How did you get that job?

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    mark foster

    While looking at job postings and sending out a gazillion resumes is certainly one way to get a job, is it the best way?    My experience is that the saying “the best jobs are never advertised” is true, but I may not be typical. 

    The two best (and longest) jobs Iv’e ever had were due to serendipity.  Both were supposedly short-term that turned into 7-10 year stints. Two of the worst were from “career path” job postings, and I quit each within a year.


    So, how did you find a job?  And more importantly, how did you find your that really good one?



    My first and only job came about by word of mouth.  You are right the best are not advertised.  I was still in school, and a classmate had a job already at a small firm, and found out that another small firm had an opening so I applied, and called a couple times a week, because they were busy and just didn’t have time to look through resumes.  I got the job as a student intern part time.  I applied to a couple larger firms when I graduated, but they all looked like career builder positions, and I am glad I didn’t take them.  It turned into an 11 year run where I was pretty high up in the company.

    Then the economy hit and I have been working part time and looking for another full time job as a PM and have found another job to apply to, which was not advertised (I have produced 2 or 3 dozen cold call resumes and only have gotten 3 interviews).  This firm looks promising, and am waiting for a decision call back, after I have called them a couple times to keep in touch after the interview.

    Theodore Tegen

    My first (and current) job in landscape architecture I found, oddly enough, advertised on Craigslist.  It was kind of strange, because it’s an awesome family owned company, multi-disciplinary, with a great workplace attitude.  It just seemed a little odd that it was posted on craigslist, though it may have been advertised elsewhere as well.

    mark foster

    A colleague of mine (D/B firm) hired an LA last year from Craigslist….

    Were you looking for work in a specific locality?–seems like Craiglist works best that way, but I am not too familiar with it.


    Sending out “a gazillion resumes” is never a good idea in my humble opinion. You are wasting time! Why send a resume to a firm in Alaska or Minnesota when no way on God’s green earth would I ever consider living there? Better to post an online resume on Monster or ASLA than mass mailing. Instead, target regions of where you would prefer to live.

    As for “serendipity” (are you a fan of actress Kate Beckinsale?), let me make mine short and sweet.

    A funny story happened…on how I found my way to Maui. In April 2007 before leaving Nevada and starting a new job in Arizona, I was on vacation visiting a friend when I read a job announcement in the local paper. Through fate and good karma, I moved to this island 10 months later.

    My old high school friend and his family were getting ready to leave the island when he invited me to visit. It was his fourth invitation in 6 years. Since I had a place to stay for free and still within 3 weeks of starting a new job, I decided to go for a week. The job was not advertised nationally, only within the state of Hawaii. No visit equals no completing the application! In February of 2008, I started my new job on Maui and happily ever after!..

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Getting in front of people is the most important. I learned that showing up unannounced annoys people. Calling to arrange a meeting is often unproductive. I needed to find a way to make it easy to let me in.

    I put a list together of every LA within my limited geographic area (where there are no big firms). Then I made up several resume/portfolio packages – not what you would mail or send by email, but something to deliver. I drove to within a couple of blocks of each office, called and let them know I was in the area and asked if I could drop off a resume. Most did not refuse me. Some were receptionists and some were principals. Most receptionists, I assumed, would tell the principal that someone is stopping by giving them the opportunity to be ready to talk to me should they want to. Some took it from me and sent me on my way. Some had short discussions with me. One, who no longer had  LAs in the office (civil/survey office) gave me a tour and, through the process, an impromptu interview. Nine months later he called me and offered me a job.


    Since then, any job changes were based uopn opportunity so they have always been a response to an advertisement. Each time, I adjusted my resume to highlight what seemed most important to that specific job and a new informal cover letter doing the same.

    Jon Quackenbush

    90% of all the jobs I have ever had (LA and otherwise) was to print out my resume, walk/drive to an office and hand it to a person of importance (if they are not immediately available, patiently wait or come back).  The combination of personal contact, initiative and the opportunity to create a first impression has been beneficial. 

    I would rather risk annoying the person with an unannounced visit rather than getting lost in the shuffle, both scenarios could equal not getting hired… but I would rather take control of the situation and hope that my wit and charm could smooth over an annoyed person… seems to (in most circumstances), anyway.

    Heather Smith


    This is depressing. 🙁 Sorry…I am just DOWN today. Good advice…but we have done this stuff and not even gotten calls back.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Did you really try taking a trip to Hawaii?

    Heather Smith

    yeah andrew…we took a ride around the big island…but our karma must be lacking. 😉

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