So here’s the thing about my experience at WashU: nothing bad has ever happened to me that wasn’t okay in the end.
The point of my last post wasn’t to complain about not getting an internship at Microsoft; it was to show that disappointments in college happen, but you can still learn from them. The point of this post is to show that things can turn around. Things do get better. That’s something to remember for any part of life, actually. For example, making the transition to WashU can be a pretty big change. Please keep in mind that even if you get homesick, find that classes are harder than you expected, or whatever else…you’ll be okay!
The Informational Interviews
I did a lot of research online when I was first trying to learn about music supervision. After a while, however, I felt like I had exhausted all of my resources on the internet. The next step was to talk to real people. I started doing informational interviews. An informational interview is different from a job interview.
1. The employer interviews the potential employee
2. Your main goal is to get the job
3. There is a set interview date and time, and it can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Usually in-person
1. You interview an industry professional
2. Your main goal is to gather information. You are interviewing not as a potential employee, but as someone who wants to learn.
3. You are in charge of setting it up. They may tell you yes, they’d love to talk to you, but never follow through. You may have to email them multiple times to get a response. They may never respond at all. They might respond to your first email after a month or more has passed. You may settle on a time, and then they need to reschedule. Basically, it can be a very drawn out process to find people to talk to when you don’t already know them.* Persistence is very important (but don’t overdo it!).
4. Can be done not only in-person, but also over the phone or via email. The benefit of email is you can type all your questions, and the person you’re talking to can get back to the questions when they’ve had the time to think of clear, helpful answers. Skype/video chat may be an option too.
*The hardest part about informational interviews for me was getting responses from people to whom I had no connection. However, music supervision isn’t exactly a very common job. Depending on what field you are trying to get into, you may have an easier time finding contacts.
The Internship Applications
While I was doing the informational interviews, I was also applying to music-related internships. So many people apply to entertainment industry jobs/internships that companies don’t even bother contacting you after you’ve applied. It’s very competitive, and all I could do was send my applications into the internet abyss. It didn’t feel very promising.
I didn’t expect to get an internship through Twitter, that’s for sure. After all the work I’d done, it seemed too easy! I was reading the tweets under “music supervision” when I saw it: a tweet from a music supervisor who was looking for interns.
I noticed that the tweet was over a year old, but I replied anyway. I don’t know what I was expecting to get out of it — maybe she’d check out my music blog or something? I was so surprised when the music supervisor replied to me the next day. She asked me if I could get school credit. “Absolutely!” I tweeted back. Then I sent her an email. I explained to her who I was and that from her response, it seemed like she was looking for an intern again and that I would like to apply. I also asked her if she would be willing to talk to me about music supervision for a little bit. I had gotten really used to asking people to do this with me, and I figured if I wasn’t getting an internship, maybe I could at least learn a little bit more.
She didn’t say anything with regard to the request for a chat about her job, but she did ask for my resume. After looking at my resume, she offered me an interview. All that information I’d learned from my informational interviews came in handy during my internship interview! She told me that she had some other people to interview and that she would get back to me.
When I found out a few days later that I got the internship, I was so happy. Happy is an understatement. I sent emails to all the people who had volunteered their time to teach me about music supervision and told them the good news. They were so excited for me and glad that they had been able to help!
Now, here I am interning at the company that brought you the music for movies such as The King’s Speech, several Harry Potter movies, Brave, Drive, and Chef (currently in theaters). All’s well that ends well.