Finding work in TV

realization-of-video-771413_960_720There is no fixed route for getting into TV, which means it is important to be flexible, open minded and proactive in seeking out opportunities. and building your network of contacts.

It is common to start with work experience positions, even once you have a degree, and then work your way up. Work experience and junior positions are rarely advertised, so you will need to make the first move and contact employers directly. This means being able to market yourself and being persistent despite (what is likely to be a lot of) rejection are vital.

For further tips and advice list to this excellent podcast from the BBC:

See also this article from The Guardian, containing 6 top tips for finding work in the TV industry, including making use of short films and videos you’ve made during your time at QMUL to showcase your best work, and marketing yourself online via social media, blogging or setting up your own webpage.

Remember you can always book a 1-2-1 appointment with a Careers Consultant to explore your options, and there are also a number of helpful job profiles on the Prospects website:

Television Camera Operator
Television Floor Manager
Television Production Coordinator
Television/film/video Producer


Guest blog: Four Unusual Finance Roles You Should Consider…

Susanna Quirke, Inspiring Interns 

Like any career path, finance has its stereotypes – not all of them fair. This is a growing industry, and not just in the ways you might expect; it’s not all accounting, insurance and banking out there. So step away from the hedge fund, and check out our favourite unusual finance roles.

  1. … in not-for-profit

That’s right. Even charities need someone to handle the dosh. The financial world is often billed as a cut-throat place – a butcher’s floor with zero empathy. Show you’re different; work for a not-for-profit, for profit.

How to find the jobs? Check out specialist charity job-hunting websites. Look for accountancy firms which specialise in charity work, like Jackson & Jackson or Bourner Bullock. Passionate about environmental issues? Join one of the many large corporations hiring environment accountants – professionals tasked with managing pollution, reducing energy costs and obeying regulations.

Charities and NGOs are constantly struggling with financial challenges – your efforts will not go to waste, should you choose to apply yourself here. And let’s face it: you’ll feel like a superhero, too. Everybody wins!

  1. … in fashion

Love fashion? Style in the financial sector goes deeper than ice packs and brown shoe controversies. There are loads of jobs in this industry that call on financial skills and qualifications.

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Working in TV

Have you spent a lot of time during your degree watching TV and shouting your opinions at the screen? If you really love TV, have lots of ideas and thrive in a busy, buzzing work environment, a career in the TV industry might be worth thinking about.

The bad news: Careers in TV require perseverance and, often, a lot of hard work and long hours without high levels of pay. The job is unlikely to be very glamorous at first (or ever) – you might find yourself making a lot of tea when you start out. It can be unstable too, with short-term and temporary contracts common.

If you’re still keen and TV is something you’re passionate about, here are some practical tips about getting into the industry:


Find out everything you can about different job roles and the companies/organisations who hire for these roles. Creative Skillset has job profiles and a list of key employers in TV to get you started in your research, as well as a really useful article about being a Runner (which is often the first paid position on the career ladder). Remember that there are a variety of job roles associated with TV; the more different options you’re willing to consider when you start looking for jobs, the more likely you will be to be able to find one. In this industry, it is usual to start at a junior level and progress.

Keep up to date with the trends in programming, and the kinds of programmes being made at the moment. Interviewers will want to know not just that you like TV, but what kind of TV you like, and what you think of the programmes made by their company or organisation. Get familiar with current issues within the sector too.

Get some work experience

Work experience is a must. It will help you get a sense of what it’s really like to work in TV and help you to make contacts, which will be invaluable as you progress in your career. This is a really popular area of work, so if it’s what you want to do, don’t be discouraged if it takes some time and perseverance to get a work experience placement.

The BBC and ITV have work experience schemes. Lots of production companies also offer work experience – have a look at their websites. You will often need to be proactive and take the initiative to find work experience by getting in touch with employers, and sending speculative applications.

Further resources

Creative Skillset

Breaking into the TV industry, take one (The Guardian)

Emily Hogg
Applications Adviser
QM Careers & Enterprise Centre

Find out more about the Creative industry – TV, Film and Theatre

The information in this post comes from Kings Careers Service.
What are some of the roles?

Editorial – this would be suited to someone who is creative, likes ideas, writing, is happy to change things at the last minute and be spontaneous with their work, answering to demands that may change in a small space of time.

The roles include – runner, researcher, assistant producer, producer, director, writer.

Production – this is suited to someone who is organised, who likes to sort out logistical requirements, is happy to handle budgets and the practicalities of a shoot and is more concerned with the final details of a project and enjoys project management work.

The roles include – runner, production secretary, production co-ordinator, production manager.

There are also the positions within post production and also studio and gallery positions (camera operator, floor manager, auto cue operator, gallery PA).

What is the first step I should take to get a job in a creative industry?

A good place to start is to update your CV and add all the internships/work experience you have undertaken which highlights your creative skills and experience. Visit the Careers & Enterprise Centre in the Queens’ Building Room WG3 and browse our information resources for more information.

Can you recommend some links about careers in the creative industries?
Can you recommend some resources to find out more about production?
Can you recommend some links to find out more about casting?

Can you recommend some information about directing?

QM Media Summit highlights – working in TV and Journalism

Queen Mary Careers Centre and QMSU held the university’s first ever media summit last week, featuring leading journalists from Channel 4 news and the Independent.

Professor John Rentoul was the keynote speaker and gave the audience an insight into the profession, industry tips and his experience of being a journalist.

Here are some of the best bits from the event:

Specialism vs Variety
The decision over whether to specialise or report on a range of topics is something which young journalists often find difficult. It’s often a bigger issue for news journalists, than those who want to be arts journalists and can more readily narrow down their area of specialism to art, food, fashion etc.

Many feel that specialising will close doors and variety will open them. This is something which keynote speaker John Rentoul disagreed with. He urged students to find and develop a specialism, with the caveat that this could change over time.

“Having a specialism gets attention from the commissioning editor.” John said that editors don’t have time to research journalists for every story so they regularly pick the same people who are well known for producing material on a particular topic. This is where having a specialism can be an advantage but notoriety needs to accompany this and this is what many budding journalists find tough.

Getting noticed online
Making a name for yourself as a journalist online can seem an impossible feat. The large quantity of online bloggers has increased the competition in getting published, as employers now have so much choice. When asked about what aspiring journalists should do to stand out online, John emphasised the use of Twitter.
“It’s completely changed the way journalism works in this country.”

He added: “It’s not difficult to get published these days, it’s difficult to get noticed.” With virtually everyone having the ability to self-publish, the difficulty moves from getting work out there to getting it an audience.

Finding stories and overcoming challenging interview tasks
Demonstrating journalistic qualities can be a struggle for those hoping to pursue a career in media. Hannah Livingston, Channel 4 Dispatches and Firecrest Films, spoke of her previous interview experience which involved being asked to find three original stories in a couple of hours. The interviewers had already read the stories in the local newspapers, so the challenge meant speaking to the public to unearth something original.

Although the prospect may seem daunting Hannah said: “That’s how you find stories, by talking to people.”

She advised students to immerse themselves in the chosen area. “If you want to get into TV journalism, watch as much TV journalism as you can.” An awareness of the specialism is essential in any line of work but in a constantly changing industry such as media, it is especially important. Employers often ask you to review previously aired programmes, published articles or their website so it pays to be in the know.

Making the most out of every opportunity
All of the guests spoke of the importance of gaining experience and skills, as well as building networks at every opportunity. Student media received unanimous support as a pathway for budding journalists. It is a great way to improve your writing skill and get published during your degree. In addition to the more obvious skills you develop.

Many students expressed frustration with the culture of unpaid internships which are commonplace in media. Hannah Livingston said that she was told to,”work for free but don’t work for nothing.” Make sure you always get as much as you can from any work experience you do…. ask them questions, make contacts etc.

Rebecca Coxon, who graduated from Queen Mary last year, got her position at the BBC following her successful application to the BBC Production Talent Pool. To apply for this year’s intake visit, opening for applications 18 February. Rebecca, who is now a Production Management Assistant for BBC Factual, said that although her position is entry level she has been able to make useful industry contacts.

Who you know or rather who knows you, was a reoccurring theme throughout the summit. However those hoping to get into media shouldn’t be put off by this. Sources are essential for journalists when it comes to stories and can also be a way to secure work.

John stated the importance of who you know but pointed out that, “if you’re determined enough you can make those contacts yourself.”

Speaking about useful resources and organisations Rebecca mentioned Creative Pioneers for their speed meet events. Creative Pioneers offer paid internships to successful final year students and graduates.

Alex Thomson said: “Starting as a runner is just one route. Any way you can get through the door get through the door, get through the door.”

Investigative journalism
The prospect of becoming an investigative journalist intrigued a number of audience members. It’s one area where having a low profile can work in your favour.

Hannah described the work of an investigative journalist as fantastically exciting, but at the same time a huge liability. It’s for this reason that you need “fresh skins” as having a huge media presence eliminates your ability to carry out investigative work for obvious reasons.

Alex Thomson, Chief Correspondent Channel 4 News, said that all journalism is investigative and that there is no big abyss between the two. “Investigative journalism, is just journalism with a budget and time.”

Big names vs independent media organisations
Each guest encouraged students not to rule anything out when it comes to accepting offers from local or less well-known publications. Edwin Lampert, Group Managing Editor, Riviera Maritime Media, a trade publication, said: “Don’t miss opportunities from tech or b2b publications.” With a magazine for practically every leisure activity from knitting to fishing, and for every industry from IT to teaching, there are endless possibilities for students and graduates to build up their experience.

Trade, tech and business to business (b2b) publications are areas of opportunity often neglected by would-be journalists. Big media organisations aren’t the only places to offer graduate roles and applying to more specialist publications can mean less competition and you could end up doing something you really love.

If you missed the media summit you have a chance to hear what the speakers had to say about getting into media. We interviewed some of the speakers after the event and you can catch the videos here and on our QM Careers YouTube page very soon.

Alannah Francis
Careers Administrative Assistant
QM Careers Centre