Career Advice from Kelly Cutrone
On reality TV, from MTV's The Cityand The Hillsto her new show on Bravo, Kell on Earth, Kelly Cutrone is known for telling it like it is and getting the job done. As the founder and CEO of People's Revolution, a top fashion PR company with offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Paris, Cutrone organizes major fashion shows around the world and overseas the public relations for clients ranging from designer Jeremy Scott to Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
In her new book, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You, Cutrone shares personal stories and offers practical advice to encourage readers to figure out what they really want to do and to go out there and do it. She chatted with AOL Find a Job about why she wrote the book, what to do when you're unemployed, and how to nail a job interview.
What compelled you to write this book?
I think that most people wait to get this information until they're 40 or 45, and by then they've lost a lot of opportunity. My whole thing is, What do you want to do? Forget what society wants you to do. What do you want to do? Do you want to be a logger? Do you want to go live in the rain forest with the shaman? Do you want to be a Playboy bunny? Do you want to be a house mom? Whatever. Figure it out, because there's a gazillion people in this world who are going through the motions who don't even want to be who they are, where they are. If you're doing a job because that's what your parents wanted you to do, it's a waste of your life.
What's your advice for the unemployed?
They should become willing to do whatever it takes at this point. I think that they have to be willing to take a job that they hadn't anticipated, whether it's being a nanny or a bartender. If you want to work in the arts, which is my specialty and experience, you're going to have to hunker down and hold on, because these industries are having a hard time right now. Most of them are not hiring.
What should someone who's interning do to get the most out of the experience?
The most important thing about internships is you have to be as painstaking in picking your internship, maybe even more so, than you were in picking your college. There are some people who might want to go to Harvard, but they don't have the funds and they don't have the grades, so they can't go there. But if you're in the workplace and you want an internship, you could technically go to the Harvard of a brand that you want to work with.
You want to leave an internship with a ba-bam résumé so that you will be able to go into a job interview -- say you work in finance -- and say, "I worked with three venture capitalists, here they are"; or if you work in media, say "I worked at Viacom, I worked at NBC." That makes a difference, because all of a sudden you've literally usurped the energy of that brand.
What are your tips for writing an effective cover letter?
Figure out the busiest time of the industry that you want to work in and apply for a job six weeks before that, because that's probably when these people are hiring. If you do have a thing for entrepreneurs, indie filmmakers, or wacky businesswomen like me, send them a cool letter. If you're trying to get a job at IBM, that's probably not going to help you. The letter should be fine-tuned to the place and brand you're sending it to.
I also think that (for internships and entry-level positions) cover letters should be sent to the assistants, not the boss. The assistant is going to be the person that goes to the boss and tells them that they need to hire another person.
If you ace the cover letter and get the interview, how do you nail it?
People are looking for an energy and a point of differentiation; they're looking for a connection. Figure out why you're there and make it seem like that's all you want to do. If your goals are highly ambitious and beyond the job that you're applying for, keep it a secret.
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