This blog post was written by Mallory Gold, a former Intern Queen intern and Campus Ambassador!
If you’ve read Lauren’s book, All Work No Pay, and follow her through social media you’ve probably heard the great advice she gives. But have you used it? I want to tell you about how, just nine months ago, I started listening to the Intern Queen and since then...my life hasn’t been the same. Read with caution: good things might happen to you!
Let’s go to the summer of 2012. I was going into my senior year, interning at a PR and event company. It was only my second internship, and my first one was hardly something to brag about. You could say I was a little nervous about what my senior year would bring, especially when it came to finding a job. One day at work my co-intern asked if I wanted to go to the ‘Intern Queen Party’ with her. I had never heard of “Intern Queen” but didn’t have anything else to do on a Tuesday night, so I agreed to go. The first thing I did that night when I got home was Google “Intern Queen. “Cool,” I thought. “This could be fun.”
Two weeks later, we were at the party. I guess this is what Lauren would call my “click moment.” I was amazed -- and hooked. Seeing the event, hearing Lauren speak, networking with so many different people, and witnessing this whole world I had been blind to, inspired and motivated me. I HAD to be a part of this community -- this family -- and I had to do it in as many ways possible. The best part was that I COULD. That night I applied to become an Intern Queen Campus Ambassador.
For the rest of the summer, all my free time was devoted to InternQueen.com: looking up companies that posted on the site, reading as many blog posts as I could to learn tips that I’d never received, and of course reading Lauren’s book (which I re-read this summer and motivated me to write this). I found an internship near school that I was somehow going to manage with school work, being on the exec board of my sorority, and another part time job. However, I used Lauren's time management skills to help me get through the semester (IQ Lesson #1: Time management is everything).
By the winter I still wanted more Intern Queen, so I decided to apply to be an Intern Queen intern for the spring semester -- and gratefully accepted Lauren’s offer.
Side note: Later in the semester Lauren would mention that one of the reasons I was chosen was because she loved my passion and excitement for the company. It was something I learned from her book when she wrote about her first internship. Lesson #1.5: Show your passion and excitement for the company at your interview.
My spring semester included two internships, one class and a part-time job...oh yeah, and the search for a post-grad job. You could say I was a bit stressed. Nonetheless, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. It’s quite obvious from this post how much I loved and learned from working with Lauren, Lindsey, and my co-intern, Natalie.
Let’s jump back to the summer of 2012 the weekend after the Intern Queen party. I realized I needed to get my act together and confided in my parents. They started to frantically try to get me in touch with connections, also realizing that my time at school was limited and that the real world was quickly approaching.
My mom’s friend was very close with a couple whose daughter happened to work in fashion. She was the Senior Public Relations manager for a huge luxury menswear brand (aka my dream job). Let’s call this company EZ. When my mom’s friend realized how much I wanted to go into fashion, she immediately put us in touch. Let’s call this family friend Michelle.
I emailed Michelle over the summer but because it was August, a summer internship was out of the question. We agreed to be in touch. While a campus ambassador for Intern Queen, I learned more about the ‘winternship’ and loved the idea so I e-mailed Michelle again, this time asking if EZ was looking for ‘winterns.’ Unfortunately their office closes for 3 weeks in the winter, so after a couple e-mails back and forth we realized it wasn’t going to happen. But that didn’t stop me. I followed up in the spring asking about internships and entry level job openings. Because I was graduating, EZ wasn’t able to hire me as an intern, which left me bummed. I felt I had lost all of my opportunities to work for this company-essentially the perfect fit. Ok, so how did this get me to where I am today? The week before I graduated, Michelle e-mailed me saying EZ had a Public Relations Assistant opening and asked if I was still looking for a job. Why yes, yes I was.
IQ Lesson #2: ALWAYS KEEP IN TOUCH
I went in the following week and interviewed with 3 people for the position. I sent the obvious thank you’s to everyone I met with, and then that night my mom’s friend e-mailed Michelle giving her a personal recommendation -- after which Michelle responded that I was a top contender for the position (I had no idea this happened until a week after). I’ll have you know that I DIDN’T get the job, and was bummed at first, but channeled my inner Intern Queen and took to lesson number 3:
YOU’RE GOING TO HEAR “NO;” DON’T LET THAT STOP YOU.
Now let’s go back again, but this time to the week before graduation (May 2013), when I got the call from EZ. That week, my mom’s other friend (she’s quite the social one) informed me that her sister was the President of sales at a huge company that owned many different brands. Let’s call them TJG.
Lesson #4: NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK; YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOU (OR YOUR RELATIVE, FRIEND, ETC. MIGHT KNOW)
I was being stubborn and selective but reluctantly agreed to send the President of Sales at TJG my resume which she then forwarded to their HR department. The following day I got a call to set up a phone interview with TJG’s director of talent acquisition. During my phone interview we discussed the usual interview questions and she then told me to go look on their careers page and get back to her with positions I would be interested in. “Oh,” I chimed in “I’ve already written down a few that look interesting.” “Wow, umm, okay well then let’s set up some interviews.” She hadn’t expected me to do THAT much research. Which brings me to Lesson #5:
ALWAYS DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
I interviewed for one position the following week, but met with about five different people. A couple days later I got a call saying they thought I was too experienced for the position! I couldn’t believe I was hearing that right out of college. She recommended I interview for an executive assistant position to the president of one of TJG’s designer labels. How could I say no? After a week of no sleep and sweaty palms, I got the call saying they were going to offer me the job. I almost dropped my phone from shaking -- I couldn’t believe it.
IQ Lesson #6/7: YOUR HARD WORK WILL PAY OFF / IF YOU CAN PUT YOUR DREAMS IN WRITING, YOU CAN MAKE THEM HAPPEN!
And this all happened in NINE months. What a whirlwind!
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t overwhelming and frustrating at times. I felt I had two lost years to make up. With my hard work, and help from a great mentor, Lauren, I’ve ended up in an amazing place. These lessons will come with me and guide me through my career- which is just beginning. As the Intern Queen herself would say, “Welcome to the Real World.” ;)