How I Got Hired: A Case Study

I recently accepted a new job, and I'm very excited about it. I start in May. Without going into self-serving details, I'd like to share my timeline of job hunting with you. It might give you some insight, and maybe even a little hope. A few things to keep in mind:

  1. I contacted far fewer agencies than I normally would have - especially if I were a student looking for my first job. I was tapping into my A-list of contacts first.
  2. These agencies are all over, geographically. I wasn't looking in a single city.
  3. I think things moved unusually quickly for me. I was very lucky.

Here's a color-coded, week-by-week look at my most recent job search...

Week One:

Serendipitously heard from two different friends at two different agencies telling me they might be hiring.

Asked for contacts and sent my website to AGENCY #1 and AGENCY #2.

Week Two:

Christmas vacation. Everything closed.

Week Three:

Heard from AGENCY #1, who thanked me for sending my work.

Followed up with an email to AGENCY #2, but heard nothing.

Week Four:

Contacted a headhunter who said he knew people were hiring.

Contacted a friend at AGENCY #3. Received the recruiter's contact info and sent my website to her.

Followed up with an email to AGENCY #1, who responded immediately saying they’ll get back to me within a week or so.

Gambled and sent an email to the ECD of AGENCY #2. No response.

Week Five:

Asked a friend at AGENCY #4, who said they were definitely hiring, needed someone exactly like me, and it was a “sure thing.” Sent email to a CD and recruiter of AGENCY #4.

Week Six:

Very excited about AGENCY #4, I contacted several friends who work there. All tell me they will talk to their ECD and recommend me. AGENCY #4 is sounding very good.

Heard from one of the recruiters at AGENCY #4, asking if I’d be available for freelance. Because of distance, I thank her, but tell her I’m looking for full-time work only.

Got a response from AGENCY #1, asking for a Skype interview. Had a very nice Skype session with the recruiter from AGENCY #1.

Week Seven:

Gambled and sent an email to the ECD and his assistant at AGENCY #4. No response.

Received a call from AGENCY #1 who wanted to ask what my salary range is.

Received a LinkedIn invite from the ECD of AGENCY #3, and traded messages with him, but nothing substantial.

Week Eight:

Received an invitation from AGENCY #1 to fly out for an interview.

Week Nine:

Flew out for an interview at AGENCY #1.

Week Ten:

Received offer from AGENCY #1.

Week Eleven:

Accepted offer from AGENCY #1.

Heard from a recruiter at AGENCY #2 saying they will keep my book on file, but that they are currently focused on hiring women.

Week Fourteen:

Still haven’t heard anything AGENCY #3 or AGENCY #4.

A few things I'd like to point out:

  1. For a few weeks, I honestly thought Agency #4 was a sure thing. It sounded perfect, and I had at least four people pulling for me internally (always a huge advantage). But I simply never heard from those in power. Sometimes this just happens.
  2. Some might say, "Well, you only went for Agency #1, because they were the only ones showing interest." That's partially true. If someone is showing interest, it raises the chances of you being a good fit exponentially. But it was still my choice. Even after flying out, I could have always said, "No, we're not a good fit." (Or if I were stupid, "No, because even though it's a great fit, I want to see if I get an offer from another agency, just so I can have the illusion of choice.")
  3. I don't fault Agency #3 for wanting to hire women. It sounds silly, but it's probably for a particular account, or even at the request of a client.
I hope this is helpful. Especially to those of you who will be going through this in a few months after graduation.