During my senior year and final semester of college, I had the opportunity to intern in Washington D.C. Towards the end of my internship, I found myself without a job lined up, so I did what a lot of people do and began submitting job applications. After submitting on almost every position that I could find that was based in D.C., I decided to ask my supervisor if he had any advice for me in regards to this soul draining process.
I'll never forget his response: "Carlos, nobody gets a job by applying! You need to get out and talk to people and let them know what you're interested in." This didn't make any sense. If nobody gets a job by applying, then why are there so many job postings online?
I didn't land anything in D.C., so right after graduation I started applying for jobs back home in Columbia, SC. It seemed like I was inputting my employment history and taking personality questionnaires on a full time basis. I began to get somewhat anxious, especially since I didn't have any money to hold me over long term other than my graduation money. I was also feeling really dumb for getting a liberal arts degree since most of my friends with business backgrounds had all found something quite easily.
One of the places that I had been trying to get into was at the South Carolina Department of Commerce. A friend had interned there for quite a bit, so I asked him if he could put me in contact with someone that could help me. I shot him my resume and waited.
It turned out that my friend's supervisor was impressed with my resume and invited me to come in for a meeting. We met at his office and talked for a while, but sadly he let me know that he didn't have any openings at the time. However, he was headed to a retirement party that same day and wanted me to come with him, as there were going to be business owners present and he felt like it would be a great idea to connect with them. Although I felt defeated at that point, I figured I had nothing to lose. Plus, I wasn't in any place to turn down a free meal. So I showed up and he introduced me to a few people. I tried to network and handed out my personal business card to anyone that was willing to take it.
That same evening, I got a call from one of them. She said, "Carlos, I found out that you were in need of a job, and I am looking for someone to fill a very unique role. Can you come in and meet tomorrow?" She ended up hiring me for a full time position with benefits. The position that she hired me for was not posted anywhere and I would've never met her if I hadn't taken advantage of the people in my network.
I got my next two jobs in the same way. I didn't apply, rather I've continued networking and have been presented with opportunities that weren't advertised anywhere. And, it turns out that a lot of times when jobs are posted on the internet, it's only a formality and they typically already have someone in mind. I'm sure that people do in fact get jobs by applying, but I no longer consider this route worth the efforts.
If you're in the job market, I suggest taking full advantage of LinkedIn and optimizing your profile. Seek out people who may be working at a company or in an industry that you're interested in and invite them out to lunch. Perhaps they won't have anything available for you right then and there, but they probably know someone who does.
This post was originally published on my blog carlosaosorio.com