Two Months In And Thriving

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communications, Hannah, Internship, Job, Success

By Hannah Goodwin ~

After two full months I feel I can properly and efficiently tell you all about my new job. Well, at least I can tell you how I came to get this job as that is a pretty good story, if I do say so myself.

Now, I am sure you all have been hanging on to the edge of your seats since my last post, which was all about my number’s game strategy. But just in case you haven’t, in short, in that post I shared that the job/internship hunt is a number’s game, meaning that the more people you reach out to, the better your chances are at achieving success. I utilized this strategy once again when it came to finding a full-time job.

I reached out to as many public relations, marketing, communications, etc. companies I could find in Indianapolis. Much like previous experiences, I heard many “Thanks, but no thanks” and “We are looking for someone more experienced,” in addition to the multitude of crickets that did not get back to me at all. Thankfully, the positive responses I got boosted my self-esteem and boosted me right into the interview process.

One of my positive responses came from a communications company owner who said that while his company was not currently hiring, he would be happy to meet with me anyway. I took him up on that, as I am not one to turn down the opportunity to make a connection. By the time we met up, a former colleague of his from the Indiana Lieutenant Governor’s Office had reached out to him inquiring if he knew anyone who’d be a great fit and available to apply for a communications role that had become available.

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Signs on the wall right above the reception area depicting the agencies housed in the office.

Lots of emails, several phone conversations and one influential, mutual connection later, the job was mine! I will now get to the point of what this job actually is. I am Communications Manager for two of the five agencies that fall under Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb; these agencies make up the “Family of Business.” The two agencies I work with are the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and the Indiana Office of Defense Development (IODD).

I will be the first to say that I never pictured myself working in the public sector, but the way this position presented itself to me, I knew it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Because of the way I came to hear about and then interview for this job, I had not seen the actual job description until after I had been offered the job. I was very pleasantly surprised when I was offered the job, but slightly wary as I did not know what all it included. Upon reading through the description, primary duties and qualifications, I was instantly reassured. I thought, I have been studying for this, practicing all of these duties in my internships and this is what I want to do!

I have my own cubicle with my boss’s office on one side and the OCRA project managers next to me. I am along a wall and can see out a window, with a parking garage taking up most of my view. But, as I look to the left, I can see the dome of the State House. My boss and I comprise the communications team for the Family of Business, placing us in high demand and causing me to dive right in to my position.

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Panorama of my desk. It can always be found with 3 screens, 2 phones and 1 hardworking me.

Being an integral member of the centralized marketing and communications team, I am constantly in contact with members of the agencies I work with, the communications staff within the other agencies and many others. I get to do everything from coming up with communications strategies to managing the social media and creating internal and external newsletters as well as all things press releases, media alerts, talking points, etc.

I am doing the kind of work I knew I wanted to do upon graduating. It feels like work in the sense that I have to work hard to get everything done and to have my work be the best quality possible, but the work itself is interesting to me and fun. Two months in, and I think it is safe to say I am thriving in my new position.

by Hannah Goodwin | email | website | linkedin | instagram

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The Better Of Two Goods

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communication, Experience, Internship, Interview, Job, Nonprofit, Olivia, Public Relations, Success

It was the last semester of my college career, and I found myself in an interesting predicament. I had to decide, quickly, between two dream jobs. But first, let’s back up and figure out how I got to that point.

I started my college career wanting to be a sports broadcaster. I had an extensive background in theater, was an avid sports fan and a great writer. I even created a sports broadcasting club in my high school, the Future Broadcaster’s Initiative, or FBI for short (yes, that was intentional).

After spending the first two years of college getting my feet wet at internships with USA Track & Field and Run-Fast in London, England, I realized the sports life was not for me. My realization of this came after talking with several women in the field who told me, “You give up your weekends, holidays, family, friends and basically life. But I promise it’s all worth it!”

Or not.

I am a relationship-focused person. I learned at an early age that relationships are some of our most valuable assets in life, and I wasn’t about to ruin those just to cover some sweaty guys who chase a ball around a field.

So, I changed my course of action my junior year. Instead of a journalism degree with a specialization in sports and broadcasting, I picked up a specialization in public relations. This switch, amazingly, didn’t force me to graduate any later than I had planned, and I actually could have graduated a semester early if I wanted. But I didn’t, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

By the spring semester of my senior year, I had all but one of my required courses completed, and I was free to take a number of electives that greatly enhanced my skill sets and made me a more competent public relations practitioner.

With only three months left in school, I needed a job. I decided to stay in Bloomington for two reasons. The first is because my boyfriend of two and half years was graduating with a degree in biology, and he decided to stay in Bloomington and take a gap year before grad school and work in a lab on campus. The second is because I love Bloomington as a town and had absolutely no desire to move to a huge city where all of the PR agency jobs are. I’m a country girl, remember? I like clean air and nature.

Me and my boyfriend Seth.
Me and my boyfriend Seth.

So, I began my job search using LinkedIn and a number of other websites, which actually worked surprisingly well. I applied to approximately 10 jobs, heard back a solid no from about five of them, interviewed with three, never heard back from one*, and politely declined another interview because the company’s Glassdoor ratings were absolutely abysmal.**

My first interview went okay, but I definitely didn’t leave feeling super confident about it, and I never heard back from the company. My second and third interviews were much better, which led me to my predicament.

One job was with Centerstone working on a grant. I’ll honestly admit that the night before the interview, I was looking over the job description again and turned to my boyfriend and told him I had made a terrible mistake and didn’t think I was right for the job because it didn’t sound like anything I wanted to do. In retrospect this is really funny. But I’ll save that whole story for another blog post.

The interview turned out to be fantastic, it was just the job description that was bad, and I was told I would hear back in about a week. I interviewed on a Friday and was called back on Tuesday with an offer.

Which was great, except it also wasn’t.

You see, I had interviewed with another nonprofit organization on Monday that I knew would be a great opportunity, but I was still waiting to hear back from them. I asked the guy at Centerstone for a week to think about things, and then panicked and emailed my Career Success in PR professor, Maria Heslin, for advice on what to do. I was still waiting to hear back from the other organization, and didn’t expect an answer for a few days.

To make a long story short, the other organization finally emailed me on Thursday asking for a second interview, but by then I had made up my mind thanks to my handy pros and cons list. I decided to work for Centerstone on the Community Capacity for Prevention and Education (CCPE) Grant, because the only con I could come up with was that I may not have a window in my office. Obviously, as the picture below points out, I was so very wrong.

: I have four full length windows in my office! Just look at all that natural light!
I have four full length windows in my office! Just look at all that natural light!

In a situation where there was no wrong choice, I know I made the better one for me personally because I absolutely love coming to work. Every single day.

My first day of work photo I took for my mom.
My first day of work photo I took for my mom.

* If you are a hiring manager, at least have the decency to email those you interview and tell them if you want them or not. It’s the polite thing to do. Also, kudos to Cook and Oliver Winery for doing that already.

** If you’re a hiring manager and not checking your company’s Glassdoor rating, you’re making a huge mistake, because people take those reviews seriously.

 

by Olivia Humphreys | oliviahumphreys4@gmail.com | LinkedIn | @ohumphreys4

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To The Recent College Grad Or Rising Senior: Go Get Some Skin In The Game!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Advertising, Communication, Experience, Internship, Interview, Job, Public Relations, Skills, Tibet

Nothing, and I mean absolutely no-thing, can prepare you for what happens after college.

If you have your act at least somewhat together (which kudos to you, friend — you can stop reading now) hopefully you have some sort of income lined up for your post grad situation. If you REALLY have your act together, then you’ve scored that stellar first job or internship and you are charging hard right out of the blocks, and you can also stop reading this post right here (major kudos).

But if perchance you’re like most of us, which I’m thinking you are because you haven’t stopped reading, you probably don’t have that dream position lined up. Heck you might not have any employment lined up at all.

Well I’m here to tell you it’s going to be okay. Take a deep breath and recite after me, “I’m 20-something years old and I have a college degree—I’m going to be okay.” There. Feel better?

So if that worked, great. You also can stop reading here.

Ah so you’re still with me. Okay, I can tell you are going to need a little more convincing.

I want to talk about a little thing that I believe holds far more value and potential than any paycheck will offer you, and right now you are at the perfect time in your life to dive head first into this great thing called, wait for it, experience.

That last little word carries a lot of baggage. It comes in all shapes and sizes, big and small, bad and good.

It peaks its head out of your suitcase as it rolls up the conveyor belt into the belly of a 747 heading to Australia while you board a plane to Ireland, forced to spend the next two weeks of your Eurotrip wearing the same two T-shirts and few pair of undies you stuffed in your carry-on.

And oh does experience show itself in that post-grad job the first time you speak up in a staff meeting and immediately insert your own foot directly into your mouth. Yeah, that’s experience alright.

But experience isn’t just fumbling around and making mistakes waiting for the smoke to clear and then proclaiming, “Ah! I’ve learned something.”

No, it’s a little more complex than that. Experience is this wonderful little thing that allows you to take chances and risks while investing in yourself. It allows you to validate what might seem to others like a foolhardy decision, but to you it is a step toward fulfilling your dreams and accomplishing your goals.

Experience is ever changing — that’s what makes it so glorious. It’s not confined or restricted by any set parameters, but rather delicately tied together by a single, bonding, golden thread. Good or bad, grand or modest, that thread — the commonality of all experience — is the notion that it holds value only if you choose to extract the marrow from it, find the benefit or lesson learned, and then tuck it away in your memory bank so that later you can recall it and put it to work. In plain speak: learning from experience is about your perspective, and every situation has a silver lining if you look hard enough.

Take for instance my own circumstances. I decided I wanted to work for a specific ad agency in Indianapolis, so I worked furiously to prepare myself for the interview and hopefully for the offer.

The interviews came and went and I felt that I did well. After the final round I parted ways on good terms, reassured that I had made a solid final impression.

A week or so passed, and the agency got in touch with me.

They regretted to inform me that they had filled the position. I didn’t have enough experience.

But they had another offer for me. They had an internship opening up for the summer, and they thought I would be a perfect candidate for the role.

Well, at first I was pretty put off. In my eyes I was the perfect candidate for the full-time position for which I applied. Plus an internship meant I would be paid hourly, which wouldn’t be enough to pay rent on an apartment in Indy. I would have to commute two hours every day in my old beat up Jeep Wrangler.

My first thought was there’s no way I could say yes to that offer. There had to be other jobs out there for me.

I took a day and thought about it.

I came to the conclusion that hey, this agency is willing to take a chance on me and give me the opportunity not only to prove myself, but also to gain priceless experience in the process. Plus I had wanted so badly to work at this agency, to say no to any offer would be ludicrous at this point.

So I said yes.

Within the week I traded my Wrangler — which just so happened to be my dream car — for a Prius, and began to prepare myself mentally for the early morning drives, long days of work and late evening commutes home.

I am just over four weeks into my 10-week internship, and to tell you the truth, I couldn’t be happier. Every day is something new — whether it’s a fresh podcast on the drive up in the morning or a new task at work — nothing is ever stagnant.

Of course there are limits to what you can say yes to and what you must turn down, but I offer you this: those limits are not as restrictive as you might think. There is always a way to get what you want, and trust me, the experiences will be worth it.

by Tibet Spencer | tibetspencer14@gmail.com

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Halliwell In Hollywood: Hello From Los Angeles!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Communication, Entertainment, Internship, Job, Kate

Hello from Los Angeles!

I’ve now been here for two weeks, which thanks to work, have absolutely flown by. This is the first real breather I’ve had, so I wanted to take the opportunity to write my first post and tell you all about my internship.

IndieWire updated its layout on the day I arrived, which I like to think was in my honor. Really it was to celebrate its 20th year, but I like my explanation better.
IndieWire updated its layout on the day I arrived, which I like to think was in my honor. Really it was to celebrate its 20th year, but I like my explanation better.

I’m working for the next two months at IndieWire, which is an entertainment news website that focuses on film and TV news. The name comes from the site’s original focus on independent cinema and television, but its scope has grown in the 20 years that the site has been live. I’ve been a big IndieWire reader for years due to their smart and in-depth take on Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and the opportunity to work here was a dream come true!

My official title for the summer is “Editorial Intern,” which means that I get to do fun things like write and cover events, rather than just do research and fact checking.

It looks pretty boring in this picture, but this is where I work. IndieWire is brand new to the PMC building, so everyone is still in the process of getting settled and moving in.
It looks pretty boring in this picture, but this is where I work. IndieWire is brand new to the PMC building, so everyone is still in the process of getting settled and moving in.

Despite being an unpaid intern, I chose this internship over a paid one with The Hollywood Reporter just for this reason — I think experience and professional skills are way more valuable than being paid minimum wage to sit at a desk and check copy that other people have written. I am loving my job so far, and I haven’t regretted this decision for a second!

My first two weeks at IndieWire have been fast-paced and fun so far, and things have only picked up as I’ve gotten more comfortable with my daily tasks. IndieWire has a fairly small team, smaller than you would think for a site with their kind of reputation, but I really like how close-knit it is. I was allowed to choose between working at the New York or LA office, and chose LA for a few reasons.

First of all, I had never been to LA and a summer surrounded by sunshine and palm trees sounded pretty great.

The Penske Media Building is between Santa Monica and Westwood, and houses a bunch of different entertainment publications. Since Variety is the major PMC money-maker, they get a sign outside the building.
The Penske Media Building is between Santa Monica and Westwood, and houses a bunch of different entertainment publications. Since Variety is the major PMC money-maker, they get a sign outside the building.

Second of all, the LA office is primarily TV news based, while the NY office is the unofficial film office.

Since the Emmys are coming up later this summer, I chose the LA office because I was assured there would be plenty of Emmys events for me to cover. (This has proven 100% true already, but more on that in my next post!)

My boss here in LA is Liz Shannon-Miller, who is the TV Editor for IndieWire. She’s super nice and helpful, and she shares an office with Ben Travers, who is the Chief TV Critic.

If you’d asked me three weeks ago whether I preferred TV or film reporting, I would have said film, but they’re already converting me to a major TV geek! It’s so fun to be around people who nerd out about TV and movies as much as I do.

Pictures like this one of Berenice Bejo are all around the building, mainly on the floors belonging to Variety.
Pictures like this one of Berenice Bejo are all around the building, mainly on the floors belonging to Variety.

There are quite a few others in the LA office, but Liz and Ben are the two that I’ve been working with most closely. Steve Green, the special projects editor, is also great. I work next to Steve and one other intern, who is a LA native and is majoring in film at UC Berkeley. Since he watches very little TV and has no interest in reporting on the Emmys, we’ve been splitting the TV and film coverage between us.

Excuse the Snapchat format- Amazon brought a trailer full of food, coffee, and free stuff to the office for us and the Variety reporters. It’s pretty common practice for networks to do this around Emmys time, sort of a “Please write about why our shows should be nominated!” bribe. Hey, I’ll take it.
Excuse the Snapchat format — Amazon brought a trailer full of food, coffee, and free stuff to the office for us and the Variety reporters. It’s pretty common practice for networks to do this around Emmys time, sort of a “Please write about why our shows should be nominated!” bribe. Hey, I’ll take it.

Our daily tasks consist of a few general entertainment news stories, usually followed by a transcript or two. For those of you who don’t know, a transcript is a word-for-word document of a recorded interview. Most reporters hate transcribing, and therefore they give it to us to do. While the transcriptions are definitely the worst tasks we have to do, it’s not like we’re working for a general newspaper and transcribing interviews with normal, boring people.

Since we work with entertainment reporters, all of the interviews are with famous people, so it makes the task 100 times more interesting! To date, I’ve transcribed interviews with David Schwimmer (Ross from “Friends”), Viola Davis (an actual queen among women), Jay Duplass (“Transparent”), Michael C. Hall (Everyone’s favorite serial killer on “Dexter”) and many more! The only downside is that usually they’re talking about a show that I haven’t finished yet — so many shows and movies have been spoiled for me in just two weeks at this job!

When my eyes are going blurry from staring at my computer for too long, I tend to nip on down to the cafeteria on the 5th floor for a snack. The IndieWire office is in the Penske Media Building, who also owns Variety Magazine and a few other publications.

I’ve spent way too much time in the Variety cafeteria experimenting with different concoctions from this drink machine.
I’ve spent way too much time in the Variety cafeteria experimenting with different concoctions from this drink machine.

Since Variety is the big dog in the building, they get their own cafeteria that comes fully stocked with a breakfast spread every morning, a cereal bar, constantly changing snacks, and one of those cool drink machines. (Yes, we are allowed to use the cafeteria, although I’m not above stealing free food if it comes to that.)

All in all, I’ve been loving my job so far and genuinely look forward to every day at IndieWire! My further adventures with Emmys events will be documented in an upcoming post — stay tuned!

by Kate Halliwell | @kate__halliwell | khalliwe@umail.iu.edu

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