Job Hunt: 3 Success Stories


Last month, employers cut only 11,000 jobs — totally the Great Recovery we've been waiting for. OK, maybe not so much (unemployment is still at 10%, down from 10.2% a month prior), but it certainly beats a few months back when we were hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands of positions per month in the U.S. It was brutal. Job losses appear to be tapering off. And some are actually finding work: legitimate, full-time, even with benefits in some cases.

MainStreet wanted to speak with some of these mythical new hires, but catching one of them for an on-the-record interview is a bit like trying to snap a photo of a unicorn or Big Foot. (Not only is the job market still brutal, but those who have been graced with offer letters are often unwilling to speak about it for fear of spoiling a good thing before it even begins.)

We found three brave souls, though. The first, Kristin Davie, landed a job at a New York public relations agency. How’d this 22 year old recent Marist College grad do it? “I tried my best to remain active after graduation,” she explained, adding that fluency with social media applications and writing guest posts for popular blogs such as EduInReview and What Would Dad Say helped get her name out there — and also allowed her to build up a portfolio of work. Her social media background is especially valuable to employers these days.

Another recent hire and Stanford grad, Sean McGraw, 44, found a full-time position at, which is an online marketplace where users can find qualified lawyers willing to work on contingency. How’d he land that? McGraw used, a site which lets “startups who do not have funding offer alternative compensation jobs. [That] could be reduced rates, equity, part-time work, etc. The more mature companies who have funding or are profitable offer full time regular jobs," according to company co-founder Julie Greenberg.

In other words, with Jobnob, an employee willing to take a risk on a fresh young company may not earn as much initially as peers in the same field, but he or she will receive alternative compensation of some kind (including equity in the company in some cases). If the startup eventually prospers, so does the employee.

Yet another new hire, Mindy Harrell, 25, graduated from Black Hills State University… and like everyone else out there, feels lucky to have full-time employment. She was offered a position in marketing strategy by South Dakota advertising agency TDG Communications. “I worked on a commissioned salary here for five months before being employed full-time,” she explained.

“I had all the desired skills of a designer, but the economy was slow for them too.” Rather than worrying about her future, Harrell used the five months to prove her value to the company and to deliver great work. She left in May 2009 due to the stress of juggling that job with two others, and began work as an assistant for her mother, but “towards the end of the summer season, I got an unexpected call from my former employer at TDG Communications, Mr. Floyd. They wanted me back, and this time it was the real deal. A full-time gig with my own desk, salary and even benefits. The hard work it took to become a permanent employee at TDG Communications was well worth the defeat and loss I nearly felt previously that spring.”

Talk about delayed gratification! And better than being on Mom’s payroll! “Not only have I found a job through the impossible, I also found out that my career goals have gone beyond becoming a great graphic designer. I thrive off of generating revenue and have become a pretty good account manager. It's progressive, fast paced and I love coming to work to face my next challenge,” Harrell told us.

So there you have it. There are still good jobs out there, and those who get them don’t disappoint their companies. You just have to prove your value to get them, and go beyond the typical cold calls and late-night job board browsing.

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