'Apply. Apply. Apply': Q&A with an ABC cadet journalist
For any university student in their final year of study, assignments and work placements are not the only pressures. The anticipation of finding full-time work upon graduation can be extremely daunting.
Isaac Nowroozi, 24, is a Journalism graduate from the University of Canberra. He is also one of eight successful applicants for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s highly-coveted cadetship.
NowUC caught up with him to chat about the application process, and to share his experiences in the industry so far.
At what stage did you start applying for journalism jobs?
Before I even started it was made clear to me through research how important it was to get as much experience as possible. So I started looking virtually right away. I took on anything and everything, it didn’t matter if it was paid or not – but 99 per cent of the time its going to be unpaid. I also got rejected from 100s from jobs, so you can’t let that effect you and you got to keep pushing forward.
How did you hear about the ABC Cadetship?
I was aware of the ABC Cadetship from day one. It is something that I always had in the back of my head. I kept thinking to myself that it would be amazing if I somehow got it. It’s something that every journalism and media student should be aware of. It’s an incredible opportunity.
What was the application process like?
To describe it in one word… rigorous. You have to be engaged with the news and be able to set yourself apart. You also have to show them that you have ideas. In my application, I was asked what I thought the most significant news stories of the year were and why. I was also asked to come up with an original story for different platforms and asked to apply the ABC policies to different scenarios. After that there was a screen test, followed by an interview with a panel. It was very intense, but also a lot of fun.
Are there any things students can do to set themselves apart in applications?
Show them that you have what it takes! Get as much experience as possible, and go into the application with some original ideas. It can be difficult, but if you start thinking about it now, you will be surprised by how many ideas you can come up with. Also, don’t put all of your eggs into one basket – having ideas will help you with all your job prospects!
How have you found the transition from full-time study to full-time work?
It was easier than I expected. A lot of students tend to be working while they are studying, so they know what it’s like to work hard. This applied to me as well. I no longer had university to think about, so I was able to focus on my work.
What has been your biggest challenge as a cadet journalist?
Starting from scratch. Anytime I thought I could do something properly I was wrong. Be prepared to get a lot of feedback, and remember, there is always room for improvement.
Has anything surprised you about the industry?
Just how fast-paced it can really be. One minute you’re searching for a story the next you have 5 minutes to file for radio. Things happen quickly and you always need to be prepared.
What unit(s) from your degree have you found the most helpful in working in the media industry?
They all help. The practical units, such as Video Journalism, Reporting and Newsroom prepare you for working in the field… but you get out what you put in. If you really put in effort in those classes, it will not only help you get a job, but make the transition to working in the field and managing deadlines a whole lot easier. The units that focus on theory like Law of Communication and Journalism and the Political Process help you gain an understanding of your responsibility in the media. They also help you understand issues, and report on them more effectively. Oh, and they also help you to not get sued – it’s easier than you think to be sued.
Do you have any other advice you’d like to add for journalism students looking to apply for media cadetships?
Get as much experience as you can. Learn as much as you can. Make contacts, and take every opportunity. APPLY. APPLY. APPLY.