Opportunities for African journalists in 2021 have come and gone. All eyes are now on opportunities regarding media, journalism and communication jobs and projects that abound in the coming year 2022. These opportunities could be conferences, vacancies, training, workshops, awards, call for applications/pitches, among others.
The need to improve one’s media and journalism career cannot be overemphasised, particularly now that 2021 is wrapping up. In this article, I-79 Media Consults offers insights into how you can maximise opportunities for media and communication jobs.
- Find your niche: While some people may succeed as generalists, we hope that the best bet will be to focus on a particular beat or a niche that piques your interest. Some opportunities focus on general beats and news events. Still, these do not compare to the litany of mass media and communication jobs and projects on specific areas of focus such as climate, health, education, disabilities, tech, business, etc.
- Research into your beat: A deep understanding of your beat and the issues surrounding it puts you at an advantage over others. Media recruiters and donors, just like those in other sectors, are usually impressed when applicants demonstrate a good knowledge of the area of focus in their pitches, proposals and concept notes. They equally know when you’re bluffing. So, take that deep dive.
- Ask around: You have mentors and role models for a reason. You might want to ask them to suggest opportunities that are the right fit for your media career. Your office colleagues and those in sister or competing media organisations whom you can confide in can also help in this regard. However, not everyone is a good career advisor. Do a proper evaluation of those you look up to and ask them relevant questions.
- Attend relevant training: Training will forever remain a source of good reporting ideas and opportunities. This is because the attendees of such training come from different spaces and networks and have different orientations about specific fields. If you are considering a career in journalism and mass communication, there is no gainsaying the fact that attending training, workshops, lectures, summits and conferences come very handy. Besides, resource persons and facilitators are often carefully selected.
- Register with related newsletters: Different organisations use respective newsletters to communicate information about their projects, events and opportunities for the year. Newsletters are issued at various times – some daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, etc. Sign up to receive their periodic messages.
- Bookmark relevant websites: Keeping up with the numerous tabs and storing URLs of organisations may be a herculean task. Let your browser do that for you. That is part of its job description. Save them there and peruse them when you have the chance to.
- Good references: You are as good as the references you provide. They vouch for you, your skills and your work. Your references may be your previous or current supervisors, editors, lecturers or excellent professionals who have a proven track record of great works. Many organisations may not require you to submit a list of references, but when they do, ensure you drop names and contacts of those who can vouch for your work even in their sleep.
DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
- Gather evidence of previous works: Most journalism and communication jobs require you to prove that you have done similar jobs before. Assessors use your previous work records to understand whether you are capable of carrying out a role. They want the best, and your previous works give you an advantage over others who are equally applying for media and journalism opportunities in 2022.
- Polish your bio/CV/profile: A bio, CV, or profile is a summary of your professional life. Keep it updated with records of achievements you made in the last 12 months. There are lots of organisations that write CVs for a fee. Patronise them if you can afford it or if you don’t have the time write it yourself.
- Proofread your pitches/proposals/concept notes: No one wants to read a piece that is riddled with grammatical errors, particularly those that are avoidable. Assessors usually have a gale of applications to attend to, and they most likely have a limited time frame to work on each application. Proofreading allows you to spot and remove such errors before your application essays, proposals, concept notes, and story pitches land on the editor and/or assessor’s desks. You can also find a trustworthy colleague to proofread your work before you apply for media and journalism opportunities in 2022.
- Apply early: Refrain from applying for opportunities during the deadline rush. This is because, at this stage, there is a tendency that you get stuck in a panic mode which affects how you put your best legs forward. Sometimes, when you’re applying during the rush hours, defeatist thoughts may creep in. To get ahead of this, apply early.
- Always check your emails: Many have lost opportunities because they fail to check their emails. Most organisations communicate their decisions using email. Only a few organisations follow up with phone calls. Therefore, it is expedient that you check your mailbox regularly for replies to some of the opportunities you applied for. There is also a tendency for the email to get stuck in your spam folder. Endeavour to always check the folder after applying for media and journalism opportunities in 2022.
We wish you the best of luck in your present and future applications. Don’t forget to share your application’s success with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.