I can’t believe today marks two years since I started working at The Huffington Post. In all honesty, I never thought I would land my dream job this early in my career. I thought I would start off in some job as a news assistant and eventually work my way up to a bigger company. But here I am, fresh off of covering the Democratic National Convention and gearing up to finish this crazy 2016 election.
People ask me all the time how I got my job and I don’t think it’s one simple answer. No I didn’t apply for an open position. No I didn’t know anyone in the company. No it wasn’t luck. A lot of it had to do with experience, timing and A LOT of hard work.
Here’s what I did.
MY LINKEDIN WAS BETTER THAN MY RESUME
The secret to my success is LinkedIn. After I graduated college I knew my resume was good but I wasn’t landing a lot of interviews. I made it a point to make my LinkedIn reflect all my experience and projects I worked on. In August 2014, I was saw an open position for a Tech fellow at The Huffington Post in NY. I applied for it although I didn’t want to move to New York and really didn’t have experience writing about technology. About 10 minutes later I got an email from a recruiter saying that she saw I submitted my LinkedIn profile and that she had a better position for me. The D.C. office needed to immediately fill their position for a video fellow and the recruiter thought my LinkedIn profile made me a perfect candidate. The position wasn’t even posted online yet. The next week I had a phone interview and was hired the day after as a six-month fellow. My point is: Professional people really do look at LinkedIn accounts. Keep it updated!
WITHOUT MY INTERNSHIPS I WOULD BE JOBLESS
I interned a lot in college. Some days I would miss class to spend more time at my internships. My big internships included NBC News and CNN, but I did a bunch of online writing internships too. These jobs taught me how to be professional, what it takes to make it in news, and showed me what areas/topics interested me. At NBC News I was pretty bored as a general assignment intern so I shadowed every department I could. One of the Nightly News video editors took me under his wing and showed me how to video edit. I never thought video editing would really come in handy. But look, now I’m a video editor! I think every student should intern as much as they can. Do not wait until summer break, intern all-year round.
WORK LIKE A SENIOR EMPLOYEE
I think observing people is a really critical skill. If you see senior editors and reporters filing stories late at night, on the weekends, etc., maybe you should be working too. I didn’t overwork myself, but was I only working 40 hours a week when I was a fellow? Hell no. In Fall 2014 the mid-term elections were going on and the Mike Brown case was coming to a close. It was probably the busiest I have ever been. I think I was working on three laptops simultaneously. I stayed extremely focused and worked as hard as I could without complaining. People really take notice when you produce quality work when they don’t ask for it. Always stay on top of your work.
These are just a few ways how I landed my job. I’ll continue blogging more career advice. I also get asked some specific career/scholarship questions, so I have created an Ask.fm page where you can submit your questions anonymously. I love to help! Ask away :).