Thursday, June 27, 2013

Stephen Scored!

Hey Everybody!

Guess what?  Oh nevermind, don't guess.  I'll tell you!

About 8 days ago I saw an opening for a graphic design internship with Silver Fire Media.  They had a graphic design position that opened up.  Silver Fire is a small company that does web design and mobile application design.  I saw that it was an unpaid internship and that they were looking for someone to work 12 to 20 hours a week.  I thought about it and thought, why not?  You only live once!

I remember when I was going to the LDS Employment center that they told me about preparing Me in 30 Seconds speeches and how that they can help you write your cover letter.  The idea behind a Me in 30 Seconds is to sell yourself on your skills and who you are in a concise amount of time.  I've always been uncomfortable doing this because I don't want to be arrogant or brag about myself.  This time around, I saw that it was an unpaid internship and in a lot of ways I felt like I didn't have much of anything to lose.  (Hint: I've seen that I pretty much always have nothing to lose.)  I decided to be me in ever word I wrote in this email.  Since most applications are sent online nowadays they essentially are the modern day cover letter.
Dear [Hiring Manager,] 
One winter day in Arizona of 2005 I was asked by my boss to create a business card at an Advertisement Design company I was interning for.  He said I could use any di-cuts, colors, and materials I wanted.  Eventually I created a business card that looked like a shield.  My boss looked at it and then looked back at me very impressed.  He later told me, "We have graduates of 4-year universities apply here and your work is better than theirs." 
Ever since then I have turned heads in my artistic pursuits.  Gary Taylor of Blakfyre games told me that I got the gradients right when the original creatives had not.  Kim Brown of Utah Valley University told me that my design for the Senior Projects Event brochure was instantly liked by all of the judges.  My design was chosen out of 10 applicants.  As a graphic designer for Silver Fire Media, I would continue to turn heads with my designs and would have an opportunity to learn. 
Please do not hesitate to contact me.  I know that I would be an accomplished and helpful asset in your company.  Thank you.

I really decided to take a risk when I wrote this cover letter.  I stylized my signature (it was a graphic design job after all) and really sold myself in my skills.  I haven't really taken risks like this before.  The writing style of my cover letter was creative and totally me.  There's this stigma when it comes to business that cover letters must be boring and "professional."  Really, boring does not mean professional and being my self is what got me this interview.
This man takes risks.

So last Friday I went in for my interview.  I wore a lime green shirt, white/black checkered tie, black suit, and purple/black checkered vans.  This was another risk.  Although I did dress one step above the position I interviewed for, the style of my kicks and tie may have been seen as a bit extreme for most employers.  On the other hand, it could also be seen as creative and innovative--essential character traits in design.  I decided to take the risk anyway.  If they didn't like my style I wouldn't have liked working there anyway.

My interview went well.  I got along with my potential boss.  I told him the work I've done for Mormon Geeks and other projects I've picked up.  I'm really thankful for the opportunities I've had to do design work for family and friends.  I really have to thank you all too.  If it weren't for faithful readers, I'm not sure I would have put so much care into designing this blog.  (I'm not even done with it yet.  Still have more I want to do.)

I was told that they would call me later that day or Monday.  I didn't hear anything on Friday.  The weekend passes by and I anxiously await a call on Monday.  The day passes by and I didn't hear from them.  At this point, I figured someone more qualified than me got the job.  "Well, shucks," I thought.  Everything went well.  I did my best.  Where did I go wrong?  What am I lacking?

I decided to take another risk.  I remember when I went to the LDS Employment center they said to send Thank You notes or follow up notes to the people you've interviewed with.  "Seriously?" I thought.  "Wouldn't that come across as desperate or needy?"  I guess it certainly could.  That makes it a risk.  So I decided to send a thank you email and this is what I wrote:
[Hiring Manager],

Thank you so much for the opportunity to meet with you and learn more about your company.  I know that this exciting opportunity has probably been offered to someone more qualified than myself since I haven't heard from you yet.

Because of this, I would like your help.  If you have the time, could you offer any constructive advice to help me better my internship opportunities?  What were you looking for in an intern?  I would greatly appreciate any wisdom and experience you may have to offer.

Thank you,

I wasn't even really thinking about internships when I applied for this position.  A study abroad or internship was something that I wanted for this summer but I had other stuff I was worrying about too.  (How to pay for it, moving, etc.)  It was something in the back of my mind but that was it.  Applying for this position and being interviewed helped me realize how important this goal was for me.  I wanted to learn the most from this opportunity that I could.

My potential boss responded and said that things got pushed back and that I was still being considered.  They were interviewing one more candidate that day and would respond shortly.  The next day I received an email with the invitation to be their intern!

Wooohoo!  You could imagine the smile on my face when I found out about this.  I gladly accepted and start a new experience on Monday.

Taking risk is totally worth it.  I've taken risks and have been burned.  I've taken risks and scored.  I've scored but had to burn to get what I needed.  I know it's scary, I know I could have been hurt, and I'm so glad I put myself out there.  I couldn't imagine any other way to live.