first job

A TV Junkie's Success Story: Turning an Internship into a Job in LA

In light of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, I’ll put it this way, I’m the 1%. But unlike the target of the Occupy Wall Street movement, I realize how lucky I am – I got a job in my industry while still studying at Syracuse. It’s rare in television to have this happen because unfortunately the TV model isn’t built to allow students, even the very bright ones – and there are a lot of them at this University – the opportunity to intern, prove themselves, leave for six months to wrap up a degree, and then return to a job. It’s because in Hollywood, most of the entry-level jobs are ones that need to be filled in a day’s time. Unless they’re giving you the corporate jet, you ain’t making that kind of commute in time.

Andrew Graham, Newhouse '12

However, despite the TV model, this feat can be pulled off, and it’s not about accepting internships but rather vetting them. A lot of students are in the habit of just getting an internship for the sake of having a professional company to put onto their LinkedIn profile or a resume. And while having a few internships on your resume is important, it’s not nearly as important as making sure you’re lining yourself up for a quality internship in which you’ll have the opportunity to be an integral part of the day-to-day operations. That last part really is the secret to nabbing the job: don’t take any internship in which you’re completely expendable. I’m saying this from experience; I’ve been there and it was my fault for not fully investigating the company, its culture, and seeing where I might fit in.

I’m writing this of course from the perspective that you’re a bright All-American go-getter who’s got chutzpah and is ready to pull yourself up by your own boot straps, and since you’re reading this on the SU Career Services blog, then chances are that you probably fit that criteria. I say this because if you’re not ready to throw yourself 150% into every project, then obviously it doesn’t matter what company you’re at, it’ll never work out.

Some of this involves being at the right place at the right time, but it’s more about knowing what to look for. So, to give you somewhere to start, below are three things I’ve learned to look for through my experience in both good and bad internships.

1) Is this the right environment? When you go in for your interview, look around at the other interns. Are there a lot of them or a few? Are they just hanging around on Facebook or hard at work? How about the guy/girl who interviews you, what does their mood seem like? Ask a lot of questions about what you’ll be expected to do. Remember, you’re going to work here.

2) Is their growth in this company? Look at their development slate and see who they’re talking to and what they’ve sold. Talk to the interviewer about their projects; if they’re not developing or selling much, then there’s probably not a lot of room to grow and likely the company isn’t worth your time as an intern.

3) Be aware of company mandates. MTV is a great company, has a strong brand, lots of growth and largely happy interns. Seems like the perfect place, right? Maybe not. No Viacom company will hire without a degree. I actually heard a story about someone interviewing for a SVP position that was turned down because he didn’t have a degree. Is a company like this worth your time then as an intern? You make the call.

If you are able to land an internship at a company that has growth + genuinely needs you in order to operate day-to-day, then you stand a large chance of scoring a job. It’s harder than it sounds, but simpler than people make it out to be. Be selective about where you work and then give that company that’s given you a shot your all. Best of luck!

Andrew Graham currently works for Bogner Entertainment Inc., a production company with an overall deal at FremantleMedia. Follow him on Twitter @MistaGraham.

By the way, Bogner Entertainment Inc. is looking for interns for the spring! Interested parties can visit them online at and send resumes and cover letters to

Employer Spotlight: How SU alum Nick Martin launched a career at City Year

by Nick Martin, SU ’09

My wardrobe mostly consists of Orange t-shirts, not necessarily my favorite color, but an indicator of my Syracuse pride.  At Syracuse University I majored in International Relations, International Security and Diplomacy, with a geographic concentration in the Middle East and a minor in Communications and Rhetorical Studies.  Obviously, I chose my major based on the length of its name.  Joking aside, my addiction to current events and news grew exponentially throughout my college career.  In selecting the major that I did, I made the decision to not turn a blind eye to the many pressing issues we see in our global community every day.

First steps after college…

I finished my degree in International Relations and merged my personal passion for volunteerism into a pursuit of a humanitarian career path.  I committed to a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA(Volunteer in Service to America) with the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay in Disaster Services.  I worked to improve emergency preparedness efforts and relations in 145 communities through the execution of a strong liaison program with government, volunteer community, and non-profit partners.  I was responsible for leading a team of Red Cross responders in over 26 local disaster scenes, assisting more than 150 individuals with disaster relief services.

The experience stretched me out of my comfort zone, humbled me beyond belief, taught me how to utilize my untamed passion for impactful good and showed me the path I wanted to follow when my year was up and beyond.

Turning My Passion into a Career

My year of service ended in Boston on a Friday and I started at City Year the following Monday in New York City.  I now proudly serve as an Admissions Manager at City Year for a regional team based out of New York.  Every 26 seconds, a student gives up on school in America; we can’t ignore this crisis.  High school dropouts are three times more likely to be unemployed and eight times more likely to be in jail or prison.  I’m propelled by this challenge and more importantly the successes of our efforts.

City Year is a national organization that partners with schools to improve the chances that students will graduate from high school.  We focus on neighborhoods where 50% of the students are at risk for dropping out and have strong evidence our programs are working.  As the Admission Manager I recruit, interview, and hire idealist, 17 to 24 year olds, to give a year of their lives to serve full-time in some of America’s most under-served schools.  We provide critical services like tutoring and after-school programs, giving students the role models they need and making the schools more engaging places to learn.

I share in the City Year founding vision that one day every student will turn to his/her peer and ask the common question, “Where are you doing your year of service?”  I applied to City Year because so many of the ominous issues we see in our global community can be directly tied to education.  I encourage you to answer the call to service and put more Orange in our Red Bombers.

For more information about City Year, please visit