Things I wish I’d known – Will Kelleher, Daily Mail

Will Kelleher graduated with a gold standard diploma in journalism from News Associates, studying on our academic year course in news and sports journalism and joined the Daily Mail as a graduate trainee reporter

One of the most important sections of your time at News Associates is actually when you aren’t there at all.

Placements are when you put all the training into practice and it’s the first chance you have to work out your life after NA.

With this in mind it’s a good idea to try and sort a few strong placements as early as you can.

Aim high, look to get onto the desk of a national paper. You’ll learn so much in a week and if you impress they may offer you a route in.

Find out the email of someone on the desk, even one of the writers (often printed in the newspaper itself) and usually people will help you out.

Most email addresses are relatively easy to guess – largely a type – so get writing!

In February I did four separate weeks of work experience at different titles, one of which was the Daily Mail.

Off the back of that I was offered an interview for the graduate training scheme and with a large dollop of luck I got in, even though I hadn’t applied and the deadline was long closed.

And that brings me onto my second point – keep track of when the grad scheme deadlines are. Usually they will close around Christmas.

It’s fine to apply knowing you haven’t got your shorthand or passed all the exams yet. If you have just started your course they don’t expect you to be a genius, yet!

The whole point with work experience, I reckon, is to put yourself in a position where it’s hard for an employer to say no.

Do as much as you can, and in different areas. Cover loads of bases and you’ll look a complete legend thanks to your adaptability.

Oh, and make sure you nail those weekly quizzes at NA – at grad scheme interviews you get almost always get given such a test. Be prepared and good luck!