How to Optimize Local Networking Resources for Your Job Search

Berenice López, one of our 2020 Global Talent Accelerator Accelerator graduates, recently landed her dream job as an interactive designer with an automotive company. A former project manager for General Motors from Mexico City, Berenice received her MFA in Integrated Design from the College for Creative Studies in May 2020. Below is a blog she wrote for Let’s Detroit, in which she talks about the challenges she faced in her job search and how resources from Global Detroit, Let’s Detroit and the College for Creative Studies Alumni Network helped her be more strategic.

When I graduated from the College for Creative Studies last May with my MFA in Integrated Design, my job search was already well underway. By February, I had already started looking for a job. I was using the only approach I knew: applying online to as many positions as I could. It seemed like a good system to me. The more applications I submitted, the more chances I would have to find a job, right? Wrong! After months of following the same pattern (look for a position online, submit my resume and my cover letter, receive a rejection email), I realized my strategy was not working. 

I decided to take a more proactive approach. I attended every webinar I could find on how to write a resume, how to write a cover letter, how to prepare for an interview, but still the results were the same.  However, while looking for ways to become competitive in the U.S. job market, I came across the Global Talent Accelerator program from Global Detroit. This program is specifically for international students and luckily, I was admitted.  Through this program, I was trained on how to use LinkedIn more effectively, got personalized help to optimize my resume and cover letter, and learned how to use informational interviewing as a networking tool when looking for a job, which was an additional workshop given in partnership with Let’s Detroit. After this, my method of finding a job changed from submitting hundreds of online applications to looking for ways to engage more directly with companies. 

Through Let’s Detroit, I found out about networking events and job fairs such as the Back to Michigan Virtual Career Fair, where I was able to talk directly with people who were already working at the companies that I was interested in and I connected with the Talent Acquisition Managers at corporations that had declined my applications before. Having the opportunity to talk to recruiters rather than sending my resume gave me a chance to better express my interests, capabilities, and my personality in general, which sometimes can be difficult to convey through a resume or cover letter. 

In addition, following the advice I got from Let’s Detroit and Global Detroit, I kept in touch with fellow MFA classmates and other alumni from my college. Thanks to these connections, I was introduced to the recruiter who helped me secure an interview at a company I had applied to several times before. By this time, not only were my resume and cover letter flawless but, since I had already talked to several people from that company at networking events and career fairs, I knew the profile candidate they were targeting and I was already known by several people there. Finally, the recommendations for the interview I got from my network helped me so much to be prepared that I received a job offer the day after the interview. I began my position as an interactive designer with an automotive company last February. 

At the beginning of my job search I had drive and dedication, but my efforts were not channeled in the right direction. Global Detroit and Let’s Detroit helped me to be better prepared for the job market and to take a more dynamic and strategic approach. 

If you are a young professional or recent graduate looking for a job in Detroit, know that there are many people interested in helping them find and make good use of opportunities. Let’s Detroit is a great place to start and, if you are an international student or graduate, Global Detroit has many excellent resources specifically for you. 

Written by Berenice Sanchez, 2020 MFA graduate from the College of Creative Studies. For more information about the programs at Global Detroit, connect with Let’s Detroit Ambassador Guiqiu Wang, Program Manager at Global Detroit. Connect with regional young professionals and recruiters from a variety of industries on Let’s Detroit at   

Image: Attending the College to Career event with Let’s Detroit Ambassadors at Ford Motor Company, Sept. 2020.