The Power of Partying (I mean Networking)

In February of 2011 the decision to go to a party changed the course of my life. I’m serious. I can point to the moment I started the path towards not only my first, but second job out of college because I attended that party.

The setting was alumni weekend. As a senior I made it a point to attend the alumni panel. Bonnies who had left the safe bubble of St. Bonaventure University spoke about life in the “real world” and were subsequently mauled by desperate second-semester seniors networking their way into employment. Naturally, I played it cool and left the event right after the alumni were done speaking. Okay, it wasn’t so much playing it cool as having a high school friend visiting and needing to go show her a good time. So, like most college kids we found our way to a party.

As the drinks were poured (don’t worry we were 21) I started to watch some alumni trickle into the house. Courtesy of the alumni panel, I knew one graduate worked for The Late Show with David Letterman. Luckily, I knew him from our days busting underage classmates for drinking and general debauchery on campus. Oh, have I not mentioned I was an RA in college?

Decorating sam's door

(The first time Peach met me I apparently yelled at him to get off my floor. Such a romantic meet-cute!)

I left my high school friend on the couch chatting it up with a college buddy of mine while I approached this mythical creature: an employed college graduate! After some general pleasantries and banter about RA life I asked about his job. Even though I was probably openly salivating at the prospect of ever getting to work for one of the biggest names in Late Night TV, I did my best to keep it together and wrapped up the conversation after a few minutes to let him get on with his night. Obviously, this isn’t the end of the story.

Upon heading back to my friend on the couch, I saw the group of people she was chatting with had expanded to include a few alumni. One of whom I recognized, but had never really known during his time at school. It didn’t take long for me to ask him what he did and to discover he worked in public relations. After getting his business card, I deemed the evening a success and went back to beer pong. I mean having intellectual conversations about current affairs.

To save you details about the angst-riddled months before graduation let’s just fast forward to what happened. I followed up with the Letterman alumni and after some back-and-forth about the application process I sent away a resume to the hiring manager in early March.

If you are a long-time reader, you may remember I graduated college without a job prospect. A week after I walked the stage, the woman in charge of the page program for Letterman gave me a call. I flew up to NYC a few days later to interview. My alumni friend was kind enough to let me crash on his couch to spare this broke millennial the cost of a hotel. He showed me around his neighborhood and we went to drinks with the aforementioned public relations alumni. Did I not mention those two are really good friends? Funny how this is all starting to come together!

I landed the job at Letterman and moved to New York a couple weeks later.

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(I still wear that coat around when I want to feel like a big deal.)

So, thanks to a party in February of 2011 I secured my first job out of college and moved to New York City. After a year working as a page for The Late Show, I moved onto to my next job working for the same communications agency as alumni #2. Yes, he did help me get my foot in the door. Like I said, I can point to the moment a small decision changed the course of my life. Networking, especially in college, is one of the most valuable career moves you can make. Apparently, partying is the other.

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17 comments on “The Power of Partying (I mean Networking)
  1. Hey Erin, great story! Networking is such a wonderful asset. 🙂

  2. LOL! Great story, Erin. It’s true you never know who you might meet at the beer pong. 🙂 These days you have to network and I’m glad it paid off for you!

  3. Great story! It is amazing how the pieces can fall into place when we put ourselves out there.

    • #BrokeMillennial says:

      A friend of mine was actually hesitating about going to a party where a lot of entertainment industry folks would be. Understandable, it was her bf’s birthday but I convinced her he’d understand and she needed to go get her networking on for an hour or two. She made some great contacts!

  4. momoneymohouses says:

    I totally agree, networking us uber important, especially when you’re wrapping up college. That’s how I landed my first out of school job. My professor was on the board for this film festival, I told him I was looking for work and he hooked me up with an interview at the festival which I eventually worked for on contract for 4 months. After that I got a part-time on-call gig through my dad and his contacts, then I got my next full-time job because I had interviewed there before but made sure to follow up with the woman I interviewed with because she liked me and we got along great (a type of networking). I’m telling you, I’ve gotten almost every job due to someone I know.

    • #BrokeMillennial says:

      I’m not sure how people find success with blindly sending out applications. It’s such a tough market and it really does just come down to who you know. Informational interviews are the other God send! Commit to enough of them and you’re bound to get your foot in the door some place.

  5. Martin says:

    Awesome story. I take my partying very seriously. I haven’t met girlfriends, business partners, and lifelong friends at parties. I believe in going out at least once a week
    It is good for the soul and a great way to um network.

  6. That is a very cools story. I would wear that jacket forever if I had one too. I got my first job out of residency in a very serendipitous way. I think you never know where the opportunities lie, so it’s important to always be on the lookout.

  7. Awesome story, Erin! While partying didn’t get me my first job, I also had an experience where networking got my foot in the door. I found out that my friend’s Dad worked at the same company (it’s a huge company which is why I didn’t know – lots of different names for different business lines) and it definitely didn’t hurt that he knew and had worked with the head of college recruiting!

  8. Matt Becker says:

    Just goes to show, good networking can happen any time. And it isn’t some formal process with written procedures or anything. It’s pretty much just knowing how to talk to people, and finding the right people to talk to. Sounds like you played it perfectly.

  9. I think about that now as I’ve become even more introverted as I get older. I just don’t “get out” and meet new people. A problem both with dating AND networking. 🙂 Cool story!

  10. Very good post You must always stay in touch and keep partying as you never know whom you would meet and how it works. I got one of my job through partying and also one of my project contract too. All because of partying and I didn’t knew them before so it is great to meet and know new people

  11. eemusings says:

    Best. Story. Ever. Neither of my grown up jobs were obtained through typical applications and odds arevmy next one won’t be either!

  12. Jason B says:

    Great story. I have to start back partying more lol.

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