I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a million times again and again.
Use. your. resources.
Any time you see an opportunity to better yourself, take it.
And that’s why I loved today.
Every year, my major holds its own industry-specific career and networking fair called SMAD DAY. Alumni and various professionals, ranging from producers to motion graphic editors, show up to talk to students about what they do, and to help them get their foot in the door. And every year, I go. Not only wanting to make connections, but to actually listen to what people have to say.
Here are some of my favorite things that I learned today. They can apply to anyone in any field—whether you are looking for an internship or job, or are currently working.
1. Take what you can get. Start somewhere. Period.
2. There will be tears. It’s going to be hard, but just when you think it can’t happen for you, it will.
3. One day, someone is going to say something that hurts. And it won’t be the first and only time.
4. Meet everyone you can… ever. Introduce yourself to clients and customers. Introduce yourself to co-workers. Introduce yourself to the mailman. A lot of the time, it’s the people that “work behind the curtain” as Jennifer Cortner (Vice President of Partnerships with Discovery) put it, that can really get you in there.
5. Constantly prove your value. More importantly—constantly build your value.
6. Sometimes it won’t be glamorous.
7. The key to getting out of the junior role or entry-level job is simple: knowledge and experience. Really put in those first few years working on that.
8. Never shit talk anyone, ever. Even if they are kind of shitty. You don’t have to like everyone you work with, but you do have to respect them. Today someone on the panel said, “Every town is a small town.” Things circulate quickly. And you never want to be that person who is known as the trash talker or gossiper. Your reputation will plummet, fast.
9. If you want to break rules, build relationships. Say hello. Get to know them. Allow them to get to know you. Then go to whoever it is explaining where you are coming from and stating clearly what you want or need. They will be more willing to help.
10. Do your job great, then find a way to set yourself apart. You will always move forward in this way.
11. People are watching you all the time. They know you exist, even if you think they don’t. Always be at your best.
I always learn so much from SMAD Day. And it just so happens that today is the day I got the call… I will be interning at E! News in Los Angeles!!! (It was actually really embarrassing… are you supposed to scream on the phone? BECAUSE I DID LIKE THREE TIMES)
So a few notes from myself:
Build relationships, not just connections.
I worked really hard in my scriptwriting class—which is funny—because at first I didn’t even want to be in it. Something in my gut told me to stay, so I did. I ended up loving it! I always wrote two scripts for the assignments instead of one. I went to office hours and asked questions, engaged in class discussions, and gave every project 100%. Little did I know, my professor was also the coordinator of the Los Angeles summer program, and I didn’t know until right before I applied. He knew my personality. He knew my work ethic. He knew I took initiative, and from many conversations, he knew what projects I was working on or had created on my own time. He recommended me to a friend and former student who is the head writer and producer at E!, and they passed me along to the internship coordinator. My resume and interview did the rest, and here I am today because of one relationship built!
Always be willing to learn.
From anyone and everyone. Never stop learning.
Be appreciative and grateful.
And show it.
Lastly, I promise, all your hard work will pay off.
I’m just now seeing that those long nights of homework, projects, editing, revising, and creating were not for nothing. I promise you, it will pay off.
Whatever you are doing, keep doing it.
Your life is just beginning.