Some kids have it and some just don’t. You can call it drive, instinct, fear or all of the above—they are the recent university grads who land full-time jobs fresh out of college while we nod our heads and say, “I’m not surprised.”
Michael Beninati, a recent university graduate of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, interviewed with Discovery Channel in person on a Monday, was offered a position on Tuesday and started as a Sales Assistant this week. How did a middle class kid, who went to a lesser-known school and majored in marketing (like so many recent graduates) get such a great job?
The story starts a year ago when he cold-called the Brooklyn Nets about a summer internship. His moxie got him an interview and, knowing that one of his professors occasionally did work for the Washington Wizards, he mentioned it to her. As he had hoped, she knew someone at the Nets and offered to put in a good word. That sealed the deal and Mike spent the summer doing marketing for the Nets throughout the five New York City boroughs. It was a dream internship for a sports-crazed young guy.
Looking to leverage this internship into a full-time job after graduation, Mike hunted for a job in the sports industry throughout the winter and spring. His colleagues at the Nets told him about TeamWork Online, a popular job site for positions in the sports industry, so he started trolling. In May, three months after he applied for a position with the New Jersey Devils, he got a call to interview that same night. He raced from a final exam at school in Philadelphia to Newark, New Jersey and found himself in a room with 18 other candidates and 7 Devil’s employees. Questions started coming at the candidates and it was a race to the finish line to see who would be left standing in the end. The stress was worth it, said Mike, “Because it left me better prepared for interviewing.”
Knowing how competitive the sports industry is, Mike decided to broaden his search to include media companies. “It was like doing a paper for school, I just did a ton of research on television and marketing companies in New York City using Google and LinkedIn,” said Mike. Job titles rarely said “entry level,” so he started reading the job descriptions to see how he might be qualified. Eventually, he noticed one with the Discovery Channel as a sales assistant that required marketing experience and a bachelor’s degree. They didn’t say how much marketing experience, so Mike decided to go for it using his internship as his qualification.
After he applied, Mike continued to reassure his mother that he would get a job in this lousy job market, and mentioned the Discovery position. She remembered that someone at work had a relative who worked at Discovery. “Never a shy one,” says Mike, “Mom connected with that woman.” They will never know if it made the difference, but it certainly didn’t hurt. He heard from Discovery shortly afterward and landed his current job within the week.
Mike is working on a team servicing one of Discovery’s advertising clients. The job is full-time and is temporary at first. If all goes well, somewhere in the next six months, his job will become permanent and include benefits. In today’s job market, all the “accidents” are of your own making, explaining why Mike was discovered. Congratulations, Mom and Mike!
Note: As of September 16, 2013, Mike has since completed his trial period and is now a full-time employee, receiving benefits.