Life Post Graduation Part 2: Finding a Job in an Economic Crisis

I recently wrote about my internship and how positive that experience was in my transition from college life to corporate America. Now, I have completed my first week as a salaried employee in the real world. What’s even better? I’m pretty sure I’ve landed my dream job at New Media Strategies.

So how did I do it? Easy – I built up a personal and a digital network, discovered what I was passionate about, and did a lot of research to find a position that would challenge me and fit my criteria for workplace values.

Okay, so it wasn’t that easy. With our economy in its current state, it’s a difficult process to find a great entry-level job. No matter how many times I rewrote my cover letter and reviewed my résumé, getting interviews at companies was practically impossible without help from my friends and network.

For example, I read about New Media Strategies when I first got to D.C. Since I’m slightly obsessed with this new digital era I wanted to connect with others who shared this passion. I checked out the company’s site NOT to look for a job, but to find people. I discovered the blogs of Leslie Bradshaw and Andre Blackman, so I started following them and a few other NMSers on twitter. I reached out to Leslie telling her how I’d just moved here and was always looking for social media events to go to, and we ended up meeting in person at an event a couple of days later.

As my internship reached an end, I noticed that NMS was hiring. I sent a DM to Leslie saying that she had inspired me with some of her recent work and that I was thinking about applying. She quickly responded and told me to e-mail the head of HR, which I did, and here I am!

Yesterday, I was talking to a close friend of mine who is finishing up her CPA and trying to land a job at a big time accounting firm. She’s very smart, organized, experienced, and has a near perfect GPA. And, it doesn’t hurt that both of her parents are respected accountants. Then, she told me she wanted to get a job without using her parents’ networks. While I understand her desire to get a job on her own without any help, I told her that this was no time to be humble and that she should make use of the people she knows, especially with our the entry-level job market as fragile as it is right now.

What do you think? Did I give her the right advice? How did you get your first job after college?

By the way, be sure to check out my new blogroll with a list of my very talented co-workers’ blogs.

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14 thoughts on “Life Post Graduation Part 2: Finding a Job in an Economic Crisis

  1. I totally agree with you. It is really important to play with every card you get. They are never too much. There is no guilt to use parents networks, anyway she should have benefit of it directly or indirectly so many times before…
    However, I think, it is important to be conscious of the privilege it is. If she is that good she will develop the activity around her and so will create jobs for others. And when she will have to give her opinion about an intern or an appliyant, she will have to demonstrate her openmind.

    She is not yet in position to take distance with her social inheritance, but she seems very smart to think about it.

  2. @stetoscope Thanks for your comments! Insightful as always. That’s the second part I added to the conversation I had with my friend. I think a lot of really nice people are worried about using their networks and coming off as needy or selfish. The key is to remember who has helped you, and be willing to help them whenever possible.

    I also like to think of the pay-it-forward mentality – a lot of people helped me get to where I am and I will never forget that, which is why I’ve tried to make it as clear as possible that I’m more than willing to talk to PR students who want advice, for example.

  3. In this economy you’ve got you use what you have, be it a professor, your parents, or some random woman you met on a plane.

    There’s no shame in it- no matter where you are (or who you are- unless of course you’re Paris Hilton or someone close to it) you’re going to have to prove your own worth once you do get that job.

    If you don’t, you risk the reputation of the person who recommended you as well as your job- leaving you worse off than when you started.

    My philosophy – use what you’ve got, use it well, and then make damn sure you do a good job. Now you’re in a position to do the same for others. Like you said, “Pay It Forward”.

  4. Meg —

    Thanks so much for the shouts and the link-love. I am so glad everything worked out, as I was hoping it would.

    Your post is at once inspirational, digitally-yummy and proactive, three things that I hope your readers and friends can take away from it. Connecting online is a must in this day and age — through Twitter, blog posts, linking, IMing, email, pick your flavor — and you have definitely flexed your skills in connecting with me, Andre and NMS.

    Granted, there is a whole host of jobs and individuals out there that function/can function with out a heavy digital component… but (as you well know) even they are turning to blogging, social networking and online communities to listen, learn and participate. I am excited/interested to see how the financial sector uses the web in the coming years, post this major down-turn.

    Let’s make sure to get a coffee/lunch date on the books soon.

    All the very best and, once again, welcome aboard!

    Leslie

  5. Welcome aboard – we’re thrilled to have you at NMS. And thanks for spreading the link love in your blogroll.

    Fwiw: I agree that there’s no shame in using all the resources you have available to find a job. Using your parents’ connections for doing informational interviews is perfectly reasonable, in good times or bad.

  6. I think you gave great advice Meg! Welcome to the DC area, I hope you definitely come out to the myriad of events that take place regularly throughout the week.

    If you are available next Thursday, there is an event called DC Media Makers that I would love to have you come out with me to.

    Thanks so much for reading the blog and following on Twitter!
    Stay tuned for an updated blogroll at Pulse and Signal where you will most definitely be included 😉

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  8. I definitely think you gave your friend the right advice! With our economy the way it is right now, she needs to network and use as many connections as she can. There’s nothing wrong with doing this because it will help out in the long run.

    Congratulations on landing your dream job! It’s great to hear that building personal and digital networks helped you immensely in your search for a job. Hopefully your friend will listen to your advice because it should help her find a great job too.

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