100 Jobs In One Year: Dave Herman Explains How To Get Hired

Dave Herman 100 jobs

A year ago, Dave Herman was just another one of the thousands of struggling actors in New York City, picking up odd jobs to make ends meet. Today, he's a master of productivity, a philosopher of motivation, a self-appointed self-help guru, and full-time brand ambassador (pictured above in one of his comedy videos).What happened in 2012? Herman had 100 jobs.

Millions of Americans would be thankful to find just one job right now, and Herman now knows how it's done. To complete his project -- 100 jobs in one year -- Herman was a night receptionist, an electrician, a script reader, a bartender, a newspaper boy, a dog walker, and a professional laugher. He also handed out a lot of fliers. With the help of a couple of temp agencies, the website TaskRabbit (where people advertise odd jobs), and friends, Herman completed the challenge, 20 minutes before midnight, as a correspondent on "New Year's Eve with Carson Daly."

More:How I Survived Nearly 2 Years Of Unemployment

The 27-year-old New Jersey native now has a full-time job at a marketing company, as well as tons of exposure (including on the "Today" show, and in a newspaper in Croatia), which is obviously good for an aspiring actor. And he's picked up some good tricks for finding work.

1. Temping isn't always temporary. A lot of Herman's work came through temp agencies, which was perfect for his assignment. The gigs would last just a day or two or three, and then he'd move on to the next one. But sometimes those companies would keep hiring him back for different assignments. (For Herman's purposes, they had to be different, or it would violate his self-imposed rule.) And through networking on those jobs he found more jobs. Herman even had to quit one, because it became so full-time that he didn't have the time to do other random jobs.

2. Expand your options. For Herman's first job as a street musician, he stood on the cold January streets of Midtown Manhattan and played the saxophone -- an instrument that he'd been learning for approximately eight months. "I know a lot of people were judging me, critiquing me, and that's scary," he said. But people stood and listened, they smiled, they waved, and they gave him a few coins.

"The best way to overcome fear," he realized, "is to keep doing the things you're afraid of."

3. Sometimes you have to take a hit at the beginning. With just a hodgepodge of tasks and errands, Herman at first went into debt. After months of networking though, Herman was finally able to sustain himself.

More:Why The Unemployed Are Better Workers

Herman doesn't consider his temporary foray in the red any kind of failure though. "Anyone who wants to make a sustainable income as a freelancer, it's an investment," he says. "Just like college is an investment of time and money, just like starting a small business."

4. It's all about networking. Herman had one receptionist gig, and a co-worker there turned him on to another receptionist gig. At that receptionist gig, somebody called up, liked the sound of his voice, and hired him for another receptionist gig. That kind of opportunity-begat-opportunity happened a lot over the course of the year.

"I'd much rather it worked that way," says Herman. "Rather then saying "I can do it! I can do it! Hey look at me, I can do it!"

More:How To Use Your Friends To Get A Job

5. Put in the hours. "The reason we love heroes in movies is because these people are accomplishing things that we think are impossible or improbable," Herman muses. But nothing is really that improbable, he says, if you're willing to put in the work. Hours and hours and hours of work. Herman admits that he has so many projects on his plate right now that they're cutting into his sleep time.

"The New York spirit has taken me over," he says. "The New York spirit is: If you're not working on something big, you're worth nothing."

6. Set goals, with numbers and deadlines. Herman believes that he was able to accomplish his goal because it had a number (100) and a deadline (Jan. 1, 2013). This year, he has several goals, with similarly defined parameters: to work out three times a week; memorize the Gospel of John; come out with one YouTube sketch video a week; and complete the 10,000 Kevins Project.

The 10,000 Kevins Project (which debuted March 1) is Herman's scheme to get 10,000 people named Kevin to sign an online petition to get Kevin Bacon to take him out for dinner. And also raise $1 million for Kevin Bacon's charity. You know, no big deal.
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