Thursday, September 12, 2013

Networking is Freaking Magic

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 it.

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 thought process.

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.


Korinthia Klein said...

Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your new job.

Allison said...

What are you doing at Global Cleveland?
This was both a depressing and uplifting post. I have made almost no LAA progress and I'm about to bust out of this AmeriBubble in 2 months. I'll take the networking advice to heart - although I'm terrible at that type of thing.

Andy said...

Korinthia-thanks! So far so good.

Allison: I'm an administrative assistant, i.e. secretary/front-desk guy/writer and editor for whoever needs me. It's pretty fun, I have to say, as jobs go. Lean on your people back on campus for résumé reviews, connections, advice and whatnot if you aren't already. I wish you luck, because seriously, from what I can tell of the job market, it really is better to be lucky than good. Just remember it only takes one of 'em to make things work for you.

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