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The True Story of How I Created My Own Job

Posted by on Mar 1, 2010 in Career Management | 32 comments

So today I wanted to share another piece of my life which I hope will help all those looking for a job and a prosperous career. This is the true story of how I created my own job in a big Telecoms firm back in the early nineties. Now even though times have changed, the principles that I used and will teach you in this article are in my view, timeless.

I graduated from college as an Electronics and Communications Engineer (E.C.E) and was raring to land my first job. As an E.C.E., the opportunities back then were either to venture into electronics (computers, chip design and manufacturing, etc.) or venture into the field of communications (phone companies, television, radio etc.) So like many of my batch mates, I applied and went for interviews with all the top companies in those fields. Now, believe it or not, I was not an ace student, my grades were average, BUT, I had an “edge” – I could really talk and communicate well, but most of all, I believed in myself.

At first, our career and placement office from my school helped arrange for interviews with several multinational companies. So off I went applying, testing and interviewing, and it was fun, exciting, and scary all at the same time. But after a few weeks, it was still a waiting game and I began to feel the pressure of the job hunt as my batch mates were one by one landing their “dream” jobs. So I tried another tactic – Cold calling. I picked up a “yellow pages” directory and started calling the companies that I wanted to work for. After a whole day of doing that, I could honestly say that I never knew how rude some people could be. “Hello, this is Mark, do you have a job opening?”, “Wala” Click. Not once did I feel welcome in any of those 100 calls I made that day, but no matter I told myself, it’s their loss. (In hindsight, Manila Bulletin would have been a better strategy) All the while, my mom would be constantly telling me “Mark why don’t you call up Tito Gigi, I’m sure he can help you.” And like most sons (well most males) I didn’t want to make that call because I wanted to prove to my parents that I could do it on my own.

A few more weeks went by and still nothing, so reluctantly, I swallowed my pride, and gave in to my mother’s wish and called Tito Gigi. You see, Tito Gigi was the best friend of my Godfather and they were very close. Tito Gigi is also very well connected—he is after all an Executive Head Hunter. However, it was not common for a Head Hunter to place new graduates, simply because new graduates have no experience, but for me he made an exception. “Come over to my office tomorrow afternoon at 4PM” he jovially told me over the phone. And so the next day there I was. This was the first time I’ve seen him since I was 5 years old so he looked at me from head to toe and asked me 2 simple questions – what course did I take, and what industry would I want to work in. I told him E.C.E. and Telecoms. With that he was on the phone talking to a Vice President of a big Telecoms firm in Makati and I could hear him say “Pare, I’m sending you this wonder kid, why don’t you interview him tomorrow, magaling ito!” and after he closed the phone, “Mark, go to this address tomorrow at 9AM sharp, oh and Mark, tell your mom I miss her Chocolate cake.” And with a wink and a nod from Tito Gigi, I had an interview with the head of the mobile (cellular) division of Islacom.

So before I talk about what happened with my interview, I wanted to share this first important lesson when finding a job: “Find your Tito Gigi” in other words, find someone who has connections and who can open doors for you. You will realize this soon enough, the first step in getting that job is to get noticed by a potential employer and to do that, it helps to get the endorsement of an influential person. Tito Gigi gave my potential employer a glowing endorsement which gave me immediate credibility and the opportunity to sell myself.

Now getting your foot in the door is just part of the equation, so let’s continue my story:

I was at the SGV building at 8:30AM and at exactly 9AM I was in front of the head of the mobile division. But unlike my short and easy meeting with Tito Gigi, this meeting would need me to really prove myself and work for it. He asked me first how I knew Tito Gigi, to which I told the truth, he was the best friend of my Godfather, then he asked “was?” not “is?” I said, yes because my Godfather passed away a few years back. Then he asked for my transcript of records, looked it over for a minute then looked back at me and said point blank “Mark, how can I hire you? Your grades suck.” At that point, I could feel that the interview was already going downhill. But as I mentioned earlier I had an “edge”, I could talk and I believed in myself. So before I let the interview go bad, I listened politely and waited for him to finish, and then with a little courage I asked, “Sir, are you assuming that I’m applying here as an engineer?”. He looked at me puzzled then looked at my resume again and said “Yes, aren’t you an E.C.E. graduate?”  To which I replied: “Yes I am, but that’s not what I’m applying for” He looked even more puzzled and asked me to explain some more, which I did “Sir, I understand how engineers think, how they talk and how they work because I’ve been trained as one, but I am different from a typical engineer, I can communicate and translate the technical to the layman. I would assume that you have a marketing department?” He slowly said “Yes, we do”. “And sir does your marketing department have a hard time communicating with your engineers?” “Yes sadly, they do.”, “Well sir, the job that I am applying for is to translate your marketing programs to a language that engineers can understand. At the same time, translate what the engineers can do to a language your marketing department can comprehend.” Afterwards, there was a minute of utter silence which seemed like a lifetime to me. Then he said, “I can definitely see your point and you come across as someone who can speak his mind very clearly, I’ll have to seriously think about what you just said.”

With that we shook hands and I left with my head held high.  I got a call from him a week later, he hired me and had created a brand new position in the company, I would start work the next Monday as Islacom’s first “Marketing Analyst”.

So here’s the more important lesson in closing the interview and getting that job, when you apply for a job, do not just apply for a position, you should apply as a ‘solution’ to the company’s problem. If you are able to properly articulate your ‘value’ on why the company should hire you, your chances of getting that “dream job” will be closer than you think. Good luck in your job hunt!

Author box:

Mark So is a fervent businessman, forex trader and educator.  He is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy—a business, finance and corporate training center.  He is also the Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Manila. Mr. So Graduated and is a licensed ECE, however his passion has always been in this order – 1.) Love for his wife and family, 2.) Making Money; and 3.) Teaching others how to make money as well. To learn from Mark in person, attend his seminars. Visit http://www.businessmaker-academy.com You may also email your comments and questions to:   markso@zerocapitalclub.com

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32 Comments

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  1. Grace Lim Buñales

    A very inspiring story that I am sure will motivate new graduates/ job applicants. Personally, I’ve realyzed my worth as an employee to my present job.More power and inspire more new bees…God Bless you, your family and all the works of your hands.

  2. Jeff Adapon

    Interesting…

    …maybe I should apply for an Analyst for Reuters because of what I learned from studying fundamental news because of forex.

  3. Norman T. Rico

    Well delivered Mark! Very inspiring indeed especially for those people looking for a job. They can really take and follows those strategies of yours. More power to you & best regard to the family.

  4. Lem Luanzon

    Very inspiring! Hope everyone who reads this will learn and apply them! God Bless you and your family!

  5. Mel

    I guess, as early as that, you manifested innovative thinking. I’m sure people will learn. Thanks for sharing. More power!

  6. angelo

    Hello sir, I have read your article in the newspaper yesterday(Sunday) and it urged me to read further your previous blogs here in the web.

    I am an IT student hoping to graduate late this year or early next year and already planning what career should I choose.

    Having read your story really inspired me to think of my future plans, but I wonder what could be my ‘Edge’ I can use to land on the the job I dream.

    I want to work in a Business Firm and establish my career there in Technical and Managerial aspects.

    Thank you for reading this and for any suggestions you may advice.

    • markso

      Hi Angelo, thanks for commenting on my blog, the course that you are graduating from should already be your ‘edge’ but more importantly, list down the things that you are technically good at. Think of problems that the company that you are applying for has/have. See if your technical talents can solve any of these problems. If yes, create a cover letter telling the company that you have a solution to one (or all) of their problems. Get that interview and close the deal. Good luck angelo you can do it!

  7. Bhamun

    Hello! I’m new here. Just wanted to say hi

  8. Rickie Soliman

    Hi Sir Mark,
    Your Article is truly an eye opener. I guess i really need to start to save and manage my financials in order to be successful. Its hard,but im going to try it. Thank you for your advice.

    Best Regards,

  9. Rickie Soliman

    I discover your website just recently thru Eduard O. Roberto Jr. on his book “Perang di Bitin”. since then it became my hobby to open your website after work. I get my financial advise in your article. Thank you very much.

  10. Neri

    Very well said Mark!

  11. Annie

    Truly inspiring Sir Mark. Thank you for sharing..

  12. LCNB

    Hi Sir Mark,
    Indeed your own experience where truly inspiring. Although I had not finished my course as a MedTech student, far from your own experience as an engineer, but I am still looking forward to getting my own job in other fields. I know I am good in communicating, so probably I am planning to take seminars or training as a call center agent. I had not met my own “Tito Gigi” despite the fact that I have relatives but they were not a big help either.
    Your experience will always be a reminder that I should never lose hope. Thanks and more power.

    LCNB

  13. Lorenz

    I learned two important things from Sir Mark’s article. First is to find your “Tito Gigi” who will inspire and motivate you to conquer your fear. He/She will help you get that extra nudge to keep moving forward. Second is to find your winning edge and invest on it. Improve it further through learning and experience.

    Your article filled me with such optimism that maybe there is hope for everyone to succeed through hard work and determination. Thank you very much for sharing a very inspiring story. Thank you for becoming a blessing to others. God bless.

  14. barby

    Hi mark, very inspiring article. I am an ECE graduate too but in the sales position for a couple of years now. And I’ve been wanting to have my own business but doesn’t know how and what to start. I learned about your blog through the book Ang Pera na Hindi Bitin which I just finished reading earlier this day. Looking forward in reading more of your blog. Thanks!

  15. Janjan

    Very inspiring story Mark. I’ve never had a Tito Gigi but had always been lucky in getting the job I applied for. But the thing that inspired me most is the way you created a position for yourself! Nailed right on the head! I hope I could do that when the time comes for me to change career!

    Been reading your articles and found them very helpful. Keep up the good work Mark!

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  1. An Interview with Mr. Mark So of Forex Club Asia - [...] Then, I “created” my own position at Islacom as their first “marketing analyst” for the mobile division. It’s a …

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