Networking, an often uncomfortable but necessary step that can turn a faceless application into a stand-out candidate, is a skill that applicants are sometimes reluctant to flex. For Cami Anderson, a senior studying journalism and public relations, that step was part of her job description.
Suffice to say, she got pretty good at it.
Anderson worked remotely for The Modern Day Wife, a global women’s organization centered around outreach, events and networking. She was hired as a public relations and media intern and was promoted to sponsorships and community outreach manager.
“When I first started, it was just basic intern work,” she said. “I would do a lot of outreach and work on emails and my boss would come up with tasks for me to do. That’s why it was cooler when they asked me to come back into this new position. Once I actually started my own sales calls and pitching these events to clients and sponsors, that’s when I really felt like I made it with them.”
Part of what made the organization stand out, Anderson said, was its unique brand, glamorous events and the safe hub it provides for women.
“I’ve never seen a group like this where they host events and get people together specifically focused on women,” she said. “I just loved the whole concept of it. I really wanted to be a part of something like that because you could tell they were just a huge success and phenomenon.”
With the promotion came new responsibilities, such as sales calls, which proved to be one of the most valuable aspects of Anderson’s internship.
“I’d say my first sales call I conducted was probably my favorite memory with them,” she said. “It was for Physicians Formula makeup. I’ve obviously used their products before and to hear how a successful business works was really cool. They’re one of our biggest sponsors now.”
However, things didn’t always come so naturally to Anderson. She initially worried about providing a significant contribution to the organization, and making sales calls was not something she felt equipped to handle. She also doubted her capability when networking with prominent industry leaders on LinkedIn.
Luckily, that doubt didn’t last.
“I would reach out to top executives and I’d be super intimidated because my profile is just a Michigan State student,” she said. “It didn’t seem like I was on their level. I had to go through that hurdle. Once I got over that, it helped a lot and it was cool that that was my first introduction to the real world and the industry.”
Because of these interactions, she didn’t just learn sales, outreach and communication skills; she also learned how to have confidence in her abilities.
“In the beginning I didn’t feel like I was making a meaningful contribution to the team,” she said. “Once I got through that, I actually got to feel like I was helping out directly with these clients and with these sponsors. I overcame that obstacle of doubting myself.”
Reflecting on her journey at The Modern Day Wife, perhaps one of the most crucial lessons she learned was that her key to landing a fulfilling internship was persistence, following up and advocating for herself.
“For the application process, it can take a while,” she said. “It took me a while. Don’t settle just for anything. If you really want a job, you have to go for it. You have to follow up. You have to make yourself stand out. If you care about it and put in more effort, it will all work out in the end. Don’t ever get discouraged.”
By Stella Govitz