Ovation: Alfred Ajani’s Pay-It-Forward Train Station Job Search.
Toward the very end of my college career, I attended a few seminars that the school offered centered around topics like “Building a Resume” and “How To Prepare For An Interview”. That was pretty much the extent of the recruitment and staffing industry. Many colleges and universities had a couple of people on staff called “placement agents” whose job it was to work with large, often local, companies to help graduates find work after receiving their diplomas. It behooved the university, after all, to have a high percentage of graduates in the workforce right after graduation.
Everyone else embarked on their own job search by building a resume and preparing for interviews. Back then, this meant printing resume’s on special paper with matching envelopes and scouring the want ads … in the newspapers … for potential employment.
Anyone who’s embarked on a job search recently knows that there are, literally, dozens of online job search engines claiming that they can help find the perfect job for you. Since most of them are free, those who are unemployed or unhappily employed could spend endless hours completing questionnaires and updating profiles to be included in employment databases and career building websites around the world. Or, they could take a more unconventional approach like Alfred Ajani used to successfully begin his career after he graduated from Coventry University in Coventry, England, last year.
Last August, Nigerian-born Ajani, 22, after applying for more than three hundred positions with little luck, put his marketing degree to work when he tried his luck standing in London’s Waterloo train station holding a sign with his qualifications written on it while handing out his resume. He caught the attention of recruitment company Asoria Group, who offered him a position via LinkedIn.
“I knew my idea would work but didn’t expect the media attention so I have stayed humble. Most graduates are going to have to go to extreme lengths to get the job they want.” – Alfred Ajani.
Last week, Ajani returned to that same spot in the Waterloo train station with a new sign. This time it came with a very different message … “Now Hiring”.
“I didn’t expect to be so popular. If I see anyone at the station with a sign I will do my best to get in touch with them.” – Alfred Ajani
I remember sending out dozens and dozens of resumes and collecting rejection letters in a folder as they came back to me in the mail. I can’t imagine the agony of being rejected three hundred times and admire this young man for her determination and humility. His advice for today’s job-seekers … “Don’t be scared to try something new. Safe is risky.”
It appears that his advice might be worth taking.
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