How I began a career in media and publishing

Hi, I’m Josie the new editorial intern, who will be working with gradireland for the next three months. My love for writing began at the tender age of four when I wrote my first story about a rabbit. Since then I have relished the freedom that comes with being creative.

Going down the creative ‘road’ isn’t easy. It isn’t like nipping to your local supermarket; more like a six-hour drive along winding country lanes. There isn’t a direct route and it takes a long time to develop skills and get experience. 

I kick-started my career by going on a one-day journalism course aged 16. There was a speaker from BBC radio’s Woman’s Hour who gave us an insight into working in radio. As luck would have it I was writing a Woman’s Hour script for an English project. I emailed her and was invited for work experience. I got to meet the presenters and sit in the studio while they recorded live shows. I had been in the right place at the right time and I made the most of the opportunity.

Following this I did a stint at Waitrose Kitchen magazine, having sent them a few letters. I sat next to the editor, wrote captions for the beauty pages and drank cocktails during a tasting session. Applying for a less obvious publication paid off, as I got another set of work experience under my belt. 

I went to the University of Leeds, did a four-year English Language degree and chose to study for a year in the US. While I was in America, I went to a promotional event at my students’ union and met a lady working at Teen Vogue. I pestered her with questions, got her email address and emailed her the moment I got home. The result: marketing work experience in New York that summer. Working at Teen Vogue was exciting: I chose competition winners, sorted out goodie bags for events, scouted a band and made deliveries to fancy New York offices. However, I was thrown in at the deep end and had to figure out everything for myself.

Now I am at gradireland, where, for the first time, I am getting trained to proofread, copy-edit, commission and so on. Over the past five years I have realised that to succeed you need to build up experience as early as possible, be determined and apply for the less obvious jobs. These three things will ultimately help you to get the job that you want. I have received plenty of rejection letters in the past and typically no response at all. But I stuck with it. Writing applications when you are young is great practice: you have nothing to lose, just everything to gain.

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