20something profile: Samantha

sunflowerThis post was written by Samantha, who turned to unpaid work to build her experience:

When it comes to entering the job market, you can’t be too picky.

That’s the mistake I made this summer, and I vow to never make it again.

Going into the field of journalism, jobs are particularly scarce when it comes to getting paid to write. So when the summer rolls by, almost everyone in your field of interest is scrolling through the same job postings board and applying for all the things that seem remotely relatable to the degree they are currently working towards.

Thinking that I would get ahead of the game, I started applying to jobs and internships in January. But having been rejected to most of them and only scoring about two interviews, I haven’t been having much luck.

Being in an industry where unpaid internships are most likely the way to get your foot in the door, I’ve decided to raise my stakes this year and actually look for paid work. But with very few positions open for students these days, many of these paid internships are either extremely competitive or not related to the topic of your choosing.

Perhaps this is why I have not had much luck because I have been too picky with some of my choices. Having been a bit too stubborn about not applying for certain things, I’ve realized that I was closing doors when it came to expanding my network.

That’s why I’ve decided to humble myself for the rest of the summer by keeping busy with volunteer opportunities and doing things I enjoy even if I’m not being paid. And accepting that there are just too many good candidates for competitive internships, there isn’t any point in getting hung up over rejection by wallowing in sadness and endless bowls of ice cream.

Since then, I have been able to gain more experience than I have ever wanted. Having joined a new online YouTube show created by students at my university, I have since been able to get hands-on experience shooting with a camera, editing video and meeting a wide range of students that aren’t restricted to the tight knit group of journalism students I have grown so used to.

In addition to this, I have continued to jump at any opportunity I can possibly get. Having written for a local pop culture website as a volunteer writer, I have since been hired to blog for them on the weekend and have been assigned to do interviews with actors and review upcoming films.

As for keeping the income coming for the summer, I have also decided to be more open with my choices.  Taking on a tutoring job helping young students with grammar and English, I have also been fortunate enough to sell some of my freelance pieces to local publications.

While it’s obvious that doing things for free isn’t ideal, I’ve learned through this experience that money should never be the first thing on your mind when it comes to looking for work. Instead, the things you should really be looking for is relevant experience, skills and of course, meeting a wide range of people.

I know in this day and age that unpaid work is frowned upon when the price of necessities such as education, housing and food continue to rise. But if you are able to be open and versatile in your choice of income, sometimes, taking on an unpaid position on the side isn’t such a bad idea at all.

Because at the end of the day, you can never have too many skills.

In the long run, it’ll just make your job prospects all the better.

Check out Samantha’s blogs Spammymonkey and Samantha Lui

About David

I'm an aspiring writer and filmmaker in my twenties. I also run a blog where twenty-somethings share their stories and advice on beginning a career in this economy. Check it out at http://twentysomethingsblog.com

Posted on July 23, 2013, in 20something profile and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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