Dear HR, Why Don't You Love Me?

by Nikki Lakin in , ,


The drama you endured in seventh grade is not completely irrelevant. If anyone has ever said “your experiences shape you as a person” or some cliché bull of the sort, in a way, it’s not far off. Seeing your BFF Katie talk to your crush, Alex, when she obviously knew how much you “like-liked” him was totally not cool, and then finding out he asked her to the Halloween dance instead of you was nothing short of a cut in the gut.

But in one way or another, we've been here, at this stage and felt this tinge of emotional pain. The guy you went out with last week doesn't call you back. Your mom spits out cupcakes you baked for her office party. Your dog doesn't run to you when you walk in the door. There is nothing more heartbreaking than being told that you aren't good enough, but it's exponentially more hurtful when it comes from someone of higher authority - a potential employer.

A hustling and hungry student (ie: me) is all too eager to not have her eyes glued to job boards and edit resume after resume to send to Human Resources departments. The cover letter has been quadruple-checked for spelling errors and address changes and you think, “I’m gonna kill it.” And once you press “Submit,” there is no going back.

This semester, I probably went through this process about 40 or 50 times in total. For those of us who struggle with patience, the anticipation of getting a response from a company that you admire like a fangirl makes you tick. It’s exhilarating to know that you could possibly contribute to a force that has had such influence on your interests and your life, but it’s stressful to have to play the waiting game with HR.

 [Giphy]

[Giphy]

Silence screams in exponential volumes. Companies get applicants for jobs and internships like they’re hosting a One Direction meet and greet – it’s hard to get back to everyone, let alone even skim the applications. I’ve been in this situation and have re-sent and re-re-sent applications to companies, especially the ones that are at the top of my “Dream Careers” list. But still, just because you send once doesn’t mean it’s enough to get a response.

Nothing, however, compares to a rejection notification. There have been instances when I’ve gotten automated email responses within 12 hours of applying that said, “Currently, you don’t fit the qualifications.” Some messages have been more personalized, and while I appreciate being notified, it can be upsetting. You stare at your screen, take a deep breath and think, What do they have that I don’t have?

You see how your questions have come full circle – what does Katie have that you don’t have? What does the lucky applicant who got the job have that you don’t have?

From what I know, you have to keep moving forward. Remain positive. Remain polite. If you’ve spoken to anyone regarding positions and opportunities, don’t lose touch. Hustle and do anything you can to stay in the game. If you’re passionate enough about it, you’ll get what you deserve… And probably a nicer guy than your seventh grade crush.

 


The Cycle

by Nikki Lakin in , ,


True or False: Education is meant to be your top priority while in college.

At any other school, that's true. At FIT, that’s a hard value to keep up, since the nature of the school is to use the resources of NYC to its advantage and get into the workforce immediately. It’s inevitable that you’ll be an intern right from the get-go, or at least a volunteer for NYFW at some point your freshman year. The importance of our schooling gets lost amidst the crazy quest for the best internships and making connections with CEOs at nightclubs.

My freshman year, I, too, fell to this naïve idea and picked up two internships. First-year classes like mass communications and how-to-use-Microsoft-Office were nothing short of boring and I let all the material I should’ve retained fly right over my head.

Enter sophomore year, and the content of the classes began to change. One requirement was a class called Publicity Workshop, where we learned about what publicists do and how to create press kits. Everyone at FIT at some point “wants to work in PR,” and although being a publicist may appear to be a glamorous job, it’s not. Plus, a publicist doesn’t just make celebrities look good - every business, brand, and company needs a publicist.

One class was devoted to event planning. I didn’t realize at the time that one responsibility of publicists, among the many that they have, is to organize an event that a brand wants to have. And they don’t just put it together, they also write up the press release and then send that out to the media.

 NYC PR Girls

NYC PR Girls

As tedious as the work is, publicists have to stay composed. I learned that no matter what, when someone from the media is invited to an event and shows up at it, the publicist has to cater to their every. Single. Need. Why? It’s simple: so that they get good press. And that’s publicity. It’s a lot to execute, but it’s all for one reason.

When my internship started at Guest of a Guest in January, I knew that I would be covering events, but that was the extent of it I knew at that point. I started picking up more and more parties to cover and noticed a trend in how I was being treated. Someone would come up to me, tell me the firm they worked for, and then say in uptalk, “Thank you so much for coming! We’re so glad to have you here! Is there anything you need? Are you hungry? Do you want a cocktail menu? Don’t worry, we’ll take care of evvvvverything.”

I realized that what I learned in school about public relations had come full circle with my experience in the media and technically as part of the press. This has been a unique way to learn about public relations. We get invited to events and press releases about parties. PR firms want their events, brands, and sponsors to be written about in the media, and in a good light. What I’m doing here is so crucial to their business, and I had no idea. To return the favor for being so welcoming to me at these events, I pay it forward and write sincere reviews about the events.

The attributes of academia may seem time-consuming and as students in NYC, we may believe that education comes solely from experience. Take it from me - use what you learn and apply it to your internship. It really does come full circle.

 


Judge Me, but Don't Judge Me

by Nikki Lakin in ,


If anyone I ever went to high school with wants to come to me and tell me what they thought of me, by all means, do it. I don’t know what I was really labeled as. Was I a dork? A teacher’s pet? Was I a loner? Was I friendly?

While I wasn't aware of my social standing in high school, I did everything I could to come across as well-rounded. I was very involved in extracurriculars like French Honor Society and Student Government, I got straight A’s, and I made sure I was friendly to everyone. I think it was important to be friendly to everyone no matter what. As a teenager, you wanted your reputation to be positive. I admit, I do look back and wonder what impact I had in high school, and if I had any on my classmates.

But if I’m being honest, none of that matters anymore. Once you get to college, you can start fresh, but I made it a point to make sure that in college, I kept my values, and the number one value that I believe in is to be yourself. I never faked anything - my personality, my opinions, my interests. Reflecting on my past two years at FIT, meaning that my college career is almost halfway over, I have stayed true to this and I really do deserve a pat on the back/pint of Ben and Jerry’s/all-inclusive vacation on a Mediterranean cruise.

While I’ve achieved this, it’s unfortunate that others seem to look down upon this or that their opinions may not match up to mine. That’s fine and they can think what they want. Several of my hometown “friends” made an attempt to alter my priorities, judged me based on my personal choices, and assumed that my college experience wasn’t “fun.”

Here’s the thing: I’m having so much fun. Launching my career may be one of my biggest priorities right now, but I have never had more fun or been more entertained as a student at FIT. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else for college. While the internship and job hunt can be stressful and frustrating, it’s a creative and thrilling experience, too.

But if you’re going to judge me because I’m not parading down Fraternity Row every weekend, I might just have to judge you right back. I’m sure it’s fun and I believe that, but if that’s your only concern right now and you’re not even thinking about what you’re going to do after you graduate, when will you think about it?