You never know where the road will take you

This post is from our guest intern blogger Courtney, who completed a summer internship with The Augusta Chronicle. 

What started out as an internship in the marketing department of The Augusta Chronicle has turned into my new career as the Assistant Director of the Augusta Ballet.

I knew my internship at The Chronicle wouldn’t lead to a job with the paper since there weren’t any positions available relating to what I wanted to do. Instead I was committing myself to what was sure to be a months-long job search filled with interview after interview and let down after let down.

It only took one connection to get my first job interview, which turned into my first job.

Lindsay Thetford, my internship supervisor, networks with more grace than I’ve seen in anyone else. She’s a keen observer who knows when it is appropriate to be the upmost professional and when it’s more calming to give a casual attitude. Through this, she’s gained contacts in all industries in town. As her intern, I acted as her shadow as she attended luncheons and meetings, where she readily introduced me to her colleagues and friends.

One such friend happened to be Jennifer Franks, the Executive Director of the Augusta Ballet, a nonprofit organization with the vision of inspiring and uniting the world through dance. The current Assistant Director was preparing to leave for her dream job as a dance instructor at a performing arts school – the same school I attended from 6th through 12th grades. When Lindsay found out the position would be available, she gave me a high recommendation that in turn got me an interview.

I’m so happy to be a networking success story. I’m one of the lucky few who is accepted for the first job that comes along. The dream of the unemployed is my reality. I do want to make it clear, however, that networking is not what got me this job.

It’s true I never would have known about the position if it were not for networking. Without Lindsay, I’d be going about the long process of the job search without a clue as to what all was available to me. But you can’t rely on tips and recommendations alone to get you where you need to be; that would be nepotism and should not be looked at as something to which you should aspire.

My interview was set up before I turned in my cover letter because trustworthy Lindsay was able to attest to my abilities. Still I went through about five drafts of my résumé before it was considered good enough to be sent to Jennifer. I owe Lindsay and Heather Rankin many thanks for going over it so critically to make sure I was highlighting my strengths.

My résumé was able to prove to her I’m what the Ballet needs. My background in PR will be useful in getting Augusta Ballet more attention in the media. My summer spent in Italy gave me a worldview that will be used in fostering the Ballet’s vision.

My cover letter was able to show her something my résumé never could – I have a secret love of dance. Because I started dancing at the age of two, almost every story of my childhood includes dance in some way. From an embarrassing potty-training story I won’t mention here to finally learning how to tie shoelaces just so I could wear jazz shoes, dance was my life.

I’m still not sure which aspect of this process was the most convincing that I was the right candidate for the position – Lindsay’s reference, my cover letter or résumé, maybe even fate.

The important thing to remember from this is to keep your options open. This all started with an internship in a marketing department, even though I had never taken a marketing course in my life; then again, neither had Lindsay. Don’t just talk to people in your department or your company. Talk to everybody because you never know when that person could turn into your boss.

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