Professional & Career

How to land the job || A Resource Guide.

Once upon a time in a far away kingdom, I worked as the Video Student Assistant at the Career and Academic Planning center during undergrad at James Madison University. For three years, I spent countless amount of hours shooting career fairs, interviewing employers and career coaches, and putting together videos on how to land jobs and internships. I became infatuated with and excited by the whole process, and in turn, I transformed into (yes, you heard it here first…) a Fairy Job Mother.

Poof.

My resumes and cover letters (as well as the wisdom and grace of my own Fairy Job Mothers) have landed me internships at E! News and Smithsonian, and jobs with Monumental Sports and Entertainment (AKA the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals… GO CAPS) and now, the NBCUniversal Page Program.

Two years later out in the land of Oz (I mean, Los Angeles is Emerald City except with more ocean and less dairy products, right?), I figured I’d put my magical powers to good use by sharing what I’ve learned from my experiences. As they say – if the shoe fits.

Here is a list of resources I’ve curated just for you on how to land and navigate the job of your dreams, as well as the first video in my Job Search Tip series. I hope you live and work happily ever after. x

Touching up your resume:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/winning-resume/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=11_neversay_interview_us&utm_campaign=aug17_us

https://www.themuse.com/advice/185-powerful-verbs-that-will-make-your-resume-awesome

https://flipboard.com/@flipboard/-34-words-you-can-use-in-your-resume-to-/f-891fb9ea8d%2F

https://www.inc.com/the-muse/words-to-convey-youre-leader-have-leadership-skills-you-can-use-resume.html

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/show-skills-on-resume/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=050718_hiringbonuses&utm_campaign=may18_us

Writing a stand-out cover letter:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/cover-letter-openers/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=050318_hiringcrazy&utm_campaign=may18_us

https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/elevate-your-cover-letter-with-3-simple-tests

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/write-cover-letter-job/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HowToCL_US16&utm_campaign=Sept2016_US

Applying to the job:

https://www.mediabistro.com/get-hired/interview-tips/study-job-listing-to-get-the-job/

Calculating your salary:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/salary-each-stage-application/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=12_companies_remote_us&utm_campaign=sept17_us

How to prepare for an interview:

https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-answer-the-31-most-common-interview-questions?ref=long-reads-0

How to stand out in an interview:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/11-unusual-ways-to-stand-out-in-a-job-interview/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=11WaysSOInt_US16&utm_campaign=Sept2016_US

Questions to ask during the interview:

https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/top-questions-you-should-ask-on-an-interview-to-raise-eyebrows

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/the-45-questions-you-should-ask-in-every-job-interview/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20comp_bestjobs&utm_campaign=jan18_us

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/interview-questions-to-ask-to-evaluate-a-companys-work-life-balance/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=5WaysHigherSalary_US16&utm_campaign=Sept2016_US

How to follow up after the interview:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/how-to-follow-up-after-an-interview/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=7LowStressJobs_Suppress_US16&utm_campaign=Aug2016_US

How to negotiate:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/5-tips-to-successfully-negotiate-a-higher-salary/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=5WaysHigherSalary_US16&utm_campaign=Sept2016_US

How to get on a good page with your boss:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/5-ways-to-get-your-boss-to-be-more-supportive/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=17CoWLB_Hiring_US16&utm_campaign=Sept2016_US

How to take a mental health day:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/how-to-handle-mental-health-issues-in-the-workplace/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=15_companies_worklife_us17&utm_campaign=jul17_us

How to quit:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/how-to-quit-your-job-2/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HowToCL_US16&utm_campaign=Sept2016_US

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/how-to-give-two-week-notice/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=7CoToAvoid_US16&utm_campaign=Oct2016_US

http://thefinancialdiet.com/4-things-learned-quitting-job-no-plan/

How to find a career that’s right for you:

https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/how-to-find-the-answer-to-what-career-is-right-for-me 

How to change career paths:

http://thefinancialdiet.com/6-steps-to-make-a-career-transition-when-you-dont-have-the-right-experience/

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Sweet Reads

Sweet Reads || May

Hello again, sweet friend!

I’m a fan of celebrating something on its way out the door. Bidding it farewell. Wishing it the best. I’m here today to say thanks to May and send it off with love, until next year.

There’s something about May. It feels like beginning again, yea? No matter where you’re stationed, the snow is melting and dust is being swept away. Windows are opening, and seemingly, so are hearts. That’s the beauty of seasons. It’s not just about what’s happening outside. Something within you changes, too. And I love to see it on everyone’s faces. Say hi to a stranger in the street. Leave a sandwich on the sidewalk for someone who can’t afford one. Call an old friend to wish them a beautiful day. We talk about sharing material things. Why not share a slice of your happiness with someone else, too?

Here are 10 articles and other fun things that have helped me along this month. Click one or click all. As always, let me know if you have any feedback on how this letter to you can be better for you. Do you like the idea of splitting the reads up by category? Or leaving it as is? Let me know. Leave a comment with your own May favorites and invite a friend over. Welcome to this little corner. Hang up your jacket and get cozy. You’re welcome here. Love you, reader. xx

MAY

May’s Quote:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” ― Steve Jobs

Image of the Month:

Image created by @thefinancialdiet

My sticky says “Create your own show” and it’s clinging to my desk right now. Every day I take a little step towards this, whether it’s piecing together fragments of written ideas or creating YouTube videos as practice. Choose something specific. It makes the idea more tangible and obtainable. Hey, man. Don’t just treat yo self. Inspire yo self. (Will I regret saying this? Probably.)

Music of the Month:

Lizzo. If you haven’t been listening to her, I’m sorry for your loss. She is the definition of feel good music, and her soulful pop tunes can get you out of any and every funk you’ve been experiencing. Check out “Good As Hell” and “Fitness” …you can thank me later. Toot toot. Hay. Beep beep.

Reads of the Month:

+ “If You’ve Ever Majorly Screwed Up At Work, You’re Not Alone.”

I think I almost died while reading this. Seriously. I laughed so hard that I cried tears. Actual tears. There is photographic evidence. I mean, accidentally serving your boss cleaning acid? I screamed. These are some seriously amazing individuals for putting their worst moments on the internet. Thank you for that.

+ “My Friend Is Jealous Of My Success!”

How to identify real friendships is the toughest lesson I’m learning this year, especially after moving across the country. I’m finding more and more individuals around my age are learning this, too. This column helped. “There’s absolutely no rule that says you have to keep messy people in your life. Not one. You are not required to maintain friendships with people who make you feel unsafe or bad about who or where you are. It seems obvious to say that the people you choose to have in your life should champion, love, and support you.” Jennifer Romolini lays out how to take stock of a friendship. And it may require taking some responsibility.

+ “31 Morning Journaling Prompts That Will Change The Way You Think”

This is the perfect article to open before starting fresh next month. While I don’t journal in the traditional sense, I make an effort to self reflect whenever possible; you can, too! These prompts will get you going in the right direction and inspire you to think deeply about where you stand and where you want to go from here. Happy life-ing!

+ “6 Easy Ways To Develop Confidence And Be More Like Tony Stark”

I think Ross Simmonds was in my head when he wrote this article. I mean, I’ll watch a superhero movie from time to time but he just gave me a whole new perspective on the character. Unlike other heroes, Tony Stark (AKA Iron Man) created his superpowers. “The way Tony Stark carries himself has a direct impact on how we as the viewers perceive him.” The exact same is true for all of us.  Slow. Down. Don’t be afraid to pause – to think and speak deliberately. Control your reactions, and don’t let them control you. Understand your strengths, because “If you don’t know what you’re bad at, you can’t truly understand what you’re actually good at.” Even think about dying — this is your reminder that your time on this earth is precious. Yep. All right here, folks.

+ “Mad & Abby Take On The USA”

Full disclaimer: Madelynne is a dear friend who also happens to be a talented writer and certified sweetheart. This documentation of the first leg of her cross-country trip gave me chills. If you’re gearing up for summer, this is the read for you. She reminds me that it’s okay to be obsessed with astrology, keep incoherent notes scattered in your phone, and fling your arms open in the sun. Don’t take this gift of life for granted. It’s not just about making spontaneous decisions, but creating spontaneous moments. When you open yourself up to the beauty of life, adventure finds you. As Madelynne put it: “It felt like I was hugging the universe and the universe was hugging me right back.” It gave me this warm sense of hope, and I wanted to share that same feeling with you all. I promise, you can’t read this and not smile. Fly darling, fly.

+”Exactly What To Say To Customer Service Reps To Save Thousands”

When I was little, I used to get mad at my mom for returning overcooked food at a restaurant or speaking out when service wasn’t great… all because it was embarrassing. As I get older, I’m starting to understand why saying something is so important — you are spending your hard earned money and deserve what you paid for! In recent months, I’ve gotten a refund for an awful flight, a gift card for ruined food, and a month of internet for free after technical issues. Be persistent (but kind!) when you know you didn’t get the service or product you deserved. This article will teach you how to go about the process.

+ “How To Immediately Refresh Your Brain To Restore High Level Thinking”

We calm our friends down when they’re overwhelmed, and hype them up when they’re lazy — so why don’t we do that for ourselves? Thomas Oppong knows what’s up. In this read, he teaches us a few helpful tips. Recognize and name your state of mind. The other week I was upset over a few things at once. I wrote every situation down in a few words, and knighted each with one word (E.g. Jealousy. Love. Enthusiasm. Insecurity). Once I identified what was at the root of each issue, I realized how silly the negative emotions were so they naturally began to dissipate, and I let the positive emotions emerge because they felt good. Sounds hippie dippie. But try it. For real. Schedule blocks of time for different modes of thinking. As Oppong says, “Idleness is not a vice, it is indispensable for making those unexpected connections in the brain you crave and necessary to getting creative work done.” In simpler terms, your brain solves your most complex issues for you when you give it space to breathe and wander off. Finally: Schedule purposeful breaks. Go hard, but also… go home. Seriously. You can’t practice or work all day, every day. Pace yourself! I’m experimenting right now with doing “on weeks” and “off weeks,” because slaving over the same personal project after work for one hour a day, every single day, every single week made me feel mentally burned out. I’ll humbly admit — I’m impatient. But I’m taking advantage of that. Now I spend an entire week pouring my heart into one project for as long as I can until it’s finished, and take a break the following week by meeting up with friends and sitting in bed (doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING) for as long as I please. Much. Better. I encourage you to find what works for you!

+ “The Making of Meghan Markle”

If this doesn’t make you fall in love with Meghan Markle even more, I don’t know what will. “The choices made in these rooms,” Markle wrote during her reign in Hollywood, “trickle into how viewers see the world, whether they’re aware of it or not.” The role of media and entertainment in our society right now is the most prominent it’s ever been, and Meghan was never shy when it came to speaking up about it. This article highlights that Aaron Korsh, the creator of “Suits,” is biracial like Meghan and wanted to honor her identity in the show. This is why we need more showrunners and creators and writers of varying backgrounds: to lift up members of traditionally excluded racial groups by creating more roles that young people will see and relate to. Equally as important: it gives people who aren’t typically exposed to a certain group the chance to learn about their lives a truthful way. I loved that this article used Meghan as a positive example in the racial identity conversation. “When it comes to issues of race, gender, sexuality and class, how much can Meghan Markle say and do?” Margo Jefferson asked. I’m curious to see how this conversation will fit into Meghan’s new role as Duchess, too.

+ “This Woman’s List Of ‘Realistic’ Ways To Help During A Panic Attack Might Be The Most Useful Thing On The Internet Today.”

May is Mental Health Month! I recommend this list not only to people who suffer from panic attacks, but to anyone with someone close to them that suffers from this disorder (40 million adults in America). I began experience chronic panic attacks when I was in the fifth grade. I remember being terrified because no one my age was having them. I’d have to leave school early and would feel embarrassed when I felt the need to remove myself from a room because of this terrifying, all-consuming feeling coming over me. I couldn’t explain what the feeling was or why I was having it because no one talked about this kind of thing. I thought I was the only one, and I’m glad to know now that I’m not. My mom was always so sweet and helpful although she didn’t quite understand it herself — that is — until she began experiencing them herself in her early 30s. Educate yourself on how to help, because you never know when it could happen to you or someone around you. We got this, y’all. It’s been 10+ years for me, so I’ve gotten quite good at taming them when they do happen. If you need any help or advice or just want to feel less alone about it, leave a comment or email me, and I’d love to chat!

+ “Brain Fog? Back Pain? This Trick Can Help You Be More Productive And Feel Better Fast”

Listen when I tell you I can’t do Yoga for shit. That’s why this is amazing. It truly does help you feel relaxed, and it takes less than a minute! Magic. Try it out and let me know how it works for you!

*All quotes by the writers are quoted, bolded, or italicized. I am not earning money from this post, nor is it sponsored.

That’s all for the second edition of this Sweet Reads party. I would greatly appreciate any feedback you have for this new monthly thang. Thanks for reading, sweet friends! Cheers to you.

INSTAGRAM: @yourstrulymia

TWITTER: @hotmessmia

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Sweet Reads

Sweet Reads || April

Hi there, you.

1. Do you ever feel like each month has a personality of its own? A mind of its own? A world of its own? Keep reading.

2. Do you hoard things? Sometimes words or thoughts? Join the club.

3. Did you miss me? I’m back with yet another new idea. This time, a series. Reads of the month. Sweet reads, actually. There may be a more creative name in the near future, but sometimes short and sweet (not intended but I guess now it is) does the best job. I think I like it.

I don’t know if I’m starting this out of fondness or a slight obsessive compulsive tendency. I love my email inbox. It’s one of my favorite places. More and more newsletters and subscriptions fill this space, and I read them all. As a person who loves stories and advice and lists and ideas, I wanted to create a little home where I can document and share my thoughts on these precious pieces and why I thought about them for hours and even days after I read them. Each month I’ll compile a few of my favorites that I’ve stumbled upon.

There’s no rules here. Read them all, or read one that catches your eye (or heart). Share it with friends or keep it all to yourself. Don’t forget to leave some of your own April favorites in the comments and tell me which one of these you like, too. I’d love to hear any feedback you have to make this better. I love you, reader. Thanks for stopping by. xx

A P R I L

April’s Quote:

“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” ― Shirley Chisholm

Image of the Month:

Illustrated by @bymariandrew

I’ve spent the past month thinking about a lot of stupid things that, in hindsight, has wasted a lot of my precious time. Tyler, a friend of mine, introduced me to this amazing Instagram artist last month. I love all of her illustrations; she is just so darn cute and relatable. This one in specific got me thinking. No more being angry at my roommate for a week’s worth of unwashed dishes. No more being upset at myself for that thing I didn’t say four years ago. No more gabbing about that one project that I want to do, but haven’t (because I’m gabbing about it instead of doing it). Every time I’m anxious or mad or worried, I’m no longer going to count to ten like a five-year-old. That’s ollllld news. Instead, I’ll count how many hours of my life I won’t get back like the twenty-three-year-old I am. Will it matter this time next year? Absolutely not. Can I take control of the situation? Then I will. We’ve got one life to live, my  sweet friends. And if that’s not true, I’d like to come back as a butterfly please and thank you.

Reads of the Month:

+ 35 Things To Do For Your Career By 35 

This read made me feel empowered to prepare for my future now. Finding my superpower (Did you know it’s not always a skill, but often times a trait?). Making a list of my non-negotiables. Being able to articulate my goals + sell my professional self and ideas. These are things I haven’t put a ton of thought into, but now I will. Thanks, The Muse.

+ First comes the wedding. Then comes marriage.

Hannah Brencher is a wonderful soul. And this is why I can’t get enough of her writing. Readers send her letters and she answers with her own stories and the lessons she’s learned from them. I’m not getting hitched any time soon, but boy oh boy was this breathtaking. This reminds me that choice is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Whether it’s your person, your friends, your faith, or your life. You get to choose every day. My favorite thing she says: “I am learning if I spend every single day seeking to make people feel loved, chosen and special then I can never lose. I can never really say a day is wasted.” Amazing. Also a burger truck and an old library? Ideal.

+ Let it go.

“That’s what you have to do with fear over and over again: you have to learn to let it go.” Clearly I love me some Hannah Brencher because here she is again. In this read, she reminds me to forgive myself like I forgive others, name my fear by calling it out of the dark and into the light (“You can look at it from several angles and know the truth”), and crush my fears by not putting my faith in the enemy – all things I needed to hear this past month. How would our lives look if we built out of love instead of fear? How would our relationships flourish? Would we be stronger? Braver? Happier? Great questions. I’ll get back to you on that, Hannah.

+ How to be more confident. 

This article by Susie Moore had me in my feels, because I sure needed to brush up on this topic. There were SO many gems here. Moore tells us that the most confident people tune out their inner critic and turn up their inner coach. Confident people A) Know failure is inevitable, so they don’t fear it, B) Laugh more because life is short, and C) Have vision for their lives and focus on what they do want rather than what they don’t. “I love. I do. I can.” She says,“When you use stronger, more intentional language, it impacts your mood, your confidence, and even how other people perceive you.” They sit taller, do them, and stand strong. Confidence is your call; it’s a decision because no one is born with it. Confidence is taking control of your own life. Maybe it’s Maybelline. But more than 90% is Confidence.

+ My Boss Sucks Sometimes – Can I Tell Her?

Let me clear: my boss doesn’t suck. I actually like my bosses a lot. But I love a juicy advice column read. This one by Jessica Romolini caught my eye then captured my conscious because confrontation is something I struggle with. I’m either waaaay too confrontational or not confrontational enough. I’m really bad at finding that middle ground and I’m working on it. What is your motivation for correcting someone? Is it because they made you feel small at some point, or because it’s the right thing to do? Getting clear on why you want to correct someone, then focusing on the problem and not the person is crucial – whether it’s inside or outside of work.

+ 4 Big Reasons I Quit My Job To Build Girls Night In

I’ve started getting this newsletter in my inbox every Friday, and it’s a pure treat. Alisha Ramos outlines the four questions she began asking herself over and over, and how she took it upon herself to explore those questions and turn it into a business that could benefit other women. In four months the community grew 17x, 95% of new readers found out about GNI from a friend (word of mouth works, people!), and they receive 3 job applications a week. I’m a real sucker for a fun success story. It reminds me that anything is possible. It gives me hope for my own business endeavors.

+ The 100 Best Movies on Netflix

Thank you, Jason Bailey. This might be the best list I’ve found this month. You will literally never run out of things to watch. Like ever. I mean, there’s 100. And get this: IT’S UPDATED REGULARLY AS TITLES COME AND GO. Is this a dream? (I watched Up In The Air with Dan for the first time this weekend after taking a peek at this list… it was amazing.)

+ There is no that.

“The reward for the work is the work itself.” Mike Coyle writes music to my ears. For any business person, creative, or everyday person suffering from FOMO – you absolutely need to read this. There will always be some seemingly amazing thing happening with seemingly amazing people outside of where you are. But that moment ends for them. And this one will end for you if you’re not here. He says: “I wish someone had told me that it was the work, that the highs would be brief and bright and over, and then it was the grind. I wish they had told me, because there will be times when the grind itself must be the thing that drives you. You have to love the effort divorced from the result.” Is your pay off people? Is it moments? This article reminded me to keep my work honest and to keep doing the work I love. In the end – that’s what you have when you’ve climbed the mountain and return back down. You have this amazing thing you created. That’s enough.

*All quotes by the writers are quoted, bolded, or italicized. I am not earning money from this post.

This party is just getting started, so I would greatly appreciate any feedback you have for this new monthly thang. Let me know below. Thanks for reading, sweet friends! Cheers to you.

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Professional & Career

37 things I learned from being a producer

Beyonce once said, “It takes a true bad ass to run shit.” But the truth is, Beyonce never said that. And I am not a true bad ass. But the good news is after my first experience as a producer for the student short film, On The Run, I’m 5% there.

People are often like, “What even is a producer? What does a producer do?” Well, well, well. Step into my office.

A producer oversees the creative and business aspects of the production. They help steer the film from it’s conception to it’s completion.  They work behind the scenes. They handle the day to day operations, and act as the point of contact for the film. Sometimes I was out and about running errands. Sometimes I was at a desk typing and scribbling away. Sometimes I held stuff on set. Sometimes I went to the car or to the store to get food or coffee or a prop we forgot. A lot of times, I was making calls and talking to people and convincing and asking and bribing (legally, of course) and scheduling and preparing.

I saw a lot more documents than I ever wanted to see, dealt with more people than I thought I’d ever have to, and got really good at professional-sounding emails and a grown-up phone voice. I was the organizer, the solver, and the handler. I wore whatever hat I was handed, whenever and wherever. But my main job was to bring a team together, create an environment where that team could flourish, and then let my team do their job. And that’s how it all happened.

Being a producer is about being a little bit of reckless, and a lot bit of graceful. It’s busy, and then slow. It’s boring, then exhilarating. And like any job, it has it’s ups and downs.

The cool thing about any job in any field is that when it comes down to it, we all essentially have the same goal: to get the job done. Being a producer taught me about the ins and outs of filmmaking and business, but it also taught me about life and professionalism on a larger and more universal scale. Here are some things I learned along the way.

1. Your first option should never be your only option.

2. Your first option is often not your best option.

3. Never be afraid to ask. Just spit it out. Ask ask ask, or you will never know.

4. People are more kind and willing to give than you realize.

5. People are also hard to deal with.*

6. Negotiate. Everything is a balance.

7. Risk is a wonderful, terrifying, very important thing. Befriend it.

8. (See 7) Realize that when you take risks, shit will most definitely hit the fan. Know that in advance. Be okay with it. Prepare for any and every outcome. Handle with grace and care.

9. Often, things don’t go as planned.

10. (See 9) Often, it’s a blessing in disguise.

11. Rely on your team. They are your allies, your bloodline, your heartbeat, your everything.

12. Know you can’t do it alone.

13. Know you will have to do some things alone.

14. Dance parties are important. (Especially in parking lots at 3am)

15. A team that bonds together is a team that stays together.

16. Learn how individuals on your team react and respond. Tailor the delivery of your compliments and critiques to each person. Think about how your words will best be received.

17. You don’t have to be an asshole to get things done.

18. If you don’t like something, say so.

19. If you do like something, say so.

20. Days and nights will get long. People will get tired. People will be stressed. Things will be said. Feelings will get hurt.

21. “Don’t take it personal” is easier said than done. But really—don’t take it personal. You can’t afford to. There is no time to sit and toil over it. Keep moving.

22. Don’t just communicate, communicate well. Be clear. Be concise. Be transparent. With everyone. Always.

23. Sometimes you will feel useless. And it’s not anyone else’s job to make you feel otherwise, which sucks. What you choose to do about it is up to you.

24. Starting early is never early enough. Start earlier.

25. You will probably cry.

26. You will definitely laugh.

27. You will definitely eat a lot of food. And consume more sugar than you ever thought you would, or could.

28. But don’t chug two Coca-colas back to back after 1am. Seriously.

29. No one wants to be the one to crack down, but someone has to be the one to crack down, and when you are the one to crack down, people will get upset. You have to learn how to get over that super quick. 

30. You will mess up. 

31. (See 30) Sometimes you can fix it. Sometimes you can’t.*

32. (See 31) It will feel like it’s the end of the world, but it’s not. I promise.

33. When you are forced to choose between your pride or the project—choose your project. Always. 

34. Things will get broken, both literally and figuratively. Your job is to put the pieces together, but know that sometimes you will have to pick the pieces up, too.

35. Prioritize the right things. Think smart. Work smart.

36. If you come to the table with a problem, don’t forget to bring a solution.

37. Always, always, always give thanks, appreciation, and love. Constantly, genuinely, and graciously.

*Take tylenol as necessary. Or a shot of whiskey.

As a person who fell in love with filmmaking after making Youtube videos at a young age, I am used to having creative control. I have always been the one to conceive the idea, execute the idea, and edit the idea. But to step back and orchestrate a team was different. I had to trust that my team could do the job and carry out the vision. And they did.

Making a student film while juggling the actual task of being an student, an employee, and a real life semi-functioning human being with social and physical needs is hard. Creative work is draining, but rewarding and beautiful, and that’s why we do it. Having a big vision is a big task. It’s not easy. It’s not predictable. I was not perfect. I did good. I did bad. I messed up along way. But that’s the extraordinary part about this and about life. You learn as you go, and put the lessons learned under your belt for next time.

Sources: http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles_and_stories/job_roles/757_producer

YOURSTRULYMIA

This post is dedicated to my incredible, wonderful, and hilarious team members of Track 02 productions. Becca, Wells, and Tyler—I love you!

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Professional & Career

From One Intern to Another: How to get the best out of your internship

You’ve scoured every LinkedIn article, and you’ve googled “How to be a great intern” at least eleven times. You’ve bought five new dress shirts, a new blazer, and the notebook that you’ve had your eye on too. You know to arrive a few minutes early each day, to always dress and act professionally, and to constantly be taking notes. While all of these things are important, has anyone actually told you how to get the best out of your internship? I’m no seasoned professional, but as someone who was where you’re about to be less than two weeks ago—and for the very first time—I may have a little something to offer. Your internship doesn’t have to be just an internship; it can be a life-changing experience. Here are some ways to get the very best out of your summer, spring, or fall internship.

Introduce yourself.

Say hello and introduce yourself to as many people as you can during your first week. Make an effort to truly remember names. It’s good to recognize the people you’ll be emailing and working with—and it’s also good to put your name and face out there as well.

Be proactive. Be bold. Be brave.

You’ll have daily tasks given to you by your supervisor. But one of the most incredible parts of having an internship is that you have the opportunity and ability to experience and explore a variety of things. You have a building full of resources at your fingertips; use it! Whether it’s an informational interview, sitting in on a morning meeting, going on a shoot, or shadowing someone in or out of your department—be straightforward about what you want to do and what you would like to try. No one will necessarily tell you to try things, so it’s up to you to bring these ideas to the table. Often times, you’ll be rewarded and even recognized for showing initiative. Most supervisors understand that internships are all about learning, and are there to help and support you in making that happen.

Be open to learning.

When something is thrown your way, welcome it with open arms as a learning experience—or even as a challenge.

Try new things and ask questions.

Sit with someone and watch what they do, and ask questions about how they do it. Despite what you are specifically interested in, there are many pieces that go into the making of the whole. Expand your knowledge on every aspect of what your company does. You’ll look better for it.

Be flexible.

Sometimes you will be given a task outside of your daily duties and what you’re used to doing. Be present in these moments. They end up being some of the best learning experiences.

Carry your notebook…everywhere.

And I mean everywhere. You never know when you’ll be asked to do a small task, or be told something awesome or inspirational that you want to remember forever.

Reach out when you are inspired or intrigued.

If you appreciate or admire someone—tell them. I know you may feel like you’re a bother at first, but the truth is: people love to be flattered. Although this is true, always be genuine in your efforts and your interests. Ask to chat over coffee or lunch. Some people like to bring a list of questions, and some like to make it more conversational; find what’s best for you. Most people are happy to tell you their stories, how they got to where they are, and how you can be successful too.

You’re a part of a team now.

Someone once told me, “You’re never just an intern.” From the day you begin your internship until the very end—you are part of the team. Everyone works together and helps one another to achieve the greater goal of an awesome project, production, show, or brand. What you do is not isolated; you can have a positive or negative effect on it all.

Don’t take it personally.

Although everyone is usually welcoming and friendly, everyone also has a job to do. A lot of the times people are busy-busy, so if someone happens to come across as rude or cold in an email or in person—it’s not usually you. Send an email before you approach someone, or ask them if they’re busy when you drop by. There may be a lot going on during crunch time. 

Better detailed than not.

It’s always better to dial it back than to not give it enough the first time around. 

Anticipate how you can help.

During my internship, I often transcribed interviews for producers to skim through for story ideas. They were usually pages and pages (and pages) long, so I always tried to highlight a few potentially interesting lines and note when a new topic began. Going the extra mile is well worth it. You’ll stand out.

Always be ready to think on your toes.

Things happen, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do. But if there is an opportunity to fix something, don’t be afraid to propose a quick solution. You could be the one to save the day.

You will make mistakes.

And that’s okay. It’s part of the process. But what matters is that you are learning from it, and that it shows.

Be honest.

This all depends on your line of work, and how many people are assigning you tasks during your internship. But if you’re swamped—say so. Be honest about how much you are working on, and give a truthful estimate as to when you’ll be able to help that person. The great Jackson 5 once said, “A, B, C, as easy as ‘I’m working on something now, but I can get to this in about fifteen to twenty minutes. I will update you as soon as I start.'” This is always better than saying you can do something, and not turning it in until five hours later.

Prioritize.

If you are interning somewhere with a million things happening at once and a thousand requests from a handful of people, things can become overwhelming at times. Who’s request do I complete first? Will I be able to get everything done? As someone who struggles with prioritizing, the best advice I’ve ever received from someone is to “Work deadline to deadline.” Whenever you receive a task or request, ask for the due date or deadline. Work in order of what’s needed first.

Delegate.

Like I said before, you’re part of the team now. If you have a huge task to take on and you’re being honest with yourself about the amount of work it will be—split it up between you and the other intern/interns, if possible. Teamwork makes the dream work.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seriously.

Much of the knowledge I acquired throughout my internship, in addition to being taught, is from asking for help. When a producer once asked me to find multiple clips of someone saying “obsessed” in an archive full of tapes, I asked what would be the best and most efficient way to find it, and she helped me with no problem. You will always be able to find people who are willing to help. Take advantage of that. But always remember to look it up before you ask, and to write it down so you remember for next time—and the next person.

Beat the “nothing to do” blues.

Even when you’ve asked every single person in the office if they need help and they’ve all said, “No, but thanks”—there is always something to do. If there really is nothing to do, then create something to do. Research trends, make a presentation, write an analysis, or even organize the storage closet. Act upon your ideas. As always—you’ll stand out.

Attitude is everything.

I love the saying “Your energy introduces you before you even speak.” You set the tone for your day, as well as anyone else’s that you come into contact with. Be positive, be friendly, and be you. It goes a very long way.

Walk into every day like it’s your first day.

I’m no stranger to first-day jitters, but I do believe in a little thing called “first-day glow.” You may be shaking in your boots, but there’s a total sense of confidence, professionalism, and brightness that you exude walking into your very first day on the job. You’re dressed to the impress, you want to prove yourself, and you’re ready to learn. Bring that same energy, confidence, and sparkle every other day, all the way until your last day. Another day, another slay—am I right?

Connect.

Just because you’re only there for a few months doesn’t mean that you can’t build real relationships. I’ve met the most amazing people, made the most incredible connections, and found life-long friends in just one summer: from interns throughout the building, to producers and production assistants in the newsroom, to the people in the media center and at the security desk and working valet. At the end of your internship, don’t forget to write thank you notes (you don’t have to limit it to just your supervisor) and exchange contact information. Working hard and being professional always comes first—but be a real person too. Ask someone about their day, or their weekend. Talk about your goals and aspirations. That could be the person to open the next door in your career for you. Even if that’s not the case—at least you made someone smile.

Time is short but sweet.

Let me tell you—time flies. Make every single moment count. Don’t wait until the last minute to do all the things you want to do. Take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself, and create opportunity for yourself. Most importantly—be fearless. You’ll be glad you were in the end.

Leave your mark.

Every time I embark on a new journey or chapter in my life, I ask myself: “How will leave my mark?” How can I make this place better? How do I want to be remembered? What kind of imprint do I want to leave? You don’t have to set the world on fire, or create something extravagant. But I’ve learned that little things can leave the biggest impact. With that being said—what kind of mark do you want to leave?

On the first day of my internship, the other intern whom I worked closely with this summer, Tessa, sat down with me for lunch. Not only was it my first day after she had already been there for a few weeks, but it was her eighth internship while it was only my first. I told her how intimidated I was, and she told me something I’ll never forget. 

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

We laughed, and she told me it was her motto for the summer. I gave her a big hug and stuck it on a sticky note next to my desk. It quickly became the theme of my summer too, and I’m glad it did.

So now I’ll ask you.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

The only way for this to be the best experience of your life, is to make it the best experience of your life. Fall into this experience with open arms, an open heart, and an open mind. Go after what you want, and soak up every moment of it.

You were chosen for a reason, and you’re going to do great. Do good, be good, and work hard. Congratulations, and best of luck!

YOURSTRULYMIAIMG_6850Mia Brabham is a senior at James Madison University in Virginia, studying Media Arts and Design with a minor in Creative Writing. She was recently a Summer 2015 production intern at E! News in Los Angeles, California. After graduating, Mia wants to direct, write, act, produce, and eventually host her own television show. You can find her on Twitter at @yourstrulymia_.

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