They say opportunity knocks. In this age, it's more likely to appear in an email.
I graduated from Central College in May of 2013 and I was one of the lucky few to have a job lined up before I was handed my diploma. I then began an eight month internship with the Iowa Golf Association. It was a great opportunity to learn & gain experience in a field I enjoyed, but in the back of my mind I had a timer counting down. I would be back in the job market, swimming against the current, hunting for another position. I sent out plenty of resumes, had a phone call or two, but really didn't hear much. And I have to say, it was pretty disappointing.
Then one day an email came across my old college account, from the employment department. It was a little vague, but I was not one to pass up an opportunity. It was from a company in Des Moines who was hosting a two day event to compete for jobs. I immediately got to work signing up.
This is what I had been waiting for. An opportunity to get in front of someone, show off my skills, and have a fair shake at earning a full-time position. No other company gave me that. Didn't matter about my degree, my study abroad experience, or anything that was on my resume. All I wanted was a chance to show that I could come work for them.
I went to the pre-registration event, ate some delicious pizza, and learned a little bit more about what this company was all about: social media, marketing, and creative writing; all in my wheelhouse. This is something I could do and be successful at.
While I won't spoil any details for future #jumpstartme competitors, the weekend of the event was totally unique, something I had never experienced before. While there was a palpable tension in the air (we were competing against each other for the same five positions), it was fun. Most interviews are stressful, nerve-wracking, whatever adjective you want to use; but this was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had. I took this chance and gave it everything I had.
Now after everything was said and done, I made sure they remembered my name. I emailed them immediately after, doing anything I could to make sure 'Nicholas Wilkening' was fresh in their minds. It's easy to forget a name, but not so easy when they keep harassing you with emails.
Now what does this all mean? Well, #jumpstartme gave me something no other company did: an opportunity. Nothing was handed to me, my diploma didn't help, my resume never left my computer; it was just a simple opportunity. Come to our event, impress us, show us what you can do, and if we think you're a good fit, come work for us. So don't despair class of 2014: opportunity will come knocking, just be sure you're ready to answer.
-Nick Wilkening (Red Shoe Media)
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