There was a time where I was out of a job for a while and really didn’t know what to do with myself. Looking back I cannot believe how lucky I got and how many little factors played a vital role in this major accomplishment. If any of the little pieces weren’t there, I would be in a totally different situation right now. It reminds me of the children’s story “All because the little bird went Kah-Choo” where one little sneeze cause a large series of events.
Built a (n impressive) Resume
I started off like any other person looking for work. I put together a resume to the best of my ability. I didn’t have much to put on it but I made myself seem like an impressive candidate for any job by highlighting skills and accomplishments of mine from college and side jobs that I held. I was president of the Marketing club as well as the president of another less impressive club but those things look good on a resume. I created all marketing materials for the clubs, organized and ran all the events and best of all, I increased participation by 500% (it’s not hard when participation starts out at close to nothing).
I knew it was bad to have a resume that just ended without a present position so I started a company to put down for my present position. I didn’t get very far with the company but I get some experience and a nice piece of filler for my resume.
Online Job Finders
I created a profile for myself on every job finder site that I knew of including the big 3 (at the time) Monster, CareerBuilder and Hotjobs. I uploaded my resume and then created searches that would come right to my inbox every day. I would spend a good hour each day just looking through the jobs and applying to anything that looked even a little interesting. Later I began to apply to just about anything. I would create cover letters to go along with my resume for the more interesting jobs and just hit “quick apply” to all the others.
Conferences, Tradeshows (click through to article on conference highs) and Networking
I went to local conferences and tradeshows that were in the marketing and advertising fields and looked around to see what was out there for me. I was always amazed at the new technology and forms of marketing and advertising that came out each year. Each new idea I saw gave me an idea for something else from new ways to apply this new technology to something that can work hand in hand with it. I would spend most of my time networking by speaking to the representatives from each of the companies exhibiting, finding out what they do, how they do it and if they have or know of any jobs. I also spent some time collecting all the cool swag everyone was giving out.
I didn’t know it then but networking is probably the best way to get anything done. Every person that you speak to can give you at least a little information or something that you will be able to use. Even if they don’t, you have nothing to lose.
I started to meet with other people that were out of work and asked them what they were doing about it. We would share stories and let each other know of opportunities that they have come across. One person I spoke to told me to sign up for a certain Yahoo group that usually has a couple job postings each day. In general they aren’t typically what I would be looking for but it might be a start. I signed up for the group and started to skim through all the posts each day as they arrived in my inbox. Sometimes more than once a day which caused me to check my email on an hourly basis.
After weeks of looking each day, I found what looked like a diamond in the rough. It was a position to do marketing for an outreach organization. I got very excited since that might have been exactly what I had been looking for. I sent in my resume and called a little later to follow up. I got extremely excited when I was called in for an interview. I was a little less excited when I found out that the interview was not with the company but was with a headhunter who was looking to fill the position. I still looked at it as a major positive since I felt like I was finally going somewhere.
The Headhunter was impressed and immediately set up an interview for me with the company later that same day. The interview with the company went well but I found out that the marketing was really telemarketing which was not something I had any desire to do. I ended up taking the job anyway since I really needed something to do and a way to pay my bills. The job was pretty much cold calling executives of major companies and corporations and setting up meetings for them with people from my organization.
I wasn’t very happy with the job and decided to leave. I gave the headhunter a call and told him about my experience and asked if he had anything else that better matched what I was looking for. He said that I should come back into his office because one of his colleagues just received a position that sounded like a much better fit.
The job was for a marketing firm that was looking to replace an employee that had been there for ten years. I didn’t think that I had enough experience but I went for it anyway. My interview went well and I got very excited after learning about some of the clients that the firm had as well as some of the events that they organized. I was called back for a second interview where I met with the CEO who gave me a complete interview. He asked me about my writing skills and then told me to write a press release that my company (that I started to fill my resume) was exhibiting for the first time at one of his tradeshows.
As soon as I got home that day I researched how to write a press release (thanks Google) and got to work. When I was finished I sent the press release to some friends to get their opinions and find out how I can fix it up. When I was finally done, I sent off the press release to the CEO and then held my breath. I made sure to send it to him the same day as he asked for it to show that I was serious and a hard worker.
In the meanwhile, I was introduced to someone who was high up in another company that was looking to create a marketing department. We spoke for a little while and then he gave me a person to call at the company to set up an interview. I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket at a time so I went for an interview with this company to see what they had to offer.
I met with three different people at this company and then they offered me a job right away. I told them that I had to think about it and I would get back to them within the week. It was a good position but I thought that the first position would be a better opportunity. I called the first company to follow up and left a message with the secretary. I called again the next day and made it through to the CEO’s voicemail. The week was slipping by very quickly and I needed to give the second company an answer or I might have been out of two jobs. That motivated me to really push the first company to give me an answer and I finally left a message that I had another offer and would be taking it if I didn’t hear back from him. Looking back, that was probably the best thing I could have done since he called me back later that day and asked me to come in again for another meeting. He made me an offer for my salary and we negotiated benefits and by the end of the meeting he shook my hand and told me he would see me on Monday. I didn’t yet accept the job but I guess my new boss was pretty confident that I would.
That Monday turned out to be my first day at the new job. A somewhat unpleasant surprise was that they had me doing sales full time for the tradeshows that they organize. Even though I wasn’t thrilled about doing sales I was still happy to be with the company. I took every opportunity to help out with anything going on in the company. I seemed to be the only person that knew anything about computers or IT (click through to how I learned IT) so I became the company IT department. I also helped out with the tradeshow management and programming. To top it off, I found multiple ways to save the company money and increase profits.
Three months later I was promoted to VP of Marketing and Sales. I ended up with the job but the most important part was the entire experience that got me to where I am.
I am a typical person more or less that has always tried to get away with doing the absolute minimum to get by. In school, I did my assignments last minute, I barely passes some of my tests, I crammed for everything and didn't care about retaining any information. I always wanted to be successful and get lucky but my problem was that I thought that luck and chance were synonymous. One day, all that changed when i found out that there was more to "Luck". I learned that it was possible to make your own luck and that people that were "lucky", all had very similar characteristics. I made a conscious decision to become one of those lucky people and the world started to open up. It didn't happen overnight and I'm still not there yet but at least I know what to look for and what to do. Recognizing the opportunities to get lucky is only the beginning of the battle. Now I have to train myself to jump on every opportunity and one day be truly "lucky".
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