How to go from unpaid intern to corporate leader

Corvaya Jeffries, Adorned Photography

Journalism. It’s my jam. It’s what I consumed as a kid. It’s what I majored in during undergrad. It’s the industry I’ve committed the most time to. It’s what paid the bills for an entire decade. As a twenty-something, it was my bread and my butter. 

I started from square one: unpaid intern. 

Just recently, I signed a new contract with Hearst Television as a Digital Strategist. 

But how did I go from an unpaid intern to a corporate leader who has been promoted, championed and sought after, now working for media giants? I believe a large part of my professional growth has been because of intangibles.

Whoever you are, in whatever industry you’re in, you need the intangibles to truly succeed. “Intangibles” are things that cannot be purchased or physically held.

  • Intangible 1: Authenticity
  • Intangible 2: Follow Through
  • Intangible 3: Gratitude

I’ll break those down for you.

💯 Authenticity: I stayed honest about every phase in my career when networking. For example, I didn’t shy away from telling others what I didn’t know or where I haven’t been because I’d frame it in a way that made it clear I wanted to learn and experience new worlds. 

📩 Follow Through: I am known for following up and following through. For me, this comes easy. I tell my mentees and coaching clients all of the time: Have enough respect for someone who has helped you or taught you something to follow up with them about what you learned and maybe, what you did, with what you learned. Then send updates. 

🙏🏾 Gratitude: I remained grateful for small and big wins. This is something I’ve gotten better at and continue to practice. For example, I once had an amazing coworker who offered to grab me coffee when he was headed to Starbucks. That was our working relationship. Coffee runs. I also had a manager who offered me a new job as she moved forward in her career and earned promotions. To the average person, the manager is more important than the coworker. After-all, all the coworker did was grab me a coffee every now and then. The manager offered me a whole job! But to me, they are the same. I would not have grown in my career without the contributions of both angels.

So that’s all?

No, but this blog post can go on forever. With those intangibles, you can achieve SO much in your career.

For resources that can help you do what I did and grow professionally, join over 300 women who have already subscribed to How I Did That, the newsletter where I share a little about a lot.

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