Time for online

Whilst scrolling through mediargh this afternoon in my ongoing job search I came across a brilliant article about media graduates taking steps to make themselves marketable individuals here. In other words, things you can do on t’interweb to 1) make yourself stand out to potential employers when they come across your name among thousands and 2) keep you busy when you’re running low on hope of a job response. This is how it translated to me anyway. Realistically I imagine that we have probably 5 minutes of their time to make an impression and this piece gives some helpful tips and advice on what is more important than your CV and what employers actually look for. I can liken my current predicament to that teeth-clenchingly awkward love scene from Notting Hill where Julia Roberts exclaims to Hugh Grant, “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her”. 15 years later our generation are pretty much making the same declaration to employers through our social media accounts: “I’m just a girl, posting stuff online, begging for a job interview”

This reminded me of a research project I researched and then designed to feature in my Final Journalism Project magazine, about young people making a name for themselves on the Internet. Here it is..

As the job crisis seems to get morbidly worse and every month that passes sees the youth unemployment figures escalate, it’s time to stop blaming other people and start taking responsibility for the horror show that is unfolding. I say this with a firm belief that there is something we can do about it, and it’s probably stared you in the face a handful of times already today. I’m talking about the Internet.

In the words of the ruthless Frank Underwood in Netflix’s Houses of Cards: “If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table”. If you’re wallowing in self- pity that you don’t have a job – then create your own. Now is the time for us digital natives to start putting our understanding of the Internet to our advantage, and that means more than being the queen of wit on Twitter or the Bresson of beautifully filtered Instagram pictures of London or your breakfast. We can take the initiative to use what the Internet offers us to build a name and a business, and if you’re persistent (and lucky) you can get paid to do what you already do everyday. However, bear in mind you will have to step up your game and be determined.

Last year showed that long-term youth unemployment figures have risen to four times the figures from 2004. There are currently in the region of 912, 000 – just shy of 1 million – young people unemployed in the UK. If we look within the media sector, figures show that there are 100 media graduates for every one job. With that statistic out of the way I’ll stop depressing you and offer my advice on the situation.

We ‘young people’ take it for granted how technologically competent we are and there has never been as much opportunity or potential to carve a career like there is now. The journalism graduate inside of me is inclined to now tell you how the world is in a natural progression towards technology and we are more globally connected than ever before… but you probably already know this, because young people are also a lot more conscious than we are given credit for. It could be argued that this may be a positive result of the Internet and social media sites changing the way that we view ourselves. Sites such as YouTube or blogging sites such as Tumblr or Blogger are the best places to show the world who you are and what you can do. We can look at the lovable Zoe Snugg as an example of a YouTube professionnelle. At 23 years old she has amassed an incredible 4.23million YouTube followers, 1.7m instagram followers, 1.3m Twitter followers and 917,744 likes on her Facebook page.  That total number combined, is almost the entire population of London, making Zoe one of the most popular female YouTubers in the UK, and probably a worldwide contender too.

Since starting her fashion and beauty blog back in 2009, she slowly gained followers and then went on to create the Zoella YouTube channel after ‘following other bloggers, commenting on other blogs and becoming a part of the beauty community’ online. Zoe is just one of many young YouTubers who are making a name for themselves on the video sharing site, and what most people don’t know about YouTube is that there if your videos are popular and gain a lot of views then you make a profit. It doesn’t come as a surprise that at the end of most videos you are usually asked to like or subscribe – it all means money. From £50 – £1,000 per month depending on popularity, there is real money to be made online.

The Financial Times published an article in March 2014 explaining how YouTube stars are ‘little known, but making serious money’. Media personalities of the twenty first century are very different to those of previous generations, most launched their careers without even leaving their homes, by making a video of themselves or their daily routine which connected with a global audience.

Research suggests that making an online career is possible but you need to be genuine and passionate about the cause. The highly successful stars interviewed by the FT emphasise how “slick branding is less important than striking an intimate, respectful relationship with fans – one that would be broken by overt attempts to transform hits into cash”.

It is with all of the above in mind that I suggest if you are sat at home with lost faith in the employment market that you go online and try to do something different that will get you noticed. The industry is desperate for a younger perspective on online content and voices, we just have to get their attention first.

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