It was half way through my freshman year of college when I had accepted my first major summer internship in New York City. When summer finally came around, I could not wait to move to this brand new, fast-paced city. As terrified as I was to live in a city where no one knew my name, I made it my mission to take advantage of every single opportunity I was given (after all, sleeping is for the weak).
My end goal was to get an internship with Seventeen magazine. I have always been passionate about the magazine industry and photography, so naturally I was looking to get a photo internship with Seventeen for the spring semester of my sophomore year. I knew that in order to achieve my goal, I would have to find a way to stand out. I made sure to attend as many events as I could, such as Seventeen magazine cover signings, where not only celebrities made appearances, but also the Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen — Ann Shoket. I was more excited to see and talk to Ann than I was to meet the celebrities.
When I attended these events, I promised myself that no matter how nervous or intimidated I was, I had to go up to Ann and introduce myself. However, I knew that introducing myself would not suffice. I needed to leave an impression that would make her remember me, because I was sure she met a ton of new people every day. I had to come up with something different.
I’ll be honest, as excited as I was to talk to her, I was still very nervous. I look up to her and consider her a role model, so I was scared that I might accidentally do something that seemed unprofessional or immature.
It wasn’t until the last signing I attended when I saw her begin to get ready to leave, that I was able to push myself to do something. I quickly worked up the courage to run over to her and handed her a ripped receipt from the magazine purchase I had made for the signing. On it, I wrote a totally cheesy version of the song “Call Me Maybe.” It was something along the lines of:
“Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but I’m an intern, so call me maybe.”
This way I was able to share with her that I wanted to be a photo intern for her magazine, but still manage to do so in a fun way. One thing led to another, and Ann ended up passing my contact info along to her team, and I landed an internship with my dream magazine!
Through this opportunity, I learned the following: don’t let fear hold you back from pursuing what you’re passionate about — don’t be afraid to do something a little outside your comfort zone because that one risk you take, could possibly change your entire life. As scary as it was to approach someone as powerful as Ann, the small act of handing her a piece of paper, and getting a little creative — forever changed my life. I made lifelong friends, learned more about the magazine industry, and worked with extremely talented people.
Have you ever done something outside of the box that lead to a career opportunity? Share with us in the comments!