Jamila Humphrie won a Fulbright Fellowship in 2011.

By | Andrea Wilhelmi ’14

After graduation and a year teaching English in Brazil on a Fulbright scholarship, Jamila Humphrie ’11 began seeking a job in the U.S. She eventually landed a position in the Alumni Relations department at New York University—but getting there was a bumpy ride.

The first six months of her job search yielded few results, she says. She sent her resume and cover letter to more than 50 online job postings, and heard nothing in return, which was discouraging. That’s when she remembered the advice of Career Development Center associate director John Mountain, and adapted his “people over posting” phrase as her mantra.

Now Humphrie wants to tell other recent graduates that knowing people is far more important than knowing about job postings. Her own job search started to turn around when she sought out people whose connections she thought might help her, and set up times to meet with them face to face. This worked much better, she says, than devoting her energy to answering every online posting she could find. It put her application on the “top of the pile,” even if the “pile” contained hundreds of resumes from equally qualified applicants.

Humphrie recommends that Mac seniors and recent grads explore all their connections, from Macalester alumni to people working in organizations they’re interested in to friends of their parents. “You’ll be surprised who will come through for you and put in a good word,” she says.

This spring Humphrie will begin work on a master’s degree in LGBTQ History and Human Rights at NYU. Her job there gives her a tuition discount. Although Humphrie admits she didn’t exactly set out to work to work at NYU, she’s glad to be there nonetheless. “I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up,” she says. “But I think that my experience at NYU will be highly valuable no matter what.”

December 12 2013

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