I'd like to tell you a very short story.
Between January and August of this year, I submitted at least 150 job
applications. About 50 of those came in February, and 100 more came over this
summer. I applied to jobs on both coasts and in the middle, jobs with
nonprofits, government agencies, corporations, Americorps affiliates, you name
This yielded me five interviews, two in person, one over Skype and two on the
phone, none of which resulted in a job. One resulted in a flat-out lie about
whether I was being considered for the position; that was McMaster-Carr. The
others were polite, bland and fruitless.
I've always had a kind of instinctual aversion to networking, because I felt
that it's another form of relying on others to do something I could do myself.
Plus, the idea of yanking on my connection to someone else and producing a
token never appealed to me. I wanted to make it on my own merits, not to get a
job because my parents knew somebody or because my old boss did. That was my
After seven months of frustration, by pure chance, I was invited to a reception
in Cleveland Heights for a local candidate for City Council (her name is
Melissa Yasinow, and you should vote for her if you're eligible to do so) by
the head of a young nonprofit who I'd just met for coffee. I accepted, went to
the reception, met the candidate, met her brother through her, met the head of
another local nonprofit—Global Cleveland—through the brother. The head, Joy
Roller, asked me to come into the office to tell my story of why I'd come to
Cleveland, and I accepted. When I got there three Mondays ago, she offered me a
temporary job as their administrative assistant while they searched for a
full-time candidate; because I'm good at what I do, I soon became the full-time
candidate. Now I'm about to sign a contract that'll pay me an adult sum of
money to do an adult job.
One hundred and fifty job applications, five interviews, no results.
One random connection, three sub-connections in a single night, and a great job
three weeks later.
Networking. Freaking. Works.