My daughter Sarah just started her first internship in the writers office on a great television show. She was excited but really nervous because she hadn’t done anything like it before. I sat down with her and gave her some advice on what to do and what not to do in order to be a rock star and get invited back or even be offered a job. Truth is, these tips work for anyone starting an entry-level position, paid or not. So all you interns, production assistants, office assistants, etc, these are for you. Who knows, by this time next year, you could be up on the next rung of the ladder and someone else will be making the coffee.
1. Be 10 minutes early… to everything.
2. Be upbeat. Smile casually and make eye contact with everyone – learn everyone’s name and use them.
3. Be willing to do any job that needs to be done – with enthusiasm.
4. Be curious. Ask questions if you don’t know something. Make sure you’re not interrupting, but make sure you’re doing a task right.
5. Be the first one in and the last one to leave (if your school schedule permits).
6. Be ambitious. Always ask for more work whenever you’re finished with a job. Ask if you can organize something that you noticed is messy – a closet or bookcase or pantry shelves.
7. Be considerate. Ask for career advice only when the person has a free moment and seems open to helping.
8. Be fun to be around while still doing your job well. Have a sense of humor. Someone once said, "take your work seriously but don’t take yourself seriously."
You can find these and other tips in my book, Hollywood Game Plan: How to land a job in Film, TV or Digital Entertainment.
Director of WGA's Showrunner Training Program, creator & Director of the CBS Diversity Writers Mentoring Program, international speaker and a leading expert on entertainment career strategies, Carole Kirschner teaches creative professionals how to navigate the often mystifying landscape of show business. Her book, Hollywood Game Plan: How to Land a Job in Film, TV and Digital Entertainment is a primer on how to break in and move up in the entertainment industry. Through her popular workshops, Carole teaches writers, producers, directors and executives the real world strategies that will help them not just succeed, but thrive.