Now Comes The Hard Part: What To Do After Graduating

And so the stress begins…

The joy of finishing uni can quickly be replaced by the stress of finding a job. Film and travel writer Amy Labbadia writes about how not to lose momentum once you’ve graduated…

I’ve found that there is a shockingly limited supply of knowledge and advice about what to do after leaving higher education available to students and graduates.

Although there are – quite literally – hundreds of websites out there promising practical advice, they soon prove themselves to be carbon copies of each other, advising graduates to just be persistent and work hard and, while that is good advice, it’s the kind that sort of goes without saying. Of course you’re going to persist and work hard, otherwise why would you have spent three years at university?

What I really wanted from these sorts of websites was the truth. How long will it take to land my first job? When can I expect to start making money from writing? And, perhaps most crucially, what happens when I get rejected?

Pretty swiftly after graduating, I realised I would need another branch of work to supplement my journalism. I began to do some copywriting, which was a great way to keep me writing every day, plus there’s always demand for copy and content. I also browsed the internet. A lot. I trawled through countless web pages – film websites, book reviewing sites, travel sites – in hopes of finding some freelance work. And I did.

The work is out there, you just have to look – and sometimes lower your expectations. You may not score a job with Empire or the Guardian right off the mark, but you should aspire to write for other publications regardless of this. Think of it as training, so that one day when Empire and the Guardian do come knocking you’ll be ready for them.

Whilst I have procured work since graduating, I have also learned to develop a thick skin to help with rejection. Sometimes you’ll get a rejection email, other times you’ll be met with complete silence. That’s okay. That’s the way it’s always been for writers, and it won’t ever change.

Don’t let this discourage you or make you doubt your worth as a writer. Equip the rejection and use it as armour. With every rejection you face, let it mould your defiance; pity these people because they’re missing out on your talent.

There is no set path to becoming a successful journalist, no rule book or magic tricks. It just takes time, dedication, and luck. But university can be advantageous if you make acquaintances, make use of its resources – and write.

Amy Labbadia is a freelance writer. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge with a degree in Film and Writing and has since gone on to write for several travel and film websites


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