My Post-Grad Adventures and Lessons
Today is my last day at my internship: Atlantic Pictures (AP). It’s bittersweet. For all who don’t know AP is a film production company located in Manhattan (Ever heard of VH1’s The Breaks? That’s us!). We’re right across the street from the building where IHeartRadio broadcasts. I was meant to intern here. I remember when I interned for WBAI 99.5 FM in Summer 2016, I would take the subway to the building and wait for The Breakfast Club to leave the station so I would see them, get a picture, or even ask for advice. A lot can happen in a year.
I recently graduated in May with a BA in Digital Media Production and a minor in Journalism. Even though it has been seven months, my post grad adventure has been exciting and also difficult. I spent most of summer applying for jobs and internships within the radio and television industries. I’ve had interviews and did not get hired nor a reply back. In August I secured two internships: An event production company in Harlem (that internship ended the week before) and AP. I was so glad and hungry to work in NYC. When I got hired I promised myself this would be my last season of interning. I have a ton of experience in radio, television, and public relations before these two internships I should be able to get an entry level position at any media company.
What sparked me to reapply for jobs was when our founder Meag got hired at IHeartRadio in Miami at the end of October..? She simply found the email address to someone who works there and stated in that email that she recently applied for the Board-Operator opening and have experience board operating a nationally syndicated morning show, and wanted to know the status of her application.
After that I applied to several stations in NYC and reached out to my friends who work, worked, and formerly interned or even had an interview at the stations I applied for. I would shoot them a text like this “Hey it's Cedes. I hope all is well. I recently applied for street team opening at Cumulus Broadcasting. Do you have an email address from anyone in the Promotions Department? I really don't want my application to get stuck in the dark hole.
Let me tell you how God works. I applied for an entry level position at one radio station my formerly interned and worked for. I reached out to my friend from college. We majored in the same field, worked at the campus radio station, and she knows how passionate I am about radio. She gave me an email to someone who worked in the department and also put in a good word for me! I sent the lady an email including my cover letter and resume and she forwarded it to a hire up in HR. My interview was scheduled two weeks later.
I couldn't even get an internship at this station when I was in college but I got a job interview. LOOK AT GOD.
Fast forward, the HR told me he would hire me once I get my driver’s license. Since then I rushed to take my 5 hr pre-licensing course, renewed my permit, and invested in weekly driving lessons. I'm hoping there isn’t a blizzard among us so I can continue to practice driving. Crazy thing is...obtaining my license has been a 10+ journey. I have been driving on and off since I was 16, I have a car, I’ve had numerous instructors, but I never got my license. I was not ready but now I am. I have motivation to.
For those who want to work in the media industry, I have tips:
- Never stop applying for jobs. It can be tedious, upsetting, nerve wracking, etc. but you can’t give up. Make a goal to apply to jobs 1-2 times a week. While applying update your resume and cover letter. Fix what needs to be corrected. Those two items are key and can always be improved.
- Pull a Meag Taylor and get an email address from someone who works in the company you are applying for. It is not enough to apply. You have to take the extra initiative. Ask your friend to put in a good word for you if they work/worked for that company. Don’t forget to follow up!
- If you can’t get a job---Intern. I got my internship at AP from a friend who was just wrapping her term at AP. I told her my situation and she helped me land my internship. In this industry you have to be active and pursue anything you can get your hands on.
- Attend weekly networking events/mixers. One month after interning I decided to go out at least once a week and network. Remember this industry is not what you know it’s who you know. At these mixers I’ve met BET Breaks’ host Jamila Mustafa, Media Mogul Extraordinaire Valeisha Butterfield Jones, WEEN’s Avery Watson, as well as people who work in the media industry through friends. I’ve received the best advice especially from Valeisha! She put everything in perspective and lit a fire in me!
- See if anybody you admire does talk forums as well. I recently attended Kela Walker’s discussion with Charlamagne Tha God at the Creative Collective NYC, Devi Brown’s Crystal Bliss book launch, Tashima Jones’ & Ash Cash’s discussion with Sway Calloway, plus more events. To hear their experiences in the radio industry fed my soul (During this journey, you are going to need all the motivation you can get). Always remember he or she was once waiting for an opportunity and got it. The same can happen for you. *Step out of your comfort zone and talk to whoever you admire. You never know what it can lead to.*
- If you haven't already, get your driver's license. Most jobs require you to have one.