Finding work experience or an internship can be a daunting task. First you’ve got to find one that suits you and that you would like and then you’ve got to apply! However, I didn’t do any of these things in order to get my internship, I took a rather different route.
I have a YouTube channel and I’ve been making videos for almost two years and in that time I’ve gained a large audience and realised that a career in media is something that I want to pursue. Last November Careers Network held a fortnight of events about ‘creative careers’ and there was one about TV and Media Production which suited my interests and I’m so glad I decided to sign up for it.
At each Creative Careers event a panel of experts and professionals talk about what they do and how they got into their industry and then there’s time for questions and networking afterwards. One of the panellists at the TV and Media Production event was University of Birmingham alumnus Paul Woolf, the head of development for Maverick, a TV production company. When he was talking about what Maverick does he mentioned that TV now has to compete with online video and that Maverick itself has its own YouTube channels. I thought, ‘this is the man I need to speak to’. So after the main event I went up to Paul and introduced myself and said that I make YouTube videos. He seemed really interested and we talked for a while about what I do and what Maverick does. Then he told me to email him with a link to my channel and that he would look at my work.
Networking like that at events really isn’t that hard. Also, it’s good to have a strategy. It’s better to talk to one person at great length and get a lot out of it than talk to dozens of people but leave with no new connections to show for it. I singled out Paul because we had mutual interests and so I knew that I would benefit from a conversation with him but there was also a chance that he would get something out of it too. Remember networking is a two-way thing. Don’t just talk about yourself, ask questions about what they do as well.
Following the event I emailed Paul reminding him of who I was and saying that we met at the event and sent him the link to my YouTube channel. He thanked me and said that he had forwarded my link on to the talent director, which seemed very exciting. However, after a long time I hadn’t heard anything from Maverick and so I assume nothing came of it. But when searching for your perfect work experience or dream career you should never give up. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the time for me to become a mega famous TV presenter but I still had this amazing contact at a production company. So I emailed him again asking if they do any work experience schemes. Paul emailed back saying that they’d love to have me as an intern, no application needed. This is why I love networking. We emailed back and forth for a while and then he got his other colleagues involved and now it’s sorted. I will be working with the multiplatform team (which means YouTube videos and social media) of Maverick TV in London for 4 weeks in July this summer.
And so it shows, with a little careful networking and some perseverance you can get that incredible internship and without even filling out a single application form! Although I will have to fill out an application form when I apply for the UK Professional Work Experience Bursary which means I could possibly get up to £800 from the university to cover any expenses of undertaking my work experience!