Hustling for the Dream Job

By Drew Himmelreich, Guest Writer

Hustling for the dream job: One MBA student’s attempt to turn heads at his favorite company.

Drew Himmelreich
Drew Himmelreich

My name is Drew Himmelreich. I am an MBA candidate with a concentration in marketing at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Career decisions for me have always been driven by my passions. As a young Japanophile my interest in the people, language and culture of Japan influenced my choice of undergraduate institution (Willamette University), the major I pursued there (East Asian Studies) and my jobs after college with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (as an Assistant Language Teacher in Sasayama, Japan) and with Hanwa American Corp. in Houston (as an international sales rep, assistant manager and cultural liaison). In 2014, having accumulated so much experience related to Japan, I was looking for a new adventure. I wanted to explore new cultures, people, ideas and industries, and that’s what inspired me to attend Thunderbird.

Coming to Thunderbird was the best decision I ever made. I had a wonderful time, I learned more than I could have imagined, and I worked hard and saw great results. Now, as graduation approaches and the voices of the world outside Thunderbird are beckoning, I’m more confident than ever in the idea that passion is the key to success, and I am assessing my career opportunities accordingly.

Which brings us to my dream company: Adult Swim.

Why do I love Adult Swim: Two kinds of love

Personal:

  • The powerful brand aesthetic and irreverent, anarchic sense of humor have always resonated with me on a deeply personal level.
  • I have been a fan since the channel’s inception in the early 2000s. Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Home Movies have a special place in my heart.

Professional:

  • Adult Swim has maintained its #1 position as THE entertainment destination for young adults for 11 years running[i]. That is an elusive and lucrative demographic that is highly coveted by advertisers and influencers. This puts Adult Swim in a powerful business position.
  • Innovation, disruption, creativity and trust in artist-driven content allow Adult Swim to stay on the cutting edge of entertainment trends. With core competencies in these areas, Adult Swim has the agility and strategic positioning to excel in a rapidly evolving media landscape.
  • Adult Swim is a part of Turner Broadcasting, which is a part of Time Warner. These are enormous companies with tremendous resources at their disposal. Adult Swim consciously insulates itself from some of these corporate ties to secure its creative autonomy[ii], but partners of this scale give Adult Swim a powerful leg-up over competing creative powerhouses.
  • Adult Swim has already begun to extend its footprint beyond traditional TV by entering the online/computer gaming space, a segment of the entertainment industry poised for powerful growth[iii].

As a personal and professional fan of Adult Swim, my loyalty and admiration are impossible to quantify. I’m deeply invested in news about the company and related industries and am confident in my ability to contribute new ideas and perspectives that can elevate the Adult Swim brand and its revenue-generating potential. I would love to work at Adult Swim and think Adult Swim would benefit from having me as an employee.

The hard part: Getting ~*!*ATTENTION*!*~

My attempts to apply for jobs at the company have thus far proven unsuccessful. I had applied to a number of postings through the company’s online portal, but without any luck. This was perhaps due to a lack of contacts inside the organization or because I had not been able to tailor my resume and cover letters persuasively enough for hiring managers to give them a second thought. It’s entirely possible that a career at Adult Swim is not what destiny has in store for me; however, I cannot pursue any of the other career opportunities available to me with true resolve and dedication until I have exhausted all the resources and energy at my disposal to aim for this dream job.

Two Part Plan: Physical Approach, Digital Approach

The Physical: I have a resume I am proud of, an impassioned cover letter, and some specific business ideas to serve as evidence of my professional thought process. If I could get these in the hands of organizational insiders and be confident they had been read, then I could rest at ease that I had given it my all. Perhaps physical copies of these documents sent via snail mail might be a refreshing or underutilized technique compared to the heavily digitized means that are the norm today. In order to try and improve the chances of my physical package being opened and having its contents read, one idea was to make the package itself visually striking and curious. I found an online retailer that sold visually striking envelopes and purchased a number of them. I also did some minimal arts and crafts work on the package itself (professional headshot, instructive speech bubbles). Below is an early prototype of the package and its content:

Prototype of the application package (courtesy Drew Himmelreich)
Prototype of the application package (courtesy Drew Himmelreich)

I made a cover page with a table of contents so that any potential reader could have a quick glimpse of the contents and potentially avoid seeing a bland cover letter or resume and immediately toss it. The contents: personal and student business cards, cover page/table of contents, cover letter, resume, business challenges facing Adult Swim/ideas to tackle them, references page with company logos.

I tried to strike a careful balance with the visual presentation of my package: I wanted it grab attention, but did not want the visuals to overshadow my eagerness to be taken seriously as a business professional.

Another key strategy is that I produced a number of these envelopes addressed specifically on the outside and within to key individuals I was targeting at Adult Swim and at Turner Broadcasting. My thinking here was that sending this to more individuals with different positions and perspectives would increase my chances of having some of the packages and their contents be paid attention to. With my prototype ready, I started to carefully gather feedback from a select number of faculty and classmates. I even cultivated an online dialogue and got feedback from a generous Thunderbird alum that works at Turner Broadcasting, albeit with minimal exposure to Adult Swim. I knew my strategy was not appealing to everyone, but I carefully considered all critical feedback and made some adjustments accordingly.

The Digital Approach: Well, actually, you are reading it. The precariousness of putting all my eggs in the physical mail basket was daunting. I could see many reasons why my packages might never even get in the hands of the people I sent them to, which would make all this effort for naught. That’s when I realized that many of the people I wanted to send packages to were on LinkedIn. If I was going for their physical mailbox, I could potentially double my chances of getting noticed by targeting their digital mailboxes as well. Classmates had written LinkedIn articles before, so I figured I could try writing one of these about my process. Some of my targets had Twitter accounts, another possible way to get my name out there and potentially develop some favorable anticipation for the arrival of my physical package.

With a few different angles of attack in place, pushing the publish button for this article will be Step One. If the further steps don’t result in direct contact with Adult Swim, I’m still happy to profess my admiration for the company online, as well as to get some feedback from anyone out there on my method.

So, if you’re reading this article and you are from Adult Swim, hello, I’d love the chance to speak with you. For everyone else, let me know what you think.

 

[i] http://www.turner.com/pressroom/adult-swim-reigns-11th-straight-year-1-destination-young-adults

[ii] http://www.wsj.com/articles/adult-swim-how-to-run-a-creative-hothouse-1426199501

[iii] http://venturebeat.com/2015/06/02/u-s-games-industry-forecast-to-grow-30-to-19-6b-by-2019/

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