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Gen Z Grad's Unconventional Networking Lands Dream Job at LinkedIn

Basant Shenouda defied traditional job-hunting methods, leveraging social media and face-to-face networking to secure a position at LinkedIn.
Cover Image Source: Linkedin | @Basant Shenouda
Cover Image Source: Linkedin | @Basant Shenouda

In today's competitive job market, Basant Shenouda has made headlines for her innovative approach to securing employment. With traditional methods of job hunting yielding limited results, Shenouda turned to a combination of social media insight and face-to-face networking to land her dream job at LinkedIn.

Linkedin | @Basant Shenouda
Image Source: Linkedin | @Basant Shenouda

After graduating from the prestigious University of Bonn in 2019, Shenouda found herself facing the daunting task of navigating the job market. Despite spending six months reaching out to recruiters on LinkedIn and applying for jobs online, she struggled to make a breakthrough.

"It's becoming increasingly difficult to grab the attention of hiring managers, even through virtual means," Shenouda explains. "I realized that I needed to find a more unconventional method to stand out from the crowd."

Her turning point came when she decided to leverage social media platforms to identify conferences and events where recruiters from her target companies would be present. One event that caught her eye was the Online Marketing Rockstars conference in Hamburg, Germany.

Linkedin | @Basant Shenouda
Image Source: Linkedin | @Basant Shenouda

"As a marketing graduate looking to transition into sales, the conference presented the perfect opportunity to network with decision-makers in my field," Shenouda recalls.

Determined to make the most of the opportunity, she volunteered at the conference to gain free entry and traveled over six hours from Cologne to Hamburg armed with her résumés. During breaks at the event, she took the bold step of approaching recruiters directly, seeking feedback on her CV while secretly hoping to impress potential employers.

"It was a high-risk, high-reward strategy," she admits. "But I knew that face-to-face networking would be far more effective than connecting online."

Image Source: Photo by Airam Dato-on | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Airam Dato | Pexels

Her perseverance paid off when she caught the attention of recruiters and received offers for multiple positions, including a role in the sales graduate scheme at LinkedIn. Today, three years later, Shenouda still works at LinkedIn as an implementation consultant in Dublin, Ireland.

Reflecting on her journey, she emphasizes the importance of resilience and perseverance in the face of rejection. "Every 'no' brings you one step closer to your next 'yes'," she advises.

Furthermore, one of the key insights Shenouda gained from her experience was the value of reapplying to companies that had previously rejected her. By seeking feedback from recruiters and addressing any gaps in her applications, she was able to turn rejections into opportunities.

"It's essential to keep trying and maintain relationships, even after facing rejection," she explains. "These skills are highly transferrable and can ultimately lead to success in your chosen field."

A sign is posted on the exterior of a LinkedIn office | Getty Images | Photo by Justin Sullivan
Image Source: A sign is posted on the exterior of a LinkedIn office | Getty Images | Photo by Justin Sullivan

"When engaging with recruiters, don't just focus on your desire for a job. Instead, emphasize the impact you can make," Shenouda advises. "Talk about specific metrics and accomplishments, rather than simply stating your intentions."

"While it may seem counterintuitive, focusing your elevator pitch on the other person's needs can be highly effective. Ask hiring managers about the metrics that matter most to them and tailor your conversation accordingly," she says.

Furthermore, Shenouda emphasizes the importance of forging friendships with hiring managers and recruiters. "Remember, they're people too, with interests and lives outside of work. Take the time to connect on a personal level, whether it's through social media or shared hobbies," she says.