Not too long ago, I was working an unpaid internship that was only going to last six months. I was dying for a more secure job, and with hard work, dedication, and networking I was able to achieve one: another internship.
I guess you can say I’m a gifted networker. I grab coffee with literally anyone who can share a few minutes of their time. In fact, I make up for what I lack in paid employment in my extraordinary ability to network.
Last summer I was offered an internship with my mom’s friend Barbara, and while the position was unpaid, it was an amazing career opportunity that I couldn’t turn down, even if it meant selling my furniture and computer to cover my health insurance.
And after making so many meaningful connections in that internship, I was able to secure—you guessed it—another kick-ass internship! So far, I’m learning so much, and my commute is like five minutes since I live out of a Yurt in Washington Square Park to cut down on costs. Within a few years, I know I’ll be on my way to an entry-level position in a job I’m sort of okay with but don’t quite love—that is, unless I can nab myself another internship!
I’m always meeting with friends of relatives, cousins, classmates and all their respective partners. That’s the thing about networking–you’re never actually done. So I hop the subway turnstile (I can no longer afford a metro card) to meet with all sorts of content creators and creative professionals who say the same thing: “I might be able to get you an unpaid internship.” Wow!
I may not be staying afloat financially, but at this point in my life I’m just more focused on building my resume. Other people my age are just so shortsighted about these things, slumming it in entry-level jobs. Don’t they realize the opportunities that await them if they just network?
Networking is crucial, and I really can’t stress it enough. It is quite literally the gas that fuels your career from one job to the next or, in my case, from one unpaid internship to another. So, even when you’re not feeling like meeting up with your cousin’s teacher’s brother’s friend for coffee, just do it! You never know what might come from it! For example, I just sold one of my gold teeth caps for a warm meal and it’s looking like I might have another internship lined up for next year!