Landing my first journalism job and moving to London

I can’t quite believe I can say that I live and work in London. What a pinch me moment. After years of pining for the city life – where red buses would pass my window, veggie brunches would be in endless supply and I’d get to share a quarter of a postcode with the Queen – 18 years in education and countless months rewriting cover letters and CVs, I’ve finally got my foot in the door of the journalism industry.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and even when I flirted with the idea of other career paths, words always held my heart. Even subconsciously, I was heading towards a creative career. At 11 I earned a Blue Peter badge for a poem I’d written, won the school prize for English at 17, became the university newspaper’s deputy editor, completed a Magazine Journalism MA and interned in London all before being offered my first journalism job as Square Up Media’s editorial intern!

There’s no denying that the media industry is a tough nut to crack. But if I wasn’t qualified to use my imagination and put pen to paper, I really wasn’t qualified to succeed in anything. I could never have been a doctor. The lack of sleep would have done me in before even getting to the gory bits. My appalling mental maths skills ruled me out of accounting, and once I realised that studying law isn’t like an episode of Suits, its appeal quickly faded. It was a choice of journalism or journalism. So, journalism it was.

Cutting a very long, exciting and stressful story short, I wrote articles for The University of Reading’s student newspaper on topics which ranged from travel to feminism. I was accepted to study journalism at Cardiff University and honed my researching, digital, social and writing skills, before writing a Distinction level dissertation about modern masculinity and passing the course with an overall High Merit.

Then came the never-ending job hunt. I applied for what felt like a thousand jobs and was interviewed five times before finally being offered the positon I most wanted (A quick shout out to my CV’s chief sub editor, better known as my mother). To give you a bit of context, Square Up Media was a start up business and has grown its portfolio to include four luxury magazines including Square Mile, a high-end lifestyle title, escapism and foodism, which are the UK’s largest travel and food and drink magazines, and Hedge which focuses on the corporate world.

It’s hard to accurately describe how welcoming, relaxed and fun the office actually is, but I can but try. Almost everyone is under 30, I competed in a pingpong tournament on my first day, have had drinks bought by the CEO, been invited to the office girls’ supper club, and bequeathed a huge bottle of gin by an editor. Did I mention the office puppy, boozy lunch trips and plans for an office expedition to Cornwall? Like I said, welcoming, relaxed and fun.

I’m also getting to immerse myself in an industry I love and am passionate about. I’ve learned so much about social media, have been given the keys to the digital kingdom, I’ve helped with photoshoots in the studio and already have a fashion article and interview piece posted on the Square Mile website.

It’s been a whirlwind, but one I’m more than happy to be swept up in. I can’t wait to learn more, socialise with my work buddies and generally keep enjoying the reality of what I’d always imagined my career would look like. All the anxiety, regurgitated cover letters, awful interviews and self-doubt were all worth the SW postcode, bylines and troves of veggie delights at my doorstep.

Yes, it’s a lot easier to crack your sanity than the journalism industry, but if it’s something you want badly enough and you are prepared to work your sock off, all I can tell you is that the view from inside the magazine pages is pretty fantastic.

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2 thoughts on “Landing my first journalism job and moving to London

  1. I would love to get your advice on how to get through to the interview stage (and beyond!) for media jobs or paid internships as I am currently looking for one. What do you think made your application stand out? 🙂

    Like

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