A Catch 22 – How to Gain Experience, When You Don’t Have Any!

catch 22

As someone who graduated from Clemson University with a marketing degree during a terrible economy, I didn’t have a real plan or direction for my life after graduation. With classroom related experience, summer jobs and a pseudo “internship” with a start-up retail company, there was an endless list of jobs I was unqualified for. It wasn’t until I got an opportunity to take an unpaid internship in Washington, DC that things really started to fall into place. From that little bit of exposure in a professional environment, the fact that I was constantly networking and meeting new people and was getting heavily involved with the DC Clemson Young Alumni Club, I landed my first job earlier than I anticipated.

To put it all simply, I will quote the common adage of which I am a firm believer, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I understand this sounds repetitive and cheesy, but it is TRUE! The more you are able to broaden your network, expose yourself to new people and get your name out there, opportunities will come to you. There is no shame in taking an unpaid internship, volunteering to help a friend’s business or lending your time to local non-profits. You never know the connections of the people that you meet and will be surprised by what doors may open to the next steps on your career path.

The connections I made got me to where I am today and I am grateful for every opportunity that has been presented, even if I could not see where those opportunities were taking me at the time. Through my participation in the DC Clemson Young Alumni Club, I was invited to attend a dinner with the Clemson Board of Visitors a few years ago. Little did I know that our very own president and owner, Julie Godshall Brown, would be in attendance! Ultimately, that surprise run-in led me to my job at Godshall and brought me back to Greenville where I am actively involved in the community, both personally and professionally.

To further my point, my dad has always told me, “Anyone can help you get an interview; it is up to YOU to get the job.” I like to add to that “and keep the job,” because in a competitive job market, it is up to you to define your career. Staying engaged in the professional community, keeping your skills relevant and sharp, not being afraid to help others (for free!) when they need it and always performing to the best of your abilities will continue to set you apart from the noise!

Written by:

Rebecca ReedRebecca Reed Faulk Rebecca is a native of Greenville, SC and graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. After graduation, Rebecca moved to Washington, DC for an internship with the Republican National Committee. From there, Rebecca was hired to support a local fundraising and development firm, The LS Group. She then went to work for a non-profit and think tank, the Charles Koch Institute, in an operational capacity handling their events and programming logistics. Rebecca has been with Godshall since June of 2012 and specializes in recruiting and staffing for their professional sector; including secretarial, administrative, customer service, accounting and human resources.

I’m Not In Sales, Why Network?

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Have you ever heard that phrase before? This phrase can be looked at as both a positive and a negative.

My dad used to tell me this growing up and it was always used as an excuse when things would not turn out our way. Both of us being avid sports fans, my father used to tell me that is was hard to get the tickets to the big games even though we knew everything about our teams: the offenses they ran, the players, the history, etc. Years after hearing this constantly, I found myself sitting court side in Chapel Hill on fold out chairs behind Clemson’s bench watching my Tigers lose yet again to the Tar Heels in the Dean Dome. My guest at this event was my dad. Even though my dad knew a lot about the game, it was the student manager I knew from my days as the Clemson Tiger that got us the seats.

At Clemson, I was able to take my role as the mascot and build a network that has thrived for over 20 years. I have been able to take my boys on the field during Clemson football games and experience more due to the people who I have been able to help out and those that have helped me back. Because of my network, my experience of a Clemson event has vastly improved.

It takes only 5 minutes of your day to have a short conversation with someone, or respond to an e-mail. The next message you get in your inbox, may be a life-changer but you wouldn’t know this if you didn’t take the time to respond to this person.

I think back on the last two jobs that I’ve had and how I got them. I obtained the position of Director of HR through someone I had met six years prior to that. My current role at Godshall goes back to 1999 when the owner, Julie Godshall Brown, and I served on the same GSHRM committee and continued to stay in contact through the years. Eleven years later we connected and I am now in a role that I truly enjoy.  People may think that you have to be in sales to build a network, however I will tell you that your network is the most valuable resource you can have in work and in life.

I sat there on the 50 yard line in the board of trustee’s box watching Clemson play BC as Matt Ryan killed our hopes to go the ACC Championship game. We “tailgated” with people at Clemson who have buildings named after them. My dad sat there with me and I pointed to the upper deck where we sat for our first game. I reminded him of the phrase that he shared with me his whole life as we were living the ultimate Clemson experience… “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know…”

Written by: Michael BaysMichael Bays

Michael Bays has been with Godshall for 5 years as a Technical Recruiter and brings over 12 years of recruiting experience through prior employment.  Michael holds a Master of Human Resources Development Degree from Clemson along with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management.  One interesting fact about Michael is that he holds the career push-up record when he was the Tiger mascot at Clemson.

Movin’ On Up?

             As a job seeker, once you and your family have made the decision to relocate, there is a lot to consider. The key is that you can’t begin to start preparing too soon. If you are a veteran of relocating, you likely already know about the items below and can probably add a few more.

             First of all, be sure your family is totally on board and that all family considerations have been thought out such as ageing parents, paying for out of state tuition for your kids if they are staying behind and waiting for the school year to end. Another thing to consider before relocating is if you will be forfeiting a significant performance bonus if you leave before a certain date. These are a few items that seem to come up often.

             Determine where you wish to relocate–the more specific the better. Try to rank the locations by preference and make sure you know as much as possible about their employment climate and possible needs for your skill set. Be sure you have considered the opportunities for your significant other and if they are planning to start a new position as well. If you are working with a recruiter, all of these details need to be shared on the front end so there will not be too many surprises on the back end.

              If you have a home to sell, begin all repairs and upgrades as soon as possible. Involve a realtor for suggestions on pricing, likely time frame to sell the home and important improvements, upgrades and staging of your home to help bring top dollar.

              If you have selected a specific location, begin doing your due diligence in researching the housing, neighborhoods, the school systems, cost of living, salary comparisons and the commuting distance to your new job location.

              Finally, many companies are now providing a lump sum relocation package vs. traditional relocation packages such as getting involved in providing the mover, buying homes and paying realtor fees/commissions. If you are downsizing or planning to live in an apartment initially, consider the cost of temporary storage of your other belongings.

              Moves rarely are fun, but you can eliminate many of the headaches and make it a smoother and less painful transition. Good luck with your new home and employer!

Written by: Richard Heard


Richard Heard has been a technical recruiter with Godshall since 1991.  He specializes in manufacturing management, engineering and technical placements.  Richard is ASA certified as a Technical Services Professional and a Certified Staffing Professional. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Management and Marketing from the University of South Carolina. In his free time, Richard loves spending his time with his wonderful children, new granddaughter and family. He is an avid fisherman with an emphasis on freshwater trout and redfish.