Stuck between university and a hard place

Last updated 15:00 25/01/2013

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A year ago I completed a Bachelor of Design Innovation majoring in Digital Media. This was mostly a practical degree, working with computers. I think I only wrote one essay each year. I also hold a Certificate in Film and Television Production.

However, this is a tough industry to break in to. I also believe no matter how much knowledge I have picked up through studying, it's not what you know, it's who you know. This is what I get told time and time again.

Some jobs are advertised, but often they ask for a minimum of three years' real world experience, which is something I do not have.

So now I am stuck. My dream job is basically anything to do with digital media - I am not fussy. I am more than happy to do an administration role that lets me click on Photoshop a few times a day.

Do I keep working whatever job I can come across (even ordinary jobs are hard to get), whilst using my education as a nice wee hobby?

Or, do I go back and do a postgraduate diploma so that maybe someone will give me a chance? But what if that doesn't work? Will that make it even harder for me to get an unrelated entry-level job because employers will see that I really am only passionate about one thing? Will they think that I am just using their position as a filler until I get the job that I really want? Will I, have I or am I wasting my time pursuing my chosen career?

I have been in Australia for the last three months doing unpaid work experience as a production assistant for a digital media company. It was really hard to find this kind of work experience back home in New Zealand. I do want to come home and indeed will be back soon because of unforeseen circumstances. So it's time for me to begin the job hunt again.

I know that some of you will say that I should have studied something useful. That I should have looked for what was in demand and studied for a degree in that area. The problem with that is I grew up with all these adults around me saying, "If you can get paid to do something you love then go for it, because that will make you happy". And that is all that I am trying to do.

If I had real world experience as well as my education, I believe that I would have a much higher chance of being given the initial opportunity to prove myself.

But until I can get the on-the-job experience that so many employers require, but are not willing to give, I'm stuck in the mud - along with plenty of my fellow graduates.

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