Thursday, 13 August 2009

Guardian article part 4: Renewed optimism or false hope?

After a quiet fortnight or so on the jobs front, these last few days have been positively brimming with opportunities. And for some reason, it feels like a last chance saloon situation. If I don't get anywhere with this batch, I'll have to start seriously reconsidering my future, both immediate and long-term.

I've applied for a whole host of jobs, nine in the last week, including a sports reporter job at the Barnsley Chronicle, a similar role at the Dorset News, and an intriguing writing proposition for a law firm called AM Recruitment in Manchester. The job description online was vague, but what little detail it did give sounded like something I could do. And I found it through Fish 4 Jobs rather than one of the normal jobs feeds I use that will have hundreds if not thousands of out-of-work hacks or hacks-to-be picking through them daily.

The sports reporter jobs are not specifically for trainees, reducing my chances of getting them further, but I got news that I passed my Sports Journalism NCTJ exam back in May with flying colours, something I am hoping will go some way to cancelling out my lack of experience.

On top of that trio, this morning I fired off four more e-mail applications for reporter jobs – none of them for trainees. They're all based in the south – at the Newquay Voice, the Western Gazette, the Colchester Gazette and the Kent Messenger Group - and I have no idea if I could afford to move down there if I was offered it. But I feel like I have to try.

I also threw my name forward to work on the culture section for the Sunday Times breakaway website venture. Rupert Murdoch is insistent that he will be able to charge for online content sooner rather than later and all the signs point to this Sunday Times website launch as being the testing ground for the UK market. It would be fascinating to work on something so revolutionary to the industry.

Again, exact details for the role were sketchy, as I assume nobody is yet sure how things will pan out, but I've been reviewing music for the last five years or so and it's something I'm comfortable doing.

Other applications I've sent away are for a feature writer at a media agency called Medavia – I'd previously shunned all mention of agency work, although I can't put my finger on what it is that doesn't appeal to me – and a writer role at Liverpool public relations company Active PR.

Before this productive spurt I spent two or three days working on my CV and getting it exactly right, to the extent where my eyes feel like they're about to bleed in protest if I even think about opening the document again. I've also been spending more time on my covering letters, taking advice from obviously this site but also from a number of websites including Jobsite UK , Page Personnel and HomeBizTools although I am constantly wary of taking too much advice from faceless internet sites.

Those of you with sharp eyes will notice that the range of jobs I'm applying for is wider than before. This is partly because I felt I wasn't giving myself enough chances, and partly because I decided that local newspapers were not the be all and end all, and that there are other ways in to full-time journalism that I'm neglecting.

So now I'm back playing the waiting game, treading water with the free freelance work I'm doing, hoping for at least an acknowledgement of my applications to come through.

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