By Robert Payling, bursary recipient 2010-2011
That seat, to be precise, is in the studio of one of Britain’s top broadcasters, Sky Sports News. It’s a far cry from the university room I once sat in worried about how to get my first job in journalism, but I am in no doubt over who made that move possible in the first place, the Journalism Diversity Fund.
I am currently eight months into a Graduate Scheme at Sky Sports News and can say with sincerity that it’s everything I hoped it would be. I’m passionate about sport, and it’s great to work in a team where that feeling is universally shared.
Before starting at Sky I studied on the postgraduate Print Journalism course at the University of Sheffield. The NCTJ training I received there was essential for my development as a reporter, and it is vital today in every task I do. Working for live television can be challenging, and it is great to be able to fall back on the skills that I gained on my journalism course.
So how did I get the job in the first place? For me personally, a willingness to relocate helped. I grew up in Wakefield and got my lucky break in London. So don’t be afraid to branch out.
I also built up a portfolio of cuttings from a number of work placements I did before and after my NCTJ training. If you’re going to interviews then it’s imperative that you take examples of your own work.
Do not let rejection slow you down. I was turned down for plenty of jobs before landing my current role. It’s easier said than done, but persistent will pay off in the long run.
If you haven’t been offered an interview for a while then get fresh advice on your CV. The next time you’re on work experience make sure you seek out the person who deals with job applications for permanent jobs. Ask their opinion, find out how you could sell yourself more effectively, and use that to improve your next application.
When applying for a work placement always telephone the contact listed on the advert before submitting your CV. It seems obvious, but few people actually do it. Also, rather than waiting until you get off the phone to press submit, do it there and then on the phone. At least then you know it’s on their to-do list rather than getting lost in hundreds of other emails they receive.
Other than that, I can only suggest that you regularly browse job websites and set up email alerts so that new vacancies are sent to you every day. The sites I used were: HoldtheFrontPage, Gorkana, NCTJ, Journalism.co.uk, BBC, Sky and MediaUK.
Best of luck!