By Olga Kingsbury, CPDC Career Coach
Summer 2016: I had just graduated from my master’s program in TESOL from West Virginia University. For years, it had been my dream to become an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor and help international professionals develop their communication skills in English. Due to family circumstances, I had to stay in Morgantown, a town of 30,000 people, after I graduated, so my job search options were rather limited. After having no luck getting a couple of ESL positions, I had become frustrated. The right job just wouldn’t come. By that time, I had expanded my job search by applying for university positions outside of ESL, but it did not help. I COULD NOT GET A JOB.
I was lying on my couch one night, mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed, when a post by Lena Yasenkova, a world–famous make-up artist, caught my attention. She and her team were at New York fashion week getting models ready for the runway. “What a blessing...” – I thought – “…to have a job doing what you love the most AND get world recognition for it”.
I don’t know where my next impulse came from, but I decided to direct message (DM) her:
- Hey Lena! I really admire your work. I am an English Language Instructor and I would love to teach you and your team online. Your team travels all over the world and I was hoping I could help you develop your professional communication skills in English.
When I sent the message, I did not have much hope of hearing back. Lena had 70,000 followers and I doubted she even read all the DMs people sent her. So, I went straight to bed.
The next morning, I opened my Instagram and guess what I saw in my inbox?! A DM from Lena! My heart started pounding. It said:
- Hey Olga! Thanks for texting me. I would love to collaborate! Here is my phone number, let’s chat today.
I could not believe what had happened – I had just gotten myself a job by sending a DM! Later that day, I talked to Lena about what platform and materials we would use for instruction and how her team would pay me.
For the next couple of months, I taught English to a group of 10 world–class professionals on Lena’s team from the comfort of my own home, and I made a decent income.
What I got out of this experience, however, was much more than an impressive line on my resume. I learned that sometimes your dream job is just a DM away.