How do you get a graduate job in journalism?
A graduate job in Journalism is a notoriously competitive arena to step into due to its popularity with graduates from many different academic backgrounds, after all it's possible to write articles about absolutely anything.
A graduate degree is absolutely vital in order to pursue a graduate career in journalism. The subject studied does not have to be journalism itself or even English Literature as many people think. In fact if you aspire to write for New Scientist magazine then the opposite is true, you will need a science based degree and then be able to prove your writing abilities.
The best way to achieve this is by completing a short postgraduate course in journalism or article writing. Many colleges and universities host these courses and it can mean the difference between a publication chucking your CV in the bin and inviting you for an interview. However, if you choose not to go down this path many others have simply managed to prove their writing abilities by blogging, or getting published in student and local publications whilst still an undergraduate.
By whatever method you can manage, get published as much as possible and keep copies of everything you've written to assemble into a portfolio.
What can I expect to be doing as a journalist?
Most people know what journalism is about but forget or underestimate how important the component of research is to the job. Most of a journalist's time is spent researching their story either at the scene or simple hard slogging over books and the trusty internet.
Many young graduate journalists begin their career as a Staff Writer or Subeditor. This involves a lot of proof reading other people's work making sure all of the grammar and spelling is correct. Every now and then you may be given your own writing piece which is a graduate journalist's chance to shine. Do this well and you can expect to work your way up to the ranks, the top position in any publication being that of an Editor.
As previously mentioned, it is an extremely competitive industry to get into so be prepared to bat off a lot of competition. Those that wriggle their way in successfully are the capable and the downright insistent. Keep trying after every knock back and you will eventually break through, you've got to really want it though!
Another problem is that a graduate journalism career doesn't pay very well to begin with, due to so many people after it they can afford not to pay much, or even offer unpaid internships as their only entry level positions. So save as much as you can whilst you are applying to various publications and don't expect to go and spending spree as soon as you get that first graduate job - at least not immediately!