Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Perseverance Gets Results

In order to not make this longer than its already obscene length, I’m starting this story on Tuesday, May 28th, 2019, after 15 applications, 3 first-round interviews, 2 2nd-round interviews, and 0 job-offers. I had only 2 job applications with hope left, largely narrowed by the fact I had arrived in my hometown and was staying there for the rest of the summer. I wasn’t going to give up, so I dressed up, printed out copies of my cover letters and resume, and drove to the listed headquarters without a scheduled meeting.

The first position was as a Finance Intern at an engineering consultant firm called Woodard & Curran. I asked the receptionist who was in charge of the hiring process for the Finance Intern. She asked if I had an appointment to which I unfortunately had to respond, “No.” I figured that would likely kill my chances of seeing someone. She said that all recruiters were busy in a meeting for another half an hour. I asked if I could wait because I would love to introduce myself and she said that it would be better to call and gave me a business card. I handed her two copies of my resume and cover letter, thanked her, and left.

The next stop was Forager, a mission-based startup trying to make local food more accessible by streamlining the procurement process. I was applying to be a Summer Startup Intern and arrived at the listed headquarters: 15 Franklin St, Portland, ME. I saw the list of companies on each floor. To my surprise, none of them said “Forager.” I asked the receptionist on the first floor if she knew where Forager was, she replied that she had no idea who they were and tried to look them up. I really appreciated the effort, but said “thank you so much, don’t worry about it, I’ll check with the other floors.” The second floor hadn’t heard of Forager either, and the third floor was so confused that she snapped at me saying that everyone has been in this building for over 20 years! As I walked out of the elevator, dressed up, resumes and cover letters in hand, the first receptionist waved me in. She said that she found a mutual LinkedIn connection who worked there, tried her number, went to voicemail, but she can give me the number. I was astonished how much effort she had put into finding this Forager without any responsibility to do so, I thanked her again so much and left to try the number.

The number went to voicemail, as expected, and I tried to succinctly explain the situation. Halfway through, the phone answered to static and eventually I hung up. I didn’t think I could call again, but the voicemail didn’t make any sense yet, so I sent a huge text message explaining the situation, again, as succinctly as possible, hoping it was a cell phone. Later that night, I received a text back that she worked out of Massachusetts and gave me the email of someone in the Portland office. First thing the next morning, I sent an email, explaining I was an applicant, am very interested, tried to introduce myself, no receptionist knew of Forager at the listed headquarters, got this number, tried this number, and was given this email–can I have an update on the application? Then, I gave Woodard & Curran a call, went to voicemail, gave a quick pitch, and asked for any update on my application.

Later that Wednesday, I received an email for an interview at Forager! I set one up for the next morning. Thursday morning came around, I had a phone interview that went well and he said that they would like to have a second interview with the product manager. We set that up literally for that afternoon and I put together some work samples to send in before so they could review. The second interview, was much more intense. At one point, the product manager bluntly said, “dude, you know this application has been closed for months, right? We just keep it open so we don’t have to update it.” Honestly, I don’t recall how I responded and came back from that, but the interview proceeded and they said they’re only giving me a chance because they admire the perseverance I displayed.

Friday morning passed, afternoon, it was the end of the workday when I got a call from Woodard & Curran. They said that I had called for an update on the application, and so they wanted to let me know that the position had been filled a while ago and the intern is coming in Monday. No joke–as she was explaining that to me, I got an email notification saying “Congratulations, we would like to offer you a job as a Summer Startup Intern at Forager this summer.” I thanked her for the call and immediately responded to the email.

After work Monday, I gifted some chocolates to the receptionist at the incorrect listed headquarters for Forager– as my “perseverance” would have fallen flat if it wasn’t for her perseverance.