Tips for starting your communications career
If you’re interested in making your way in the communications industry, Gemma Clarke from Global Hobo has some advice on how you can leverage your skills to get ahead.
If you haven’t already, check out last week’s post with Gemma to read about her career journey in freelancing.
What advice do you have for students who are hoping to kick-start a writing career in the communications sector?
There are lots of conversations happening about writing for free and knowing your worth, which is fantastic to see.
Don’t let yourself get exploited for too long, but if you’re not an excellent writer, write for free and get as much feedback as you can from editors until you are. As soon as your writing is in demand or someone replies to a pitch email and they’re blown away, that’s when you know your writing is worth being paid for.
Are there any skills in particular you feel students should start working on, that will help them succeed in the long run?
An ability to make anything you’re writing sound interesting – whether it’s copy about a cruise ship (which you’ll need to make fun in order to sell the tour) or a long-form feature about why CSG mining sucks (which you’ll need to make engaging in order for it to effect change).
Solid grammar and punctuation are also essential. An open mind – to get one, read as much as you can, and follow activists from all walks of life and all cultures on their social media platforms to see what conversations they’re having.
We know that having a solid professional network is important in communications and other creative industries. Do you have any tips on how to network successfully in these fields?
Remember that everyone is human, and no one really has any real clue what they’re doing – so don’t be intimated. Be warm, sincere, inclusive and personable. Know that mainstream media is not the only path to success.
When deciding what opportunities to take, what’s more important to you: money or passion?
Passion (or activism) first always, but that’s because I have a source of income that isn’t purely writing to rely on – I run writing workshops, and the income that generates is enough for me to get by and do whatever I like in the in-between times.
Finally, what advice do you have for students who are looking to start freelancing?
Take yourself seriously and just have the guts to cold pitch. It’s terrifying, sure, and often I’ll send a cold pitch email and just sit there panicked in front of my computer refreshing my inbox and waiting for a reply, but if you don’t take yourself seriously, no one ever will.
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