YOU Are Your Own Best Recruiter

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Courtesy Adam DinceThe author (far right) and his team at Deluxe Corp. in the Twin Cities

In college, my best friend Nathan and I had big dreams about life after graduation. I clearly remember a conversation where we both agreed we wouldn't accept a job that paid less than 50 grand a year. We were both at the top of our class, had fairly robust resumes, and were veterans of the Navy and Marine Corps. What could possibly stand in our way?

Post-graduation and a plethora of job interviews later, reality set in and I accepted an offer that was far less in pay and prestige than I'd hoped for.

As I rationalized, it was a job to tide me over until I found a job I really wanted. Yet, as I continued my search, I found most of the jobs to be exactly that -- jobs, not careers. So I decided to take the entrepreneurial route and started a Web consultancy business.

While owning and operating a small business was exhausting, being an entrepreneur in the services industry opened doors to build an amazing network of professional friendships and career opportunities that are second-to-none.

Over the course of my career, I've had the opportunity to lead digital strategy across some of the most recognizable brands in the world. I've had the pleasure of building teams and marketing practices at top global advertising agencies. I've been cited in books and am a regular contributor to a few of the industry's most respected blogs.

However, maintaining an upward career trajectory has been hard work. I've had to reinvent myself as the digital landscape has changed. When I started my online career, the only thing I knew was Web and graphic design. Since then, I've broadened my skillset to include all aspects of online and offline marketing. I've learned how to manage clients varying from small businesses to Fortune 100 brands.

Additionally, I've learned to take calculated risks. Over the past five years, I've moved cross-country twice to take incredible job opportunities, including my current role at Deluxe Corporation.

So, how did I land my gig at Deluxe?

At the time, I was an executive at an advertising agency in midtown Manhattan. While I loved the job and people I worked with, the city was wearing on me. I missed the quiet of the suburbs and the daily subway commute was exhausting. And at 38 years old, New York City didn't seem like the right place for me to plant roots. In other words, I was ready for a change.

Over the years, I had taken quite a few business trips to the Twin Cities of Minnesota and felt like it was the place I was supposed to be. When I was ready to call it quits in New York City, I reached out to a good friend in my professional network who just happened to live in Minneapolis. I asked her to keep an ear to the ground and let me know if she found any opportunities in the Twin Cities.

She and I briefly worked together in New York. I respected her brilliance. She taught me more about advertising in a few short months than I'd learned in all the years leading up to meeting her. We developed a mutual respect for each other's talents, but more than that, we built an awesome friendship. When she left New York and moved back to her hometown in Minnesota, I mentioned that I'd love to follow suit someday.

A few months later I got the call, "Adam, I've found the perfect role for you. Let me connect you to the hiring manager!" I knew of Deluxe, because I used their business checks for my small business. In fact, my dad was also a small business owner and a Deluxe customer.

During my interview, the hiring manager explained how Deluxe was reintroducing itself by adding a full suite of Web services to its traditional small business products. We discussed Deluxe's 100-year tradition of serving small businesses, recent acquisitions and go-to-market strategies. We dove deep into Deluxe's earned media objectives and ensured our philosophies were aligned. After a few rounds of interviews with Deluxe's leadership, I accepted a very generous offer and have enjoyed going into the office every day since.

So, to sum up how I landed my job at Deluxe:

  • I built a holistic niche set of online marketing skills that were in demand
  • I built an extensive network of professional friends
  • I used my network to find the right opportunity
  • I was ready to relocate to make it happen
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