My Graduate Life: Michelle Daly

An hour of watching YouTube videos surely was an adequate reward for 30 minutes of school work, right?! After discovering Zoella and her companions back in 2012 I was hooked and that was where my love for online media began. 

Little did I know that the hours I spent on front of my iPod touch would be the beginning of it all. Although I longed to make a YouTube channel, I wasn’t confident enough to take the plunge however I saw these YouTubers at the time had blogs so I started one too. I started writing about fashion, beauty and lifestyle, then as the industry was so small at the time I got invited to events and made friends that I still have to this day. I quickly started loving the industry and knew that I’d love to pursue a career in it. 

Michelle completed her undergraduate degree in Maynooth University.

Fast forward to 2014, the leaving cert was done and dusted l and I was heading to Maynooth University to study Digital Media. The course that I did has since completely changed so I can’t comment on the new course but I loved Maynooth, it was hands down the best choice for me. Something that I’m really glad I did and I feel gave me an upper hand at the time was doing a certificate of Digital Marketing in the Dublin Business School while I was in my final year. I understand that that is not possible for so many courses but it was something that stood out on my CV post grad.

Travel was always on the cards for me, from a young age I always wanted to work in the US so when I found out during college that I could do a Graduate Visa and head stateside for a year I jumped at the chance. On the 30th of December 2017 I hopped on a plane to Chicago, not only was it my first time living out of home, I went by myself. Some may say I was mad but I knew it would all work out and it was the best thing I ever did. The job hunt was tough but I got a job in marketing where I swiftly discovered that it was far too analytical for me. It was my first ‘big girl’ job out of college and as they say, it’s just as useful to find out what you don’t like as to what you do like! The year drew to a close and with no option to stay, I had to pack my bags and instead of going home, I went to Australia.

Michelle traveled on her US Graduate Visa to Chicago in 2017.

Australia was a completely different experience and I’d really recommend everyone to escape Ireland for a bit to explore. I stayed there for a year but ultimately my love for the media industry outweighed my cushy life Traffic Controlling. I’m the type of person who lives to work rather than works to live so I decided to come home to work and get more experience as living at home could provide me with that flexibility. 

I landed in Dublin in February last year, just before Covid hit with big dreams and plans to make a career in photo and digital. I wanted to work for a media company to gain valuable experience while freelancing on the side doing projects I really enjoyed. Then Covid hit and I had no choice but to start freelancing because entry level production jobs were nowhere to be seen. I knuckled down, invested in myself through online courses and upgrading all of my equipment. It was tough but the whirlwind pushed me to accomplish something that I never thought I could while of course fighting some imposter syndrome along the way! 

I’m currently happily working for myself in Photography and Videography and hopefully this year I can start travelling again, but with my camera in hand and doing what I love in the process.

My favourite thing about the media industry is that people who work in it are so passionate about it. My top tip for getting started in the industry is to network. You may think that you know nobody working in the industry but you may come to find out that your distant cousin is a sound engineer and there you go, you have your foot in the door! You’d be shocked how far just asking to shadow someone for the day gets you, whether you know them or not and the experience will be invaluable. The industry is all about who you know.

Michelle began building her social presence through blogging.

My second tip, especially if you want to work in the more creative side of the industry is to just create content and share it online, you never know who could see it. Building a portfolio that you can show to potential employers can really boost your CV, it shows how passionate you are about what you do which can make you stand out.

As a bonus tip- if you’re in a media course make genuine friendships with those around you, not only do they have the same interests as you, you never know where you both will end up and could help each other later in life. 

Work hard, be kind and you will be remembered and it’ll get you a long way in your career no matter what path you take.

Michelle Daly

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