I recently graduated with my B.S. in Business Administration, & although that's really exciting for me, the more exciting news was getting TWO job offers. The best part about that: I didn't apply to either one of them! Read more to find out how I did it, but here are some topics I'll cover:
The Power of Networking
Everyone says that networking is important, &, newsflash, it really is. Networking doesn't always take place at a formal & professional event; it can happen literally anywhere & at any time. Networking does require extra effort, but I promise it's well-worth it.
You have to be confident to make an impact when you're networking. You must have the ability to put yourself out there, start & carry a conversation, introduce yourself to strangers, & know how to market yourself effectively.
I approached the first company that offered me a job at a school career fair in the fall. There were two guys at the booth, & I'm not sure how many people they talked to or for how long, but my conversation with them didn't stop at the career fair.
After the fair, I reached out via email to thank him for speaking with me & giving me information about the open position. He responded by inviting me to have a meeting with him at Starbucks to talk more about the position. This meeting was a very basic & casual conversation about the basics of the position & the company.
That meeting at Starbucks was only the first of many. Throughout the school year, I continued to meet & interview with them because it was part of their hiring process. I met with different company personnel throughout a seven-month time period, & then it happened.
I got the conditional offer at the end of May, which was before I graduated. YAY, right? I have a job set to start immediately after graduation! I was thrilled, & although the company wasn't anywhere near what I envisioned for myself after graduation, I was whole-heartedly open to a new industry.
There was a mishap with my graduation date, & the company was kind enough to push my start-date back so I could finish summer school & get my degree in time. I also took the drug test & physical for them to secure the position, but of course, nothing ever happens the way you think.
No, I didn't fail the drug test or physical! Keep reading to see why things changed...
The second company that offered me a job actually reached out to me months after speaking with them. Let's start from the beginning: I introduced myself to a few panelists at a school networking event around January, & like always, after the event, I sent a "thank you" email to each person individually.
One person in particular replied & asked if I was free for a lunch meeting something soon. I agreed, we picked a time, & I drove 60 miles to the lunch meeting. I knew from the start that this meeting was not job-oriented; rather, it was networking-oriented. This means that I was not going to the meeting expecting a job offer. Instead, I was expecting to learn & meet new people, if possible.
After the lunch meeting, this person introduced me to a few other employees in the office. To my surprise, he was able to arrange a short 15-minute chat with one of the HR Directors. I got to learn so much during this short conversation. We ended up talking for longer than 15 minutes, but the lady I spoke with was so helpful! She told me many impacting stories, gave me some résumé tips, & even provided me with job postings I should be on the look-out for.
Yes, I sent my "thank-you" email that night, & that was it... Until six months later, in June, the week that I walk, a recruiter from that company reached out. She mentioned that there's an open position & wanted to know if I would be interested. She set up an interview time for me, & I interviewed with the two people who would be my direct supervisors.
Long story short, I ended up going back for two other interviews. I was then offered the job, & by now, I was absolutely in love with the company. The vibes, the people, & the culture are so refreshing. They balance corporate conditions & start-up feels so well, & I was just in awe!
Did I take it or leave it? Don't stop reading yet...
The Stand-Out Follow-Up
Before I continue my story, let's talk about something really quick. Do you think both companies kept pursuing me because they enjoyed our first conversation, or because I followed up with them afterward & made an effort to show my appreciation for their time? If you guessed the latter, you're probably right! I say "probably" because I am not a mind reader & do not know the exact reason; but, if I had to take a guess, it was because I showed dedication.
Taking a leap of faith & sparking a conversation first is not the only thing you should do when you're trying to build connections. After the event or conversation, you need to reach out to them. I prefer email, but whatever contact information you have will suffice. Keep the message sweet & short by thanking them for their time & mentioning something that you both bonded over.
Including something that will help them remember you better is critical because it gives them something to remember you by. It also reinforces the connection you two have by sharing something in common.
The Final Decision
Okay, back to the story! So, how did I decide which job offer I would accept? Let's look at the major differences:
Job A is convenient & somewhat fits my career path (after all, my concentration is in management), but the strict corporate vibe would be a huge adjustment. Job B requires dedication due to the commute (about 1.5-2 hours each way), but it is exactly what I want to do after graduation & the company culture is phenomenal.
I didn't list pay on there because it honestly was not a deciding factor. Both jobs offered competitive pay for the specific position & job duties, & I'm the type of person who cares more about the environment than the money. The culture of a company is more meaningful to me because it's what makes the job tolerable. Typically, when people are unhappy with their jobs, it's because they are unhappy with the people or how the company is managed.
So, which do you think I picked? Yes, I ended up choosing Job B because I see myself fitting in very well. It's a very diverse company with a spectacular vibe. I am so excited to start a new job, meet new people, & most importantly, learn more.
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