Freelance marketer Charlie Hoehn graduated in 2008, a terrible time for the job market by any standards.
He says in a TedxCMU talk that he couldn’t find a job; after hundreds of applications the only two companies that had offered him a job were “a staging company whose only job requirements were have a pulse and be a chainsmoker…and the other company was a pyramid scheme.”
So he started working for free.
He says it’s great and has all sorts of advantages: you work “on stuff you actually care about” and there “are no dead ends.” It worked for him, but he put in eight months of working for free before he experienced his turnaround, and only three months before that of “real job searching.”
If you’re interested in how this guy made it work for him here’s his speech.
We wish it was a bit shorter as he’s not the best TED public speaker we’ve seen (not a bad speaker, but for anything with the TED brand on it the bar is pretty high) and he really doesn’t mention how anyone should pay for eight months of free work. But again, it did work for him.