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I Never Used My Friends To Get a Job

I first published this piece on LinkedIn.

I was friends with the dude who worked at the Sanderson. I talked to him every time I went there.

I knew the folks who worked at Mitchell Memorial Library. I used to spend so much time there that I even referred my car insurance to a few of them.

I was friends with Ms. Kim, who worked in the office of the College of Business. When I was about to default on my rent, she gave me $40. Later, she also asked me to tutor her nephew.

I was friends with the girl who worked at Barnes and Nobles all the way back in my first semester.

I was told only about resumes and interviews. How could I ask them to get me a job? I didn't even know employee referral was a thing throughout my college career. I hadn't befriended them to use them to get to places anyway. Except for the College of Business, I had applied to work at all the above places. I was turned down everywhere. My friends didn't even know that I had applied.

The truth is I did not find out about it until I became active on LinkedIn, a year and a half after graduation. John Marty, Liz Ryan, Kirsty Bonner, and Oleg opened my eyes.

Yes, I knew people at CSpire when I applied. I was clueless they could do anything. I never attempted to know people to ask for referrals. I did not know what I did not know. That was a blindspot.

Somebody from the Career Center once said in a class that most jobs are found via networking because they are not posted online. But I couldn't guess they were filled that way too. A friend told me to go find work at Dogwood, but folks there told me they did not have anything. I left my resume but never heard back.

Yes, you guessed it right. I remained perpetually unemployed and poor to the point that in 3 and a half years, I starved twice and was homeless once. All the money I earned came from part-time work, selling things, and referring products. I had some jobs but could not keep them as a foreigner in the US.

Every time I went to the Career Center, they had nothing to say besides "go see Ms. Kelly." Ms. Kelly only reviewed my resume and asked me to tailor my resume specifically to every job. Not once did she ever mention the ATS or employee referral. She made me think I needed to work on myself and craft a better resume.

I beat myself thinking that I should have found about referral earlier. Well, given my extremely high rate of rejection from way back in school, getting rejected only seemed natural. I practiced an extreme version of "no one owes me shit." An independent private firm has the freedom to turn me down for whatever reason.

I didn't know there was such a thing as ATS. I did not look up "are online applications a waste of time?" To look that up, I had to have doubts, which I did not.

Now that I know it, the referral system is despicable. It incentivizes people to be your friend so they can use you in the future. When I have my own firm, employees would be welcome to refer, but referred candidates wouldn't be unfairly preferred.

Referral system breaks the higher law-- meritocracy. If you are tired of fake friends and are tired of people using you to get things, support meritocracy and oppose the referral system. Also, consider the psychological place you are in when you realize that you have a job because you knew someone, not because you worked your butt off to get it. Don't be surprised if you have impostor syndrome. I think of a rich kid's struggle who got everything without the grind. He soon realizes he needs the grind more the things. It is the hard work and struggle that make success fruitful. The referral system is bound to spiritually degrade society.

I recommend you avoid all workplaces that hire via contacts. The atmosphere is

bound to be toxic. Avoid all workplaces that engage in shady hiring practices. We

need a moral boycott to cleanse society.

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