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Claire Diaz-Ortiz

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How To Get A Job: A True Story (Part 3)

Posted: 07/19/2012 11:04 am

And we're back.

In Part 1, I showed you the awesome email I got from someone (full disclosure: her name is Sarah Curl) who wanted to work for me at Twitter, and told you why it blew my mind. In Part 2, I dissected the specific reasons why the email worked, and how I got around to responding a swift 27 days later.

The cliff-hanger in that post came at the ending (as all cliff-hangers do), when my response to her elicited another email from her -- saying she had already gotten a job at Twitter!

So let's pick up where we left off: Me saying, "Heh?!?"

You, like me, are likely wondering how this woman went from 0 to blast-off in 27 short days. And I will tell you. But first, let's explore the real reason I'm finally getting around to posting Part 3 of this series this week.

Ready for it?

Because Sarah's mother told me to.

Specifically, I got this email in my inbox at the end of last week:

Subject: Looking forward to "How to get a job Part 3″ from the biggest fan of Sarah Curl

Yes....it is I..her mama!! I celebrate all her little victories and will always be her biggest supporter so thank you for taking the time to respond to her and meeting with her. Congrats to you too for all your accomplishments!! Your mom must also be very proud!!!
The best of luck to you Claire,

Sarah Curl's Mom

My first thought, upon reading the above, had to do with who it is in the Sarah family that has trained all these people to write such funny, charming notes. My second thought was, "I really need to finish writing that blog series."

So this is what happened after I said, "Heh?!?"

After Sarah told me she was already working at Twitter, I was confused. Not confused that such a cool, witty, smart girl could land a job at a place she wanted to work, but rather that it had happened so incredibly quickly. (It had been 27 days since she first wrote to me.)

Some digging (read: emailing back and forth) led to a fascinating discovery. Sarah had, in effect, taken a shortcut to getting a job at her favorite company, and likely a shortcut that most of the world doesn't even remember exists:

Instead of getting a job at the company she wanted to work at directly, she had gotten a job at a temp agency that placed her at the company she wanted to work for (in this case, Twitter).

How did she do this? Pretty simply, actually. She signed up for a temp agency in San Francisco, where she is based. She knew Twitter is based in San Francisco (a simple Google feat) and may or may not have known the exact clients that the temp agency in question served. When asked for her placement interests, she gave niche responses: social media and technology companies.

A little bit of luck, and she found herself at Twitter.

Now, being a temp isn't necessarily the be-all, end-all. Temps are hardly guaranteed long-term contracts or companies, or even short-term contracts that turn into full-time gigs. So it's a gamble. But it is a gamble that sometimes works. Back when the company was still tiny, two of my favorite colleagues first came on as temps (as I came on initially as an MBA intern). In our fourth year now, we're all still here.

So did it work for Sarah?

Yes and no. Yes, she learned a lot during her few months at Twitter. But, no, she didn't end up working full time for the company. At the end of her three-month temp contract, there wasn't a full time position available.

But that's hardly the end of this story...

 

Follow Claire Diaz-Ortiz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/claire

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