How to Get a Job: A True Story (Part 3)

Have you been following along with my series on How to Get a Job: A True Story? Catch up by reading Part 1  and Part 2, then read Part 3 below…

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How to Get a Job: A True Story (Part 3)

And we’re back.

In Part 1, I showed you the awesome email I got from someone (full disclosure: her name is Sarah Curl) who wanted to work for me at Twitter, and told you why it blew my mind. In Part 2, I dissected the specific reasons why the email worked, and how I got around to responding a swift 27 days later.

The cliff-hanger in that post came at the ending (as all cliff-hangers do), when my response to her elicited another email from her — saying she had already gotten a job at Twitter!

So let’s pick up where we left off.
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Me saying, “Heh?!?”
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You, like me, are likely wondering how this woman went from 0 to blast off in 27 short days. And I will tell you. But first, let’s explore the real reason I’m finally getting around to posting Part 3 of this series this week.
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Ready for it?
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Because Sarah’s mother told me to.
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Specifically, I got this email in my inbox at the end of last week:
Subject: Looking forward to “How to get a job Part 3” from the biggest fan of Sarah Curl
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Yes….it is I..her mama!!  I celebrate all her little victories and will always be her biggest supporter so thank you for taking the time to respond to her and meeting with her.  Congrats to you too for all your accomplishments!!  Your mom must also be very proud!!!
The best of luck to you Claire,
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Sarah Curl’s Mom
My first thought, upon reading the above, had to do with who it is in the Sarah family that has trained all these people to write such funny, charming, notes. My second thought was, “I really need to finish writing that blog series.”
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So this is what happened after I said “Heh?!?”
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After Sarah told me she was already working at Twitter, I was confused. Not confused that such a cool, witty, smart girl could land a job at a place she wanted to work, but rather that it had happened so incredibly quickly. (It had been 27 days since she first wrote to me.)
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Some digging (read: emailing back and forth) led to a fascinating discovery. Sarah had, in effect, taken a shortcut to getting a job at her favorite company, and likely a shortcut that most of the world doesn’t even remember exists:
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Instead of getting a job at the company she wanted to work at directly, she had gotten a job at a temp agency that placed her at the company she wanted to work for (in this case, Twitter).
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How did she do this? Pretty simply, actually. She signed up for a temp agency in San Francisco, where she is based. She knew Twitter is based in San Francisco (a simple Google feat) and may or may not have known the exact clients that the temp agency in question served. When asked for her placement interests, she gave niche responses: social media and technology companies.
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A little bit of luck, and she found herself at Twitter.
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Now, being a temp isn’t necessarily the end-all be-all. Temps are hardly guaranteed long-term contracts or companies, or even short-term contracts that turn into full-time gigs. So it’s a gamble. But it is a gamble that sometimes works. Back when the company was still tiny, two of my favorite colleagues first came on as temps (as I came on initially as an MBA intern). In our fourth year now, we’re all still here.
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So did it work for Sarah?
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Yes, and no. Yes, she learned a lot during her few months at Twitter. But, no, she didn’t end up working full time for the company. At the end of her three month temp contract, there wasn’t a full time position available.
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But that’s hardly the end of this story…
Tune in next time for Part 4, and check out Part 1  and Part 2 as well.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “How to Get a Job: A True Story (Part 3)

  1. Claire,

    What a great story about Sarah! I can feel for Sarah in a time that I am currently job searching and trying to find an “in” with all of my top company choices. I just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading Parts I, II, III and look forward to the next piece.

    I also read your post on “Connecting with Anyone on LinkedIn” and would love the opportunity to connect. Just out of college, asking for an opportunity with Twitter seems like a stretch but after 3-5 years of experience, I would love to give it a shot. Here is my LinkedIn profile if you would be interested in connecting.
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevingottlieb35

    Best,

    Kevin

  2. Hi Claire,

    I love your blog – especially the posts about all the books you’re reading. (I’m a voracious reader too).

    However, call me cynical, call me hard-hearted. If I received an email from the parent of a prospective employee, I wouldn’t hire them – period. Professional boundaries are important. Unless there’s a life-threatening medical emergency, there’s absolutely no reason a parent should email me after I’ve met their son or daughter. None.

    And, I think 99.9% of managers and professional coaches, HR people, etc. would agree. Helicopter parents have no place in the workplace.

    Just my two cents. The blog is great and I’ll keep reading.

    • To be fair — in this case I think she’s expressing excitement at reading the series on the blog, and not so much helping to pitch the hiring of her daughter. Of course, that also has to do with the fact that I didn’t have a job her daughter could apply for!