education times Career of the Month
Media and Communications
f you are someone who thrives of a fast-paced work environment, strict deadlines and working independently, then the media and communications industry is a career path you should consider. The industry is extremely diverse, covering a range of fields, such as: radio, television and film, print media, Internet content development, advertising, public relations, speech writing and creative arts and design (to name but a few). The unstoppable growth of the industry, fueled by technological progression and various social/cultural factors, is central to the Australian economy. This has left society with an insatiable desire for information and entertainment.
Studying and Experience It is important to note that success in this highly competitive industry often depends upon your level of motivation and determination. With that being said, the best place to start is with a degree. Media and communications degrees are becoming increasingly competitive to get a place on. For example, in order to obtain a place on the BA course at the University of Sydney, An ATAR of 98.5 (2013) must be achieved. On the other hand, employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject;
so don’t worry if you don’t manage to get a place. It can be very difficult to break into the industry, even for graduates, without relevant work experience. In the past, graduates have been known to spend up to a year or more volunteering or freelancing for little to no money before obtaining a full-time entry-level position. To gain work experience and build up a portfolio of work, contact radio, television, newspaper, PR or advertising agencies and inquire about openings. It is recommended to volunteer in order to get your foot in the door. Taking an interest in part-time and voluntary opportunities during your course, holidays or evenings/weekends will put you in a good position after graduation. Another pathway for experience would be to get stuck in with your university radio station, newspaper or publications office.
Further Study A popular alternative, following a bachelor’s degree and work experience, is to enter into further study. For example, many graduates who want to become journalists tend to embark upon a postgraduate course in journalism. This is a highly recommended option if you are completely set on a specific career you wish to have in the media and communications industry.
After leaving university with a degree and relevant experience under your belt, you will have acquired a specific set of skills, which employers tend to look for. Some of which include: • Critical analysis. • Research. • A broad commercial and cultural awareness of the media and creative industries. • Teamwork. • Initiation and development of creative work in writing, audio-visual or other electronic media. • A flexible, creative and independent approach to tasks. • The ability to work to a brief and meet deadlines. So when applying for positions, remember to play to your strengths and try to focus on skill areas like those shown above.
Career Prospects It may seem as if a job in the media and communications industry is often unattainable, but it is important to realise that everybody needs communications specialists. In addition, the rapid change in all fields due to technological progression and social media growth, has led to a consistent influx of new opportunities. ‘The beauty of the business and communications industry is that job opportunities are endless. Skills can be transferred across different industries through roles in public affairs, corporate communications, event management and new business development,’ says David McDonald, head of college for APM College of Business and Communication. The five most popular career paths of media and communications graduates today are: Journalism, Marketing and Advertising, Public Relations, Publishing, and Technical Writing.
Salary Average Average Australian Media, Advertising, Arts and Entertainment Salary
The Australian Education Times