Relocating for a job can be very daunting. But it can also offer new career opportunities and experiences. Rebekah Scanlan relocated from the UK to Australia last year when she was offered a role working for a real life magazine. She tells Resume Surgeon about her experience and offers some advice on how to work away from home.
How Did Your Career Begin?
I went down the traditional path of studying Journalism at University. The course combined theory, practice and hands-on tutorials in newsrooms and radio studios. It gave me the grounding I needed to enter the industry and it also helped me realise that I wanted to write for women’s magazines. When I graduated I started interning for various UK magazines. It started with glossy mags including Marie Claire, She and Company. Then one day I got a call from a real life magazine called Take A Break – they needed a freelancer urgently. I’d never written for a true life magazine but I knew how invaluable the experience was. All magazine’s have a true life section. After two weeks that’s life magazine heard about my work at Take A Break and called me in for freelance cover when they were short. The rest, as they say, is history. I stayed there for three years, holding two positions as a Feature Writer and also a Deputy Commissioning Editor. Then I headed overseas to work on the Australian version of that’s life!
What Made You Want to Become a Journalist?
One day I was reading about a young girl who had committed suicide after the justice system failed her. I remember thinking, ‘wow, people really don’t have much of a clue about what goes on in the world’. In a true “I want to save the world” moment, I felt true admiration for the person who had written the article I was touched by and I wanted to be just like them. I wanted to help others by getting their message out there. I guess that’s why I work well in true life journalism.
What is it Like Working for a Real Life Magazine?
No two days are ever the same. You speak to some of the most amazing people who are so inspiring. You also speak to people who really are the exact opposite of your own views and opinions. It’s so interesting! True life Journalism in the UK is very different to what I’ve been doing these last 12 months in Australia. Here the message of every story is very positive but back in the UK it’s about shocking and pushing extremes. It was emotionally draining at times. However in the UK you could tackle taboos and really get people talking about a subject that may otherwise have been brushed under the carpet. That’s what journalism is all about.
What Made You Want to Relocate?
I went to experience what it was like working abroad for just six months. But within a few months I decided that I wasn’t ready to leave. Working here is very different to working for mags in the UK. Mostly though it was the opportunities available here in Australia that made me want to stay. I was desperate to progress my career, but with the tough economical climate back home in the UK it just wasn’t going to happen anywhere near as quickly as I wanted it to. The magazine industry is a fierce place and there was so much competition. So when I saw a fantastic opportunity I took it. I haven’t looked back since.
What Tips Could You Give to Someone Searching for a Job Abroad?
You can apply for jobs in Australia very easily. But what I would recommend if you are under 31 years old and have a few years experience already under your belt is to apply for a working holiday visa and head to Australia to try it out for yourself. You can work for a company for six months on a working holiday visa and get a feel for if you like it. If you do, then your company can look at sponsoring you to be able to live in the country and work for them. If you don’t you can head back home very easily.
What Has Been the Biggest Challenge Working Away from Home?
Aside from the obvious issues (starting from scratch, learning your trade in a different style) the hardest thing about living on the other side of the world is being away from friends and family. It doesn’t get easier.
Have You Got Any Resume Tips to Share?
One amazing Journalist once told me never to go over a page on your resume. Being a Journalist is all about getting information across as efficiently as possible – so don’t waffle. Check your spelling and grammar. Then check it again!
What Three Personality Traits Do You Think a Candidate has to Have to be Able to Work Away From Home?
You need to have a strong personality – being away from friends and family can be tough. You should be personable and friendly because making friends and contacts is hard. If you do your best to make connections, hopefully your work and professional life will fall into place.
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