How 160 Characters Helped Me Land My Dream Job
Summer 2016, I was sat with my housemate talking about what we were going to do after graduation. I was studying an MSc in Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship and at this point I knew three things:
- I wanted to work for a startup or for a cowork space.
- I wanted to be part of building something that I was proud of.
- I wanted my job to involve people and if possible travel.
That was about it.
I didn’t have a specific job role or industry in mind.
The world was my oyster.
A giant, daunting oyster.
I’d noticed that a lot of the startups I wanted to approach were using Twitter regularly. I’d therefore decided to try and use this platform for ‘Professional Networking’. In all honesty though – I didn’t have a plan of how I was going to do that.
I’d changed my profile photo to the same as my LinkedIn (as recommend by numerous blogs) but I was stumped as to what I should write for my profile bio.
The obvious options seemed so boring that I may as well not bother writing anything…
- MSc student, BSc Geography
- Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship
- Startup lover, map nerd and amateur musician
Everything I wrote was just a describing statement about what I’d done or was doing.
I wanted my bio to tell people what I wanted to do in the future. The problem was I couldn’t pin-point it.
And even if I could, I didn’t want to close any doors by being too specific. Heath and I sat throwing around ideas but none were hitting the nail on the head. And then we had a seemingly silly idea.
What would I write if I was looking for a boyfriend?
With only 160 characters to play with, I’d probably write something that resembled an old-school newspaper dating advert. And that’s what led to this…
But enough to say something about me and enough to say something about what I was looking for in my future work.
I saved my profile changes, continued with my studies and continued looking for companies that I thought I could contribute value to.
I’d been looking for jobs in Manchester and London as they both had amazing startup ecosystems. My sister Emily had however moved from London to Exeter just a few months earlier and was keen to remind me that come September I could move anywhere… so why not Exeter?! Family has always been really important to me and the idea of living near to Em for the first time in years was pretty tempting. But I didn’t have any contacts in Exeter and my gut reaction was that given the size of the city, it would be a miracle to hear about or find any opportunities that would fit what I was looking for (especially within the next couple months). So I continued my search and Em continued to send me the details of Exeter based companies but with each link containing a note of “What about these guys? Wouldn’t it be awesome to live near each other ;)”
One day while I was in class, Em sent me a link to a cowork space called The Generator in Exeter. [I was a bit of a stuck record when it came to coworking spaces and was always going on about how much I loved working in the ThinkRise cowork space cafe in Manchester.] In a typical click-happy style I started going through all the pages and found reference to another company called Corkscrew. Now this really caught my attention. A Startup School using the process of Business Startup to develop key workplace skills such as creativity, initiative and complex-problem solving! The two business from what I could tell were connected by their founder, Neil Finnie. But – I was sat in the front row of the lecture and so quickly followed all three profiles and made a mental note to check them out properly later. That afternoon I was sat in library when my phone buzzed. It was a notification from Twitter…
I was so excited and confused. How did he know I was looking for a job?? And then I remembered. My bio.
Following these two tweets, Neil sent me a message giving a rough description of the role he had coming up at Corkscrew. The thing I loved most was that rather than asking me to justify why I was right for the role, he asked me to ‘send a bit of info on yourself and what you are looking for’.
‘What you are looking for’.
“Everything I wrote was just a describing statement about what I’d done or was doing. I wanted my bio to tell people what I wanted to do in the future.”
Amongst all the endless ‘Send us your CV and cover letter’, this was such a breath of fresh air. I think too often people apply for positions with such detailed job specs, they adapt their experience and skills to fit the role rather than finding a job that matches their core strengths and future goals. Neil’s request gave me the perfect opportunity to explain the meaning behind my bio.
Neil and I spoke on the phone a couple of times and the more he told me about Corkscrew, the more I knew that this was an opportunity that I couldn’t risk missing out on. I was already sold. As soon as my final project was handed in, I got on a train and headed down to Exeter.
As we were talking over lunch, Neil said there were three important things he wanted me to consider about the role:
- Initially, I would be working for both Corkscrew and The Generator as they had just opened a second office that needed a General Manager figure.
- My Corkscrew role would be communication and marketing focused, however overtime I would also be trained to be a Corkscrew Coach
- Although based in Exeter, because of the different program locations, my Coaching role would involve travelling to deliver programs.
Now if you remember earlier in the story…
“I was studying an MSc in Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship and at this point I knew three things:
I wanted to work for a startup or for a cowork space.
I wanted to be part of building something that I was proud of.
I wanted my job to involve people and if possible travel
That was about it. I didn’t have a specific job role or industry in mind.”
Was this for real?
After lunch Neil said that said he’d like to offer me the job. I accepted with a high-five but Neil told me to sleep on it as it was a big decision. I told him I would but that my answer would be exactly the same the next day. And it was.
One month later I moved down to Exeter and started work on Monday 17th October.
As much as I believe in hard work leading to good things, I also have to accept that fate played a big part in this story. I still don’t know how Corkscrew and I met at the time we did or how our goals were so perfectly aligned. I can only put it down to fate.
I genuinely couldn’t be happier to be working here. When I think back to sitting there with Heath and trying to sum up what it was I wanted from my work I never dreamt that I would be able to achieve it all through one job. I’m not saying that it’s all been plain sailing. Sure I’ve been stressed at points during the last year but I would rather have a job that I care about and that challenges rather than one I can do with my eyes shut any day of the week!
Corkscrew is everything I want my work to be.
I’m part of an amazing team, I belong to an awesome cowork community, my work is challenging and forever changing. This summer I got to travel Chile and Barcelona and over the last 12 months I have met and worked with over 100 inspiring students from all over the world!
Oh and I now also live in the same city as my incredible sister. We can meet up for coffee, sing together at open mics and what’s even cooler is that in the last few months our jobs have even led us to work together!
So. There it is.
That’s the story all about how… my life got Corkscrewed upside down 😉
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