You need a job to gain experience and experience to land a job, so where do you start?

Written by: Melody Hopkins

As college students, our goal is to receive a degree at the end of this long and treacherous four-year-road. Then, there’s the seemingly impossible task of finding a job afterwards.

Professors tell students to get as much experience as possible before graduation through volunteering and internship opportunities, but how do you land that first job? How do you get your foot in the door?

Students may not realize there are plenty of opportunities here on campus.

The University of North Florida offers its students a wide array of media outlets in which to volunteer, gain experience and make friends and connections within your field early on. With UNF TV, Osprey Radio, Osprey Productions, Osprey TV and the UNF Spinnaker newspaper, who needs to travel for an internship right away? Get your experience first, here and now.

“Getting involved is essential to the field we want to go in after college. Without my experience here, I’d be a step behind everyone else,” Josh Maser, executive producer of UNF TV, said.

Maser also expressed how important experience is, particularly in the field of communications.

“In our field, it’s not about the degrees you have but it’s about the experience you have,” Maser said.

“At UNF TV, students start out in an entry level position as they would in a real job,” said Maser. “Then they hone in on skills needed for classes and future jobs later on.”

Tasks at UNF TV include operating a teleprompter, sound board, graphics, video and camera as well as directing, anchoring and writing stories. UNF Now, Inside Jacksonville and UNF Weekly are all shows put on by UNF TV.

Through these on-campus outlets, students learn techniques from other students and professors within their major. Advisors in each of these media outlets teach students what it’s like out there in the real work place and what future employers will expect of you.

“These programs are training wheels, so to speak,” Spinnaker Editor-in-Chief, Chance Ryan said.

Students get to work in a real life environment and to make mistakes early on with a little bit of a cushion, Ryan said.

“And by the time you get out there, you can hit the ground running because that’s what they’re looking for,” Ryan said.

Students in these programs can learn from their mistakes and correct their mistakes before working for an employer in the media real world.

“We have responsibilities like anyone else,” Ryan said. “It’s just softer here.”

Students are in full control of these programs with assistance from advisors that have worked out in the field.

Michael Radcliffe, music director at Osprey Radio, made an interesting point.

“These programs aren’t just for communications majors. I’m a psych major,” Radcliffe said. “Even if it’s not related to your field, it’s a cool experience. I love it and I just love music.”

Radcliffe said the first step is to visit the offices and get to know the representatives at each branch.

“People here are passionate about their programs; they love it.  And we really are here for the students,” Radcliffe said.

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