It's Not What You Know, But Who You Know

By Christine Borg

Hi, my name is Christine. I graduated from Loyola University in Maryland with a Business Administration degree, with a concentration in Marketing. I loved Loyola and I knew it prepared me well for entering the work force, but I knew my degree itself and past efforts wouldn’t be enough to land my first job. I knew I had to keep working hard to make the next step.  After graduating in 2006, I did not have a job lined up, as many of my friends with accounting and finance major did. Marketing was different; most of us who graduated with that degree were not offered jobs while in our senior year. The majority of us found our jobs after graduation. Even though I knew I had to find a job as soon as possible, I took a little time to backpack through Europe after graduation (which I highly recommend to everyone). However, I restricted myself to only three weeks because of the anxiety I felt to find a job and start paying back my loans ASAP.  There was certainly a sense of anxiety, and also a bit of competition amongst my college friends who were landing jobs before I was. But I knew it was important to stay focused and confident.

After graduation, I moved back home to Long Island, so my job search was predominantly in Manhattan. I was lucky to live close enough to one of the biggest cities in the world where access to jobs was vaster than in other locations, but I wouldn’t say that made things easy. What did help though was the numerous amount of internship experience I had (summer, and during both junior and senior years). Getting internship experience is one of my most offered pieces of advice. My internship experience gave me something to talk about on my interviews, and made me interesting. (“Be interesting” is another piece of advice I often like to offer). 

I spent from May through August sending out countless resumes in response to job postings on Monster.com and Hotjobs.com. However, I don’t think I received one interview from any of those postings. What did help me land my first job was an indirect personal relationship. The mention of indirect here is important. I have often heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” But I find this version to be even truer – “It’s not what you know, but who you know, and who they know.”  Personal relationships are everything! And I’ll provide a great example. I landed my first job – working as an Assistant Account Executive at Ogilvy on the IBM account - because at the time of my job hunt, my mom was selling a house to a woman who worked there. My mom made the connection; I spoke with the woman on the phone, learned more about what advertising agencies were (at the time I had no idea they even existed!) and asked her if she would kindly pass along my resume. While I’m sure she did so out of the kindness of her heart, referral programs don’t hurt either. We both had the opportunity to benefit from me being hired – me with a job and a paycheck, her with an additional bonus paycheck for her referral – so we both pushed very hard. I had to follow-up with her multiple times, and in turn, she had to do the same with the hiring manager, but we both remained persistent and it paid off in the end. Persistence really does matter!

I stayed at Ogilvy for four years before taking my next job at Prime Visibility, where I am still currently working. For me, bridging the gap between college and career involved good internship experience, persistence, and personal relationships. I wish you much luck as you forge your own path, and earn your own successes. 





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Welcome to the Young Professionals of America. The YPOA is a community of successful young professionals who have established themselves in and built careers across many industries. Whether you’re an accountant, a teacher, a financial advisor, or an engineer, the success stories and strategies shared by our professionals will help you land your dream job, get noticed, build a client base, and advance your career. It's not rocket science; it's common sense… but as they say, common sense ain’t so common.

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Alex Borg
YPOA Founder


Alex Borg is a young professional and entrepreneur. From his involvement in his family business to working with several startups, Borg is respected for his business savoy and energy to get businesses and professionals on the path to successes. Borg is an active businessman who is regarded as an extreme networker. He has developed several industry groups, been published in numerous monthly periodicals, and regularly speaks at universities and business schools. Borg’s motivational coaching has led several other young professionals to discover their own success.

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