Your Questions Answered: No Media Degree and Help Finding Contacts

A common misconception among aspiring media professionals is that a degree in communications or journalism is somehow required. It is not! In fact, not only is it not required, but oftentimes employers appreciate that you can bring a fresh perspective to your work. If you do have a degree in something media-related, it only shows that you knew exactly what you wanted to do your sophomore year when selecting your major (good for you!), but choosing to come into media after pursuing a different path is no less noble. 

Here’s a question from a reader who wants to make the transition from publishing to entertainment.

Q. Hello The Media Chronicles!

I’ve been reading your posts religiously while searching and planning for my new career in entertainment media.

I am a graphic designer who has been extremely involved in the theatre department during my time in university. A few months ago, I started a junior designer position at a book publisher and soon realized that I missed the rush of the theater and entertainment. It’s truly where I’m meant to be.

I decided that the media entertainment field would be the perfect way to combine my experience and my degree. I have been pursuing that path in a big way. I’ve started applying to entry level jobs all over and Page Programs at different companies.

Do you have any advice on how to make someone without a media degree stand out? I’m also having trouble finding contacts I might be able to follow up with after sending an application in, if you have some words of wisdom concerning that.

Thank you so much for all you do. Your knowledge is much welcomed here.

A. Thank you for the kind words and we’re thrilled you love the site!

First off, you’re in an excellent position: you already have a job. Looking for a new job from the cushy position of being employed makes things much easier.

Also, though you may think that a junior designer position at a book publisher is a far cry from entertainment, that’s not true! Those skills will always come in handy and are very transferrable.

If you don’t have a media degree (and you certainly DON’T need one to work in the industry… in fact, most people don’t have one), that’s no problem. Just highlight your relevant experience on your resume and look into adding some industry experience through internships. This will signify that you’re truly interested in the field and would make a great asset to a media company. Here are some other tips from a reader’s question last year: http://themediachronicles.com/2013/12/29/questions-answered-switching-careers/. You might find some of that advice applicable to you and helpful. (The most important one for you is to not apologize for not having a media degree. No need to justify what you chose to study in school. Just highlight those transferrable skills!)

As for finding follow-up contacts after sending in a resume, that’s a great question. The best way to do that is by networking–once you make connections, you can apply to a job at their company, and then you’ve already got a contact with a personal connection! Meeting with alumni from your college who work in the industry is a great first step.

Another way to find a follow-up contact is through LinkedIn. Some searching will get you to key players in the company’s HR department and/or specific department to which you are applying. My suggestion would be to reach out to them directly. This might take some digging to find their email address (use Google, too). If you’re sending a cold email with no previous connection to the person, my suggestion would be to keep it short: just let them know that you applied to the job (include the position’s reference number if it’s a big company) and that you’re very excited about the opportunity. Don’t forget to include your resume, too!

Hope this helps and please let me know if you have any other questions!

Do you have a question I can help you with? Contact me here

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