As a recent alumna, I thank Georgetown’s alumni and programs like the Georgetown Entertainment and Media Alliance (GEMA) Externship and Hoya Gateway for helping me on my job hunt. Here’s how I utilized Hoya Gateway and the alumni network to land my first job out of college.
I graduated Georgetown in December of 2013 after 3.5 wonderful years at my dream school. I came in wanting to be a senator and became involved with on-campus organizations and internships accordingly. After volunteering and interning at places like the White House, on the hill, and at an embassy, I decided that my true passion lay into entertainment, particularly television. Beginning the summer after sophomore year I interned at media organizations in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, eventually interning at Paramount the summer before my senior year. I’ll be honest, none of these opportunities came around due to a Georgetown alum, however the Georgetown name and my experiences there certainly helped. After graduating in December, I landed my first job at a Hollywood studio seven weeks after my final semester.
This all would not have been possible without Hoya Gateway. How else was I to know what my path would look like? How else could I decide that this was something I wanted to pursue? How else would I know the various options and paths within the entertainment industry and be able to define more clearly my goals?
I conducted over one hundred informational interviews with Georgetown alumni and their friends through using Hoya Gateway, the alumni site, GEMA, and Linked In. I asked what they did, where they worked at, their advice, and their opinion on the states of the industry. I had a standard list of questions I used and made adjustments based on my research of the alumnus. Hoya Gateway provided me with the opportunity to go beyond the phone and meet in person with the alums. Not all alums are involved with GEMA or with a particular alumni group, so Hoya Gateway helps to unite these disparate groups. In a world where we’re engrossed by technology and forget the impact of human interaction, actually going the extra mile and meeting someone in person signals something. It tells the alum that you’re truly interested in learning from them and it tells the student that the alumni cares about them in some fashion. In building a network, there is value to seeing someone, reading their body language, having their full attention, and being able to feel their presence. Sometimes these informational interviews led to follow-ups and mentors, oftentimes they simply enhanced my knowledge of the entertainment industry. Talking with Georgetown alums and in a sense practicing my answers to the commonly asked interview questions about my goals, preparing questions for the alums, helped to put my nerves at ease in actual job interview situations. The job search process was still scary, however I was never uncertain in actually interviewing due to the practice I had with Hoya Gateway. I credit my job however to the kindness of a Georgetown alum and her introduction of me to a friend who recommended me for the position. I doubt that I would have found out about the position without the mention from the friend.
Very few people are confident that their chosen path is exactly the one for them. That’s why talking it through with alumni and hearing their opinions is helpful. They ask helpful questions that make you really have to articulate and therefore know why you want to do your choice. It is scary to take that first step and reach out to an alumnus, however it is completely worth it. They signed up to give their time to meet you and help you. You have nothing to lose by learning something about an industry you’re potentially interested in and meeting someone who will hopefully become invested in you.
Hoya Gateway was fun. It was great hearing about others’ futures and envisioning my own while meeting a new mentor. It is important to make these calls and face-to-face meetings valuable by identifying your goals, telling your stories, and be willing to learn something new or change your mind. I’m not sure that there are any special tricks to a successful Hoya Gateway encounter, besides signing up, contacting the alum, and showing up. Although thank you cards are always helpful!
Georgetown goes far in any industry and there are plenty of alums willing to help and listen to your goals and fears. It’s up to the students to reach out and take the first step. It’s totally worth it. Hoya Saxa!
Gabrielle Gold (C’14)