Now working as an associate producer for an entertainment company with 7.47 million YouTube subscribers, Alexandria Herring advises grads: Create a LinkedIn account, be concise on resume, start with an internship, meet people, network your way up the ladder, be persistent.
An alumna of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is now an associate producer of a Los Angeles-based production company that creates entertaining and educational videos for a YouTube following of 7.47 million subscribers.
Alexandria Herring graduated from UH Hilo in spring 2014 with a bachelor of arts in communication and a minor in anthropology. She now works her dream job for 2nd Try, LLC, aka The Try Guys. The company recently released their first movie. Last month, Herring on her Instagram says, “Congratulations to the @tryguys for releasing your first movie! ✨🎬 Behind The Try premieres tonight and is available everywhere tomorrow. I’m so proud to work with these amazing guys and our crazy talented team at 2nd Try 💙💜💚♥️ These photos are from the guys’ very first live show in Los Angeles and our time at VidCon 2019 ✨”
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In an interview with the UH Hilo student-led news source Ke Kalahea, the successful Herring shares career advice for UH Hilo graduates, especially those with a degree in communication who are currently navigating their way into the marketplace.
Take those first steps
Herring says after graduating, the first step on a career path is to create a LinkedIn account with a strong profile. “You can make a connection on here with anyone that works in a similar field to what your goal is. Whether you decide to send them a message to start a conversation or just add them as a friend, it’s great for a company that you potentially want to work with to see your name. Companies often post job listings on this site, so it’s an easy way for you to quickly see what’s available and apply.”
She also advises graduates have a “clean and concise” resume that is only one page long, and make a list of five to ten companies they would love to work for. “Make sure to look at the career page on their website every couple of days. This page will have everything from available internships to executive positions. Once they post these job listings they’re bombarded with tons of resumes, so it’s important to get your resume in as soon as possible.”
Herring says students not sure about career choice should remember changes can be made later in life.
“It’s important to carefully consider what you’ll major in, but it’s also important to know that life doesn’t always go according to plan and you might stumble upon a job that you never considered before and really fall in love with.”
Work your way up
She says the first thing she did after graduation was start an internship.
“Right after graduation, I started an internship at a commercial production company in Hollywood,” she says. “At this point I knew nothing about production, so this internship really gave me the basic skills I needed to start working on a film set. I learned how an office runs and how music videos and commercial shoots are planned, which was a whole new world to me! From here I was able to start working on set as a production assistant. It was really intimidating at first to be on a set of 100 people where everyone has been in the industry for years, but it was a great learning experience.”
From there, she worked her way up the ladder, first working as a freelance production assistant where gigs could be one day or a couple of weeks at a time, while holding down a job as personal assistant to a film and TV director in LA. “It was nerve-racking having to juggle two or more jobs at a time,” she says, “but it was a great way to meet a ton of people and learn how the industry works.”
Still working freelance, she moved on to jobs as production coordinator on music videos, taking on more responsibility like hiring crew and finding locations for shoots. She says she worked with many amazing artists but her favorites were with Fifth Harmony and on a Calvin Harris music video with Gigi Hadid.
“Unless you’re a full-time staff member at a production company or studio, a lot of production jobs are freelance, so you book one job at a time,” she explains. “This was a little hard to get used to in the beginning because you don’t have a salary that you can rely on, but it also gives you a lot of freedom, which I learned to love! I was able to choose which days I worked and who I was working with.”
Find the dream job
Persistence paid off. About a year later, Herring was hired as a production manager at BuzzFeed, a news and entertainment company with a focus on digital media and based in New York City. She worked in BuzzFeed’s branded video department where she produced sponsored videos with a large budget.
“I was a huge BuzzFeed fan in college and was often on their website when I should have been studying, so I was absolutely ecstatic to be working there full time,” she says. “It was also the first time in my career when I was able to work with other female producers, writers, and crew members. The production industry in general is very male-dominated and I was often one of the only women on set while working on music videos and commercials.”
This is where she first met The Try Guys and had the opportunity to work on their larger branded series that included travel all around the country: flyboarding in Catalina, dune buggy racing in Pismo Beach, swimming with sharks in Florida, airboat racing in the Everglades, and dog sled racing on a glacier in Alaska. “While in Australia, we shot a series where we explored Australian animals, cuisine, and culture. It was a lot of hard work and planning, but one of my favorite things I’ve ever worked on.”
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Use your skillset
Herring says one of the most important skills she gained while at UH Hilo is how to speak in a professional setting.
“Like most people, public speaking was always nerve-racking for me,” she admits. “When I was able to take a public speaking class and classes that had a very open dialogue, I learned how to conduct myself in a large group and effectively get my point across. This has applied directly to my career and has made me a better producer. I’m now comfortable speaking to large groups of people and often enjoy doing so. This includes running presentations with The Try Guys, coordinating large film crews, and speaking to much larger audiences at conventions like VidCon.”
Herring says there are many career paths for communication majors including video production, public relations, human resources, sales, brand strategist, marketing manager, and party planning.
“A communication degree is really great if you have an idea of the field you might want to work in, but you’re not sure exactly what job you want yet,” she advises.
Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.