The struggle is real… but worth it.

Throughout my college career, I was under the impression that the more internships I took on, the better off I would be at finding a job after graduation. It was “all about connections,” according to my journalism school professors. I thought I had made some pretty solid connections; a former CNN anchor, a local food photographer known by several people in the culinary world, at least three radio hosts and producers from the top stations in Phoenix, etc., etc. I was definitely set to find a great job after college with these connections under my belt.

I was wrong.

Or at least I didn’t go about my post-grad job search in the right way. Like most college students, I put everything off until the last minute. For me, the last procrastination stint of my college career was my honors thesis that I needed to complete before graduation. I crammed a year and a half’s work into three months, focusing on that and only that. When it was all over, so was college, and I didn’t have a potential job under my belt like I had always planned on.

After graduation, I was still working the same retail job that had kept me afloat throughout college, but it was only a part-time gig and the hours were horrible during the summer. I was ready for a job that would put the skills I had spent four years learning/paid thousands of dollars to learn to good use. I spruced up my resume, built a decent online portfolio (using their domain, because the post-grad struggle was real and I didn’t want to spend the money on my own), and got to work on applying anywhere that had an opening, whether I met their requirements or not. I did this every day for months. I had a spreadsheet of the places I had applied to, and kept track of when I had followed up with them. More importantly, I finished the entire “Friends” series before I finished applying to jobs. Do you know how many episodes this series has? It was on TV for a decade, I’ll let you do the math.

After two months of literally zero responses, I started to give up. I was jealous of all my friends that got an awesome job after graduation, and comparing myself to them only added to my frustration. The only thing that kept the green monster in me tamed was reminding myself that it was my fault for procrastinating so much.

One day, I talked to my friend who had successfully landed a job in Seattle at a huge Public Relations firm. She told me their Arizona branch was hiring an intern and I should apply, so I did. And after several exhausting months of job searching, I finally got an interview.

I was stoked, even though this was a poorly-paid, part-time internship. I thought this might be my chance. I was confident that I could perform all of the tasks the internship required, and my friend had only amazing things to say about this PR agency. What could go wrong?

I had a preliminary interview with one of their leads and she really seemed to like me and my credentials. She sent me back home and tasked me with writing her a press release over the weekend. I sent it to her, she got back to me a week later and she asked me to come and meet with their general manager that same day. It was short notice, but I didn’t have anything else going on. I waited a few minutes before responding that I would be there so I wouldn’t look so desperate.

When I arrived, the general manager wasn’t ready. I waited for about 20 minutes before she finally came in, and she did not look happy. The interview was awful. She hastily asked me a few questions and I was in the middle of answering one when she stopped me and said that my credentials and past experiences did not qualify me to work there and that I should try looking for a job at web-related agencies instead. She shook my hand and left the room.

I cry when I’m angry or frustrated, so it took a lot of composure to hold off on the tears until I was out of the office and in the elevator. I was angry that this woman didn’t like me, but mostly frustrated that I still didn’t have a job and I’d have to start the job-search process all over again. I continued crying on my drive to In-N-Out, where I got cheese fries, stopped crying, and decided that I was going to do what that woman had told me to do.

And that’s how I found meltmedia.

I think I literally typed “web agencies Tempe” into Google’s search bar and applied that very same night to melt and a few other local places that had popped up. I had very low expectations for all of these applications and didn’t expect to hear back from them, just like every other place I had previously applied to that summer.

A few weeks later, I was in the car after taking my dogs to the vet and I got a phone call from melt’s HR Director, Matt, asking if he could talk to me for a few minutes. I said yes, but I had applied to so many places that night, it took me a while to remember which job this was for. Also, at the time, it did not occur to me that this was a preliminary phone interview.

The phone interview was standard– I was given the basic information, I learned there were dogs roaming around the offices, and that the internship would not only be paid, but well-paid; a key point for a desperate, post-grad, twenty-something. I got called in for a second interview with the entire Marketing team, where I learned exactly what the internship entailed, who I would be working with, and where I got to virtually meet all of the office dogs.

I knew this was a place where I would enjoy what I was doing, where I could put to use all of my college skills, where I could pet all the dogs all the time, and most importantly, where I could continue growing my career path. I sent a follow up e-mail and a hand painted dog card to butter up the Marketing team and patiently waited for the verdict.

Something about my interview or my follow-up worked (or maybe they were just really desperate and needed someone ASAP) because I heard back from Matt a couple weeks later and was offered a three-month internship at melt, which had potential to turn part-time, and possibly even full-time after that. As many know, these are unusual internship circumstances. Of all the internships I worked during my college career, I certainly never had one that was paid and offered the possibility of part-time and/or full-time employment afterward. I eagerly accepted and started a week later.

I worked during the day at melt, and at my retail job at night. Even though I was tired, it was worth it. I was working with genuine and mentoring people, doing something I wanted to do (which ironically fell under the topic of my honors thesis that got me into the no-job conundrum in the first place), and in an environment that nurtured growth. I was treated like an actual employee (unlike many of my past internships), and I worked on actual projects and concepts that we would strategize and implement into our marketing efforts.

After my three-month trial period as an intern was over, I was offered the part-time position, and after a couple of months as a part-time employee, I was offered the full-time position; Almost a year after I had graduated from college. And during those intern months, I only had to get coffee for my boss once– and I had offered to get it!

It wasn’t easy sometimes, but it was truly the internship, and now job, I had always wanted.

Last summer, my friends would tell me that I hadn’t gotten a job because I hadn’t found the right one yet. I would get angry and tell them that the universe wasn’t going to pick a job for me and that I just needed a job, any job, ASAP. I still don’t think the universe picked this job out for me (I worked hard to get here!), but I am so glad I was (barely) patient enough to wait and land a job at meltmedia. It’s an incredible company with great values, awesome people, tons of snacks, lots of dogs, and I never dread coming to work. And I’m not just saying this because they pay me.

Now, I run our social media accounts and am quickly learning the ropes to the rest of our inbound marketing strategies. But for now, whenever you read one of our Facebook or LinkedIn posts, Tweets, look at our Instagram, or watch our Snap Story, remember that I was once a lowly intern and had to endure a summer (and a good chunk of Fall) of tears to get here, but it was all very much worth it.