Finding a job after college can be difficult, especially for those pursuing a job in the entertainment industry.
Yet graduates are often drawn to the field because entertainment is at the forefront of our daily lives, from television to the internet, especially platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter.
“This industry is incredibly hard to get a job in, but if you use your technique, have natural talent and a bit of luck, you can make it happen,” said Lee Iris Thomas, a UM senior majoring in theatre arts and minoring in education and women’s and gender studies. “Good connections don’t hurt either, though.”
For students entering the “real world” of entertainment, the leap can seem immense.
“It was scary for me,” said Diana Rodon, an alumna who majored in English and journalism with a minor in creative writing. “After my internship ended, I had no clue how I was going to get a position in publishing. I applied to so many positions but got a lot of responses like, ‘Oh, you’re in Miami? We need someone right away, sorry.’”
In the interim between graduating and finding her current job, Rodon worked in a marketing internship. Knowing that her passion was publishing, she took a leap of faith and moved to New York City to try to find a job that met her creative appetite. She quickly found a job there and has lived in the Big Apple ever since.
However, not all students fear the transition from college to total independence.
“The internships I’ve been lucky to have been hired for – namely, two different internships in New York City, including one last fall at ‘Dateline NBC’ and an upcoming post-graduate opportunity I am taking on this summer at ABC’s ‘20/20’ – have helped me to develop professional skills, contacts and experience outside of the classroom,” said Stephanie Stadler, a senior majoring in electronic media with a minor in criminology.
Now pursuing her ultimate goal of working on a crime show, Stadler hopes to one day blend her knowledge of criminology and entertainment. Meanwhile, she said she views the transition from college to the real world as a natural process of life without boundaries.
“The transition has been full of excitement and twists and turns, but I have never really seen the process of going from college to the ‘real world’ as a major line in the sand,” Stadler said. “Although college may entail being in the classroom, it involves real-life responsibilities, real-life deadlines and real-life expectations that set the stage for our future careers.”
Participating in on-campus organizations can help ease the transition, since students can work in a professional environment and still have faculty support.
“I was involved in UMTV for a little while, and that was what first exposed me to a real television environment,” said Madison Cramer, an alumna broadcast journalism major with minors in advertising and motion pictures/screenwriting. “Then as I progressed through school, I was able to secure some great internships, including at Entertainment Tonight and Warner Bros. TV in Los Angeles, as well as at two local Miami news stations.”
For many students entering internships and jobs in the entertainment industry, UM provided opportunities and resources for becoming acquainted with the field, particularly through extracurriculars.
“I definitely took advantage of UMTV the most,” said Crystina Lugo-Beach, a current UM senior majoring in broadcast journalism who has secured a job with CBS. “[I] truly believe it made me a better reporter and prepped me to go into the career field.”
On the other hand, Rodon believes the helping hand that extracurriculars provide might not necessarily need to be directly related to a student’s desired field.
“My employer noticed that I had been president of UWho? at UM and struck up a conversation during my interview about Doctor Who because he was also a fan,” Rodon said. “Having something personal and unique on my resume made me stand out during my interview and likely helped me land the job.”
The best advice seems to be to simply pursue your interests both inside and outside the area you eventually hope to work, achieving a balance. Stadler cites her participation in a wide array of UM organizations – ranging from Distraction Magazine to Off the Wire to the University Disciplinary Hearing Panel – as all being helpful in preparing her for the future.
All in all, the idea that there’s a great big world waiting for all of us on the other side of our four years at UM can be intimidating, to say the least. But don’t forget that everyone is in the same boat. While it’s important to plan ahead for your future career path, it’s just as crucial not to become overwhelmed. So keep networking and applying for those internships, but remember to have enjoy yourself and try out unique experiences along the way.