Experience and Exposure: kick-start your writing career

Now is the time to get work experience: you don’t need to wait until you’ve finished uni to get your foot in the door, so says Phoebe Harding.


Third-year English Literature busy-bee, Phoebe spoke to me this week about how she has built herself a strong journalism portfolio alongside her academic studies.

As a previous editor in chief for the TAB and now editor of Dutch magazine ‘Cross Border’, Phoebe is here to share her tips for climbing the careers ladder as a student.

People want Students

“Businesses want to hire students, because they know they are getting a good deal. Even if it’s unpaid or poorly paid, the experience and the exposure you get is worth it every time”

And that is exactly the mentality Phoebe has taken in every opportunity that has crossed her path in order to build an essential portfolio for journalism.

Entering the world of journalism as a content writer for the ‘TAB’, she started off writing a variety of fun and quirky articles. In June of her first year, with summatives submitted, Phoebe took the reins and wrote ten articles in a week which landed her the role of editor-in-chief at the TAB for her second year. Writing three articles a day, Phoebe revelled in the responsibility and craft of editing, despite the pressures.

“People who can write well will always be in demand. Make someone laugh, buy something or change their mind about something – that’s a real skill.”

It might not be your dream job

Part of being a student writer is that you might not be doing exactly what you imagined, but it’s about building experience and maybe, like in Phoebe’s case, you might even find a new passion.

Phoebe discovered this when she began freelance writing for the company ‘Sale supply’, who help companies to translate magazines into different languages. Phoebe’s role is to edit and turn google-translated pieces into coherent articles.

“Before this I didn’t have any clue about it. I’d never considered the importance of a job like this, but I’ve learnt so much and find the process really interesting.”

Magazine Editor

Another opportunity to seize writing experience was Phoebe taking advantage of her housemate leaving her year abroad. Before Phoebe’s housemate left her job as translator for Cross Border, a Dutch e-commerce magazine who produces magazines and websites, she recommended Phoebe to the company. Within a day, Phoebe had been offered the role of editor for Cross Border and taken it.

As a magazine-enthusiast, this job is ideal for gaining practice in a professional writing environment.

“I grew up on a steady diet of magazines, I love them. I’m not interested in hard news as I’m not particularly facts orientated. My interest has always been in features or listicles and opinion pieces.”

Why is it worth it?

Even if the job doesn’t pay well, it will pay off in the future. Valuable work experience and exposure in creative careers such as journalism is essential: it not only gives you the chance to taste your future but makes you more employable, as Phoebe has proved.

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