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How Networking Has Affected My Career Path

By: Bianca Gawencki

When it was time to start applying to internships and getting my foot in the door, I had no idea where I'd begin. It was fall of junior year, and I was gearing up for the BULA program I'd be attending in the spring. I knew an internship was a key part of the program, and it was up to me to secure one rather than receiving a placement outright. Even with utilizing Boston University's incredible resources, I was still fearful nothing would stick when I had little experience to show for at that point.

I researched industries and companies I desired to work in, sent out tons of applications, and waited. By November, my fear was coming true and nothing had come of my efforts. I've always been told about the importance of networking throughout my time at BU COM, but I was too nervous to cold-call or email anyone as an applicant of my standing. I somehow decided it was time to get over that stress and start directly reaching out.

By December I had completed three informational interviews with outstanding players in the music industry, and started forming those connections despite them not having available positions for the spring. By January I had secured my internship at a talent management agency and relief was able to ease my shoulder tension.

During my semester in Los Angeles, I seized the opportunity to connect with my professors and coworkers, despite the internship being full remote. I would stay after classes to ask professors about their own careers and would message coworkers on Slack to set up quick video chats to touch base. Staying after class landed me in green rooms of comedy clubs, event spaces for private launch parties, and red carpets of movie premieres. But once I reached out to the co-founder of my internship, my plans for the following months started forming.

I ended up having an hour long one-on-one with her and bonded over all things interning, application materials, personality traits, professional skills, etc. She asked if I could see myself staying in the social media realm post-grad, and I told her I wasn't entirely sure. My candor, and her kindness and assistance, led me to another contact that helped me secure an internship over the summer in my preferred industry.

Most networking stress dissipated for me once I recognized more about how the entertainment industry operates and the tone they uphold. Of course each industry is different, and you should be aware of such intricacies, but once I acknowledged certain desires and how much I was overthinking, my more relaxed and confident nature helped me get so much further. I've remained in touch with most connections by checking in to discuss breaking industry news (including that of their own clients), and simply being my own zany self. There's obviously many times and places to be solely professional, but there's also time to let your personality reign free.

My career goals have slightly changed over the past 2 years as my initial internship was experience in an industry not necessarily on my radar. My goals in job type and industry have become much more clear, as well as more open, as I've been able to discuss personal experiences and insights with a multitude of current professionals. While things didn't pan out as 18 year-old me thought, I transformed and molded the journey into my own that's reflective of my long-term goals - and I've been able to learn so much more about myself along the way.


About the Author:

Bianca Gawencki is a senior from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina studying public relations. She's currently an Account Supervisor for the Goodwill client team and was also supervisor for the TEDxCambridge client team last semester. Most of her PR experience revolves around the entertainment/music realm as well as influencer and talent management spaces.

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