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“Gain writing experience and still live like a fresher”

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So you are about to begin your first year of university, and your lecturers will already start saying it’s important to get work experience in your chosen career.

Some of you may be thinking: “It’s my first year and I want to enjoy my time while I can, before the real work starts!” Well, stop right there, because it is possible to gain the experience you need and still live like a fresher.

Impress your employer

At the end of your course you will want to get a job in your chosen industry, so if you have evidence of work experience on your CV whilst you have been studying at university, that is going to impress any employer.

I am in my first year at Sunderland University studying Journalism, so while I am doing that, I try to get lots of experience by writing for different publications. For any Journalism student out there who is reading this, getting work experience for any magazine or newspaper is worth pursuing. Not only does it add to your CV but it makes you stand out from the crowd.

When your editor looks at your portfolio, they will be impressed by how much work you have been able to do whilst at university. If you have been lucky enough to work in the newsroom then that adds a certain “little something” to your CV, as it means that editors can trust you to work in a professional environment.

Keep the balance

Obviously writing for many publications is not easy; it’s hard work to balance your university assignments and deadlines for editors. I find making myself a ‘gant chart’ useful. This is a chart that will track your progress but also sort out your deadlines, so you can pace yourself and not give yourself too much work to do.

It is just about balancing it out, and you should find that both skills that you learn in university and work experience will be transferable. Your tutors will be seriously impressed, and then you will be thankful that you decided to take your tutors’ advice in the first place!

So if you are an aspiring journalist and have nothing to do this summer, get yourself writing for an online magazine. When you return to university in September you can show your peers what a true expert you are!

Do you have any more tips for aspiring journalists? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Erin Kohlenberg / Flickr

Gemma Hirst“Gain writing experience and still live like a fresher”

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