Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. Besides enjoying colorful leaves, apple cider, and cozy sweaters, I love the general atmosphere of giving thanks and showing our appreciation for one another.
One of the things I’m especially thankful for is my job. I feel incredibly lucky to work somewhere like 321Blink. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new and solve unique challenges. What’s even better is the collaborative environment we have – my bosses truly care about our ideas and concerns, and our team is tight-knit.
You may be wondering where jobs and internships like this can be found. The short answer: NETWORKING! As I’m about to show you, the more people you create meaningful connections with, the more opportunities there will be. Disclaimer: if you want the short explanation, scroll down to the numbered list below.
My “meaningful connection” happened during my sophomore year at SVC. Walking through Alfred after class, I saw a bulletin board outside the Financial Aid office listing various scholarships students could apply for. At the time, it hadn’t occurred to me that scholarships existed for people already in college, not just high schoolers. One of the listings was for the Michael Wolff Scholarship Award given through the Media Association of Pittsburgh (MAP). Intrigued, I decided to apply. What would I have to lose? A few months later, I got a phone call from MAP – I won the scholarship and was invited to accept the award at their annual Outstanding Achievement in Media Awards!
That April, I went to the awards dinner with my parents and professors. During the cocktail hour, I was introduced to Tim McLaughlin, president of MAP at the time. As we talked, he asked me about my interests and career goals. He called over his business partner, Tripp Clarke, and they told me about a brand new marketing agency they started called 321Blink. “Keep in touch,” they said as we all took our places for the dinner and awards to start.
Receiving an award from my future boss. Who knew?
After that night, I checked up on the fledgling company from time to time but had nearly forgotten about my conversation with Tim and Tripp. It had gotten mixed up in the excitement of getting to be at the awards in the first place. Besides, why would I need to think seriously about job opportunities? I was just a sophomore!
Fast forward to my senior year, when looking for jobs DID matter. It was a daunting, overwhelming experience, and frankly, I wasn’t having much luck. (Looking back now, I was pretty unrealistic with what I was applying for, but that’s a lesson for another time). Then, I had an “aha!” moment: what about 321Blink? So I reached out to Tim and received a quick response. “We were just talking about you. There’s a position opening up that you might be a good fit for. Why don’t you stop by and we can chat?” Bingo!
On the day of my interview, I nervously asked an older woman for directions, and she very kindly stopped what she was doing to walk me over to the office. As it turns out, her brother was a Saint Vincent alumnus and has been a lifelong friend and donor to the college! I took that as a positive sign and mustered up the courage to give the best interview I could.
Needless to say, after a few months of interviews and waiting (mostly waiting), I finally got the job offer to join 321Blink as their social media and marketing strategist. The rest is history.
Some of Team 321Blink at a recent outing. Let's go Pens!
Well, there you have it. If you’re going to take away anything from my story, let it be this:
- Don’t be afraid to apply for scholarships or leadership roles. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain!
- Make an effort to keep in touch with your connections every so often. Sometimes landing a position is a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
- Not every networking experience will lead to a job or internship. Do it anyway.
I wish you the best of luck in your job search endeavors, and if you’ve had an interesting networking experience, please share it!