When I graduated from college, I was beyond confused. I had no idea what on earth I wanted to do, so I went back home to Kentucky and waited tables to earn a little cash while I figured it out. For the first few months, it was great. I was partying, making good money, going to the pool, traveling (my week in New Orleans during Mardi Gras was the highlight--hi Leah!!!), life was great. But then it stopped being fun. When was I going to grow up and figure my life out? It felt like never. I was beyond depressed.
Liza had moved to New York and when I went to visit, I knew this is where I needed to be. I went back to Kentucky and started applying for all types of entertainment-related jobs and internships in NYC. I scored a paid internship at a cool indie music PR company called Shore Fire Media, and a month later I was on a plane to start my new life in The Big Apple.
I loved my internship and ended up getting another one at a teeny bopper mag (where I later got my first real job). Before I got that first job though, I went through another phase of being really down. So when Robert talked to me about his frustrations on landing a job, I could more than relate. Here is the main piece of advice I gave him:
Network, network, network. This is key, especially living in a big city like New York and London where the competition is really tough. Something I've done very consistently for the last five years (even when I had a FT job) is to send random emails to editors asking if they had ten minutes to meet me for an "informational interview." Some people never respond, some people say they are too busy, but there is the occasional person that will say yes. Having face time is so valuable because you can really let your personality shine in a way no one will ever get to see over an email. Plus, if you hit it off, the person might offer to introduce you to collegues or other friends in the same industry--that domino effect has happened to me quit a bit because I'm constantly putting myself out there, and it has helped a lot.
Use these opportunities wisely--ask questions and impress the person with your own ideas and knowledge on your favorite subjects. One time I met with an editor at Shape magazine, and by the end of our chat, she had assigned me to write a story based on one of the ideas I pitched her. That was almost two years ago, and it's still one of my very best and most impressive articles to date.
I know everyone has probably heard this advice before, but not enough people actually follow it. It does take effort and a lot of persistence. If you're passionate about what you're doing and work hard (I mean really hard), you won't fail. The best things in life are usually the hardest to obtain, but once you get there it is the greatest feeling. I need to remind myself of that more often. Geeze, I'm really getting all cliche up in this piece--sorry!
Does anyone else have any job advice for me and Robert?? We could use it! :)