A Class That Changed The Trajectory Of My Life Forever

On December 7th, I sent the following email to all three of the men that had interviewed me:
Based on our conversations, I hope you will consider a new option that we did not discuss. It was a pleasure meeting with each of you. I greatly appreciated the time you took giving me such thorough consideration. Throughout the process and since, it became clear that the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is the organization that I want to work for.
So, I propose that you hire me as a paid intern for the 2010 legislative session. This experience would give you the benefit of having another person working to achieve your organization’s goals.
Furthermore, my educational and employment background which includes extensive researching, multiple draft writing and foreseeing potential concern will also benefit your organization. My ability to write and file amicus briefs on behalf of Chamber members will also help the general business community in the State of Minnesota.
There were many areas within the Education and Workforce Development and Health Care Policy groups that interested me greatly. During the 2010 Legislative session there is going to be a lot of work to do in these groups, including getting alternative licensing for teachers approved, monitoring of the federal health care debate, implementing the 2008 state health care reforms and reviewing another “Minnesota Miracle” that is going to be introduced.
I hope you will accept this proposed 6 month internship. I believe it will benefit everybody involved.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Cecilia Retelle
Aggressive, yes. But what happened next was even better.
Tom responded the same day with, “Cecilia, Thanks for the proposal.  We will think about it and get back to you in a couple of weeks.”
I was happy they responded at all.
Lockin’ it up
Then on December 17th, Tom called again. This time he wanted to schedule a time the next day for me to come in and meet with a couple people on the team. I thought it was to discuss the proposal. I don’t think I slept that night.
The next morning I went into the Chamber, sat with Tom in the conference room, and waited for another attendee. When he arrived he asked Tom, “did you tell her?” He responded with, “no, we were waiting for you.” I just sat there waiting for someone to tell me what was going on.
They then said, “We really appreciated your proposal. You’re going to be a great lobbyist. However, we don’t want to hire you as an intern. We want to hire you for the position you originally applied for. When can you start?”
I was ecstatic and confident that I was not going to let them down. Now I just had to figure out how to be a “lobbyist.” Luckily, I was surrounded by an amazing team that no doubt took a chance on hiring me.
My advice on getting your first job

  • Differentiate yourself
  • Be persistent
  • Do your homework!

Cecilia Retelle is the co-founder & chief operating officer of goranku.com, a discovery engine for online degrees from traditional (or non-profit) universities. The startup is funded by Mark Cuban. She has a law degree from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. Her previous posts on TippingTheScales.com:
Was My JD Worth It? How Did I Even Get Here?
Yinged When I Should Have Yanged
After Failing The Bar, A Crisis of Confidence But Also Redemption

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