Thursday, January 20, 2011

What Would You Do To Get a Job?

I just read Steve Schimmel’s story of going from handing out resumes on the street to becoming the 13th employee of Google. His story brings up so many questions about what it takes to forge a great career. Was it luck that propelled Schimmel to meet the right people? Or was it Schimmel’s persistence and creativity that propelled him to success?

Even from his humble beginnings, Schimmel graduated Magna Cum Laude and Dean’s List from university in Business. Armed with his degree, Schimmel set out to get his first job. After searching for over a year in San Francisco and not getting anything he started to get desperate.

One day he noticed a panhandler, and a person with a giant placard that said “REPENT” looked him straight in the eye. Something clicked. The next day he put on his best thrift store suit and took the 5am bus to the financial district in San Francisco. While wearing a sandwich board asking for help with his job search, he handed out resumes on the street. This was one of the most humbling moments of his life. He says his faith in people was renewed that day and, amazingly, this lead to him getting a job as an associate equity analyst.

Schimmel eventually left that job to run his own business but ran out of money. He found himself back on the job market. He started by calling CEO’s of the companies that were advertising jobs. He eventually connected with one CEO who was so impressed with his drive, that he referred him to a little startup called Netscape. When Netscape was purchased by AOL in 1999, Schimmel and many other employees moved on.

He took a job with a little search engine company that had just been founded by two Computer Science Ph.D. candidates at Stanford. Schimmel joined them as lucky employee 13. At the time they only had a few thousand searches performed each day, mostly by academics, and no revenues. But, as you already guessed, this little company grew into Google, the world leader in search technology which now brings in billions in revenue each quarter. Steve negotiated Google’s first 100k deal and their first 1M deal. He was on the original design team for Adwords.

In his own words, people gave him a “shot” and he was able to evolve from poor kid to successful businessman to retired by 32 years old.

Schimmel talks about doing things you can be proud of. I love the motto that he and his friends live by, “Don’t be evil.” He says, “It is a philosophy of doing what’s right and letting the money follow.”

One of the lessons that I learned from Schimmel’s story is that you must be persistent, creative and willing to take risks in your job search.

My personal motto is “what goes around comes around”. I believe that if you help others, you will be helped by either the people you help, people they know or internally by the satisfaction that you receive from helping somebody else.

Have you ever used an unconventional method to land a job? What is your personal motto? Share a story about how you made yourself standout?

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Tim Collins
President and Owner, Stafflink Solutions

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