Q: All of my working life, I have been employed in ‘the media game’ – print journalism, broadcasting and online writing. For the past seven years, I have been in a staff job, but it’s clear the business isn’t going well. Everyone else is talking about moving onto another job within the industry, but I feel that wouldn’t be a good move for me. I’d like to try something else. But what? Ultimately, media is all I know. Any suggestions? (TN, email).
A: TN, this is an era of profound change. Look around and see all the people who have executed major career changes in the past five years – people who retired young and got into something else, people who closed one business and started another, people who lost jobs and haven’t got back to the world of work since, and people who turned their back on one career and embarked on a completely different one, writes Liam Horan, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.
Media people have an abundance of skills, but – like so many others who have been embedded in one sector – they often struggle to see them. They can write well. They speak well. They tend to be good with people given that their roles usually involve interviewing and interacting with people on a daily basis. Their IT skills should be highly-developed. They often have a high profile and in most cases they have a bulging contact book.
I’ve picked four jobs here that a media person could look at:
- Charity fund-raiser. I know a number of media people who have made this move. They are attractive in this area because they can write and circulate a press release, create a Facebook community page, organise an event, get people on board, and generally add a touch of professional communications to a fund-raising initiative.
- Public Relations executive – either as an employee, or self-employed. But PR is changing. It is no longer ‘a few pars in the local paper and a piece on the local radio’, invaluable though those inclusions are. Social media is playing an ever-increasing part in PR. PR survives as a profession because, ultimately, businesses have to promote themselves.
- Sports administrator. This is an option for sports journalists, in particular, who have many of the skills needed for administration of sports bodies – and, frequently, intimate knowledge of the sport and its participants, officials, coaches and sponsors.
- Marketing executive. Are you creative? Do ideas tumble from your head? Can you turn concepts into reality? Media people are accustomed to catching attention – they know the importance of a strong intro paragraph. They realise that to get noticed, you must inject some life, quality, cleverness and impact into what you write or broadcast. All of that is a good starting-point if you are interested in getting involved in marketing.
Those are just some ideas. Don’t under-estimate how cocooned you can become in your own sector – when you look around you will see a broader vista. The other advice I would give is to commit yourself to on-going learning.
Used with discernment, YouTube is one fine university. Alison.com has countless free courses that will interest you. Social media training programmes are now springing up all over the place. We maintain a healthy database of training options – if you email ‘training courses’ to firstname.lastname@example.org, we will send them to you.
Sli Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com) have an online service that allows you to create a superb CV from the comfort of your own desk or home. They also have offices in Galway, Dublin, Limerick, and Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com/cv