Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to Stand Out

I've mentioned briefly my previous career in media but haven't shared before how I got there. The story's been popping up in my head lately as I'm thinking ahead to 2014 plans. . .

At my NYC internship
In 1998 as a senior in high school we were required to complete an internship called May Program to graduate. It was a "choose your own adventure" type of thing where each senior had to write a proposal and get it approved before heading off to her unique experience for the month of May before graduation in June.

While watching a segment on E! about Envirosell a NYC-based marketing firm which studies shoppers' behavior, I got the brilliant idea that I would do my May Program there. I wrote a letter and was told that because I was in high school that an internship wouldn't be possible. I explained my special program, that they wouldn't have to pay me and even asked one of my teachers to reach out to them on my behalf and they were still pretty resistant. Next, I offered to meet them when I would be there for college visitations at NYU and they cautiously agreed. The meeting was a success and they signed me on for my May Program. It was an eye-opening experience especially into NYC living, and while it would be another 9 years before I could be there permanently, the following summer Envirosell invited me back for a paid internship the entire duration of the summer. By then I was a rising Sophomore at Wellesley College and I remember graduating seniors who were baffled at how I was able to score such a set up (the pay was even better than my very first advertising job out of college).

The key to this door opening? Being tenacious and pleasantly persistent.

I recently read an old interview with Rashida and Kidada Jones about their personality differences growing up and how Rashida followed the proper channels to get on set of her favorite TV show without success while Kidada took unconventional methods to stand out and landed in the audience of Punky Brewster. Although this article is 8 years old the advice still stands especially in this competitive economy: you have to get creative! The usual channels of sending resumes, cold calling etc. don't necessarily work, and I've taken to using the same tactic for blogging. 

In the blogging world statistics are king and while there are ways to pad and inflate I'm more along the methodology of organic growth. I prefer quality over quantity, and I've found that partnering with brands that have this mentality is best for me. 

While I don't have the stats to be part of the upper echelon of bloggers who get the high-profile opportunities, what I've found is making personal connections is best. Sure it'd be easy to rest on stats, but I value a brand that wants to work with me because of my personality, skill set and work ethic. It's even better if I can continue to organically grow stats-wise while building on those traits that I value.

My advice to you whether blogging, redefining your career path or just maintaining is to look for ways to remain fresh and relevant and seek unconventional means for carving your own path. As Pic Monkey said at Blogalicious5 (channeling Seth Godin): find your purple cow