All Job Hunters Need To Read About The Extreme Lengths This Guy Went Through To Work At A Hot Startup

So you’re graduating from a top business school and you think you’re hot stuff, eh?

So did David Rogier.

But he kept striking out with the companies he wanted to work for.

Finally, his advisor told him: Go have lunch with a guy named Tristan Walker and find out how he got his career going.

Walker is currently an entrepreneur in residence at Andreessen Horowitz. He made his name as the first business development guy for Foursquare.

In a blog post, Rogier tells the story of how Walker got that job. It wasn’t easy.

Tristan wanted to work at the hottest start up in the Valley  —  Foursquare (it was 2009).

He applied on Foursquare’s website.

No response.

Tristan found the CEOs email address on the website and sent him a note.

No response.

Tristan emailed him again.

No response.

Tristan emailed him again.

No response.

Tristan emailed him again.

(I have chutzpah, but I would have stopped at the fourth email)

Tristan didn’t and emailed him again.

No response.

Tristan emailed him 3 more times. No response.

So what did Tristan do? He started working for them. He wanted a job in business development, so he started doing business development. He called up companies said he was a student and asked if they would be interested in advertising on Foursquare (remember, Tristan did not actually work for Foursquare). He had to explain what Foursquare was  —  but, miraculously, a few companies said yes.

Tristan then emailed the Foursquare CEO a 9th time and said  —  I’ve lined up a few advertisers for you.

This time, the CEO replied. They met the next day. Tristan went on to run Business Development at Foursquare.

Rogier now works for IDEO, the design consultancy. He says he learned a lot from eating lunch with Walker, including the idea that your job application should actually emphasise the areas you’ll be perceived as weak.

He writes:

“Before I applied to IDEO (the revolutionary product design consultancy), I asked a former IDEO employee (the wonderful Emily Ma) what IDEO would perceive as my biggest weakness. Her answer: are you actually creative? I didn’t have a portfolio and I came from supply chain. Instead of filling out their application, I decided to make a book. I spent 10 hours in 4 different airport baggage claims, interviewed 23 people and put together a book on Snapfish about how I would improve baggage claims (the book). I got the internship.”

For lots more wisdom, go read Rogier’s whole post: “Recruiting Advice No One Tells You.”

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