My very first ‘real’ job at ABC News 20/20 didn’t come because I had crazy connections or was super-smart. It came because I took a risk.
After a summer as an intern at one of the world’s most prestigious news programs, I was hooked. I loved being on the newsroom floor and catching glimpses of Barbara Walters in the hallways. It was there, where I honed my skills as a researcher, learned how to interview subjects, and write for television. I grew so much in three short months.
You can imagine how crestfallen I was, along with the other interns, to find that once our term of duty was over, there would be no opportunity for us to continue on there.
I didn’t let that stop me.
The most important thing I learned while at 20/20 was that if I wanted something, I had to ask for it without any fear. And so, I wrote at letter to the man who was Executive Producer at the time, Victor Nuefeld, and told him what I’d learned during my time there and why he had to hire me.
A week later, he personally called my house and offered me a job as a Production Associate.
I cannot help but think what would have happened if I had not reached out to him. More than that, what if Victor never responded? Surely, my life would have taken a different turn.
I recently read an article which laid out why you should reach out to strangers when you are looking to make career moves. Believe it or not, I still do exactly what I did way back then. I know that this is critical to expanding my network and learning from my colleagues. Here are the tips that were offered:
- Have clear professional goals
- Cast a wide but focused net
- Be authentic — tell a personal story
- Offer a variety of connection points
- Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability
- Be open about where the path takes you
I hope that these help with your career journey and that you benefit from the kindness of strangers along the way.