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How do you navigate a broad career field?

I want to go into the field of Journalism. I love writing, reading, social media, news, etc. The issue is that there's so many different mediums you can pursue and because I'm so curious and multi-interested, I want to dabble in many things. My question would be is it smarter and more stable to go small and pick a specific subject or is it okay be broad and change what you're interested in? journalism writing media

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Stefania’s Answer

Hi Leah!

I too love writing and reading and love to dabble in different things! Truthfully, there are benefits and drawbacks to both sides.

Broad is good because it opens up more opportunities for you and makes you more marketable and well-rounded as a professional. Starting broad will also help you slowly figure out which area of journalism you most enjoy (editing, writing, news reporting, blogging, social media, investigating, maybe it's research, etc...).

Conversely, having a focus keeps things a little more anchored and manageable for you. Broad can get and be overwhelming because you don't have a focus and there is A LOT out there. Having a focus is also probably the quicker route to vertical success. When you think and act broadly and have many interests, you may end up making a lot of lateral career moves, moving sideways rather than upwards to more senior positions within the company, field, etc. There's no wrong decision, but as you think about the next few years (it's hard to think far beyond that!), think about what you envision yourself becoming, doing.

Either way, you won't be "stuck" -- your communication skills will be very transferable and you are in control of your career, so you can switch any time YOU choose. I'd start broad, write down all the areas you are interested in, look up job descriptions and requirements on search engine sites to see 1) if they sound appealing to you and align with your skill set and 2) what types of positions are out there.

Good luck to you, hope this helped answer your question!


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Sarah’s Answer

Hi Leah,

Great question!

In my experience, going broad is definitely okay! I studied Finance in college, which is a very broad major and can lead to many different careers. However, I found that once I began taking various Finance classes and networking with other students and professors, that I was most interested in a career in Corporate Finance rather than Investment Banking, Consultancy, etc.

If possible, I'd recommend joining a Journalism club that brings in speakers from different professions to pick their brains, and get as much experience as possible through volunteerism, internships, etc. to help you narrow down a more specific career path. And don't worry, you can always change your mind and do something totally different! I have a couple of classmates that are now doctors, and one is even a chef! As long as you're a hard worker and open to learning new skills, you won't have a problem finding your passion! :)

Hope that helps!


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Susan E.’s Answer

Let me tell you, I knew a friend back in my college days who changed her major at least 20 different times because she thought she wanted to do it all, and just really had no focus or idea in what she wanted to do. She did eventually go into theater.

The point it, you already have a focus, and that's Journalism. The next question you might want to ask your self is: what in Journalism am I really interested in. If you like going online and going Internet work, start there. Talking to a Communications or Journalism adviser would also be a great help to narrow down your focus. In addition, if you have a close connection to someone who used to work in the business, ask and find out what it takes. You just never know what you find. But remember to have a focus and make sure that this focus is what you really want to do.

+1 on this. Get really good at something instead of just ok at a few things. Once you're a boss writer, then you can figure what you actually want to write about. Bobby Hilliard