Jobs Can be Found in Unexpected Ways


As I approach my last year of graduate school, I am finally faced with the mission that so many of us out there have experienced: “get a job.” This can be a nerve-wracking, overwhelming process thinking about how you’re going to accomplish this task. However, after going through the process for awhile, I have heard some success stories, and you know what these stories have in common? Read more to find out…

Alex is a prominent higher education professional, serving as a director of an entire department at a very prestigious university in the United States. Knowing that she would be a helpful person to talk to, I arranged an informational interview with her to find out more about her background and experiences. Alex was funny, articulate, and extremely knowledgeable about her field. After hearing her stories, the one that most stood out is how she found her current position. Years ago, Alex showed a visiting international professor around the campus she worked at for the day. The person told Alex they thought she was very professional and friendly. It was just a week-and-a-half later that the international professional reached out to their contact at the prestigious university Alex now works at and said they met a perfect candidate they should hire. And just like that, a Skype meeting was extended to Alex, and after going through the interview process, Alex was offered the job!

Now, Lauren was a just a sophomore in college when, whether she knew it or not, she started job searching. After a vacation in Texas, Lauren hopped on a plane back home to Chicago, thinking her vacation was over and that she would get to snooze for a few hours. However, after the person next to her started a conversation, Lauren was instantly hooked by his energy and enthusiasm. And at the end of that trip, that individual handed Lauren a business card. It turns out, he was the owner of a successful non-profit organization. Two years later, when Lauren graduated, she reached out to the individual she received a card from and had kept in contact with, and was offered a full-time job!

From these stories, I can definitely pull some information I am hoping will be helpful to you:

  • Don’t go into informational interviews looking for a job. Try to find out more about that person’s background and experiences, and leave them with a résumé. But don’t push too hard that all you want from them is a job.
  • Don’t approach people that you haven’t talked to in years and would not consider yourself close to and expect them to drop everything and help you out. Keep close networks of people and connections who know they’re in your life for more than just helping you find a job.
  • Always be on the lookout for opportunities, and know that you’re making impressions with everyone you meet. You never know who you could impress enough to send an opportunity your way.

Good luck job searching!

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By Ty McNamee
Ty McNamee Outreach and Programming Graduate Assistant Ty McNamee