Not all the responses were as brutal. A couple of people found the time to leave some positive words of encouragement and feedback. A friendly Silicon Valley recruiter even took the time to help out:
I have a buddy who recruits for Google part time. I sent him your resume and I blind CC'd you on it. He's a good guy, let's see what he can do for you.
Ultimately the recruiter wasn't able to help out with a role at Google because I had missed the East Coast University recruiting event on Duke's campus that spring. Lisa suggested I make a few changes to my resume and create a toned down Craigslist post which more specifically stated what kind of job I wanted in Silicon Valley.
At this point, I had moved back home and was in my childhood bedroom. I posted a new ad on Craigslist looking for B2B software sales opportunities. The next several days were spent deleting all the spam rolling in promising to pay me a six-figure income to work at home in my underwear. I also started recalibrating my hopes on jobs in Chicago, closer to my home market.
Finally, on May 28th an email that would dramatically alter the course of my future arrived. I read it while on my way with friends to a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game.
I understand that you are looking for a position with a TECH company in Sales and Marketing. Although I don't have B2B sales position to offer, considering your passion for technology and serving your community as a tech "guru" would you be interested in putting some of those skills to use as a Systems Specialist in the Sales, Marketing and Service department at Tesla Motors?
Tesla Motors www.teslamotors.com is a an aggressive, well-funded start-up in the San Francisco Bay Area that is making advanced electric vehicles, batteries, and drive systems a reality and working to change the future of the transportation industry. We are building technically strong, motivated and very fast-moving engineering team which prides itself on superior execution.
Here is a copy of the job listing: http://www.teslamotors.com/learn_more/employment.php?id=891.
Please let me know if you are interested.
I was thrilled, but didn't want to come off as desperate. I replied straight away, but chose my words carefully, saying I had heard of their cool electric car and was certainly interested in learning more. What followed was one of the quickest, most intense interview processes of my life.
The interview process started with four back to back (to back to back) phone screens with department directors from Sales, Marketing, and Service. I took the calls while pacing barefoot in my backyard in Wisconsin, where our awful cell reception was strongest..
An hour after those calls, Sandra, the recruiter phoned. They wanted me to fly to California for the next round of in-person interviews. She had tickets purchased for me to fly from Milwaukee to California two days later. I was so young and inexperienced that I actually asked Sandra if I needed to send them money to pay for the flights …
As I was boarding the flight to California I realized I had not heard back from Sandra letting me know where my hotel was that evening. I placed a quick call to her and she said I'd have the confirmations in my inbox when I touched down. Phew …
I toggled airplane mode off as we touched down in SFO to check my email. No hotel confirmations. I called my recruiter, and got voicemail. My interviews began at 8 am the next day, and I had no clue where I was staying that night.
I decided the hotel must be near the office headquarters naturally so I drove to the closest Holiday Inn and asked if they had a reservation for me. They did not. I quickly checked the map and tried the Country Inn and Suites just up the road. This time to my great relief, they were expecting me. I hurried up the stairs and did my best to get some sleep.
The next morning I arrived at One Circle Star Way in San Carlos, the company headquarters at the time. (If you live in the Bay Area, you may recognize the blue mirrored office buildings along highway 101.)