Advice for media graduates (P2): Building flexibility

IN the second instalment of our three-part series, we discuss the importance of flexibility, especially for those looking to establish themselves in the media industry. Christian Teo brings you the details.

As the media industry adapts to changing culture, technology and ways of business, it is important that media professionals remain upwardly mobile, and capable of moving along with such trends. While it is always important to have a goal in mind, it is also useful to remember that life may not pan out in an idealised fashion – that is, a way in which you deem to be best.  A diversion is not necessarily a detraction, and any experience can be useful so long as you understand its implications and benefits.

Maureen Goh, former senior manager at Deloitte Clients & Markets, has a diverse portfolio of media experience in both the public and private sectors. She has been credited for winning Deloitte Singapore’s official sponsorship of the 2012 Singapore Youth Olympic Games. Meld was privileged to have the opportunity to interview Maureen and have her share some of her expertise.

Could you share how your career has progressed and how each step has helped you to grow?

I first started out in a job that would give me broad based training and exposure – it was an event management position that allowed me to experience marketing, planning, organisation as well as publicity, including the profit and loss aspects of the project. As I moved on, I made sure that there were opportunities to learn and experience new areas. This way, I discovered the areas that I was good at and enjoyed, as well as my weaknesses. Eventually, I found my passion in media relations, an area that I continue to practice and build upon even to this day.

What is one essential skill that your career has required?

Treating people with respect has been a very essential requirement. Whether we are working with the media, suppliers or our fellow co-workers, I have found that people give their best when they know that their efforts are being appreciated and they are being respected for what they are doing. Sometimes, we may not agree with the approach, but many times we all have the same objectives.

What were some of the challenges in transitioning across different organisations in your career?

I have held positions in the public as well as private sectors. It has been rather challenging transitioning from the public to private sector although the principles of marketing and marketing communications are similar. While it is true that certain skills and knowledge may be required in the different sectors, these can all be learned. That is why it is important to be open-minded.

Are there specific skills a media/communications professional should hone?

Essentially, a good command of language is important as we are required to do lots of writing. We should also be people-oriented as there is a lot of interaction within the organisation and externally. We also need to have a good listening ear as we need to understand the type of information that the media requires for their readership.

What are some things that media graduates should remember when on the job hunt?

Be very open-minded and be prepared to work hard.  Sometime, you may be better off starting your first job with a smaller set-up since you are expected to do more. It may not be glamorous but these will be experiences that will help you go far in the later stages of your career.

Any other thoughts/perspectives you feel that future media professionals should take heed on?

Passion in your work is important. This will help to bring you through the long hours and back-end work that is often required.

The choices you make along your career path will determine not only what heights your career may reach, but also your development as a person, professional, and most importantly, a communicator. Take considered chances and learn from them. Be prepared to move when the situation calls for it and know that not all diversions are necessarily detractions. It is important that you know where you stand in the industry and what routes will work to your advantage by seizing opportunities and showing how you may add value to any institution regardless of what they do.

Christian is a Media and Communications and Sociology student at the University of Melbourne, and has previously worked in The Prime Minister’s Office (Singapore), Deloitte Clients & Markets Southeast Asia, DDB Shanghai, Toffees & Devs Communications and various other capacities in communications.

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