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These 6 Grads Didn’t Get Their Jobs The Traditional Way & They’re Doing Just Fine

As a recent graduate myself, I understand firsthand the challenges of finding employment in the current economy. Graduating in today’s world presents a challenging set of hurdles, with student loans looming and job opportunities scarce. It can feel so deflating to scour LinkedIn and Indeed for hours, send in about a million job applications, and still not hear anything back. That’s why, when you’re feeling especially down about the state of your job hunt, it’s crucial to seek out success stories that will bring you hope — and maybe even a bit of inspiration.

While many of us stick to traditional methods to find jobs (like networking, writing cover letters, and applying on all the usual job sites) others have found success landing jobs in more unconventional ways. Some of them got started in their careers with a little luck, while others took drastic measures to get exactly what they wanted. All of them are people who found their ways to the other side of employment with a story to tell.

These stories are here to remind you that sometimes, life can lead you to unexpected opportunities, despite the dead-end job applications — and that while we’re all job-seekers, above anything else, we’re also all people with unique stories and journeys. 

So, here are six graduates who got their jobs in less-than-traditional ways. With stories that span from entertaining, to reassuring, to heartwarming, let this be your reminder that you’re going to be OK — trust me.

Maddy, 22, Market Research Associate

“For fun, I create TikToks and made several videos about being unemployed. I also started posting weekly on LinkedIn to boost my visibility. One day, I received a LinkedIn message from someone who said she knew me from watching my unemployed TikToks, and that I came up on her LinkedIn, so she reached out to see if I was still looking for a job. I took the call, learned about the company and the role, and was referred internally. She pushed my resume past the initial screening. I had three one-on-one interviews and ended up getting an offer.”

Isa, 23, Tattoo Artist

“I went to art school and, as everyone does, realized how hard it was to get a job. I found myself apprenticing for my go-to tattoo artist … After apprenticing, I got a job at that same tattoo parlor, which isn’t really close to working as a children’s book illustrator, which is what I initially wanted to do, but you’d be surprised by the overlap.”

Aidan*, 24, Nonprofit Logistics Head

“I was a political science major, and you kind of come out of a program like that a little nihilistic with how everything is stacked against you. I ended up spiraling for a bit and found myself volunteering at a refugee camp, mostly helping families with basic needs, setting up shelters, [and] distributing food. My parents weren’t all that happy, which I get: You shell out thousands of dollars for college with the expectation of your kid going to law school, only for them to leave the country to do, mostly, free work. One of my directors saw I was feeling a bit homesick and told me I wasn’t there for the right reasons [and] that I should go home. So, I went home, got a fantastic recommendation letter from that boss and now I work as a logistics head for a nonprofit.”

Layla*, 25, Media Coordinator

“I used to run a [celebrity] update account on Twitter and, funny enough, I used that in my resume to get a job in PR. So, everything worked out in the end… even though I stopped being a stan years ago.”

Lissette, 30, Director of Influencer Marketing

“If you’re not familiar with David Ogilvie, he’s essentially the godfather of advertising and as someone who studied that, it was my dream to work at [his] agency. I applied for an internship [and was] rejected. In 2014 or ‘15, I applied for a job, literally missed the phone call from HR, and could never get back on their radar. Rejected again. I eventually moved to New York City, [and] forgot about this, and then Ogilvie reaches out to me four to five years later and says, ‘We have a role that’s very specific and only you can fill it.’ Of course, I said yes.”

Chanel, 26, Mixologist

“Being unemployed for as long as I was sucked. I know you don’t get much out of a philosophy degree, but [unemployment] was still the roughest year of my life, just bouncing around minimum wage service jobs with customers basically spitting at your face. I found my way to a bartending job at a gay bar, which, to be fair, I still had to deal with a lot of a**holes, but I liked the art of it. I got into mixologist competitions that my then co-worker, now girlfriend, had told me I’d be good for, and now here I am.”

*Names have been changed.

Krissie Cruz is a National Writer for the Wellness department and a contributor to the Her Campus McMaster chapter. She writes a slew of topics but primarily focuses on all things culture, wellness and life. Aside from Her Campus, Krissie is currently a fourth-year political science student with a specialization in public law and judicial studies. She also has a minor in philosophy and an interest in applied social sciences research. Although her initial dream was to pursue law, her passion for writing has led her to a future in the publishing industry. Despite a shift in interests, politics and social justice hold a special place in her heart. In her free time, she spends hours binge-reading, taking film photography, and curating oddly specific Spotify playlists. She’s an active participant in the queer Toronto space by attending events and if her schedule allows it, volunteering for Pride Toronto.