I needed help finding a job — and all I had to do was ask.

As a first-year university student, I’ve had a really tough time finding a job. I have 0 formal work experience and only what I’ve learned in my 5 years of extra-curricular activities and non-profit work. I’ve either been taught by peers or taught myself everything that I know by combing blogs and Medium.

After getting rejected by a well-known company, the feedback I received was:

You had a good interview. Good thought out answers to the questions and well prepared. We typically hire coops that are at least 2–3rd year that have a little bit more experience.

Recruiters’ jobs are to hire the most qualified people. I get it. And so it didn’t come as much of a shock when I got that rejection email because it was a long shot anyway. Still, I was frustrated by a fact of today’s job market: you can’t get a job without job experience, but you can’t get said experience without a job. It’s hard to convince someone to hire you based on your potential instead of credentials.

I was at a loss. After months of job hunting, cold emails, and fruitless applications, I took to LinkedIn a couple days ago where I drafted my first post ever. Here’s the original post.

“Hey friends,
I’m looking for a marketing or sales internship this summer. I’ve got 4 years of extra-curricular experience in MarComm and I’ve spent the past school year trying my hand at B2B sales. Please shoot me a message if you know anyone who’s hiring!”

People are capable of empathy. Everyone goes through the painful but necessary job search process. And the people who have gone through it are willing to help out those in need. In 2 days, I’ve gotten 59 likes from my small network and a few shares. I’ve also received several messages from random people and friends, either offering a referral, an unpaid internship at their start-up, or a list of leads I should contact. People have been unbelievably helpful and all I did was ask.

We live in a time where people hate to show when they’re weak and ask for help for fear of judgment. But what I’ve come to realize is that I’ve never judged anyone for asking me for help. When high school seniors ask me to edit their college apps, I don’t think “wow, this is a bad essay!” I think back to the anxiety and excitement I felt when I was applying. I remember how supportive my peers and my mentors were. I see the potential in those high school seniors and help them translate it into their essays — the same way others did for me.

People are understanding. People will help. When you need it, all you have to do is ask.

While I’ve got a couple phone calls lined up, I’m still looking to be an awesome intern for an awesome company this summer (and put a dent in next year’s tuition) in the Greater Toronto Area. Reach out if you or someone you know is hiring!

I’ll pay it forward someday when someone else asks too.