In the 9 months since I graduated college, I applied to, networked with, or met with 60 different companies in search of full-time employment. Some were random cold applications from job boards, while others were connections made by close friends.
Finally, I got the job.
So after all that, what did I do so right this time?
I wish I had some big magic secret, but of course, I don’t. This was the culmination of a lot of work—and a lot of waiting for the right position to present itself.
I talked before about not settling for just any opportunity. So, how did I know this one was “special” enough to sign on? (I mean, besides them offering me a job.) Here are a couple reasons:
The Old Faithful
If you’ve recently gotten a job or are still looking, I know one phrase you are sick of hearing. You’ve heard it from mom and dad, aunts and uncles, your family friends, professors, maybe a stranger or two, and, well, me: “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.”
I think that statement overlooks how important acquiring skills and experience is. On the other hand, many of my most positive interactions came from networked connections.
The position I accepted (and started! No time wasted) came from a meeting set up by a friend. She knew the company was looking to expand and was kind enough to introduce me. From there, plenty still needed to happen to make sure the fit was right. However, my friend making this introduction really went in their favor.
When someone connects you with an employer, he or she vouches not only for you but also for the company. A friend you trust won’t let you walk right into a bad situation if they can help it. That means a lot.
A short time before this opportunity presented itself, I interviewed for a position with another company I thought would be the one. I had some valuable recommendations, and the interview went really well. They told me I’d hear from them in a week.
Seventeen days later, I hadn’t heard anything so I reached out. They responded with a boilerplate email that simply told me they hired another candidate. As a young person looking to further my career, I politely asked if there was something I could have done to better my chances. I never heard back.
With the job I just booked, the company was always forthright and honest. Even as snowstorms threatened my interview AND my first day (seriously, Mother Nature? I needed a job!), they were quick and direct with me—at all times of day. Every touch I had with them was as polite and helpful as any of the other 59 companies had ever been.
When you’re thinking of accepting a job, take into account how smoothly the interview process went. After all, you shouldn’t be the only one worried about making a good first impression. If a company doesn’t “woo” you well enough, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the job. However, things like communication breakdowns may be symptomatic of your future experiences there.
In the end, I accepted a position that is newly created and very vague. Those could be warning signs, but thanks to the company’s culture and personality (plus, my genuine interest in the industry), I know that it will prove to be right move for me.
How did you know your job was right for you? Share with us!