Design, media and publishing

Media and multimedia

Developments in communications technology are fuelling a rapid evolution of the Media and multimedia industry, with more platforms than ever before and the creation of new job roles to exploit the opportunities they provide . Depending on your role, you could be working with websites, advertising, printed and online publications, social media, computer games, packaging or corporate events. It is an exciting time to be joining this industry!

This article focuses on the design aspect of various media. Information about Broadcasting and journalism, and Writing, publishing and printing can be found elsewhere within this section. For information on sectors related to media see our sector articles on ‘Advertising, marketing and public relations’ and ‘Information management and IT’.

Types of graduate roles

Media and multimedia is a very broad area, and there are a large number of roles available. Graphic Designer is the most typical and traditional role, however, other roles include, but are not limited to:

  • Animator
  • Digital marketer
  • Games developer
  • Web designer/User Experience (UX) designer
  • User Experience (UX) analyst
  • Multimedia specialist
  • Product design

Media and multimedia specialists work within a wide range of organisations, including media and design agencies plus media end-users across all industries. Consequently, media professionals work in education, design agencies, finance, retail, publishers, newspapers, law firms, computer games companies, and large charities. With several years’ experience and a strong network of contacts, it is also possible to work as a freelancer and become self-employed.

Typical duties could include meeting clients, creating design briefs in line with clients’ requirements, working to create media products using a wide range of technologies, keeping up-to-date with emerging technologies, and working as part of a multimedia team (eg with printers, photographers, web developers etc).

Skills and experience required

The skills required for Media and multimedia vary widely depending on the role. You should research individual job profiles through careers websites such as Prospects (see ‘Useful websites for further information’). For all roles, however, it is likely you will need to demonstrate both general personal skills and relevant technical skills. You’ll also need to keep up-to-date with technological developments in your chosen path, and develop new skills when necessary (eg learning new design software).

General skills you may need to demonstrate could include:

  • Communication skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Team work
  • Problem-solving
  • Creativity
  • Detail-oriented approach to your work
  • Presentation skills

The level and nature of technical skills required depends on the individual role and the employer. For example, you may need to demonstrate experience in coding (HTML, CSS, Javascript), programming (.net, ASP, PHP), design & graphics (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop) and content management systems (Wordpress, Adobe Business Catalyst, Joomla). A lot of learning is on the job however, and your employer should support you through various courses and in-house training.

Some roles may also require you to have a relevant higher education qualification (eg in Graphic Design or other design-oriented subject). Details of higher education courses can be found on the Creative Skillset website. Alternatively, you could undertake courses from non-university organisations (e.g. via distance learning courses and other training providers). It is important to keep in mind that some employers may favour experience and a strong portfolio of design work over qualifications and therefore it is also possible to break into the industry by being suitably creative and/or teaching oneself the necessary design software skills.

Job search strategies

Competition to gain entry into this sector can be fierce, and therefore it is important that your talent stands out. Furthermore, roles are not generally widely advertised, and there are no fixed entry/progression routes. A strong portfolio of work, a network of contacts and relevant experience may be necessary to break into paid work in the industry.
These roles are more creative in nature, and therefore you may need to submit a creative CV and/or a portfolio to support your application.

Creative CV: Contains lots of the same information that you would find in a traditional CV, but presented in a more illustrative way. For inspiration, see the Creative CV Guide produced by the University of Arts, London (see ‘Useful websites’ at the end of this article).

Portfolio: A collection of your relevant pieces of work (normally 5-7 pieces) with written and visual overviews to evidence your skills and suitability for the role. Your portfolio can be submitted via a PDF, website or in physical form. For further advice, see the Open University resource listed in the ‘Useful websites’ section.
Experience could be gained from personal projects (eg developing a family member’s website or carrying out a voluntary project for a business or charity) as well as from summer internships/placements. Contacts from your projects may agree to be your reference for applications, can broaden your pool of contacts in the industry, and keep you in mind should any future opportunities arise.

If you have a particular role in Media and multimedia in mind, explore the individual job profile through Prospects which contain links to relevant jobsites, via the ‘Useful websites’ section of this article.

Useful websites for further information
Offers a CV clearing house for candidates.
Bubble Jobs
An online jobs board dedicated to digital, design and tech jobs across the UK and Europe.
Careers in media (icould)
Video case studies.
Independent Jobs
Discover a range of jobs from across the country, within both media, and multimedia.
Media, journalism and publishing (Targetjobs)
Graduate jobs, training schemes and placements.
Jobs in the media.
Multimedia specialists (Targetjobs)
Information about the key skills needed in the multimedia industry, typical employers, and search for jobs within the industry.
OPM Recruitment
Specialist agency recruiting for the computer and online games industry. Registration is free.
Screen skills
Careers information, education and training.
Advice on a wide range of careers in the screen-based creative industries.
The Drum
Jobs in design, advertising, marketing, digital, social media and PR.
See also

In addition to the other articles in this sector, relevant information can also be found in the following sectors:

Last updated: 14 Sep 2018