graduates up to five years after graduation, with advice and guidance on:

  • Career options
  • Further study
  • CV and Covering Letters
  • Application forms
  • Job search
  • Interviews
  • And more......

Please visit services for you for more details about our support and services.

Purple Door has an online Jobsboard advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Recruitment Consultancy team that delivers a personalised matching job service. 

Remember if you are not on campus you can still access our services via telephone or Skype booked appointments; please contact us to discuss your needs. 

Further information:

If you need more information why not check out some of the resources below to help you to research a sector in more depth.

Useful reference books available at Purple Door Centre include:

  • Journalism Uncovered - Gives a clear and honest outline of the job and the training involved. 
  • Music the Business 6th edition - An industry endorsed essential guide to the UK music business. Publication is aimed at artists, songwriters, industry executives, lawyers, students and anyone who wants to know more about getting into the music business.
  • The Naked Author - A guide to self-publishing.
  • The Sane Person’s guide to Self-Publishing - Offers advice about self-publishing and delivers a realistic view of self-publishing; it's full of practical information, tips and marketing ideas plus further reading suggestions.
  • The Writers’ & Artists’ year book 2016 - Has extensive amount of contact information that could be used to make speculative approaches to employers.

 Specialist agencies

  • Pathfinders Media Recruitment - Specialists in finding first career opportunities for new graduates in the media including advertising, PR, broadcasting, publishing, new media, events management, marketing, music and the arts.
  • Aspire - Agency specialising in recruiting for the media and marketing communications industry.
  • Career moves group - Agency for broadcasting, advertising, publishing, research and marketing.
  • Jobs In Broadcast - Recruitment resource for media professionals. Covers TV, film and radio with both craft and technical jobs.
  • Creative Talent - Specialise in jobs in media, advertising, marketing, creative industries, graphic design and more.
  • Media Square Recruitment - Specialist media recruitment agency based in Central London. Covers media sales, marketing and support roles across magazines, newspapers, digital, radio, outdoor, television, conferences, exhibitions and business.
  • Searchlight - Specialist agency for the media and entertainment industry sectors working in broadcast, film and digital media.
  • Media Recruitment - Specialists in PR, marketing, communications and social media, covering permanent, contract and freelance roles.
  • Inspiring Interns - Graduate jobs and internships from a UK leading graduate recruitment agency. Connecting graduates to leading businesses and start-ups across the UK.

Back to the top