This week I’m bringing you another episode in my series of tales of young people figuring out what they want to do with their lives, and taking their first steps into ‘The Real World’.
Have you ever wondered what kind of jobs people with degrees of the more vague kind, such as communication, get into? Well I have! Which isn’t a big surprise since I’m currently finishing up my masters in Communication Science (whatever that means!) . I decided to ask my friends who have quite recently graduated in a communication course what kind of jobs they are looking for and how the job hunting process is going for them. This post has turned out quite long, but bear with me and definitely read all the way down to the bottom, cause my last ‘interviewee’ has some very exciting news!
Astrid is 24 and is looking for a job in fashion journalism. She took exactly the same study road as I have, although it’s more the other way around since I started after her. She studied at the university in Ghent and did a bachelor degree in communication science and in her master year she chose to specialize in journalism.
A: “I really loved my bachelor years because I got the chance to get familiar with all the different branches of social science. After three years of theory, well actually 4 because I wasn’t the best student and it took me a year longer, I felt like I was ready to learn some practical skills so I opted for the journalism master. I was up for a bit of disappointment because it was still mostly academic, even the so-called practical courses. In the end I only had to write about five articles that year. “
To compensate the lack of practical classes at university Astrid decided to do an internship at an online fashion magazine: Belmodo.tv. She’s always had a ‘passion for fashion’ (yes I know, the most cliché expression in the universe) and even took some sewing and design courses when she was in high school.
A: “Unfortunately I wasn’t a very talented seamstress, but I’m still very interested in the fashion world. When I applied for the internship at Belmodo I had to write a sample article that would be suitable for the site. I didn’t immediately get a response so contacted them again (stalker much!) but after 9 days of unbearable waiting I got an interview. I hit it of pretty well with my soon-to-be boss and I got the (unpaid) job! I learned so much about writing and the Belgian fashion scene in general at Belmodo. I was the ultimate yes-man during my internship. Can you work late tonight? Yes! Do you want to go to a 12hrs photo shoot? Gladly! Can you iron that dress? Of course! And it paid of, because at the end of my internship I got offered a freelance writing position at Belmodo, which I of course said YES to as well.”
Unfortunately Astrids freelance gig doesn’t pay enough to be a ‘real job’, so she is a fulltime job hunter at the moment. Which isn’t easy since fashion journalism jobs are quite scarce in Belgium and there is the big frustration every fresh graduate has looking for a job: experience.
A: “I know I should probably lower my expectations a little, but I still want to believe that my dream job is out there so I’m giving myself another month, then I’ll probably have to start looking for a stuffy office job!”
So what exactly is the dream job?
A: “If I could do my freelance job fulltime I would be the happiest girl in the world. Just last week I got to go to Paris for a press release, I could get used to that! If they ever decide to start a Belgian edition of Vogue they would get my resume the very day I hear about it!”
Li: “The education programme I took has the intention to train you to become a versatile communicator. I learned how to set up communication campaigns and business strategies. I also picked up a lot about consumer psychology and got some basic practice in creative communication, branding & identity and photo- and video production. I think the skills I picked up during my studies would be useful in any job.”
Lizzy did two internships while she was at uni. One at TBWA/Brussels, a communication agency in (can you guess it?) Brussels, and one working for Arne Quinze, a Belgian conceptual artist. Thanks to her internship with Arne Quinze she got the chance to go to Rouen and assist in publishing a book. Pretty cool! After graduating she worked for one year in retail as a sales assistant.
Li: “ This was definitely not the job I had in mind when I chose to study communications, but after I graduated I wanted to have some fun experience in the fashion industry. And I did learn a lot during that year such as not caring about what other people think, saying no when you have to and also that when you really want something you’re only going to get it if you put in your all.”
And the dream j ob?
Li: “Rockstar? At the moment I’m still looking for that dream job. I’m also involved in a new web project that will be launched this year. Whatever I end up doing I would love to continue writing, making photographs and travelling.”
La: ” I think my course was really interesting. As Astrid said the first years are very broad, and I also liked that. My masters was definitely the most interesting part of my education though. I learned a lot from the assignment we got that year. We took part in a competition for L’Oréal. Our team did pretty well and we got the chance to pitch our product line and marketing ideas to the professionals of L’Oréal.”
During her master year Laura did a 12 week internship for VMMA, a Belgian national broadcaster.
La: “I learned so much during my internship. I got to go to marketing meetings, make the reports for those and coordinate different competitions and marketing actions. I could also help organise a couple of events such as a meet & greet with LMFAO that users of JIM Mobile (a VMMA brand) could win. As a fun extra I could go to JIM parties in Carré (a club) every now and then. After my internship I was asked to continue doing promo work for VMMA, which is really fun. I got to go to different events and could attend the recordings of several TV shows. In the past I’ve also worked as an administrative clerk for the city council of Koksijde.”
When I asked her these questions she was still looking for a job and told me she found it quite hard. She told me that a lot of companies don’t even answer your letters, but that she was hoping she was on the right track now. And yes, she has found a job! I’m so happy for her and for all of us communication people out there, there is hope! She got a place in the Belgian marketing team for Red Bull. Well done Laura!