Job Seeker Blog
The Successful Job Search-A New Graduate's PerspectiveLeslie Friedman, University of Colorado - Boulder-Class of 01'Forget location, location, location. The new catchphrase should be “network, network, network.” From classifieds to career centers, internships to informational interviews, I found my job search completely inconclusive. Then, I took the one action that would change my attitude and my approach…I picked up the phone.
Now, I know it sounds easy, but it’s not. “Hi, my name is so-and-so, and I know you because my mother’s sister’s ex-husband’s father said you might give me some good insight. Sound far-fetched? It’s amazing how responsive someone is when you can make even the slightest connection.
My mom once worked for a health insurance company. The man who did marketing for that company had since moved on to head up a non-profit publishing association.
Now, I graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism but had dabbled in the thought of writing some magazine articles. I heard the word “publishing” and my eyes lit up. “Hi, Mr. Smith, my name is Leslie and you used to work with my mom at Health ‘R Us. She suggested I give you a call because I know you’re in the publishing industry and I’ve always been interested in writing for a magazine. Do you have a minute to talk?” Silence…oh gosh, does he even remember my mom, did I dial the right person, why should he help someone like me, who am I anyway and what if ??!! –
“Leslie! Oh yes, I loved working with your mom. (More words of praise, followed by some anecdotes, followed by some more brief chit-chat). So, what can I do for you, Leslie?”
Why was I calling again? Oh yeah.
I informed him I was hoping to get a foot in the door to the publishing industry because it is something in which I had always been interested.
“I actually used to head up a non-profit organization and know they happen to be looking to hire a part-time assistant right now. But, now I’m working for a PR Firm and they are also looking to hire someone part-time.”
This was too good to be true. In an attempt to control my excitement, I quickly wrapped up our conversation, thanked him profusely for his help, and hung up the phone. I composed myself, picked the phone right back up and made the first of two calls about to earn me my first jobs in the real world.
No, I don’t have the traditional 9-5 job. I have two of them. I see this as twice the connections and twice the learning experience.
So, what important information can you glean from my one experience?
-Make a connection. Name drop! People tend to lend you a bit more credibility when you come recommended. It doesn’t matter how distant or implausible it may seem, as long as there is common ground, someone is bound to want to help you.
-Know what you want. Prepare what you’re going to say to the person on the other end, and be firm in your desires/goals.
-Just do it. If you call and get no response, you’re no worse off than you were to start. But, chances are, someone will care what you have to say.
-Be open! Not every first job out of college will be traditional. In fact, strive to be untraditional! Being open to new ways of doing things may land you in a place that far exceeds your expectations.
Job-searching is not easy, but find unconventional ways to approach an otherwise grueling process and you just may find yourself employed.