Making Connections


My first day walking into the building of the large newspaper organization, I couldn’t hide my excitement. Even the prospect of being issued an ID card got my heart beating faster. For me, a photo ID card (a washed-out, DMV-style photo, nonetheless) was a sign of legitimization: I was starting a real internship at a real, respected news organization. There were times when I fantasized about this moment, with images of Rory Gilmore flashing through my head.

I was introduced to about 30 people—some of whose names I can recall at a moment’s notice—and to my cubicle desk. I count myself a lucky intern, since I have a beautiful view of the KOIN Center from my fourth floor window.

The KOIN Center, as seen from the desk of PDXSXer, Allie Gavette

Upon settling into my home for the next couple months, I learned a few important lessons—one of them being that connections are everything.

The first few days of my internship, my supervisor was away at the 34th annual International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) conference in New York City, where she was able to do some networking with high-profile foodies from around the nation—from renowned restaurant owners to food magazine editors to cookbook writers. Having just co-written a cookbook, she found the writing workshops especially beneficial. My supervisor told me that although it’s expensive to attend these conferences, it ends up being worth the price since the networking opportunities are priceless.

I realized that through her, I am now part of an extended network of these people—sort of a “six degrees of separation,” if you will. This realization just gives me all the more reason to make a great impression at my internship and make it possible for my supervisor to give a positive and honest review of what I can do in the workplace.  Now I’m looking forward to creating relationships here that will last long after my graduation in June.

Allie Gavette

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11 Responses to Making Connections

  1. shanabeet says:

    Great post! I find the process of networking is so nerve racking, especially since we’re all just starting out in the PDSX program. I found myself questioning how much to say to people at the office this week before knowing what their buttons were and who to approach about what. I think there is definitely something to be said about laying low in the office for the first week or two. But, there is also something to be said about establishing strong connections right away.
    It sounds like you’re doing a good job of building bridges and keeping them intact. WIsh I had the same ability to remember names after the first day!

  2. pdxsx says:

    Great first post, Allie! And you’re right, networking is going to be one of the most valuable aspects of your PDXSX!

    Cheers,
    ~J

  3. Allyson Will says:

    I totally related to your story about getting issued the ID card. I too felt the same way about getting my ID/building access card. It seems almost silly that a small piece of plastic can build an entire bridge between student life and real life. While you compare your photo to a washed-out DMV photo, I can only help but feel jealous. My access ID came ready to go with a washed-out photo of rocks on a beach. Regardless, I am glad that someone also found such excitement in their ID card as I did.
    In response to your section about making connections, one of the reporters at my internship told me some great insight the other day. He told me that while interns worry so much about making great connections with their superiors, it ultimately goes both ways. The reporter explained that everyone in the work place also hopes that the intern has a compatible personality that they can imagine one day being a part of their team. His final comment was that while it is so important to make relationships within the work force, to never be anyone but yourself because ultimately they will want to hire someone that is a great personality fit for their company.
    Congrats on your internship!

  4. wilsonemily says:

    Great first post! I definitely agree that networking and making those connections in the field are essential to succeeding as a journalist; especially as you look ahead to after your internship in June!

    Best of luck,
    Emily

  5. alysha12 says:

    I like your reference to the Gilmore Girls! I am a fan myself and know what you mean as far as feeling like Rory at her first news internship. I’m also realizing the importance of meeting people and making connections. Some organizations just don’t have the money to hire their interns, but the people you meet have great connections at other companies that are hiring.

    I attended the UO Career Center’s seminar on informational interviewing last week and learned that the best way to find a job is by networking and making connections because people you meet can refer you to people in their professional networks. And companies prefer to hire within their company or hire someone who was referred to them. So people who go into a job interview with referrals and connections have a significant advantage over those who go in as strangers.

  6. rkaapu says:

    Allie,
    What a fabulous first post! I most enjoyed the section in the post about receiving your ID card; it is an exciting moment at a new job! On my first day, when I received my ID card and elevator pass, I was overjoyed. It made me feel like an official employee and that is a wonderful feeling.

    I was surprised to read that your supervisor was out of town for the first few days. It must have been interesting to navigate your new workplace without her. I really counted on my supervisor on my initial days and I can’t imagine having done it without her. Congratulations and keep up the good work!
    Rachael

  7. michelletag says:

    Great post, Allie! It gave a good overview of what your experience has been like so far. The fact that you learned something the first day you were there is great. I always strive to learn something new at my internship each day.

    Along with everyone else, I received an ID card as well! I don’t quite understand why it makes us interns feel so official, but it does. I look forward to reading more about your PDXSX experience.

    -Michelle

  8. You are right on the mark, Allie. Connections and relationships are everything in every industry, but especially in Journalism and Communications. Congratulations on being given the opportunity to network with this well connected woman. My mantra at every place I work is ‘make yourself indispensible.’ When your supervisor sees that you’re willing to go the extra mile, she’ll be more likely to find more opportunities for you and keep track of your career path after you leave your internship. Have a great term and salud from San Francisco!
    ~ Anneka

  9. codynewton says:

    I didn’t get an ID card! Nah, I’m kidding. Even without an ID card I love my internship so far. Great first post Allie. I really like how you were able to make the connection that you – in a way – now have access to most the people your supervisor has. It sounds like your supervisor is a big deal in her field, which is great for you!

    I’m really excited for all of us to be working and mingling with so many people, in so many great positions. And the fact that we’re all meeting important people and we all know each other now makes our network even larger.

    Good luck with everything Allie!

  10. asharonson says:

    Great post, Allie! It sounds like you have an amazing internship (with an amazing view). Your boss is right, networking relationships are priceless and are very important for all levels of employment. It is important to keep an open mind when networking with people in and outside of your office.

    I look forward to hearing more about your great internship and seeing more pictures from your amazing view. Again, great job!

  11. That’s awesome you’re all ready making connections so early in internship, especially at a large oganization like you’re at. I’m sure those networking tools will come in handy towards the end of your internship!
    I’m having a hard time making connections with others in my office mainly because I my cublicle isn’t located that near any other employees other than my supervisor. I’m sure over the next nine weeks I’ll have to venture outside my cublicle area and get to know better the others in my department.
    Making connections is such an important part of the job search that most of us will be starting soon, I feel lucky to have the chance to join networks and create positive relationships that will hopefully lead to job opportunities after graduation.
    Great example of what our posts shoudl look like!

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