By Lucy O’Shea

Breaking into the media world has many routes.

Not only because of the competitiveness of the media and communications industry, but also due to the wide selection of professions that exist within it.

So, what works for you? And how do you know?

While there are a host of defined careers that enable excellent experience and challenges, there is a wide array of ambiguous and loosely defined roles that the convergence of technology and media have made way for.

So, what defined career paths already exist? And if they’re not for me, how can I source a loosely defined role that allows for career satisfaction?

Journalism

Traditionally speaking, Journalism is a hot profession. Sort after and popularised by Rory Gilmore in the Gilmore Girls, journalism requires a persistent attitude, strong writing style and a solid portfolio.

While it is competitive, these positions exist and are changing in the way they work as the media does.

Public Relations

My particular area of interest and the glamorous career of Samantha Jones in Sex and the City, PR is all about brand creation. Plugging leaks and putting out fires, PR forms a personality for a company and protects it from the likes of those pesky journalists.

Research, writing, organisation and problem solving are strong skills required for this role, as well a ready ability to network over a glass of wine if needed.

However, ditching the glitz and glamour, PR agencies largely work on facilitating positive receptions for new branding decisions of business opportunities for their clients, usually using stakeholder mapping as a tool.

Marketing and Advertising

Traditionally speaking, this goes back to the days of Bewitched, when Darren and Larry Tate would pace those wood-decorated offices and devise campaigns for bigwigs in business.

However, nowadays, this profession can take many forms. Innovation is at the key of the industry. Designing campaigns, networking with clients, selling an idea and promoting a company through social media are all emerging and steadfast aspects of the marketing and advertising world.

These two career branches are often so intertwined, they are mistaken for one another.

Know your design. As the media industry changes, there is often a need for marketing and advertising executives to know more than just the concept behind a campaign, but to have a basic level of graphic design skills.

This is especially relevant in smaller businesses with a limited budget for external designers.

Publishing

Linked closely with journalism, marketing, PR and advertising; publishing favours those with an eye for detail. If your dream is to be Miranda Priestly, then this is the job for you. Hard to crack and competitive to break into, publishing is all about the networking.

In an interview for RMIT, Tracey O’Shaughnessy (Program Manager of a Masters of Writing and publishing) outlines the necessity of interning. Demonstrating hard work, commitment and a platform to showcase skills in the industry, she strongly encourages her students to invest the time.

She also stresses the importance of digital literally. Brush up on your design skills, know your photoshop and learn if you don’t already. This makes you transferrable and multiskilled, something most media degrees rely on immensely.

After defining all of these illustrious and competitive careers, there is one this that is resoundingly clear. They all crossover.

All require technological literacy, design skills, innovation and creativity. All need persistence and alertness to industry changes to be successful.

It is also clear that the ambiguous careers that seem undefined are offshoots or components of these cemented careers. Social media coordinating, reputation management, event management graphic design are all skills these professionals use.

The only way to truly know what you’re good at is to try a few. And who knows, maybe you’ll create your own branch off of one of these forever growing media trees.

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