For the past year, I've been scouting for talented students and recent grads who have "rock star" qualities: I seek out bold, articulate job seekers who aren't afraid to be brazen in public.
My newest rockstar is Alec Biedrzycki, a recent grad of Bentley College and current YouTube sensation. After four internships and applying for several full-time jobs without noticeable response from employers, Alec developed a music video resume and uploaded it to YouTube.
Since creating his video last week, Alec has been had over 2,000 views on YouTube, been interviewed by CNN, and received a few calls from potential employers. I asked him to share his experience with us. Here is my interview with Alec.
1. Was this your first attempt at a video? How did you shoot and edit it?
Yes, this was my very first attempt at any sort of video. Hopefully not the last, either… because it was an incredibly fun and worthwhile project for me to undertake. Plus, it provided a great learning experience and much exposure. In regards to the video's production, I put the whole project together in about three days. I woke up on a Sunday morning, mapped out some chords, wrote the song and recorded it on my 8-track player. Filming took place on Monday and Tuesday. I had a rough layout of the cinematography in my head, so it was just a matter of having my sister film me while I lip-synched the song. Then, using my MacBook, I cut and edited the scenes over the original recording. I uploaded it to YouTube and Facebook once it was finished and sent the video out as a cover letter to a few prospective employers.
2. You've worked in four unpaid internships...Any secrets for how to find the best internships? (How did you decide which internship offer to take--if none of them came with compensation?)
Internships are very tricky, especially unpaid ones-- and I think every situation is different. Sometimes employers might take advantage of the fact that you're working for free. Other times, you may get a job offer once the internship expires. Either way, I believe it's important to stay true to a positive work ethic regardless of the situation, since the experience is always worthwhile and positive references always help down the road.
As for how I picked my internships….well, I was a bit naive with my first one. As a sophomore in college, I felt as though at least one unpaid internship was some sort of unwritten requirement in order to land a job in the future. That mindset, coupled with the fact that the interviewers told me I was "perfect" for the position had me sold. In hindsight, I wish I had never told them that I am skilled with PhotoShop-- they had me doing their entire website's graphics throughout the summer. Although I do enjoy drawing, there were so many other responsibilities I could have undertaken to add content to my (non-musical) resume. Instead, I ended up drawing pictures for the whole summer and not participating in any marketing activities.
My most recent internship was initially a paying one. This was particularly ideal because I was also using it for an internship credit class at Bentley University. However, several weeks into the internship my employer lost a major client and had to let the paid interns go. I was in a tricky situation since I needed to work the internship for class credit so I could graduate. So, again I bit the bullet and did work for free. That event was a key inspiration behind the chorus of my song: "So hire me - yeah, yeah. But I won't work for free - no, no."
3. Music video aside, what has been your biggest accomplishment? (And how do you hope to apply these skills or area of expertise in your future day job?)
I feel that my most significant accomplishment was graduating Summa Cum Laude at Bentley. I really try to maintain a humble yet confident image when I present myself, so I was really debating whether to include the Summa Cum Laude bit in the music video or eliminate it. But in the end, I realized it's a noteworthy accomplishment that deserves recognition. I earned it, so there's no shame in mentioning it—plus it will always be an achievement that I will convey to employers. It symbolizes hard work, dedication and (must be humble!) intelligence. Also, it's a culmination of all the projects and activates that I have accomplished during my academic career at Bentley. Essentially, I hope to land a job where I can utilize the academic experiences that earned me Summa Cum Laude.
4. Specificity rules! One of the golden rules of job searching in the Digital Age is to "be specific." How can others help you? And how can you help them? Do you have a target market?
The best way for someone to help me out is too--well--hire me! But that's a long-term way of helping me, because the Music Video Resume only goes so far. The best way for others to help me is to simply reach out to me after seeing the video. "Hire Me" was initially designed to just be a supplement to several of my prospective jobs applications. Since I did not anticipate the fact that the video would spread so quickly over the internet, I did not focus on including channels to reach out to me. So although emailing/twittering/networking may be difficult, I'm hoping that the increased exposure through interviews and coverage will make it easier. I can help others by networking and by continuing to send out my application. The best way for me to help others is to simply work for them and bring value to their company.
What's your ideal job?
My ideal job is an entry level marketing position that provides room for growth. While it may sound relatively broad, it's the truth-- I don't want to limit myself to all the possibilities available. I really enjoy keeping myself busy (part of the reason why I created "Hire Me") so acquiring a job with lots of potential to develop my career path is a must. Other than that, I would also have a preference for a job that encourages creative thinking (although I'm not sure who would disapprove of that). Of course, I would always love to hold a Marketing job in an industry which I enjoy (i.e. Sports, Music, and Video-Games). But as I've learned throughout my internship experiences, it's the process of Marketing that I enjoy most and the product second.
What type of work environment are you looking for in terms of size, work function, and location?
I have no preference to the size of a specific work environment, as long as there's room for growth. Location, however, is a little more difficult. I'd be willing to relocate out of the Boston area eventually, but right now it might not be an option. I just can't afford to live on my own yet, but hopefully I will soon: My dad (who works at home) won't stop singing "Hire Me" and it's driving me nuts.
As far as work function goes, I simply want a position where I can exploit my creative abilities. Solving problems innovatively is something I love to do, and I'm confident that I can bring something unique and valuable to any employer that hires me.
5. What advice do you have for others who try a brazen approach? Is there anything you'd do differently if you were to shoot it again now?
Just be true to yourself. Illustrate your qualifications and confidence in the best way possible. My personality, along with the qualities and achievements I illustrated in "Hire Me" are the attributes that I would bring to a job interview-- except in this case it was a music video for added creativity.
The only one thing that I would change (or in this case add) would be to include more methods in the video through which employers could network with me. That, and my hair-- I should have put some gel in it or something during that first scene. Other than that, I really have no regrets-- I've gotten loads of positive feedback and I'm very grateful for that. And as soon as I land a job, I'll be one happy, dedicated marketer.