Since We Can’t Give You a Job…

By

Last Wednesday was our birthday, and we want to celebrate with you. Since we sold the corporate jet as part of our “Green Initiative,” we’re going to skip flying you all out for the party and go straight to the party favors. Our first thought was to give you all jobs, but with the economy the way it is, we, much like many other companies, are currently under a “hiring freeze” (said with tongue in cheek, of course). Instead we’re going to help you become that “red hot” candidate (not in that way) who instantly thaws the hiring freeze as soon as your resume hits the company’s inbox, so read on to find out what you’re getting…

If you’re looking for a job, you have a problem.

It’s ok, we all have problems, but not having a job is a pretty big one – especially in this economy. Maybe you are a college senior and you don’t think it’s a problem yet. It is. You may think that it’s a problem that everyone encounters at some point in their lives, but it’s not. There are people who never look for a job. Ever. They graduate from college with a job lined up, and they never worry about where they’re going to work next. The jobs find them. At first I thought that these people were lucky, but as I’ve learned over the past couple of years, luck has nothing to do with it. It’s a mindset and a methodology.

I was one of those people.

Almost.

I graduated from an Ivy League school with a 3.74 GPA. I had excelled during my two summers of interning at the company that made my favorite fishing rods. I had never stepped foot in my college’s Career Services Office (except to fill out a survey to get free ice cream), yet I had multiple job offers on the table. I was almost ready to start life in the real world, but first I wanted to take a few months off to relax.

A few months turned into eight, and I became increasingly fearful as I realized that I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was beginning to feel like an unemployed loser, and I hadn’t even started looking for a job yet. I had lost my way.

As I finally began to understand the urgency of my problem, I tried to do the job search thing all on my own. I didn’t think that I needed help. I did what I thought I was supposed to. I scoured job boards. I sent out resumes and cover letters. And I waited. In fact, that’s most of what I did. I assumed that my qualifications would speak for themselves, and that some company would respond to my job application by begging me to work for them.

A lot of companies didn’t respond, but quite a few did. I had my share of interviews. I had great answers to the questions that were asked of me, and I asked great questions of my interviewers. I thought that I was doing a good job of selling myself, but in retrospect I realize that it must have been obvious to the interviewers that I had no passion for their companies.

The problem wasn’t that I didn’t have the qualifications for jobs. It was that I wasn’t the best candidate for the job. There were other people who were more passionate, more driven, and more excited about the jobs (or at least they were better at faking it than I was). They were the right fit, and I wasn’t.

My job search was going nowhere.

One year ago last Wednesday, I launched One Day, One Job.

In May of 2007, I quit job searching and started One Day, One Job. Six months later, I launched the site. It took stepping away from my own job search to help others with theirs for me to realize what differentiates the people who get hired from the ones who hear nothing – not even a rejection e-mail. It’s the attitude and the method.

People who look for jobs find lots of jobs. People who look for problems that they can solve get hired.

Anyone can find thousands (millions?) of jobs online. Finding companies whose stories make you want to roll up your sleeves and start working today is hard work. You not only need to be motivated, but you also need to be savvy. Most importantly, you need to always be looking for a problem that you can solve and a story that you can be a part of.

Since November 17th of 2007, I have found 372 awesome companies that you can work for (and many that I would have wanted to work for when I was looking for a job). Why couldn’t I find these jobs when I was looking?

Because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

I solved my problem by helping others solve theirs.

In one year we (mostly me) have helped more than a quarter of a million people with their online job search. I have been featured on sites like BusinessWeek, About.com, and the New York Times (Freakonomics). Dozens of college Career Centers are recommending my site to their students to help them find jobs. Someone even tried to buy me out of my company before I had officially launched the site.

Remember, I’m a guy who couldn’t find a job for himself.

How Can I Help You Solve Your Problem?

I am constantly asked two questions.

1. “How do you find all of the companies that you write about?”

2. “How do I stand out when my resume is one of hundreds or thousands?”

Answering these questions isn’t as easy as it may seem, so it can’t be done in a single blog post. A series of blog posts wouldn’t even do it. That’s why we’re in the process of putting together an online training course that, in answering these two questions, will empower you to get a job that you actually want.

I am an expert at finding and researching companies online. I am going to tell you how to become one.

When it comes to teaching you how to seal the deal, I’m a little bit out of my element. That’s why I have partnered with a well-known next generation professional development consultant (you’ll find out who he is in the coming weeks). He’s also an author. He’s Jon Stewart meets Tony Robbins, and he’s awesome.

Featuring a new entry level employer every day is a good start, but it’s not enough. That’s why we’re starting Year Two of One Day, One Job with something more. We want to celebrate our birthday by turning you, the job seeker, into a job getter.

If I’m going to help you, I need you to do two things.

First, I want you to sign up for our newsletter. It’s separate from our daily job e-mails, and it will bring you exclusive content relating to our online training course. It will also save you money. We want to thank you for helping make our first year so awesome, so our “party favor” to you is a major discount on the training course when it comes out. You’ll have to be on the list to get it (e-mail and RSS readers, please click through if you don’t see the sign up form). This is a birthday week special, so sign up now to make sure that you don’t have to pay full price.

Edit: No need to sign up for our mailing list any more. You can find out all the details about our job search training course.

Second, I want you to post a comment below (anonymously if you would prefer) and tell me how I can help you with your job search.

P.S. I lived with my parents way longer than I should have. Please don’t be like me. Sign up for our mailing list.

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31 responses to “Since We Can’t Give You a Job…”

  1. Laura says:

    Willy,
    Very well written and thought provoking. I especially like the PS! Looking forward to the training course and sharing that information with my students.

  2. Kate says:

    Hi Willy,
    First off I just want to say thank you for your site. There’s nothing else out there like it that I’ve found and I really appreciate your commitment to helping others find the job that inspires as well as pays them.
    My one gripe (and this is entirely personal to my particular job search) is the lack of traditional media related companies you feature. I find that the vast majority of your companies are either internet or new media bases or the positions a company is seeking fall into that category. For those of us like myself who didn’t study any html, coding or design in college, we are sorely underqualified for these positions. I personally would love to see more posts about the broader media fields such as journalism, film, television, advertising, marketing etc. I come from a background of film and tv but have found myself wanting a position a company helping them make spots (maybe viral videos) to promote their products and mission. Have you seen any companies looking for this type of employee?

    Thanks again for your site and congrats on one year!

  3. Gannon says:

    My request is similar to Katy’s. I love what you do and that you’re doing it for people like me, but most of the jobs you post require a lot more technical knowledge than I have. I’m a History major.

    I know as well as you that History majors get hired as financial analysts and administrative assistants and everything else that falls under ‘Other’ as far as expertise goes, but I haven’t seen too many of those positions highlighted. Actually, I’ve gotten excited about several companies you’ve posted, but two things have stopped me. One is that I don’t have the skills they need, and of course I can’t do anything about that. Another is that they don’t seem to be interested in hiring a college senior who won’t be able to work for them until May. I know many companies do that, but what I was wondering is if it’s possible to try to bargain for that while talking to an employer the winter before graduation for a position they want filled within the month.

  4. Scheherazade says:

    Interesting. Very interesting….

    Agree that the featured jobs often require a level of web savvyness that will turn people off. I share your opinion that these kinds of jobs are still entry level, but you might offer or suggest to current seniors what kind of things they can try or learn during their remaining year to get up to speed on such jobs (e.g., start a blog and start tracking user stats and search engine queries to get a basic understanding of user data).

    I’d be interested in seeing more jobs in state and municipal governments. These are areas of opportunity that often go unnoticed, I think.

  5. Erin says:

    Can you consider highlighting the location of the companies you discuss in posts? Many new grads are willing to go wherever work takes them, but for those with geographical parameters it would be handy to have this information at the beginning of the email.

  6. Ruth says:

    I’m glad to have found your site…and I hope you’ve got ideas for those of us who got a degree (a master’s, in my case) and then got sidetracked by babies or pursuing artistic dreams, and are now going back into the workforce. In my case, it’s with years of adult, professional experience, but in a slightly different field.

    So, I feel like I share some of the uncertainty of the newly-hatched undergrad, and want to read more. (At least that music tangent had me using MySpace/Facebook/Twitter, etc.)

    Thanks so much!!

    Ruth

  7. Chris says:

    I love your site. I’m a senior in college right now, and have been receiving the one-a-day emails for about a month now. I guess one way to make the job search easier for myself would be if there were more jobs!! but I know that’s just the impatience and nervousness that comes with the job searching. I think it would be helpful if you could specify the locations of the job positions you post (or bold them) and maybe if you had more resources, you can do a one-humanities-job-per-day and one-science/it-job-per-day etc and make a couple more categories — it would be helpful if you could choose which mailing list to sign onto.
    thanks and keep up the good work!! happy birthday :)

  8. Eric says:

    Willy,

    Since I found your site a couple weeks ago I’m constantly checking for companies in my area as I am a little tie-down geographically. I’m not a new college grad but I can sympathize. I graduated two years ago, got a job like everyone tells you to do, and now I’m stuck in a crap job that’s going nowhere. Problem is, I have a liberal arts degree (English) and was too lazy and stupid in college to really make my time there more meaningful than going to a couple classes a week. So now I’m looking for the second job that will hopefully take me out of the rat race. Thanks for the work you do researching companies, I would never have the time to research that many companies so having you out there is like having somewhat of a personal assistant.

  9. Walter Lipinski says:

    Willy,

    I have been following you off and on since you started following me on twitter. Therefore when this article caught my eye I want to see what the hype was about. So hopefully your website and your infinite wisdom can help me find a better job.

    Still looking in Ohio,

    Walter

  10. Awesome comments!

    I’ll definitely be thinking about how I can improve upon these issues.

    I’d love to hear more about what all of you would want from an online job search training course. We have a great plan, but we want to make sure that we don’t miss any pressing issues that you are dealing with.

  11. Ok, now I have some time to personally respond to the comments.

    @Laura – I’m glad that you’re excited. We think that this will be a great course both for individual students and Career Services Offices to invest in.

    @Kate – I think that there are more old media companies in our archives than you think (go here http://www.onedayonejob.com/past-jobs/ and browse by tags), but here’s the thing – old media is dying. You don’t need to know how to code, but you should know how to use the new social media tools. Why invest in learning skills that are unique to a dying industry? Everything that I know about new media, coding, etc. is self taught. There are tons of free online resources, and if you start expanding your skills beyond what you learn in school, you’ll be a much more desirable candidate whether it be with a new media company or an old media company. I’ll still keep on the lookout for entry level jobs at more traditional companies.

    @Gannon – Can you develop the skills? I think that you can, so why not do it? As for bargaining about a future position, it’s possible but not easy. We try to serve both current college students and graduates, so it’s hard to address both. I say that you should apply now, but make it clear in your cover letter that you graduate in May. The worst that can happen is that you’ll have to apply again in the spring.

    @Scheherazade – Great post idea. It’s so easy to develop new skills by learning online, yet it’s so hard to just do it. We’ll definitely make that part of the guide, and I’ll try to do a blog post about it too.

    @Erin – I’ll do my best. Sometimes it’s tough because the company has many locations, but I’ll make a conscious effort to try to get the location in the intro paragraph. Here on the site, you can just look at the tags on the bottom; unfortunately, the tags don’t come through in the e-mails.

    @Ruth – Sounds like a great approach

    @Chris – See what I said to Erin. Also, we’d love to expand, but right now I’m writing about as much as I can. If this course ends up being successful, you can bet on the fact that we’ll look at new ways to expand the reach of locations and genres that we cover.

    @Eric – At least you figured it out now. A lot of people don’t ever figure it out.

    @Walter – I sure hope that we can help. My wisdom isn’t infinite, but maybe one day… lol

  12. Simone says:

    Could you please give me a live job lead, preferably put me in contact with someone who is willing extend an opportunity? I have been reading and applying to companies through your website for 6 months with no luck. Every person I forward my resume to says my resume looks great(with the exception of extensive job experience… however I am a recent college grad), yet I still have no luck in finding anything! I would like to know how to improve it if necessary or help in finding even a ten dollar an hour job. The private loan sharks have already started breathing down my neck and I have no one to help me pay it back while the economy recovers. I will forward you a clear and concise resume and any other supporting information including references if you reply. I need something, anything!

    My ideal situation would be a job in which I can actually learn a career path. I willing to roll up my sleeves and jump right in, however I need an opportunity to prove that I can be an asset to my employer. Thanks for all that you do!

  13. Kevin says:

    This website is amazing. I came across it because I wanted to enter in the HP Magic Giveaway. It looks like I chose the right site to click on first. Your story is incredibly similar to mine. I’m currently jobless and have been struggling to find that “right” job. Hopefully your site will help me. I’ll be sure to recommend this to everyone I know. Thanks.

  14. @Simone – I don’t know what to say. Every day we feature companies with live jobs. What you need is to stand out. This course will definitely help you do that.

    @Kevin – I’m glad that my story struck you. I’m also glad that the contest is opening up ODOJ to a new audience. Glad to have you.

  15. I am more interested in partnering with you than looking for a job. I have a job! At least 3 jobs, so I am not looking. As you roll out your course, I would be interested in writing about what you are doing on my blog. I may have some readers who can use what you will be offering. Thanks for all you do and Happy Birthday!

    Darlene
    Interview Guru
    http://www.interviewchatter.com

  16. jessie says:

    I had no problem finding a job right after graduation. But then I went back to school, did grad work, and started a new business. Now i’m applying for jobs, but they are not full time. I keep getting calle din for interviews, but each time don’t get hired because they say that i’m overqualified or dont think i will be there long. (mind you I’ve never worked for a company for less than a year and in most cases i’ve worked at least 3 years). I would like this problem solved.

  17. VT says:

    Willy,

    I like what you’re doing. I’m a recent graduate myself, looking for a job just like most of the people visiting your site. My job search, up until now, has been completely orthodox. I need to change my approach. I look forward to this training thing you have coming out.

    Good luck,

    VT

  18. Thanks VT! Make sure you’re signed up for the e-mail list to get all of the details before they’re released to the public.

  19. VT says:

    Willy,

    Where is this magical newsletter sign-up page that you speak of? I see the daily job e-mail subscription page, but can’t find the spam sign-up form anywhere. Will you enlighten me on this matter?

    Thanks,

    VT

  20. I can promise you that there’s no spam sign up page, because we won’t ever spam anybody, but if you scroll up from here there’s a box where you can enter your name and e-mail address. That will give you updates on the course and you’ll get a discount when we release it.

  21. VT says:

    I wrote “spam” in jest. I’m not sadistic enough to ask to sign up for spam.

    In any case, I didn’t see the sign-up box because I’m only using the latest version of Firefox. Apparently, your blog doesn’t like Firefox.

    VT

    • I don’t think Firefox is the problem. Are you using an ad blocker? The sign up form is a javascript form provided by our e-mail delivery service, AWeber. The script resides on their site, so it probably looks like an ad to an ad blocker and is blocked. That’s my guess.

      I just got a notification e-mail that you signed up, so it looks like you figured it out. Thanks for jumping through the hoops. I’ll try to make sure nobody else is having this problem.

  22. VT says:

    You nailed it on the head. I have Adblock Plus running silently in the background. Strangely, though, I never set it to block ODOJ’s ads.

  23. Charles W. Morgan says:

    Things that I would like to see:

    -A greater focus on jobs outside of “new media” (the web, online social networks, etc.). Tangible work is important to me.
    -Generally, how to locate potential organizations for application. I have tried beyond the typical job boards, but I still primarily locate “administrative assistant” positions; and let’s face it, I would be one unhappy office lady.
    -Perhaps sourcing reliable international positions.
    -How to enter a new field rather than merely continue with that which you seem most qualified to do. How can I convince a new employer to take a chance and let me learn new skills? I have been told repeatedly by both professors and employers that I should work as a professional writer, but I actually highly dislike spending any length of time writing.

    My position in brief:

    I graduated from a highly respected “public ivy” college with a 3.97 GPA–Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude. I have since acquired great experiences through internships and freelance work. All of my employers have offered me strong recommendations. However, very few employers seem interested in hiring me for a full-time, salaried position. I do believe that a large portion of the problem is that, given the economy, combined with the fact that I am admittedly not very good at locating interesting job positions, I merely “need a job” and lack the absolute passion for a position that others may show. As a matter of fact, I would probably be personally disappointed with myself for “settling” if I accepted a number of the positions for which I keep applying. I would love to find work which makes use of my love for international travel and/or material manipulation (for example, visual effects companies with a non-computerized focus), but am unsure how to do so.

    I would also love to see your job finding course cover how to locate interesting positions in a given locale. Say I wanted to live in… Chicago for example, how could I locate interesting jobs there without having to bite the financial bullet and relocate to search?

  24. Elisa says:

    I am in my second year of college studying screenwriting and filmmaking, so I get your One Day One Internship updates. I know that getting a good internship will help with my job search when I graduate, but what else should I do to make me stand out in the film industry?

  25. Raz says:

    I’m graduating in May ’09 and eventually want to make it into management consulting. Straight out of college I’m looking to get a job in business development with a mid-to-large sized company. Any tips on how I should try to find a job? I’ve got the resume, had the internships, kept good grades…now its just finding the right options that seems to be the trick…
    Thanks for what you do. The site is amazing and the job tips have been very helpful!

  26. Rosalinda says:

    This is such a great site! I’m a fellow Cornell grad (’05) and a fan of One Day, One Job.

  27. Amber says:

    I randomly came across your page on a google search and realized this page was meant for me. Not only did you write this article on my birthday 2 yrs ago, but you may have saved me 2 more years of living with MY parents again (if I had read this 2 yrs ago, that is). Just this little bit helps a lot. Thank you!

  28. I wish you where around ten year ago. I had graduated second in my class with a 3.9 GPA, with many offers on the table but instead of taking one I decided to help my Mom out who was very sick at the time. Well, a couple months went by and those offers disappeared it took me another two years to land a job with in my field.

  29. Seems like some of your subscribers might make better use of LinkedIn. Make sure you have a resume in there, and if you’ve had employment at all, then ask some people who liked you to write recommendations for you. That will help you stand out from the crowds, and people trust third party opinions probably more than your “carefully nuanced” resume :) Also there is a job search function on the site that allows you to search by industry or geographically. Probably most of your readers know this, but just in case…

  30. What an interesting site. I can totally relate with this as I am a newly grad and currently looking for a job. I’ve recently tried working online. I’ve applied on jobs that I know I could do but they’ve been rejecting me, because I do not have enough experience. How would I be able to show people that I am capable of doing the job and I am willing to learn more? Aside from that, can you give tips on how to make a good impression during the interview? And what do I need to do to be the more favorable applicant?

    By the way, what you are doing is simply amazing. It inspires us to not lose hope.

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