One of the more important things any prospective/graduating job seeker can gather from a series like “Real Jobs”, is simply…how does someone get to where they’re at?
My route is a bit of a different story from the relatively frustrating(if you haven’t been so lucky) “I had a friend of a friend that put in a good word for me”. Sometimes, we have interests that fall outside our scope of social and extended contacts. Left to fend for ourselves in the ether of online resume submissions and often hopeless attempts at establishing human contact within the HR department of our “dream” employer, it’s often an uphill battle.
But there is hope. As a communications major with an interest in establishing the next great ad campaign (I took Advanced Advertising at BC where we competed in a campaign contest among Northeast schools with Coke as our client), I set out applying to all the big firms in NYC – BBDO, DDB, Young and Rubicam, among others. I made some decent progress here, landing a few informational interviews, getting some face time with hiring managers, etc. I had interned during my senior year at Arnold Worldwide on the ESPN Mobile/Fantasy properties – a sheer stroke of luck – so at least I had some familiarity with the business. But, when applying for entry level advertising positions, you often don’t know what client you’ll be working on. It could be Pampers, it could be ESPN or Nike, etc. Fortunately, I was offered a job at OMD, a media strategy/buying agency (thanks to Hotjobs.com)…and accepted it to work on the eBay.com business. I liked it enough, but to me, it wasn’t quite as glamorous as Mad Men makes it out to be.
8 months down the line…casually checking one of the many jobs e-mails I had set up for myself from Careerbuilder.com, Hotjobs.com, Monster.com, etc., one listed an ESPN position open. This was my proverbial “needle in a haystack”. A few interviews, and several intricately woven sports references later, and I was in. Four years later, I’m happy where I’m at, still learning every day, in a field that I’m passionate about. And, it’s all due to Careerbuilder.com.
This was all before the advent of LinkedIn. Which brings me to my next point. If you’re not on it, that should be your very next move. Fill out your profile, and fill it out wisely — choose keywords that describe yourself using the language of whatever industry you desire to be in. Often times its not a “person” that finds you, but an algorithm designed to search out keywords that are on your profile…but, it only takes one more step to get to someone who can hook you up with where you want to be.
Other things that great resources for information in my particular industry:
Sports Business Daily: http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily.aspx
Cynopsis Media: http://cynopsis.com/
…and after enduring several Patriots Super Bowls during my time in Boston, how about those Giants!