So you're all moved out of your dorm room, finished up all of your last finals, and maybe even have a diploma in your hand. You've gotten yourself a college education. It's quite an accomplishment - no one can dispute that. But now what? You need a job and would like to have one in the field that you studied and dedicated your life to for the past four years, maybe even longer if you're lucky. But you didn't study primary education, or accounting, or nursing... you chose a major in a more abstract field. Perhaps your passion was creative writing, or film, or in my case, broadcast journalism. Anyone serious in this industry is well aware of the cut-throat competition. I for one had no delusions about how difficult it would be to pursue a career in journalism. But in a time of such economic uncertainty as the world is now facing, the job hunt is even tougher. Entry-level applicants now have to compete with working professionals going down a notch or two in order to pay the bills. There are much more qualified individuals going for the jobs that used to go to eager idealists known as recent college grads. Perhaps the only advantage that entry-level workers have is that we are cheaper to pay than experienced professionals. Compared to seasoned professionals, we will work for pennies.
The reality of the industry that we are entering is that it is not what it was during our grandparent's time, or our parent's time, and probably not even during our own childhoods. The media landscape is rapidly changing. The world of 24 hour cable news and online news sources have made the likelihood of achieving Edward R. Murrow status more of a far fetched dream than a realistic goal. It seems that the internet has become the preferred source for the day's news. Competition is also on the rise. There are more and more people with communications degrees than ever before.
But the changing media landscape also offers more opportunities that our predecessors did not necessarily have at their disposal. We can be bloggers, multi-media reporters using video, sound, text, and the web. Those hours spent surfing the web and mastering our technical abilities will actually serve a purpose. So it's important to remain optimistic and realistic. The competitiveness of the industry can be grueling. But keep in mind that if you maximize your skills, eventually something will stick and someone will take a chance on you. Accept that you are probably not going to land your dream job right out of college. But if you are driven enough, determined enough, and skilled enough, eventually your dreams will become your reality.