Tips on taking the road less travelled: Profile of a finance journalist

Written by Eliza Parry-Okeden

So you’ve graduated, or the end is in sight, and you’re looking for jobs in the media and communications industry… but what if you don’t end up where you thought? Graduate journalist Tamika Seeto thought the finance industry was the last place she would end up after finishing her degree, however, broadening her professional horizons has been worthwhile.

Image Credit: @kellysikkema on Unsplash

Tamika started at QUT in 2013 and throughout her time there she studied a dual bachelor degree of Law and Journalism. She graduated at the end of Semester 1 in 2018 and, fresh out of her graduation gown, she hopped on a plane to explore Europe with not a care in the world or job prospects in sight.

Upon returning, the great job hunt began and Tamika dived in head first.

“I went overseas for like a month and a half and then I started looking for a job when I came back, I just went straight into it.”

Tamika’s job searching lasted throughout October and, while she laments that there weren’t many jobs available at that time, she had landed a job as a graduate journalist for an online finance company by November.

The website provides reviews and ratings for general finance products, as well as news content and explainer articles that are written with the consumer in mind. Tamika’s role as a graduate journalist sees her writing SEO (search engine optimisation) content and the occasional news article on a broad range of financial topics, ranging from home loans to pet insurance. These articles are intended to translate complex financial principles and jargon for the everyday reader and help people improve their financial literacy in general.

When speaking of her own financial literacy, Tamika admits that she had some work to do. Luckily, she had picked up some useful tips and tricks throughout her university degree.

“I had no finance knowledge and it’s just been something that I’ve been able to pick up along the way.”

Her studies in law have been helpful for the research and comprehension side of things, as this has allowed her to pick up concepts quickly. Her experience in journalism and the media communication fields, however, has been invaluable.

“It helps me to communicate my ideas very clearly and effectively, which is the whole point of my role, if I couldn’t communicate properly, my job would be pointless.”

Image Credit: @chuklanov on Unsplash

Tamika still relies on many of the tools that she developed while at QUT, such as the inverted pyramid template for writing, and believes the foundations that she built throughout her degree played a big role in her transition into working life. The final years of her degree were especially helpful and Tamika cites one subject in particular, Radio and Television, as being fundamental to her career.

“When we first started, the Tutor said, ‘this is the hardest you’ll ever have to work if you ever work in this industry. You wouldn’t have to push out a story everyday on this deadline in real life”

Aside from the physical importance of learning to create content and meet deadlines, it was the confidence boost that has been the key.

“I think it was really good to know that you can work under pressure and that you can do it well.”

While writing and thinking creatively is a passion of hers and is something that, from afar, appears to not belong in the finance sector, Tamika ensures that her role incorporates as much of her journalism degree that she can. Aside from news articles, Tamika writes SEO articles which means that she writes content for topics that have a high search volume and, therefore, a large and diverse audience.

“Within the SEO articles, it is important to write engagingly so that you not only explain concepts and ideas but you also attract an audience.”

Interviews are also a favourite mechanism of hers. “I will try and interview people where it’s relevant, so I still get to use those skills. It’s not all home loans and life insurance!” she laughs.

If finding a great job in a matter of weeks after returning from overseas with no previous work history sounds too good to be true, Tamika admits that working in the finance industry is not something that she envisaged for herself. In fact, her main goal was to just get a job.

“I was just aiming [to get] a job writing things where I was, and finance just happened to be the industry. I don’t think I’ll be in finance forever but I think it’s been a really good learning experience here.”

She also says that working in finance has opened her up to endless career possibilities that she hadn’t considered while at university, and she encourages others to do the same. When looking for a job after graduating, Tamika sees the benefits of an open mind and being willing to explore career pathways that are not typically within the media and communications industry.

“(I think) it’s just important to be open to lots of different areas, because even though it is more [of] a niche topic, you’re still using the same kind of journalistic skills that you learn through your degree, it’s just more specific.”

As for graduate advice, Tamika says QUT is the place to start as you can make the most of the resources available, such as internships and workplace experience programs through the university.

“It’s good to take advantage of them and do as many as you can. You can really just try out and see what you like and, more importantly, what you don’t.”

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