How I Got My Job: Tried, True, and Just Plain Unbelievable Stories

Finding a job or an internship is not an easy task. It requires work, dedication and most of all passion. You have to step out of your comfort zone and think outside of the box. At the Find & Follow Your Passion Conference, the session How I Got My Job: Tried, True, and Just Plain Unbelievable put real faces on viral stories that have circulated the internet in recent years. Courtney Baxter, Veronica de Souza and Alec Brownstein gave young creative three important tips to make their own footprints in this competitive world:


Photo by Keegan Barber.

1.  Put Yourself Out There.
Veronica de Souza, Community Manager at Digg, started the session off with her incredible journey including a career change, dealing with the loss of a job and finding ways to put yourself out there even in the most hopeless of circumstances. Veronica’s viral Tumblr ‘Binders Full Of Women‘ was created after watching the 2012 Presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Seconds after Romney’s line, “They brought us whole binders full of women” Veronica took action and snatched the original blog URL “” before anyone else could. Within hours the blog had thousands of follows and continued to grow in followers, as well as submissions. She received over 25,000 submissions that she managed herself. In the midst of this chaos, Veronica was all over the press: articles, television appearances, radio shows and much more. This was just the beginning for Veronica, who began utilizing her viral success in accordance with her job search.


She began Tweeting about her job hunt; after a busy day of reviewing submissions for “Binders Full of Women”‘, David Weiner, Digg’s Editorial Director, tweeted at Veronica. They began a correspondence, that soon enough led to Veronica inquiring about creating a Community Manager position at Digg. Veronica was offered the position and continues to share her amazing story, showing young creatives to jump on opportunities by putting yourself out there.

//Follow Digg’s Community Manager, Veronica de Souza: @HeyVeronica

2. Be Proactive.
“When I was 8 I started a business selling frogs to the kids in my neighborhood.”

Did that pique your curiosity? Don’t you want to learn more? Alec Brownstein presented the audience with this important advice: “Pique someone’s interest.” The nitty-gritty aspects of your resume will be important after you reel them in. You need to put yourself out there and be proactive towards what you want. The Freelance Creative Director turned the world upside down in 2010 with The Google Job Experiment, spending a grand total of $6 on buying Google ads. Brownstein’s plan was simple: when Gerry Graf, David Droga, Tony Granger, Ian Reichenthal and Scott Vitrone googled themselves, a ‘Hire Me’ message from Alec would be on top of the page.


He received interviews from almost all of his targeted employers and landed a job at Y&R New York.  Brownstein found a way to be creative and showed what he brought to the table. No one was looking for him, but he found his future employer by being proactive and doing something different. ‘Swim’ where the people in your industry ‘fish’ by utilizing your social platforms; your presence shouldn’t be bland. Remember this phrase, “When I was 8 I started a business selling frogs to the kids in my neighborhood” and use it as a foundation for your own ‘Elevator Pitch.’ What is it about you that makes you important and interesting to that person? Find out your strengths and target your skills towards where you want to be.

//Follow Alec Brownstein, Freelance Creative Director: @jusfonzin

3. Oser, Everyday.
Oser translates to “be bold” and Veronica and Alec’s stories are testaments of that. Courtney Baxter, Chief Wrangler at The OpEd Project exemplifies her personal motto through her own amazing journey this past year.

Courtney graduated from Dennison University in Ohio and moved to Washington, D.C. However, being a true creative, Courtney knew she had to follow her passion and move to New York City. She took up jobs nannying, as well as doing some work for her aunt but still hadn’t found her place in the Big Apple. After reading an article by Courtney Martin “Hustlin’: How I Became My Own Mentor in a Freelance Economy,” she reached out and the two got together to discuss her passions. Martin offered to help Baxter find a job, and weeks later met with Katie Orenstein from The Op-Ed Project. Martin told Courtney she was unaware if Katie would have a job for her, but after meeting in person she was offered a full time position as Kate’s Executive Assistant and worked her way up to ‘Chief Wrangler.’

If everyday we are little bold, and reach out to the people that inspire us – you never know where that could lead you. Everyone deserves a mentor, a chance to converse with someone they admire or aspire to be. It’s all up to you reader, to take the bold step towards your dreams.


Read Courtney’s full story here: “She Went for Broke, and Found a Job.”

//Follow Courtney Baxter, Chief Wrangler at The OpEd Project: @cbaxter2.


Will you be bold today? Tell us whose attention you’d like to capture, your own unique job-hunt story, or what you plan to do to catch an employer’s attention below.


About the Author

Denise Reina is a recent graduate from SUNY Geneseo. She has been a Social Media Coordinator for and is currently seeking new opportunities. Denise is passionate about social media, writing and stories of all forms. Connect with her on Twitter @DeniseReina

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