PDA

View Full Version : How did you land your first job?



bthomasiscool
06-26-2008, 12:29 PM
Curious as to how everybody on here landed there first job. I'm not talking about McDonalds or Burger Kings (unfortunately I worked at both of those), but in the lines of right out of college, or first "career" job.

I am a recent college graduate with a Business Administration/Marketing degree from Kentucky Christian University. Since December I have been working as a membership sales representative at the Kis Country Club and Golf Academy in Lexington, Kentucky. I work on a straight commission pay structure with no draw whatsoever. It's a dead end job, and I feel worthless everyday I am there.

I feel like I have tried everything. Careerbuilder, Hotjobs, Monster, Indeed, Company Websites, Newspaper, Dropping off resumes, job fairs, networking etc.

The only phone calls I get are from place like ADT, First Investors, American Income Life, etc. asking me if I'm interested in taking a straight commission job.

It seems like I just can't get my first "break". I'm willing to start at the bottom and work my way up, I just can't seem to get that chance. What's the trick guys?

bucksfan2
06-26-2008, 12:34 PM
Nepotism. My family owns a company so I stepped in right after college.

RichRed
06-26-2008, 12:48 PM
It's a cliche but it's often about who you know.

My first job out of college - I graduated with a BBA in Economics - was for a company whose owner was a friend of the family. It was supposed to be a temporary thing until I found a "real" job and I was hired as a delivery driver, box packer and all-around warehouse flunky. Well, that temporary job ended up lasting 5 1/2 years. By the time I left this small company, I had been accounts payable manager, accounts receivable/collections manager, purchasing manager, inventory manager, production scheduler and the list goes on. Because of all that experience, I was able to land a really good job the next time around.

Sometimes you have to quash your ego and take a position you might think is "beneath" you in some way. It can lead to some excellent opportunities down the road. A college degree doesn't guarantee you the perfect career right off the bat; I think a lot of graduates struggle with that realization.

Bottom line: explore every option, work hard, make as many connections as you can and be patient - I know it can be difficult.

RedsManRick
06-26-2008, 12:57 PM
My dad had worked with a consulting firm over the course of his career. One day when their consultant was at my Dad's office, dad mentioned that I was graduating, the consultant mentioned an opening...

I took it from there and deserved the position, but the family connection certainly helped me find the job. I think the trick in getting almost any job is making yourself not just another resume'.

Matt700wlw
06-26-2008, 01:04 PM
I was interning at WEBN at 15 years old (people were envious of me for that one :)) and Jay Gilbert introduced me to his ex-wife who worked Critical Mass Media...a market research firm for Jacor radio (Clear Channel now).

She told me when I turned 16 to apply....so I did. That was my first job. So yes, I was one of those annoying people calling you during dinner to do radio surveys back in the mid 90s :)

durl
06-26-2008, 01:24 PM
Sometimes the key is patience. You may work several years in a low-level job, but you may make connections in unexpected ways that will lead to a better job. You may be able to move up slowly or take what you learn and go to another employer who will see your previous experience as a plus. Always try to learn from your current position because you'll end up using that lesson somewhere.

Puffy
06-26-2008, 01:27 PM
I slept with the boss.

Roy Tucker
06-26-2008, 01:46 PM
First real job was in 1975 and the economy was in the pits. I had just graduated with a BS in Psychology which shows you can achieve a goal but is worth little else.

Applied for a research assistant job that I found in the microfiche at the unemployment bureau. Since I had nothing else to do, I drove out to the place of business and delivered it personally. They asked me if I wanted to interview then and there and I said "sure". Talked to the boss for an hour and he offered me the job.

After working there a while, someone asked me who I knew. After I said "huh what?", they said I had to know someone since there were 100+ applicants for the job.

Turned out I was the only guy that turned in the application in person. Everyone else mailed it in. Boss thought I had gumption. Little did he know it was just I had nothing else to do and just wanted to take a drive.

cumberlandreds
06-26-2008, 02:00 PM
I have the same degree you have in Business Administration. I got it 1986 and it took me four years to get that good job you are looking for. I worked junk jobs at retail stores during that time or did nothing. This was before Internet so I had to apply for jobs listed in the newspapers or just going into the businesses and applying for whatever they had. I must have sent out hundreds of resumes. Finally I got an offer for job interview with Federal Government. I went to Cincy at a hotel(forget now which one) and took their test. A month or so later they sent me a letter setting up an interview and other tests in the DC area. Shortly after that they offered me a job and I have been in the DC area since then. I don't work for Feds any longer but moved into the private sector. But in the end you may want to consider the Feds as a way to get your foot into the door for something better. A lot of people start with them to get experience and then move on. OPM.Gov list all their jobs and requirements. You don't have to move to the DC area either. They have jobs all over the country. I wish the Internet was around back then and I may have still been in the Kentucky/Ohio area.

Best of luck to you. I know how frustrating it is but it will work out. You just have to be patient.

Joseph
06-26-2008, 02:33 PM
A lot of marketing folks unfortunately end up in sales.

Look to solid companies like Kroger who have built in markets and customer bases and try to get into their loyalty programs [frequent shopper cards and such] and just really stay on top of it.

Also, be willing to expand your options. Merchandising in a retail stores corporate office may not be in line with what you want, but as others have stated, its a great way to broaden your marketability as an employee. A job as a buyers assistant for example. It would probably 'only' pay 25k or so, but it would be a great place to start learning.

I have no idea if you have a salary in mind, but just as a word of advice....most people don't graduate college and get 50k a year jobs. Many many many more start in the low 20's in jobs that people without degrees could get even and then they move up when they prove they learned something in college.

As for my first 'real' job....I was working in Hardees after graduating high school and my drafting teacher came in to look for me and told me a local company had asked him for a designer. He came found me and told me who to talk to. I was hired the next week and worked for them for two years before I decided to go to college. After college I worked some crappy jobs [post office, call center, etc] before landing a job with a RV Supply retailer designing their stores. I was laid off from there a couple months ago, and just recently got a job with the afore mentioned Kroger doing similar work. I simply found that job online, and apparently wowed them in the interviews.

Good luck to you, I hope you aren't at a job you hate for long.

Ltlabner
06-26-2008, 03:10 PM
There really isn't a "trick" per se. Sometimes it's just pounding the pavement, other times it's luck (right place right time).

I can't say how things have changed with the advent of Monster, however, one method that never seems to go out of style is good old fashioned hard work.

First I put a bunch of resumes out on the street. Also put a lot of energy into my cover-letter to ensure it was effective. Got lots of input from people in the business world, professors, etc.

Then I followed up on each and every one. That was good practice of just talking to people. There's an art to actually talking to people. Some people are naturals at conversing with just about anybody...other folks are just downright painfull to talk with.

I took every interview I could get, even if I knew it was a crappy job I was never going to take. At the end of the interview I'd be honest that I wasn't interested, but doing this gave me a ton of experience on how to answer questions breifly and effectivley.

Then I followed up on the resumes some more, got an interview with a computer consulting firm out of Memphis, TN and eventually landed the job.

This was the early 1990's. Can't remember if jobs were scarce or plentiful at the time. Then again, I'm in industrial sales and there's always jobs available in that field. I had a job lined up before graduating from school.

I'm very biased, but getting your start in a sales job will teach you a lot of usefull skills and expose you to many different facets of industry. You may find an aspect of business that really interests you, or you may find that you enjoy sales.

OldRightHander
06-26-2008, 03:29 PM
Temp agency

gonelong
06-26-2008, 03:43 PM
I sent a resume to a place across the street from the college, interviewed a few days later, received an offer, accepted it, and canceled all my other interviews. Almost 13 years later I am still at the same place. I have only had 1 professional interview in my entire career.

GL

Matt700wlw
06-26-2008, 04:03 PM
How about that!

Caveat Emperor
06-26-2008, 04:38 PM
I really agree with the line "Make yourself something more than just a resume." I got the job I'm currently in because I had a couple connections that interceded on my behalf. If you don't have a connection somewhere, work hard to find an in that gets you face time with the people making a decision (even if it is as simple as handing the resume over in person).

Leverage things in your favor -- high school and college alumni groups, fraternity (if you were a member) alumni groups, etc. Heck, you work for a Country Club, I have to imagine there are opportunities to meet lots of people who make hiring and firing decisions in the business world through that.

Also, I agree with the advice to look at work for the fed or state government. A lot of those jobs hire on set guidelines that can eliminate some of the nepotism competition you get with other positions. There's a website www.usajobs.gov that you can do searches on as well.

Good luck!

SunDeck
06-26-2008, 04:41 PM
My dad said- "Hey, what's your name? I need someone to clean all the metal shavings and cutting oil up from the shop floor every other day. See you tomorrow morning at 5:30."

I was clearly the best candidate in the room.

paintmered
06-26-2008, 04:52 PM
College career fair. My current employer had a booth in the very back corner. I don't think too many other students saw them back there. I stopped and made a comment about how interesting the place looked. 45 minutes of conversation later, I found out I had a relative in the guy's office and a high recommendation for an interview.

I've since gotten five of my college classmates and a co-op jobs at the same place. Now I'm part of the recruiting team there in my "spare time".

Highlifeman21
06-26-2008, 07:01 PM
Well, it involved some things of which I'm not proud....

RosieRed
06-26-2008, 10:04 PM
The first paying job I had in my actual line of work I got by calling up the place and asking if they needed any help. This was a group of community newspapers; I was desperate for a journalism job. I couldn't find anything anywhere that indicated they were hiring, but I figured I'd at least call and ask. I managed to get an editor on the phone, and in 10 minutes I had an interview. I know I just got lucky with timing, but if I hadn't called, I never would've known if they had any job openings at all.

And by the way, the next job I got by cold-sending a resume to a place I wanted to work. They had no job openings listed anywhere, but I sent a resume and just said something like "if you have any openings in the near future, please keep me in mind." They called very soon after, I interviewed, got the job.

All this is to say, sometimes you have to just disregard the fact that you can't find a listing for a job you want, and apply anyway.

Fon Duc Tow
06-27-2008, 08:09 PM
Nice responses.... cool read.

Nepotism is a great foot in the door, that's for sure.

SteelSD
06-28-2008, 01:02 AM
Curious as to how everybody on here landed there first job. I'm not talking about McDonalds or Burger Kings (unfortunately I worked at both of those), but in the lines of right out of college, or first "career" job.

I am a recent college graduate with a Business Administration/Marketing degree from Kentucky Christian University. Since December I have been working as a membership sales representative at the Kis Country Club and Golf Academy in Lexington, Kentucky. I work on a straight commission pay structure with no draw whatsoever. It's a dead end job, and I feel worthless everyday I am there.

I feel like I have tried everything. Careerbuilder, Hotjobs, Monster, Indeed, Company Websites, Newspaper, Dropping off resumes, job fairs, networking etc.

The only phone calls I get are from place like ADT, First Investors, American Income Life, etc. asking me if I'm interested in taking a straight commission job.

It seems like I just can't get my first "break". I'm willing to start at the bottom and work my way up, I just can't seem to get that chance. What's the trick guys?

The trick is to do two things:

1. Contact every headhunter and employment agency in your area and speak with a consultant. Get someone on your side as an advocate and you'll have a much easier go of things. Basically, if you can sell yourself to a headhunter who has a good reputation with companies, you'll be able to give yourself some networking options.

2. Do not wait around for the "perfect" or "dream" job right away when you graduate college. I've seen so many people with new degrees who go unemployed for months (or longer) because they're unwilling to take a "foot in the door" job rather than exactly what they want (which rarely, if ever, comes around right after graduation).

Now, keep in mind one thing- even without a degree, if you have a successful background of any length in sales, you will never be without a job. So that's good. Make sure you track your performance at your current job an can provide metrics that demonstrate how good you were versus the average salesperson. In short, even if you feel that it's a dead-end job, work your tail off to be way better than average. If you can demonstrate that to a prospective employer, that's a point in your favor.

Then take a look at your area in order to determine which companies are most likely in need of folks in a marketing capacity. Do you have major manufacturing companies located there? Do you have banks around that issue credit cards? Keep in mind that most well-paying marketing job postings will ask for 2 to 3 years experience in addition to a degree. Are you willing to apply for a Business Development Manager with Coca-Cola in Lexington (check out hotjobs.yahoo.com)? Are there internal advancement opportunities available with your next company?

Your first "break" will likely be after your first job with a company that doesn't feel like a "break" right away. Be willing to get your foot in the door, prove yourself, and then leverage your performance and degree during advancement applications and interviews from within.

15fan
06-29-2008, 09:00 AM
Graduated college. Didn't have a job. Roommate's parents were getting ready to move to Atlanta (pre-Olympics) and said I was more than welcome to move in with them so I didn't have to move back home.

Answered ads in the newspaper. Lots of them.

Got a job that I took for about 7 months. It was not good. Then I got contacted by someone with whom I had interviewed 9 months earlier. They had two openings and I was the #3 candidate at the time. Their first 2 choices accepted, but one moved on to something else about 8 months after starting. Gladly took them up on the offer.

Reds4Life
06-29-2008, 04:18 PM
I applied for a bunch, got all nervous and amp'ed up before each interview, didn't get any of the jobs. On one interview I pretty much said screw it, I was going to go in, be straight forward, if I got the job great, if not, oh well. I got the job. It's important to not overthink things, be prepared, but don't stress over it either.

Yachtzee
06-29-2008, 08:31 PM
I went out on a limb and applied for a programmer job at a career open house for the data center for a large national company. The director who interviewed me was intrigued by my foreign language skills and gave me a shot. I had to teach myself COBOL before I started though.

WebScorpion
07-01-2008, 04:31 PM
I volunteered. After completing Basic Training, I was in. :D

My second job, I didn't even interview for... A Warrant Officer (retired) I had worked with previously was the manager and he hired me based on his previous knowledge of my abilities and level of effort.

I once walked into a big organization and asked to see the IT Manager. I didn't have an appointment, but he graciously gave me 15 minutes to plead my case. I told him everything I was capable of doing, why I wanted to work for his organization, and said I would work as a volunteer if he couldn't afford to pay me. In the end, he created a new position for me at half my previous salary and I worked for him for almost 2 years...it was one of the best jobs I've ever had, but it didn't really pay the bills.

TeamCasey
07-01-2008, 06:16 PM
Newspaper - it was the right job at the right time and all the moons were in alignment.

TeamCasey
07-01-2008, 06:17 PM
We didn't have Mr. Gore's internet back then. ;)

bthomasiscool
07-07-2008, 08:07 PM
I appreciate all of the comments/advice guys. Right now I've got a few options/job leads.

Assistant Manager at a Gamestop (interview later this week)

Account Support Representative at Ashland Oil (have a friend who works there and had my resume pulled for me.

Corporate Membership Sales Consultant at Urban Active (my friend is the best friend of the partner there).

All three are pretty decent opportunities, although the latter of the three would have much better hours. We'll see though

sonny
07-07-2008, 10:16 PM
Assistant Manager at a Gamestop (interview later this week)

Spend all day talking about and selling Video games. Boy, that seems tough.

CrackerJack
07-07-2008, 10:53 PM
Spend all day talking about and selling Video games. Boy, that seems tough.

Not a job I would want to do, have you seen what those people have to deal with on a daily basis? Ugh.

bthomasiscool
07-07-2008, 11:00 PM
Not a job I would want to do, have you seen what those people have to deal with on a daily basis? Ugh.

Trust me, not something I want to do either. Where I'm at now though is horrible. Straight commission, selling 9500 golf memberships. A tough sell, with no leads, stuck in the store all day, and unable to call and generate our own leads due to state laws= zero money. At this point anything, even temporarily would be better.

reds1869
07-08-2008, 12:32 AM
I got extremely lucky to be honest. I moved with my new wife to a city where neither one of us had any connections but where she had accepted a new job. I threw out a whole bunch of applications and had a nice job within a week. It was crazy how fast it happened!